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Top Of The Best Furnace Humidifiers Reviewed In 2018Last Updated September 1, 2018
№1 – Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier
№2 – Aprilaire 500 Humidifier, 24V Whole House Humidifier w/ Auto Digital Control Bypass Damper .5 Gallons/ hour
№3 – Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered Humidifier
Whole House Humidifier Maintenance Tips
Benefits of Whole House Humidifiers Over Single Room and Small Portable Humidifiers
Features of Whole House Humidifiers To Consider Before Purchasing
We already looked at the different types of humidifiers, but even within those types, there are variations. Below are the primary features to consider when making your choice.
Square Feet Covered
Even humidifiers that use your HVAC system will have their limits, as the humidifier can only produce so much at a time. It is important that you check the square feet covered before you buy and compare it to your home. If your home has high ceilings or an open floor plan, you may need a humidifier that can cover more square feet than your home actually has.
You can take a look here
First up in our look at these whole house humidifiers is a consistent best seller from the industry heavyweight Aprilaire. This manufacturer was the first to roll out flow-through evaporative humidifiers onto the market.
The 700 is a whole house evaporative humidifier that is good for leveling out the humidity in houses up to 4,200 square feet. Even if you have a large home, the 700 has you covered.
With an evaporative rate of 0.7gallons per hour (GPH), the Aprilaire 700 will deliver up to 50% more moisture into the air than its closest competitor. The reservoir is a generous 1gallons.
Despite packing all this power, the unit is surprisingly compact. It measures 1x 1x 1inches and tips the scales at less than 1pounds.
This humidifier doesn’t come with an installation kit. If you are highly experienced with DIY, you should be okay on this front. For anyone not so confident, factor in whole house humidifier installation cost.
You can control the amount of humidification precisely using the nifty digital controls. Readings are clearly displayed on an LED screen. Settings can be tweaked between whisper, medium, or high. This is a great way to avoid any buzzing or humming disturbing your sleep.
The last thing most people want when buying a dehumidifier is regular and troublesome maintenance. An annual service is all you’ll need with the Aprilaire 700. Look after it and it will last for years.
Some humidifiers will only run properly with distilled water. While this will extend the life of your appliance and ensure that no minerals are belched into the atmosphere, it can be costly. With the 700, you can opt for hot or cold water, distilled or even harder water without a problem. This whole house humidifier even works with well water. This flexibility is a nice touch.
Health Concerns with Whole House Humidifiers
Overall, humidifiers provide amazing health benefits, but if they are not used properly, they can cause health problems. Proper maintenance of your system ensures that it remains healthy for everyone in the home. Also, you need to take care to choose the correct system for you. Below are some things to keep in mind so you can negate any health concerns you have regarding a whole house humidifier.
Whole House Humidifier Brands
There are many whole house humidifier brands on the market, but many of these companies are not well-known. As a result, you can feel reluctant to trust them. With that said, there are a few brands that have built their reputation over the years by offering excellent products, quality service, and dependable warrantees. Below are three whole house humidifier brands you can always trust.
Aprilaire This brand isn’t one that most people have heard of, mostly because it knows its niche—home air care solutions—and sticks to it. Their biggest product line is their whole house humidifiers, so you know that you are getting the best when you purchase one. However, they offer a variety of products to help you improve the air in your home. Some other items they sell include: temperature control, purification, ventilation, and dehumidification solutions. And if you have a smart home or want to switch yours over to being one, they even offer items that are smart home compatible.
Holmes also offers home air care solutions, but they are more of a household name. This is mainly because most homes have at least one heater or fan in their home made by Holmes. Found at most any store, you can easily locate Holmes products. They do not offer a significant selection of whole house humidifiers, but those they do offer are solid products backed by their comprehensive warrantees. At the moment, they are experimenting with smart home options, though these have yet to reach their whole house humidifiers.
