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Humidifiers are used to add moisture to the air, so if you’re experiencing dry skin, dry throat, or other respiratory symptoms, this appliance can help to make your home a little more comfortable. However, regular humidifiers are typically only powerful enough to regulate the air in one room at a time, and if you want to add moisture to every room in your house, a whole-home humidifier might be the way to go.
Whole-home humidifiers are more powerful units designed to add moisture to the air in spaces 1,000 square feet or larger. There are different styles of whole-home humidifiers available today, including freestanding units and furnace-mounted models. No matter which style you choose, be sure the humidifier is large enough to handle the square footage of your home.
Here, the best whole-home humidifiers on the market today.
Best Overall: AIRCARE 5 Gal. Evaporative Humidifier
AIRCARE is one of the top brands that sells whole-house humidifiers, and their 5-Gallon Evaporative Humidifier is a solid investment in terms of performance and value. The sleek modern unit is designed for homes up to 4,000 square feet, and it can deliver up to 12.8 gallons of daily output.
This whole-house humidifier has a three-speed motor, adjustable humidistat, and automatic shut-off. You can control the unit via its easy-to-use digital display, and it includes both water refill and check filter indicator lights, letting you know when the appliance needs attention. The humidifier is a bit bulky, so it’s mounted on casters for easy movement, and it has two water bottles that you fill up, saving you the hassle of carrying an oversized water tank back and forth to the sink.
Best Budget: AIRCARE Space-Saver Whole House Evaporative Humidifier
Louder than expected
The majority of whole-house humidifiers cost several hundred dollars, but one of the best budget options is this space-saving evaporative humidifier from AIRCARE. Designed for homes up to 2,700 square feet, this unit has a 6-gallon water tank and is a great value at a fraction of the price of some competitors. The AIRCARE Space-Saver Whole House Evaporative Humidifier has a maximum runtime of 70 hours, and its compact form isn’t nearly as cumbersome as other models.
This humidifier offers several speed settings and an automatic shut-off when your home is at the desired humidity level or when the unit runs out of water. It has an easy-to-fill water tank that you simply pour liquid into, and there are indicator lights for the filter and water level. The unit is compact and easy to move around thanks to its wheels, meaning you can easily wheel it out of the way when you don't need it.
Best Design: Levoit LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier
Small coverage area
Difficult to refill
Many humidifiers have an extremely utilitarian design, both in terms of their controls and overall appearance, and if you’re looking for a unit that offers a sleek aesthetic and more comprehensive functionality, the Levoit Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier is the way to go. This humidifier can be used in spaces up to 750 square feet, so it’s not as powerful as other options, but it does offer three levels of either warm or cool mist.
This humidifier from Levoit displays the exact humidity level in your home, and you can control it via its digital control panel or its convenient remote control. It has a 6-liter tank that delivers up to 36 hours of continuous use, and its smart auto mode adjusts the humidity in your home to the most suitable level. It includes an optional timer, and you can also turn the display off if it bothers you during the night.
While it may not be the best option for large homes, the Levoit Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier is an unbeatable option for small homes and apartments.
Best for Large Homes: Aprilaire 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier
Large coverage area
Doesn't require purified water
Air ducts required
Aprilaire is another brand that’s known for its quality whole-house humidifiers, and if you’re looking for a unit that can handle a lot of square footage, the company’s Whole-Home Steam Humidifier is one of your best options. This high-output unit is designed to be mounted to your furnace, and it can regulate humidity in homes up to 6,200 square feet. (For this particular model, air ducts are required.)
The Aprilaire 800 has dual sensors to monitor both indoor and outdoor humidity and temperature levels, automatically adjusting its settings to deliver an optimal humidity level. Another benefit of this unit is that purified water isn’t required, which helps to minimize installation complexity and operating costs.
Best Pedestal: AIRCARE EP9 800 Digital Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier
Aesthetically pleasing design
Smaller coverage area than expected
Limited color options
Humidity sensor lacks accuracy
As its name suggests, the AIRCARE Pedestal-Style Evaporative Humidifier is designed to resemble a pedestal, making it less of an eyesore in your home. This unit can be used in homes up to 2,400 square feet, and it’s available in two finishes to match your decor. You can even swap out the tile on top for one of your choosing.
The pedestal-style humidifier offers an impressive nine fan speeds, and its digital display allows you to keep tabs on the current humidity level, desired level, and current settings. It automatically shuts off when the desired humidity level is reached or when the unit runs out of water, and there’s a convenient pull-out where you can quickly add more water.
"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: AIRCARE H12600 Copper Night Digital Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier
Louder than expected
Unreliable low water sensor
For a console-style humidifier that you can tuck into a corner of your home, this AIRCARE Evaporative Humidifier is one of your best options. It’s available in three different finishes, and it can be used in homes up to 3,700 square feet thanks to its nearly 12 gallon-per-day output. This unit has an evaporative system that uses natural humidity to add moisture to the air, and it has four speed settings and a comfort-sensing humidistat.
The controls on this unit are tucked away behind a panel for a more streamlined appearance, and it includes an easy-fill water bottle with a refill hose. It can be noisy during operation, but most agree that the product is an effective option for a reasonable price.
Best Furnace-Mounted: Aprilaire 500 Whole Home Humidifier
If your home is on the more moderate side but you’re still interested in a furnace-mounted unit, the Aprilaire 500 is another highly rated option from this reputable brand. This automatic humidifier is ideal for homes up to 3,000 square feet, as it has a capacity of 12 gallons per day.
Similar to the Aprilaire 800, this unit includes dual sensors to monitor indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity levels, automatically adjusting its performance accordingly, and its digital control panel shows you when the unit is running, the percent humidity, as well as when service is needed. This furnace-mounted humidifier is compact, making it ideal for tight spaces.
AIRCARE’s 5 Gal. Evaporative Humidifier (view at Home Depot) is our top pick for its performance and ease of use. For homes up to 4,000 square feet, it’s a solid, reliable investment. For smaller homes and apartments, the Levoit LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier (view at Amazon) is a highly functional, efficient option. Its sleek appearance is an added bonus.
What to Look for in a Whole-House Humidifier
Above all, you want a humidifier that can help keep your home’s humidity balanced at the level you want. Some models are so effective that they may prevent your wood floors from drying out and help control static electricity. To decide which humidifier will work best for you, consider the climate in which you live, the size of your home, and your budget—and look for a unit that fits your criteria.
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.
Ease of use
Some humidifiers are more of a hassle to set up and use than others. Certain models plug into the wall, while others may require professional installation. Also, consider the size of a humidifier’s water tank and how often you’ll have to refill it.
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.