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A humidifier adds moisture to a home’s dry air. While a small humidifier is ideal for bedrooms and nurseries, big rooms may need a larger humidifier. Large humidifiers feature tanks capable of holding up to 4 gallons, which can release enough mist to fill up to a 4,000-square-feet area or more, improving the indoor air quality in every room of the home.
These large humidifiers are built as evaporators or ultrasonic units in both warm-mist and cool-mist options. This guide offers tips and identifies the options to consider when shopping for the best humidifier for a large room.
Reading: Best humidifiers for large rooms
- BEST OVERALL: LEVOIT Humidifiers for Large Room Bedroom
- BEST BUDGET: Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Humidifier for Bedroom
- BEST HIGH-CAPACITY: AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Humidifier
- TECH PICK: LEVOIT Smart Humidifier
- BEST DESIGN: AIRCARE EP9 800 Digital Whole-House Pedestal-Style
- BEST WHOLE-HOUSE: Aprilaire 700 Whole Home Humidifier
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Types of Humidifiers
Humidifiers designed to serve larger spaces come in three types: ultrasonic, evaporative, and whole-house. Whole-house humidifiers are best suited to supplying consistent humidity for your entire home. While they come with a higher up-front cost for installation, they can save you money over time. Here’s what else you need to know about these major types of humidifiers:
This type of humidifier uses a vibrating diaphragm that emits tiny water particles and a blower that distributes them into the air. The unit typically distributes mist upward to give the particles enough time to vaporize before they come into contact with a hard surface. Since they don’t rely on evaporation to create mist, ultrasonic humidifiers can send more moisture into the air than other types, making them ideal for large rooms. However, if the water contains minerals, they can leave white deposits on hard surfaces.
Evaporative humidifier models have a wick inside the basin that absorbs water. A blower collects dry air from the room and blows it across the wick to add moisture to the air before circulating it back into the room. Evaporative humidifiers don’t cause the white residue around the unit that other types of humidifiers can create, but they require periodic cleaning to prevent the growth of bacteria inside the reservoir.
These humidifiers connect to a home’s ductwork and add a specific amount of moisture to the air as it circulates through the home’s HVAC system. Unlike ultrasonic and evaporative humidifiers that distribute mist from a single vent mounted on the humidifier, these systems can add moisture to an entire home. Whole-house humidifiers also connect to the home’s plumbing system, which provides a limitless supply of water.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Large Room Humidifier for Your Home
Understanding the different types of humidifiers on the market and their capacity is key to purchasing the right model. Ahead, learn more about humidifiers and other important features of high-capacity models.
Warm Mist vs. Cool Mist
Warm-mist humidifiers add water vapor to the air by evaporating water in a reservoir that uses heat to cause the water to vaporize, which makes them ideal for adding soothing mist in the air during cold, dry winter months. Cool-mist humidifiers, in contrast, add water to the air by blowing dry air over a saturated wick. Since cool-mist humidifiers don’t use heat, they’re ideal for warmer months and safe to use overnight or in children’s rooms.
Room Size and Tank Capacity
To serve a large room, a humidifier must be capable of producing a large quantity of mist. Most large-room models can emit enough water vapor to fill a space of at least 5,000 square feet, with whole-home models capable of producing enough mist to treat more than 4,000 square feet of space.
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To handle this coverage, large humidifiers can hold up to 4 gallons of water, which gives them enough capacity to run for a day or more before requiring a refill. Some whole-home units attach directly to the home’s water lines, giving the humidifier a limitless supply of water.
Ease of Cleaning
Most humidifiers are easy to operate (simply fill the tank and turn on the unit) yet a bit trickier to maintain. Investing in an easy-to-clean humidifier will save you time and grant peace of mind, since it’s typically recommended to clean humidifiers once a week. IIf mold is allowed to grow inside the reservoir, the humidifier can distribute mold spores throughout the air, creating a health hazard.
Besides technology and capacity, the difference between a cheap humidifier and a more expensive model is often how the water tank is designed. The water tanks on more affordable models are sometimes impossible to access directly with a brush, which means it’s necessary to soak them regularly to prevent mold growth.
Since the wick stops releasing water vapor once the humidity in the room reaches a certain level, an evaporative humidifier can’t over-humidify the room. However, once it’s on, an ultrasonic humidifier continues to release water particles into the air indefinitely, which can cause moisture to form on the walls or even create puddles on surfaces.
To prevent this problem, many evaporative humidifiers feature a built-in humidistat that turns off the unit automatically when the air in the room reaches a certain humidity level.
