Best Whole House Humidifier To Add To Your Home

Last Updated June 17, 2021 By Bella Zinti

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While most standard-sized humidifiers are only powerful enough to regulate the humidity level of a single room, a whole-house humidifier offers enough oomph to add moisture to your entire home.

In this guide to whole-house humidifiers, we'll review the best whole-house humidifiers to add to your home in 2021 and highlight some useful information to help you choose between models when online shopping. But first, let's examine what exactly a whole-house humidifier is and how it can benefit your home and overall health.

What is a whole-house humidifier?

Unlike a traditional single-room humidifier, a whole-house humidifier is designed to regulate the air throughout your whole home. As a result, they're a great way to add moisture to the air in your home, which, as you'll see below, can potentially have a number of benefits. There are two main types of whole-home humidifier:

  • Whole-House Pedestal-Style Humidifiers/ Portable Humidifiers—These free-standing portable units, often referred to as a pedestal humidifier, are not connected to the HVAC ductwork in your home. They're essentially larger, more powerful versions of standard single-room humidifiers and are best suited for apartments and homes under 2500 sq. ft.
  • HVAC-Installed Whole-Home Humidifiers— Unlike a pedestal-style humidifier, these units are installed directly to your ductwork (aka your home's central heating and air conditioning system). While a portable humidifier requires manual control, an HVAC-installed humidifier will automatically turn on with your AC or heating system and utilize an automatic humidistat to regulate humidity levels. Most units require complex installation, so professional installation is usually required to ensure the unit functions properly.

Do whole-house humidifiers really work?

Yes, whole-house humidifiers do really work! But with that being said, it's crucial to choose a well-suited model for the square footage of your home to ensure it can create your optimal humidity level throughout every room of the house. Additionally, you'll need to do a bit of research and trial-and-error testing to determine your desired humidity level.

Can a whole-house humidifier cause mold?

If used incorrectly, a whole-house humidifier can lead to mold growth by adding excess moisture to the air and circulating the mold spores throughout the unit and the air in your home. Therefore, it's crucial to properly install, control, and maintain your humidifier to reduce the likelihood of mold growth in your walls, attic, forced-air HVAC system, or on your windows. Additionally, you'll need to regularly clean your humidifier (and your indoor air handler or furnace if you're using an HVAC-installed whole-house humidifier) to remove dust that can potentially harbor mold spores.

What are the benefits of having a whole-house humidifier?

There are several reasons why you may want to use a humidifier to regulate the air in your house:

  • Healthy Skin— By adding moisture to the air, your humidifier helps your skin hold onto its natural moisture, making them a great choice for anyone with dermatitis, eczema, or dry skin.
  • Alleviate Asthma and Allergy Symptoms— Humidifiers are scientifically proven to reduce asthma and allergy symptoms like dry eyes, sneezing, painful sinuses, and scratchy throats.
  • Fight Flu Season— Humid air keeps your sinuses happy, making your respiratory system less susceptible to common colds and some types of flu.
  • Reduces Snoring— By providing your sinuses with much-needed moisture, a humidifier can help reduce snoring, coughing, and sinus discomfort that causes poor sleep.
  • Furniture Protection— Dry air doesn't just suck the moisture from your skin; it draws it from wooden surfaces, which can eventually crack and split over time in dry environments. Having moist air helps protect and extend the life of antique furniture, musical instruments, and hardwood floors.

How to choose a whole-house humidifier

Because units vary by style, strength, and optimal square footage, not all humidifiers will be well-suited for your home. However, here are a few things to look for to ensure you find the best whole-house humidifier for your space:

