Best Whole House Humidifier
One of the best ways to combat dry air in your home which can cause everything from dry skin to frequent thirst, is to invest in a whole house humidifier.
A whole house humidifier will allow you to control the humidity level of the air in your home, which can effectively prevent sinus-related issues and dehydration.
Choosing the right device for your home can lead to significant improvements to the quality of air you breathe in on a daily basis, which makes it well worth the expense.
Here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Whole House Humidifier
- Best of the Best: Aprilaire 600M Whole Home Humidifier
- Runner Up: Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier
- Best on a Budget: LEVOIT Humidifier
- Best for Big Homes: Aprilaire 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier
Best Whole House Humidifier Reviews
Aprilaire 600M Whole Home Humidifier (👑 Best of the Best)
In our view, the Aprilaire 600M is the best whole house humidifier, primarily due to its range of useful features and extensive coverage.
This whole home humidifier from Aprilaire is capable of controlling the air humidity up to an area of 4,000 square feet. What’s more, it offers a number of options so you can pick the one which best suits your needs. There’s the 4,000 square feet model which we are reviewing here, but there’s also one that covers 3,000 square feet and one that covers 4,200 square feet. You’ll also be able to decide between an automatic or manual unit, and the 4,200 square feet covering model is fan powered, if that’s something in particular you’re looking for in a humidifier.
Manufactured by a reliable brand in Aprilaire, the 600M has a capacity of 17 gallons per day, which will allow you to manage the level of humidity in the air of your home. The automatic version of the Aprilaire 600M humidifier uses dual sensors to both monitor and adapt to outdoor and indoor relative humidity and temperature in order to keep the moisture in the air at the optimal level. It can regulate the humidity of your home 24/7, and simply requires you to set it up a single time and then forget about it. In short, this means the device will automatically pick up on the moments when your home is lacking humidity, and provide the necessary extra moisture to the air. However, if you prefer the less expensive manual option, then this will come with a single sensor so that you can set up the humidity percentage in your home by hand. Both options have a built-in humidistat, which will either tell you or the device what the current humidity level is in the house so that any necessary adjustments can be made.
As a bypass humidifier, this device features a built-in bypass damper, which makes it straightforward to install. As a bypass device, it will bypass the furnace and direct the humidified air directly to the ducts and out through the central heating system. The other benefit of this type of humidifier is that there are both summer and winter settings, so that you don’t have to fiddle around to find the optimal settings, and don’t have to worry about it for the whole season.
- Bypass humidifer
- Available in several options (manual or automatic)
- Covers 4,000 square feet
- Capacity of 17 gallons per day
- Single sensor
- Includes Aprilaire 35 replacement water panel
Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier (🥈 Runner Up)
As for the runner up pick, we went with the Honeywell Cool Moisture humidifier, which is great for keeping the air in your home at the optimal humidity level for you.
This electric corded humidifier is suitable for multiple rooms in a house, or even a whole home. It uses evaporative humidification technology and has an overall capacity of 3 gallons, with each individual tank having 1.5 gallons.
The way it works is by directing the water from the dual tanks up into the water tray, then absorbing it into its Protec treated filter. Then, the dry indoor air of your home is passed through the filter and absorbs the moisture as it does so. Meanwhile, the air washing layer of the filter captures everything from dust and dirt, to pollen, so you should have less issues with allergy-triggering airborne particles. Finally, the QuietCare fan which operates almost silently, disperses this fresh moisture back out into the air so that you and anyone who lives with you can breathe easy. Not only will it resolve issues associated with dry air such as congestion, but it will also help keep your furniture in top shape and your plants healthy.
This humidifier can run for up to 24 hours, and both of the tanks are incredibly easy to fill up and clean out. This 24 hour operation ensures that you don’t need to spend all day nursing the device and making sure it’s doing its job correctly. This isn’t a device which needlessly expends energy either, since the adjustable built-in humidistat will automatically turn the device on and off as necessary in order to maintain the humidity level that you set. Plus, if you need to change the speed at which the humidifier pumps out moisture into the air then you can cycle between any of 3 fan speed settings, which will directly affect the moisture output.
