Ultimate Guide to Guitar Humidifiers

A complete guide to guitar humidifiers

Perhaps you’re a beginner guitarist who has never heard of a guitar humidifier or maybe you’ve been playing for a little while and are quite familiar with what it is and why you would need to use it.

For those who want to take care of the investment they call an acoustic guitar, a guitar humidifier is not optional, it’s a must.

Below I want to share with you why a guitar humidifier is so important, the difference between using a guitar humidifier and a room humidifier and finally some recommendations on the humidifiers that I have used in the past.

Hopefully by the end you’ll have a basic understanding of proper guitar care in regards to humidity and the elements. Enjoy, and if you find this useful, please don’t forget to share it!

Using a Guitar Humidifier | Why?

Most every guitar you can buy in stores today is built in a controlled environment where humidity remains at a constant level throughout the entire process. The reason for this is that wood tends to dry up or swell depending on the level of humidity and this can have an averse affect on the precise manufacturing of a guitar.

Once a guitar leaves the plant, however, it is up to the stores and the eventual owner to keep the guitar properly humidified. While most guitar stores are good at storing guitars in a manner that protects them from the elements and harsh weather extremes, unfortunately most guitar owners – despite spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on their guitar – don’t do the same.

This is important to note because a guitar that is left out in extremely dry or extremely damp environments could either dry out and crack or swell to cause fret buzzing. Even conditions such as a home with a heater on during the winter can be detrimental to a guitar!

Hence the importance of the guitar humidifier. Guitar humidifiers prevent damage to your guitar by regulating the humidity – whether it is being stored in your guitar case or hanging on your wall. For most guitarist, there could be nothing worse than waking up to find a hairline crack (or worse!) on your guitar.

There are multiple types of guitar humidifiers and I’ll give you a short list of the most popular ones here:

  • Sound Hole Humidifier: these humidifiers either cover the sound hole of your guitar or sit between your strings down into the sound hole. These are the most popular.
  • Guitar Case Humidifier: these humidifiers sit in the guitar case, usually under the headstock, to keep the entire case regulated.
  • Room Humidifier: for those who keep their guitars hanging on the wall or who have multiple guitars that they want to protect at once, a room humidifier keeps the entire room regulated.

A quick tip on how to properly use a guitar humidifier: there is no need to re-wet a humidifier on a daily basis. Depending on the season of year and the region of the world where you live, you may only need to re-wet the humidifier every 6-14 days.

If you tend to have your guitar out of its case often or under the hot stage lights on a frequent basis, you should pay careful attention to the humidification of your guitar.

Guitar Humidifier vs Room Humidifier

Before I dive into the question of whether you should invest in a guitar humidifier or a room humidifier, please read this carefully: your guitar should not be hanging on the wall all day, every day.

Did you know that the best way to protect your guitar, not only from physical damage but also from the elements, is to keep it in its hard case? Yea, I know how cool it looks to have your guitar hanging on your wall but if you really care about the guitar you should store it in its padded home.

Note: hard cases are much better at protecting guitars from the extreme elements than soft cases. Read more about soft vs. hard guitar cases.

Now onto guitar humidifiers vs. room humidifiers. If you’re like most people who have only one or two…maybe three…guitars, purchasing individual humidifiers is probably your best option. Individual humidifiers allow you to adjust the dampness based on how the guitar is responding, something you can’t do with a room humidifier.

For those of you who are guitar collectors or perhaps have quite a few different wooden instruments in your man cave (yes, I am jealous of you!), a room humidifier might be exactly what you need. While you can buy your average humidifier that just spits out vapor indiscriminately, what you really want to get is a humidifier that can take readings of the air and adjust to keep it at a good 30-45% humidity.

Top 5 Guitar Humidifiers Reviewed

With all of that in mind, here are five of the most popular guitar humidifiers. I’m going to break it out into a simple table for you to compare and then below I’ll give my own two cents.

Brand Planet Waves Dampit Kyser Oasis Humidipak
Sensor? Check for yes No No No No
Placement Sound hole Sound hole Sound hole Guitar case Guitar case
Weight 3.2 oz 1.6 oz 1.6 oz 1.6 oz 1.3 oz
Rating 4.6/5 Stars 4.4/5 Stars 4.2/5 Stars 5/5 Stars 5/5 Stars
Pricing

$29.99


Buy Now

$16.99


Buy Now

$14.99


Buy Now

$19.95


Buy Now

$16.99


Buy Now

My two cents:

  • Planet Waves Guitar Humidifier: I used this humidifier for quite a few years and it worked well. My only complaint is that I don’t appreciate how much it stretches my strings when inserted. Newer models even come with a digital sensor which is awesome.
  • Dampit Guitar Humidifier: probably one of the most well-known humidifiers, the snake-like tube does a good job keeping the entire guitar body humidified. Just make sure it’s not so damp that it drips in your guitar or lays flat at the bottom of your guitar.
  • Kyser Humidifier: this humidifier covers the entire soundhole of the guitar unlike many of the others. I don’t believe there’s any special advantage to this but it looks cool. The only thing I don’t like about this humidifier is that it’s so thin it doesn’t feel like it retains too much water.
  • Planet Waves Humidipaks: the beauty of the humidipaks is that it can either release or absorb moisture depending on what is needed, something other humidifiers don’t do. Each pack lasts between 2-6 months depending on conditions so you’ll need to keep up your supply.
  • Oasis Case Humidifier: this has become a very popular model recently as a humidifier for the entire case. No need to stick it in your sound hole or potentially scratch up your guitar face. Just make sure you keep it damp…they dry out easily.

