Many people live in particularly dry parts of the world, or perhaps have the heating on throughout very cold winters and this causes the air to be very dry. One option is to have a humidifier in one or two rooms that you use or perhaps even move one around depending on which rooms you decide to use.
Whilst this can help alleviate the issue of dry air, this isn’t always the most efficient way to manage the problem, as it causes higher energy bills. You can now get fantastic whole-house humidifiers that protect your entire property from the problems and discomfort that dry air causes.
In many cases, this can actually be more efficient from an environmental and economic point of view and that is why we have put together all of the key information you need to buy one, along with the top 10 best whole-house humidifiers on the market right now.
Humidifiers will generally fall into two categories: Point of Use and Whole House. As mentioned above, point of use humidifiers are designed for a single room, whereas whole house humidifiers will provide a solution for the entire household as they normally work in conjunction with a furnace, hence being known as furnace humidifiers.
Top 10 whole-house humidifiers
Best Whole House Humidifiers of 2021:
Whole House Humidifiers that are worth mentioning:
We’ve put together the 10 best whole-house humidifier systems on the market right now, along with some useful information about them and the leading pros and cons for each. It is important to make an informed decision before buying one and we believe these reviews will help you do that.
1. AirCare EP9800 Digital Whole House Pedestal Style Humidifier
We start our reviews off with one of the most recommended and best whole house humidifiers on the market right now. This pedestal style system comes in a stylish and understated black design so that it will fit in with any room.
It covers an impressive 2400 sq ft. This means it will perform well in most houses, even larger ones.
This humidifier from AirCare has a water tank that stores plenty of water and uses a saturated wick filter to keep the humidity level between 30% and 50% depending on the settings you choose.
Furthermore, it will run for 60 hours non-stop, a fantastic achievement and makes it stand out from many others who offer less than 24 hours.
It is relatively easy to install and use once you’ve got it running, making it an all-round good choice. If you do have a particularly large house, there are others on the market with greater coverage, but make sure to check the performance as well.
2. Aircare MA1201 Whole House Console Style Humidifier
The next whole-house humidifier to make it on our list is this one and it stands out thanks to two key features, it’s coverage and mobility. However, there is far more to it than this and it is certainly going to do a great job for most households.
Firstly, it covers an impressive 3600 sq ft, making it one of the best there is and secondly, it has wheels built into the bottom making it far easier to move around your property compared to other models.
An easy to install whole-house humidifier, you will be pleasantly surprised at how user friendly it is thanks to the digital humidistat that helps you use the many functions available.
On a technical note, this humidifier has a run time of 36 hours and a 3.6-gallon tank, which firmly places it at the higher end of our list.
Perhaps the main downside of this model is that it isn’t as quiet as some would want, which may end up becoming an annoyance for people trying to relax.
3. Aprilaire Model 500 Whole House Humidifier
This whole house humidifier is viewed as the best whole house bypass type of humidifier on the market right now.
To start with, it covers an impressive 3000 sq ft, keeping the entire area humid for multiple hours at a time, which is perfect for those busy households who suffer from dry air.
You can choose from two models with this system, one that has digital controls and one that is manually controlled, depending on your preference. Each performs well and has a system that tells you when to change the water panel. Its drain home will flush away any unwanted water from the system to help ensure only clean water is used.
Whilst this does have some fantastic features, it is important to note that you will need a professional to install this model.
It is recommended that you change the water panels approximately every 6 months, which may increase the overall cost, so you should think about this when working out your budget.
4. Honeywell HCM-6009 Cool Moisture Console Humidifier
Whilst on paper the Honeywell HCM-6009 does seem to lack the power of some others on this list, it actually performs well and has some great features.
This humidifier has a coverage of 2300 sq ft, which makes it a great choice for smaller properties and even some average homes. There are other choices with a greater coverage for those larger homes.
it will be able to maintain this for up to 24 hours at a time, which is perfect for small and medium-sized houses.
It has a 3-gallon water tank built-in, so you don’t need to fill it up too frequently and what we love the most is an auto on/off feature. For most whole-house humidifiers, you only get an auto shut off option.
An easy to clean, install and fill humidifier, with a wicking filter that removes minerals from the water, this really is a perfect solution for homes with dry air. Throw in the fact it produces a cool mist thanks to being a cool mist humidifier too, and it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t choose this model unless the 2300 sq ft doesn’t fit the bill.
5. Aprilaire 600 Humidifier Auto
The next Aprilaire whole-house humidifier to make it onto our list is the 600 model and whilst it is similar to the 500 version, there are some extra features that make this a great buy and another one of the best whole house humidifier choices.
