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Humidifier for Hardwood Floors: When to Use It & 8 Best Picks

Humidifier for Hardwood Floors

You probably only think of humidifiers as the device you turn on when you are down with a cold. But did you know that they can play a significant role in saving your gorgeous hardwood flooring?

A humidifier can protect your hardwood floor from low humidity if you live in a dry or cold environment. Indoor humidity levels below 35% can create gaps in your hardwood floor and even cause it to split. A humidifier can help protect hardwood from seasonal humidity fluctuations.

So, is a humidifier really necessary for hardwood floors? What is the best humidifier for hardwood floors? Let’s discuss.

Is a Humidifier Necessary for Hardwood Floors?

Whether or not your hardwood needs a humidifier depends on your climate and indoor humidity level. One thing to keep in mind about wood is that it is hygroscopic and behaves similarly to our skin. Meaning, that in a humid environment, it absorbs moisture from its surroundings and, on the contrary, loses moisture in a dry environment.  

When wood dries out, it changes its shape and contracts, leaving gaps between hardwood boards. Eventually, the wood will crack and become brittle if left in low humidity for too long. Dry winters or even air conditioners can drop indoor humidity levels and negatively impact the wood. Other contributing factors to low humidity levels are indoor heaters, furnaces and fireplaces that dry out the moisture as they heat the air. 

Using a humidifier is necessary to maintain the ideal humidity for hardwood floors in dry weather. It adds moisture to the air and protects the hardwood from gapping, splitting or damages on the hardwood finish. 

What is the Best Humidity for Hardwood Floors?

What is the Best Humidity for Hardwood Floors?

The recommended humidity level for hardwood floors, which is the same as the recommended humidity level for your body, is between 38 percent and 42 percent. However, the humidity level between 35%-50% is also considered ideal. You can use a humidistat or a hydrometer to measure the humidity level in your home. It is crucial to observe and maintain a healthy humidity level to maintain your physical and hardwood floor’s health.

Besides humidity, indoor temperature also influences hardwood floors, with the ideal temperature standing at 60º to 80º Fahrenheit. Maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity throughout the year is key to minimizing any shrinkage or expansion of your wood floors and furniture. Experts recommend keeping humidity within five percent fluctuation between wet and dry seasons. 

5 Signs Your Hardwood Floor is Too Dry

If the indoor humidity in your home is below the recommended level, it can damage your hardwood floors. If you face one or more of the symptoms mentioned below, you need a humidifier to increase your indoor humidity. 

Here are a few signs telling you that your hardwood floor is too dry –

  • There are gaps between your hardwood boards.
  • The wood on your floor has developed cracks and splinters.
  • Your hardwood floor finish is damaged and looks aged.
  • There are wood splits down the grain of the wood.
  • Your floor makes a cracking noise when you step on it.

Which Type of Humidifier is Best for Hardwood Floors?

When determining which type of humidifier is best for hardwood floors, you need to think about the different options across different scopes. For example, you will find humidifiers of different sizes or mechanisms. 

Let’s explore different types of humidifiers to make the most educated choice for hardwood floors –

Whole-house humidifier

This is the one-stop solution for homeowners who have wooden floors and furniture all around the house. But of course, these humidifiers are more expensive in comparison to the single room ones. The installation is also more permanent, like your radiator or furnace. 

The biggest advantage you get with a whole-house humidifier is that they are automatic and will switch on or off when they sense fluctuation in the humidity. They are usually connected to the waterline, so you don’t need to worry about refilling.

Single room humidifier

These are ideal if you have hardwood floorings in particular areas of the house. Most people use single-room humidifiers when they are ill, making these more popular in the market. These are usually portable, so you can easily move them around the house. Also, they are cheaper in comparison, making them perfect if you live somewhere with relatively high humidity around the year and dry weather for only a short period. 

Multi-room humidifier

Multi-room humidifiers have a similar function to single room humidifiers — the main difference being their capacity. These can usually cover a larger area. You can use them for multiple rooms if you leave the door open. 

Warm-mist humidifier

The warm mist humidifier is the most common type of humidifier that heats water to convert it into vapor. The vaporized water is then released into the room to increase the moisture level. It uses the most basic and oldest technology to add moisture. 

The main disadvantage of this technology is that it can get boiling hot and pose risks to your family members. Also, it is less energy efficient than other humidifiers.

Cool-mist humidifier

Cool mist humidifiers use evaporative or ultrasonic technology to get the water out of the machine and into the air. It does not heat the water, making it relatively safer than warm mist humidifiers. The downside of this technology is that it can often create a puddle of water. It also uses wicks that you need to replace regularly.

8 Best Humidifier for Hardwood Floors

1. AIRCARE EP9 800 Digital Whole-House Pedestal-Style Evaporative Humidifier 

This pedestal style humidifier is the next best thing to whole-house humidity solutions or a central unit that can maintain air quality for houses up to 2400 sq. ft. It has a built-in humidistat to maintain the optimum humidity level, which automatically turns the machine on and off. This powerful humidifier features nine fans and works with precision; therefore, the best choice for medium to large households that are not up for central units.

