6 Best Whole House Steam Humidifier Reviews 2021

Maintaining a safe and healthy indoor environment takes more than just air purifying and air conditioning. Although an air purifier can help combat indoor air pollutants and allergens, you need a whole-home humidifier to bring your indoor humidity to the desired levels.

The best whole house steam humidifier will not only help keep your home comfortable but also fight symptoms associated with dry indoor air, including dry eyes, sore throat, sinus problems, asthma, and other respiratory infections.

Different types of humidifiers are available on the market today. And it is a bit challenging to decide which humidifier to choose for your home. But, this whole house humidifier reviews should help you choose the best unit depending on your needs.

Best Whole House Steam Humidifier Reviews 2021

1. Emerson HSP2000 Whole House Steam Humidifier

Emerson HSP2000 Whole House Steam Humidifier
  • 120-Volt steam powered whole house humidifier with flushing timer and filter
  • For use in 1400 square foot minimum house
  • Steam Powered
  • Flushing Timer
  • Rated output 13-Gallon per day

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Over the last few years, Ralph Waldo Emerson HSP2000 has been one of the bestselling whole-house humidifiers. It features a mounting frame, safety for the blow, fan control, water filter, saddle valve, automatic humidistat, and fully automatic flushing timer. It detects the need for additional humidity the moment the device is turned on and kicks on right away if such a requirement is identified. 

With regards to size, the HSP2000 measures 7.63 x 12.63 x 12.50 (including the flange) and has a capacity of 13 gallons. If you’re choosing a humidifier based solely on size, the HSP2000 wins hands down. 

As for output, it comfortably humidifies a 3,000 square foot space. The HSP2000 incorporates a pure filter that is known for removing toxins like allergens and pollutants from the home’s air.

The only possible downside to this humidifier is that it’s a bit complex and must be installed by an HVAC professional. 


  • Overflow technology
  • Automated settings
  • Evaporates 13 gallons every 24 hours
  • Top-notch design
  • Has a flushing timer
  • It’s steam-powered, guaranteeing better performance


  • Noisy at higher fan settings
  • Requires professional installation

2. Aprilaire 800 Whole House Steam Humidifier

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If you are looking for a steam-operated whole house humidifier that generates a massive amount of moisture every 24 hours, then there is no better option than AprilAire 800. A bit pricey compared to other products on this list, the automatic humidifier is a ‘set and forget’ kind unless you decide to change the settings at some point. The system even tells you if the filter needs changing. 

With regards to performance, the AprilAire 800 is designed to humidify up to 6,200 square feet. Given that the average house is 2,500 square feet, you may want to consider this humidifier only if you have a larger home. Thanks to the large water tank, the unit can run continuously for up to 168 hours – the longest on this list.

Noise is also not a problem with the AprilAire 800. Most users say they didn’t notice any noise except when the blower shuts down at night. The only challenge with this humidifier is the price. The Aprilaire 800 doesn’t come cheap. 


  • Covers 6,200 Sq. Ft.
  • Has a massive 34.6-gallon tank
  • Very quiet operation
  • Easy to maintain


  • Expensive 

3. 300ml Wood Pattern Essential Oil Diffusers – Best for Baby Rooms

Vornado Element A2 Air + Steam Humidifier with...
  • VORTEX ACTION — Whole room humidity circulation up to 1, 000 sq ft with automatic humidity control for 30-70% output.
  • INCREASED OUTPUT — Two Simple Tank System 1-gallon tanks provide up to 4-gallon output every 24 hours and provide for easier refills and cleaning.
  • AUTO REFILL NOTIFICATION — Equipped with a 12-hour timer or the humidifier automatically notifies you when it runs out of water. High Speed RPM - 495. Low Speed RPM - 3135
  • CUSTOMIZABLE — 3 air-assisted steam settings (cool/warm/hot), lockable touch-sensitive controls with digital display, aromatherapy-ready (essential oils not included).
  • SUPERIOR SUPPORT — When you choose a Vornado humidifier, you’re investing in superior performance and design that will deliver total satisfaction. If not, we’ll replace it, for 5 years. Supported by a customer service team based in Andover, KS.

Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for a whole house steam humidifier with a bit more class that can work in pretty much any home design, then you may want to go for this unit. Made with a wooden design that is both durable and attractive, it will look like a piece of art on any furniture set.

The device has a 7-color LED light – this means that it can easily double as a night light in your baby’s room. It’s very soft, non-irritating to the eyes, and the color choice may fit any room design that you place it in.

Featuring an aromatherapy feature, this humidifier also adds essential oils in the mix. It can fill the entire room full of fragrance, taking away your fatigue of the day as it also humidifies the room. It also arrives with two bottles of essential oil that are completely free of charge.


  • Attractive design for every home theme
  • It features a soft light that turns the humidifier in a night light
  • It is perfect for bigger rooms or the whole house
  • Also diffuses essential oils


  • It feels rather big and plastic-like

4. Honeywell HM750A1000 Electrode Steam Humidifier – Best for Big Houses

Honeywell HM750A1000 Electrode Steam Humidifier
  • The industry’s only duct- or wall-mountable steam option for successful install
  • Smallest footprint on the market for flexible, simple one-person installation
  • Pre-mineralized cylinder for faster startup and checkout
  • Humidifier
  • Humidifier

Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you have a big house and you find it difficult to keep it humidified, then you may want to give this unit a try. One of the only wall-mounted and ductable humidifiers, this product can humidify any room of your home without any issues.

The unit features a pre-mineralized cylinder that allows for a quick startup as well as checkout. Plus, it has a very quiet action, meaning that it won’t bother you even if you install it in a bedroom or your living room.

The footprint of the unit is very small, so you shouldn’t have any issues with it. In fact, since it is so small, installation is very easy and straightforward. You don’t need more than one person to put it up on the wall – but bear in mind that it might require some effort if you don’t already have the ductwork for the humidifier.


  • It can humidify a very large house
  • It starts humidifying very quickly
  • Very small and easy to install


  • Since it is made of plastic, you need to be very gentle when you install the unit
  • It does require some renovation work and ductwork if you do not have one installed yet

5. BONECO S450 Digital Steam Humidifier – Best Smart Technology

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for a smart whole house steam humidifier that has fancier intelligent features, then you might want to try this unit. Not only does it feature a smart digital display, but it also has an auto mode, sleep mode, cleaning mode (for decalcifying the device), and other smart features.

Moreover, if you do not like to constantly clean your humidifier, then this unit is perfect for you. Its heating element will clean out the bacteria from the item, ensuring a healthy humidification of your home. It is also a suitable option for clean air if you are suffering from asthma or other similar conditions.

This humidifier can cover small homes or rooms that are up to 850 sq. ft. large. Plus, it features a fragrance container where you may add your favorite essential oils – creating a soothing atmosphere throughout your entire home.


  • Perfect for large homes
  • It has various smart features
  • It is intuitive to use
  • Germ-free air cleaning technology
  • It does not require any filters


  • The unit can be quite loud

6. Rowenta HU5120 Intense Aqua Control Humidifier – Best Mist Modes

Rowenta HU5120 Intense Aqua Control Whole Room...
  • Ultimate ultrasonic humidifying technology- creation of micro-fine cool water droplets thanks to ceramic disc vibrations
  • 3 modes: auto /unique baby mode/ night to suit to your daily needs
  • Warm mist function: speeds up the humidity output by 20% and guarantees a bacteria-free steam
  • Electronic hygrometer- adjusts humidity rate between 40% and 75% RH
  • Only 40 dB whisper quiet operation, 360 steam diffusion and easy maintenance

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for a smart humidifier that can offer various mist modes, then you have come to the right place. With this unit, you may choose between auto mode, unique baby mode, and night mode to suit your needs throughout the day.

