Whether your guitar is part of a hobby, the way you make a living, or just a cool display item, you want to protect and preserve it. And while there is a lot of advice out there in regards to polishing wooden instruments and maintaining their finish, few guides emphasize the importance of controlling the humidity levels in the space around your guitar. However, humidity levels that are too high or too low can cause numerous problems with wooden instruments, including cracks, shrinkage, and warping. But with the best humidifier for guitar rooms, you can keep your guitar or guitars looking and sounding great.
- 1 The Impact of Humidity on Wooden Instruments
- 2 What to Consider When Purchasing a Guitar Humidifier
- 3 Best Humidifier for Guitar Room
- 4 Buying Guide
- 5 How to Humidify Your Guitar Room
- 6 Will Essential Oils Damage Your Guitars
- 7 Final Words
The Impact of Humidity on Wooden Instruments
When you walk into a guitar store, there is an instant change to the air. While some of this comes down to the rush you feel when surrounding by incredible musical instruments, a big part of it comes down to the quality of the air in the store. Both guitar manufacturers and vendors use a variety of devices to keep their air clean, at an ideal temperature, and within a specific humidity range. This is all done to preserve the quality of the instruments.
However, once you purchase a guitar and bring it home, controlling the air and its effects on your guitar is completely up to you. Now, you might be wondering how important it really is to have a music room humidifier, or perhaps a guitar case humidifier. Well, let’s take a look at some problems humidity, or lack thereof, can cause your instruments.
Dangers of High Humidity
When wood absorbs moisture, it expands. At first, this expansion may not be noticeable. However, over time it will cause major problems, and the higher out of ideal range your humidity levels go, the greater the damage will be. Some damage your guitar may suffer from high humidity includes:
- Increased weight
- Glue joints weakening or coming undone
- Warping of the wood
- Mold growth
- Strings becoming too taut
- Changes in acoustics
Dangers of Low Humidity
While the problems high humidity can cause sound bad, most guitar experts consider the impact of low humidity to be more dangerous to the instrument. Unfortunately, this damage tends to occur very quickly, and by the time you notice it, it may be irreversible. Some potential problems your guitar may encounter due to high humidity are:
- Cracks in the wood
- Sections caving in
- Buzzing notes
- Sharp fret ends
No matter why you own a guitar, it is certainly an investment—one you want to protect. And the only way to protect it from humidity-related problems is by purchasing a guitar room humidifier or guitar case humidifier.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Guitar Humidifier
Unless you are a guitar manufacturer or seller, or an avid collector, you may not know a lot about what guitars need in terms of humidifier features. Lucky for you, there isn’t too much to consider. While there are lots of options with plenty of bells and whistles, you really only need to keep four criteria in mind as you buy: humidifier type, room size covered, filter or filterless, and humidistat.
Type of Humidifier
The type of humidifier you purchase for preserving guitars will depend on a few factors. You have three primary options we will take a look at and discuss the situations they are best suited to.
Sound Hole Humidifiers
Sound hole humidifiers can cover the sound hole of your guitar or hang down into the sound hole. This type of humidifier is ideal for those who only have a few guitars and are not concerned about humidifying an entire room. You can use these humidifiers on guitars that are stored away as well as those that are hanging on display.
Guitar Case Humidifiers
These humidifiers sit in the guitar case and regulate the humidity in the entire case, ensuring even protection of the wood. In general, these are recommended for serious musicians who keep their guitars properly stored away whenever they are not in use.
These humidifiers regulate the humidity throughout an entire room. If you have a lot of guitars that are kept out on display, or you have a music room where you frequently practice, this may be the best choice. If you are also a singer, you may want to look for a humidifier for singers as well. Avoid options that use warm mist to prevent heat-related damage to your instrument.
Size of Room
If you opt for a room humidifier, you need to select a model that can humidify the entire space. Most humidifier listings will specify the maximum amount of square feet the machine can cover. However, this is not always accurate. These calculations are based on spaces where ceilings are standard height, which in the US is somewhere between 8 and 9 feet. If the room you wish to humidify has ceilings with a height greater than 9 feet, you will want to look for more square feet covered than the square feet of the room.