- Evaporative humidifier
- Dual tank 3 gallon capacity
- 24 hour operation
- Auto shut off
- Built-in humidistat
- Wicking filter
LEVOIT Humidifier (💰 Best on a Budget)
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly humidifier which is still suitable for a whole house then this model from LEVOIT isn’t a bad option at all.
This hybrid ultrasonic humidifier is perfect for the winter season, but can provide both warm and cool mist depending on your preferences. So whether you’re looking for relief from cold symptoms during the colder months, or relief from dry and stuffy air in the hotter months, this humidifier from LEVOIT has you covered. It’s ideal for relieving allergies, congestion, and promoting healthy skin by adding moisture to dry air.
This device comes with 2 options that should satisfy just about any customer. The first option is the manual humidity mode. This mode lets you choose the exact percentage humidity level you desire for your home, so you can have full control from day to day. The other mode is the auto mode, which is best for anyone who doesn’t want a hands-on role with the device as it will take care of everything for you. This option will automatically adjust the humidity in the air until it reaches a comfortable level.
As a smaller device, the water tank capacity of the LEVOIT humidifier is 1.59 gallons, but the output is still impressive as it can add 300ml of moisture to the air per hour with its Max Cool setting and 500ml per hour with the Max Warm moisture setting. It can run for anywhere between 10 and 60 hours in a single session, so you can sit back and enjoy your day as it goes to work. One of the best parts of this humidifier is that because it is a more compact device, it puts out much less noise than a lot of other whole house models.
There’s even a remote control that comes with this budget-friendly humidifier from LEVOIT, which means you can adjust the settings of the device without having to get off the couch or out of bed. Alternatively, you can set a 1-12 hour timer, so you can relax in the knowledge that the device will be working without requiring your supervision. As a nice extra feature, the humidifier also includes an aroma box, which you can use to add your favorite essential oils to for a relaxing experience in the comfort of your own home.
- Covers up to 2,000 square feet
- Removes up to 25 pints a day
- 360 degree rotatable wheels
- Intelligent control panel
- Auto drain or manual drain
- 30 day money back guaranteed
- 1 year warranty
Aprilaire 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier (🏘️ Best for Big Homes)
If you have a large home, and you’re worried that most humidifiers won’t provide the amount of coverage you require, then your best bet is the Aprilaire 800.
This whole house humidifier is a significant investment compared to most others, but it provides much more coverage up to an impressive 6,200 square feet. There are 2 purchase options, one which requires air ducts, and the other which is powered by a fan and doesn’t require air ducts. This is a corded electric device, and was designed with electrode technology by top US-based humidifier brand Aprilaire. You can expect a very large capacity with this humidifier of between 11.5 and 34.6 gallons per day, which blows most other devices out of the water.
Since this device uses electrode technology, it doesn’t require purified water like many other humidifiers do. In fact, it depends on the existence of impurities in the water to work properly, since this promotes the transfer of electricity. It also doesn’t require water filtration, as this can make the installation tricky as well as increasing the costs of operation. Like a lot of devices the Aprilaire 800 relies on an automatic system, which uses dual sensors to monitor and react accordingly to both indoor and outdoor temperatures and humidity levels. This means you can expect optimal humidity 24/7 inside your home, which puts it into the ‘set it, forget it’ category of humidifiers.
Simply mount the device to your home’s furnace, provided you also have air ducts, and the humidifier will take care of the rest by using the built-in humidistat to keep the humidity level at a good level.
- Steam humidifier
- Covers up to 6,200 square feet
- Automatic dual sensor function
- Electrode technology
- 11.5-34.6 gallon capacity per day
- Doesn’t require purified water
Picking out the perfect humidifier to keep the humidity level in your home as it should be can be a daunting task.
