Buyers Guides
HOUSE HUMIDIFIERS

Last Updated April 10, 2019

Buyer Guides



Best 11 Whole House Humidifiers

Did you know that the air in your home could be damaging your health, your property, your personal comfort, and your finances? Many homes are suffering from a low level of humidity in the air which is known to cause a number of issues which can be prevented with the simple installation and use of a whole house humidifier.

Air that lacks humidity could cause health concerns such as respiratory problems, an increase in the number of times we catch a cough or the flu, and the likelihood of getting an infection. Even dry skin, allergies, and dry throats are often caused by poor humidity in the air.

As well as our own health and that of our loved ones, the health of our homes can suffer too. Walls can crack prematurely, mold can set in, and paint can start chipping. Just to make matters worse, you could even be missing out on saving money on your electric bill by simply having a whole house humidifier. Why? Because humid air carries more heat and therefore in the winter months, you’ll be able to turn down your thermostat and not notice the difference – except in your bank account that is.

The levels of humidity that you’re experiencing in your home will depend on where you live and the climate but all homes really should have some kind of humidifier and the best part is that they don’t even have to cost much. For not much more than $100, you can have a humidifier giving you and your family improved moisture-filled air to breathe in.

Want to know more about humidifiers and which are the best of them on the market right now? Then, carry on reading as we will help you out with both. Come on then – what are you waiting for?

Top Picks

Budget Choice

AirCare MA1201 Console Evaporative Humidifier

There were quite a few candidates for a budget choice, especially from other Aircare models but we had to go for the AirCare MA1201 Console Evaporative Humidifier. It might have the stylish design of some of the others but in terms of price for performance, this is more than a worthy winner.

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Premium Choice

Aprilaire 800 Whole House Steam Humidifier

There really was only the one humidifier that we could classify as being the premium choice and that was the Aprilaire 800 Whole House Steam Humidifier. Admittedly the 6,000 coverage is going to be overkill for many of you but if you have the money and the suitably sized house for it – this humidifier will be hard to beat.

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Editor’s Choice

Aprilaire 500 Whole House Furnace Humidifier

As for our Editor’s Choice, despite some strong competition, we’ve decided on the Aprilaire 500. This drum humidifier requires minimal maintenance, offers more than enough coverage, features, and performance which when combined with its affordable price – makes it an excellent choice.

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BEST WHOLE HOUSE HUMIDIFIERS

1

AIRCARE MA1201 Console Evaporative Humidifier

Editors Rating

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To start things off we’re going to talk about the Aircare MA1201 Evaporative Humidifier, a portable humidifier that can run for up to 36 hours before it needs refilling, has a tank capacity of 3.6 gallons, and has a coverage area of 3,600sq.ft. The latter is especially impressive considering its price in comparison with other humidifiers.

Aircare actually has a wide range of whole house humidifiers and they’re recognized as being one of the more popular manufacturers around at the moment. We have featured a number of their humidifiers on our list simply because in general, their products work well, are easy to maintain, and have better energy-efficiency compared to many other brands.

This humidifier runs on a voltage of 120v and its humidistat will instantly detect when the humidity levels in your home are lower than what is considered to be ideal. When needed, your humidifier will turn on and operate until those humidity levels have reached when the desired levels have been reached. The only other occasion this unit will switch off is when the unit has no more water and needs refilling.

Light and mobile due to casters on the bottom, the Aircare MA1201 comes with 4 fan speeds, an easy to read digital display that will keep you informed of current humidity levels and will also remind you when you need to refill the water or check the filter.

Pros

  • checkCaster wheels aid mobility
  • checkGood for whole home or larger spaces
  • checkCustomizable humidity settings

Cons

  • cross-altA little noisy

Specs

  • Type Evaporative
  • Dimensions 20.5in x 21.5in x 14.5in
  • Voltage 120v
  • Reach 3,600sq. ft
2

Aircare EP9 800 Digital Whole House Evaporative Humidifier

Editors Rating

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Next up we have another from Aircare – we did warn you that there’d be a few! This one is the elegant and stylish looking Aircare EP9 800 Digital Whole House Evaporative Humidifier. There are some differences between this and the last humidifier and no, not just by how they look. This one is not designed to be overly portable, it will offer coverage of 2,400sq. ft, and will run for as long as 60 hours for starters.