**My Recommendation: based on my 20+ years of experience using humidifiers, I highly recommend either the Oasis Case Humidifier or the Planet Waves Humidipaks. All of these humidifiers work well, but these two are far and away my favorite.

Best Room Humidifiers for Guitars

If you’re intent on purchasing a room humidifier for your guitar, the good news is that there are hundreds more options! Room humidifiers come in every shape, size and color. When you’re looking for a humidifier that will specifically keep your instrument room controlled, there are few things to keep in mind:

  • Buy a Humidity Monitor: you need to keep an eye on how the room humidifier is working. I recommend this AcuRite humidity monitor.
  • Consider “Ultrasonic”: sure, it may be a bit of marketing magic but treating the air using ultrasonic technology ensures that the mist is cleaner.
  • Consider Room Size: humidifiers are designed to work with a specific-sized room. Know what you need before you buy.

Expect to pay between $50-$100 depending on the size and type of humidifier you decide to purchase.

Tips for Using Humidifiers

Helpful tips for using a guitar humidifier

As you begin to use your new humidifier, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.

  1. “Damp” not “Wet”: you don’t want water dripping on/in your guitar as this can certainly damage the wood
  2. Know the Ideal Humidity: if you live in a particularly dry part of the world, make sure you check your humidifier every couple days to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
  3. Don’t Overdo It: some people re-wet their humidifier every day. Don’t do this. Once a week is normal and for damp environments it’s more like every 2-3 weeks.
  4. Sometimes you need two: if you’re in a particularly dry environment or if you constantly have the guitar out (say, perhaps, you play on stage often), you may need to have two humidifiers: one in the soundhole and one near the headstock in your case.

More Helpful Guitar Guides

 

34 Responses to Ultimate Guide to Guitar Humidifiers

  1. Tim Grey says:

    Hi,

    Good ideas for humidification. I keep my guitars on the wall (yea, I know you don’t approve) but I play them a WHOLE LOT MORE when I can just grab one and start playing!

    Anyway, one thing you may want to stress about room humidiiers and something that they seldom write on the box…is that you must use DISTILLED WATER in a room humidifier.

    They will work much better and last a lot longer.

    Cheers!

    Tim

    • Josh Summers says:

      Hey Tim, thanks for sharing! I had heard about the distilled water but never thought it was absolutely necessary. Definitely good to know.

      As for hanging your guitar on your wall – I’m don’t judge you! 🙂 I love hanging mine on my wall as well as long as it’s properly cared for. I just cringe when I walk into somebody’s house who is hanging a guitar on the wall and running their heater on high without a humidifier. Ahhhhhh!

      • Jon Lilley says:

        so i am reading a great
        article on guitar humidifiers and get down to bottom and see your smiling face. so great man. fun to bump into your work online.

      • Josh Summers says:

        Haha! Glad you ran across it, Jon 🙂 Great to hear from you.

  2. Eric Rankin says:

    Thanks for the great advice! I’m currently setting up my one bedroom apt mainly to make music and needed humidifier advice badly!

  3. Derek Rainwater says:

    Thank you for the advice Josh! I just bought my first $1,000+ guitar, and decided that it was time to finally learn how to properly care for them!

  4. Nate says:

    Thanks for the article wish I would have read this before my Martin cracked…. 🙁

    I decided to get 2 Oasis and I purchased a hydrometer to move from guitar to guitar. (Martin GPCPA3 and a Gretch G5420T)

    When I pull it out and check the humidity level the guitar case has less humidity then the room does. For example right now my room has 37% according to my hydrometer but when I pulled it out of the Gretch case case a few minutes ago it said that the case had 29% humidity!? In the Martin case it normally reads about 35% when the room reads 38-39%.

    Why would it be less in my guitar cases? Do I need to get more humidifiers?

    I’m pretty confused as to why it would do this.

  5. Jason Lee says:

    I recently moved to Minnesota and am about to purchase a home. Which is better, a home humidification system or a room humidifier for the guitar room?

    • C Morgan says:

      Both. Use the whole house humidifier to get the house as humid as you can without getting condensation on the windows and assuming your guitar room is an interior room without windows use the room humidifier (which you will have to refill manually) to boost the humidity up where you need it. When its really cold you’ll have to drop the humidity down to 20-25% to keep your windows from getting condensation and freezing up.

      • Josh Summers says:

        Thanks for the comment, Chris. I’m with you – using both a room humidifier and a guitar humidifier has been a good strategy for me and a few of my friends, especially since I like to keep my guitar out of its case while in my “guitar room”.

  6. Stephen Koba says:

    there are several types of room humidifiers which gets me confused. There is the misting type, cool air, warm air and other types. Which would you recommend for a music room? Thx.

