The 8 Best Whole House Humidifiers of 2021

Add much needed moisture to a dry household

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Best Whole House Humidifiers

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

Our Top Picks
With the ability to connect to your HVAC system and cover up to 4000 square feet, this humidifier is a must-have and saves 30% less water.
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This humidifier will keep your entire home moist without breaking the bank. You can also easily move it from room to room.
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This petite humidifier is ideal for smaller homes as it covers about 900 square feet. It also dispenses fragrance.
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This model can keep homes up to 6,200 square feet humidified but does require installation and air ducts to work.
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Designed to resemble a pedestal, this unit will be less of an eyesore in your home and will still keep your air fresh.
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This humidifier has a triple-layer filtration system that is also treated with baking soda to prevent odor.
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This humidifier conveniently mounts right to your furnace and also saves 80% less water.
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This humidifier will evenly distribute moisture via smart home devices or remote control. It's convenient and effective.
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The primary purpose of a humidifier is to add moisture to indoor air. As Ken Spaeth, MD, a New York-based physician specializing in occupational and environmental medicine, explains, dry air can be uncomfortable and irritating, potentially triggering respiratory infections, asthma symptoms, or even nosebleeds.

"Humans are most comfortable when indoor humidity levels are between 40 and 50 percent," Dr. Spaeth tells The Spruce. Standard humidifiers can be a good solution, but if you live in a particularly dry or cold climate, you might want to look into a whole-home unit. This will help ensure your indoor air doesn't drop below 40 percent, which, as Dr. Spaeth notes, "can cause eyes, throats, [and] sinuses to dry out."

These robust units are ideal for spaces over 1,000 square feet. There are pedestals and consoles, furnace-mounted models, ultrasonic and evaporative humidifiers, and everything in between. When browsing whole-house humidifiers, be sure to consider the size of your home, as well as the installation requirements and features. To help you narrow down your options, we rounded up high-quality models in every category.

Here, the best whole-home humidifiers on the market today.

Best Overall: Honeywell Flow-Through Bypass Whole House Humidifier

Honeywell Flow-Through Bypass Whole House Humidifier

Dimensions: 22.9 x 19.8 x 1.7 inches | Home Size: 2000-4000 square feet | Weight: 14.97 lbs | Power: 24 volts | Water Tank Capacity: N/A

What We Like
  • Connects to HVAC system

  • Large coverage area

  • Water-saving technology

What We Don't Like
  • Complex installation

The best whole-home humidifier is the Honeywell Home HE280, which connects to your existing HVAC system. It can be mounted to almost any return air duct or warm air supply to evenly distribute moisture throughout each room. A user-friendly humidity control makes it easy to adjust to your liking.

In most homes, this humidifier can cover about 2,000 square feet, but for newer builds, you can expect up to 4,000 square feet of coverage. Thanks to Honeywell's water-saving technology, the HE280 uses 30 percent less water than most other models. And unlike portable units, you can have peace of mind knowing your wood floors and furniture are protected from warping, cracking, and other moisture damage.

Expert Buying Tip

"Meteorologic conditions play a big part in how dry the air can get within the homes." —

Ken Spaeth, MD, a New York-based physician specializing in occupational and environmental medicine

Best Budget: AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier

AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier, White

Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.5 x 20.5 inches | Home Size: 3600 square feet | Weight: 14 lbs | Power: 120 volts | Water Tank Capacity: 3.6 gallons

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Large coverage area

  • Low-maintenance

What We Don't Like
  • Requires filters

  • Bulky design

For those looking for a wallet-friendly option, we recommend the AirCare MA1201. This console-style humidifier has a 3.6-gallon reservoir and can cover homes as big as 3,600 square feet.

The evaporative technology releases moisture without any visible mist. Not only that, but it's notably low-maintenance—just make sure you have extra filters handy—and can be moved around with ease, thanks to the casters.

What Testers Say

"Performance is where the Console really shines. Despite our gripes with its clunky appearance, the unit works well. The large fan and large wick combine to crank out moisture to the point where we saw condensation on the glass of our windows on a cold night from the Console keeping our humidity high." — Justin Park, Product Tester

Best for Small Homes: Stadler Form EVA Ultrasonic Humidifier

Stadler Form EVA Ultrasonic Humidifier

Dimensions: 7.7 x 7.7 x 16.5 inches | Home Size: 860-900 square feet | Weight: 7.26 lbs | Power: 10-95 watts | Water Tank Capacity: 1.6 gallon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Compact

  • Demineralization cartridge

What We Don't Like
  • May leak on surfaces

Small home? Check out the Stadler Form EVA. This sleek ultrasonic humidifier calls on high-frequency vibrations to turn water into a cool or warm mist.