At 40 dB, the device may not be the quietest, but it is still silent compared to other products of the same capacity. The unit is the quietest on baby and night mode, and it features a 360-degree steam diffusion that can reach all the rooms.

The mist is long-lasting, with the humidifier delivering 50% humidity over the course of 8 hours. It is also very low maintenance, making it a good option if you do not have the time to constantly check up on your unit. Last, but not least, the intense warm mist initially gets the water to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring that the steam you get is bacteria-free.


  • Perfect humidity output
  • It is very easy to set up
  • Requires very little maintenance
  • The mist delivered is completely bacteria-free


  • Some people still find it a little loud
  • The modes used are reset each time you shut the unit off

What’s a Whole House Humidifier?

A whole-house humidifier, as the name suggests, is a large humidifier capable of controlling humidity levels in an entire house as opposed to portable humidifiers, which are smaller and provide coverage for just one room. Whole-house humidifiers are large, bulky, and permanently installed.

In general, whole-house humidifiers are install-it-and-forget-it appliances. They’re integrated into the blower system of the central furnace and draw water directly from the home’s main supply.

Are Whole House Humidifiers Worth the Investment?

Absolutely YES! The main job of any humidifier is to ensure a healthy, balanced level of humidity in the intended space, and whole-house humidifiers do this stupendously. Not only do they add large volumes of moisture to the home, but they can also serve multiple rooms at a go.

Moreover, they’re extremely powerful and can run continuously for several hours. Even better, some large units can work nonstop for more than an entire day (24+ hours).

The following are other benefits of investing in whole-house humidifiers;

  • Low operating costs

One major downside of portable humidifiers is that they lack built-in hygrometers. As such, the units keep operating even after the desired indoor humidity level is reached, which often leads to wastage.

Whole house humidifiers are completely different; they feature in-built hygrometers with sensors to turn off the humidification process once the set humidity level is attained. The result is significant energy savings.

Furthermore, whole-house humidifiers, unlike portable units, don’t require distilled water. Instead, they used piped water from the home’s main supply thus reducing operating costs.

  • Low maintenance 

Since most portable humidifiers depend on water tanks, you’ll need to refill them once every 24 hours if left to run continuously throughout the day and night.

Aside from refilling, portable humidifiers also require regular cleaning, with most models needing thorough cleaning at least twice a week. Changing the filters must also be changed regularly.

Whole-house humidifiers aren’t as maintenance intensive as their portable counterparts. In fact, whole house humidifiers don’t require refilling and only need cleaning once a year.

  • Maximum comfort

Though useful in a range of applications, portable humidifiers rarely give off enough moisture to sufficiently serve large spaces. Unless you’re working in a tiny room, mobile units are best used as complementary (secondary) humidification sources.

Besides, most portable humidifiers work best in non-crowded areas. They work excellently in bedrooms occupied by one or two people, for example. But, as soon as you introduce more people to the room, comfort levels reduce.

That’s where whole-house humidifiers come in. Being more powerful, a whole-house humidifier can comfortably serve larger spaces with more occupants.

  • Automatic functioning 

Unlike portable humidifiers that must be controlled independently, whole-house humidifiers can be connected to other HVAC systems for automated functioning. Most people, for example, connect their units to the central heating system so that the moisture is distributed throughout the house via the same ductwork used to deliver heat to your rooms.

Even when connected to HVAC systems, though, the units can still have humidifier-only modes that deliver moisture when heating is off.

Types of Whole House Humidifiers

There are three main types of whole-house humidifiers to choose from;

  • Drum
  • Flow-through (bypass)
  • Fan-powered.

Let’s delve a little deeper into each type;

  • Drum Humidifiers 

A drum humidifier comprises a belt made from foam or fabric. The fabric takes up water and rotates in on a drum over a water reservoir. As the air coming from your HVAC system passes over the drum, it carries the evaporated moisture and delivers the heat/air plus moisture to the home via ducts.