Some humidifiers have features that enhance their functionality, including controls that allow the user to adjust the humidifier’s fan speed or control the direction of mist output. Higher-end models include remote controls.
Integrated timers enable the user to set a shut-off time. Humidifiers also feature an automatic shutoff that stops the unit from running when the reservoir is dry, which prevents motor burnout. UV filtration can kill bacteria in the reservoir, and some humidifiers contain oil diffusers to release essential oils into the air.
Our Top Picks
The list below narrows the field to some of the top humidifiers on the market. The models in this list include both evaporative, whole-home, and ultrasonic humidifiers. They have enough capacity to handle large rooms ranging from 500 square feet to more than 4,000 square feet.
With so many humidifiers on the market, it can be difficult to find a unit that can satisfy your home’s humidity requirements. One of the best options overall is the ultrasonic LEVOIT humidifier with its warm and cool mist capabilities, 1.5-gallon tank, and the ability to add humidity to spaces of 750 square feet. Alternatively, if you require a budget-friendly option that can remove dry air in smaller spaces, the ultrasonic Everlasting Comfort humidifier has a 1.6-gallon tank, cool mist settings, and covers 500 square feet of space.
How We Chose the Best Humidifiers for Large Rooms
We researched the most sought-after humidifiers for large rooms in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, tank capacity, coverage area, settings included, size, and other special features included by select brands.
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While researching for the best models, the most popular types were the evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers for their compact size, ample square footage covered, and ease of use. Though less popular, the whole-house picks offer even more humidity with their considerable tank sizes and abundant settings. No matter the type, the above list prioritizes humidifiers with tanks of 1.5 to 18 gallons, providing 500 to 4,200 square feet of coverage. Plus, our list includes cold and warm mist humidifiers.
Many of our selected models also include ample settings including automatic shutoff and multiple air speeds depending upon your preference. Though some of the models are large and take up space, others are compact enough to keep on a nightstand or desk. In the interest of finding the best options possible, select picks listed also include dual sensor technology, filterless operation, rotating disks, remote controls, smart home connectivity, and digital control panels.
Tips for Using a Humidifier for Large Rooms
Now that you know more about large humidifiers, you may need some information about how to use one properly. Though you are looking to regulate and control the humidity in your home, always be aware of your humidifier’s settings to avoid adding too much moisture in your space. It is recommended that you keep a room under 50 percent moisturized as anything more can cause mold and mildew to grow.
Another thing to be aware of when using a humidifier is the type of water to use in your tank. A good practice is to always use distilled water rather than tap water as this prevents unsavory particles from filtering through the humidifier and into the air. Finally, always be sure to clean your humidifier properly so it can maintain proper functionality. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind for operating a humidifier correctly:
- Before refilling your humidifier’s tank, be sure it is completely dry and empty to avoid standing water and mold.
- If your humidifier requires a filter, be sure to monitor when it needs to be replaced.
- It is recommended that you leave a door open in the room where the humidifier is placed to avoid over-humidifying a room.
- Warm mist humidifiers that boil water can become hot to the touch. Please exercise caution if you live in a home with pets or animals.
If you’re still wondering how humidifiers work, keep reading for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about these appliances.
Q: What is the recommended indoor humidity level?
The ideal indoor humidity level for health and comfort is between 40 and 50 percent to help ease cold and allergy symptoms and make breathing easier while not making the air so humid that it promotes mold growth.
Q: Where should a humidifier be placed in a room?
The best place to position a humidifier is a few feet from the bed. This position allows the moist air to circulate enough to ease cold and allergy symptoms while not being so close that the user can breathe into it and distribute germs around the room.
Q: Can I run my humidifier all night?
It’s safe to leave a humidifier on all night if the unit has an automatic shutoff feature that turns off the unit when the reservoir is dry. An evaporative humidifier should also have a humidistat that turns off the unit after it reaches a certain humidity level to prevent the unit from over-humidifying the room.
Q: Can I use tap water in the humidifier?
Although it’s OK to use tap water in a humidifier, distilled water is a better option. Tap water often has minerals in it that can leave deposits inside the humidifier or get released with the water vapor, leaving white dust on furniture around the room.
Q: Is a warm or cool mist humidifier better for sinuses?
If you have sensitive sinuses or are suffering from a cold or flu, any cold or warm mist from a humidifier can help to ease your sinus congestion. However, warm mist may be a better option as it can soothe the sinuses more effectively.
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