In order to make the best decision for you, you’ll need to account for a variety of factors and give them some thought before you go ahead and part with your cash.
We believe the most important factors when it comes to selecting a whole house humidifier are the type of model, the coverage offered, and the way the humidifier works.
Before diving into the devices themselves though, we thought it would be helpful to go into why you might need a whole home humidifier, in case you’re unclear on exactly what it can do for you.
Do You Need a Whole Home Humidifier?
An important question to ask before you concern yourself with the details of individual devices is whether you need a whole home humidifier.
In order to ascertain whether you could benefit from having one of these devices, you’ll need to think about the following telltale signs which indicate you have a problem with dry air at home.
You should be able to figure out whether you could benefit from having a whole house humidifier simply by thinking about whether the following things apply to how you feel at home.
However, if you’re not sure whether they do apply or not, you can start a journal to track these signs if you really want to make sure.
- Constant Feeling of Thirst
The first sign that you might need a whole house humidifier is feeling like you are always thirsty.
If you struggle with a constant feeling of dehydration and you feel like you drink a reasonable amount of water throughout the day, then it could be that the air in your home is excessively dry.
As you might imagine, if there is a lack of moisture in the air, your home can feel like a desert in which you feel like you have a dry mouth 24/7.
- Dry Skin
Another sign that the air in your home is too dry is dry or irritable skin.
While a certain amount of dry skin or irritation isn’t necessarily cause for concern, if you find that you always suffer with cracked lips or an itchy scalp during hotter months indoors, then it certainly could be a result of your home lacking humidity.
- Dying House Plants
Many plants, unless they are succulents, will thrive in air that has the perfect level of humidity.
This means that if the air where they reside is too dry, they can struggle to survive.
If you own house plants and you see that they are withering away despite your best efforts to keep them alive, then this could indicate that they need more moisture in the air.
- Excessive Congestion
Congestion is a common problem, so it’s not unusual to experience it at home.
However, if you notice that you feel congested for the majority of the time during hotter months, then the problem could be a lack of moisture in the air rather than an issue with your sinuses.
Having more humid air will allow the mucus in your nasal passages to flow as it needs to, preventing blockages which can lead to a congested feeling and sinus headaches.
There are several different types of whole house humidifier, and picking the right one is essential if you want the best results.
We’ll review the pros and cons of each of the most popular types of humidifier, so you can make a more informed decision.
You’ll probably notice once you start looking for a whole house humidifier that many of them will have a fan-powered option.
The fan-powered humidifier has a lot in common with the bypass humidifier.
The way it works is by blowing air through a fan into the water panel, and then emitting either vapor or mist through a filter which takes care of airborne pollutants like dust and pollen. The air then travels into the ducts of your home to be diffused around the house.
One of the best things about having a fan-powered humidifier is that it won’t require hot water, so you can expect a smaller energy bill than you’d get with a steam humidifier.
It also trumps the bypass humidity when it comes to humidity output, and given that it tends to be smaller it can fit in areas where the bypass option can’t.
The downside to the fan-powered humidifier is that it will be a more significant investment, and installation prices can be steep too. You might also find that it’s noisy while running too.
The steam humidifier is a model which takes water and then heats it up until it’s boiling in order to create steam which can be poured through the ventilation ducts in your home.
Since this option relies heavily on hot water to run, it will consume a significant amount of energy which will be reflected on your electricity bill.
However, it will give you the most control over the humidity level in your home since the steam is produced independently.
It also minimises the risk of mold growth, which can be a serious issue with some humidifiers.
Finally, maintenance should be minimal with a steam humidifier, so that should put your mind at ease if you don’t want to have to constantly check up on the device to check if it’s still working optimally.
The final type of humidifier is the bypass option, the bypass humidifier will take heat from the furnace system in your home, and use it to turn water into mist.
This mist is then delivered to and then distributed by the ventilation system.
