Aprilaire is a leading brand of indoor air purifiers and whole-house humidifiers. Aprilaire’s parent company, Research Products Corporation, has been in the business since 1938 and have since focused its efforts on delivering healthier indoor air for families everywhere. In 1954, Aprilaire’s reputation as an innovator in the industry was solidified when they developed the first fully-functional and effective whole-house humidifier. Since then, Aprilaire has continuously improved on its whole-house humidifiers to stay several steps ahead of its competitors.
In this article, we’ll be discussing Aprilaire’s best whole-house humidifiers. We highlight the key features of each model and also offer some general tips so that you can find out which one is the best for your home.
The Aprilaire 400 stands out due to the fact that it’s a drainless bypass humidifier. Basically, this means it is able to conserve water using a unique evaporation process that also eliminates the need for a floor drain and minimizes the water required to humidify your home.
One of the biggest downsides to the 400 is that it costs a little more upfront and long-term compared to the other models. In addition, the special water-conserving water panel needs to be replaced more frequently (at least twice a year) by a professional. Due to the 400’s special evaporation process, the water panel works twice as hard and wears out faster than the regular bypass models.
Overall, however, the 400 is an excellent whole-house humidifier that helps you cut down on water consumption while at the same time automatically adjusting humidity levels at home depending on outdoor temperature and weather. Rated to cover large residential spaces and capable of producing 17 gallons of moisture daily, the 400 will definitely be a purchase worth every penny.
The 700M Whole-House Fan-Powered Humidifier is undoubtedly one of Aprilaire’s greatest inventions. Rated to cover large residential areas up to 4,200 sq. ft. in size, the 700M is a powerful whole-house humidifier. It has a daily humidity output of up to 18 gallons daily and comes with a fan to increase overall evaporation rate.
The 700M does cost quite a pretty penny, both upfront and long-term. Aside from the actual cost of the unit, the 700M (and most whole-house humidifiers in general) needs to be installed by a professional, which can further increase costs. The 700M’s water panel needs to be changed at least once a year by a professional as well.
Despite the maintenance costs that the 700M brings about about, there’s no denying that it’s a great unit that can do wonders for dry air problems at home. For a whole-house humidifier it’s relatively low maintenance, and its manual humidity control allows you to set it at your desired humidity level. Backed by a long 5-year warranty, you can rest easy knowing it’ll take care of your dry air problems for years to come.
The Aprilaire 600M is a large bypass humidifier that’s rated to cover large residential areas up to 4,000 sq. ft. in size and is able to provide up to 17 gallons of moisture daily. It connects directly to a water line so there is a constant supply of water and thus eliminates the need of constant refills throughout the day.
The 600M is pretty expensive but comes relatively cheaper compared to the 700M. Unfortunately, like the 700M, the 600M needs to be manually controlled and will not adjust output automatically. Maintenance is also a chore and needs to be taken care of by a licensed HVAC contractor.
In its defense, however, the 600M still does an excellent job of adding humidity to your home despite the hefty upfront price tag. In addition, its bypass damper also allows for water and energy conservation.
If you were impressed by the first two Aprilaire whole-house humidifiers, then the 800 will undoubtedly blow you away. This powerful whole-house steam humidifier is capable of humidifying homes up to 6,200 sq. ft. and can churn out up to 34.6 gallons per day in humidity.
It’s no surprise that the 800 is incredibly expensive, costing 6 times more than the 600M. In addition to the upfront cost, you’ll need to have installed and serviced by a professional, especially since steam humidifiers are a little trickier to maintain.
The biggest advantage of the 800 is that it offers automatic humidity control, which allows you to simply set it and forget it. Steam humidifiers, in general, are also more effective and efficient at humidifying large areas like entire homes and work independently of your HVAC system. Overall, the 800 is definitely a big investment to make, but one that you won’t regret.
If you’re looking for something a little easier on your wallet, then you might be interested in the Aprilaire 500. Rated to cover medium sized homes up to 3,000 sq. ft. in size, the 500 is capable of producing 12 gallons of moisture daily.
Right off the bat, you can tell the 500 is a little less powerful compared to the other humidifiers on this list: it has significantly smaller residential coverage and lower daily humidity output. It also needs to be professionally installed and maintained yearly. For a budget whole-humidifier, however, the 500 is ideal.
With its automatic humidity control, it is able to adjust to changes in weather and temperature automatically. It also has a bypass damper the allows you to conserve water, energy, and correspondingly costs, in the long run.
There are 3 main types of whole house humidifiers:
Bypass – This type of whole house humidifier works by drawing warm air from your home’s furnace and allows it to pass through the water panel to activate the evaporation process. The air is moisturized and then distributed throughout your home. They can either be installed in the supply or return plenum of your forced air handling system. These types require a floor drain, but drainless bypass humidifiers are also available.
Fan-Powered – Fan-powered humidifiers work the same way as bypass humidifiers but include a fan that speeds up the evaporation process by blowing air across the water panel. Because of the fan, this type of humidifier is able to produce about 1 gallon more moisture daily than bypass humidifiers. These types don’t require a bypass duct so they can be installed in small spaces.
Steam – This type of whole house humidifier adds humidity to the air by electrically heating water to create steam even without the help of a furnace. The steam is then distributed throughout your home with the help of the system blower. Steam humidifiers are the fastest and most efficient at humidifying entire homes. They work as needed independently of your HVAC system.
A drainless bypass humidifier recirculates water by using a special kind of water panel within the system, eliminating the need for a floor drain or prevents standing water. Basically, gravity pulls the water down to the bottom of the unit while the water panel uses a “wicking” action to draw the water back up to the top, recirculating it until 100% of the water deposited into the unit is used.
The water panel is considered the heart of the whole-house humidifier. The water panel provides the moisture needed to humidify your home as the air passes through it. When the humidifier detects that there’s a dip in moisture, water is applied to the water panel and the air from the furnace blows through it, starting the evaporation process. The air picks up the water from the water panel and the moisturized water is then distributed throughout your home.
With Aprilaire whole-house humidifiers, the water should be changed once a year, ideally before the heating season begins. Drainless bypass humidifiers, however, need to have their water panel changed at least twice a year because it wears out faster due to the special evaporation process it goes through.
When you think “whole-house humidifier,” think Aprilaire. For decades the Aprilaire brand has consistently produce whole-house humidifiers that are reliable, effective, and reasonably priced.
If we had to choose among all the humidifiers in this list, we would definitely pick the Aprilaire 400 because of its water-conserving feature and impressive specifications. For a large whole-house humidifier, the 400 is reasonably priced, and its automated humidity control boosts convenience and optimizes the humidifier’s performance depending on external conditions.