Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: July 07, 2021
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Humidifiers are one of the essential appliances that you can have in your home. While you might think that all they do is just put a bit of moisture into the air, they provide a long list of health benefits to those who use them. Of course, most people only have experience with smaller, more portable humidifiers, which don’t provide enough moisture to really be effective. To truly get the best experience with one, you need to get your hands on the best whole house humidifier possible.
It can be a tricky prospect, since there are so many different models out there, from those that hook up to your HVAC system, to smaller models that can be moved around. Lucky for you, you found us! In our reviews, we made sure to take every key feature into account. This includes the humidifier type and coverage area. We also looked at the sizes of the units and their maximum output for each day.
In this article, you will find all the information you need to make an informed decision when purchasing a whole house humidifier. We’ve spent tens of hours reading through hundreds of user reviews to put together a comprehensive list of what we consider to be the best whole house humidifiers available today. If you are just beginning your search, be sure to check out our detailed buying guide. Afterward, go through our in-depth reviews, so that you can select the best whole house humidifier for your needs.
If you are looking for the best whole house furnace humidifier, then this is a great model to start with. It is by far one of the easiest appliances to utilize because you have the choice between using it in a manual or digitally programmed mode. These two modes will provide you with the flexibility necessary to establish the proper amount of relative humidity within your home.
One of the bigger challenges with using a whole house humidifier is the fact that you need to be careful with the water you run through it. Some models are very particular about the type of water you use, and if you stray from that type, you will end up damaging the machine. This model, however, has no specific water type that you need to stick to. No matter if you use distilled, soft, hard, hot, or cold water, it will be able to handle it.
If you do decide to purchase this humidifier, be sure to get a professional to install it for you. It can be a bit tricky to get just right since it needs to be hooked up to your furnace. After that make sure to maintain it properly, especially when it comes to the filters change. They, thankfully, do not need to be changed all that often in this humidifier. Even if you run it all day long, these high-quality filters will probably last you around three or four months without needing to be changed, which is a fantastic value.
While they might be a bit pricey upfront, steam humidifiers are amazingly efficient, and cost-effective once they are installed. This unit is no different. Though it is quite large for a steam humidifier, it can be used for both small and large homes. Its high-efficiency level makes it a perfect choice no matter what kind of living space you occupy.
The pure filter doesn’t just help you add moisture into the air. It has what the company calls a pure air filter. This filter is designed to remove toxins, allergens, and pollutants from the air in your home. Basically, not only will this unit help keep your air at the proper relative humidity, but it will also clean it of anything harmful that could be bothering you and your family.
Unlike some other humidifiers out there, this one does not require a furnace’s fan to work. Instead, it has a digital humidistat that perpetually monitors the air. It will turn itself on when it senses that the air is not at the correct humidity based on your settings.
This humidifier has some of the easiest to follow settings of any of the appliances that we looked at. This makes it easy for pretty much anyone to setup and utilize once it is installed. Of course, the installation process is quite tricky and should only be tackled by a professional.
This is one of the smallest whole home humidifiers that we looked into. It only weighs around eight pounds in total, so even if you have an older home heating and cooling system with smaller ductwork, this humidifier should be up to the challenge. Due to its small size, this is also one of the easiest, if not the easiest, humidifiers to install. The instructions are super simple, which means that pretty much anybody would be able to install this unit without too much of an issue.
Of course, there is a bit of a concern if you don’t install the unit correctly. If you don’t make sure to have the humidifier seated tightly upon the air vent, this unit can get a bit leaky. You, obviously, want to avoid this, as it means that the machine might be running, but you won’t be able to gain any humidity in your home.
The humidistat (humidity control sensor) is very easy to read because it is a digital display. What’s cool about this display is the fact that it will give you a readout of the humidity level both inside and outside of your home. This will help you gauge what you should set your humidifier to.
The manufacturer claims that you can use this unit with hard water and it will perform equally well as in the case with soft water. However, hard water leaves more mineral deposits on the filter, so if you do decide on this model, be sure that you check and change the filter as often as it is required.
Buying any large appliance can be quite daunting, especially when you take the price into account. If you are on a bit of a budget, but still want a high-quality whole house humidifier, then look no further than this model. It is easy to clean and maintain. Even though you will have to add water to this unit manually, it is very simple to do so. You can also rest assured that it will space out its moisture output quite well, as it can run up to and including 36 hours without needing to be refilled.
The digital controls and built-in humidistat make it super simple to get the proper humidity level in your home. It also features an automatic shut-off which will let you know when the unit has reached the desired humidity level. The humidifier will also inform you when the filter needs to be changed or cleaned, and also if it’s time to refill the unit or not.
The sensor is located a bit too close to the fan, so the readings for the relative humidity might be a bit off. This can cause the unit to run more than you would like it to. This is a problem for two reasons. First of all, it might increase the humidity beyond what you want it to be. Secondly, this model is quite loud. If you choose this whole house humidifier, be sure to put it somewhere that you won’t hear it all that easily.