It’s also a little more expensive but that is probably more down to its stylish design and the many additional features that it has. Designed to be placed in a room and left, rather than being moved around when you see fit, the design of it would make it look appealing no matter your homes décor. It can even double as a small table or bedside cabinet.

Like the previous Aircare MA1201, this has a 3.5-gallon water capacity but instead of being able to run for up to 36 hours, the EP9 800 can give you up to 60 hours continuous running when needed. Another area where it’s slightly improved is that it has 9-fan speeds instead of three but other than that, it pretty much has the same features.

A digital display will allow you to either manually control the humidifier or customize your preferred settings for it to run automatically. Here you’ll also be able to see the current humidity and temperature in your home. The different fans speed really do help to increase the speed at which you can increase humidity levels in your home.

Pros

  • checkRuns for 60hrs consecutively
  • checkStylish design
  • check9-Fan speeds

Cons

  • cross-altExpensive for coverage area

Specs

  • Type Evaporative
  • Dimensions 18in x 18in x 18in
  • Voltage 120v
  • Reach 2,400sq. ft
3

Honeywell Drum HE120A Whole House Humidifier

Editors Rating

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Honeywell is another well-known manufacturer of whole house humidifier and their He120A is the most expensive on our list so far. This is not by too much however, which considering drum bypass-type humidifiers are renowned for being the most expensive type, this is actually quite a good sign. As you’ll see later, drum humidifiers can sometimes cost as much as four times this unit.

Like other drum humidifiers, this works by being mounted on your furnace and works alongside it to keep your homes humidity levels in check. Installation is not as complicated as you might think and an installation kit is shipped along with it to ensure that you know what you need to do.

Ideal for small to medium sized homes and rooms, the HE120A the humidifier comes with a humidistat which is what you’re going to use to control it. It does not have as many features as other drum humidifiers but we feel that this is reflected in the price. All said and done, this is an excellent cheap Honeywell whole house humidifier that will do a solid job of keeping your home at the required humidity levels.

Pros

  • checkCheap for a drum humidifier
  • checkInstallation is not so tricky
  • checkNo drain needed

Cons

  • cross-altConfusing wiring

Specs

  • Type Bypass
  • Dimensions 12.5in x 10.94in x 9.125in
  • Voltage 120v
  • Reach 4,000sq. ft
4

Aircare EA1208 Console-Style Evaporative Whole House Humidifier

Editors Rating

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If you’re not in the market for a drum humidifier and would rather have something that’s far more portable or you simply don’t have the correct heating system to accommodate one, the Aircare EA1208 Evaporative Whole House Humidifier.

What we like about this humidifier and Aircare humidifiers, in general, is that they really focus on the aesthetic nature of their products almost as much as they do on the quality humidified air that they produce. This looks like an espresso machine which means it’d look fantastic sat in your kitchen or bedroom.

As for the technical stuff, this evaporative humidifier is able to cover a good 2,400 square feet, it holds 3.5 gallons of water, and can run for up to 45 hours before it needs to be refilled. To do the latter, all you need to do is open the pour-in cap on the front of the humidifier and start pouring in your water. If you’re unsure on when it needs a refill – not to worry as the innovative digital touch screen display will be sure to let you know. It’ll also let you know when it’s about time to check and change the filter.

Using that touch screen, you’ll also be able to check the temperature and humidity in the room and fine-tune your own customized settings and when to shut it off. This will allow it to work automatically if you decide you’d rather not have to turn it on and off manually.

Summing up, if you wanted a stylish humidifier on wheels that if highly effective at bringing your homes humidity levels to where they need to be, the Aircare EA1208, like many Aircare humidifiers is well worth checking out.