Filter or Filterless
While you can opt for filter or filterless models for your guitar room, you will want to make sure that whatever you choose is cleaning the air in some way. There are many things floating in the air that can damage your musical instruments, hurt your voice, and more. Some humidifiers have lifetime filters that only need to be cleaned, while others have filters that must be replaced frequently, and others still use non-filter methods of purifying the air.
Having a humidistat built into your humidifier isn’t necessary because you can purchase a hygrometer separately. However, it sure is helpful. With a humidistat built in, not only will you have more control over the output of the machine, but you will be able to monitor humidity levels, ensuring they never get too low or too high for the space.
Best Humidifier for Guitar Room
Venta Airwasher 2-in-1 Humidifier & Air Purifier
There are a lot of great humidifiers you can use in your guitar room, so what made us choose this option from Venta as our top choice? Unlike the other options on our list, it is not just a humidifier, but a humidifier and air purifier combo. This means that it gives you incredible control over the air in your guitar room, keeping the humidity at an ideal level and actively removing impurities not just from the mist it outputs, but from the air in the room in general.
And it keeps the air clean without the use of a filter, opting for a system called air washing instead. The model we have featured covers rooms up to 400 square feet; however, they also have models for spaces as small as 200 square feet and as large as 800 square feet. This makes it easy to find the right option for a music room humidifier no matter how small or large the room is.
Due to its purification abilities, it is ideal for those who do not just play, but also sing. We also like it for those who have allergies, asthma, COPD, and other respiratory concerns. The machine is easy to clean and maintain and has a large water tank, allowing you to go longer on a single fill. As far as the quality of the build of the machine, the company is clearly confident in it as they offer a 10-year warranty—which is almost unheard of in the industry.
TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier with No Noise
Coming in at number two on our list is a model from TaoTronics. While this is a humidifier that can work in most any space, there are a few features that helped it stand out as a great choice for use in guitar rooms. The main feature that caught our attention was its noise level, which is as close to zero as you can get. Given that you want your humidifier running in what is likely the same room you will be playing your guitar or guitars in, cutting down on noise pollution matters.
Other features that we love for guitar rooms are the ceramic filter that never needs to be replaced, the display, which includes current humidity levels, and the adjustable mist levels that provide you with more complete control than other models. For those who tend to have their instruments out at certain hours, such as those with nightly gigs to play, the timer on the machine is helpful. It is backed by a 1-year warranty
Holmes Cool Mist Comfort Humidifier
If your music room is a bit on the larger side or has high ceilings, this cool mist humidifier option from Holmes might be a good choice for you. Able to humidify up to 600 square feet, it is one of the more powerful options on the market. Compared to other single-room humidifiers, it is also a more economic choice.
The LCD display is easy to read and easy to use, making it easy to set timers and adjust levels. However, its stand-out feature is its antimicrobial protection. This ensures that the mist it outputs is as clean and safe as possible, keeping both you and your instrument healthy. It also has one of the longest runtimes per fill, coming in at 48-hours of continuous use on a full tank. As is the case with all Holmes products, it is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.
Oasis OH-6 Case Humidifier
If you are looking for the simplest way to keep your guitar humidified, look no further than this option from Oasis. This case humidifier is made from a special fabric that holds water inside but lets vapor out. Over time, the water evaporates and the humidifier shrinks, giving you a visual cue that it is time to refill it. This task is simple, requiring you to unscrew the cap, run tap water into the vial, and then replace the cap.
The humidifier can be placed between the strings and stabilized by a bar that encircles the neck of the instrument. The humidifier then hangs within the sound hole of the guitar, but never touches the wood of the instrument, ensuring no damage is caused. You can also simply place it inside the case and let it sit. It lasts about 7 days on a single fill. It is backed by a 2-year warranty.
Planet Waves Acoustic Guitar Humidifier
This entry from Planet Waves is a sound hole humidifier. This means that it dangles inside the sound hole, never touching the wooden parts of the instrument. Unlike the option above, it is not designed to give you the option to simply sit it inside the case—it must be placed inside the sound hole. However, unlike the option above, this one comes with temperature and humidity sensors, allowing you to know how well the product is working and how protected your guitar is.