To start with, its coverage is an enormous 4 000 square feet, making it suitable for almost every household and covering almost double some of the other systems.
Where this really stands out is in the programming features. If there is a power cut then this system will remember what settings you had when it turns back on, saving you time and effort. Furthermore, it has a 7-day programme feature that lets you choose specific settings for each day of the week if you are at work or the dry air is worse on specific days.
Whilst this system doesn’t necessarily require a professional to install, those with minimal experience may want to get expert support anyway.
6. Vornado Evap40 4-Gallon Humidifier
The Vornado is one of the most budget-friendly, best whole-house humidifiers on the market right now and perfect for those with small apartments.
It covers approximately 1000 sq ft, so enough for two or three rooms, like those found in a small city apartment.
Just because it is at the lower end of the budget, doesn’t mean it lacks the normal features and you can choose from three different speed options to ensure the humidity levels are just right. Its humidistat will automatically control the humidity levels, keeping it perfect for your home.
The tank is easy to fill and has been developed to minimise any spillages or leaks but you may get frustrated by the frequency with which you have to replace the wick filters. Also, the low-speed setting does seem to lack enough performance to humidify your home. Still, this is a fantastic solution for small apartments.
7. Aircare H12-400HB 3-Speed Whole House Console Style Evaporative Humidifier
You may initially be put off by the design choices with this whole-house humidifier but if you can see past that, or perhaps you like that style, then the performance more than makes up for it.
It has a very large 5.4-gallon water tank, bigger than almost every model on the list.
This humidifier will cover 3700 sq ft. This makes it a great choice for most properties, even larger homes.
With a choice for four different fan speed options and an amazing 45 hours run time without stopping, you will always have a comfortable home.
The manufacturer has chosen to have analogue controls with a digital whole house humidifier screen, which makes it simple to use and check what settings you have chosen.
Perhaps the biggest downside of this model is the size, as it is one of the larger humidifiers on the market and its plastic body doesn’t feel the most sturdy. However, it does pack a punch and will deliver performance for most houses.
8. Aircare MA0800 Digital Whole House Console Style Humidifier
Yet another Aircare whole-house humidifier to make it onto our list and this one has some helpful features that really make it stand out.
Let’s start with the basics – a coverage of 2600 sq ft and an average water tank means it performs well on average-sized properties but not larger households.
However, thanks to the technology inside this humidifier, it will use that smaller water wank and work for up to 36 hours non-stop, which means you won’t have to fill it up that often.
It has all of the usual options like three different speeds to choose from and an auto shut off feature. One particular feature we liked was the nighttime setting that makes it run quietly.
A perfectly good choice for most households, we have had reports that it can sometimes rattle when set to the highest fan speed.
9. Aprilaire 800 Residential Steam Humidifier
We’ve put this one on the list because it has been designed for very large properties, thanks to its coverage.
This humidifier has a huge coverage of 6000 sq ft. This means it is a large unit and you will need to make sure the dimensions fit in your home before buying it.
This whole-house humidifier has a run time of around 60 hours, making it one of the longest possible, creating a comfortable, happy household for days at a time without having to refill the tank.
It is important to note that whilst this huge unit has lots of features and great performance, it is definitely advisable to get an expert to install the system as it requires a level of technical knowledge and experience.
10. Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier
We end this review of the 10 best whole-house humidifiers with another from Aprilaire and you can rest assured that buying one of their products is a great investment.
This humidifier will evaporate an impressive 0.75-gallons per hour thanks to its large water tank and will provide coverage to 4 200 square feet.
We love the fact that this system is very easy to control, thanks to its digital controls and excellent instructions.
However, the installation process might not be as straightforward for those without professional experience, thanks to its many stages to follow. A great choice for those with larger properties, it fits nicely in between the smaller models and the giant Aprilaire 800 unit.
Types of whole-house humidifiers
It is important to explain that are generally three types of whole-house humidifiers, which are:
This type of whole-house humidifier is designed to work alongside a furnace. The fundamental way they work is by drawing warm air from any of the heat ducts around your whole house and passing this air through a water panel. This process absorbs much of the moisture before feeding it back through into the household airflow.
The traditional way for installing a bypass humidifier is to put it on the supply or return part of the whole house air system. Also, keep in mind that some models and brands will experience a build-up of water in the humidifier. You can fix this by purchasing additional parts like a drain filter, saving money and protecting your humidifier.
A whole-house humidifier that uses steam by boiling water up to the point it turns to steam and then blows that steam through vents, around the house and humidifies each room. This is often one of the fastest ways to humidify a room when compared to other whole-house humidifiers and also one of the purest.
