Whole-House Humidifiers help keep you healthy by preventing dry air. As “The Authority on All Things Real Estate,” you bet we’ve made a list of your best options this winter. Read on to see our favorites from around the web.
Related: While you’re here, check out our complete Home Guide for other tips on keeping your home in tip-top shape.
Why Use a Whole-House Humidifier?
Every winter brings colder temps and drier air. We’ve all experienced cracked lips and rough skin that occurs from the lack of humidity in cooler months.
Or maybe you’re tired of battling static hair á la Cruella de Vil. A quick fix is to put a few small humidifiers in your bedroom and other common areas. Still, you’ll need to do the legwork to refill the water frequently.
A more powerful option is to install a whole-house humidifier. Whole-house humidifiers attach to your ductwork and blow moist air into your home.
This can improve the quality of life for all members of your family and is particularly important for young children.
If you’re considering a whole-house humidifier, consider these highly-rated options online.
- Our Favorite Overall: Honeywell By-Pass Flow-Through Humidifier with Water Savings
- Best for Homes Without HVAC Duct System: Aprilaire 865 Whole House Steam Humidifier
- Best Value: Aprilaire 500M Whole House Humidifier
- Top Console Humidifier: Aircare 5.6 Gallon Evaporative Humidifier
- Best for DIY Handymen: Hamilton Whole House Furnace Mount Flow-Through Humidifier
- Our Favorite Freestanding Humidifier: Aircare MA1210 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier
- Best for Large Homes: Honeywell Powered Flow-Through Whole House Humidifier
Best Overall: Honeywell By-Pass Flow-Through Humidifier with Water Savings
This sophisticated tool costs just $218 at Home Depot. The Honeywell humidifier works with your home’s heating and cooling system to create a comfortable humidity level throughout the house.
It’s a great option if you are concerned about increasing energy costs, as the technology is designed to use 30% less water than standard models.
The result is a more comfortable home with added benefits of preventing woodwork and furniture from drying and cracking. Because it works with your existing HVAC system, the effectiveness of this humidifier depends on how efficient your home’s systems are.
It works best for newer homes (less than 20 years old) for up to 4,000 square feet. If your home is more than 20 years old, it works for up to 2,000 square feet.
Mount the humidifier on either warm air supply or return air duct of forced-air furnaces. The result saves money for a comfortable home and is a lot less maintenance than smaller humidifiers.
Reviewers say their home felt more comfortable in just a few days. DIY installation is possible, but take your time and remember the old adage: Measure twice, cut once. Homeowners say installation is easy but time-consuming. You can expect to take a few hours to get the unit in place.
Best for Homes Without HVAC Duct System: Aprilaire 865 Whole House Steam Humidifier
If you live in a home without a traditional HVAC duct system, this high-output steam humidifier is the answer. It’s an investment for $908 on Amazon, but reviewers say it’s worth the price.
A wall-mount fan pushing humidified air into the living space without an HVAC duct system. It also has impressive full coverage for up to 6,2000 square feet in tightly built homes.
The design uses electrode technology. It has six output levels that can add up to 34.6 gallons of moisture into the air each day. There’s a dual sensor and 24/7 auto mode that continually responds to outdoor temperature and indoor relative humidity.
Just set it and forget it. For those suffering from allergies and asthma, it’s worth every penny. It has been shown to reduce the incidence of respiratory infections.
Reviewers say installation is easy. It only requires a simple water supply connection and the addition of a 240v circuit. If you aren’t particularly handy, enlist the help of a handyman.
Buyers were also happy with the results for added comfort in the winter. Most simply switch the system off each summer.
Best Value: Aprilaire 500M Whole House Humidifier
For only $102 on Amazon, this humidifier was designed and manufactured in the U.S. It has a capacity of 12 gallons per day and offers full coverage up to 3,000 square feet in tightly built homes.
The manual humidifier has a single sensor built into the standard control to monitor indoor relative humidity. This is for use in manually setting the percent humidity in your home.
It doesn’t have the fancy bells and whistles of its $900 counterpart, but this option is great for smaller homes. The only extra step is setting the percentage of humidity on your own — it won’t adapt to outdoor temperature like the higher-tech options.
Reviewers were delighted with the results. If you aren’t familiar with basic wiring principles, enlist the help of a handyman. If you do have some basic skills, installers say it can be DIY’d in several hours.
Best Console Humidifier: Aircare 5.6-Gallon Evaporative Humidifier
This 5.6-gallon humidifier works for up to 3,600 square feet. For $177 at Home Depot, it advertises the “best square foot coverage per dollar spent.” It claims you can save even more money by saving up to 10% off of your annual heating bill.
The best part is, there’s no working with your ducts. This freestanding console humidifier features a traditional credenza design. A light oak finish is sure to work with any decor style.
The humidifier works by adding moisture through the environment by moving dry air through a saturated wick. This design has a 5.6 gallon water capacity for up to 11.5 gallons of daily output.
Refill dual water bottles with a handy refill hose. This is an excellent option if you don’t want to mess with your home’s ductwork or take on complex installation. Reviewers love the quality and say they got the humidifier up and running in about 30 minutes.
Best For DIY Handymen: Hamilton Whole House Furnace Mount Flow-Through Humidifier
This Hamilton humidifier offers good value at $147. It also promises other cost-saving benefits like lower heating costs (humid air feels warmer) and 80% less water use than other brands of whole-house flow-through humidifiers.
It has an output of 13 gallons per day for well-insulated homes up to 3,000 square feet. Plus, it’s easy to install if you have a little DIY background. The lightweight housing design makes it easier to install on either the warm air supply or return air duct of any forced-air furnace.
The evaporator pad is enclosed in plastic to ensure water flows through the proper place. Plus, the 24 VAC transformer simplifies installation as it plugs into a standard outlet. Read: no hardwiring required.
Buyers note positive performance and say that installation requires no adjustments to the provided plans. Read the directions carefully, take your time, and it should be up and running in a few hours.
Best Freestanding Humidifier: Aircare MA1210 Whole-House Console-Style Humidifier
If a credenza console doesn’t work with your home’s design scheme, this low-profile white design is the way to go. A new model retails for $125 to $160 on Amazon.
The classic white design is on casters for easy mobility. It has a digital humidistat to maintain your home’s humidity automatically. It is powerful enough for a whole house up to 3,600 square feet.
There’s also a handy auto shut-off for when the home reaches the desired humidity level or when the unit is empty. It’s easy to clean with the evaporative wick that traps mineral deposits.
Reviewers say the design requires bi-weekly cleaning, but it’s worth the effort. Keep the reservoir full and enjoy a comfortable home this winter.
Best for Large Homes: Honeywell Powered Flow-Through Whole House Humidifier
This powerful Honeywell model can work for a home up to 4,500 square feet. For $238 at Home Depot, it requires little to no maintenance. Plus, there’s easy installation with no bypass duct required.
The design mounts directly to your furnace and distributes moisture through your central HVAC system. The PerfectFLO distribution tray optimizes water efficiency to save money on heating and cooling bills.
Reviewers say installation is easy — everything required comes right in the box. Handy DIYers can get the job done in just a few hours. Honeywell also has a video that will walk you through the installation process as well as an included installation manual.
Once installed, reviewers said the unit was quiet and efficient. If you need to cut a hole in your duct, it may be best to enlist the help of a professional or rent a Dremel with cutoff a wheel.
Which Whole House Humidifier Will You Choose?
There are many options for whole-house humidifiers, but we hope our guide helps you cut through the noise by narrowing down your options. These appliances help you reduce dry air.
Have you used a whole-house humidifier before? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
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