The 1.6-gallon reservoir can hold enough water to cover homes of about 900 square feet in size. When the tank is empty, the EVA automatically powers down. We also like that it comes with a demineralization cartridge and has a hidden compartment for essential oils.

Expert Buying Tip

"Air conditioners, in addition to cooling the ambient air, also dry that air out. Many home heating units, such as forced air, will also lower the relative humidity. When the relative humidity gets too low, use of humidifiers can be helpful in offsetting this."

Ken Spaeth, MD, a New York-based physician specializing in occupational and environmental medicine



Best for Large Homes: Aprilaire 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier

Aprilaire 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier

Dimensions: ‎7.13 x 10.13 x 20.88 inches | Home Size: 6200 square feet | Weight: 24.5 lbs | Power: Not listed | Water Tank Capacity: 11.5-34.6 gallons/day

What We Like
  • Large coverage area

  • Mounts to furnace

  • High-quality design

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Air ducts required

Aprilaire is known for its high-quality, whole-house humidifiers, and if your home is more than 4,000 square feet, this is the brand to get. The 800 model is designed to be mounted to a furnace, releasing moisture through your existing air ducts.

This steam humidifier can cover homes as large as 6,200 square feet. Its dual sensors monitor the temperature and moisture of the indoor and outdoor air, automatically adjusting to deliver optimal humidity. We also like that you don't need to use purified water.

Best Pedestal: AIRCARE EP9 800 Digital Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier

AIRCARE Nutmeg Digital Style Whole House Pedestal Evaporative Humidifier for 2400 sq. ft

Dimensions: ‎18 x 18 x 27.25 inches | Home Size: 2400 square feet | Weight: 27 lbs | Power: 120 volts | Water Tank Capacity: 7.4 gallons

What We Like
  • Portable

  • Invisible mist

  • Automatic shutoff

What We Don't Like
  • Dated design

  • No wheels

AirCare makes the best pedestal humidifier. Measuring 18 x 18 x 27 inches with a 3.5-gallon tank, the EP9 can cover homes as large as 2,400 square feet.

The design of this tower-style humidifier is somewhat dated, but the top tile can be replaced to match your floors and furnishings. It uses evaporative technology to humidify without visible mist and automatically shuts off when it reaches your desired level.

What Testers Say

"AirCare claims that the pedestal humidifier can run for up to 60 hours … but in our home, it lasted two days on average."—Linnea Covington, Product Tester

Best Console-Style: Holmes Whole House Console Humidifier

Holmes Whole House Console Humidifier

Dimensions: ‎18.11 x 12.83 x 19.25 inches | Home Size: 2000 square feet | Weight: 15.15 lbs | Power: 100 watts | Water Tank Capacity: 2.8 gallons

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Triple filtration

  • Minimizes odors

What We Don't Like
  • No wheels

We also like the Holmes Console Humidifier, which boasts a large reservoir, an adjustable thermostat, and a triple-layer filtration system. The filter is treated with baking soda and an antimicrobial agent to minimize odors and prevent mold growth.

This whole-house humidifier can moisturize the air in homes as large as 2,000 square feet, running for up to 24 hours on a full tank. While it doesn't have casters, the handles make it easy to move around your home.

Best Furnace-Mounted: Hamilton Whole House Furnace Mount Flow Through Humidifier

grays-hamilton-humidifier

Dimensions: ‎12.5 x 8.5 x 12.5 inches | Home Size: 3000 square feet | Weight: 15.15 lbs | Power: 24 volts | Water Tank Capacity: 13 gallons/day

What We Like
  • Large coverage area

  • Even distribution

  • Water-saving technology

What We Don't Like
  • Professional installation required

If you're in the market for a furnace-mounted model, you should definitely check out the Hamilton 12HF. With an output of 13 gallons per day, it can moisturize the air in homes spanning 3,000 square feet.

This whole-home humidifier is designed to work with your existing forced-air heating system for even distribution and easy maintenance. What's more, it uses as much as 80 percent less water than others in its category.

