Would you like to learn about the best and most highly reviewed whole house humidifiers in 2019?
You are in the right place.
On this page, we have created a great buyer’s guide on choosing the best whole house evaporative humidifier so you can have a healthy indoor air quality.
In this guide you will learn…
- Our top #1 best choice of whole house humidifiers
- The advantages of owning a whole house humidifier for your home (as opposed to a portable humidifier)
- How to minimize the harmful effects of dry air (we don’t want desert air do we?)
- How to choose the right home humidifier for your furnace
- What you need to know about installing the best humidifier for the whole house
Let’s get started with this guide!
Our Top 3 Best Whole House Humidifiers in 2019
- The Aprilaire 500 Whole House Humidifier (Automatic Compact Furnace Humidifier)
- The Honeywell HE360A Whole House Humidifier (colored light gray)
- The Aprilaire 700 Premium Whole House Humidifier
What is a Whole House Humidifier?
A humidifier for the whole house is a product that literally mounts to your air duct right next to your furnace (or heat pump).
The product sends a small stream of water down an “evaporator panel” or pad and air is blown over it.
The moisture from “evaporative cooling” is then sucked into the home as part of the normal air flow of your hvac system.
Almost all whole house evaporative humidifiers have automatic controls so you can set it and forget it.
If you prefer a home with 40% relative humidity, you can set this at the control panel, and the humidifier will turn on automatically when needed.
In general, you will have to replace the pad in a whole house evaporative humidifier about once a year.
Most homeowners replace the pad/panel right before the cold season.
What Are The Benefits of a Whole House Humidifier For Your Furnace?
There are many benefits to having a top rated whole house humidifier that controls the humidity in your home.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is research to suggest that having the right amount of humidity in your home can decrease or eliminate….
- bloody noses
- cracked lips
- dry sinuses
When there is a higher relative humidity inside, your furnace filter will also be able to catch more debris, and you may even have to replace the furnace filter more regularly.
The moisture may also reduce the chance for fungi and mold to grow.
You should be able to notice a much healthier indoor air quality when you properly use a whole house humidifier.
In general, the colder the air gets outside, the lower the moisture content of your indoor air will be.
Besides the obvious health benefits, a home humidifier can also reduce common nuisances associated with dry winter air.
According to Stanford University, increasing your indoor relative humidity can help prevent static electricity, peeling wallpaper, and cracked furniture.
When the air gets very dry, it can easily crack wood and cause splintering.
Dry air also increases the likelihood that your wood floors will squeak when walked on.
Besides all of these reasons for a whole house “cool mist” humidifier, it just makes the indoor living environment more comfortable.
Pro Tip: Remember to change the evaporator panel each year before turning on the heat and to thoroughly clean the humidifier. Otherwise mold and mildew may grow inside the unit and blown throughout the home.
How To Install a Central Humidifier For Your Home?
In general, installing a whole house humidifier isn’t for a homeowner with little or no DIY skills.
On average it will take someone about 3-5 hours to install a whole house humidifier.
If you don’t feel comfortable possibly doing some wiring and other DIY stuff, I suggest you buy the unit you desire, and then hire a competent handyman or contractor to install the humidifier.
This way you will mainly just be shopping for labor costs after you purchase the humidifier.
With some units, you will want to (or have to) install the humidifier into the furnace wiring and tie it into your thermostat.
With other humidifiers, very little wiring is required.
Home humidifiers are installed at the furnace (or heat pump) on the supply or return side.
There are pros and cons as to which side of the air flow to install the humidifier, I suggest you follow the manufacturer recommendations.
Either way, a hole will have to be cut into the ductwork, and the humidifier will be inserted into the circular cut and fastened with some screws.
Then the drain line will have to be connected to a condensate pump or to an existing floor drain.
How To Pick The Best Whole House Evaporative Humidifier?
The best whole house humidifiers are “flow through” type humidifiers where water is poured over an evaporator panel.
Some older humidifiers used a “drum type” system where there is standing water in the humidifier.
During my home inspections, I rarely ever see the older drum type which can cause mold problems with the standing water — they won’t even be discussed in this guide.
