Living in a dry climate can bring a whole host of problems for yourself, for your family, and for your home and might result in a very uncomfortable to experience. One of the best ways to keep these problems at bay is to invest in a high quality whole house console humidifier.

Unlike furnace humidifiers, console humidifiers don’t need to be connected to your HVAC system in order to work. They work independently and just need to plugged in to work. Whole house humidifiers are great for people looking to humidify their entire home without having to deal with HVAC installation. If this seems like something you might need, read on to discover our top picks for the best whole house console humidifier available on the market today.

  • Cool mist, evaporative whole house humidifier
  • Covers up to 3600 sq. ft.
  • 3.6 gallon-tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Low water and check filter indicators
  • 2-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Covers up to 1000 sq. ft.
  • 4-gallon tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control with built-in humidistat
  • Vortex-assisted humidity control
  • 5-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative whole house humidifier
  • Covers up to 2600 sq. ft.
  • 2.5-gallon tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Low water and check filter indicators
  • 2-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative whole house humidifier
  • Covers up to 3600 sq. ft.
  • 5.6-gallon tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Unique wood design
  • 2-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Covers up to 1000 sq. ft.
  • 2-gallon tank capacity
  • Energy Smart DC motor uses 90% less energy
  • 5-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Covers up to 1900 sq. ft.
  • 3-gallon dual tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Adjustable humidistat
  • 3-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Covers up to 2000 sq. ft.
  • 2.8-gallon tank capacity
  • Adjustable digital humidistat
  • Triple Layer Filter
  • 1-year warranty


The MA1201 is one of our favorites from Essick Air’s AIRCARE line. It’s a robust whole house humidifier capable  of covering homes up to 3,600 sq. ft. in size with a 3.6-gallon tank capacity. It also has an array of useful features, such as automatic humidity control and automatic shut off.

Because the MA1201 is such a powerful humidifier, it is quite bulky and will take up a considerably large space. You might even need to move some pieces of furniture around to accommodate it. Aside from being large, it also has a pretty dated design. Another common complaint with the MA1201 is that it does run quite loudly, even on the lowest setting. These flaws are quite minor though, when you take into consideration the numerous benefits that the MA1201 can bring you. It’s powerful, effective, energy efficient, feature-packed, and — best of all — it’s affordable.

Pros

  • Whole house humidification
  • Affordable
  • Large tank capacity and humidity output
  • Easy to maintain
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Energy efficient
  • Durable
  • No white dust
  • Casters for mobility

Cons

  • Loud
  • Dated design
  • Large and bulky
  • Need to replace wick filter regularly

The Evap40 is one of the most powerful humidifiers from Vornado. It’s capable of covering huge spaces up to 1,000 sq. ft. in size with the help of its dual water tank system that’s capable of holding a combined volume of 4 gallons. It has a built-in humidistat that will automatically adjust based on the humidity level you desire.

Like the MA1201, the Evap40 also has a pretty bulky and dated design that could potentially make it an eyesore in your living room, and it also has a significantly smaller home coverage as compared to other models on this list. Its wick filter also needs to be replaced regularly, and some users have complained about replacement filters being very hard to find.

When you take into consideration the pros that come with the Evap40, though, the flaws don’t seem as bad. With Vornado’s signature Vortex Action, you can rest assured that the Evap40 will be able to evenly distribute humidity throughout your entire home.

Pros

  • Large tank capacity
  • No white dust
  • No risk of over-humidifying
  • Not too loud
  • Vortex action distributes humidity evenly throughout room
  • Automatic humidity control with built-in humidistat
  • Easy to use, fill, and clean

Cons

  • Large and bulky
  • Replacement filters are hard to find
  • Need to replace filters regularly
  • No automatic shut off
  • Only for small homes

The MA0800 is one Essick Air’s popular whole house console humidifiers. It’s like a smaller version of the MA1201, but still quite powerful. It’s rated to cover up to 2,600 sq. ft. of space with a tank capacity of 2.5 gallons. Like the MA1201, it also has automatic humidity control and automatic shut off.

Unfortunately, with the MA0800, the same problems still persist: it’s large and bulky and has a dated design. Furthermore, it’s also quite loud despite being considerably smaller than the MA1201. However, despite these minor flaw, there’s really not much to complain about with the MA0800. At such an affordable price, you get a humidifier that’s effective, durable, robust, and reliable.

Pros

  • Whole house humidification
  • Affordable
  • Large tank capacity and humidity output
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Durable
  • No white dust

Cons

  • Loud
  • Large and bulky
  • Dated design
  • Need to replace wick filter regularly

Essick Air’s Credenza is one of the most uniquely designed whole house humidifiers on the market, featuring a beautiful wooden exterior that makes it seem like a huge table. Unlike the other humidifiers on this list, the Credenza blends in perfectly with other wooden furniture you may have at home. It’s rated to cover homes up to 3,600 sq. ft. in size with a huge 5.6-gallon tank.

