While a portable humidifier reduces humidity levels in one area and needs daily maintenance, investing in the best whole house humidifier offers coverage for the entire home.
It reduces operational and maintenance costs since it shares resources with the current HVAC system and doesn't need refilling since it's connected to a water source. It's also quieter and mostly hidden from view.
What's In This Buying Guide
After reviewing our top picks, we explain how whole house humidifiers function, evaluate the pros and cons of using a whole house humidifier and explain when you might want to buy a whole house model vs. a single-room unit.
So let's dive in!
Best Whole House Humidifiers: Reviews
1. Emerson HSP2000 -- Best Furnace Add-On
Stainless-steel construction makes this Emerson whole house humidifier especially durable and sturdy, and its broad set of features make this an especially good choice for adding to an existing fan-blown furnace.
The built-in thermostat activates the blower even if your furnace isn't operating, while the blower safety switch turns it off when the furnace is running.
This is a powerful steam humidifier that covers a minimum of 1,400 square-feet and generates up to 13 gallons of moisture daily. Some verified customers report it supplies homes up to 4,500 square feet at 45%+ humidity.
The automatic humidistat activates the humidifier when your minimum indoor humidity level is reached and then switches off when the desired level is achieved.
The float valve protects the device from an overflow or low water level condition.
The automatic flush timer purifies the water for up to ten minutes every 2 hours to avoid mold contaminants build-up of minerals. You can adjust the curing length from 10 minutes down to 20 seconds.
The included water filter catches impurities that could obstruct the humidifier, and the saddle valve lets water flow slowly into the device.
The manufacturer requires installation by a professional contractor to prevent nullification of warranty and recommends regular maintenance every one to three months to eliminate build-up of minerals.
2. Aprilaire 700 -- Best Whole House Humidifier for Larger Homes
The Aprilaire 700 is a fully automatic humidifier that also provides a manual mode.
It uses intuitive buttons to give you access to a broad assortment of configurations and a digital control panel that displays current temperature, relative humidity, and current settings.
This Aprilaire humdifier uses two different sensors to control humidity. The sensor on the rear of the control panel regulates humidity inside the house, and a different sensor detects ambient temperature outside the home and adjusts the interior humidity level per your settings.
This is an extremely energy-efficient model intended to cover large homes of up to 4,200 square feet.
Almost 18 gallons of water per day can be added to your home to protect your devices from static electricity and your furniture from deformation and shrinkage.
The additional moisture can help your body protect itself from irritation by mold, dry skin, and airborne viruses that cause influenza.
When the humidistat detects a change in humidity, the Aprilaire 700 turns the water flow on and the built-in fan pulls dry, hot air from the furnace into the unit to vaporize the water.
This Aprilaire humidifier runs very quietly and requires just simple annual maintenance.
The manufacturer recommends installation in the return air duct by a certified HVAC professional. A mounting kit is required but must be purchased separately.
3. AIRCARE MA1201 -- Budget Pick
This simple, portable humidifier is a great bargain for any mid-sized to larger home.
The AIRCARE 1201 costs less than a typical large-capacity portable humidifier, yet it can keep a home up to 3,600 sqft in size at optimum humidity levels for up to 36 hours before requiring a refill.
This whole-house humidifier does not rely on your existing furnace or HVAC system to function.
Instead, the MA1201 uses its own water supply and simple evaporative technology to increase moisture in the air while the wick filter traps all mineral deposits.
Aside from protecting you from influenza and relieving the symptoms of allergies, the evaporative process and water filter make this humidifier a perfect option for homes using hard water because it prevents minerals from depositing on furniture and walls.
A CF filter change indicator alerts you when to replace the filter.
The built-in humidistat shows the current humidity settings on a digital panel and automatically shuts off the ETL-approved unit after the set level is reached to conserve energy.
Based on your humidity needs, you can customize the amount of moisture output by using one of the four fan speeds or by activating the auto mode.
Even though the AIRCARE 1201 is not a small device, the three caster wheels provide easy mobility so you can move it out of the way during less-dry seasons.
A notable complaint with verified customers is the need to refill the water bin several times a day. This is because this dehumidifier has a maximum output of 12 gallons per day, much is significantly greater than the water tank's capacity of 3.6 gallons.
The refill indicator light informs you when the tank needs refilling.
4. Aprilaire 865 -- Best Whole House Steam Humidifier
This is the excellent whole-house humidifier for large homes or houses in dry climates that lack a central heating system.
Steam humidifiers produce higher moisture levels in a shorter period of time because they don't rely on a central air or furnace system to heat the water.
This is evident from the model's high output, which releases 34.6 gallons of moisture in a day to cover spaces of up to 6,200 square feet.
The Aprilaire 865 utilizes an electrode technology in which water-resistance to the electric current passing between submerged electrodes warms the water.