Fan powered humidifiers
A fan-powered humidifier is similar to a bypass version, as it uses fans to push air across a water panel, after which it channels the water-air back through the air ducts around the entire home. The use of fans in this system means that it will generally produce far more in a day when compared to a bypass humidifier.
One of the added benefits of choosing a fan-powered humidifier is that they are often more compact than bypass systems and offer a highly energy-efficient solution for your home, reducing the environmental impact as well as the impact on your budget.
However, there are also categories based on the actual working systems inside the humidifiers and the most common ones are:
A drum system humidifier uses a foam or belt, traditionally made from fabric to help humidify your property. This belt is put on a drum which rotates over the reservoir inside the whole-house humidifier. When it moves in a circular motion, the fabric or foam belt traps any moisture in, after which it is blown through the air ducts of a furnace humidifier and onto the property.
It is often the case that this type of humidifier is the cheapest and whilst they still perform well, they do require more maintenance, particularly when it comes to the prevention of mold. Regular cleaning will fix this issue.
There isn’t a great deal of difference between this type of whole-house humidifier and a drum system, with the exception of needing to clean the pads every so often. As well as this, it is important to drain any excess water, by way of a drain hose connected to the humidifier. You should always connect this to a special container or drain in the floor to ensure it works correctly.
Spray mist system
A simple system that involves spraying moisture into the air ducts of your home immediately after the air conditioning or furnace comes online. These systems can be set to blow both cool mist or warm mist depending on the preferred settings, making them a fantastic choice for all year round. You may need to clean them periodically if you suffer from contaminated water, but with some fantastic whole-house filters available nowadays, this shouldn’t be an issue for most households.
The benefits of whole-house humidifiers
There are some fantastic benefits to installing a whole-house humidifier in your property and we have put together some of the most important and relatable benefits which will help you discover why they are such a great choice.
Many of our readers will have experienced being uncomfortable during the summer season and the air is very dry. It can not only make you feel uncomfortable, but cause issues with your breathing and mental health. A humidifier is a fantastic way to ensure that inside your home, you have the air at the right humidity level to stay comfortable, happy and relaxed.
Protect your home
You may have wooden surfaces, furniture or other items that can be affected by an incorrect humidity level. Choosing a whole-house humidifier will help you preserve your home and the valuable items within.
Choosing a whole-house humidifier is no longer as expensive as many think, thanks to some fantastic improvements in technology and awareness. Whilst they may still be a big investment for some homes, the long term benefits make it a fantastic benefit as you will certainly save money in the long run. Apart from the initial outlay, you will increase your water bill ever so slightly, but will no longer need to purchase bottles of water to feed into individual, single room humidifiers. Imagine how much money you have spent on these over the years and you can quickly see the potential savings from a whole-house solution.
Reduces health concerns
There are some significant health issues that can be made worse by dry air, such as asthma and bronchitis and a whole-house humidifier can be a lifesaver. If you can live in a home that is at a proper humidity level, then you instantly reduce the chances of making your condition worse. You can’t put a value on quality of life and these are a fantastic way to support that.
You may think that a big whole-house humidifier will be a beast of a system that uses energy and adds to your bills. It is infact a very different situation. If you replace single room humidifiers with a single whole-house unit, then you will be saving money per hour on your energy bill. Furthermore, you will be using less energy, helping protect the environment and reducing the impact you have on the world around you. A win-win for everyone.
Potential health concerns
It is important to offer a balanced review of whole-house humidifiers and there are some health concerns linked to the use of these systems. However, it is often the case that these health issues come about because people fail to either install, use or maintain the system properly.
Firstly, conditions like asthma can be induced by high levels of warm mist and so you can choose a cool mist option if you’re worried by this, or speak to a medical expert to make sure the one you choose is the most suitable.
Secondly, it is important to remember that these systems do not soften the water supply. If you live in an area with high levels of hard water, then it would be advisable to include a water softener into your plumbing. This is because mineral deposits in the water may cause health issues if inhaled regularly.
Here are the key factors to consider when purchasing a whole-house humidifier.
Each of us will have a different budget available and it is important to think about the price you wish to pay, as it will narrow down your search options. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good one on a tight budget, as there are some great budget-friendly whole-house humidifiers out there.
Whilst these are designed to cover the whole house, you should look at the square feet covered by each unit to make sure that they meet the size of your property. For large houses, we recommend choosing one with a coverage of at least 3000 sq ft. For smaller properties, you can get away with one that is less than 2500 sq ft.
