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The 5 Best Steam Inhalers [Ranked]

Top5Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Steam inhalers are a quick and inexpensive way of naturally managing sinus conditions, colds, coughs, sore throats, allergy symptoms and other annoying maladies (Source).

They work by producing warm, moist air to soothe and release clogged airways. 

Another great option these steam inhalers have is that many of them are equipped with aromatherapy diffusers.

Simply purchase an essential oil and add it to your steam inhaler to receive the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy.

Check out the bottom of this post where we list some of the best essential oils to use with your steam inhaler.

Be careful, however, some say that it’s not safe to inhale essential oils- do your research and consult a professional before you inhaling an essential oil. 

Buyers say that, quite simply, it's basically just a small hot plate with an integrated water reservoir. It contains 3 steam vents- the apertures are adjustable using an outside lever.

You can also use VapoPads with it- these are "non-medicated refill pads that designed to provide you relief with soothing menthol vapors (Source).

Buyers say you'll want to use it on a stable surface and exercise some caution so that you don't burn yourself with the steam or boiling water.

Comparing The Options

Bestseller No. 1
Vicks Personal Sinus Steam Inhaler Face Steamer with Soft Face Mask
446 Reviews
Vicks Personal Sinus Steam Inhaler Face Steamer with Soft Face Mask
  • VICKS STEAM INHALER: Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler, with a soft, comfortable face mask & compatible with soothing menthol Vicks VapoPads, provides a warm mist of steam for temporary relief from allergies, congestion & coughs in a 5-15 minute treatment
Bestseller No. 2
[New] AVYA Steam Inhaler, Sinus Rinse Therapy System + Starter Saline Kit (Cordless)[1 Year Warranty Included ]
19 Reviews
[New] AVYA Steam Inhaler, Sinus Rinse Therapy System + Starter Saline Kit (Cordless)[1 Year Warranty Included ]
  • Gets deep into your nasal, sinus and throat passages with 100% natural warm steam. Guaranteed to be more effective and more gentle than sinus rinses.
Bestseller No. 3
Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler, V1200, Face Steamer or Inhaler with Soft Face Mask for Targeted Steam Relief, Aids with Sinus Problems, Congestion, Cough, Use With soothing Menthol Vicks VapoPads
1,943 Reviews
Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler, V1200, Face Steamer or Inhaler with Soft Face Mask for Targeted Steam Relief, Aids with Sinus Problems, Congestion, Cough, Use With soothing Menthol Vicks VapoPads
  • VICKS STEAM INHALER: Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler, with a soft, comfortable face mask and compatible with soothing menthol Vicks VapoPads, provides a warm mist of steam for temporary relief from allergies, congestion and coughs in a 5-15 minute treatment
Bestseller No. 4
Gurin Steam Inhaler
266 Reviews
Gurin Steam Inhaler
  • Helps relieve cold, flu and sinusitis symptoms
SaleBestseller No. 5
MyPurMist Classic Handheld Personal Steam Inhaler (Plug-in), Vaporizer and Humidifier
1,539 Reviews
MyPurMist Classic Handheld Personal Steam Inhaler (Plug-in), Vaporizer and Humidifier
  • Fast Natural Relief from Sinus Congestion, Colds, and Allergies. 100% drug-free therapy. 1 year warranty.

Steam Inhaler Reviews

1. The Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler

For people who are suffering from respiratory ailments, this steam inhaler could be a good option for you. It produces soothing steam for 5 to 15 minutes. The steam penetrates the sinus, throat and nasal passages, providing a soothing effect for people who have colds, bronchitis, flu, and other similar illness. It is designed to be compact in size for portability and easy storage. It also has a dual voltage so you can take it anywhere in the world. It is easy to use as it only requires filling the base with water where the heater boils it. When you buy this item, it comes with a 1-year warranty.

