It’s no coincidence that when you’re looking for the best humidifiers to protect your guitar you find hundreds of articles pointing to a room humidifier.
Not because they work the best but because it’s the same misinformation churned out over and over again. All pointing to room humidifiers on Amazon that the writer will earn a commission on if you purchase with their link.
I’m not against earning a commission if you’re really pointing to the best product to help someone. But too often these days they are not. And that’s the case with finding the best room humidifier for guitars.
But with so many options on the market, how do you know which humidifier is best for your guitar? If you’d like to see recommendations without Amazon links…read on.
Do I Need A Humidifier For My Guitars?
When it comes to protecting your guitar from the damaging effects of dry air, a humidifier is a must have. Dry air can cause damage to the wood of your guitar and also affect the sound quality.
A humidifier will help keep your instrument in top condition and prevent costly repairs down the road.
What Type Of Humidifier Is Best For Guitars?
The best type of room humidifier for guitars is not a room humidifier. The best humidifiers for this purpose are centrally installed whole house evaporative or steam humidifiers. Although room humidifiers are often recommended, they require a tremendous amount of maintenance and are not very accurate. They also have a tendency to over humidify and cause just as much damage if you didn’t have a humidifier at all. Why take a chance with how important humidity is with the quality and longevity of your guitar?
With a whole house evaporative or steam humidifier you get very precise control along with the peace of mind of not having to check on it every day or two for maintenance. Additionally, you get the benefit of proper humidity in your entire house. This has tremendous benefits for your home but most importantly for your health.
Whole House Evaporative Humidifier Benefits
Evaporative humidifiers are a type of whole house humidifier that uses evaporation to add humidity to the air. That seems self explanatory but let me explain.
In the case of humidifiers, evaporation happens when water is exposed to dry air. This causes some of the water molecules to break away and become airborne thereby adding water vapor and humidity to the airstream.
A bypass or power humidifier works by passing air over a water panel that must be replaced periodically. The panel allows air to pass through, which evaporates water into it and is sent through the ducts to raise humidity levels in the house.
There are a lot of advantages to using this type of humidifier over a room humidifier for your guitars.
1) Maintenance – Regular maintenance is necessary for all humidifiers. But whole house evaporative humidifiers tend to be the most hassle-free to keep up. By doing a yearly cleaning (instead of daily with a room humidifier) and replacing the budget friendly water panel of your humidifier, you can maintain the perfect humidity level in your home and for your guitars.
2) Reliability – With so few moving parts these humidifiers has very little that could break. As long as they get their annual tune up, these units tend to be very reliable. If repairs are necessary, the parts can be easily obtained and are usually not very expensive.
3) Longevity – Because there’s not much to these humidifiers, they tend to last many years. In my experience, 20 years is not uncommon.
4) Health – Humidifiers are not just good for your guitars, they are also great for your health. Proper humidity levels in the home can help reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses, allergies and asthma. It can also help reduce static electricity and make the air feel more comfortable.
Whole House Steam Humidifiers Benefits
While not as simple as a evaporative humidifier, a steam humidifier still has benefits over a room humidifier.
Steam Humidifiers deliver humidity in the form of steam directly into the ductwork and then into the home.
A steam humidifier generates steam by energizing electrodes that are within a special canister of water. Current flowing between the electrodes causes the water to boil, creating steam.
Because of their higher cost to install and maintain, these humidifiers do not tend to be the first choice when trying to humidify an area. But sometimes they are the perfect fit. They do have two HUGE benefits that make them a great choice for humidity control for your guitars.
1) Versatility – If your home doesn’t have ductwork, a steam system also has the ability to add a fan system to it so it can work independently.
2) Applications – Because of their high capacity, these units are your first choice if you live in a desert climate like Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Nevada or Southern California.
What Should Room Humidity Be For Guitars?
Guitars are like us when it comes to humidity preference. Not too wet, not too dry. They like what we like.
The ideal humidity level for guitars is 50% RH (relative humidity). But for most guitars, as long as you stay within 35-65% RH you’ll be fine. It’s also better to shoot for a range because where you live will and the temperature outside will dictate the preferred humidity level.
This range will help keep the wood of your guitar from drying out and cracking, as well as maintain its sound quality.
Keep in mind that It’s important to monitor the humidity levels in the area your guitar is kept regularly to ensure that it stays within this range. Some smart thermostats like the Ecobee even have the ability to alert you if your humidity drops below a certain range.
Best Room Humidifier For Musical Instruments
As far as brands, Aprilaire leads the pack in selection and availability. In fact, many big name HVAC brands like Carrier, Trane and Lennox just use Aprilaire humidifiers and put their name on them.
This makes it easy to service Aprilaire humidifiers because parts are widely available. They also make good equipment.
Aprilaire makes the models 500, 600, 700 for evaporative whole house humidifiers. For steam humidifiers they make the model 800. All of their models come with multiple options but that will get you started.
Honeywell and GeneralAire are also in the humidifier market but not as prevalent.
All in all, don’t let brand influence your choice. Ultimately, a good quality contractor will help you pick the best type of humidifier for your home and guitars. Find a good contractor and they’ll use their expertise to help you choose.