Pros

  • checkTouchscreen display
  • checkEasy to fill
  • checkRuns for up to 45 hours

Cons

  • cross-altCan be a little loud

Specs

  • Type Evaporative
  • Dimensions 19in x 21.5in x 18.5in
  • Voltage 120v
  • Reach 2,400sq. ft
5

Aprilaire 500 Whole House Humidifier

Editors Rating

  • star
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The first of a couple of Aprilaire whole house humidifiers that feature in our list of the best 11, is that of the Aprilaire 500. A bypass drum humidifier, this works in tandem with your furnace and heating ducts to send humidity throughout your entire home. With coverage of 3,000 square foot, this will be more than enough to be sufficient for a small to medium sized home.

Control of this humidifying system can either be done manually or via a convenient digital control screen. If you wanted to set up some customized humidification settings and let it run on autopilot you can do so easily. You can also set when you whether you ever want it to run when your furnace is running or even when it’s not. Additionally, you’ll be warned whenever you might need to change out the water panel when the system is in need of a service and the current humidity percentage.

As well as all the splendid functions and the obvious quality in performance, we also have to say that we find the design to be pretty attractive too. Sure, this is not going to be the biggest priority when choosing a drum humidifier but some of them do look a little on the ugly side. This is well-designed and at least it looks and feels sturdy.

As for the price, we think it’s about right. It’s a little more than some but a little less than others. When you consider the benefits of whole house humidifiers on the whole, especially health benefits, the price is actually tiny.

Pros

  • checkMinimum maintenance required
  • checkEvaporation capacity of 0.50 gallons per hour
  • checkAutomatically delivers optimum humidity

Cons

  • cross-altNot as noiseless as claimed

Specs

  • Type Bypass/Drum
  • Dimensions 16in x 10in x 13in
  • Voltage 120v
  • Reach 3,000sq. ft
6

Aircare H12-400HB Whole House Evaporative Humidifier

Editors Rating

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You just have to love the designs of some of these portable Aircare whole house evaporative humidifiers. The Aircare H12-400HB has been designed with an oak finish which will alow out to fit right in if you have similar oak furnisher in your home. We find it refreshing that they factor in the look of their units while other brands are quite happy to have their humidifiers looking bland and unattractive.

As for how it performs, the Aircare H12-400Hb will give you humidifying coverage of around 3,700 square foot. That is good for a small home and perhaps even a medium sized home at a push. It will run for a good 45-hours and will be able to provide an output capacity of 12 gallons per day.

We found it to work efficiently well to keep humidity levels up to speed and that was even when using just the lowest of the four-speed setting on the fan. Of course, the faster the fan, the quicker your desired humidity levels will be reached and this can all be changed up via the digital display.

When it comes to refilling this attractive humidifier, this can be done easily via an included hose in your nearest sink. This is not the most ideal method for refilling which is a slight negative but for the money, the look, the performance, and the fact that this is a wheeled-humidifier that can be pushed around easily, we’re willing to ignore it.

Pros

  • check2-Year warranty
  • checkNice design
  • checkAffordably priced

Cons

  • cross-altRequires two filters

Specs

  • Type Evaporative
  • Dimensions 13.8in x 23.5in x 21.8in
  • Voltage 120v
  • Reach 3,700sq. ft
7

Aircare 4DTS900 Console Evaporative Humidifier

Editors Rating

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Aircare is back with yet another of their highly stylish but incredibly effective portable whole house evaporative humidifiers and this one has been given a beautiful brushed nickel finish to go along with the excellent benefits that it will bring to your health.

The Aircare 4DTS900 is one of their more expensive models but this is likely to be because of the 5.7 gallons of water it can hold, its runtime of up to 48 hours, and the 9-speed fan that you can use to determine the speed at which your home gets humidified. Coverage of 3,600 square feet means that it can output more than enough humidity to keep a small home well humidified and with durable casters, mobility is never going to be an issue.