Out of the names on this list, Honeywell is the one you likely know best. This is because they offer a wide variety of products and do not restrict themselves to just home air care solutions. You might expect this would result in lower quality products, that the company is spread too thin, but in truth, each division offers amazing products that last—including their humidifier division. And since it is a large company, it has the resources to stand behind all its products with confidence-inspiring warrantees.
To figure out which is the best whole house humidifier for you, you first need to decide the general type of humidifier you are interested in. There are five primary types of whole house humidifiers.
This type is cheap and easy to install if you are looking to go DIY. These are placed on the cold air return line. The motor pulls cold water from the drum and forces it into the system, allowing the natural process of evaporation to turn it into a mist that can then be forced through your HVAC system and into the air of your home. Compared to other types, these are high maintenance, as you must frequently clean the drum to ensure no mold grows, and you must also replace the belt quite frequently.
Flow Through Humidifiers
This type of humidifier offers greater flexibility, as you can install them on the return or supply line. Like the drum type of humidifier, they use evaporation to work. However, they do not use the drum, so there is no standing water. This helps to cut down on the maintenance needed, but you still need to perform some to keep it at optimal function. With this type, water flows through a filter and air blows through the filter to force the moisture out. To use this type of humidifier, you need to be able to hook it up to a water line.
Out of the various types of whole house humidifiers on the market, this is the least common. These humidifiers use a transducer to create moisture. Water passes over the transducer as it vibrates, causing the molecules in the water to become excited, resulting in the droplets breaking up into many smaller droplets, which are then injected into your HVAC system and dispersed throughout your home. These models are rather costly and high maintenance as they produce “white dust,” which must be cleaned away frequently.
These humidifiers are sometimes single room, but there are also models that can cover the entire home. All console humidifiers use a tank of water attached to the unit. However, the way they create humidity will vary. Console humidifiers are high maintenance, as you must fill and clean the tank often. Also, you must set them up in an open space to reduce the chance of mold growth and make sure your air moves enough to disperse the moisture throughout your home. Some console humidifiers are portable as well, while others must be installed much like a window or wall unit air conditioner would be.
Whole House Humidifier Installation
Each type of whole house humidifier requires a different approach to installation. As such, you will want to consult your user manual if you choose to go DIY on this. Depending on the model, installation may be quite simple or complex enough that a professional is needed. Below is a general installation guide, however, double check it with your user manual before you get to work to avoid damaging your product or voiding the warrantee.
In the winter, the indoor air gets so dry that you could end up with nosebleeds, allergies and skin irritations. To ensure that the air in your home remains at the ideal humidity you need to install the best furnace humidifier that suits the size of your home. These humidifiers are also known as whole house humidifiers and are available in various configurations, and have their own pros and cons.
In a similar manner to the bypass humidifier, the fan-powered system adds moisture to existing airflow. The biggest difference is the way in which this happens. Instead of injecting moisture into the air, it blows the air across a water panel to encourage evaporation which then enters the air and creates humidity — more so than in regular bypass units.
Steam humidifiers are very different than the other varieties of whole home humidifiers. Rather than adding humidity to water as it flows through the system, they are similar to warm air humidifiers. They use electricity to heat water to its boiling point. The steam that results is then picked up by the blower in the HVAC system and circulated through the home via the vents. These carry many of the same benefits as warm air room humidifiers, especially in terms of killing bacterial contaminants and pathogens in the water.
Ailments like colds, congestion problems, and sinus infections are commonly attributed to a change in the weather. What many people do not realize, however, is that it’s often the dry air indoors, and not the cold air outdoors, that causes these problems, or at least makes them worse.
The benefits of a whole home air conditioner go far beyond improving your health and well-being, and that of your family. They are also effective in protecting your home’s structural integrity. Homes with consistently dry air have been proven to see increased wear and tear, resulting in expensive damage to wood furnishings and flooring, can also cause wallpaper to peel and can even do damage to the wooden frame and plaster in the home. In the end, the combination of medical and home durability advantages makes some type of humidifier an absolute necessity for most homeowners.