No bio-filtration is necessary because electrode technology destroys dangerous biological impurities from the water.
This humidifier works well with hard water ranging between 3 and 36 grains, which basically eliminates the need to clean the system.
The only maintenance needed is the replacement of the canister that houses the electrodes.
Because of the technology involved, steam models are pricier than other types of humidifiers.
In addition, installation must be professionally performed by a certified HVAC expert to avoid voiding the five-year limited warranty, which adds to the original price.
This ductless unit includes a fan pack and a humidistat to monitor the humidity levels in your home, but some verified customers have had to replace theirs due to inaccurate readings.
5. Honeywell HE360A -- Best Fan-Powered Whole House Humidifier
This Honeywell humidifier uses fan power to optimize the humidity level in your home.
The saddle valve opens to let water pass through the device. Some of the water steeps the pad that causes evaporation as warm air is pushed by a fan; the excess water flows into the drain.
Since there's absolutely no water stored in this humidifier, it decreases the proliferation of mold and microorganisms that flourish in high moisture.
As the water passes through the HE306A, it removes dust, minerals, and impurities, decreasing the frequency of cleaning to about once every year.
The unit is intended to cover up to 4,200 square feet of space while producing 18 gallons of moisture daily.
The Honeywell HE306A includes a humidistat mounted in the duct and wired into the device and variable speed, so you can adjust the output to fit your humidity requirement.
You can install it either horizontally or vertically, as long as it's on the supply plenum.
There's also an option of wall mounting the device for flexible positioning.
Other features include a Vista version No. 714 filter pad and a PerfectFLO supply tray that speeds humidifier pad saturation.
You'll also get one filter and an instructional video, but the install kit is purchased separately.
Unfortunately, the Honeywell HE306A can waste a lot of water because the excess not delivered into the air flows down the drain. That said, you can cut down on the amount of waste by using a valve on the water inlet.
6. AIRCARE EA1407 -- Easiest to Use
This our recommended best choice if you're searching for a whole-house humidifier that does not require integration with an HVAC system and is simple to operate.
The EA1407 is intended to humidify spaces up to 4,000 square feet and is equipped with double jar tanks with a total holding capacity of 5 gallons.
The full tanks fuel the device for up to 24 hours on high setting and 55 hours on low setting, producing 14 gallons of moisture daily.
The AIRCARE EA1407 draws dry air into the back and humidifies it as the air moves through a soaked wick, then a fan blows it back into your home through the top of the unit.
After approximately 720 hours of use, the 'CF' indicator will flash on the digital screen to prompt you to check the wick for build-up of mineral residue and dust.
The electronic panel displays the current humidity level, the target humidity setting, and an indicator light that will alarm you to refill.
The easy-to-use controls will let you set your desired humidity between 25% to 65% in 5% intervals and adjust the fan speed to any of 3 settings.
The EA1407 automatically shuts off after the target humidity is reached.
Many customers love the accurate humidistat, simplicity of use, and the caster wheels that let you move the humidifier out of sight and transfer it to your water source to refill it.
7. Aprilaire 500M -- Quietest Whole House Humidifier
You can expect quiet performance and low operating costs with the Aprilaire 500M because, as a bypass humidifier, it doesn't use a motor or a fan.
Instead, it relies on your furnace blower to move dry, hot air throughout the water panel that converts the moisture to vapor. The humidified air is then circulated back to the atmosphere.
This Aprilaire humidifier works nicely with soft and hard water, but hard water may need more frequent replacement of the water panel than the prescribed six months.
The 500NM is operated manually, with one sensor monitoring the indoor relative humidity and enabling you to adjust them to your preferred degree.
This humidifier generates a maximum of 12 gallons of moisture per day to raise the humidity level in a home up to 3,000 square feet in size.
The Aprilaire 500M is rated among the best whole house humidifiers for furnaces, something we expect from Aprilaire, who pioneered the first evaporative humidifier for forced air furnace systems in 1954.
Aprilaire also features other versions designed for bigger homes.
The multiple wiring options and the bypass duct that can be flipped to the left or right side provide exceptional flexibility in setup and operation.
We recommend using a qualified HVAC professional to get this unit installed so to not void the warranty. You also may need to buy a drain hose and tools for wiring and ductwork separately.
8. AIRCARE 696 400HB -- Best Free-Standing Whole House Humidifier
AIRCARE 696 400B is an evaporative humidifier that is as unique as it is effective.
The double water tank and the whopping 9 fan speed choices make it an exceptionally flexible option.
The molded plastic container is often confused for wood, which increases the unit's attractiveness.
Each water bottle holds 2.75 gallons of water, and the unit produces up to 11.45 gallons of moisture daily from the two to cover a home up to 3,600 square feet in size.
