There are dozens of choices in humidifiers on the market today. Sheer volume alone can make it a daunting task to pick the best whole house humidifier for your needs. The purpose of this buyer’s guide is to simplify the decision by answering as many of your questions as possible so that you can move forward and make an informed and confident decision.
We begin with a general explanation of whole house humidifiers and what they do. Then, we have move ahead to a discussion about some of the features you definitely want in the whole house humidifier you decide to purchase. Finally, we have also included a review section at the end that covers the best whole house humidifiers that we found.
Table of Contents
Part One: Why You Should Humidify
There are a number of scientifically proven and medically based benefits that come with installing a humidifying system of some kind in your home. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- Keep dust, pet dander, pollen, and other allergens under control.
- Prevent the physical discomfort of nose bleeds, sore throats, and dry itchy skin that are symptoms of dry air.
- Humidifiers also help protect furniture and wood floors from damage like dry cracking.
- Static electricity is a much bigger problem in dry air so humidifiers also help keep everyone from shocking each other and everything they touch.
Part Two: Features You Want in Your Humidifier
When shopping for a whole house humidifier, there are a few things you want to make sure of.
The best whole house humidifier is strong enough to moisturize the air in your whole house, not just one single room. The best humidifier will continue to run
for several hours without needing to be refilled.
A good whole house humidifier is easy to move around. The best whole house humidifier is also easy to refill.
You also want your whole house humidifier to have customization settings on board such as adjustable fan speeds.
Last but not least, the best whole house humidifier is evaporative, not misting. Misting humidifiers leave a white dusty residue on everything that can damage furniture and electronics.
Part Three: Reviews for Five of the Best Humidifiers
Here are the five best whole house humidifiers that we found and some detailed information about each one, including some customer reviews, both negative and positive.
Essick Air-AIRCARE MA1201:
The Aircare MA1201 is a compact little unit – it measures 14.5 x 21.5 x 20.5 inches and only weighs 14 pounds. It is pretty powerful for its size – covering an area of up to 3600 sq. ft. It also has casters that make it easy to move around when you need to. This whole house humidifier also features a single bottle fill system – the bottle holds 3.6 gallons of water and allows a running time of 36 hours.
The Aircare MA1201 also has four fan speeds and an auto off feature and a fully digital readout that comes on when you need to refill the machine or when the filter needs to be replaced. You will also find that this whole house humidifier is very easy to clean – a special evaporative wick system removes mineral deposits from your tap water and traps them so they aren’t’ corroding your humidifier and making a mess. Plus, there are no pulleys or wheels or anything like that for you to disassemble before cleaning the unit.
For maintenance and longevity of this humidifier, it is recommended to change the filter at least once per year (with light use) or at least once per month for continuous use. As an added measure, you can add a cap full of any one of several bacteriostatic water treatments to the unit – this helps eliminate the growth of mold and other nasties within your humidifier. BestAir 3BT as well as Essick-Air 1970, and BestAir-246 are all excellent choices for a bacteriostatic water treatment.
Some Places Where You Can Buy This Whole House Humidifier
Online: Several online sites carry this product but the most well-known are: Sylvane.com, Amazon.com, and Natlallergy.com.
In Store: Lowe’s, Walmart, and Home Depot keep this whole house humidifier in stock but, you can probably find it in any number of home improvement stores as well.
Price Range: You can purchase this whole house humidifier for anywhere between $90.00 and $145.00.
Options: Only available in white.
What Customers Have to Say:
For the most part, customers that have used this product have been thrilled with the results. They speak of enjoying the moister air and the benefits that come of it – one lady says she and her family are no longer afraid to touch one another (static electricity had become a danger for them) thanks to this whole house humidifier. Another person was thrilled that his face no longer chapped and his dry eyes no longer ached in the winter thanks to this unit.
