Whole House Humidifier or Portable Humidifier – Which is better?

by Jess 4. January 2017 15:32


‘Tis the season for dry… everything. Winter is here and with cooler temperatures comes dryer air. With cooler temperatures also comes running your heater, which means even dryer air. Your skin and hair are dry and your lips are chapped, but that’s just the beginning. Dry sinuses can lead to nosebleeds and respiratory irritation that can make already annoying conditions like asthma and allergies even worse. That’s not to mention what that same lack of moisture can do to things like your hardwood floors and your furniture.

So what can you do? Well, while you can’t fix what’s going on outside, you can definitely improve things in your home with a humidifier. There are two types of humidifiers: whole-house and portable. Depending on your needs, either one could be a great addition to your home. Below are some pros and cons of each type.



The great thing about a whole-house humidifier is that once you’ve taken the plunge and installed it, you can basically forget that it’s there. It just does its thing and you don’t have to worry about it. Whole-house units work by injecting moisture directly from your home’s water supply into your blower system. There a couple of different methods for doing that, but the end result is the same. This unit will keep humidity in your home basically constant throughout the year. Cost-wise, a whole-house unit is a great choice. Initial costs are low compared to portable units and running costs can be as low as pennies per year. Depending on the state of your water supply, you may see that this unit collects some deposits, but a regular cleaning each year can keep this from becoming a bigger issue.


The best thing about a portable humidifier unit is its convenience. There is no major installation required and you can move it around to where you need or want it the most. There are a range of sizes available to suit your individual needs, from a desktop unit to one powerful enough to keep several rooms at optimum humidity. This is all great if you have a very small area you’re worried about or if you’re a renter, say. Unfortunately convenience comes with some downsides. Portable units tend to be much more expensive than whole-house units. While they are portable, they tend to be heavy. They don’t have your furnace to blow moistened air around. They have to have their own blower to do that. That also means they are noisier than whole-house units. In addition, you’ll have to do a bit more maintenance. There will be a water reservoir that needs to be filled. Depending on the size of your unit and the size of the area being serviced, this could need to be done daily. Since stagnant water can breed all sorts of nasty things, it’s imperative that you keep the reservoir clean and change your humidifier filter as often as the manufacturer recommends, if not more.

While there is a lot to consider when choosing between the two options, the end result is the same. You will be much more comfortable and breathe easier all winter long.

If you're ready to purchase a Whole House Humidifier unit, we carry Aprilaire, Honeywell and GeneralAire branded units. Or, if you're interested in a Portable Room Humidifier, we carry AirCare and Honeywell units.




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