Given the Credenza’s specifications and design, it’s no surprise that it does come quite expensive compared to the other humidifiers on the list — but not by a lot. Furthermore, the Credenza takes up a lot of space because of its dual tank system. Overall, the Credenza is a solid choice for a whole house console humidifier if you have the space to accommodate it. It has the same features you’d expect from an Essick Air humidifier, plus a refill hose and 9 fan speed options.

Pros

  • Whole house humidification
  • Large tank capacity
  • Unique wooden design
  • Refill hose allows for easier filling
  • 9 fan speeds to choose from
  • No white dust
  • Casters for mobility

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Loud
  • Need to replace wick filter regularly

The EVDC500 from Vornado is a relatively new model and is part of their latest line of energy-saving humidifiers. Equipped with an Energy Saving DC motor, the EVDC500 is capable of servicing areas as large as 1,000 sq. ft. with a 2-gallon tank capacity.  This model uses 90% less energy compared to standard humidifiers.

Unfortunately, this model can only service smaller homes compared to the other models; what’s worse is that it’s more expensive compared to whole house humidifiers capable of servicing large homes. Another problem with this model is that the wick filter needs to be replaced regularly, and these replacements can be hard to hunt down.

Overall, though, the EVDC500 is a good choice for people looking to cut long-term electricity costs and don’t mind the heft upfront cost. With Vornado’s industry-leading warranty, you can rest assured that this model will last you a long time.

Pros

  • Large tank capacity
  • Sleek, modern design
  • High daily humidity output
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Highly energy efficient with Energy Smart mode
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • For small homes
  • Slightly expensive compared to other more powerful models
  • Hard-to-find wick filter needs to be replaced regularly


Honeywell doesn’t have a lot of whole house console humidifiers available, but they definitely did something right with the HCM-6009. Easily one of the most affordable whole house console humidifiers on the market, the HCM-6009 is capable of servicing areas up to 1900 sq. ft. with dual tanks that can hold a combined volume of 3 gallons of water.

Like most whole house console humidifiers, the HCM-6009 also has a very bulky frame and a dated design. It’s also rather noisy while it’s running so you probably wouldn’t want to have it on at night while you’re asleep. Of course, because it only covers a significantly smaller space that the Essick Air models, we can only recommend the HCM-6009 for smaller homes.

Overall, though, the HCM-6009 remains a very attractive choice mainly because it’s affordable and effective at the same time. It has several desirable features and excellent specifications to help relieve you and your entire family from dry air problems at home.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Large room coverage and tank capacity
  • Easy to clean, fill, maintain
  • Casters for mobility
  • Automatic humidity control
  • No white dust
  • No risk of over-humidifying

Cons

  • For small homes
  • Large, bulky
  • Dated design
  • Loud
  • Need to replace wick filter regularly

Holmes doesn’t produce many whole house console humidifiers, but the HM3855L-UM is one of their highest performing models. It’s capable of covering areas up to 2,000 sq. ft in size with a 2.8-gallon tank capacity. This model is suitable for small to medium-sized homes.

One red flag that strikes us with this model is that it’s only backed by a 1-year warranty, which doesn’t bode well for users looking for a long-term relationship with their home appliances. To make matters worse, several users have complained of durability issues with the HM3855L-UM. It’s also difficult to fill because of the way it’s designed.

Although these shortcomings are important to keep in mind, it doesn’t change the fact that the HM3855L-UM is still one of the best whole house console humidifiers you can buy today. You get more bang for your buck, too, with its Triple Layer wick filter which is treated with Arm & Hammer baking soda, Carbon X, and an antimicrobial to prevent microbial growth and increase filter longevity.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Ideal for small to medium houses
  • Large tank capacity
  • Triple layer filter
  • Discreet black aesthetic

Cons

  • Short warranty
  • Durability issues
  • Difficult to fill

Whole House Console Humidifier Buyer’s Guide


Why You Need a Whole House Console Humidifier

Whole house console humidifiers are ideal for homeowners who want humidity spread throughout their entire home. Whole house console humidifiers are able to spread cool mist in large, open spaces at home and curb annoyances that come with having dry air at home such as chapped lips, dry skin, static electricity, and more frequent coughs and colds.

Whole House Console Humidifier vs. Whole House Furnace Humidifier

Whole house console humidifiers and whole house furnace humidifiers more or less serve the same purpose: to distribute moisturized air throughout your entire home. However, they go about this quite differently.

Console humidifiers work much like any other type of humidifier: you plug it in, press a button, and off it goes. Furnace humidifiers, on the other hand, need to be professionally installed into your pre-existing HVAC system. Often, they have a separate humidistat installed somewhere else in your home that allows you to control the settings.