The biggest complaints about this humidifier were that the filters needed to be changed more often than expected and that they were expensive to buy. However, one of these customers had an excellent suggestion about this problem. His suggestion was to soak the filter in warm water with a cup of white vinegar for an hour – this eliminates most of the hard water deposits on the filter so it does not need to be replaced as frequently.
Full List of Features:
Specifications: 14.5 x 21.5 x 20.5 inches; 14 pounds.
This humidifier covers a large area – up to 3600 sq. ft.
This product is built to run for up to 36 hours straight, as long as it has the water in it that it needs.
This whole house humidifier is light weight and sits on wheels which makes it incredibly easy to move around as needed.
This unit features a digital humidistat and a digital display that tell you what the humidity level is in your home.
A digital indicator that comes on to tell you when the unit is empty or when it is time to change the filter.
There are no belts or pulleys or anything on this whole house humidifier. That plus the cool evaporative wick that traps mineral deposits make this the easiest-to- clean unit on our list.
This humidifier automatically turns off and on to maintain your desired humidity level or when it is empty. This makes the unit energy efficient and protects the it from burning out when it is empty.
The on-board water bottle holds 3.6 gallons of water so you only have to refill it every other day or so.
There are 4 different fan speeds that you can use to adjust the humidity to the exact right level for you.
Overall, this is a small unit with a big impact.
Honeywell Cool-Moisture Console-Humidifier:
This Honeywell whole house humidifier is roughly the same size as the Aircare MA1201 – measuring 23.1 x 15 x 17.5 inches – however, it is quite a bit heavier, weighing in at almost 20 pounds. Still, this humidifier features casters too so it should not be hard to move. This humidifier actually has a dual bottle system for filling – each bottle has a large opening for easy filling and holds 1.5 gallons for a total of 3 gallons for the whole unit.
Those three gallons give you up to 24 hours of fresh, allergy-free air to breathe. For customization and accuracy, the Honeywell has three fan speed settings, an indicator light for when it is empty and when desired humidity level is reached. The indicator does not show you when the filter needs replaced however. This whole house humidifier does have an auto off function that maintains your desired humidity levels and protects the machine from burn out. This model does have the wicking filter system that traps mineral deposits and is also easy to clean.
Some Places that Carry This Whole House Humidifier:
Online: The Honeywell company has a website: www.honeywellstore.com . You can also find it on Amazon.com.
In Store: Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart all carry Honeywell humidifiers.
Price Range: A little more pricey than the Aircare, running from about $101.00 to $300.00.
Options: This whole house humidifier is available in both black and white.
What Do Customers Have to Say?
According to one gentleman, he absolutely loves this humidifier. He says that it functions beautifully and maintains comfortable humidity both upstairs and downstairs – as should be expected from the best whole house humidifier. However, he was not impressed with how loud this unit is and mentioned that there is no easy way to fill the water bottles that come with the unit.
Another user from Phoenix, Arizona was duly impressed with the humidity output for this whole house humidifier but, he suggests buying more than one unit if you live somewhere really hot like Arizona – overall, for the money he paid, he thinks it is an okay value.
Another customer really loves the way this humidifier works but really found it difficult to handle for a couple of reasons: first, the caps on the bottles are difficult to open so she advises not buying it if you have wrist or hand troubles; she also found the bottles to be quite heavy when filled to capacity. She also mentioned having difficulty finding replacement filters for this whole house humidifier.
From another user – the unit is amazing, but only with the original filter. As soon as the original filter wore out, he could not find a decent replacement anywhere and the filters he could find diminished the function of this whole house humidifier considerably. He is very disappointed in his experience with this whole house humidifier.
Other customers have been thrilled with the controls on this humidifier. They love how easy they are to use and they love the auto-off feature as well.
In summary, we think it is safe to say that this whole house humidifier is an amazing unit for actual functionality – it humidifies beautifully, it is easy and convenient for most people to refill and use. People also really like the controls on this unit. Still, there are some common complaints. First, that this whole house humidifier is just noisy – most customers do not recommend using it in bedrooms. Second, there have been lots of problems with replacement filters so you might want to really shop around for a good unit with easier-to-replace filters.
