The Intense Aqua Control Humidifier from Rowenta features high performance ultrasonic powered bacteria-free humidification for your home in a compact design that features both warm and cold air mist in a single unit.
The Intense Aqua Control is one of the best humidifiers we’ve used ever and offers excellent performance. The Rowenta HU5120 is able to hold up to 5.5L or 1.5 gal of water for up to 100 hours of continuous use. At the highest settings it is able to empty 2 gallons of water into the air over a 24 hour period.
A maximum coverage area of up to 500 square feet allows the unit to be used in virtually any room in the house. If you don’t already have a home size humidifier attached to your HVAC system a portable humidifier is an easy way to improve the air quality during the dry winter months.
To be clear, the Intense Aqua Control isn’t really a warm air mist humidifier but rather preheats the water to 95 degrees to kill bacteria. So don’t expect the output to be hot steam. That said there is a considerable difference in the preheated output vs straight cold mist once the water is up to temp.
The HU5120 measures 9.8 x 9.8 x 16 inches and weighs approx 7.2 lbs. Rowenta has provided the HU5120 as a courtesy so that we could provide first hand review coverage to our readers.
HU5120 Humidifier Features
The ultrasonic HU5120 features both preheated and cold mist in a single unit. Rowenta incorporates a replaceable Anti-scale filter that screws onto the inside of the cap to prevent scaled water mist. This helps to filter out any minerals from being dispersed in the mist and so you don’t end up with white powdery layer over your furniture and floor or odd mineral odors when you are humidifying the room.
This anti-scale filter should be replaced every 6 months, if you have very hard water potentially cut that time in half. We found them on rowentausa.com for $12.60 each.
Three automatic modes (or Intelligent modes as Rowenta refers to them) provide you with preset levels; Auto, Night and Baby mode. The presets allow you to set your humidity levels with a single touch. A backlit Digital LCD panel provides you with onscreen indicators using the physical button controls just below it. An onboard Hygrometer sensor monitors ambient moisture levels and automatically adjusts based on your set percentage of output. To our surprise the onboard hygrometer and our stand alone LCD hygrometer seemed to line up relatively closely, though historically these little sensors never really worked that well. Your mileage may vary.
There are three vaporization speed settings for manual operation. Additionally you can manually set the humidity level using the Percentage button; Co will give you continuous use or you can push the button to manually set the humidity between 40% and 75% in 5% increments. You’re also able to set the humidification by time from ranging from 1-9 hours.
The Light & Sound button allows you to toggle on/off the light for the water tank and the LCD screen backlighting and audible chimes.
A quick overview on Humidifiers
There are 3 common types: Warm Air, Cold Air and Ultrasonic. Each with it’s distinct advantages and disadvantages. Warm air in our opinion is the best but hardest to maintain and must be cleaned religiously. Cold air is typically noisy, makes you cold and requires a generally large filter to be replaced. Ultrasonic‘s vibrate the water into a mist instantly but often times if your water is too hard you end up with a white powdery film over your home.
Most notably the Rowenta preheats the water to 95 degrees so that it remains bacteria free. Water is your friend but can also be your enemy. Typically you’d need to really make sure that the tank is washed very regularly and even then with a warm air mist humidifier bacteria can grow. The Rowenta Intense Aqua Control Humidifier is able to fend off bacteria a bit but still requires regular maintenance.
“the heating function kills 100% of any bacteria that may develop in the water tank**, guaranteeing a totally bacteria-free mist.”
**Heating function kills 100% Escherichia Coli and Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria representing most of the bacteria known to exist after 30 minutes of use under normal conditions of use – tests carried out by an independent laboratory.
Keeping your tank clean is still imperative even with the preheating function, otherwise you’re just hurting yourself and everyone in your home. While you don’t have to stress about the water in the tank as much you should still clean the tank regularly. The nebulization chambers under the tank where the water empty’s into before it is shaken up does require frequent cleaning just like any normal humidifier. A simple soak for about 3-4 hours is suggested with 1/1 white vinegar and water mixture.
The tank itself should also be rinsed out regularly, just empty it out, add fresh water and soap and close the cap (removing the filter from cap first) and shake it shake it baby. Dump the soapy water and refill with fresh water and repeat until the soap is rinsed out fully.
While nothing is perfect the Intense Aqua Control Humidifier is a winner in our book. The performance is excellent and covers up to a 500 square foot room with ease. The removeable Steam Diffuser directs the mist confidently and able to spin around 360 degrees. The Diffuser is removable to make filling the tank a little easier, which it does however with 2x placing the unit upside down to refill part of the finish on the top of the tank has rubbed away.
The moisture projection is impressive. The unit is able to disperse the mist, what appears to be approx 4-5 ft visually. The heating function is also a turbo function increasing the output by 20%. The mist the HU5120 produces is ultra-fine from the ceramic disc used to create the vibrations. This fine mist makes for a very pleasant dispersal of moisture into the air.
The low noise level at 40 dB is appreciated. While personally we can still notice it, it’s relatively quiet on the whisper mode when compared to other ultrasonic humidifiers.
The mist is warm, not hot and when you place your hand close to the Steam Diffuser you can feel the warmth but cools very quickly once dispersed. The unit is able to disperse warm mist in any mode. Rowenta recommends to use cold tap water but the preheating feature takes some time to heat up the water in both the tank and nebulization chambers so you’ll have cold mist even on the warm setting while the water is brought up to temp.
If there were complaints, you could argue that there’s a filter to replace. If you are trying to use this on the floor, good luck as you may as well lay down every time you use it or just memorize the controls. The Display panel and buttons are located on the bottom of the face of the unit. An angled control panel would have been helpful. The HU120 doesn’t seem to have any memory and each time you turn off the humidifier you’ll need to set the mode or level of humidity again. The finish doesn’t seem to be that durable and would have benefited with the addition of some sort of rubber feet on the top of the tank. The preheated warm air mist function boils the water to 95 degrees but you should not attempt to use this as a vape with oils etc.
The HU5120 Intense Aqua Control Humidifier is excellent, one of the best we’ve ever used despite any short comings. The unit features a heating function to kill 100% of bacteria in the tank for bacteria free mist. The compact design and powerful performance make it perfect for rooms up to 500 square feet. We recommend the HU5120 Ultrasonic Humidifier and were very pleased with the performance.
Rowenta Intense Aqua Control Ultrasonic Humidifier MSRP $169.99
on amazon for $139.99