Like the other Aircare humidifiers, you’re able to control the settings via a touchscreen. You can decide to set your own custom humidity levels or let it automatically decide for you, tell it when to automatically shut off, and you’ll also receive important notifications such as when it needs to be refilled with water.

You have to hand it to Aircare, they really know how to develop high-quality whole home humidifiers that not only perform great but look the part as well.

Pros

  • checkBuilt in the USA
  • checkEnergy efficient
  • checkRuns for 48 hours

Cons

  • cross-altCan be noisy

Specs

  • Type Evaporative
  • Dimensions 13.2in x 27in x 21.5in
  • Voltage 240w
  • Reach 3,600sq. ft
8

Aprilaire 800 Whole House Steam Humidifier

Editors Rating

  • star
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if you have a large home that needs to be humidified, you’re not going to find much better than the Aprilaire 800 Whole House Steam Humidifier. As the only steam humidifier on our list, and also the most expensive of all of the humidifiers, it stands to reason that this should have the best coverage. With 6,200 square feet of coverage, it certainly does manage that.

Particularly effective in homes that are in a dry desert climate, this humidifier will be able to add as much as 34.6 gallons of humidity to the air in your home on a daily basis.

Simple to install and use, this humidifier and its humidistat will monitor the levels of humidity in your home and automatically take action to bring them to the required levels. Unlike drum humidifiers, this steam humidifier will function independently from your homes HVAC system. It still connects to your ductwork and works by simply injecting steamed air into your ducts when required.

Other benefits to using this humidifier over any other are the fact that it’s easy to maintain – all you need to do Is replace the steam canister when needed. As its primarily automatic, operating it easy too although you could opt to operate it manually if you so choose.

All said and done, while this is a very expensive whole house humidifier, in terms of pure performance and coverage, there are not many others that can come close.

Pros

  • checkEasy to install and maintain
  • checkHuge coverage
  • checkOperates automatically

Cons

  • cross-altNot needed by everyone

Specs

  • Type Steam
  • Dimensions 21in x 11in x 8in
  • Voltage 240w
  • Reach 6,200sq. ft
9

Aircare 696 400HB Whole House Evaporative Humidifier

Editors Rating

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You’d be forgiven for thinking we work for Aircare in some capacity considering how many of their whole house humidifiers are on our list but truthfully, they’re just up there with the best in the business. The Aircare 696 400HB is another good example as it once again provides a good combination of performance and design.

Providing a solid coverage of up to 3,600 square feet, a small to medium-sized home will have no trouble achieving its desired humidity. Its smart design means that you don’t have to have another ugly appliance in your home as it would not look out of place due to its classy finish. In fact, it would go well in just about any room in the house.

This humidifier can hold up to 5.4 gallons of water and when it comes to refilling, you’ll be notified by a refill light on the humidistat. There’s a hose provided with this humidifier so that you’ll be able to fill it back up a little easier. The digital display will keep you informed of current humidity and temperature levels and when you need to swap something out like a filter.

All in all, a great humidifier, as per usual from Aircare and the cherry on top is the fact that you get a 2-year warranty with your purchase.

Pros

  • checkAttractive design
  • checkHidden casters
  • checkDigital display

Cons

  • cross-altLouder than most

Specs

  • Type Evaporative
  • Dimensions 15.5in x 28.2in x 23.8in
  • Voltage 240w
  • Reach 3,600sq. ft
10

Aircare H12600 Digital Whole House Evaporative Humidifier

Editors Rating

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We started our list with an Aircare, scattered a bunch more of them throughout the middle, and now we’re going to spoil the trend by not finishing with an Aircare and instead of having it as our penultimate humidifier. The Aircare H12600 Whole House Evaporative Humidifier is one of the cheapest in their range but this does not seem to be at much expense when it comes to quality.

