The Best Whole House Humidifier 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. 

Our goal is to ensure that you are confident as you go into your purchase, and happy with the ultimate result.

Ready to get started with our whole house humidifier reviews? Let’s jump in!

Best Whole House Humidifier Comparison Chart

Products

General Type

Maintenance Level

Square Feet Covered

Biggest Pro

Biggest Con

Ranking

Flow Through

Low: 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 installation

Our Choice #1

AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier

Portable Console (evaporative)

High—frequent cleaning and filling the tank.

3,600 square feet

Great for renters

Must have open space and good air flow

#2

Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered Humidifier

Flow Through

Low: simple, yearly maintenance is all that is needed.

4,200 square feet

Easy to install for those going DIY

The installation kit must be purchased separately

#3

Skuttle 190-SH1 Drum Humidifier

Drum

Moderate: you need to fill the drum and clean it from time to time.

2,500 square feet

Highly energy efficient

Must be cleaned and monitored often

#4

Honeywell HE120A Whole House Humidifier

Drum

Moderate: you need to fill the drum and clean it from time to time.

2,500 square feet

Highly energy efficient

Must be cleaned and monitored often

#5

What Is a Whole House Humidifier?

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.

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?

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

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.