The majority of people will be running these whole-house humidifiers for long periods at a time without turning them off and it is important to check the maximum run time before making the purchase. Some systems can run for an impressive 65 hours but the majority will be somewhere lower than this figure.
We appreciate that many people out there will have the skills and experience to install these without much trouble. However, for those that are new to humidifiers or DIY in general, it is good to look at how user friendly they are and how easy they are to install. If you end up needing to get help installing it, then this is going to add to the upfront costs and may not make it the right system for you.
You will need to perform maintenance periodically to ensure that the system lasts a long time and works as efficiently as possible. It is important to check what is required of you by each model of humidifier, as you may find some of the more complex ones will mean getting professional assistance, which in turn adds to the running costs. However, many of them can be maintained by the homeowner, taking just some time and minor costs.
When you see a review referring to the capacity of a humidifier, then it means the size of the tank. It is usually measured in gallons, ranging from approximately 3 up to 10+, depending on the model chosen. You can also get tankless whole-house humidifiers too, so you won’t need to worry about the capacity consideration.
How to choose the right size
It can be easy to get confused when researching whole-house humidifiers because of the numbers thrown at you. However, the first thing to look out for is the square feet that a humidifier claims to cover, as this is the key bit of information about whether it will perform. You should have a rough idea of what the square feet number is for your own property and if not, its best to find out.
Secondly, some may mention terms like loose, average or tight seal. These terms refer to the quality of the seal on doors and windows, as well as anywhere else that can impact the airflow, such as insulation, fireplaces etc. It is also linked to the age of properties, with modern properties being far better at this and falling into the tight seal end of things. If in doubt, ask an expert for some advice.
It is important to stay safe and understand how best to install and use your whole-house humidifier, so we ask everyone to read this section on safety and thoroughly check the manufacturers instructions and warnings.
Certain humidifiers may need filling regularly with water, which can be heavy and awkward to do, so think about where they are placed. Likewise, a whole-house steam humidifier can get hot and have the risk of burning people and objects, so make sure you place it according to the guidelines from the manufacturers.
Whole-house humidifiers will generally use the plumbing and take a lot more effort to install, so we would advise getting support from a professional if you have any concerns. This is to ensure that the water supply, electrical wiring and positioning are safe. If in doubt, get some advice and support because safety should always be your priority.
Thank you for taking the time to read our article on the 10 best whole-house humidifiers on the market right now. We hope that it has opened your eyes to the potential options available to you and the kinds of features and options that you should consider before making a buying decision. If you live in a part of the world that suffers from very dry air, then these are a fantastic way of having a healthier, more comfortable home without extensive cost or changes to your plumbing. No matter what your budget is, there will be a solution out there for you, so get searching today for your personal best whole house humidifier.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions about whole-house humidifiers in the hope that it helps you understand what they are and make an informed buying decision.
What is the best whole-house humidifier to go for?
- We understand people will instantly want to know which is the best system to go for but this very much depends on your individual requirements, including size of your property, budget and existing set up. If you follow the guidance and information on this website, then you will be perfectly placed to make an informed decision about the best humidifier for you.
Are they safe to use?
- We believe that whole-house humidifiers are safe to use and the benefits of using one far outweigh any potential disadvantages. It is important to remember to install them correctly, maintain and repair them properly and you will be fine. They generally only become a problem when people don’t follow the instructions or fail to maintain them.
Do they cause mold in your house?
- Ultimately, too much moisture in a specific location can cause mold to build up, however thanks to the improvements in these systems that is rarely an issue. Most whole-house humidifier systems have settings and technology that stops the level of moisture in the air becoming a problem and will automatically stop if the humidity levels reach an unacceptable level.
Where should I install a whole-house humidifier?
- It is likely that each manufacturer will specify a location to install your humidifier but in general, it is likely to either need to be closer to the furnace, or in a central location if it is portable. Some helpful reminders include making sure it is out of reach or children or pets to ensure everyone is safe.
Should I choose a specific brand?
- The honest answer is we always like to head towards those well-known brands that offer reliable systems and services and a level of peace of mind that you don’t get with unknown manufacturers. However, there are some fantastic systems out there right now, from leading brands including Aprilaire, as well as lesser-known ones. Do your research, understand the product and check out reviews to work out the best choice for your household.
Where can I buy replacement filters?
- You will be able to easily buy replacement filters online, such as on Amazon but also local stores are beginning to stock them more frequently. Depending on where you live and the types of shop around you, it may still be easier to go online. Check with your manufacturer for information on who stocks their products and what models you need.
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