Best Whole House Humidifier Reviews

When the weather turns colder, it seems as though all moisture is sucked out of the air. As the dry air sets in, so does the congestion, nosebleeds, and dry skin. Rather than buying stock in some lotion company, you could buy a humidifier for the whole house. There are a couple of different types of humidifiers out there. Some are console types that sit inside your house and work hard to evaporate water and turn it into a fine mist for your grateful skin and sinuses. And then there are those that you hook up to your furnace and air ducts.

To figure out which one is right for you, and then which one of all those on the market is your perfect match, you'll have to do a little bit of light reading. Learn some about how whole house humidifiers work, and why it would be a good idea to go this more expensive route than other solutions. Finally, be sure to read through the best humidifier for the whole house reviews to find out how others felt about their purchases.

Best Whole House Humidifier Comparisons

Brand

Details

Our Rating

AIRCARE MA1201 Evaporative Humidifier

  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 21.5 x 14.5 inches
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 years

Aprilaire 500 Humidifier 

  • Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 13 inches
  • Weight: 7.35 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 years

AIRCARE MA0800 Evaporative Humidifier 

  • Dimensions: 12 x 18 x 16.5 inches
  • Weight: 8.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 years

Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier 

  • Dimensions: 23.1 x 15 x 17.5 inches
  • Weight: 19.95 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3 years

Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier 

  • Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 18 inches
  • Weight: 15.8 lbs.
  • Warranty: 5 years

Types of Whole House Humidifiers

You have essentially two options when it comes to a humidifier for the whole house. There's the console version, and then the type that's installed with your heating system. One is much more affordable than the other, but the pricier version might be more effective for some households.

Console Humidifiers

The console home humidifier is a bit like a large version of the small personal humidifiers that you can find for dirt cheap. You won't have to refill the console type nearly as often as a smaller humidifier, but you're still going to have to maintain it in a similar way. These humidifiers usually use a filter that needs to be cleaned or changed. The tank also needs to be cleaned often. Some recommendations are for every three days, but you can probably go a bit longer than that. Your filter may need to be changed once per month, or every couple of months. It depends on how clean you keep the whole unit.

Benefits of using a console whole house humidifier include portability, ease of use, and no need for professional installation. A console humidifier can be moved to whichever room that needs a little extra humidity. These types of humidifiers are generally easy to figure out. You add water and maybe a solution to deal with calcium buildup and whatnot, and then just plug it in. Also, because these console units only need a filter, water, and a power source to work, you don't need to have anything installed.

Of course, these portable units have a few drawbacks, too. They need seemingly constant maintenance. You'll have to add cleaning your humidifier to your weekly list of chores, at least. You're also going to need to refill the tank with water. And then there's the filter change. That also adds an extra cost – and that's at least monthly.

While console humidifiers are effective at raising the humidity in your whole house, it's going to take a bit of time to get to the right level. Your humidifier will likely run almost constantly until it reaches around 40 or 50 percent humidity. That's why a console humidifier might be best for those who have smaller homes, or only want to add humidity to one part of a home.


Whole House Humidifiers

Technically, a whole house humidifier is one that is installed as part of your heating system. It connects to your furnace, air ducts, and the water line. Water is pumped to the unit and drips down a screen. A fan blows air onto the water, which creates evaporation. That water vapor is then pumped throughout your home. These are more expensive on the whole than other humidifiers, but there are reasons for this.

Many people choose this type of humidifier because it's effective at raising the humidity of a house, regardless of size, quickly. They need next to no maintenance. You'll have to replace the filter or have the unit cleaned once per year. And there's no need to refill anything – the unit is attached to your water line.

You may need to keep an eye out for leaks or drips outside of the humidifier. Placing this kind of humidifier near a drain is a good idea. Also, this type of humidifier needs to be professionally installed, unless you happen to be an HVAC pro. If you do it yourself, in some cases, you could void your warranty.

Why You Might Want a Humidifier for the Whole House

If you're still on the fence about getting a humidifier for the whole house, consider these potential issues with dry air. It shouldn't be surprising to know that an arid climate affects more than your skin.

