Best Whole House Humidifier Reviews And Buying Guide 2017 For Your Home

Purchasing a major appliance for your home is always stressful. You want to make sure you are getting the very best you can for the money you have available to spend, purchasing an appliance that will perform well and last decade after decade. For many household appliances, figuring this out isn’t too difficult; we have a pretty solid idea of what makes a refrigerator good or what washing machine brands we can trust. But what about the best whole house humidifier? This is an appliance that most of us have little experience with, which is no doubt why you are currently seeking out whole house humidifier reviews.

Here, we have compiled all the information you need to navigate this major purchase for your home. By the time you are done reading, you will find yourself less confused by the various features whole house humidifiers offer and better able to determine which features are crucial for you. 

Two little girls (sisters, friends) in their pajamas at home, looking out the window at the first snow
PRODUCTImage
/General Type
Maintenance Level
Square Feet CoveredBiggest ProBiggest ConRanking
Aprilaire 700 Automatic HumidifierAprilaire 700 Automatic HumidifierFlow ThroughLow: simple, yearly maintenance is all that is needed.4,200
square feet
Once it is working, you can pretty much forget it is there.Requires installationOur Choice
#1
Aprilaire 600 Humidifier AutoAprilaire 600
Flow Through
Low: annual maintenance4000 square feetAlmost silent operation.Installation is awkward#2
Aprilaire 500 HumidifierAprilaire 500
Drum
Low: just need to check it once a year.3000 square feetSuperb 5-year warrantyNeeds professional installation#3
Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered HumidifierHoneywell HE360A
Flow Through
Low: simple, yearly maintenance is all that is needed.4,200 square feetEasy to install for those going DIYThe installation kit must be purchased separately#4
AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative HumidifierAIRCARE MA1201
Portable Console (evaporative)
High—frequent cleaning and filling the tank.3,600 square feetGreat for rentersMust have open space and good air flow#5

Our top pick for the best whole house humidifier is the legendary Aprilaire 700.

Having championed the first flow-through evaporative humidifiers, Aprilaire continues to roll out cutting edge technology without costing the earth.

For a great all-rounder that will keep humidity levels in check throughout the house, we cannot recommend the Aprilaire 700 strongly enough.

Check it out here…

First up in our look at these whole house humidifiers is a consistent best seller from the industry heavyweight Aprilaire. This manufacturer was the first to roll out flow-through evaporative humidifiers onto the market.

The 700 is good for leveling out the humidity in houses up to 4200 square feet. Even if you have a large home, the 700 has you covered.

With an evaporative rate of 0.75 gallons per hour (GPH), the Aprilaire 700 will deliver up to 50% more moisture into the air than its closest competitor. The reservoir is a generous 18 gallons.

Despite packing all this power, the unit is surprisingly compact. It measures 16 x 11 x 18 inches and tips the scales at less than 16 pounds.

This humidifier doesn’t come with an installation kit. If you are highly experienced with DIY, you should be OK on this front. For anyone not so confident, factor in the cost of professional installation.

You can control the amount of humidification precisely using the nifty digital controls. Readings are clearly displayed on an LED screen. Settings can be tweaked between whisper, medium or high. This is a great way to avoid any buzzing or humming disturbing your sleep.

The last thing most people want when buying a dehumidifier is regular and troublesome maintenance. An annual service is all you’ll need with the Aprilaire 700. Look after it and it will last for years.

Some humidifiers will only run properly with distilled water. While this will extend the life of your appliance and ensure that no minerals are belched into the atmosphere, it can be costly. With the 700, you can opt for hot or cold water, distilled or even harder water without a problem. This flexibility is a nice touch.

With a 5-year limited warranty, you can buy this without worrying about it letting you down.

For a no-nonsense whole house humidifier, you simply can’t go far wrong with the Aprilaire 700.