  • Drum humidifiers are the cheapest option available
  • Easy to install. DIY is simple


  • Need regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent mold growth
  • The belt must be replaced periodically
  • Flow-though (Bypass) Humidifiers

Also known as bypass humidifiers, flow-through humidifiers are the most common type of whole-house humidifiers. No water reservoir is needed here. Instead, air passes through an aluminum biscuit placed in the humidifier. Whenever humidification is needed, water flows through the biscuit and is evaporated into the air coming from the AC or furnace, and delivered to the house through ducts.


  • No stagnant water, thus less risk of mold or bacteria
  • Reduced cost of maintenance


  • Periodic maintenance is needed to clean out dust and dirt
  • Filter pads get clogged rather fast
  • Fan-powered Humidifiers

Fan powered humidifiers are essentially bypass humidifiers with blower fans. Rather than depend exclusively on the blower system of the furnace, fan-powered models come with their own blower systems. The main purpose of the blower system is to increase the rate of evaporation.


  • Greater evaporation, thus more moisture
  • Requires less installation space


  • More expensive owing to the blower system

Other Whole House Humidifier Types

Aside from drum, bypass, and fan-powered humidifiers, you’ll also come across sub-types such as steam humidifiers, evaporative, and ultrasonic humidifiers.

All you need to know is that steam humidifiers boil water into steam and blow the steam into your home. Evaporative humidifiers, meanwhile, pass water through an evaporative pad that breaks the water particles into tiny moisture particles. Finally, ultrasonic humidifiers are often portable rather than whole-house. They rely on a vibrating transducer to break water into moisture particles.

How Does a Whole House Humidifier Work?

a 3d illustration of how the best whole house steam humidifier worksA whole-house humidifier is installed as part of the home heating system. Unlike portable humidifiers that plug into a wall outlet, the whole house humidifier is installed directly into the heating system’s ductwork.

As the heating system cycles and heats the home, moisture from the humidifier is also released to your rooms. The humidifier can be installed either on the supply or return end of the home heating system. It depends on preference and the type of humidifier you’re using. The whole house humidifier is also connected directly to the home’s water supply system.

Inside the humidifier, there is a humidifier pad and either a rotating drum or steaming system. When the humidifier is running, water is passed over the humidifier pad. The water can either be broken down into mist or collected by the rotating drum, depending on your model.

In most cases, a portion of the air entering or leaving the furnace is cycled back into the humidifier before joining again with the rest of the home’s airflow. While passing through the humidifier, the air absorbs moisture, which increases its humidity levels. As such, the air that eventually enters the home has a higher moisture level.

How to Install a Whole House Humidifier

The installation process varies from one humidifier type to another. In most cases, you’ll find the installation instructions in the manufacturer’s manual. Many manufacturers are also open to providing installation support, whether through live chat or a phone call.

Regardless, the basics remain the same. You’ll need about two hours to mark the template, cut holes, and complete the installation.

What you need;

  • A cordless drill and bit
  • Wire straps
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Aviation snips
  • Wire nuts
  • Sheet metal screws
  • Felt tip marker
  • Vent pipe
  • The humidifier unit

The installation process;

Once you have the tools and materials listed above, it’s time to begin the installation. Remember to shut off the furnace before you start. Proceed as follows;