There are two knobs and a digital panel on the fan assembly under the removable top cover.
The electronic panel displays an 'F' when the tanks are empty and 'CF' when the filter is expected for replacement or cleaning.
The 696 400B includes a Super Wick that absorbs water from the tank to moisturize the air flowing through it. Adding one teaspoon of vinegar per gallon of water increases the wick's life span by decreasing mineral build-up.
One filter is included to catch impurities and protect the device from damage. Verified customers report that the filter lasts one season before requiring replacement.
Fan speed determines how loud the device will be. It generates 45 decibels on low setting and 77.5 decibels on the highest setting, which is more than audible.
Luckily, the caster wheels enable you to move the unit wherever you need to and transport it to your water source for refills.
Other convenient features include a flexible humidistat that lets you choose your desired humidity levels and auto-shutoff capability once those amounts are reached.
The appeal of the AIRCARE 831000 lies in its choices of settings and placement.
This humidifier comes with a 6 gallon water tank that can last up to 70 hours on a low setting.
The tank is easily accessed by removing the wide front grill, making refills a cinch.
This AIRCARE unit can humidify up to 2,700 square feet of space. The attached caster wheels make this unit easy to move for refills or to get it out of sight.
This humidifier also includes an auto humidistat that provides five different intervals of up to 65% humidity. Three fan speeds modulate the output.
When your desired humidity level is reached, the device shuts off and then restarts when these levels change. The device also shuts down when the water tank is empty to prevent damage.
The electronic controls on the panel on the front of the device make it easy for you to select your desired humidity and fan speed while Trapmax Filter Technology catches dirt to enhance your air quality.
The manufacturer recommends replacing the wick every two to three months.
When you get this ETL-listed Humidifier, you'll also receive a five-foot-long electric cord.
With a decibel rating of 46, this unit runs quiet on a low setting but can be rather noisy at moderate and high speeds.
10. Honeywell HEV685B -- Best For Allergies
If your house is plagued with mold and allergens, the Honeywell HEV685B is a great choice.
The Honeywell Replacement Wicking Filter Model HC-14 (Filter E) that comes with this unit is treated with the Protec antimicrobial to stop up to 99.99% of mold.
This Honeywell humidifier is als a great option for hard water, because you can take the unit apart to wash it.
This humidifer features two 1.5-gallon tanks that humidify numerous chambers for up to 24 hours on a low setting.
We were doubtful about the small capacity of the water tank and wondered if it had sufficient output to be eligible as a best humidifier for an entire house, but testimonials from confirmed buyers rave about the model's effectiveness in maintaining humidity levels in their homes.
Those same customers, however, complain about the absence of caster wheels and the second tank requiring a little shake to get water into the wick.
That said, customers almost unanimously agree on this unit's ability to maintain humidity and the convenient top-fill option.
One advantage of investing in a console-style humidifier like this model is the flexibility in location, since it doesn't need a connection to an HVAC system.
You can place it in the room or area that needs it most and control the speed with the adjustable humidistat and the three-speed fan.
When tanks need to be refilled, a light goes off to alert you; and the shutoff feature switches off the unit to protect your humidifier from damage from overheating and short circuits.
If you're searching for an apartment humidifier with a small size and high performance, this Levoit Humidifier is a great choice.
This humidifier supports rooms and apartments up to 750 square feet in size, so it is not as powerful as other options - but it offers three levels of either warm or cool mist.
The Levoit LV600HH displays the specific humidity level in your home, and you can control it through its digital control panel or its handy remote control.
This unit comes with a 6-liter tank that provides up to 36 hours of use, and its automatic mode adjusts the humidity in your home to the most suitable level.
The LV600HH features an optional timer, and you can turn off the display if it bothers you through the evening.
While it may not be the best option for large houses, the Levoit LV600HH ultrasonic humidifier is an unbeatable choice for smaller homes and apartments.
The GeneralAire 1000A Humidifier stands with its super-long 10-year warranty.
But the warranty is only valid if you call a contractor to set up the device. Overall, the product needs a moderate level of skills. However, what is most confusing is that the wiring.
Moreover, the solenoid socket collar doesn't come tightened, which causes water to flow through. This is the reason professional help may be convenient.
The fan functions by pulling warm air throughout the unit and the vapor pad. Subsequently, it spreads moisture evenly in homes of around 3,000 square feet. The digital humidistat will keep the level of humidity you'll need constantly.
A great benefit is a sensor that displays outdoor temperatures. This is particularly important in areas where the weather often changes. The device is relatively big, so ensure you have sufficient room to fit it in.
Remember that it also uses quite solid amounts of water to create humidity. This will pay off, though, since it will efficiently enhance the air quality in your household.