Large capacity (3.5 gallons)Expensive
60 hours maximum run timeNoisy
Digital controlIt might be complicated to configure
Built-in humidistat 
Automatic shut off

2. AIRCARE H12-400HB 4-Speed Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier

This is an excellent alternative to Aircare EP9 800. It can add humidity in an area of up to 3,700 sq. ft. and an output of 12 gallons per day. The faux wood panel of this whole-house humidifier will blend smoothly with your other wooden furniture. This model also features a built-in humidistat. However, unlike the pedestal humidifier, it has analog control and a digital display

Large capacity (5.4 gallons)Limited warranty
Maximum run time of 48 hoursIt might be challenging to refill
Easy to use and control
Built-in humidistat 
Refill light
Rolling casters

3. AIRCARE 831000 Space Saver Evaporative Humidifier

The Aircare 831000 is an evaporative cooler that humidifies as well as cools the room at the same time. The humidifier features digital controls with an auto humidistat that senses the humidity and shuts down on its own when the desired humidity level is reached. With a maximum runtime of 70 hours, large capacity and 2700 sq. ft. coverage area, this model from Aircare is a perfect choice for larger spaces. The sleek design occupies a much smaller area compared to other humidifiers of similar capacity. 

Large capacity (6 gallons)Noisy with three fans running
Maximum run time of 70 hoursThe large water reservoir takes a long time to refill
Trapmax filter technologyThe built-in humidistat is not always accurate
Built-in humidistat 
Check filter and water refill indicators
Rolling casters

4. Honeywell Top Fill Tower Humidifier with Digital Humidistat

If you are in the market for a single room humidifier, the Honeywell Top Fill Tower humidifier is one of the best choices you can find. The small and elegant design of this model is a real space saver. It can raise the humidity level to 40%-60% by producing cool and invisible moisture. It also features a digital humidistat and three speed settings. You can set a timer to avoid high humidity levels, which are equally harmful to your hardwood floors. 

Digital humidistatSmall capacity (1.7 gallons)
Maximum run time of 24 hoursIt does not shut down automatically
Easy to fill
Check filter and water refill indicators
Cool invisible moisture 

5. Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier

This multi room humidifier from Honeywell is a perfect choice for medium to large households. It can give 9-gallon output per day with up to 24 hours of runtime. It features an antimicrobial filter to prevent the growth of molds, bacteria, viruses, and algae in your house. Its evaporative technology blows moisture off a wicking filter, ensuring you never over-humidify your floors. It also includes a humidistat for automatic operation and multiple fan speeds.

Three speed settingsThe wicks require frequent replacing 
Easy to assemble and refillSmaller water tank size
Two water tanks with large openings
Adjustable humidistat 
Multiple fan speed 

6. Pure Enrichment HumeXL Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

The brushed metal finishes coupled with the sleek and modern design of this humidifier from Pure Enrichment will not only add humidity to the indoor air but doubles as decor. It is also resistant to scale and fingerprints, making it hassle-free to maintain and use. Its extra-large water tank with a capacity of 5 liters can function continuously for hours with just one refill. 

This cool-mist humidifier has high mist and low mist settings along with two 360-degree mist nozzles. It also offers night mode coupled with whisper-quiet operation. Another big pro of this humidifier is that it offers a 5-year warranty

Runtime up to 50 hoursComparatively expensive
Five years warrantyCan leave a white cast on the floor
Automatic shutoff Not as durable in comparison to other available humidifiers 
Easy to clean and maintain 
Large capacity (5 liters)
Whisper-quiet operation 

7. Pure Enrichment HumeXL Pro Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier

Pure Enrichment offers warm and cool mist technology in one humidifier with its HumeXL Pro Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier. The sleek and elegant design will fit your modern décor and blend well into your electronic appliances. The dual-functioning humidifier holds up to 1.3 gallons of water, translating to approximately 50 hours of operation in a large room. 

The built-in humidistat senses the humidity in the room and can shut down the machine once it reaches the pre-programmed humidity level. The touch buttons with LED display and remote control make the functioning effortless. Similar to the previous model from Pure Enrichment, this one also offers a five years warranty for a smooth user experience.

Runtime up to 50 hoursComparatively expensive
Five years warrantyDifficult to load and clean 
Touch panel with digital displayNot as durable in comparison to other available humidifiers 
Whisper-quiet operation
Large capacity (5 liters)
Remote control

8. InnoGear Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

The InnoGear ultrasonic cool mist humidifier features a touch-activated control surface while sporting a sleek and clean design. The compact unit is easy to fill up and even easier to move around. If you are in the market for a compact single-room solution that won’t take up a lot of space, it doesn’t get better than this intelligent solution from InnoGear. 

It also features auto shut off and whisper-quiet operation — ideal for even a baby’s room. It can cover up to 500 sq. ft. and offers a maximum runtime of 40 hours. There are also three mist settings and an adjustable 360º swivel nozzle so you can direct the flow in any direction. 

Runtime up to 40 hoursSmaller capacity (1.06 gallon) 
Auto-off LED indicatorMight leak water 
Advanced sensitive touch control Might face mold issues 
Whisper-quiet operation (35 dB noise level)
Easy to refill
360º rotatable mist output nozzles 

Humidity damage to the hardwood floor is no joke. So, you need to monitor your indoor humidity level closely to determine whether you need a humidifier for hardwood floors. Bring in a humidifier to adjust the humidity level and protect your hardwood floors if you do so. 

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