The humidifier has a non-drip design, so you will not be risking damage to your guitar. The clips that suspend the humidifier are gentle and will not hurt the strings. It is easy to fill and use. It comes with a warranty that is valid for the life of the product.
Are you having a tough time choosing a humidifier that will offer you the correct humidity level? Not to worry because in this quick guide we are going to quickly explain which of these humidifiers are ideal to keep your guitar as safe as possible.
The best for music stores
For a music store with lots of guitars and other musical instruments constantly on display, it is best to get a room humidifier. Cool mist humidifiers uses distilled water to control the humidity levels in the room. The best humidifiers to keep a relative humidity throughout the room are the Venta Airwasher 2-in-1 Humidifier and Air Purifier, the Tao Tronics cool mist humidifier and the Holmes cool mist comfort humidifer.
For a large room you should get the humidifier by Holmes since this one is sufficient for 600 square feet rooms. If you prefer a humidifier that will also purify the air then the Venta Airwasher is the best pick.
The best for your guitar case
The Oasis OH-6 Case Humidifier included on our list is the best guitar humidifier for professional players who might want to store a guitar or who prefer something that can travel with them. This guitar humidifier can easily fit into your guitar case and is an ideal pick for all guitars including acoustic guitars.
The best for guitars on display
If you only have a few guitars that might need protection then the Planet Waves acoustic guitar humidifier is our top pick. This is the best humidifer for guitar that are not kept in a case because the device slips into the sound hole of the guitar to keep the humidity levels inside your guitar sound. These guitar humidifiers are ideal for those who only have a few guitars that don’t need to humidify the entire room.
The best for singers
Musicians with guitars that love to sing should also consider one of our room humidifiers instead of getting a guitar case or hole humidifier. Room guitar humidifiers will also benefit singers because practicing your voice at the right humidity level is ideal for protecting your vocal cords and for promoting a good singing voice. Room humidifiers use distilled water to create relative humidity you need for optical singing and for protecting your acoustic guitars.
How to Humidify Your Guitar Room
Now that you know which humidifiers are the best and what to look for when you buy, you might be wondering how you should humidify your guitar room. In general, as long as you use your product as directed in the user manual, you should not encounter any issues. However, we do have some tips that should help.
- The goal is to make the air damp, but never wet. Excessive humidity and water droplets on the guitar will cause damage.
- Check the humidifier as often as needed to make sure it is not empty. Every humidifier has a different run time per fill, so check your user manual.
- Use a hygrometer—possible built into the humidistat of the humidifier—to monitor the humidity levels. 45% is the goal for guitar rooms. Less than 40% and more than 50% is a problem.
- If you are using a whole-room humidifier, do not place it too close to the guitar or guitars and do not aim the mist towards any instruments.
- If you are using a whole house humidifier installed in your furnace, make sure your room humidifier is set low enough so that it complements your larger humidifier.
- When possible, store your guitars in their cases. You may need more than one type of humidifier if you both store and display guitars.
- Check your guitar or guitars often to make sure no damage is occurring.
Will Essential Oils Damage Your Guitars
Lots of people love to add essential oils to humidifiers to enhance the fragrance of the room or to keep a music studio or store from smelling dusty. Adding essential oils can offer you many relaxing benefits but are these oils good for your guitar?
Unless you are pouring essential oils directly into your guitar, these oils are not very likely to damage your guitars at all. The amount that will be atomized into the air through your guitar humidifiers is not enough to damage your expensive musical equipment at all. If anything, your guitars might become slightly sticky over many months of use.
It is perfectly safe to add aromatic oils to your guitar humidifier so you can get the maximum benefits from these healthy devices.
Whether for career, hobby, or display, you want to preserve your guitar or guitars as well as possible. A key tool in keeping your instruments in great shape is a humidifier. We are confident that at least one of the picks on our list will work for you.
And if you are also looking for other superb quality humidifiers such as humidifiers for singers or if you want to get the best oils for humidifiers then we welcome you to hop over to some of our other buying guides where you can shop around for other superior humidifiers and accessories.
Mike Nikko is a blogger with over 15 years of experience. I will bring you the best product reviews and other useful life experiences, tips to increase height, tips to improve health… If you have any questions, feel free to ask Mike Nikko!