Say hello to Oskar by Stadler Form!
A humidifier is almost a must during the cold and dry season and can help with numerous things. As dry air primarily develops in winter when significant heating takes place, room humidity can often drop as low as below 30%. Opening the window doesn’t help, and it even can have the opposite effect! You can, of course, opt for the cheaper version of putting damp towels over radiators and place bowls with water around the house. But for more effective measure a humidifier can be a great investment!
Shortly after I wrote my post on how to prevent dry skin during winter (read it here), we bought a humidifier. I researched long and hard, comparing all the different types to one and other, as it was a hard decision to make as no humidifier is really perfect without its pros and cons. Peter and I finally decided on buying the evaporator-kind of humidifier from Stadler Form.
My biggest concern that I wanted to fix with a humidifier wasn’t necessarily dry skin or better air in general; my main goal was to prevent a sore throat and dry breathing that dry air can cause, especially at night. I would often even get a nose bleed at the peak of winter’s dry season! A sore throat can also make you more susceptible to all kinds of colds and diseases that are of high risk during winter.
As I wanted something that could be on at night near the bed, it needed to have: 1) dimmed lighting and 2) be very very quiet. After a lot of research, we settled with a purchase for the humidifier Oskar by Stadler Form, as he seemed to tick all of our boxes. But Nonetheless, shortly after we bought Oskar we also went and bought an ultrasonic cool and warm mist humidifier, just to compare the two…
Humidifiers: Ultrasonic vs Evaporating
Ultrasonic, or mist humidifiers are the most common you’ll come across and generally the best if you want humidity fast. They operate by using vibrations to turn water into a fine visible mist. They’re supposed to be nearly silent and require very little electricity to run. However, using this method with mineral-laden hard water can produce a fine white dust that settles on your furniture and floors over time. These kinds of evaporators also have a tendency to wet floors and walls around them, as the mist is much heavier and usually falls down. They come in a wide variety and many of them double as an aroma diffuser. But they don’t always have dimmed lighting and unfortunately makes a dripping sound – which is quite annoying for my ears. But for the most part, no other expense is needed other than cleaning and filling up the tank. Some humidifiers offer both cold and warm mist outputs, and with negative ion disperse.
Evaporators generally use a filter that is in direct contact with the water in the reservoir tank. Together with a fan, the water wicks up in the filter and then dispersing that humidity into the room without a visible mist. However, you need to be vigilant about cleaning your humidifier and regularly replace the filters to ensure you are not trapping and spreading germs or bacteria that can contribute to respiratory problems or mold growth.
Pictures via Amazon, Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier XL, and URPOWER Evaporator Humidifier.
Stadler Form | Oskar
Despite the mixed reviews (and some funny ones too), we took a chance on Oskar. He’s everything I wanted: small, quiet, stylish, possibility of dimming the lights, and environmental friendly with automatic shut off when the water’s run out. And instead of removing the tank to fill it (which can become annoying), you just easily water it with your water pitcher! The only caveat to this type of evaporator is that you have to replace filters, and for the Oskar, a silver cube is needed to keep the water germ- and bacteria-free.
Which kind of humidifier do I like better?
After buying the ultrasonic humidifier we felt even better about our choice with the Oskar. Despite it being the more popular choice and does indeed increase the humidity level at a faster rate, the Ultrasonic humidifier was just plain damn annoying.
The one we bought was semi-expensive (similar to this one), high tech with sleep mode and timer, but it didn’t have the option to dim or remove the blue lights. But despite that, the dripping sound alone that it makes didn’t make it suitable for nighttime anyway.
My third caveat with the Ultrasonic humidifier was that it wet the floor. We had to have a towel surrounding it and constantly replace it. It was okay to have it standing on clinker floor though. However, it was recommended to put it on a high surface, and that surface would unavoidably be exposed to moisture.
The water ran out faster too, and it became annoying removing the tank and fill it up 3 times daily. Not to mention the shape (of the one we got) was hard to clean compared to Oskar. So despite it being more effective at increasing humidity, all pointed to that Oskar was much more low maintenance.
Of course, my experience is only limited to the one ultrasonic humidifier that I got and can’t really speak for every brand out there. Ultrasonic humidifiers are still the top selling humidifiers on the market!
