As the cold months are steadily approaching, your body requires some extra care. Usually, the cold weather brings widespread health issues such as chapped lips, dry skin, itchy eyes, irritated sinus, infected throat, and the list could go on. A significant factor that plays a part in this respect is the low humidity level. Expressly, low humidity causes discomfort, while increasing the likelihood of flu, colds and other conditions.
This is where the best whole house humidifiers come in. A humidifier diminishes the levels of allergens and microbes in the air. Consequently, getting a humidifier can soothe allergy symptoms, while preventing respiratory conditions during the winter. Aside from that, increasing the level of humidity inside your house can potentially lower your heating bill. That’s because an increased humidity level makes colder temperatures more tolerable. Hence, if you’re concerned about your health and you’ve been considering getting a humidifier, then our guide is exactly what you need. We are confident that you’ll find our furnace humidifier reviews – and not only, really helpful.
Best Whole House Humidifiers Comparison Chart
AirCare MA1201 Console Style Evaporative Humidifier
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AIRCARE EP9 800 Digital Whole-House Pedestal-Style Evaporative Humidifier
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Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier
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Aprilaire 600 Humidifier Auto
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Skuttle 190-SH1 Drum Humidifier
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Honeywell Trueease 12 GPD Basic Bypass Humidifier
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Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier
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The Best Whole House Humidifier Reviews
1- AirCare MA1201 Console Style Evaporative Humidifier
Our list of recommendations starts with this console-style humidifier. It covers a surface of up to 3600 square feet. At the same time, it works continuously for up to 36 hours. Evidently, the gallon capacity of a humidifier is of great importance when it comes to maintenance. In this view, this unit is equipped with a 3.6-gallon tank capacity.
Furthermore, you can choose to wholly customize the settings of the humidifier. Therefore, depending on the humidity level inside your house, or the area in which you live, you can adjust the settings accordingly.
As for the digital display of the humidifier, it certainly comes in handy. The same could be said about the auto shut-off function. In order to facilitate ease of mobility, this humidifier is equipped with casters, so that you could easily move it around the house, where you need it most.
Nevertheless, a potential drawback could be that the humidity sensor is located too close to the unit. Therefore, this negatively affects the accuracy of the reading. Plus, at the highest speed, the appliance tends to be quite noisy, which might be a tad disturbing.
2- AIRCARE EP9 800 Digital Whole-House Pedestal-Style Evaporative Humidifier
Moving on, this pedestal-style humidifier is designed for a surface of up to 2,400 square feet. Distinct from portable units that can cover one or a maximum of two rooms, a whole house humidifier covers an entire house – obviously, as the name already implies.
However, it’s worth noting that this unit doesn’t necessitate integrating it into the HVAC system of your house. The 3.5-gallon capacity tank can last up to 60 hours on a single fill.
Furthermore, the digital display of this unit indicates important info such as the humidity level, the fan speed, and whether the filter has to be checked or refilled.
Additionally, note that this humidifier comes with nine different fan speeds. Hence, you can choose the one that specifically addresses your needs. Plus, the unit is equipped with a digital Humidistat. This automatically regulates the desired humidity level.
However, some former customers have complained about the accuracy of the hygrometer. Additionally, if the fan speed is above 4, the humidifier tends to be quite noisy.
3- Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier
This is another top-quality unit, due to various reasons. The first thing worth mentioning is that it comes with a unique air washing technology. The purpose of this particular characteristic is to address the typical symptoms associated with allergies.
More specifically, the evaporative technology targets the dust, dirt, and pollen in the air. The Protec antimicrobial cleaning cartridge plays its part in ensuring that fresh and clean moisture is released in the air.
In terms of maintenance, the Honeywell humidifier ranks pretty great. For the most part, the refill regularity varies on how often you use the humidifier. As for upkeep, we were quite surprised to find out that this humidifier utilizes less energy than a typical 80-watt light bulb.
