What We Like
Aesthetically pleasing design
Wheels make it highly portable
Can save you money on your heating bill
What We Don't Like
Only available in two colors
Doesn’t cover as much square footage as advertised
Dry air can cause a slew of household issues. It can exacerbate asthma and nosebleeds, kill your favorite plants, and even crack your wood and leather furniture. If you’re ready to rid your home of these issues and infuse your space with a little moisture—to the tune of a healthy 35- to 45-percent humidity—check out the Essick AirCare EP9800 Evaporative Pedestal Humidifier. While many humidifiers look downright clinical, AirCare’s pedestal design hides its utilitarian function. Keep reading to see if this whole-home humidifier is right for you.
Setup Process: Quick and easy
The AirCare EP9800 requires little in the way of set up. After pulling the pedestal out of the box, all you have to do is install four caster wheels on the base and a water float inside the chamber. Next, you place the filter in the slot, pop the casing on top, and add water via a small pour-in door on the front of the appliance (a fill line guides you). Those steps complete, voila!—you have yourself one fancy humidifying pedestal.
To get the humidifier running, simply plug it in, turn it on, and program it to your desired humidity and fan speed. The manufacturer suggests setting it to 43 percent humidity to eliminate common cold strains. Eventually, the device will indicate when it needs a new filter (after 720 hours of use) and when to refill the water (generally every two days), so you don’t have to watch it too closely.
Design: Functional elegance
Unlike the dull plastic boxes and cones we grew up with, the AirCare pedestal humidifier—which is available in espresso and nutmeg—looks like a piece of furniture you’d purposely display in your living room. Since it measures a substantial 18 x 18 x 27.25 inches, we placed ours near the couch and used it as a dual-purpose end table. The humidifier is topped off with a 12 x 12-inch tile, which suited us fine, but you can easily switch this out to better match your style.
AirCare claims that the pedestal humidifier can run for up to 60 hours … but in our home, it lasted two days on average.
Since the device’s vents are on located on the side of the pedestal, you can place anything on top of it. Rest a few books, a vase of flowers, or even a lamp on the AirCare and no one will know it’s a humidifier. Just make sure your belongings stay on top; if you were to drape something like a tablecloth over the sides of the device, it wouldn’t operate as expected.
Lending to the device’s subtlety is the fact that its mist is invisible and it is near-silent in operation. The only tell-tale sign that this is an appliance is its small digital display. If your humidifier has ever left a wet spot on the carpet or warped your favorite band poster, you’ll also be happy to know that this one doesn’t dampen anything around it.
Performance: Near-silent operation but misses the mark
Okay, maybe this humidifier isn’t silent, but even set to its highest speed, we were able to watch TV at a regular volume. Speaking of speed, you can choose from nine different levels depending on how big and dry your space is. Though the AirCare EP9800 is advertised as being able to humidify medium-size homes up to 2,400-square-feet, we found it didn’t quite hit the mark. In our two-level, 1,500-square-foot condo, the device really only kept the bottom floor humidified to 50 percent.
Okay, maybe this humidifier isn’t silent, but even set to its highest speed, we were able to watch TV at a regular volume.
On a more positive note, the humidifier features an automatic humidistat that measures any given room’s relative humidity. When the room drops 3-percent below the desired humidity, the device will cycle on and off to maintain your preferred percentage.
AirCare claims that the pedestal humidifier can run for up to 60 hours. We will admit that the device holds a substantial amount of water—3.5 gallons—but in our home, it lasted two days on average. That said, we do live in an arid desert climate, so we can chalk up part of the runtime mishap to that.
AirCare states that running the EP9800 can also save you up to 10 percent on your annual heating bill. The science behind this is pretty simple: proper humidity makes the air feel warmer. This means you feel warmer and thus knock the thermostat down a few degrees. Since the humidifier fell short of its promises elsewhere, we’re looking forward to testing this out come winter.
Though the AirCare EP9800 is advertised as being able to humidify medium-size homes up to 2,400-square-feet, we found it didn’t quite hit the mark.
Cleaning: Really not that bad
One of the worst parts of owning a humidifier is having to clean it. But this is a necessary evil as the appliance can grow mold and harbor microbes. Luckily, the AirCare was a breeze to clean—thanks in part to its large footprint. All you have to do unplug the humidifier, wheel it to your sink or tub, lift the top off, pour out any remaining water, and scrub the inner chamber. If you want to deep clean it, AirCare suggests filling the reservoir with fresh water and adding either 8 ounces of vinegar or 1 teaspoon of bleach. Let it sit for 20 minutes, pour it out, and then wipe it out with a cloth.
If you plan to store the humidifier over the summer months, make sure you complete the above steps, throw away the used filter, and wipe the device completely dry with a cloth. If you store it wet—even just damp—it will grow mold.
Price: Pretty expensive
Given its mediocre performance, we found the AirCare’s retail price of $179.99 to be a bit steep. You can find much cheaper humidifiers that cover the same square footage and operate just as silently. If you’re in love with the pedestal design, it may be worth the extra $50 or so, but don’t expect it to humidify your whole home if it’s over 1,500 square feet.
Competition: It’s Essick’s market
Finding a humidifier isn’t hard, but research your options for even a few minutes and you’ll find Essick makes the bulk of them. In the realm of pedestal styles, the brand offers two other furniture-like humidifiers: the H12-400HB 3-Speed Whole-House Console ($110) and the 696 400HB Whole-House Credenza ($170). The first is a rectangular device with faux-wood paneling and a 5.4-gallon reservoir while the latter is more of a statement piece with a light oak finish and a 5.6-gallon reservoir. Whichever way you go, both devices are meant to service homes up to 3,600 square feet.
Buy it if you love the pedestal style.
AirCare has plenty of humidifiers to choose from—many of them under $100. Given the EP9800’s steep price tag and the fact that cheaper models offer similar (if not the same) performance and features, we’d only suggest making the investment if you’re in love with its pedestal design.
- Product Name AirCare Digital Whole-House Pedestal-Style Evaporative Humidifier
- Product Brand Essick
- MPN EP9800
- Price $179.99
- Weight 27 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 18 x 18 x 27.25 in.
- Color Espresso and nutmeg
- Capacity 3.5 gal
- Coverage Area 2,400 ft
- Warranty 2-year limited