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The Best Nebulizer Machines

Kleber Cordeiro/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated September 2022

Nebulizer machines can be invaluable devices for people with lung or respiratory conditions. If you have such a condition, talk to your doctor about whether a nebulizer machine might benefit your treatment, and then take a look at our recommendations.

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  Top Choice Pocket Size Great for Travel Best Bang for Your Buck Also Great
Portable Compressor Nebulizer Machine
Handheld Personal Nebulizer Machine
Blue Echo Care
Portable Travel Nebulizer
Handheld Atomizer Nebulizer
Home Use Tabletop Nebulizer
Our SummaryGreat for all ages, from kids to senior citizens, you can't go wrong with this classic jet nebulizer machine.This quiet little nebulizer machine is highly portable, small enough to slip into your pocket or purse and bring it along for the ride, no matter where you're headed.Compact yet full stocked, this highly portable nebulizer machine was designed specifically for vacations and travel.While portable nebulizers tend to be a bit more expensive than their tabletop, home-based cousins, this handheld model is priced well below average.If you only plan to use your nebulizer at home rather than on the road, this adjustable model is an ideal home-based, tabletop choice.
ProsFaster misting process, suitable for all ages, compact, adjustable particle sizes.Small and portable, battery or USB-powered option, easy to clean, quiet, less residue.Carrying bag and extra filters included, travel-friendly, highly compatible, quiet.Inexpensive, portable, auto-switch off and cleaning functions, two modes for different ages.Adjustable particle size, suitable for all ages, extra adult mask and filters included, long tube.
ConsExpensive, home use only.No mask straps, smaller medicine cup.Power outlet required, less sturdy cup.Strapless mask, shorter service life.Outlet required, not portable, shorter service life.
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The Best Nebulizer Machines

Portrait of young man using inhaler / nebulizer.
Kleber Cordeiro/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Nebulizer Machines

Medical nebulizer for the treatment of bronchitis.

Why buy a nebulizer machine?

Nebulizer machines, also known simply as nebulizers, are small devices that are somewhat similar to ventilators and other home oxygen systems. But instead of purifying the air you breathe or moving air in and out of your lungs, nebulizer machines convert liquid medicines into vapor or mist. You are then able to inhale the medicine directly into your lungs rather than drinking it, which means the medication is able to travel immediately to the area it needs to target. They also relax your breathing muscles for an easier inhalation.

What should you look for in a nebulizer machine?

  • Type: There are three main types of nebulizers—jet, ultrasonic, and mesh nebulizers. Jet nebulizers are by far the most common type of nebulizer. They use a compressor to turn medicine into mist form so it can be inhaled. Ultrasonic nebulizers work the same way, except they use high-frequency vibrations. Mesh nebulizers are a much newer invention that uses a mesh cap to dispense the medication. Ultrasonic nebulizers are only really found and used in hospitals, so you probably won’t be able to buy your own for personal use. Between a jet and mesh nebulizer, mesh models are generally more portable and thought to be more efficient since they can deliver higher doses of medication at once. However, they are still being studied due to being such a new invention, so you may want to stick with a classic jet nebulizer machine to be safe.
  • Portability: You’ll want to consider where you’ll be using your nebulizer machine and how often you’ll need to use it. If your doctor says you’ll only have to use it once or twice a day, a sturdier model you can set up and use in the privacy of your own home should suit just fine. If you travel a lot, work long hours, or have to use your nebulizer more frequently throughout the day, a smaller, more lightweight model will probably be the optimal choice. Also bear in mind that home-based models tend to be more intensive and require an electrical outlet to plug into, while more portable ones will mostly be battery-operated. Some nebulizers even come with their own travel bag and accessories, so you can more easily bring them on the go.
  • User and Ailment: Depending on who is using the nebulizer machine and what ailment(s) they have, their needs for a nebulizer will vary. There are some models made specifically to fit adults or children, though the vast majority are one-size-fits-all, especially those that are made with a mouthpiece instead of a mask. Quieter models are often the better choice for young babies as well, to prevent startling or agitating them. Be sure to also consider particle size as well. Different nebulizers will create different-sized particles or droplets that make up the mist that is inhaled, and their size will affect where in the respiratory tract they are deposited. Larger particles settle better in the upper respiratory system, so they’re more effective for treating upper respiratory infections and ailments like chronic sinusitis. Smaller particles have an easier time making their way to the lower respiratory tract (including the lungs), so nebulizers that create a finer mist are the better choice for issues like asthma, COPD, and bronchitis.

Can nebulizers work with most medicines?

Not every type of medicine is capable of being turned into a mist and inhaled via nebulizer; certain steroids, for instance, have to be consumed via an inhaler. But for medicines that they are compatible with, a nebulizer can be a gentler, more effective, and overall more comfortable way to consume medication—especially if your throat is so sore and inflamed that swallowing is painful and difficult.

Our Picks for the Best Nebulizer Machines

Top Choice

MAYLUCK Portable Compressor Nebulizer Machine

Great for all ages, from kids to senior citizens, you can't go wrong with this classic jet nebulizer machine.