However, you should note that you have to replace the filters regularly, to ensure that the unit functions accordingly. Moving on to the noise levels of this appliance, they range from low to medium. It is loud enough to prevent you from sleeping soundly, yet quiet enough to allow you to watch TV, for instance.
4- Aprilaire 600 Humidifier Auto
Covering an extensive area of 4,000 square feet, this humidifier is the ideal choice for you if you have a big house. This eliminates the need for investing in several units. A unique characteristic of this unit is that it incorporates a bypass damper.
What does this mean? Well, it means that you benefit from both winter and summer settings. That is to say, the included outdoor sensor generates the humidity levels depending on the weather and temperature outside.
At the same time, we really like that this is a low-maintenance unit. More specifically, you can use the water panel for twelve consecutive months before it requires replacement.
As for other parts, such as the valve solenoid or the water distribution tray, you are supposed to replace them every five years.
Concurrently, this unit is completely automatic. You can even program it to do its thing when you’re not at home.
Is there something not to like about this potent appliance? The fact that it has to be installed by a professional could be seen as a disadvantage. At the same time, when it comes to water conservation, you have to ensure that there is a suitable drainage option for the humidifier.
5- Skuttle 190-SH1 Drum Humidifier
Some houses are set up in such a way that prevents the air and water supplies from being close to one another. If that’s your situation, as well, then a flow-through humidifier will not work for you. In this case, you could invest in a drum-style humidifier, such as this one manufactured by Skuttle.
The main benefit of a drum style humidifier is that it doesn’t require a drain. That’s because there is a foam pad mounted on the drum, which is located on a reservoir of water. When the unit starts functioning, the drum spins and the pad collects water, which is evaporated in the air.
Nevertheless, the downside is that this type of unit is likely to collect mold, which is why it’s highly recommended to clean it once a month.
Moving on, the appliance is capable of spreading moisture in spaces of up to 2,500 square feet. When it comes to its installation, it is also advantageous, as you can attempt to DIY if you want.
6- Honeywell Trueease 12 GPD Basic Bypass Humidifier
The reason why you might be better off investing in a whole house humidifier than a portable unit is that a portable unit covers a much more restricted surface. Still, in the case of the Honeywell TrueEASE humidifiers, things are quite different.
This unit is installed out of your sight, being connected to your central heating and cooling system. As a result, you can enjoy a comfortable humidity level in your entire house.
Since humidifiers aren’t created equal, as they come with specific characteristics, this particular unit comes with a range of user-friendly traits.
That is to say, the unit automatically fills itself. Concurrently, replacing the pads is rather effortless – you can do that either from the side or from the front. You won’t have to disassemble the entire humidifier to change the pad.
On top of that, each replacement pad manufactured by Honeywell has a unique anti-microbial coating that restricts the buildup of bacteria and mold. Aside from that, you also benefit from a 5-year warranty.
7- Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier
This is another reliable device that will regulate the moisture levels inside your house. For starters, similar to other state-of-the-art units on the market, this is also digital-controlled. Almost every aspect of this device is digitally controlled, in order to provide uniform humidification.
Moving on, you can fill the humidifier with any kind of water – cold, hot, hard or distilled water.
In order to make this unit as user-friendly as possible, the manufacturer implemented the #60 humidistat. This plays a key role in the automation of the unit. Essentially, the humidistat is mounted directly on the return duct, notifying the humidifier when to start working.
As for the installation process, this unit has to be installed with a supply duct. Simultaneously, it incorporates a built-in fan that pulls the warm air from the furnace.
It utilizes it for creating humidity and directing it to your home. The disadvantage to this would be that, if the unit isn’t installed accordingly by a professional, you might eventually deal with air leakages.
8- Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered Humidifier
This humidifier is an excellent option for houses of up to 4,200 square feet, with 8 ft. ceilings. However, it might be just as efficient for insulated, drafty houses up to 1,900 square feet with 8 ft. ceilings. That is to say, your house’s insulation level will play a part in this respect.
Depending on your house’s specific setup, the unit may or may not be easy to install. Of course, your knowledge of electrical installations is worth taking into account.