Oskar by Stadler Form comes in three sizes, Oskar Big, Oskar and Oskar Little. The two smaller sizes have more colors to choose from. The regular sized Oskar that we got is for 50m² rooms. However, I’d say that’s at the top of the estimate, and I’d go down as to say it’s perfect for a bedroom size. The tank can fit 3.5L of water, and on the highest speed setting it will last you around 12 hours, I usually only have to refill it once to twice daily.
The Oskar is energy-saving as it requires even less power than Ultrasonic humidifiers, and has got automatic shut down to standby mode when the water has run low. It’s got a built-in hygrostat, but I recommend you buy a separate monitor to accurately check your rooms humidity levels.
You can dim the lights or turn them off completely. However, it’s got a small lightbulb inside to make it easier to see how much water’s left, but nothing strong to disturb during nighttime.
It also has got a fragrance dispenser on which you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil blend to be dispersed in the room. However, I find that a proper aroma diffuser is better to use as you barely notice any fragrance wth this one. And Stadler Form has a few stylish ones to choose from! But I personally am not so much into fragrance of that kind.
Cleaning is easy but also a bit clunky, but you can definitely get a more thorough clean than with most humidifiers that work with a tank.
The filters once came with plastic, but they’ve reinvented them to be made out of plant- and textile fibers being 100% environmental-friendly and compostable! The filters last just the right amount of time of use. The dry season in Sweden is about 2-3 months when it’s the worst and generally, runs through December to March. So we only replace filters once a year. I would not recommend using them for more than 3 months as they will start to stink and putting it out in the air.
The silver cube we’ve been a bit naughty with as it’s the most expensive one to replace… But somehow our water has not grown mold and we have not gotten sick. We’ve replaced it every other year instead. It’s kind of human nature to push on limits.
What Makes Oskar less Perfect?
After two seasonal uses, Oskar started showing signs of imperfection. As I was unboxing him for the third season, and filling him up, the fan wouldn’t automatically start as it used to. One of the biggest concerns in the reviews was just that the fan would stop working.
However, with a little push with a long thin object, the fan would start and go on as usual. But when I set it to the low speed it would sometimes completely stop, and it would never start from the lowest setting. Which brings up a concern to me as the number one reason we bought it was because it is quiet. The highest speed setting is not loud but makes enough noise to be on the verge of not being able to have it on at night if it’s very close to the bed.
OBS: Right after I edited the demo video I realized that I may have put the microphone a bit too close to the fan to get an accurate demonstration of how loud the fan is. The noise in the video doesn’t justify how quiet Oskar really is. So take this into account!
But as of recently, the air has been very dry to the point that I had to have it on the highest speed setting; I placed Oskar about 3-5 meters from the bed and both Peter and I’ve been able to sleep soundly and block the noise without any problems. So I guess you might get used to the slight sound that it makes.
That the fan would stop working brought up concern. However, it got us more confused as after I had cleaned it, it would go back to work as normal. But after a few days, the same problem would occur. And I would have to clean and spin the fan to loosen any debris again. We contacted Stadler Form about this issue and they said it was likely due to dust.
It’s like Stadler Form thought of everything, except making it possible to detach the fan to properly clean it. And it’s quite logical and unavoidable that a fan attracts dust particles and may someday get stuck, and eventually stop working completely. Nonetheless, he still works and does his job, he just sometimes needs a push.
Despite the fan issue, both Peter and I agree that if Oskar would suddenly stop working, we would buy him again in a heartbeat. In a nutshell, Oskar is stylish and effective and we’re very happy with our purchase. Depending on the room, he can up the humidity level by 5-10 percentage points. It’s not always a lot, but you definitely notice a difference when he’s not on. Last time, I tucked him away a little bit early, then the air did a turn to the dry side again. I ended up with really dry flaky legs and a severely sore throat and a cold on top of that. So to me personally, Oskar makes a difference! Especially as I spend most of my time in the house. If you work someplace else I’d get a small Ultrasonic mist to the office and one at home near the bed.
My only feedback to Stadler Form would be to make the cleaning of the fan on Oskar more accessible as that’s the only thing standing in the way of Oskar living a long life. You can basically remove almost every part of him, but you can’t get a proper clean of the fan. What were they thinking?!