The Meross Smart Humidifier: Finally a True Smart Humidifier?
The Meross Smart Humidifier 320ML is an exciting product as it's both small and compact while also providing a broad set of "smart" features out of the box. These can be achieved using either the Meross app or via Google assistant. The device also supports IFTTT, which adds a vast amount of options when it comes to automating the humidifier's actions.
In this review, we're going to take a look at some of this unit's strong points as well as some of its weaknesses. More importantly, though, we're going to see why this isn't really a humidifier and for who exactly this product was designed.
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Table of Contents
The product description
This nifty unit is advertised as being able to generate "powerful mist to fresh[en] the air", and only for 25$ at the time of writing! It works with the Meross app, IFFTT, Google Assistant, and my technique for running Meross devices offline. The tank is on the smaller size with a maximum capacity of 320ML and to make filling easier a little line depicting the maximum fill point is featured on the inside.
The front also has a light that spans across the centre of the unit vertically, along with a separate section that wraps around the circumference of the lid. When it comes to network connectivity, the smart humidifier stays true to the rest of the Meross product line with a standard WiFi connection. Finally, the manufacturer makes it very clear on several occasions that essential oils (or any oils for that matter) should not be used inside the tank.
Honestly, as far as smart devices go, this humidifier is certainly fully controllable and offers many useful functions right out of the box. The Meross app provides options such as schedules and IFTTT integration which is very lovely to see in a humidifier as for whatever reason it is quite challenging to find one of these that features smart integrations that most intelligent devices use.
One feature that is a bit glossed over is the presence of a night light on the front of the unit, which can be controlled via the same methods as the humidifier itself. This light is actually very nice and is just in the right place of being neither too dim nor too bright, which is pretty cool as a secondary feature. Unfortunately for any RGB freaks out there, the light only supports ON/OFF and will always be a yellow colour.
The device is powered by a standard micro USB cable which will usually be connected to a USB port of a phone charger or a computer. It is important to note that the charger, which acts as a permanent power source as this unit does not have batteries, is omitted and will need to purchased separately. This plays nicely into its tiny size and a very high degree of portability, as bringing this thing around is super easy as long as there is a USB port where you are going.
Finally, the device has an auto-shutoff feature that works to prevent damage should the tank run out of the water while the humidifier is running. As we will see shortly, this feature is beneficial because the tank probably is going to run out of water unless you are only going to use it for a short time. One other nice feature is the almost none existent amount of noise it produces. It is so unbelievably quiet, even other similar looking diffusers make way more noise than this!
Starting with the least problematic, as mentioned in the product's description, it does not work with any essential oils in the tank. At first, this may not seem like much of an issue, but a large group of people enjoy putting nice smelling oils in the water of diffusers and humidifiers because it helps create a charming atmosphere. The fact that it is not possible to do this at all, unfortunately, rules out the option of using this as a diffuser, which I would have certainly liked to do.
The big problem is the water tank's size. While the product page advertises this tank as having a large capacity, it doesn't take much research to see that 320ml is small even by diffuser standards. Other comparably sized units will have at least 500ml capacity, bearing in mind that these are meant to be diffusers. While it will depend heavily on what you expect to get out of it, I find this to be the most annoying part of using this device.
While the listing says it will last 6 hours on continuous mode, my experience is that it typically will last less time, quite a substantial amount on some occasions. When you first set the device going, it will begin spraying a lovely little mist into the air and putting your face nearby will quickly demonstrate that the air is being humidified. As exciting at that first feeling is, the first refill will come quick and can disturb any relaxation that might be going on.
Finally, the options for powering it aren't that great. In the box, there is a relatively short micro USB cable which is used in conjunction with a non included USB phone charger to provide power to the system. Beyond being inconvenient, the lack of a power source out of the box may come as a surprise to some, as usually, products include what's needed to power it on. It's worth mentioning that the product description does say that the AC adapter is not included, but it would increase the experience if even a basic one were included.
Why this isn't really a humidifier
As fun as it is to talk about the flaws of the tank and the inability to use oils in it, the real issue comes with how it's being marketed, in my opinion. Sure it works to put water into the air, but trying to increase the humidity of anything but the smallest of spaces will be a frustrating experience. Based solely on the size of the tank and the runtime, this is clearly much more of a diffuser than a humidifier.
The tank's capacity is listed at 320ml, which is tiny in comparison to even the cheapest humidifiers on the market. While there is something to say about the size of the device, I personally don't find much value in it being smaller if it means that there will be a significant reduction in capacity. While researching humidifiers for this review, I found countless devices with runtimes listed well above 30 hours continuous.
If you are looking to actually increase the humidity of the air, you should look elsewhere. In addition to having a tiny reservoir, this humidifier is what's known as a "cool mist" humidifier which is to say that it operates without generating a lot of heat (obviously). What is less known is that it is a lot more common for cool mist devices to spray material from inside the tank into the air, which can lead to bacteria and dirt spreading around.
Ignoring anything relating to it not reaching the 6-hour mark, it is essential to establish: do you want to refill the tank every 6 hours to keep humidifying? I sure don't! Seeing other machines available that have 4L or even 6L of water capacity makes me envy what it must be like to refill once every few days. These different systems are more expensive, but they also seem to do the job of humidifying a lot better!
I love this device for all the reasons I mentioned in the good section. It would be so awesome to have a real smart humidifier to be able to accurately control the moisture level based on whatever criteria that I can set myself. It is precisely for this reason that I got so excited when I saw the Meross Smart Humidifier available for purchase. I could see myself having a fully smart home controlled climate and forever maintaining a stable level of humidity indoors.
It's likely for this reason that I was a bit disappointed when I first used the humidifier. It works so well at what it does, but it feels almost like a prototype of what could be if it was made into a large form factor. If the device supported essential oils, it could simply be called a smart diffuser, and I would happily accept that as now running the machine less frequently makes sense. It only needs to run every so often to top up the pleasant smell coming from the oils within.
However, it very explicitly does not support this use case and as such, ends up living in a limbo between being a diffuser and a humidifier. It's too small to be an effective humidifier and doesn't support any oils to diffuse which effectively removes that option also. So who is this for?
I believe this device has a place in individual homes, mostly as a decorative item, however. The light on the unit is very nice to look at, and I would easily consider using it as my only source of light for navigating the darkness at night. Some people may also find the gentle sound of the water leaving the nozzle to be relaxing, making it the right choice for use on nightstands.
Overall, if you are considering buying a humidifier, this probably isn't for you. On the other hand, if you would like something that looks pretty cool and offers full remote control, go ahead and pick one up! After all, they are really cheap for what you are getting. If you are going to get one but worry about the premise of having your devices always connected to the internet, check out my guide for running Meross devices offline using Home Assistant!