Full List of Features:
Specifications: 23.1 x 15 x 17.5 inches; 19.95 pounds.
This unit will run for up to 24 hours as long as it has the water in it that it needs.
This is an evaporative humidifier, not a misting one, so it will not leave white dust all over your house and furniture.
This humidifier features small wheels for easy and convenient movement.
Three fan speed settings to adjust humidity levels and sound emission.
Auto-off feature to maintain preferred moisture levels and protect the unit from burn out.
Dual water bottles with wide openings for filling. Each one holds 1.5 gallons of water for a total capacity of 3 gallons.
Special wicking filter that absorbs and traps mineral deposits. This makes the unit easier to keep clean.
Two indicator lights – The first comes on when the unit is empty. The second comes on when the desired humidity level is reached.
Overall, this whole house humidifier is physically small but, it gets the job done quite nicely.
Essick Air’s-Aircare EP9-800 Digital Evaporative-Humidifier
This product is fairly compact, only measuring 18 x 18 x 27.25 inches. It is a little heavy at 27 pounds so it is a good thing that it does not have to be moved very often. We really like that this humidifier crosses over as a decorative piece as well as a functional one – you can display something like a plant or statue on top just like you can with any other pedestal and, it also has a nifty interchangeable tile arrangement on top so it can be matched to any decor. Another feature that we really like about this whole house humidifier is that it has a wide spout on the front for filling it with water so there is never any need to haul heavy bottles to it.
Again, it is important for maintenance and the life of the machine that you change the filters as often as necessary for your level of use. Also, using a bacteriostatic water treatment of some kind will help prevent mold, mildew, and hard water damage.
Where Can You Find This Whole House Humidifier:
Online: Essick Air has a website: www.essickair.com/aircare. You can also find this unit on Sylvane.com, Amazon.com, and Natlallergy.com.
In Store: Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and even JC Penney carry this whole house humidifier.
Price Range: This unit can be a little pricey – it runs from about $122.00 up to about $290.00 – but most customers agree that is well worth the investment.
Options: This whole house humidifier is available in the color Espresso.
Here is What Other Customers Have Said
Overall, reviews for this whole house humidifier are almost entirely positive, the biggest complaints are that the humidistat and digital displays are not accurate – of course, this problem can be easily handled with external devices as many users have done – and, a very minor complaint that there is a light that is always shining on the unit. One user handled this simply by putting a bit of weather stripping over the light – it did not interfere with the functioning of the humidifier at all but did block the light so it was not disturbing.
One customer shared rave reviews about how beautifully this whole house humidifier blended in with her dark wood furniture and other décor. She was especially tickled that it could be used as a plant stand and that it didn’t stand out as an appliance in the middle of the room.
One woman was especially pleased with the design of this unit – the water basin is one solid unit, no seams, so it will never leak unless the operator overfills it.
Yet another customer was pleased with how easy this humidifier is to assemble. This customer also commented on how easy it is to fill because of the wide opening on the front of the unit. She also really appreciates how clear and easy-to-read the fill line is in this unit.
All in all, we think that this whole house humidifier is an incredible value for the money it costs. Most users have found it to be very easy to use and quite effective in humidifying their homes. The decorative aspect of this whole house humidifier makes it stand out from the crowd.
Full List of Features
Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 27.25 inches; weighs 27 pounds.
Covers a fairly large area (up to 2400 sq. ft.)
No white dust all over – evaporative humidifiers do not leave hard water residue all over your house.
This unit is easy to fill because of a spout on the front of the machine – just fill a pitcher, pour the water into the humidifier, and you are all set. No heavy tanks to fill and carry.
Digital humidistat – that means that your ideal moisture levels are automatically detected and maintained.
Nine different fan speeds for you to use to maintain your most ideal environment.
Digital Display that can show actual humidity levels, desired level of humidity or fan speed, depending on what you want to see.