Former buyers recommend hooking the system to the hot water pipe, as opposed to connecting it to the cold-water pipe. That’s specifically because it will diminish the water usage of the system, whilst making it more energy efficient.
At the same time, you should know that you have to buy the installation kit separately.
You should also bear in mind that this unit consumes a significant amount of water.
9- Skuttle 2000 Flow-Through Humidifier
Another device that is well worth the try is this unit manufactured by Skuttle. Featuring a compact design, it is powered to cover houses of sizes ranging from 1,522 to 3,333 square feet.
Since this is a flow-thru humidifier, it also operates in connection with your house’s central heating system. As soon as the humidity level drops below your pre-selected level, there is a switch inside the humidifier that will trigger the unit.
Thus, the warm air is propelled by an internal fan, as opposed to being propelled by a furnace blower.
Moving on, due to the flow-thru operating principle, it’s worth mentioning that these units utilize more water than their counterparts. Even so, Skuttle wanted to minimize the water consumption as much as possible. In regard to the electrical consumption, it is approximately the same as in the case of a 25-watt light bulb.
Aside from that, flow-thru units don’t release any detrimental contaminants, meaning that the quality of your indoor air should not be affected.
10- Aprilaire Model 800 Automatic Whole House Steam Humidifier
Now we’d like to introduce you to a top-quality steam humidifier. While it is definitely true that steam humidifiers aren’t necessarily the most popular types of units on the market, this particular humidifier is accompanied by numerous positive reviews – which is very important.
However, the thing with steam humidifiers is that they must be installed by professionals. That’s because the unit has to be connected to the water supply system – the place where it gets its water from.
At the same time, you can use any type of water with this unit, without worrying that it might impair its performance in any way. Aside from that, the unit incorporates a digital humidistat that automatically regulates the humidity level inside your house.
Considering that the unit utilizes water directly from the reservoir, this inhibits the development of bacteria and mold. This would entail less cleaning.
Moving on to the maximum coverage of this unit, it is capable of humidifying areas of up to 6,200 square feet. On a different note, former customers have complained that the unit is fairly costly to operate.
11- Emerson HSP2000 Whole House Steam Humidifier
Emerson is a renowned manufacturer in the world of climate technology. And this 120-volt humidifier is a legit example of their dedication to producing top-quality items.
For starters, this regulates the humidity level inside a home rather quickly – which is definitely a highlight. However, when it comes to the installation process, it should be undergone by a professional. You should do it yourself only if you are very savvy in DIY projects and installations.
Moving on, the appliance doesn’t interfere with your furnace. It does, however, turn on the blower in the case in which humidity is required. As for the flush control, it works seamlessly, flushing every two hours. Hence, you won’t have to deal with mold problems or anything of the kind.
On the other side, some former customers have voiced their concerns regarding the durability of the unit. Overall, most customers noted that the unit worked better than they expected it to work, confirming its efficiency.
What Is a Whole House Humidifier?
As soon as the temperatures outside start to drop, you most likely have to turn on your heating system, in order to ensure that the indoor air is comfortable. However, when the indoor temperature is warm, this will determine the humidity inside the house to evaporate more rapidly.
And while it is true that a heater can successfully combat cold temperatures, it instantly leads to dry air. As a rule of thumb, the relative humidity level inside your house shouldn’t be higher than 50 percent.
When the humidity percentage goes beyond 50 percent, this will encourage the growth of bacteria and mold. Essentially, this could harm your health, as well as the structure of your home.
This is where whole-house humidifiers come in. The fundamental purpose of a humidifier is to regulate and maintain a healthy humidity level inside your home. As the name already entails, a whole-house humidifier targets the entire house. This eliminates the need to invest in several units to place in different parts of the house.
That being said, a central, or a whole house humidifier is connected to a furnace system. The primary advantage of this is that, once you have the unit installed (or you proceed with installing it yourself), you no longer have to deal with it. On the other hand, standalone humidifiers require more maintenance, as they necessitate refilling the unit with water.
