8 Best Whole House Humidifiers of 2023

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8 Best Whole House Humidifiers of 2023

Dry air can make everything feel itchy and uncomfortable, from your skin to your sinuses, eyes and more. If you find that your entire house could benefit from some moisture during dry months like wintertime, consider investing in a whole-house humidifier.

Whole-house humidifiers operate much like their smaller counterparts, but instead of being able to add humidity to just one room, they can fill your entire home with moisture. Many are designed to integrate with a home's existing forced-air system, though freestanding "console" units are an option for smaller homes and apartments. These are the best whole-house humidifiers you can buy, according to our home experts — including evaporative, fan-powered, bypass and steam units.

The engineers and product analysts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have been testing HVAC equipment for your home for decades, from the best humidifiers to air purifiers, dehumidifiers and more. While we haven't yet done a side-by-side test of whole-house humidifiers in our Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab, our experts have been hands-on with dozens of humidifiers over the past decade. To put together this list of the best whole-house humidifiers, our experts relied on their expertise in the field, researching dozens of popular models for ease of installation, tank capacity, coverage area, construction and more.

After reading our reviews, keep scrolling to learn what type of whole-house humidifier is best for your home and how much whole-house humidifiers cost.

Fight dry conditions with this powerful whole-house humidifier that integrates into your HVAC system. With a massive 17-gallon tank capacity, this model can add moisture to large homes up to 5,000 square feet.

Though professional installation is required, our experts love that it features a digital control for easy operation as well as a built-in sensor that registers when humidity levels drop below their set point, in which case the unit automatically pumps moisture into your home's air.

Several reviewers appreciated that the humidifier doesn’t waste water, while others were pleased that the added humidity to the air let them lower their thermostats. “It definitely makes the house feel more comfortable,” one reviewer shares. Though some DIY-savvy online reviewers installed the unit themselves, our pros recommend hiring a professional.

If you live in an apartment or a smaller home, you certainly don’t need one of the largest capacity whole-house humidifiers out there. The console-style Vornado Evap40 is suitable for spaces up to 1,000 square feet and our experts think it’s hard to find a more efficient humidifier at such a great value. The freestanding unit features two removable tanks that you refill with tap water when needed, but what we really love is that it doesn’t require any complicated installation or set-up.

The Vornado earned top performance scores in our most recent humidifier Lab tests. Our experts found the controls intuitive to operate, thanks to easy-to-adjust knobs that control the fan speed and humidity levels. Though you may hear a gurgling sound when water flows from the tanks into the base, online reviewers said the fan noise blended into the background and appreciated how easy the humidifier was to clean.

Just keep in mind that the tank capacity is on the smaller side so you’ll only be able to run the unit for 24 hours at a time, but it’s one of the lightest and most compact on this list.

Trane, a winner in our 2023 Home Renovation Awards, is established in the HVAC space and has a stellar track record for performance and reliability. You'll need to hire a professional to attach this whole-house humidifier to your existing HVAC system for more immediate control of your indoor air quality.

Our experts love that the system automatically increases your home’s humidity when levels are too low and that it is suitable for large spaces over 5,000 square feet. For those looking to add humidity to their home quickly, it’s worth mentioning that this unit has some of the most impressive output at up to 34.6 gallons per day, thanks to its efficient steam operation.

Levoit humidifiers have consistently been top performers in our Lab tests, and our pros cannot wait to test the brand’s latest freestanding, whole-house humidifier.

What sets the console unit apart from other picks on this list is not only its compact, collapsible design that can be stored away during more humid months, but that it can be operated via the VeSync app in which you can set schedules and timers for your humidifier as well as connect it to your favorite voice assistants, Google or Alexa.

Other perks include the vast coverage area of up to 3,000 ft², built-in wheels and a handle for easy portability and the included water hose and funnel makes filling up the sizable six-gallon tank a breeze. Plus, this model can be used with tap water directly from the sink.

York is a longtime holder of the Good Housekeeping Seal, so our engineers have done extensive reviews of its HVAC equipment. While we haven’t yet put this unit to the test, it’s a great choice for average-sized homes and you can choose between two tank capacities depending on your needs: 12 or 17 gallons per day.

Both professionally installed units work through your existing HVAC system to help reduce irritating dry air and create the most comfortable environment. By increasing the air’s moisture, you may even be able to lower your thermostat. "We like the "set it and forget it" automation of this system," adds DiClerico. "You choose the optimal humidity level you want for your home and the system takes it from there."

This steam-powered whole-house humidifier is for anyone with a large home that needs to cover a vast surface area, and our pros especially recommend it for anyone who lives in a desert or arid climate. Like other AprilAire humidifiers, this model features a digital screen to easily adjust humidity levels as well as automatic adjustment for when the humidity dips below a set level.

Though this humidifier is likely one of the most efficient on this list and suitable for attic and crawl space installation, keep in mind that it requires professional installation and routine maintenance: The manufacturer recommends replacing the canister every year and the electrode wires every 3 years.

For anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of integrating a whole house humidifier into your HVAC system, consider this freestanding unit that covers up to 2,400 square feet. It's perfect for smaller homes and apartments that don't need quite as much coverage.