PROS

  • Extremely easy to set up once installed
  • Very quiet in operation so no disturbing background noise
  • ​Almost no maintenance required
  • ​Digital controls for completely uniform humidification
  • ​Crisp, clear LED screen
  • Operates with any type of water for your convenience

CONS

  • Installation kit not included so you might need to call in for professional assistance

Next up is another superb model from Aprilaire, this time the 600.

If you have dry air in your house or an excess of static electricity, it could be time to step in and regulate the humidity.

With a maximum coverage of 4000 square feet, this piece of kit is man enough for even larger homes.

The 600 is a compact unit measuring 15 x 10 x 16 inches. It’s incredibly lightweight, too, at less than 9 pounds.

This model comes with an integrated bypass damper. This gives you a choice of summer or winter settings for complete adaptability. It also means there are less parts to be installed.

Regarding installation, as with the 700 you might be advised to call in a contractor. Once you’re up and running, though, you’ll enjoy the same low maintenance requirements as with all Aprilaire humidifiers.

The 600 is fully programmable over 7 days so you can mix things up without needing to keep revisiting the control panel. There’s also a programmable fan for enhanced overall air quality.

You’ll enjoy a 5-year warranty and the build quality associated with any Aprilaire product. For a scaled-down humidifier that does not compromise on performance, the 600 is well worth adding to your shortlist. It will not disappoint.

PROS

  • Fully automatic so let the machine do all the work
  • Completely silent when in use
  • Extremely little maintenance required
  • ​Bypass damper to save money and water
  • Outdoor sensor helps reduce condensation in duct system

CONS

  • Some unevaporated water can pool and collect
  • Awkward to install without professional help

The third and final Aprilaire we’ll look at today is the 500. We have deliberately stepped down in size from the bulky 700 to the smaller and cheaper 500.

If you have a small to medium-sized home, the 500 is the most suitable model. While you want enough performance for your needs, paying for too much power and capability is pointless. This unit is good for humidifying areas up to 3000 square feet.

Measuring 16 x 10 x 13 inches and weighing a mere 7.3 pounds, you get outstanding results without needing a hulking piece of equipment that gets in the way.

The 500 has the same 3GPH rate of water feed but comes equipped the water panel is smaller. This means that less moisture will be released into the air.

As with the other Aprilaire models, you’ll get fully automatic digital controls, a bypass damper and an outdoor sensor. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.

For a dependable humidifier which will regulate moisture without becoming a nuisance, the Aprilaire 500 is a safe bet.

PROS

  • Perfect for smaller homes up to 3000 square feet
  • Extremely compact but no loss of power
  • Impressive 3GPH water feed rate
  • Outstanding 5-year warranty for peace of mind
  • Extremely efficient humidifier that doesn’t cost the earth

CONS

  • The standard Aprilaire issue of installation
Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered Humidifier

You can take a look here:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000DZHFDW

As we near the end of our humidifier reviews, it’s time for a solid and affordable unit from Honeywell, the consistently well-reviewed H360A.

As with many contemporary humidifiers, the installation kit is not included. While the initial price tag is competitive, factor in the expense of installation if you do not feel able to take care of it yourself.

Covering large spaces up to 4200 square feet, the Honeywell works well even in expansive houses.

Weighing 18 pounds and with dimensions of 21 x 17 x 16 inches, this is a more substantial humidifier and packs a real punch.

This is an extremely efficient humidifier using less water than much of the competition. This translates to reduced utility bills.

The Honeywell can be mounted with ease on your warm air supply or on the return air duct of your furnace.

On the downside, there’s no digital display with this unit. This makes operating it slightly more tasky. Only you know how important this functionality is to you. Choose accordingly.

If you want a basic unit that does little more than kicking out a cool mist, this fits the bill perfectly. If you’re looking for something with bells and whistles, it’s likely to disappoint.

That said, there is some pioneering technology with the Honeywell. You’ll get fan-powered flow-through and a PerfectFlo tray for water distribution. This will help to keep your equipment clean while slashing the need for maintenance.