Capable of Humidifying Your Entire Home
Most brands of humidifiers are labeled based on the square footage they can affect. As you explore different options, it’s helpful to know the total footprint of your home in terms of square feet and ensure that the units you are researching will meet those requirements.
Every company will boast the effectiveness of their humidifier and the features it offers. It’s important, however, to do your homework and research the options you are considering before installing a whole home unit. Take some time to read professional and consumer reviews, and talk to industry pros about their own recommendations as to which humidifier might meet your needs in keeping your air breathable and healthy. Customer reviews are always a good place to start — the more positive reviews an item has, the more reliable and effective it is likely to be.
Required Maintenance and Filter Changes
One advantage of a whole house humidifier is that it requires little maintenance or upkeep while they’re in use. However, once a season they should be thoroughly cleaned and their filters changed out. This will ensure that any mineral deposits, mold growths or contaminants that enter the water do not negatively impact the effectiveness of the unit as a whole.
Again, consumer reviews are an excellent place to start when it comes to determining which system will be the easiest to maintain. If too many consumers have identified maintenance issues with a particular humidifier, this should immediately throw up a red flag. The same goes for filters, which should be bought and replaced fairly easily. If reviews show that buying and changing filters is a difficult process for a particular humidifier, it may be best to steer clear of that option.
Cost, of course, is always a factor when purchasing any whole-home system. The good news is that unlike the HVAC systems to which they are tied, whole house humidifiers tend to be very affordable even at the high end of the spectrum. The biggest cost that you will have to worry about will likely be the labor costs for professional installation.
Ongoing costs also tend to be low-impact, as most require only a few dollars per year to operate, an additional cost that for most won’t even be noticeable in monthly utilities. The biggest thing you want to look for in terms of overall cost with a whole house humidifier is energy efficiency. If a unit is not certified energy efficient, it should probably be avoided.
Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered Humidifier
Honeywell is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to the manufacture of furnace humidifier and other kinds of humidifiers. Their HE360A model features a flow-through design that ensures maximum efficiency when humidifying and also keeps the unit clean for minimum maintenance frequency.
The design and size of this humidifier make it possible to mount it on either return air duct of the forced-air furnace or warm air supply, and it can humidify up to 4,200 square feet.
Honeywell uses a PerfectFLO distribution tray on this unit for efficiency and to minimize water usage. This humidifier is a good pick for variable speed systems, and it weighs 1pounds while its dimensions are 2x 1x 1inches.
List of Other Products We Tested
Why Should You Trust Us to Get the Best Whole House Humidifier?
Having years of experience in the industry and after studying the information on the market, with the tools and techniques available to us we are able to give you the best, unbiased information regarding whole house humidifiers.
We are not here to promote any one particular product or another but are instead devoted to ensuring you have the highest quality information in your hands. This way, when the time comes to buying the best whole house humidifier, you will be ready to make the right choice considering few things.
Our many hours of experience and research has given us the ability to bring you the definitive guide on the top-rated whole house humidifiers on the market today.
Warm Mist Humidifiers
Sometimes called vaporizers, these units boil water and emit steam vapor to humidify a space. They’re typically quiet except for the soft bubbling noise of boiling water. These humidifiers come with higher power consumption levels and the risk of burns if a child or pet accidentally knocks one over. The best models will have auto shut-off features for safety in case they run out of water or get knocked on their side.
Whole House Console Humidifiers
Similar to smaller, more affordable humidifiers commonly found in stores, but these take up much more space, have large capacity water tanks, and effectively humidify very large areas. They also tend to require minimal maintenance which helps make up for their higher purchase price. Because of their size and the amount of noise their powerful fans can produce, carefully consider where you’d install the unit.
Essick Air AIRCARE MA1201
It is equipped with water refilling and filter check indicator that alert you on when to refill or change the filter respectively.
Since it’s a console unit, it can serve as a whole house humidifier and also as a single room unit which is movable from one room to another. This reduces the cost of purchasing more humidifiers as this unit meets this requirement.