Plants

If you're like many homeowners, you have some house plants that add a bit of life to your house. Ever notice how much they perk up when you give them a spritz of water? Plants love water, and not just for their roots. Many of the houseplants we keep originated in the jungle. And you know what the jungle has that your house may not? High humidity. Adding more water to the air can keep your plants much healthier.


Skin

This may be the most obvious reason to get the best humidifier for the whole house. Whether you live in a desert, or you live in a place where winter brings the driest air, you know that there isn't enough moisturizer to repair your cracked, dry skin. Adding a humidifier can put the moisture back into your skin, and even help your lotion work better.


Sinuses

Nosebleeds, coughing, congestion – you might not have a cold. It could be the dry air. A humidifier can help soothe your sore throat, ease coughs, and even help when you do have a cold or the flu. Bonus: Higher humidity can kill off some viruses, which means you'll get sick less often.


Furniture

Your furniture is also vulnerable to dry air. Who doesn't have at least one piece of wooden furniture? Too much water in the air can lead to warped wood. Too little water in the air can lead to dry, cracked wood. Help extend the life of your favorite pieces of furniture by keeping a humidifier in your home.


Top 5 Whole-House Humidifier Reviews

Let’s check out some of the highest rated models available, looking at their pros, cons, features, ratings, etc. so you can decide which is the best type of humidifier for your whole home.

AIRCARE MA1201 Evaporative Humidifier

  • Space: Up to 3600 sq. ft.
  • Runtime: 36 hours
  • Capacity: 3.6 gallons
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    Type: Console evaporative
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    Humidistat: Yes

One of the best features of the AIRCARE MA1201 console type humidifier is that it's on wheels. That may seem like a silly feature to point out but moving it from room to room is easier than ever with the wheels. There are plenty of other great features, too. Refilling this unit is easy, as it has a tank that's removable, so you don't have to move the entire humidifier near a sink to refill. You may find that you have to refill it twice per day, even though it can run for up to 36 hours on one tank. That runtime is for the lowest setting.

If you crank up the unit to the highest settings, you'll get lots of humidity and steam pouring out, and you might even be able to double the humidity in your house. However, the higher settings are quite loud, and the noise could keep you awake at night. There is a wick and a filter that will need to be replaced occasionally, and the filters can be a bit pricey, especially if you're replacing them every month.

If you want a console humidifier for your home, then this one with its 36-hour runtime could be a good choice for you.

Pros

  • Four fan speeds
  • Auto shutoff
  • Caster wheels
  • plus
    Digital display
  • plus
    36-hour runtime
  • plus
    Works for 3600 sq. ft. home

Cons

  • Filters are pricey
  • Higher speeds are noisy

Aprilaire 500 Humidifier

  • Space: Up to 3000 sq. ft.
  • Runtime: N/A
  • Capacity: N/A
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    Type: Whole house
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    Humidistat: Yes

You can choose whether your Aprilaire 500 humidifier runs automatically to keep the humidity levels high in your home, or you can choose the manual option and tell it when to run. After installing this whole house humidifier, you should notice a jump in humidity within the first 24 hours. It's going to run almost constantly the first few hours, but don't let it alarm you. It has a lot to make up for. You might also notice that you don't have to run your heater quite as hot as before. The extra humidity can make your heater more efficient. This is an effective humidifier for a home up to 3000 square feet in size.

Many homeowners are tempted to install this humidifier to their furnace themselves, but there are a few reasons you might not want to do that. One, you'd lose your warranty. This humidifier comes with a two-year warranty, which could be helpful to have. If you don't have an HVAC professional install it, though, your warranty is voided. Also, the parts needed to hook this thing up can be pricey.

If you're looking for a whole house humidifier that will raise levels quickly and automatically adjust, then this unit may work well for you.

Pros

  • Auto or manual option
  • Works quickly
  • Low maintenance
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    Adds warmth during winter
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    Includes outdoor humidistat
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    Works for 3000 sq. ft. home

Cons

  • Pricey extras needed
  • Warranty void if self-installed

AIRCARE MA0800 Evaporative Humidifier

  • Space: Up to 2600 sq. ft.
  • Runtime: 36 hours
  • Capacity: 2.5 gallons
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    Type: Console evaporative
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    Humidistat: Yes

Cold weather and desert dwellers may want to consider the AIRCARE MA0800 digital console type humidifier. It's a smaller unit that can fit easily in almost any home, but it's a powerful machine that can turn up the humidity in a whole house. The tank capacity is about 2.5 gallons, so if it's running constantly, you may need to refill it once per day or more. That also depends on how large your home is. This is meant to work to fill a 2600 square-foot home, but it seems more effective for smaller homes.