So, how do you determine that you need a whole-house humidifier? If you are dealing with excessively dry skin, allergies, dry hair with static electricity, and you’re regularly coping with the typical range of cold symptoms, this could mean that it’s high time to increase the level of relative humidity.
Many people wonder: is a humidifier good for asthma? Of course! Such a unit can soothe the symptoms associated with this condition. In fact, many healthcare providers might suggest asthma sufferers invest in the best humidifier for allergies.
What Are the Benefits of Whole House Humidifiers?
Obviously, the main advantage of a whole-house humidifier over a portable unit is convenience. Since a whole-house unit is out of sight, once you install it, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Still, this doesn’t eliminate the need to check every once in a while.
At the same time, you might already know that several portable units require adding special chemicals to the water in order to restrict the development of bacteria and mold. Still, that isn’t the case with whole-house humidifiers.
On a different note, portable humidifiers take up a lot of space – even the most compact models. Aside from that, the larger the room you want to cover, the larger the humidifier is likely to be.
Best Whole House Humidifier Buying Guide: Essential Considerations
There is a range of essential aspects that you must keep in mind when browsing for whole-house humidifiers. To determine the right unit for your needs, have a look at the factors below:
Water reservoir change indicator
If you’re opting for a humidifier equipped with a water tank, it would be a good idea to choose a model that comes with a water reservoir change indicator. Why is that? Such a unit requires refilling the tank on a regular basis.
Of course, this takes some time. Therefore, the indicator is a handy addition that lets you know when you should do that. So, it eliminates the need to constantly check the unit if the water tank requires refilling.
On a different note, make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how often you should refill the water tank.
At the same time, some devices incorporate a built-in hygrometer that highlights the moisture level of a room and a humidistat. You can set the humidistat to cycle on/off in order to maintain the right moisture level inside your house.
Low water cutoff
It goes without saying that digital controls offer unmatched convenience. This applies especially in regard to safety features. That being said, when the water reservoir of a humidifier is empty, the unit will automatically close.
On the other hand, you should be careful to shut down the unit before it runs out of the water. This is why we consider this characteristic to be really important.
As the water gradually evaporates from the humidifier’s reservoir, freshwater will replace it. Concurrently, there is a float valve that will prevent the water level from overflowing, which might lead to unwanted complications. The float valve will automatically shut off the water so that it remains at the desired level.
Moving on, there is also the alternative for a humidifier to be enclosed in the corrosion-resistant material. What is the purpose of this specific characteristic?
Obviously, this is meant to prolong the lifespan of the unit, preventing it from premature rust or anything of the kind. While it may come at an additional cost, it is a guarantee of longevity, which makes it worthwhile.
The units that incorporate mounting frames are easier to install. Essentially, this refers to units that ought to be connected to existing ductwork. And while it may seem like an insignificant detail, it can make quite a difference.
Reversible side panels
And lastly, you might want to see if your desired model of humidifier comes with reversible side panels. These enable the professional to position the unit on the left or on the right side of the ductwork so that it fits perfectly.
Humidifier Capacity and Compatibility
Whole house humidifiers are separated into specific categories, depending on how they work. One of the ways in which these units are categorized is by capacity and compatibility. In other words, each unit is specially created to properly humidify particular square footage.
This is why we advise you to measure your space before making an investment in this direction. In a humidifier that has a larger capacity than needed, you might eventually deal with condensation issues.
More specifically, mildew and bacteria are prone to grow in this environment, on the inside of the windows, for instance. You should remember that a humidifier’s capacity is extremely important. This is why we’ve talked about capacity in the reviews above.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t confuse the capacity of a humidifier with its moisture output – which, in many instances, can be bigger than the water tank capacity. Of course, we’re only talking about units equipped with a water tank.
However, when it comes to compatibility, you should assess your individual specifications. For example, do you want to install the humidifier, or you’d much rather get a console humidifier, which doesn’t require any installation process?
