Difference Between Mist and Steam

Mist vs Steam

We are all familiar with the concepts and phenomenon of steam as well as mist. We also experience them quite often, as we feel the steam in our kitchens when we are heating water. Mist or fog, on the other hand, is a natural phenomenon as water condenses and collects in the form of small droplets that do not fall but remain suspended in the atmosphere. Many people find difficult to differentiate between steam and mist as they appear similar. However, there are many differences between steam and mist and these differences will be highlighted in this article.


Man had known steam since ancient times, even before he invented fire, as there were hot water springs that produced steam. Steam is a phase of water. It is actually water in gaseous form, and defined as water when it is at a temperature of more than 100 degrees Celsius, at normal atmospheric pressure. Steam has a lot of latent energy, which is utilized for many purposes. The power of steam was identified by James Watt who invented the steam engine that could run locomotives. In simple words, steam is water converted into the gaseous state when it is heated.


Mist is also a state of water with no more energy than water itself as water condenses and remains in the form of tiny droplets in the atmosphere. Mist is formed without boiling water, and we often experience it on cold mornings in the form of tiny droplets on car windshields and our room windows where water condenses and collects in the form of tiny droplets.


What is the difference between Mist and Steam?

• Mist is water in liquid state, whereas steam is water in a gaseous state.

• Mist is tiny water droplets suspended in the air, whereas steam is water molecules in a high energy state; so much so that, they cannot remain together in the form of water in a bowl.

• Steam is formed when water is heated to boil and then evaporate in the form of steam

• Mist is produced in cold weather when water in atmosphere condenses and tiny droplets are seen and experienced suspended in air.

• Steam is always warm as it is produced when water has been boiling for some time.

• Even air exhaled by human beings (and even pets) is seen in the form of mist in cold weather.

• Steam is used in vaporizers to add humidity inside homes to make it easier for people to breathe

• Cool mist is also used for humidification as fans evaporate water and spread it in the form of a spray in the rooms.