As with any console humidifier, you're going to have to deal with some maintenance. There are a few things you can do to make it easier on yourself, so you don't have to clean it as often, but it's still going to need filter and wick changes. Otherwise, you could end up with a moldy, mildewed inside. The digital display lets you know when you need to refill the tank, which is handy. Plus, this is an affordable unit.

If you're living in a smaller house or apartment, then this console style humidifier could be a good choice for you.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Digital display
  • Moderate maintenance required
  • plus
    Works for 2600 sq. ft. home

Cons

  • Coverage is questionable
  • Must be refilled often

Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier

  • Space: Up to 1900 sq. ft.
  • Runtime: 24 hours
  • Capacity: 3 gallons
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    Type: Console evaporative
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    Humidistat: Yes

The Honeywell cool moisture console humidifier does away with those pesky white flakes that end up on every surface of your home when you use an ultrasonic personal humidifier. The wick and filter help with that, but also because it's an evaporative humidifier, there's less mess naturally. This unit is meant to cover a 1900-square foot space, which is impressive, given the size of this unit. Whether it can really affect that large of space is up for debate.

You can adjust the humidistat to whatever level you'd like, and this humidifier will run until it reaches that level. Alternatively, you could manually control this humidifier with its three speed settings. The only way you'll get 24 hours of runtime is if you choose the lowest setting. Otherwise, you should anticipate filling up the dual tanks at least once per day, and maybe twice. Perhaps the biggest issue with this humidifier is that it's quite loud, so you probably won't want to keep it in your bedroom.

For whole house humidity, but without a pricey pro installation, you could consider this console humidifier.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Three speed settings
  • Adjustable humidistat
  • plus
    Works for 1900 sq. ft. home

Cons

  • Larger, heavier than most
  • A bit noisy

Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier

  • Space: Up to 4200 sq. ft.
  • Runtime: N/A
  • Capacity: N/A
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    Type: Whole house
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    Humidistat: Yes

A large home in an arid climate or dry weather conditions during the winter could benefit from having the Aprilaire 700 automatic humidifier. While this unit is relatively small and lightweight, it has the ability to pump out about .75 gallons of evaporated water per hour, which means it can raise the humidity level in your home quite quickly. The automatic function of this humidifier means it's totally hands-off operation once it's installed.

Speaking of installation, it's best if you have an HVAC pro come in to do it for you. If you're a DIYer, you might insist that you can do it and save money. Here's the thing, though: You'll lose out on a five-year warranty if you DIY this. In the long run, that could mean more money that you'd be out. Maintenance is easy with this humidifier, as it's a whole house unit that runs with your furnace. You need to replace the filter annually – that's it. It's a pricey investment up front, especially when you add in the cost for installation, but it could be worth it.

If you need a whole house humidifier for your larger home, then this could be the humidifier you're looking for.

Pros

  • Expensive
  • Automatic function
  • Easy maintenance
  • plus
    Adds warmth during winter
  • plus
    Includes outdoor humidistat
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    Works for 4200 sq. ft. home

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Warranty void if self-installed

The Bottom Line

Whichever humidifier you pick for your home, whether it's console or whole house style, you're sure to have a much easier time breathing. The static electricity in your home will ease up, and the nosebleeds should cease. Your plants should be healthier and happier, and even allergens will be reduced. At this point, can you afford to not have a humidifier? The trick to finding the right one is to pick one that's meant for the square footage of your home. If you're chilling in a 600-square foot apartment, you aren't going to need one of those professional-install-only units, and if you've got an expansive house that's, like, 4000-square feet, you won't have much use for a console unit.

The best humidifier for the whole house is the one that fits your living situation and humidity needs, but if there's a single one that stands out for performance, value, ease of use, and low maintenance, it's the Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier. Even if your home is a bit smaller than 4200-square feet, you'll appreciate how effective this unit should be in your house.
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