To get a better understanding of which of the two types you should buy, it’s best to go through their major characteristics and how they differ:

  1. Room coverage – Furnace humidifiers are able to cover significantly larger spaces that console humidifiers can. Furthermore, because they’re connected to the HVAC, humidity is distributed through each room in the house. With console humidifiers, the humidity won’t be distributed into the rooms individually unless the doors to them are open and they’re on the same floor as the console humidifier.
  2. Daily humidity output – Furnace humidifiers are able to produce 3 to 4 times more moisture daily compared to console humidifiers.
  3. Maintenance – Furnace humidifiers require virtually no maintenance; they only need water pad replacements about once or twice a year. You may, however, need a licensed professional to do that for you. Console humidifiers, on the other hand, require a lot of maintenance daily, weekly, and monthly. On the bright side, you can do all of this upkeep relatively quickly on your own. For more information on how to clean humidifiers, click on our guide here.
  4. Price  – On average, console humidifiers cost less than furnace humidifiers, but not by a significant margin. Some types of furnace humidifiers though, such as steam humidifiers and fan-powered humidifiers, are significantly more expensive both upfront and long-term.
  5. Usage – For basic everyday use, console humidifiers are usually adequate. They’re easy to use and understand, whereas furnace humidifiers require a little more technical knowledge to use. If you’re going to be using your humidifier 24/7 because you live in a particularly dry climate, then investing in a furnace humidifier might be a better choice especially in the long run.

How To Determine if a Console Humidifier is for You

There are several signs to look out for when it comes to determining whether you need a whole house console humidifier:

  • Your plants have become droopy or dying
  • The wallpaper in your home starts curling
  • More frequent allergy symptoms and asthma attacks
  • More frequent coughing bouts and nosebleeds
  • Chapped, cracked, or bleeding lips
  • Presence of static electricity
  • Cracking in wooden materials or furniture

If you note these signs but you don’t want want to deal with installing a furnace humidifier, then a console option might work well for you.

Maintenance of Whole House Console Humidifiers

Whole house console humidifiers and portable humidifiers have similar maintenance. Typically, whole house console humidifiers use an evaporative system that requires a wick filter. These wick filters will need to be replaced anywhere between monthly and quarterly.

Aside from replacing the wick filter, you’ll also need to replace the water in your humidifier daily and throw out any standing water. Rinse out your humidifier’s tank daily, too. On a weekly basis, you’ll need to give your humidifier a thorough cleanse with diluted vinegar.

For more information on the proper care and maintenance of humidifiers, click here.

FAQ

How do evaporative humidifiers work?

Similar to the age-old concept of placing a jar of water in the middle of a room to naturally add moisture to the air through evaporation, evaporative humidifiers use a wick filter that absorbs water from the tank and filters out impurities before the fan helps the water from the filter evaporate out into the room.

How often should I change my humidifier filter?

Wick filters can last anywhere from 1 month to 3 months, depending on how often you use your humidifier. When left unchecked for long periods of time, wick filters can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold or mineral build up, all of which will lead to clogging. A clogged wick filter will greatly impede the performance of your humidifier and cause it to work harder than it should. This, in turn, will cause the humidifier to use up more energy and burn out more quickly.

You can prevent this by checking the wick filter regularly for signs of bacterial and mold growth, which is characterized by a darkening of the filter. Keep an eye on the humidity output of your humidifier as well: a humidifier with a dirty wick will work more slowly even on the highest setting and will take a longer time to empty the tank than normal. Some wick filters can easily be cleaned simply by rinsing them under running water and then allowing them to soak in a mixture of water and white vinegar for 30 minutes. If the humidifier still isn’t performing as it should even after you’ve cleaned the wick filter, then you know it’s time to replace it.

How often should I change the water in my humidifier?

The water in your humidifier should be changed once every day or after a period of inactivity. This ensures that the mist from your humidifier is a clean as possible.

Can I use tap water in my humidifier?

Yes, you can, but it’s not recommended. While tap water is more accessible and affordable, experts would always recommend distilled water instead. This is because tap water contains minerals and other pollutants that can create deposits inside your humidifier and its wick filter that promote bacterial growth.

Using tap water for evaporative humidifiers dramatically shortens the lifespan of the wick filter, causing it to become inefficient. Distilled or demineralized water has a much lower mineral content compared with tap water; you can also use a demineralization cartridge if you want to use tap water.

What is the ideal humidity level for my home?

The EPA recommends a home humidity level between 30% – 50%, as this is the range in which mold spores are unable to grow. For more information on maintaining the ideal humidity levels at home, read our guide here.

Final Thoughts

Families living with dry air at home can potentially suffer from a lot of uncomfortable side effects. Although not life-threatening, dry air can have a negative impact on your health and your home in the long run. To prevent this from happening, you can invest in a good whole house console humidifier for your home.

After much consideration, we’ve decided that the best whole house console humidifier you can purchase today is the Essick Air AIRCARE MA1201. It has long been a favorite of humidifier-users for its sheer reliability, durability, and robust performance in humidifying entire homes.

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