Once again, this humidifier has a stylish look to it and it would certainly compliment many a home’s décors. It’s also fairly lightweight and mobile and the dimensions are slightly smaller than some of their other models. Despite that, in terms of specifications, it’s pretty much on a par with most of them. It has good coverage of around 3,700 square feet and that should be enough to keep a small home well humidified.

Its daily output is a little lower at 11.9 gallons but this is not by much while a 5.4-gallon reservoir will keep you going for a good length of time. All of the controls for this Aircare can be found hidden behind a panel on the top and this will allow you to set customizable settings or simply operate it manually.

Cleaning this particular humidifier is very easy as well as you simply lift off the power unit from the top of the humidifier so that you can get cleaning in a safe manner. Last but not least is the fact that you can choose between four different fans speeds to increase the speed at which your room or home becomes humidified.

Pros

  • check2-Year warranty
  • checkNicely designed
  • checkEasy to clean

Cons

  • cross-altFilling it’s not that easy

Specs

  • Type Evaporative
  • Dimensions 13.8in x 21.8in x 23.5in
  • Voltage 240w
  • Reach 3,700sq. ft
11

Honeywell HE280A Whole House Humidifier

Editors Rating

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Drum whole house humidifiers are renowned for being a little tricky to install in general, and most of the time you’ll probably need to call in a professional. With the Honeywell HE280A however, the installation kit provided ensures that you’re given clear instructions on how to do it yourself. In fact, as long as your furnace and cooling systems are compatible, you’ll have yours set up within 3-hours.

Once you’re done, you’ll be able to enjoy the 3,000 square foot of humidity coverage throughout your home as it’s sent through your air ducts all over your property. Within just six hours of your first use, Honeywell claims that you’ll immediately see an increase in your humidity levels of up to 25%.

Through the humidistat, your drum humidifier will now automatically monitor and control your homes humidity levels – as much as you let it anyhow. You can set it to your very own customized preferences, tell it to shut off once it gets to a predefined level, and even to operate when your furnace is not turned on.

We really like this drum humidifier especially at its price and while we recommend you still check out other options, you’re not going to be going very wrong by choosing this one.

Pros

  • checkLow maintenance
  • checkEasy to use
  • check16-Gallons of moisture Daily

Cons

  • cross-altNot the most environmentally friendly

Specs

  • Type Bypass
  • Dimensions 22.9in x 19.8in x 1.7in
  • Voltage 120v
  • Reach 3,000sq. ft

BUYING GUIDE & FAQ'S

How to Pick the Best Whole House Humidifier and What to Look For?

When picking the best whole house humidifier for your home, it’s not just a case of picking one that looks nice and is a decent price, there is so much more to consider. There are some that do look great however but looks are never everything.

You’ll have to consider the following and more before you decide which is going to be the best fit for you and your home:

The first consideration is to decide what type of whole house humidifier you want and whether they will suit the size of your home and the HVAC system that you already have installed.

We’ll talk about the different whole house humidifier types in more detail in the next section but to give you an idea, you’ll have to choose between a bypass humidifier, steam humidifier, or an evaporative humidifier.

When looking for a humidifier, one of the most important things to consider is the coverage area that it’s suitable or most optimal for. If you get one that is is for a coverage area that is either greater or smaller than your home, you’re not going to be getting the right humidity levels.

To expand further, if the coverage area if far greater than the size of your home, you’re going to be paying out a lot more in bills as the greater the coverage area, the greater the energy that is used. Another issue is that your home is likely to be far too humid which can then lead to issues such as mold in your home.

You’ll also have to consider just how much the maximum output is for any humidifier that you’re looking at. Again, this is a balancing act as you’re going to want to make sure that it matches your daily needs. Too much and you risk mold, not enough and your home is likely to feel dry rather than humidified.

Will the whole home humidifier fit in your basement? Is it small enough and easy enough to move around? Will your furnace be able to take the extra weight? The size and weight should always be considered, especially because a number of humidifiers will need to be connected to your home HVAC system.