Though the tank capacity isn't the largest we've seen, our pros like that you can refill easily with a pour-in tank (the humidifier is heavy at 27 pounds so you’ll want to keep it in one place as opposed to dragging it to the sink). We also appreciate that it can run for up to 60 hours and features three fan speeds to adjust how much humidity you need as well as an intuitive digital display.

This professionally installed humidifier is ideal for homes anywhere between 2,000-4,000 square feet, according to Honeywell. While we haven’t yet tested it, we appreciate that it's built with water-saving technology to help ensure water isn’t wasted as it adds moisture to your home.

We also like that once your desired humidity levels are set you no longer have to make any adjustments to it — the unit will maintain levels automatically. “Great product! Made a huge improvement to our indoor air quality! No more static and dry skin!” one online reviewer said. One potential downside is that since it's made of plastic, it may prove to be less durable.

The Good Housekeeping Institute has been providing expert reviews and advice on HVAC essentials for every home for more than a decade. Our engineers and product analysts have evaluated dozens of humidifiers, hands-on testing 12 humidifiers in our most recent in-Lab test for ease of use, coverage area and much more.

While we haven't yet conducted a side-by-side test of whole-house humidifiers, we relied on our expertise in testing HVAC equipment to help drive our research of the latest humidifier models. The picks featured above include those from brands that have performed well in previous tests, as well as ones with positive consumer reviews.

✔️ Type: There are two types of whole-house humidifier: integrated and freestanding. Here's what you need to know about each. Integrated: These systems are designed to work with a home's existing forced-air heating system. They tend to cost more and require professional installation, but they do the best job of humidifying all the air in the home as it circulates through the system, plus they can be programmed to work automatically.

Freestanding: Also referred to as console humidifiers, freestanding units are much more portable and doesn't integrate into your home's HVAC system. Nevertheless, these units can feature a large capacity and are a great choice for smaller homes or apartments.

✔️ Technology: Different technologies are used to add moisture to the air in a home. According to DiClerico, they can be broken down into the following categories:

✔️ Coverage area: Make sure you purchase a whole house humidifier that is suited for the size of your home. If your house is 2,000 square feet, you likely don't need a whole-house humidifier that can cover up to 5,00 square feet. Evaporative, bypass and even freestanding humidifiers are ideal for smaller to medium-sized homes, while fan-powered and steam humidifiers are an excellent choice if you have a larger coverage area.

✔️ Tank capacity: A whole house humidifier's tank capacity refers to how much water it can store in the unit at a time. The larger the tank capacity, the more efficient the machine will be at pumping moisture into your home's air. This is especially important if you're purchasing a freestanding unit since a larger tank capacity means fewer refills.

✔️ Run time: Whole house humidifiers that integrate into your HVAC system are able to run constantly, which is what makes them so appealing if you have a seriously dry home. But if you opt for a freestanding humidifier, you'll have to pay attention to its run time as it will only operate as long as there's water in the tank. Most consumers will prefer an efficient humidifier with the longest run time, meaning that it has a larger tank and requires fewer refills.

A whole-house humidifier can absolutely be worth it if your home tends to run on the drier side. Though they're bulkier, heavier machines than traditional humidifiers, they'll offer the coverage you need to improve consistently dry air and create a more comfortable living environment.

“Installing a whole-house humidifier will make the home healthier by improving the indoor air quality," DiClerico explains. He points out that dry air doesn't just affect humans, but it can negatively impact your home as well. "Dry air also takes a toll on objects in the home, including wood floors and furnishings, wallpaper, musical instruments and electronic equipment," he says.

A whole-house humidifier is much pricier than a single-room humidifier but the investment can be worthwhile in the long run, especially if you can avoid having to buy multiple smaller humidifiers for each room.

According to DiClerico, "the average cost to add a whole-house humidifier to your home is around $500, but the project can easily set you back more than $1,000 if you have a large home and opt for one of the pricier systems." For whole house humidifers that integrate into your home's existing HVAC system, he explains that you'll definitely need to hire a professional for installation, which will bring up the total cost.

Writer and product analyst Olivia Lipski covers everything from consumer electronics to travel, home, fitness and more for GH. Since joining the Institute in 2021, she has tested everything from fans to humidifiers, space heaters and more. To select the picks featured above, she worked closely with the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab experts.

This article was reviewed by the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab, Dan DiClerico, who oversees our HVAC coverage and has spearheaded numerous investigative reports on the topic of indoor air quality, working closely with outside experts from the government, industry and the home services space. He also oversees our continuous in-home, survey-based consumer testing for all types of humidifiers, which allows us to evaluate these devices in real-world conditions.

Olivia (she/her) is a media and tech product reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute, covering tech, home, auto, health and more. She has more than five years of experience writing about tech trends and innovation and, prior to joining GH in 2021, was a writer for Android Central, Lifewire and other media outlets. Olivia is a graduate of George Washington University, with a bachelor's degree in journalism, political science and French, and she holds a master’s degree in communications from Sciences Po Paris.

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8 Best Whole House Humidifiers of 2023

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