This bypass style humidifier can be used in pretty much any season. Since this pick is a bypass humidifier, it is pretty simple to install. You might want to get it professionally installed anyways since the five-year limited warranty will be voided if you do it on your own. In this case, be very careful to seal it properly. One of the most significant issues with this humidifier is that it can be a bit leaky if it isn’t installed correctly.
One of the most helpful features for this humidifier is its easy-to-use permanent memory feature. Not only will this remember your settings in the event of a power outage, but it can also be used to program your humidifier’s runtimes and other settings for all seven days of the week. This makes it quick and convenient to run and will take care of all of your humidity needs for you.
If you live in a smaller home, then you certainly don’t want to overdo it when it comes to your whole home humidifier. Not only would this be a waste of your money, but you would also have to worry about mold issues from an excessive amount of moisture being pumped into the air. If you live in a smaller house, then this just might be the right option for you. It has a low maximum output and coverage area, which makes it perfect for those smaller living spaces. It also means that the tank will need to be filled more often than other models.
As you would expect from a smaller size humidifier, this unit is exceedingly simple to set up. All you need to do is install the filters, fill the tank, and plug it in. From there, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a much more humid house. This appliance has three different speed settings so that you can easily achieve the relative humidity you desire.
Thankfully, since it is going to be closer to your living spaces than other humidifiers, this unit is entirely safe to be around. The mist that comes out of it is cool, which means you won’t need to worry about burns from spilled tanks. This makes it great for families with pets or small children.
If you are the proud owner of a large home, then you know how hard it can be to keep the humidity at the right level. Thankfully, this steam humidifier is available to you, and should be able to solve this problem quickly. It has the highest coverage area of any of the humidifiers that we looked into, as it can humidify a space all the way up to 6200 square feet. It also has a humongous maximum output, which is about 35 gallons per day.
Like most steam humidifiers, this unit operates independently from your HVAC system, so that it can deliver the moisture you need without having to wait for your furnace to run. This makes this unit very efficient in its operation. It can also be used with any water. It makes no difference if the water is hard or soft since this model is designed to work with both types.
If you do decide to purchase this humidifier, be sure to get a trained professional to install it for you. Since you need to have it hooked up to your ductwork, but not your furnace, it can be a bit tricky to set up. You will also need to have it hooked up to a water line so that it can operate correctly. Finally, this appliance needs access to the electrical system so that it can function on its own.
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the best whole house humidifier for your home.
What types of whole house humidifiers exist and which one is the best for my home?
Several different types of whole house humidifiers are available to homeowners for purchase. Each of these different models offers a different set of advantages and disadvantages based on a few factors, such as the size of the home and the type of HVAC system that you have installed. These different types include:
Bypass humidifiers – A bypass humidifier is a bit smaller than some other models. This is because it does not contain a fan of its own. Instead, it relies on your heating and cooling system to blow through its saturated pad to release moisture into the air. This requires some extra ductwork that might make the installation complicated. It also will take a longer time to humidify your home, since it needs the furnace to run to put out moisture. These humidifiers are usually best suited for smaller homes with established ductwork.
Steam humidifiers – These humidifiers add humidity to the air by heating water electrically until it boils to create humidity in the form of steam, even if the furnace isn’t on. This makes them the fastest and most efficient humidifiers for a whole home. They do not require the furnace to run to put moisture back into the air. These humidifiers are usually the best choice for larger homes with established ductwork.
Evaporative humidifiers – This type of whole house humidifier is the smallest and comes in both portable and HVAC hookup models. This makes them ideal for smaller spaces where you want to be in complete control of the water flow. Humidity is produced by a small fan that draws air in from the room and blows it over a moistened filter. This type of humidity is nice and cool, which makes it safer to use if you have small children in your home.
Features to consider while choosing a whole house humidifier
In this section, we will go through all of the key details you need to think about when you are looking for the best whole house humidifier.
There are several different types of humidifiers you can choose from to make sure you have the right level of humidity in your home. As you read above, you can select from evaporative (fan-powered and portable), steam (most efficient for larger homes), and bypass (smaller houses). Depending on the size of your home and whether or not you have an established HVAC system, you need to be sure to pick the type that will work the best for you.
The coverage area tells you how large or small of an area you will be able to humidify with any particular model. You need to pay close attention to the coverage area in comparison to the size of your home. If you select one that doesn’t have a coverage area close to the size of your home, you won’t get the right level of humidity.
While it might seem like a good idea to go with the largest coverage area possible, that is not always the case. In fact, if you overbuy the coverage area, you can run into two big problems. The first is that you might end up spending more money than you need to in order to humidify your home. Secondly, if your home is a lot smaller than the coverage area, you might actually get too much humidity in your home, which can lead to mold issues. Check out our selection of the best humidifiers for large rooms in case your home is not that big to install a whole house appliance.
