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Which Type of Humidifier is Best: Whole-home or Portable? An NJ Tech Answers

Sep. 02, 2020


If you think that a humidifier might be a good option for your NJ home, you’re probably wondering whether you should buy a portable humidifier or if a whole-home humidifier is a better option.

Whole-home and portable humidifiers are both good options, but, here’s our advice: If you have the budget for a whole-home humidifier, go for it. A whole-home humidifier will provide you with more comfort, more long-term savings and requires less upkeep.

If you don’t have the budget for a whole-home humidifier ($450-$1,800), a portable humidifier is still a good option. However, these humidifiers have limited capacity, so you may have to buy multiple humidifiers to properly humidify your home.

We know that’s not enough information to help you make a final decision. That said, we’ll look at the 4 biggest factors to consider when choosing between a whole-home and a portable humidifier:
  1. Amount of humidity needed
  2. Upfront cost 
  3. Long-term savings
  4. Ease-of-use
Rather speak with a professional about your options? Air Experts has been serving NJ homeowners for the last 25 years, so you can trust us to help you make a decision about which type of humidifier is best for your home. Feel free to reach out to us! 
 

Factor #1: Amount of humidity needed

Whole-home humidifiers can provide more humidity than portable humidifiers can.

Humidifiers are “sized” according to their capacity or the amount of humidity or moisture they can produce per day. 

Typically, portable humidifiers are much more limited in their capacity compared to whole-home humidifiers, which only allows them to humidify a small space.

If you want your whole home humidified, a whole-home humidifier is probably the best option for you. However, if there is only a small space of your home that you want humidified, a portable humidifier could be a good option for you. 
 

Factor #2: Upfront cost


Whole-home humidifiers are more expensive than portable humidifiers. 

Here’s why:
  1. Whole home humidifiers have a larger capacity than portable humidifiers - As we mentioned above, whole-home humidifiers are able to distribute more humidity, which means they can add humidity to a larger area. 
  2. Whole-home humidifiers are able to distribute humidity more evenly- A whole-home humidifier is hooked up to your HVAC system, so it uses the power of the duct system to ensure even coverage throughout your entire home. A portable humidifier will never be able to provide that same level of even distribution since it just humidifies the area it’s sitting in.
  3. Whole-home humidifiers last longer- On average, portable humidifiers last 1-5 years, whereas whole-home humidifiers last about 8-10 years. 

Factor #3: Long-term savings

While both portable and whole-home humidifiers can provide you with long-term savings, whole-home humidifiers will usually save you more. Here’s how:
 

Whole-home humidifiers save you money on heating costs

Whole-home humidifiers increase humidity throughout your whole home. And, when there is moisture in your air, it makes the air feel warmer. So, for people living in colder climates, like New Jersey, having a whole-home humidifier can help you feel warmer. If you feel warmer, you can turn your heat down a few degrees and still feel comfortable, saving you money on heating bills. 

A portable humidifier will also make you feel warmer, but only in the one room it’s located in. Since you will probably move around your house (and your home will feel colder in other rooms), you probably won’t be able to turn your thermostat down and won’t benefit from month-to-month cost savings. 

Whole home humidifiers prevent issues caused by low humidity

Low humidity (levels under 30%), can cause issues like:
  1. Peeling wallpaper
  2. Cracked drywall
  3. Wooden furniture splitting or cracking
A whole-home humidifier is able to adjust automatically to ensure that your home’s humidity stays in a “safe” range, which will help prevent any damage to your home caused by dry air. 
 

Factor #4: Ease-of-use

Whole-home humidifiers are easier to use because they work automatically, whereas portable humidifiers work manually.

Most whole-home humidifiers are smart, meaning they will automatically adjust their moisture output based on what’s needed. You don’t have to manually adjust the humidity or monitor the system, it works automatically. Whole-home systems also require very little maintenance, and usually only need to be maintained about once a year. 

Portable humidifiers, on the other hand, require a little more manual work and maintenance. Many portable humidifiers will run on a timer, but that means the time needs to be set by you (and the humidifier will need to be turned on by you). In addition, portable humidifiers usually need to be refilled with water about once a day. You will also need to clean your humidifier every few days to prevent mold and bacteria growth. 
 

Want a humidifier for your NJ home? Contact Air Experts

Whether you’ve decided on which type of humidifier you want or you’re still unsure which option is best for you, we’re here to help. We’d be happy to speak with you about your home, needs and budget and help you determine a solution that will work best for you.

Schedule service!