    • Casey says:

      I was wondering this too. Cool mist? Warm mist? Wick type? Does it matter at all? Help! I really need to know, I also have a violin. Thank you!

      • Josh Summers says:

        Hi Casey, great questions! To my understanding, warm or cool doesn’t make much different as long as the mist isn’t being pointed directly at any of your instruments.

  7. clyde says:

    hi Josh,
    my question is I don’t have a centralized heater in my house and we just use a portable one to heat up one room. What would be the best options that I would do on this scenario to protect my acoustic guitar? Do I have to buy a guitar humidifier or do I have to buy a room humidifier?
    Thank you!

    clyde

  8. Gaston says:

    Hello Josh,I have been playing for over 35 years. And I have two acoustics which I keep humidifiers in the cases. However,I’m wondering how about electric guitars? As the acoustics goes the wood is thin. So it makes good sense to regulate the humidity. But what about the electrics,is it safe practice to have humidifiers in those too? Thanks

    • Josh Summers says:

      Hi Gaston, thanks for the comment and excellent question. Although the benefits of regulating humidity are easier to understand for an acoustic guitar, it’s still quite important for an electric guitar. Electrics don’t warp as easily, but solid body electrics can still crack.

      If your guitar was made using wood (as opposed to composite materials), it’s always a good habit to use a case humidifier.

  9. Gerry Nason says:

    I keep my favorite guitar next to my desk in my den. That way it is always within arm’s reach should inspiration hit me, there is a lull in the action at work, or a teleconference gets boring. So, I humidify my den with a room humidifer. In order to successfully protect your investment, a room humidity monitor is a must have, so you know exactly the level you are at.

    I have been thru a few humidifiers over the years because I don’t use distilled water in them. Distilled water gets expensive as you will use at least two gallons per day. Not to mention that you have to lug 14 gallons home from the store each week. The only reason distilled is recommended is because it prolongs the life of the device, as hard water builds up scale inside like a coffee maker does. Every month just run a bottle of vinegar mixed with an equal solution of water thru it for descaling.

    As far as the machine selection goes, I have yet to find the perfect machine. I hate being a slave to the machine, monitoring the water level and refilling it. So next one, I am going to focus on one that holds 3.5 gallons, so I can go nearly two days between fill ups. Finding one with an adjustable humidistat is a good idea, so if you reach your desired humidity percentage, it will shut down until it dips below it. Just be sure to get oe large enough for the space it needs to accommodate. I only have 1200 square feet in my den, so my small one gallon machine is doing the job.

  10. a_dub says:

    Wolfpack polyfoam cases comes with a humidi gauge built into the case, for thoses looking for a good lightweight case that doesnt suck. the between string systems stretch the strings and carve deeper notches in the nut and saddle. the humidipack works well. or get a room humidifier. if u check out the acoustic rooms at music stores like guitar center you will notice 1 or two constant humidifiers hanging either by their headstocks or ive seen special small straps attached to opposite tuning keys and that alone is enough to hang a light acoustic from a single hook . dont do that with heavier electrics.

  11. George says:

    Is 43 good in case humidity or do I need to raise it I have a Taylor 314 cs ltd

  12. Andy says:

    I have about 14 or so guitars hanging in my guitar room in my basement. I do have a whole house humidifier and individual humidifiers for the 3 acoustics. My question is, how important is it for the whole room to be at the proper humidity for my 11 or so electrics?

  13. Tonton Hatol says:

    Great article Sir. 🙂

  14. casey rodriguez says:

    Hey, thanks for this post, it is really helping me. But do the children humidifiers work (the one for when your sick)? because those are s lot cheaper. so should i try it or just go with one of the options above?

  15. Debbie Taylor says:

    Is it okay to have the humidity reading as 60-64 within the guitar case for an acoustic guitar? Thanks for the information!

    • Debbie Taylor says:

      Excellent information! Is 60-64 adequate for humidity within a hard case for an acoustic? Or is that too much? Thanks!

  16. Ron Williams says:

    I’ve just purchased an old large curio cabinet. It will hold two acoustic guitars and a mandolin. I live in coastal Southeast Georgia. My home is around 50% humidity year round. I have no idea what the cabinet will be. I’m sure it will be lower and from time to time I’ll have an led light. What humidifier should I use for the cabinet ?

  17. […] Whatever you choose, make sure that your room is properly humidified to protect the guitar. […]

  18. Edward Delavilla says:

    Hi Josh! So, if I keep my guitar and bass in their cases, and I’m running a room humidifier at 45% humidity… do I need to put guitar humidifiers in my cases too, or will the room humidifier be enough? Thanks for your help!

  19. Milt Hathaway says:

    I have a small humidifier in my gig bag. Will it hurt the guitar if left loosely for a week?It’s not under the headstock.

  20. Cesar says:

    Hi, I would like to know if is it safe to use a humidifier on a acoustic electric guitar ?
    Im wondering because of the electric components in the guitar

  21. Jaime says:

    Hello there,

    Will I need to put a guitar case humidifier on my electric guitars? I live in a city where the weather is usually hot and humid mostly.

    Thanks

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