At the same time, it isn’t recommended to install a humidifier in the areas in which the temperature drops below freezing levels during the cold season. Note that freezing water could lead to failures in seals, pipes, and joints. On that note, a humidifier shouldn’t be installed in basements or attics, where the temperatures are likely to be very low.
Moving on, if you don’t have the option of connecting the dehumidifier to a water source, you might get a console unit or a drum unit.
Maintaining Whole House Humidifiers
Essentially, whether you’ve invested in a good quality warm mist humidifier or in a top-notch cold mist humidifier, using the correct maintenance techniques will prolong the lifespan of your unit. Even if most systems are state-of-the-art and require little maintenance, you shouldn’t overlook altogether.
First of all, the upkeep practices you must use will depend on the type of unit you’ve chosen. This is why it’s essential to read through the reader’s manual before doing any maintenance work.
Replace the Filter
For humidifiers that are equipped with filters, it’s important to replace the filter on an annual basis – at the very least. In some cases, the filter should be replaced more frequently.
That’s because water contains trace minerals and scale deposits. Over the course of time, these will build upon the filter. In some situations, though, when the filter is targeted for numerous utilizations, all you have to do is clean it accordingly and you’ll be good to go.
Hence, make sure you consult with the owner’s manual to determine what type of filter you’re dealing with.
Additionally, other parts of the unit are prone to accumulate buildup, in time. If that’s the case, make sure you take care of that, as well. This might require disassembling the unit – if you feel that you’re up for the task, you should do it yourself. If not, you can always request the assistance of a professional.
Periodically Check for Leaks
Even if your humidifier is out of sight, this doesn’t mean you should neglect it and forget about its existence. In fact, our advice to everyone that owns a humidifier would be to check the unit for potential leaks. If that happens, you should immediately turn off the water supply until you determine the cause and solve the problem.
Regularly Clean the Reservoir
Evidently, this applies to reservoir-style humidifiers. Since calcium and other mineral deposits are prone to encrust the water reservoir and the water wheel, this could facilitate the growth of bacteria.
Obviously, this would mean that the water used for increasing the humidity level could be contaminated with harmful components. To avoid this, always clean the reservoir before and after the heating season – as well as throughout the heating season. Ideally, you should add an anti-bacterial solution also, for best results.
Close the Dampers in Spring
When spring is just around the corner, and you no longer require a humidifier, you might consider closing the dampers that link the humidifier to the ductwork. Doing something as simple as closing the dampers will ensure that your house’s cooling system won’t run air through the unit all summer long.
You now know that proper maintenance really matters. In case you also opt for another air quality product for your home, you should know that it would require regular cleaning as well.
Types of Whole House Humidifiers: What Suits Your Needs Best?
Evidently, there are several types of humidifiers on the market to choose from. At the same time, each unit comes with its own specifications that could make it suitable for your needs, or not. With that in mind, let’s have a look at the main categories of humidifiers, as well as their major advantages and disadvantages.
To begin with, you can choose a console type of humidifier. There is a general confusion regarding console and portable humidifiers. Even if both units are considered to be portable, there are some distinctions worth mentioning.
Expressly, console units are usually equipped with wheels. And, even if they can be transported from a room to another, they are usually larger than portable models – which are small enough so that you could easily carry them.
Another critical difference is the one regarding the area covered. To be more specific, a portable humidifier is meant to cover a rather small surface. On the other hand, console models are designed for larger areas – in some cases, they can cover an entire house (depending on the model).
The moisture coverage is, evidently, a critical aspect – as a portable unit isn’t likely to cover a large surface.
Moving on, a console humidifier might be an appropriate investment, especially for homes that are designed with an open-concept in mind. If there aren’t a lot of obstacles, the air will move freely around the house, offering the right humidity level.
At the same time, console humidifiers usually rely on an evaporative technology, while having a large tank capacity. Evidently, this means they don’t require refilling the tank as often as a portable model, for example.