With a 1-year warranty, you get at least some coverage in the event of anything going wrong.

Check out the Honeywell today and enjoy a properly regulated atmosphere in your home tomorrow!

PROS

  • Covers 4200 square feet so perfect for even larger homes
  • Keen price with no sacrifice on quality
  • Impressive 3GPH water feed rate
  • Simple and flexible to mount
  • Cost-effective option from a brand you can trust

CONS

    • You need to buy the installation kit separately
    • No digital display

Rounding out these whole house humidifier reviews is a very inexpensive option from Aircare. We try to include something for all tastes and budgets.

With the MA1201, you can humidify houses up to 3600 square feet in size. This is ideal for mid-sized homes.

There’s a 3.6-gallon tank capacity and the MA1201 is highly energy-efficient.

Using a digital display, you can read all salient information with ease. The variable 3-speed motor comes equipped with a quiet nighttime setting so you can sleep easily with no disturbance.

This humidifier is incredibly cheap but some users complain that this translates to a less than optimum build quality. The other main negative with the Aircare is that mineral deposits accumulate quite rapidly on the filter which needs replacing. Bear in mind these ongoing costs when budgeting.

The 2-year limited warranty means you can buy the Aircare stress-free.

For an effective and affordable method of humidifying your home, road test the MA1201 today!

PROS

  • Incredible value for money
  • Digital humidistat for user-friendly experience
  • Perfect for medium-sized houses
  • Trouble-free operation with no wheels, belts or pulleys
  • Extremely lightweight unit

CONS

      • Questionable build quality
      • Filter needs replacing on a regular basis

What Is a Whole House Humidifier?

humidifier on the table

When it comes to making our homes comfortable, we tend to focus on certain things: cozy couches, supportive mattresses, inviting décor, welcoming layout, and other, similar items. But what about the air in your home?

Dry air can be very uncomfortable, even if you are someone who prefers a dry heat. We need moisture in the air to breathe comfortably, keep our skin hydrated, and keep our home healthy. But not all homes are able to retain moisture well.

In fact, if you were to check the humidity in your home, you might find that it is at a lower percentage than the desert air; many homes have a level around 25%, which is roughly the same as what one would find in the Sonoran Desert. While you don’t want your home to be a sauna, you don’t want it to be dry either.

Whole house humidifiers fix this issue throughout your entire home. These units are general integrated with your HVAC system, pumping the right amount of moisture into your ducts and throughout your home. However, there are some portable, stand-alone units that are considered whole house humidifiers because they have the ability to humidify the air in larger spaces; these are often refered to as console humidifiers. Because they cover the entire house, they simplify the process of making your air more comfortable, allowing you to sit back, relax, and forget you even own a humidifier.

Types of Whole House Humidifiers

To figure out which is the best whole house humidifier for you, you first need to decide the general type of humidifier you are interested in. There are five primary types of whole house humidifiers.

types of whole house humidifier

Drum Humidifiers

This type is cheap and easy to install if you are looking to go DIY. These are placed on the cold air return line. The motor pulls cold water from the drum and forces it into the system, allowing the natural process of evaporation to turn it into a mist that can then be forced through your HVAC system and into the air of your home. Compared to other types, these are high maintenance, as you must frequently clean the drum to ensure no mold grows, and you must also replace the belt quite frequently.

Flow Through Humidifiers

This type of humidifier offers greater flexibility, as you can install them on the return or supply line. Like the drum type of humidifier, they use evaporation to work. However, they do not use the drum, so there is no standing water. This helps to cut down on the maintenance needed, but you still need to perform some to keep it at optimal function. With this type, water flows through a filter and air blows through the filter to force the moisture out. To use this type of humidifier, you need to be able to hook it up to a water line.

Mist/Steam Humidifiers

This type of humidifier tends to be costly, but it is highly effective and very low maintenance. Rather than relying on evaporation, it uses steam to add humidity to your home. This gives you incredible control over the humidity level in your home. You can choose from cold water and hot water models. This type of humidifier is installed on the supply line and must be hooked up to a water supply line.