It also features speed fan and humidity customization settings that allows you set your desire humidity level. Auto-shut off function is also available on this essick air model, this turns off the unit when there is shortage of water.
The EP500 is another great humidity device from the Essick air brand which is common among users. As a standalone unit, it allows you move around your house. It is designed to humidify any home measuring up to 2,800 sq. ft while consuming up to gallon of water per day.
The evaporative unit features fan speed option just to meet your desired humidity level by choosing your prefered speed level. It is also equipped with automatic shut off, water refill and check filter indicator that help monitor the unit accordingly for peace mind.
It comes in an easy to refill front pour design that makes refilling easier. Also enjoy customizable humidity control and digital display with 60 hours of run time.
Bionaire Ultrasonic Humidifier
Humidifiers are built to add humidity in homes where the humidity level is low. However, this bionaire humidifier won’t disappoint you when you need it most. The ultrasonic unit is space saving, it uses no filter and the beautiful design will equally add décor to your home.
It features an empty tank indicator which will alert you when the tank is empty and for health safety, the bionaire is equipped with an antimicrobial protection which is infused into the plastics that prevent bacteria growth, odors, stains that can adversely affect its performance.
It comes with a digital humidistat, LCD screen display, where you can view the current humidity level of your home. And from the display panel you can keep an eye on the water level, timer and other amazing features.
Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier
The Honeywell cool mist humidifier is a reliable unit that can also serve you even in a whole house, itcan be used in multiple rooms. It is engineered to be light-weight and has caster wheels to enable you transport it from one room to another. With multiple output settings you can adjust humidity level to sooth your needs.
It features QuietCare technology that runs silently and comes with dual tank. The tank opening is located at the top of the unit making it easy to refill and clean.
The Honeywell Console unit consumes less energy than the normal 80 watt bulb and its automatic shut off feature turns it off when there is no water to disperse. When the tank is filled up, this machine can run for up to 2hours providing you the humidity needed at home.
Essick Air 3-Speed Console Humidifier
The unit features a humidity sensor. With its digital display you can view all settings to see if the device is complying with them.
Even as a console unit, it features three fan speeds (low, medium and high), so you can choose the speed that is suitable at a time to meet your home condition at a particular time.
With the 1gallon of water consumption rate, this humidity machine will humidify a space of 2,500 square feet with moisture while lasting up to 2hour.
It also features a superb wick technology that helps prevent harmful dusts and particulates to provide you bacteria and contaminated free air.
Humidifier benefits in another way also. Place an air humidifier in your home and recover your allergies, cold, cough and asthma more quickly. In a well-humidified home, your nasal passages are well-lubricated and it ensures your faster healing.
Protect your hair and scalp
Human hair is made of collagen. To remain flexible, the collagen needs moisture. Again, dry, dull and brittle hair results from dry air. Dry scalp is often itchy and becoming flaky, it produces unseen dandruff. So, a well humid environment will keep your hair and scalp healthy.
Overuse Of Humidifiers
Excess of anything is very bad and it is true in the case of humidifier also. Overuse of humidifier has several drawbacks. It may promote the growth of mold and dust mites. It can also cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis. For most of the home, a relative humidity of 30% to 50% is recommended. To control and monitor humidity levels automatically a properly located and installed hygrostat should be used. Again for the correct humidity levels, a conscientious and well-informed human operator can constantly check the humidity levels.
For larger rooms
Ultrasonic humidifiers are silent and humidify at a faster rate than our pick but can overhumidify if you’re not careful. This one performs similarly to models that cost twice as much and is good for a space 400 square feet or larger.
For spaces around 400 square feet or larger, consider the Sunpentown SU-40Dual Mist Humidifier with ION Exchange Filter. It’s ultrasonic, which means it’s more powerful than our evaporative picks, but this model (like any humidifier of its type) can spread an annoying layer of mineral dust, and can overhumidify a room. This model stands apart with a level of power that matches the leaders in its category and a price that’s roughly half of some competitors. It doesn’t have a humidistat, but in our testing, they usually aren’t that accurate. The SU-40is also harder to clean than the evaporative picks because the water tray is full of sharp angles—a shared trait among all the ultrasonic humidifiers we considered.
