What Is the Difference Between A Vaporizer And A Nebulizer?

What Is the Difference Between A Vaporizer And A Nebulizer?

Nebulizers and vaporizers are very common household names these days. With the increase in air pollution and the highly toxic city air that we breathe, nebulizers and vaporizers are now a boon for people and children suffering from allergies and health related problems due to the air quality. While vaporizers are quite basic and used more commonly, nebulizers are more direct and provide a means to ensure a fast acting medication process. While vaporizers mostly improve the air quality by increasing the humidity in the air around, nebulizers are common for medicinal benefits.

What is a nebulizer?

A nebulizer is a device which is used to administer medicine into the lungs. It is a machine which changes liquid medicine into fine droplets to be inhaled through the mouth or nose. Nebulizer machines are portable, powered by compressed air and need to be plugged in into an electrical outlet. A nebulizer contains a chamber that holds the liquid medicine. This chamber is attached to a device called the atomizer which is responsible for breaking the liquid solution into tiny, spray able droplets which are inhaled by the patient. Also read: Chronic Cough in Kids: Causes, Effects and How To Prevent It

What is a vaporizer?

A vaporizer is a device with a heating element with it. The vaporizer is used to heat up a liquid solution, mostly medicated solution in water; and then generate vapour. A dense mist is formed inside the machine which needs to be inhaled by the patient through the nose or mouth. A vaporizer is used to vaporize a liquid. A vaporizer is usually cumbersome to carry around. There is no direct contact that occurs between the patient and the machine when using a vaporizer.

The difference between Nebulizers and Vaporizers

How they work:

A nebulizer converts liquid into a fine spray by means of oxygen, compressed air or ultrasonic vibration. It gets the medicine inside the lungs of the patient. A vaporizer uses electricity to heat up the liquid and produce smoke or heavy mist to be inhaled by the patient.

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The Science behind each:

Nebulizers use oxygen, compressed air or ultrasonic power to break up the liquid solutions into aerosol (a mix of gas and solid or liquid particles) droplets that can be inhaled directly through a mouthpiece. Vaporizer uses electricity and heating coils to achieve aerosol droplets. It is to be noted that vaporizers should not be confused with giving off water vapour. Both nebulizers and vaporizers produce aerosols.


Vaporizer usually releases moisture into the air. They are used to relieve dry air at home and make the air quality better. A vaporizer can treat several people at the same time or in the same room, depending on the type and capacity of the vaporizer. It is fine to leave a vaporizer on for a few minutes to hours to make the air in a room humid. Also read: Delhi Pollution : How badly are your kids affected? Nebulizers are used for curing respiratory diseases like asthma or bronchitis. The way to use a nebulizer is to inhale the medicine by using a mouthpiece device. Thus nebulizers can be used only by one patient at a time. Nebulizers are prescribed by a doctor but vaporizers can be used by all. Nebulizers should never be left on all day. It should be only switched on when in use.


Vaporizers are not always medicated. Generally the medicines used in vaporizers are light ones that are mixed with water in order to produce steam and the method of vapour. Vaporizers use liquids that have been heated. Nebulizers are always medicated. Nebulizers use liquids that are at room temperature. When medications are used along with nebulizers they can improve breathing by opening up bronchial tubes in the lungs. For those with lung conditions, treatments with nebulizers can be used several times in a day or when the condition is serious. Also read: 7 Effective Ways To Protect Your Kids from Dangers of Pollution Want to share your experience as a mom with other moms through words or images? Become a part of the Moms United community. Click here and we will get in touch with you