2. The Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler & Vaporizer

This sleek and stylish steam inhaler produces a strong, steady and warm mist that comforts its who are experiencing coughs, sinusitis, throat irritation and other types of congestion. It comes with an aromatherapy tray that allows you to add essential or fragrance oils, to easily diffuse them into the air for enhanced healing effects. It also has an adjustable steam control feature that lets you choose between small and large particles. To use this, you simply have to add tap water into its internal chamber and it will slowly boil, producing the steam. The whole set also comes with a flexible mask and an extension tube.

3. The Veridian Steam Inhaler and Beauty Mask

If you are suffering from symptoms of bronchitis, flu, colds and other similar illnesses, you will find this inhaler very helpful. It also comes with a beauty mask option that is ideal for facial and aromatherapy treatments. The steam could be easily controlled using the adjustment settings. The steam could last from 6 to 9 minutes. Cleaning and using this inhaler is also not a problem. However, some users find it difficult to control the temperature of the steam, as some find it too hot.

4. The Vanker Handheld Steam Inhaler

If you have to bring a nebulizer on trips, this product is a good choice. It is lightweight and compact and has all the basic features for receiving inhalation treatments. It is helpful for patients suffering from bronchitis, asthma, emphysema and other lung problems. It releases cool mist instead of hot steam, making it ideal for all ages. It also has two airflow control systems. Moreover, you can use ordinary or distilled water with this nebulizer depending on the prescription of your physician. The cup capacity of this nebulizer is 10 ml.

5. The Vicks Portable Steam Therapy Inhaler

Definitely not the best of the bunch- this portable and lightweight and does not run on electricity. Instead, you have to pour hot water in its tray for it to produce steam. It is that easy to use. With each set comes 5 scented pads and a 1-year warranty. One drawback for its design is that it does not screw together. In case you hold it on the top half, the water might end up everywhere.

How to use it to relieve congestion

  1. Add water to the internal chamber.
  2. Wait for the water to begin boiling. The steam inhaler
  3. will begin producing a robust flow of moist and warm air.
  4. Use the steam inhaler controls to adjust both the temperature as well as the intensity of the steam.
  5. By controlling the steam intensity you will create either small or large size particles.

*If you are inhaling steam through the nose, then smaller particles are best. If you are inhaling steam through the mouth, then larger particles are best.

Consumer feedback

  • Consumers particularly appreciate the use of inhalers for sinus conditions.
  • One user reported using their inhaler for a chronic sinus condition that they have had for over 15 years. After surgeries, antibiotics, tablets, and steroid sprays it was actually the use of a steam inhaler in conjunction with sinus rinse saline packets that provided potent relief.
  • The portability of the steam inhalers makes them excellent travel companions.
  • Instead of hot showers, some users report that they can relieve dry sinuses with a couple minutes of steam inhalation. This is convenient for people who can’t sleep through the night because of their sinus conditions but don’t want to get into a hot shower for relief.
  • One issue people have with steam inhalers is that the steam sometimes runs out before they have achieved maximum relief. For example, the Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler generates steam that lasts about 9 minutes. One user commented that they wished it would last for 15.
  • The duration of the steam will depend on the quality of your area’s water, the amount of water you have added, the intensity that you set on the inhaler, as well as the specifications of the model you choose.
  • Most of the devices need to be kept level– which can make them a little inconvenient to use sometimes.
  • Some of the inhalers also can include a mask that will cover the whole face. This will work to provide at-home facials.
  • Besides sinuses, one user reported purchasing a unit to relieve a dry cough from pneumonia. The steamer was able to improve their symptoms and using it before they slept and when they awoke in the morning provided significant relief.
  • A steam inhaler was also effective for one reviewer who described the feeling of a cough being disintegrated. The mucus was drained down the throat and the soreness of her sore throat was significantly reduced.

Old Favorites

 Steam InhalersOur Rating (1-5)
The Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler3.9
The Veridian Steam Inhaler and Beauty Mask3.9
The Vicks Portable Steam Therapy Inhaler2.8

Essential oils you can add

  • If you have a cough– try integrating rosemary or peppermint tea or peppermint.
  • If you are experiencing dry skin– try adding fennel or sea buckthorn.
  • If you have oily skin you can consider adding lemongrass, chamomile or rosemary into your steam inhaler.
  • If you have a respiratory condition or congestion- try adding eucalyptus, pine, cedarwood or peppermint to the steam inhaler to get rid of your symptoms.
  • If you have a headache or a migraine, chamomile or lavender will be able to help relieve those pain symptoms.