A big plus: this product turns off when your desired humidity is reached and also when the machine is empty. This is helpful for conserving energy as well as keeping the machine in perfect working condition.
This pedestal-style whole house humidifier can also serve decorative purposes: it is safe to place things on top of it for display and it also features a decorative tile that can be swapped out with any 12” x 12” tile in order to better match your home.
Overall, this pedestal-style whole house humidifier is on the small end of mid-sized.
Essick Air’s –AIRCARE-EP9 500-Digital Evaporative-Humidifier:
This pedestal-style whole house humidifier has the same decorative features as the EP9 800 – the interchangeable tile and the ability to double as a display pedestal – but it is ever so slightly smaller, measuring 17.60 x 17.60 x 27.50 inches. The other difference is that this model does not have an auto-off feature so it’s imperative that you keep an eye on water levels to keep your motor from burning out.
It’s easy-fill front-mounted spout make this one the best whole house humidifiers since it is a no mess, no strain sort of arrangement for filling. Nine fan speeds allow you to set your most comfortable moisture level and a hi-tech digital humidistat allow you to maintain it without constantly fiddling with the settings. The front panel also features a digital display so that you can always see what your humidity level is. While the EP9 800 is the newer version of this model, this whole house humidifier is every bit as efficient and lovely as its more modern counterpart.
As with any evaporative whole house humidifier, it is a good idea to replace the filters as often as necessary and keep them in good condition between replacements – soaking them in vinegar and warm water for an hour to dissolve mineral deposits is an excellent way to do this. And, adding a water treatment to the unit will eliminate the danger of mold and mildew forming inside and help cut down on hard water damage, ensuring that this unit lasts you a good many years.
Where is This Whole House Humidifier Available?
Online Sources: The company’s website carries this unit. You can also find it at Amazon.com, Sylvane.com, and Natlallergy.com.
In Stores: JC Penney’s, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot are all good places to look for this unit in person. And, in stores, you are likely to find employees that can answer any further questions you have on humidifiers for your home.
Price Range: This unit runs a little less expensive than the EP9 800 with a price range of $107.00 to $177.00.
Options: This whole house humidifier is available in the color Nutmeg.
What Have Actual Customers had to Say:
One customer says that she experimented for years with different whole house humidifiers before she found this one. All of the others had problems – mildew, disgusting filters, just not humidifying like they were supposed to. Now, she’s been using this little unit for two years now and could not be happier with it.
Another user says that they have been using theirs for going on three years now and the benefits to their family have been noticeable and amazing.
On the downside though, some customers have expressed the following complaints: One customer hates that you cannot go back and forth on the controls – if you want to take it down a notch or two, you have to cycle through all of the speeds until you get back to the start.
Another user hates that there is not automatic shut-off feature on this unit and, that is understandable since a motor can easily burn out if it runs dry for too long.
Another complaint is that it does not accommodate as large an area as it claims to.
All things considered, this whole house humidifier is a pretty good value. While it does not have all the bells and whistles of its newer cousin, the EP9 800, the perks it lacks (the auto off feature, etc.) are really more inconvenient than they are actually problematic.
Full List of Features
Dimensions: 17.60 x 17.60 x 27.50 inches; weight is 27 pounds.
Area Coverage is 2400 square feet.
This is an evaporative humidifier so it does not create or distribute fine white dust all over the place.
The front panel digital display shows you the humidity level in your home at any given time.
The display can also show fan speed, depending on where you set it.
This humidifier features nine fan speeds for the maximum adjustability possible.
There is also a digital humidistat on this unit that accurately maintains your desired moisture levels.
The pedestal style allows this whole house humidifier to double as a display stand for your favorite plant, picture, or statue. You could probably even place a lamp on it safely. Interchangeable tile feature allows you to swap out any standard 12” x 12” tile so that this unit always looks good with your other décor.
Overall size and functionality: This is a smallish to mid-sized unit that blends in rather than imposes on the décor in your home.