Another type of humidifier you’re likely to find on the marketplace is the drum humidifier. In terms of construction, this type of humidifier incorporates a belt – which can be made of fabric or foam, depending on the model.
This belt takes up water, rotating it on a drum, which is located over a water reservoir. A drum humidifier utilizes a furnace to regulate the moisture level inside your house. The warm indoor air is sucked in from the house’s heat ducts and, afterward, it is passed through a water panel.
This is the place where the air absorbs the moisture. From that point onward, the air is further dispersed back into the house, in the form of steam, of course.
Generally speaking, drum style humidifiers are on the affordable side – especially if we were to compare them with other units. As for the installation process, they are relatively easy to install, which is definitely an advantage.
Nonetheless, there is a fundamental downside worth noting. To ensure that you won’t have to deal with bacteria and mold development, you shouldn’t overlook the recommended maintenance practices. At the same time, the belt should be replaced on a regular basis, to ensure the correct functioning of the unit.
It’s also worth mentioning that the water level inside a drum humidifier is of great importance for a smooth operation. Additionally, the evaporative pad has to be replaced annually – or, in some cases, even more frequently.
In comparison with other models, drum-style humidifiers use less water. Nonetheless, they do require more maintenance. In terms of efficiency, drum-style models have a rating of 100 percent as opposed to flow-through models, which are effective only up to 40 percent.
Next, we’d like to move our attention to flow-through humidifiers. This type of unit is typically installed to the water supply line. In essence, the air from the furnace or AC system is further directed through the dripped filter pad.
This, in turn, absorbs the required moisture and further releases it into the air. Similar to drum-style units, flow-through humidifiers work by evaporating water.
Nevertheless, since they don’t use a drum, there isn’t such thing as stagnant water. As a result, the dangers of developing mold and bacteria are significantly reduced.
In terms of maintenance, flow-through models don’t require a lot of effort. Still, there are some potential drawbacks worth mentioning.
For one thing, when it comes to flow-through units, a notable percentage of the water goes to waste. That’s because only part of the water is actually utilized, being evaporated in the air. As for the efficiency level of these units, it is lower than in the case of drum style units.
To be more specific, for each gallon of water that a flow-through humidifier releases in the air, two gallons of water have to flow through. However, one thing worth mentioning is that they stay cleaner for an extended timeframe. As a result, maintenance costs are much lower.
And the fourth category is that of steam humidifiers. These types of units will maximize the humidity levels in the air by heating up the water until it reaches a boiling point. As soon as the water starts boiling, the steam that results will be propelled to the house’s vents by the system’s fan.
A steam humidifier is a preferred option for users that don’t have the option of connecting the unit to a source of evaporation. Hence, these units utilize both energy and water for creating steam at atmospheric pressure.
The steam is released only when the HVAC system inside your house is switched on.
It would be safe to say that steam humidifiers are highly efficient. That’s because they reach and maintain the desired humidity level in a relatively short timeframe. Aside from that, since you can install the unit on the supply line, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
On top of that, steam humidifiers are believed to deliver the most natural type of humidity. At the same time, they run efficiently irrespective of your house’s heating system. However, the downside is that they are the priciest types of units – therefore, they require a notable upfront investment.
To sum up, it would be safe to say that looking for the best whole whose humidifiers is a rather confusing process. Such a unit requires a significant investment, which is why it’s highly recommendable to look for legit furnace humidifier reviews before taking the plunge and making a purchase.
We are confident that our far-reaching research and guide will help you in this view. Essentially, you alone can determine what unit is more likely to address your individual needs and, of course, your budget specifications. Additional help is provided by us on our home page where we show you reviews of all other similar devices of that class.
One thing is for sure, though – a humidifier is a worthwhile investment that will significantly enhance the quality of your indoor air. It can make allergies more bearable, being soothing for people suffering from asthma, for example. During the wintertime, humidity can become a problem in every area of the country; this way, it affects your overall health. Now, you are aware of the many benefits associated with the use of a humidifier and the fact that such a unit can significantly optimize your family’s well-being and comfort.