Q: The air at my office is very dry. Is there a humidifier I can use at my desk that will help? I work in an open-plan office.

A: Try using a small, travel-size humidifier. Though not powerful enough to raise the office’s overall humidity level, it will probably make you more comfortable if you keep it relatively close to you.

Of the half-dozen different travel humidifiers I tested, two are particularly suited for use in an open-office space. The $30 Air-N-Mist, a ultrasonic humidifier shaped like an thick fountain pen, is the smaller and more affordable (if less powerful) of the two. To use the device, place it in a glass of water and plug its detachable cord into a powered USB port. After waiting a few minutes for the cotton wick inside to get wet, turn on the Air-N-Mist and it will emit a steady stream of cool mist. Try placing the device in a wide-mouth glass or mug so the moisture will be angled toward you as you work. The device draws only 2 watts of power; I could run it from the USB port on my keyboard.

If you’re looking for higher moisture output, try the $50 Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier from Boneco (formerly called Air-O-Swiss). Like the Air-N-Mist, this humidifier lacks a water tank; instead, you insert a standard disposable plastic water bottle upside down into the top. Mist is projected at an angle rather than straight up, so it’s easy to direct the moisture toward you. The device can output up to a gallon of humidity over 24 hours. (You may want to keep it on a lower setting.)

The Air-N-Mist arguably wins on ease of maintenance. Because it consists of just two parts and a replaceable cotton wick, disassembling it at the end of the day so all the parts can dry isn’t a hassle. The more powerful Boneco humidifier has more crevices to be cleaned (a brush is included). The manufacturer suggests using a cleaning and descaling agent every two to four weeks. As with any humidifier without a filter, you should refill with distilled water rather than tap.

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