  • Type of Humidifier— First and foremost, you'll want to do a bit of research to determine what style of humidifier is right for you. Are you looking for a console humidifier to place in a central location or a central unit attached to your HVAC system? You'll also need to determine if you can manage a DIY installation or if you'll need to have the unit installed by a professional.
  • The correct size for your square footage— To prevent mold growth and ensure the air reaches your desired humidity level, you'll need to purchase a unit that's the right size for your home.
  • Eco-friendly and energy-efficient— To reduce your electricity bill and your environmental impact, look for humidifiers that are Energy Star-Certified and have low-energy use during operation.
  • Automatic Controls— To make life easier, stick to models that offer automatic control features like auto shut-off and humidity settings so you can set it and forget it.
  • Indicator Lights— The top whole-house humidifiers have indicator lights that offer simple visual indicators of when you need to add water, change the filter, or do periodic maintenance.
  • Quiet Operation— Look for models with quiet operation and a display-off feature that won't disturb light sleepers.
  • Tank Capacity— A larger water supply means a longer run time without needing to refill the water inside. Additionally, look for models with water tanks that are easy to clean and don't require purified water.

Reviews of the best whole-house humidifiers

AIRCARE 5 Gal. Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifier

AIRCARE 5 Gal. Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifier

Unlike most other whole-house humidifiers, this Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifier from AIRCARE won't detract from your home decor. The console-style humidifier features a sleek honey oak finish instead of the boring white or black exterior found on most other units. It features a five-gallon water tank and a three-speed motor for up to 12.81 gallons of the daily output in homes up to 4,000 sq. ft. Additional features like automatic shut-off, easy-fill dual water bottles, and digital controls and display make it incredibly user-friendly while producing optimal humidification.

Maximum Square Feet— 4,000

Product Dimensions— 15 in x 10 in x 16 in

Aprilaire 600 Automatic Humidifier

This AIRCARE Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier attaches right to your air ducts to circulate moistened air throughout your whole home with ease. While it does require installation by a professional, it's packed with user-friendly features that make operation easy once installed. Thanks to a 7-day programming function, you can quickly program unique operation settings for each day of the week. Plus, the permanent memory ensures your programming isn't lost during power outages. The automatic humidifier can be paired with an Aprilaire Whole-Home Air Cleaner to provide even better indoor air quality.

Maximum Square Feet— 4,000

Product Dimensions— 15 in x 10 in x 16 in

AIRCARE MA1201 Console Style Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier

Searching for a simple whole-house humidifier that's straightforward and easy to use? Look no further than the AIRCARE MA1201 Console-Style Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier. It's effective, user-friendly, and easy to clean, making it a great choice if this is your first whole-house humidifier. A digital humidistat automatically maintains your target humidity using a 3.6-gallon tank and four fan speeds for up to 36 hours of maximum runtime. Plus, it automatically shuts off when the desired moisture level has been reached or the unit's water tank is empty.

The AIRCARE Whole-House Console Style Evaporative Humidifier is also available in a smaller 2.5 gallon model for spaces with a square footage of up to 2600.

Maximum Square Feet— 3,600

Product Dimensions— 20.5 in x 21.5 in x 14.5 in

Aprilaire 800Z Whole-House Steam Humidifier

The Aprilaire 800Z Whole-House Steam Humidifier is one of the best whole-house humidifiers for large spaces. It provides coverage for up to 6,200 sq. ft. and unlike many humidifiers, it doesn't require purified water. Users can choose from six daily output levels ranging from 11.5 to 34.6 gallons based on voltage and installation. The whole-house steam humidifier features dual sensors for precise humidity control and easy operation. The unit comes with all components needed for installation, including a steam hose, drain tubing, and valves.

Maximum Square Feet— 3,600

Product Dimensions— 20.5 in x 21.5 in x 14.5 in

LEVOIT Ultrasonic Air Vaporizer Whole House Humidifier

The LEVOIT Ultrasonic Air Vaporizer Whole-House Humidifier is ideal for small apartments or large rooms. A convenient remote control makes it easy to adjust the settings or simply turn on auto mode and let the automatic digital control do the work for you. Its easy-clean large tank has a 1.5-gallon capacity that offers 60 hours of continuous use on the low mist level.

Unlike other humidifiers, this LEVOIT model features near-silent operation, an easy-set timer for overnight operation, and it blows cool mist and warm mist. You can even add essential oils to the aroma box to disperse your favorite scent throughout your space.

Maximum Square Feet— 753

Product Dimensions— 11.3 in x 7 in x 10.5 in

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.