The bypass humidifier is more often than not the most affordable option of all types of whole house humidifiers, and is a very popular option.
It will also filter out potentially harmful allergy-trigger pollutants in the air such as dust and pollen, and will operate quietly than those which rely on the use of a fan.
The downside of a bypass humidifier is that you might not get the same level of humidity output as other types, plus you’ll need the furnace to be running in order for it to work.
An evaporative humidifier, also known as a wick humidifier, has 3 main parts and uses all 3 to deliver optimal humidity level for a whole house.
The first part is the fan, which has the role of drawing in air and blowing it over the wick which is soaked with water. As a result, the dry air that surrounds the wet wick will begin to absorb some of the moisture and disperse it to the air around.
This can be great for cooling down a room, especially if you suffer in hotter months with excessively dry air.
It is very energy efficient which means you won’t have exorbitant electricity bills if you decide to with an evaporative humidifier for your home.
Since it has a very simple process to produce moisture, this is a humidifier which can run incredibly quiet, which means it shouldn’t disrupt the peace in your home.
Clean up and maintenance are simple too, and the only thing you’ll need to replace regularly is the filter, though this isn’t an expensive recurring payment.
The downside to an evaporative humidifier is that because it doesn’t boil the water, there is a risk that bacteria can grow and be dispersed around the room.
This is of course something you want to avoid, so with this type of humidifier you will have to stay vigilant and ensure it’s kept clean at all times.
Coverage & Capacity
The coverage and capacity of a whole house humidifier are very important factors to keep in mind when you’re looking to buy.
The coverage refers to how large an area the humidifier can humidify, and the capacity refers to how long it can run for based on the amount of water it can hold.
To ensure you pick the right coverage and capacity for your home, it’s imperative that you know the square footage of your house and what level of efficiency you’re looking for.
The greater the capacity, the longer the unit will be able to run for, so if you’re looking for a device that requires minimal maintenance this is worth bearing in mind.
Automatic vs Manual
Whole house humidifiers can either be automatic or manual, although some will give you the option to toggle between modes according to your preferences.
The automatic type relies on a dual sensor which tracks in real-time with a humidistat the current humidity level indoors and outdoors.
It then makes adjustments accordingly to ensure the humidity level is optimal at all times.
The manual type has a single sensor, and allows you to choose a percentage humidity level that works best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Whole House Humidifiers
Do whole house humidifiers really work?
Whole house humidifiers can provide automatic indoor humidity control for your home, so yes, they do work.
They can be especially useful for adding moisture to dry air, which is known to trigger allergic reactions and dry out skin.
They will also allow you to set the perfect humidity level for your home, so you can breathe comfortably year-round.
What is the best whole home humidifier?
We believe the best whole home humidifier is the Aprilaire 600M, given that it is well-received by its many past customers and has a host of useful features.
The best part about this manual bypass humidifier is that it allows you to set the exact humidity level you want for your home, using a percentage dial.
It also boasts an excellent coverage of 4,000 square feet, as well as having a large capacity of 17 gallons per day.
When should you use a whole house humidifier?
The best time to use a whole house humidifier is whenever the air is particularly dry in your home, which is most often during the winter season.
You should be able to tell when your home could benefit from some added moisture in the air, because you will likely notice symptoms associated with dry air such as chapped lips and dried out skin.
It’s also a good idea if you suffer from allergies or asthma, since it can help alleviate symptoms.
Where should you place a whole house humidifier?
The best place to install a whole house humidifier is in the HVAC system of your home, so you’ll likely need an expert to get it set up for the first time.
It can be installed directly into a cooling or heating system in order to provide extra humidity to the air.
Working with the HVAC system it can keep the air moist and prevent it from getting too dry.
A Final Word From Wellness Nova
Having a whole house humidifier can be an excellent way of keeping the air just how you like it so you can breathe comfortably in the comfort of your own home.
In order to find the perfect device for your home, it’s worth considering factors such as coverage, design, and features.