The H12-400HB-Console-Style Evaporative-Whole-House Humidifier-by-AIRCARE:
Our last product for this buyer’s guide is the AIRCARE H12 – 400HB-Console-Style Evaporative-Whole-House Humidifier. This whole house humidifier qualifies as a mid-sized unit, measuring 13.8 x 23.5 x 21.8 inches and weighing 20 pounds. Even though it is fairly heavy, it features well-concealed casters that make it almost effortless to move when you need to. It is a free-standing console-style unit with an easy-to-attach and detach hose that is used to fill the 5- gallon on-board water reservoir.
This capacity allows a coverage area of 3700 square feet and a longer continuous running time than most other whole house humidifiers on the market. The four-speed fan and comfort-control humidistat make this humidifier easy to set desired levels on and maintain those levels. From all accounts, this unit is very quiet too so you never notice anything but the benefits of moist air when you are using it.
Where to Purchase This Whole House Humidifier
Online: Sylvane.com, Amazon.com, and www.zoro.com all carry this type of evaporative humidifier.
In Stores: Wal-Mart and Lowe’s usually have this whole house humidifier in stock.
Price Range: A pretty good value for everything it features – $115.00 to $252.00.
Options: This whole house humidifier is available in an oak burl finish which is really classy looking and will blend in easily with your existing décor.
What Have Customers Said About This Product
One customer explains that humidity in their house had bottomed at 19% and the dryness was creating all sorts of trouble in the house (doors not shutting, things peeling off the walls, etc), not to mention the people were dealing with dry-cracking on their skin – OUCH! This unit was not the first choice but was available and it claimed to be a whole house unit so they gave it a try. In the end, they were very pleased with how effectively their problems were stopped after they set up this whole house humidifier.
Another reviewer says she encountered bad reviews but decided to overlook them. As it turned out, she was right in doing so – she has been very pleased with this whole house humidifier all the way around. Her only complaint is that the positioning for the tank is very precise and it takes a little practice to set it in right. Other than that, she has been very satisfied with everything.
On the downside though: One older woman writes that this unit is very hard for older people to fill – the hose didn’t fit her sink and carrying the tank outside to fill with a garden hose and bringing it back in was very hard for her.
Another customer complaint is that this unit does not shut off when it is empty. As we noted before, this is problematic for a number of reasons so if you decide to purchase this unit, keep an eye on the fill level in the tank!
The other comment we came across is that this unit is incredibly quiet – that is until you turn it up to level 3. One woman said that it sounded like a truck sitting in her living room when she turned up to this speed.
Full List of Features
Dimensions: 13.8 x 23.5 x 21.8 inches. 20 pounds.
This humidifier covers the largest area of all of them that we’ve looked at – coming in at 3700 sq. ft.
As an evaporative humidifier, rather than a misting unit, this whole house humidifier will not leave white dust and residue on your furniture and electronics.
All in all, this whole house humidifier is the most budget-friendly of all of the units that we examined.
It features casters so that it is easy to move around as required.
This is the only humidifier we looked at that mentions a 2-year warranty.
This humidifier does feature a comfort sensor that helps keep your house at the moisture level that you desire.
There is a four-speed fan in this whole house humidifier that make it easy for you to set your desired level and stay comfortable.
A detachable hose that hooks up to your sink for easy filling.
An on-board 5-gallon water reservoir that you fill with a hose.
Analog controls (in other words, dials) and a digital display for easy adjustment.
A removable power unit – this allows for easy maintenance on the power unit as well as easy cleaning for the rest of the unit.
Even though it only holds 5 gallons of water, it has a 12-gallon output for vapor. This exchange ratio makes this whole house humidifier very energy efficient.
Conclusion and Summary
After a lot of research, we have come to the conclusion that these five whole house humidifiers are the very best currently on the market.
We hope our buyer’s guide for the best whole house humidifiers has been helpful to you in making your decision. Good luck and thanks for reading!