Pros: This is a home-based, tabletop jet nebulizer machine that is more compact than most, so it won’t take up extra storage space when not in use. Yet despite its small size, this nebulizer is deceptively powerful and thus offers a faster atomization rate; it should take less time to convert your liquid medicine into aerosol form, shaving a few extra minutes off of the time you’ll spend using it. Thanks to the medicine compartment’s cap, you can adjust the particle size that your medicine gets converted into so it can more easily reach and settle in the part of the respiratory system that you need it to. Even better, this nebulizer machine comes with a mouthpiece, a kid-sized mask, and an adult-sized mask, so you can switch between the three inhalation types at any time to best suit whoever needs to use it.

Cons: Great as the nebulizer machine is, it’s definitely a more expensive model. It also requires an electric outlet to work, so this isn’t a particularly portable or travel-friendly nebulizer.

Bottom Line: This is a classic jet nebulizer machine, suitable for use with saline as a preventative measure in addition to liquid medicines. Since the mouthpiece and masks are interchangeable to suit whoever is using them at any given time, this model will work for the whole family without needing to buy extra pieces.


Pocket Size

Gulife Portable Handheld Nebulizer Machine

This quiet little nebulizer machine is highly portable, small enough to slip into your pocket or purse and bring it along for the ride, no matter where you're headed.

Pros: If you’re looking for a small nebulizer machine you can slip into your purse or pocket to take almost anywhere, this little nebulizer is a great option. Especially since, unlike many handheld models, you don’t have to rely on batteries alone to power it; you have the option to plug it into a wall outlet via USB (not included) or use two AA batteries. It has an auto-clean mode if the nebulizer ever becomes blocked or clogged and stops working.

Cons: A smaller device means a smaller medicine compartment, and this one is smaller even by handheld nebulizer standards at only an 8-milliliter maximum capacity. The mask also doesn’t have straps, so you’ll need to hold the machine to your face the entire time it’s in use.

Bottom Line: If you work long hours or need to take more than one or two doses of medicine a day, a portable nebulizer machine will be a better choice for your lifestyle than a home-based one. Even if that’s not the case, you can still benefit from this little handheld model, as it allows you to take your medicine on the go any time you might be far from home.


Great for Travel

Blue Echo Care Portable Travel Nebulizer

Compact yet full stocked, this highly portable nebulizer machine was designed specifically for vacations and travel.

Pros: Easy to turn on and operate, this particular nebulizer machine was made with packing and traveling in mind. Though not a handheld model, it’s still quite compact and comes included with a complimentary carrying bag that can hold not just the nebulizer itself but all of its other equipment as well. Besides all the basic equipment that you need to operate this nebulizer machine, it includes a mouthpiece and child-sized mask as well as the adult-sized one. 20 spare filters also come included with your purchase, giving you a better bang for your buck. Since this model is quite quiet, you won’t have to worry about it disturbing your fellow travelers when using it in a hotel room or in the airport.

Cons: You won’t be able to actually use this nebulizer in transit, as it does need to be plugged into an electrical outlet to work. The medicine cup and hose are also not super strong or sturdy.

Bottom Line: Traveling when you need to regularly take medication can be a huge pain. Fortunately, this nebulizer machine was designed specifically with travelers in mind, so it’s easy and convenient to pack and bring along.


Best Bang for Your Buck

REEMEX Handheld Atomizer Nebulizer

While portable nebulizers tend to be a bit more expensive than their tabletop, home-based cousins, this handheld model is priced well below average.

Pros: This nebulizer machine has all the on-the-go convenience of a portable, handheld nebulizer without the higher price tag that usually accompanies said convenience; it’s priced below the average cost of a nebulizer machine. The budget-friendly price isn’t the only factor this model has going for it, either. It not only comes with adult and child-sized masks to make it suitable for all ages to use, but there are even two modes—a milder one for kids and a stronger one for adults. This nebulizer also switches off automatically to save battery life once the mist inside has all been inhaled and has an automatic cleaning function to prevent it from becoming clogged.

Cons: Neither mask that comes with this nebulizer machine has straps, so you’ll have to hold it securely in place the entire time when in use. You may also find that this model has a shorter service life than some other portable nebulizers.

Bottom Line: Medical supplies can be pricey, nebulizer machines included. This can make it tricky to find a good on-the-go nebulizer when you’ve got a limited budget to work with. Fortunately, this model offers a solution; it’s high in portability but low in price.


Also Great

UNOSEKS Home Use Tabletop Nebulizer

If you only plan to use your nebulizer at home rather than on the road, this adjustable model is an ideal home-based, tabletop choice.

Pros: Some nebulizers only create particles in one size, large or small, but not this home-based, tabletop model. You can easily adjust the atomization rate to low, medium, or high, making it easier to ensure the medicine’s mist particles are the right size to reach the part of the respiratory system that you need to target. Not only that, but this nebulizer comes with a mouthpiece as well as child and adult masks with secure straps, plus an extra adult-sized mask (without straps) should you lose or damage yours. Extra filters are also included with your purchase, and the extra-long tube allows you greater flexibility for the placement of the nebulizer when in use.

Cons: Since this is a home-based nebulizer, it does require an electrical outlet for use, and it’s not particularly portable or travel-friendly.

Bottom Line: Many people prefer to use a nebulizer in the privacy of their home rather than on the go when possible. If you prefer a home-based tabletop nebulizer machine to a handheld, portable one, consider giving this model a try.

Final Thoughts

While not for everyone or every respiratory ailment, a nebulizer machine can be a huge asset for treating certain lung conditions or ensuring that someone under your care receives their medicine in the most painless and efficient way possible.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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