Maximum output per day
The maximum output per day describes how much moisture your humidifier can put into the environment during the 24-hour period. You certainly don’t want to get a model that doesn’t have the output you need. This would lead to a dry environment in your home, which is, obviously, less than ideal. Secondly, if you overbuy, you might run into mold issues. Make sure that the output matches your moisture needs, so you don’t run into these issues.
Weight and dimensions
Depending on the size of your house’s furnace, and the amount of space that you have to work within your basement area, you will need to coordinate the size and weight of your new humidifier carefully. Since most humidifiers should be hooked up to your HVAC system, you need to be sure that your furnace can handle the new weight.
If you think that you don’t have the proper amount of space to install your new humidifier, then you might want to go for a more portable model, such as the AirCare MA1201. That way, you can install your new humidifier wherever you like without having to worry about affixing it to your existing HVAC system.
If you live in an older home with an older furnace, then you might not be able to hook up your new whole house humidifier easily. This will also be the case for any system that does not work through the forced air to heat your home. Most whole house humidifiers types cannot be installed if your home has radiators rather than air ducts.
Be sure that you take a careful look at your heating and cooling systems before you go out and buy a whole house humidifier. Nothing would be more frustrating than to get it home and go to install it, only to realize that it is not compatible with your heating system.
As with most appliances, you need to be sure that you get a good warranty when you are looking for a whole house humidifier. These machines have lots of different moving parts. They also work with water, which can lead to a whole host of problems, even if you follow all of the proper maintenance routines.
When you are looking at the different warranties on the market, be sure that you read them very carefully. Lots of the different warranties out there are limited in their scope, and will only apply if you take good care of the unit.
You need to be sure that you change out the pads and filters on a routine basis, or your warranty might be voided.
One of the best features to look for that will make your life a whole lot easier is a programmable model with an easy-to-read display. That way, you can make sure that your humidifier is running exactly the way you want it to quickly and easily. The Aprilaire 700 comes with an easily read display and can be operated manually or through a program.
Another cool feature that will make your life a bit easier is a permanent memory like you find with the Aprilaire 600. With this feature, your programming isn’t lost anytime that there is a power failure in your home.
The biggest issue with using a humidifier is that they are constantly moist. This can lead to mold issues if you do not regularly change out the pad or filter within the unit. If you only run your humidifier sparingly, then you can get by with changing it every three months. If, however, your humidifier is running all the time, you will want to replace it every two months instead.
The difficulty level for installing a whole house humidifier will depend on the type you select. Obviously, a portable model can be installed by pretty much anyone, since all you need to do is plug it in and fill it up.
If the unit is going to be installed, however, into your home’s heating and cooling system, it is probably a better idea to get a contractor to do it, unless you are well seasoned in both electrical and plumbing installations. Since you will need to hook the unit up to your HVAC, plumbing, and home electrical system, it might be a better idea to let a professional tackle it.
The first way that it can help is to reduce the effects of seasonal allergies in your home. A humidifier can also ease breathing issues since the moist air helps open up your airways. This air can also help to prevent the spread of germs within your home, which will keep everyone from getting sick.
If you are looking for the cheapest type of whole-home humidifier, then you should go with a bypass type. These humidifiers are the least sophisticated, which means that they are the easiest to install and cheapest to buy. They do, however, require the most maintenance, so you will end up paying a bit of money over the appliances lifetime than you will with other humidifier types.
For instance, while a steam humidifier is the most costly upfront, they are the easiest to maintain. This makes them a good choice as well if you are looking to save money in the long term.
The relative humidity, or RH for short, of your home, should be based on the outdoor temperature and humidity. You need to be sure to follow the guidelines that are set out by your particular unit as to what you should set the humidity level to. Otherwise, you might set it too low or too high, which would limit the effectiveness of the appliance, or cause long-term damage.
As the temperature drops outside, so should the RH inside. The higher the temperature outside, the higher it should go, to a certain point. Once the outdoor temperature reaches 40 degrees or higher, the indoor RH should not be any higher than 45%. Anything higher than this level could lead to condensation, which could damage your home or the appliance.
Of all the different units that we looked into, the Aprilaire 700 is by far the best whole house humidifier out there. It is simple to set up and will work for a wide range of houses. It can also be used with any type of water you can think of, which makes it perfect for pretty much everybody. Throw in the fact that it has such a user-friendly interface and you can see why we believe it is such a great humidifier.
Of course, you might be more interested in a steam humidifier. They are the most efficient humidifier type after all. If this sounds like you, then be sure to check out the Emerson HSP2000. After it has been installed, it provides a high level of control and can be used for small or large spaces.
If you just want to get your new humidifier up and running as quickly as possible, then you should get the Aprilaire 500 Humidifier. It is super simple to install, can be used with hard water, and has a user-friendly display as well as the control system which makes it a great choice.