If you must have warm mist
Among the warm-mist humidifiers we tested, the this one felt the sturdiest and stayed the coolest (a safety concern). However, we strongly prefer evaporative or ultrasonic humidification.
With the help of a PhD physicist, we tested the humidifiers in a climate-controlled space while regularly logging the temperature, humidity, and particle count (where applicable). Then we evaluated them for ease of use and cleaning, which was just as important as humidifying power for achieving optimal (and safe) performance. Our humidifier testing in the fall of 201featured eight new models, plus a retest of the Honeywell and our runner-up, the Sunpentown SU-9210, and in the fall of 2016, we considered four new models and dismissed them without additional testing.
To test home-humidifier models in a climate-controlled space, John weather-sealed his home office.
John has studied atmospheric physics and chemistry in places from the continental US to the Arctic to the remote island nation of the Maldives on government-sponsored field campaigns to improve our understanding of Earth’s climate.
To test home-humidifier models in a climate-controlled space, he weather-sealed his home office and installed an air conditioner to maintain stable initial conditions. He evaluated the humidifiers with two portable temperature and humidity data loggers, and used a laboratory-grade particle counter to size up the air washers (read more in How we tested).
Who this is for
However, humidifying your home involves more than just buying one of our picks and filling it with water. If you don’t take care to maintain it properly (see Health risks of a dirty humidifier), a humidifier can do more harm than good. Most humidifiers require regular maintenance, including a thorough cleaning every one to three days. There are exceptions, like our upgrade pick. But be honest with yourself: Are you ready to be a “humidifier parent”? If you know you’re not up for this level of regular cleaning and maintenance, you may end up with a breeding ground for germs.
How we picked
These humidifiers are very similar in function and installation to other bypass furnace humidifiers. The difference is that furnace humidifiers install on the side of the ductwork in your home and under duct installs on the bottom. Furnace humidifiers that are installed on the side of the ductwork are more common however they may not be appropriate for the way the ductwork is designed in your home.
There is also a small possibility of mold or bacteria growth in under duct drum style humidifiers if you do not properly maintain them. Water sits in the pan for periods of time and has the potential to become a breeding ground for microorganisms. To prevent this, Skuttle instructs people to drain and clean the pan after the humidifying season. For most people this will be after winter when the air warms up and naturally carries more humidity.
Skuttle also makes a mechanism that automatically flushes the pan with fresh water every two hours for to 30 seconds. This will greatly reduce the chances of bacteria or mold growth in the reservoir. Since new water is moving through it will also reduce mineral build up and increase the time between filter cleanings.
If there is hard water in your home there are a lot of minerals in the water. As the water evaporates the minerals are left behind and become concentrated in the reservoir. Over time these minerals collect on the sidewalls of the reservoir and harden into a rough coating. You can take the time to clean your humidifier with vinegar to remove this buildup.
Alternatively, you could use the Skuttle Automatic Flushing Timer to get fresh water into the reservoir every two hours. This lowers the concentration of minerals in the water held in the reservoir and reduces the chances of them depositing on the sides.
Wrapping it all up
Today we gave you a lot of information about the benefits of furnace humidifiers. We compared different models and highlighted areas where they stood out from the crowd.
The Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered Humidifier wins this contest.
Honeywell HE120A Whole House Humidifier
If you’re looking for a budget option for a small to medium sized house this drum humidifier is good option if you’re looking for basic humidification.
It comes supplied with an automatic relative humidity control as well as an installation kit.
The great benefit of these drum furnace humidifiers is that they don’t require a drain. 100% of the water that goes into the humidifier gets converted into humidity so no water is wasted.
