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Main Office: 516-799-0700  •  East End Office: 631-998-3308

Whole House Humidifiers vs. Portable Humidifiers

Whole house humidifiers or portable humidifiers — which one is better for your home? Maintaining the proper humidity level in your home during the dry months of fall and winter are an important part of keeping you comfortable and healthy.

There are many humidification options on the market, but they all fall into two main categories: whole house humidifiers and portable humidifiers. Understanding the differences between the two will help you make a more informed selection.

A whole house humidifier works within your home’s HVAC system to add moisture to the air as it circulates. These units are installed between the supply and return ducts of your system and can work either with your system or as an independent unit to add moisture. Within this category you will find steam, bypass or fan powered humidifiers.


  • Connected directly to your home’s plumbing system — no reservoir to fill
  • Quiet — you won’t hear your whole house humidifier running
  • Convenient — these humidifiers are attached to your HVAC system, so there is no need to place a unit in a room.

A portable humidifier is a unit that can be placed into a specific room to offer “spot” humidification. These units range in size and most of them contain a reservoir for water that must be filled. As the name implies, these units can be moved from room to room to provide humidification.


  • Value minded — great for those who rent homes or apartments.
  • Excellent for temporary use, such as when you are sick and need the added benefit of extra humidity.

Which is best?

There are some instances where a portable humidifier could be the ideal choice, but in almost every application, a whole house humidifier is the best solution for providing even, predictable humidity across all rooms. Steam humidifiers, such as those made by AprilAire provide a level of safety, comfort and control that no portable unit could match.

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Comfort Air Conditioning and Heating specializes in high end residential HVAC installation and service in both Manhattan and Long Island, NY.

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