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Out of the various types of whole house humidifiers on the market, this is the least common. These humidifiers use a transducer to create moisture. Water passes over the transducer as it vibrates, causing the molecules in the water to become excited, resulting in the droplets breaking up into many smaller droplets, which are then injected into your HVAC system and dispersed throughout your home. These models are rather costly and high maintenance as they produce “white dust,” which must be cleaned away frequently.

Console Humidifiers

These humidifiers are sometimes single room, but there are also models that can cover the entire home. All console humidifiers use a tank of water attached to the unit. However, the way they create humidity will vary. Console humidifiers are high maintenance, as you must fill and clean the tank often. Also, you must set them up in an open space to reduce the chance of mold growth and make sure your air moves enough to disperse the moisture throughout your home. Some console humidifiers are portable as well, while others must be installed much like a window or wall unit air conditioner would be.

What Are the Benefits of a Whole House Humidifier

By now, you know that a whole house humidifier will put more moisture into the air of your home. But that alone doesn’t sound like a benefit. So, why would you want to have a whole house humidifier?

  • During the winter, turning up the heat tends to dry out the air, irritating the throat and lungs, making cold symptoms worse.
  • Low humidity levels make you more susceptible to illnesses, such as colds, the flu, and other upper respiratory illnesses because many viruses thrive in low humidity.
  • Dry air tends to aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms.
  • A lack of humidity will damage your home, drying out walls, woodwork, art work, and even furniture.
  • Electronics can be damaged by dry air. Dry air allows static charges to occur, which can fry electronic devices.
  • Dry air increases your energy costs. When there is little humidity in the air, we tend to feel colder. This causes people to turn up the heat in the winter, increasing their energy bills.
  • Other problems that can be caused by low humidity are bloody noses, dry mouth, itchy eyes, sore throat, dry skin, and static shocks.

Benefits of Whole House Humidifiers Over Single Room and Small Portable Humidifiers

girl in a white hat and blue vest standing with a mug of tea

At this point, the benefits of using humidifiers are quite clear. What isn’t so clear is why you should opt for a whole house humidifier over those for single rooms or portable humidifiers. So, let’s take a look at the benefits only whole house humidifiers can offer.

  • They are efficient. Many models require no electricity at all, and those that do use less than running multiple single-room or portable models.
  • If you opt for a smart model, they control the humidity level based on the temperature of your home. The higher the temperature, the more humidity you need. The lower the temperature, the less you need. This regulation ensures comfort while also reducing the chances of mold growth.
  • You do not need to turn things on and off or move a unit from room to room. When you use a whole house humidifier, you can freely move throughout your home without giving any thought to the humidity in the air, breathing easy the whole time. This is true for both HVAC models and the portable models.
  • They are affordable. Many people are tempted to use single room or portable units to save money, but this often backfires. Portable units tend to break after a year or so, costing you anywhere from $20 to $100 every year. Single room units run around $100 themselves. A whole house humidifier can be found for as little as $140, plus installation.

Features of Whole House Humidifiers

We already looked at the different types of humidifiers, but even within those types, there are variations. Below are the primary features to consider when making your choice.

  • Ease of Use: Do you need to manage the settings, such as the humidity level, or will the unit do it for you? If there is a display, is it easy to read and operate?
  • Maintenance Level: Do you need to clean the unit often? Is there a possibility of mold growth? Will you need to fill the water yourself or does the humidifier take care of that for you?
  • Square Feet Covered: Even humidifiers that use your HVAC system will have their limits, as the humidifier can only produce so much at a time. It is important that you check the square feet covered before you buy and compare it to your home. If your home has high ceilings or an open floor plan, you may need a humidifier that can cover more square feet than your home actually has.
Best Whole House Humidifier Reviews And Buying Guide 2017 For Your Home
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