  • Mark the hole: Using the manufacturer’s template and instructions, use the felt-tip marker to mark the hole for the humidifier. Drill a starter hole in the corner of the outline. Then, using aviation snips, cut out the hole. Also, drill screw holes and, using the sheet metal screws, attach the mounting plate.
  • Mark the outline of the humidifier: Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for this step too. Mark the outline of the humidifier and cut out the hole.
  • Install the unit: Mount the plate and attach the humidifier. Then, connect the humidistat to the furnace controls and install the step-down transformer (if needed). Shut off the power first.
  • Connect the humidifier: You’ll need the right size wire nuts for this step. Using the nuts, connect the humidistat to the solenoid valve on your humidifier, and insert wire ends into the nuts. Then, tighten the nuts as appropriate.
  • Connect the water line: Depending on your local codes, you might be allowed to tap water directly from the water lines. If that’s the case, install a saddle valve on the waterline and run it to the humidifier. Where saddle valves aren’t allowed, cut the water line, and install a T-fitting.
  • Install the bypass valve: This step is necessary only if your humidifier requires a bypass vent. Mark the hole, drill a starter hole, cut the vent hole, and install a round collar in the hole. Then, install elbows in both ends of the vent pipe and fasten the assembly to the humidifier air intake and the collar.

That’s it. Your whole-home humidifier is now ready for work! If you encounter any problems, contact the manufacturer’s support team.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Whole-House Humidifier?

The cost of installing a whole-house humidifier depends on three main factors; the humidifier type, size of the humidifier in relation to the home, and whether you choose to DIY or hire an HVAC professional.

Humidifier type: With regards to type, bypass humidifiers are the easiest and, therefore, least costly to install. Steam humidifiers, meanwhile, are the most complex and simultaneously most expensive to install.

Size of the humidifier: The larger the humidifier, the more expensive it’s likely to be. When you factor in the impact on handling, these larger, heavier humidifiers can also be more expensive to install.

DIY or professional installation: Finally, DIY installation is cheaper because you eliminate labor charges. However, you’ll need to buy a few tools that an HVAC professional probably already has. Professionals tech to charge between $200 and $400 for labor.

How Long Does a Whole House Humidifier Last?

How long your whole house humidifier lasts will depend on two main factors; the expected life span and how well you maintain the unit. The best humidifiers have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. With proper maintenance, however, the unit can last up to 20+ years.

Where Should a Whole House Humidifier be Placed?

As already mentioned, most whole-house humidifiers are installed directly on the home’s heating system. It can be installed on the supply or return end of the air system, depending on the humidifier type.

For a few models that aren’t installed on the furnace, it’s recommended that you place the unit in an open area away from items that might block airflow. So, avoid corners and regions close to furniture and other solid items.

Instead, place the unit in a central location. It can be anchored in the hallway if the doors in your home tend to stay open most of the time. If you live in a modern open-concept home with no hall, place the humidifier in the room where it will benefit home occupants the most. Family rooms and living rooms are excellent options.

Whole House Humidifier Maintenance/Cleaning

Each humidifier type requires different maintenance practices. However, there are a few essential maintenance activities needed irrespective of the type of humidifier you’re using. These include;

  • Clean the system’s pump and fan: Pour a cup of vinegar solution (half cup water and half a cup of white vinegar) into the fan system wipe the entire area, including the vents, gently using a soft piece of cloth.
  • Clean the media panel: Power off the humidifier and remove the media panel. Then, use elbow grease to wipe out the grime, debris, mineral deposit, and sediment.
  • Inspect the drain line: You want to make sure that the drain line is free from blockages, algae, and mineral deposits.
  • Inspect the solenoid valve: Is the water flowing properly? Also, check for signs of wear and tear. If need be, replace the valve.
  • Clean the orifice metering device: This metering device regulates the flow of water into the humidifier’s distribution tray. Make sure to rid it of any mineral deposits.

The above maintenance activities should be performed at least once every year, especially in the few weeks leading to the heating season.

Wrap Up

So, as you can see, the best whole house steam humidifier can be a vital addition to your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning arsenal. Unlike portable humidifiers, they add moisture to every room in the home. They are also easier to maintain. The only downside is the high initial investment, which you’re guaranteed to recoup in cost savings within a few years.

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Melanie Mavery is an aspiring HVAC technician who is fascinated by the trends and opportunities in the HVAC industry. She spends most of her day writing content on home improvement topics and outreaching to prospects.  She's always looking for ways to support HVACs!