Here is some information on a few types of humidifiers.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are generally considered to be the best option. These units increase humidity by agitating water and turning it into mist which is emitted into the air. These are also considered the quietest humidifiers and require less cleaning than other units. Ultrasonic humidifiers can generate cool mist or warm mist. Cool mist humidifiers take the water from the unit and disperse a room temperature mist that generally covers larger areas while using less electricity. They are also less expensive than their warm air counterparts. Warm mist humidifiers will use slightly more electricity because they heat the water to boiling and emit a warmer mist. The advantage is that the warmer mist may produce healthier moisture because the boiling process kills germs and impurities. Warm mist humidifiers will also increase the humidity quicker.
Air Washers use water in conjunction with rotating discs to both add humidity and remove airborne impurities such as dust and pollen. These humidifiers are reliable and can cover larger areas than other types of humidifiers. But they only produce a cool mist, require regular maintenance, and must be rinsed on a frequent basis.
Evaporative Cool Mist humidifiers are affordable and easy to operate and maintain. They also can humidify a large area. However, as the name implies, they only provide a cool mist. They also tend to be noisy.
Steam Vaporizer Warm Mist humidifiers have a heating element that heats the water before dispersing it in the air. A key advantage is that by heating the tank water, these units destroy bacteria and organic compounds before the steam is emitted.
So the next question is: portable/tabletop humidifier or console humidifier? The answer depends on how much large of an area you need to cover.
Portable/Tabletop Humidifiers (also known as room humidifiers) are the smallest and least expensive units and are best for a single room like a bedroom, or a smaller area such as a workplace or where you sleep. They fit nicely on dressers, counters, desks or tables. Since these are smaller, they will require the most refilling. Some of these units come with germ protection, multiple speeds, built-in gyrometers, combination warm or cool mist outputs, and low water indicators.
Console Humidifiers sit on the floor and can cover both large single rooms and multiple-room areas up to 3,000 square feet. Room humidifiers are available in all types described above. Because you’ll want this unit to blend in with the room decor, they also come in a variety of designs and finishes.