Another vital consideration is to make sure that your home and heating system is even compatible with the air humidifier that you’re considering. You have to remember that all humidifiers apart from portable types, will not be able to work in your home if you have central heating instead of forced air heating.

Even if you do use air ducts there is still no guarantee that the humidifier is going to work with it. You need to make absolutely sure that your heating system will be compatible with your whole house humidifier and vice versa.

As well as all of the above, other considerations will include the warranty that you’ll be given and any other additional features that the whole house humidifier might have. The latter could include being able to be programmed rather than operated manually all the time or a display that is particularly easy-to-read.

What Types of Whole Home Humidifiers are Available?

As we touched upon in the last question, there are several different types of whole house humidifiers and each will have their own advantages and disadvantages to one another. Take a look at the three main types and learn what sized homes they are suitable for and whether they can operate on their own or need to use your home’s furnace and ductwork.

The most common type of whole-home humidifiers is that of the evaporative type. These can either be portable humidifiers that can be moved from room to room or they can be connected to your HVAC system so that the heat generated already has extra humidity added to it.

These are usually best suited to smaller homes and rooms but as mentioned, if you have a portable one, you can run them in a number of rooms as they are easily moved. They work by sending air either by a fan or via your heating system through a saturated wick filter.

Steam humidifiers are probably the best type of whole-home humidifier but they do not come cheap usually. These work in tandem with your furnace to keep the humidity levels in your home at the right amount. The steam humidifier will be notified by a humidistat whenever the humidity levels are too low and the humidifier will instantly start heating water which is then turned into steam and pumped into your home via your ductwork.

This will happen whether or not your furnace is on or off but it will adjust the amount of humidity it generates if the furnace is already on. These are ideal for larger homes and spaces but do cost a lot.

Another type of home humidifier is that of the bypass humidifier which is also called a drum-style humidifier. These are heavily reliant on your furnace and will probably require some additional ductwork to get it set up correctly. This can mean that these are a little too complicated on occasions and are therefore better suited to homes that already have the necessary ductwork in place.

They actually work by having the heating and cooling system in your home blow through their saturated pad which adds moisture to the air in your home.

What are the Costs Involved Running Whole Home Humidifiers?

As with any home appliance, how much it costs will depend on how much electricity it uses on a monthly basis. Well, a whole house humidifier will only use as much electricity as is needed to keep your home humidified. This will then also depend on the size of your home as the larger the space that needs to be humidified, the longer your humidifier will have to be running.

You also have to understand your particular model and the type of humidifier it is. They will all use different amounts of electricity. The differing weather conditions will also further show that the costs involved when running a whole home humidifier will vary from household to household. That said, from our own research across homes of various sizes using various systems, monthly costs should range between $20 – $50.

However, you have to offset that with the savings you’ll also be making. Humidified air holds heat better which means during the colder months, you’ll be able to turn down the heat in your homes a few notches. This will save you energy and thus money.

How to Install Whole House Humidifier?

Due to there being different types of whole house humidifiers, the installation for each type is going to be very different. If you’re opting for a portable humidifier, as you can imagine, you’ll be able to set this up easily yourself – after all, you’re only going to have to move it to a room and plug it in.

On the other hand, if your humidifier is going to be used in conjunction with and connected to your homes heating system, the installation process is going to be far more complicated. Not all will be too difficult and you might be able to perform them yourselves but a good portion of them will probably be best left to people that know what they’re doing.

Conclusion

When it comes to the humidity levels in your home, you’ll want to make sure that you get the best possible whole house humidifier possible. We have already mentioned the main reasons why in our introduction but both the health of you and your family as well as the health of your property will be so much better off if those humidity levels are at their optimum.

Whether you wanted to obtain these levels via a portable, drum, or steam humidifier will come down to your own preferences and circumstances but we think we have you covered for all of them on our extensive list of the best 11 whole house humidifiers. Just be sure to understand exactly what you need in terms of coverage, compatibility, and everything else before you make your final decision!

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