Best Smart: Condair HumiLife Whole House Evaporative Humidifier

Condair HumiLife Whole House Evaporative Humidifier

Dimensions: ‎18.4 x 10.4 x 6.9 inches | Home Size: 3000 square feet | Weight: 18.4 lbs | Power: 110 volts | Water Tank Capacity: Not listed

What We Like
  • Even distribution

  • Smart controls

  • No visible mist

What We Don't Like
  • Installation kit not included

The Condair HumiLife is compatible with most smart home hubs, including Alexa, Google Home, and Siri. This makes it easy to control remotely and adjust to your exact liking.

We like that this whole-house humidifier mounts directly to a furnace for evenly distributed moisture throughout homes up to 3,000 square feet in size. Not only that, but the evaporative design means you won't see any mist coming out of your vents.

Final Verdict

Our number one pick is the Honeywell Home HE280 (view at Amazon), a whole-house humidifier that mounts to your existing HVAC system to evenly distribute moisture throughout the air in your home. For households on a budget, we recommend the AirCare MA1201, a console-style humidifier with caster wheels and evaporative technology (view at Amazon).

Essick AirCare EP9800 Evaporative Pedestal Humidifier
The Spruce / Linnea Covington

What to Look for in a Whole-House Humidifier

Home Size

When shopping around for a humidifier, one of the most important things to consider is your home size. Most whole-house models cover between 1,000 and 4,000 square feet, though some have larger or smaller capacities.

If you have a very large house (5,000 square feet or larger), look for a product that explicitly states it can cover homes of that size. You may also want to consult with an HVAC professional to confirm it'll work in your space.

Type

There are a few different types of whole-home humidifiers. Furnace-mounted models connect to your existing HVAC system and offer even distribution throughout your home. Then there are free-standing options, including console-style and pedestal humidifiers. If you get a free-standing model, figure out where you plan to put it and check the dimensions to make sure it'll fit in your space.

You'll also see a range of ultrasonic and evaporative options. Ultrasonic humidifiers turn water into mist using high-frequency vibration. Evaporative technology, on the other hand, moisturizes the air without releasing any visible vapor.

Features

While many humidifiers simply balance the humidity in your house, others come with extra features. For example, certain units double as diffusers for essential oils. Also, if your humidifier will be on display in a busy area of your home, you may want to pick a design-forward unit that doesn't clash with your decor.

Set-Up

You'll also want to consider the set-up requirements. Some whole-home humidifiers, such as furnace-mounted models, need to be professionally installed. Consoles, pedestals, and other free-standing units are usually easier to set up, though they vary in terms of maintenance requirements and how often you have to fill the water tank.

AIRCARE MA0800 Digital Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier
The Spruce / Linnea Covington
FAQ
  • How do whole home humidifiers work?

    Unlike a single room humidifier, which works through a regular wall outlet, whole home models usually hook up to your house's heating or cooling system, and use the household plumbing for water supply. When air passes through the humidifier, it picks up water and sends that added vapor out into your home through the air ducts.

  • Do whole home humidifiers cause mold?

    To make a long story short, yes, whole home humidifiers can cause mold, if you aren't careful. Models that contain standing water may end up with mold growing inside them, so it's important to maintain and clean them regularly. However, any unit can be the source of mold growth if it's pumping out too much moisture into a too-cold home. Humidity will adhere to cold surfaces and accumulate, which leads to mold if it goes unnoticed. This can happen anywhere around your home—even inside the walls and air ducts. If you're concerned about mold, be vigilant and set your whole home humidifier's humidistat to a humidity level lower than 60 percent.

  • Are whole home humidifiers safe?

    In addition to mold, excessive moisture from a whole home humidifier can also cause frost and water to build up in areas that are sensitive to water (like wood fixtures and surfaces), leaving stains and damage behind. Setting your whole home humidifier to run only when the heating system is on (rather than continuously) and making sure your home is well ventilated can help prevent the issue of excess moisture.

Essick AIRCARE Console MA1201 Humidifier
The Spruce / Justin Park

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland is a commerce writer with experience covering indoor air quality, home improvement, and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed a physician specializing in occupational and environmental medicine, then researched the different types, features, and installation requirements of whole-home humidifiers. She pored over user reviews, looked at key specifications, and considered the price range and overall design of dozens of models before landing on her final picks. A big proponent of humidity during the chilly Pacific Northwest winter, Theresa has a keen understanding of how humidifiers work and why they're important. You can check out more of her work on Byrdie and MyDomaine.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Use and Care of Home Humidifiers. United States Environmental Protection Agency.

  2. Mold Course Chapter 2. United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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