Claimed medical benefits

Let’s review some of the best benefits of steam inhalers. You can boost the therapeutic efficacy of these devices by supplementing them with essential oils.

  • Steam inhalation can help the dilation of blood vessels as the body’s temperature increases. This promotes good blood flow and enhanced circulation. The benefits to circulation are what provides steam inhalers their ability to counteract headaches.
  • The rise in body temperature can trigger the new system to fight against germs.
  • The respiratory benefits of nasal and steam inhalers are fairly profound.
  • It’s a great way to naturally treat respiratory issues like a cold, stuffy nose, flu, bronchitis, asthma, and other similar obstructive conditions.
  • Steam inhaling is great for skin rejuvenation.
  • It can also function as a pore cleanser.
  • You can add some essential oils to the mix and make it even more effective for creating radiant and healthy skin.

A word of caution

  1. Be careful not to tip over your inhaler- the hot water can be scalding.
  2. Do not fill your inhaler up to the brim with water if you are also going to add essential oils-this will cause some unnecessary spilling.
  3. Children should not use steam inhalers because they might be scalded by them. It’s better to have children receive steam therapy under supervision in a steaming bathroom.
  4. Doctors advise that pregnant women and individuals suffering from high blood pressure should not try steam inhalation.

What is steam therapy?

Steam therapy is generally considered a therapeutic treatment that is prescribed for individuals suffering from issues like cancer, arthritis, hypertension as well as allergies.

There are many spas and wellness centers that specialize in steam therapy as a method of producing physical relaxation, mental tranquility as well as physical detoxification. The literal purpose of steam therapy is to subject your skin to the vapor of hot water.

This can produce a type of temporary fever, opening pores as well as oxygenating your bloodstream. Are different ways of subjecting yourself to steam therapy.

We have covered steam inhalation in this post, but the other ways it can be administered include hot showers, steam rooms, boiling water and placing your face over it with a towel draped behind your head. Most commonly the water used for steam therapy is boiled until it surpasses 100°F and 38°C. Individuals who are seeking steam therapy will generally subject themselves to the heat for between 20 minutes and 60 minutes.

We have already written about aromatherapy, but there is something called ozone steam therapy, which utilizes something called half-life ozone for detoxification purposes. ozone steam practice describes a process where partially deactivated ozone is instilled into water before it undergoes the steaming process.

While you are receiving your steam treatment, make sure that you are inhaling deeply and try to relax as much as possible. You will begin to feel a sensation on your skin as the pores open- they are absorbing the moisture of the water vapor.

The feeling of this effect is fairly similar though you could be sitting inside of a luxurious spa receiving this treatment or you could be at home sitting in the kitchen as your steam inhaler works its magic.

Some of the beneficial effects steam therapy claims is an activatation of the immune system. The immune system is now queued and begins sweeping toxins and foreign agents out of the body. Some research scientists have even speculated that steam therapy is particularly practical for individuals undergoing chemotherapy. If you suffer from arthritis, your rheumatologist may advise you to seek out steam therapy.

Your joint pain might be alleviated by the healing and therapeutic effects of this hot form of therapy. Regular exposure to steam, in fact, can be beneficial to most people, regardless of whether they are suffering from a cold, client illness, sinus issues, or just as a preventative measure.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for a natural way to clear out your sinuses or to recover from a sore throat, consider purchasing one of these inhalers we have reviewed. You can always store them away if you’re not consistently using them. There are many great options to choose from and many reputable brands offering quality products.

The Top 5 Team

We are a team of product researchers that specializes in assembling comprehensive buying guides. Our team has a variety of backgrounds, with a mixture of soft and hard sciences represented. Check out our About page to read more about our reviews and editorial process.

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