Almost all whole house humidifiers will clearly tell you the size of house that they are rated for… usually up to 3,000 square feet, and other higher capacity humidifiers rated for 4,000 square feet and higher.
Besides house size and humidifier capacity, another important consideration is if it includes everything you need to install the unit.
Some products claim to have everything you need to install (which may only be partially correct) while other humidifiers say that you will need to buy a separate “install kit”.
Factoring what you need to buy to install the humidifier is definitely something to consider.
Also, you will want to know where you are going to drain the humidifier.
Does your utility room already have a floor drain? You can then send the humidifier water to the floor drain.
If you don’t have a floor drain, you may be able to send it to an existing sump pump or to a condensate pump. The condensate pump (which may be right next to the furnace already) or the sump pump will send the water to the outside or possibly to a utility sink.
Where you drain the humidifier is something to think about before you buy a whole house humidifier.
How Are Central Home Humidifiers Different Than Other Types of Humidifiers?
When you install a central whole house humidifier, it connects to your hvac system and is usually on autopilot.
There are other freestanding humidifiers but are usually just for a small area of the home such as a living room.
If you want to adjust the humidity of the whole house, then a whole house humidifier is what you need.
Besides the “standard” whole house humidifier that uses liquid water that goes over a pad, there are also whole house humidifiers that actually use steam. The “steam” whole house humidifiers are usually much more expensive, and probably suitable only for fairly large houses.
Where To Buy The Best and Top Rated Whole House Humidifier?
At Home Inspector Secrets, we always recommend buying whole house humidifiers from Amazon because they have a large selection of products.
They usually also have very fast shipping — so you don’t have to run down to the big box store and deal with traffic.
You can also carefully choose the one that is the best for you house in a no rush environment.
There are many reviews on the products, and you can avoid humidifiers with very negative feedback from customers.
What Are The Top Rated Central Whole House Humidifiers? (**2019 Review)
Our budget friendly pick with great reviews is the Aprilaire 500.
This central furnace humidifier is rated for homes up to 3,000 square feet in living space.
Made in the USA, Aprilaire is the original inventor of the humidifier for the furnace.
The product comes with dual sensors to monitor indoor humidity as well as outdoor temperatures.
- An affordable price
- Quality and reputation (made in USA, original inventor)
- 12 gallon per day capacity — easily add indoor humidity for a regular sized home
- digital controls
- No warranty
- Likely need extra install parts for the DIY install (separate install kits available on Amazon)
- Moderately difficult install
This powerful whole house humidifier by Honeywell is rated for homes up to 4,200 square feet of living space.
It can be mounted on the return or supply side of furnace, and it is will put an end to the “desert-like” air in your home.
The unit comes with a regular electric cord so it can be plugged into a wall outlet.
- Claims that it has everything needed for installation
- Higher capacity (compared to Aprilaire 500)
- Comes with a regular electric plug
- May be an easier install than Aprilaire
- Complaints about Honeywell not honoring warranty
- Bad reviews in regards to customer service
- Some owners have said the instructions are very poor
This premium model from Aprilaire has the highest capacity with 0.75 gallons of water per hour.
The humidifier is rated for homes up to 4,200 square feet, and will help reduce allergies, cracked lips, and damaged woodwork.
Some owners have had success wiring this unit with their Nest thermostat for wireless control.
- Made in the USA
- Original inventor of the whole house humidifier
- High capacity for up to 4200 square feet homes.
- Moderately difficult installation
- Will need to be buy extra parts for install for the DIYer
- May take a week for humidifier to settle down if environment is very dry
- No warranty from Aprilaire
1. Quality Build
- Made in the USA and manufactured by the original inventor of the whole house hvac humidifier (enough said)
2. High Capacity
- Rated for homes up to 4200 square feet of living space, a very power humidifier (probably want two for larger homes)
3. Digital Controls
- Aprilaire whole house humidifiers come with digital controls for exacting humidity control
4. Moderately Difficult Install
- The average DIYer should be able to install the product within 3-5 hours, possibly saving hundreds of dollars