Dry air can be a real pain in the throat, can it not?
If you are trying to sleep at night, it's likely to leave you feeling uneasy that is no good when you will need some rest.
The notion with the Cool Moisture is that you can look after multiple rooms simultaneously.
That is perfect if you would like to leave it out in the hallway or a spare room, so it will not keep you awake at night. The integrated 3-gallon water tank provides 24 hours of continuous operation.
The automatic humidistat controls on the Cool Moisture humidifier work flawlessly.
The wicking filter extracts minerals from the water before releasing it to the air, eliminating the annoying white dust that older humidifiers are known for.
How Does a Whole House Humidifier Work?
Whole-House Humidifiers all work using the same basic process, as follows:
- 1A whole-house humidifier is typically placed in your ductwork, near your HVAC unit. This can be on the source or the return end.
- 2There's an evaporator pad within the frame of the humidifier.
- 3A water supply line is connected to the humidifier. The waterline can be either cold or hot, but it needs to have a closing valve.
- 4The valve attaches to a solenoid which is connected to the humidistat. The humidistat detects if humidity levels have dropped to the set-point and then informs the solenoid to open the water line.
NOTE: the humidistat could be set up nearby the humidifier on the ductwork, it might also be combined with the thermostat, or it might be controlled separately from the thermostat.
- 5When the solenoid opens, it allows water to flow through a tray tube which holds the evaporator pad. The tray is designed to distribute the water evenly through different holes.
- 6The water trickles down the mat and is then held in place by the evaporator's coating.
- 7Any excess amount of water go into the evaporator's bottom level and is then led through a drain pipe.
- 8For humidity to be produced, air must enter to contact with the water. This happens throughout the ductwork.
- 9The water evaporates into the air flow in the duct, which increases the moisture in the air that exits the humidifier.
- 10The HVC fan spreads humidified air throughout the home via the ductwork.
Pros and Cons of Using a Whole House Humidifier
First of all, humidifiers relieve various health and body issues people face such as:
Dry skin and hair
Naturally, during the chilly winter days, the cold air absorbs all the hydration from your hair and skin.
This leaves your skin itchy while your hair grows more fragile. Needless to say, there are lots of cosmetic products that you may use, but why not try natural air moisture as the first step towards development?
Your eyes are among the most essential organs you have; they work the entire day and get tired fast due to several factors, including the dry air. A humidifier will help with dry eye syndrome treatment and will take some strain from them.
The humidifier helps your nose free about any blood eruptions that occur when the air is dry.
The dry air prevents the lubrication of your throat, which makes an extremely irritable cough. Humidity will make your cough more productive by helping you eliminate the sticky phlegm.
Allergies & Asthma
Exposure to a too low or a too high humidity level can make allergies worse for people who suffer from them. Moreover, a proper amount of humidity can improve the status of individuals with asthma.
Sinus headaches are common when sinuses get too dry. Humidifiers can prevent this.
A whole house humidifier will make sure your lips stay smooth. The seriousness of the problems shouldn't be undermined at any cost because they could worsen time.
If anything, no one wants to feel uneasy at home. These "minor" issues could interfere with your functioning ability and efficacy. A humidifier will enhance the condition of your health.
Protect Your Pet’s Health
Your pet will also benefit from a whole-house humidifier.
A dry atmosphere causes irritation of the skin, and this will make your pet scratch their body far more frequently. You can also preferably have a top-quality air purifier for pets.
Protect Your Furniture & Floors
A whole-house humidifier will keep your furniture and wood flooring in fantastic condition by reducing wood cracks and fabric fading.
Lower Utility Bills
A humidifier can also lower your electricity bill.
You have certainly heard that humidity makes the summer weather hotter. If the humidity in your home is sufficient over the winter, then your heating system will have to work less.
A whole house humidifier will maintain appropriate amounts of humidity and will keep your home warm and cozy using a small amount of tap water.
Drawbacks of Whole-House Humidifiers
With all of the potential benefits, it seems doubtful that a whole-house humidifier can have a negative effect on your life.
However, whole-house humidifiers are not for everyone and have important limitations as follows:
How Do Whole-House Humidifiers Differ from Single-Room Units?
A single-room humidifier is not nearly as powerful, can be moved between rooms and the form factor is much smaller.
Most people buy a single-room humidifier for their bedroom, which may be the right choice if you are only concerned about night time sinus and allergy issues.
In addition, most people only run a single-room unit for 8 hrs a day.
A whole-house humidifier, on the other hand, isn't built to be moved from one area to another and typically runs 24/7.
It is normally installed directly into your heating system's ductwork, often near your HVAC system’s central unit.
Heated air is humidified and dispersed throughout the entire house by employing a single unit.
As such, whole-house units consume more energy and cost much more to install and maintain.