It has an overflow line but the only time you’ll see anything come out of it is if there’s a problem with the humidifier. The auto shut off valve regulates water flowing into the humidifier but if you have hard water then it can get clogged with scale.
You’ll need to replace the filter at least once a year and give the tray a clean twice a year to get rid of mineral buildup.
Whole House Humidifier Ratings
Once you’ve decided on which type of furnace humidifier to buy you need to decide on a specific model. Home furnace humidifier reviews will often quote a number of details but these are the two main ones you should look out for:
Furnace Humidifier Coverage – The capacity of the furnace humidifier is given in square feet and indicates the maximum size home that the humidifier would be able to humidify. Bear in mind that this figure is given based on your home being tightly sealed. Take this figure with a pinch of salt and rather choose a humidifier with a slightly higher capacity than your home’s actual square footage.
Furnace Humidifier Output capacity – This is quoted in gallons per hour or gallons per day and indicates how much moisture your humidifier will deliver into the air. If your air gets very dry then go for a higher gallons per day rating to make sure you get the humidity you’re after.
Heating and Cooling
Living in an environment with dry air and low humidity can be harmful in a number of ways. Dry air with a humidity level below 30 percent can have negative implications on your health as well as your home. Many people find that dry air can aggravate existing respiratory problems and allergies and make them more susceptible to colds and the flu. Wood floors and furniture may also suffer by cracking in dry environments. Certain climates may be dry all year long, while others may experience this seasonally. Luckily, purchasing a humidifier is an easy way to maintain a healthy humidity level and to restore balance in dry times of the year. Whole house humidifiers are installed into your home’s heating and cooling system and humidity is controlled by the homeowner using a thermostat.
This article will outline the different types of whole house humidifiers, popular humidifier brands, the top whole house humidifiers, and suggestions to help you choose the best product for you and your family.
Essick Air produces a line of AIRCARE whole house humidifiers and portable humidifiers. AIRCARE’s primary products are evaporative cool mist humidifiers which use wick filters to absorb water while a fan circulates cool mist. Essick Air AIRCARE products feature multiple humidification speeds, easy-fill reservoirs, automatic humidistats, and user-friendly controls and are able to humidify space up to 2,700 square feet.
Lasko’s products are technically portable humidifiers, but their nine- and 12-gallon models can reach from 2,000 to 3,800 square feet. They also manufacture a three-gallon unit. Lasko’s recirculating humidifiers use continuous flow over their filter pad to eliminate stale standing water.
For any whole house humidifier it is important to be aware of the maintenance requirements. Can you perform maintenance yourself, or will you need to hire a technician? Make sure that you are aware of the maintenance that is required before you decide that you are willing to do it yourself, and check your warranty information to determine whether or not it requires maintenance to be performed by a licensed technician.
If you have decided that a whole house humidifier is the best option for your home, it is a good idea to contact an expert to asses your home, determine your needs, and make a product recommendation that is right for you. Experts will understand your home’s heating and cooling system and will be able to assist with product selection based on this as well as the size of your house.
Mist Output and Fan Speed
Whether you choose to go the vibration-driven ultrasonic or fan-controlled evaporative route, the amount of mist the humidifier emits can mean the difference between full and inadequate room coverage. Many cool-mist humidifiers with push buttons let you change the mist output or fan speed to two or three levels while those with a turn dial have more. Pay close attention to what the manufacturer says about how much square feet the humidifier can cover.
Nobody wants to lay next to a loud machine when they are sick or sleeping, but for babies, the level of sound produced by a humidifier is crucial. Therefore, look for a cool-mist humidifier that never gets louder than 40 decibels. If an evaporative humidifier exceeds this maximum decibel level on some fan speed settings but not others, be sure to keep it on the lowest setting when your baby is asleep.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Furnace Humidifiers wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Furnace Humidifiers
- №1 — Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier
- №2 — Aprilaire 500 Humidifier, 24V Whole House Humidifier w/ Auto Digital Control Bypass Damper .5 Gallons/ hour
- №3 — Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered Humidifier