Like any other natural material, wood is also susceptible to the influence of moisture and relative humidity. Contrary to popular belief, leaving your guitar without water will make it wither and die. And though it might sound funny, weird, or unbelievable – it’s the actual truth.
Wood dries, warps and cracks as it dries, and your wooden instruments may suffer the same fate if they're not adequately humidified. But when exposed to higher levels of humidity, your instrument might grow mold, and the glue might separate. So, how would you maintain proper moisture levels?
Today, we’ll discuss some of the best guitar humidifiers currently on the market. Also, we’ll discuss wooden instruments and moisture, what makes the best guitar humidifier, and what to look for when buying one.
Here’s our top pick of some of the best guitar humidifiers we’ve reviewed:
Top 10 Guitar Humidifier Reviews & Buying Guide
Now, without further ado, allow us to introduce you to some of the best guitar humidifiers:
D’Addario Acoustic Guitar Humidifier GH Series
The lack of humidification is one of the major causes of acoustic guitar repairs, and D'Addario' GH series is an excellent solution to that problem. The GH series is one of the best-selling soundhole humidifiers, explicitly designed for acoustic guitars and acoustic basses.
D'Addario GH guitar humidifier is a soundhole suspended humidifier that releases the moisture slowly and evenly within your instrument. It features a 6.7 x 4.5 x 1x7 inches black plastic container, with a wider pressure-fit cap that allows the device to be attached to the strings.
Inside the black plastic container, you’ll find a standard, everyday sponge. To humidify your instrument, you want to add water to the sponge. Allow the sponge to soak up water to the point where it’s wet, but not dripping wet.
Once you got the sponge wet, squeeze out the excess water, and reinsert it back into the container, and put the cap back on. Afterward, all you need to do is insert the humidifier in the soundhole, between the G and D strings of your guitar. Over time, the humidifier will slowly release the water from the sponge into your acoustic, maintaining its humidity.
One thing you should keep an eye for is the sponge. When you first start using the guitar humidifier, it may dry out your sponge fast. It mostly depends on how dry your case and instrument were when you started. In normal conditions, you'll have to add more water every 4-5 days.
However, the GH series also features a PRO version of the guitar humidifier that features a synthetic sponge that retains up to ten times more water. It's a convenient solution that allows you to add more moisture and check it only once every 7-12 days.
D’Addario Humidipak Two-way Humidification System
Humidipak Two-way Humidification System is a next-level solution that takes care of seasonal changes, weather conditions, and temperature and humidity fluctuations. It’s designed to increase the humidity in dry conditions, but also absorb any excess moisture, maintaining the humidity at appropriate levels.
Humidipak uses Boveda's two-way humidity control technology to maintain the constant 40-50% RH inside your instrument, and its case. By doing so, it provides hassle-free maintenance of your guitar, by eliminating any unnecessary adjustments, and constant monitoring of humidity levels.
The packets will release or absorb water vapor to maintain appropriate humidity levels in your guitar case, without any dangers of over-humidification. All you need to do is place it inside your instrument’s case, and it will work its magic.
D'Addario Humidipak uses a soundhole pouch system, with a double soundhole pouch and one headstock mesh. All you need to do is insert a Humidipak packet inside the mesh and place them accordingly. The soundhole pouch has two compartments which are connected in the middle, for suspension over the G and D strings.
Coupled with a headstock humidifier pouch, the Humidipak maintains moisture throughout the whole case, requiring no activation or monitoring. The packets will last anywhere between 2-4 months; however, they can't be refilled or reused.
Keep in mind that we're discussing a humidity maintenance device, and the packets might disperse at an increased rate if your instrument is dry. Otherwise, the Humidipak is ideal if you want a hassle-free method of maintaining your instrument's relative humidity.
Music Nomad MN300 Humitar Acoustic Guitar Humidifier
Music Nomad pride themselves on their innovative, straightforward, and affordable solutions for guitar maintenance, and their MN300 Humitar is no exception. It’s a reasonably priced soundhole guitar humidifier that will keep your guitar in good health.
By slowly releasing water vapor, the Humitar will protect your instrument from warping, shrinking, and cracking. The product features a 2.33 x 7.25 x 4.88 inches plastic blue container that houses a Humid-i-Bar sponge. It holds ten times its weight in water, with anti-drip properties that prevent dripping and accidental damage caused by water.
The container is designed for string suspension, with a flip cap, which allows you to check the moisture of the Humid-i-Bar sponge. While not a significant technological improvement, the flip lid is rather convenient, as you don't have to remove the humidifier from the guitar. You need only flip the cap, check the sponge, and close it afterward.
MN300 is rather easy to fill and refill. Open the blue container, and fill the sponge with some distilled water. Squeeze out any excess water, and place the sponge back into the container. We would highly recommend that you fill the sponge with distilled water to prevent any mold growth and bacterial build-up.
Oasis OH-1 Humidifier
The OH-1 is one of the highest-ranking products for guitar maintenance and comes highly recommended by guitar manufacturers. It's expertly designed, with Humigel core that soaks up the water, and prevents leaking, making it one of the best humidifiers on the market.
Oasis OH-1 is a soundhole model that features a Humigel core, which is made of super-absorbing polymer crystals. They have astonishing absorbing power, capable of absorbing up to 500 times their weight in water. And once saturated with water, they formulate a gel-like substance that slowly releases water vapor.
It's a compound similar to those found in baby diapers, so you can rest assured that it won't leak and ruin your guitar. But to further protect your guitar from leakage, the manufacturer encased the core into a case made from specially designed fabric. This fabric is excellent at stopping the flow of water but allows water vapor to pass through.
Another great thing about OH-1 is the monitoring system. When filled with water, the OH-1 "grows" in size. All you need to do is unscrew the cap, fill the container with distilled water, and screw the lid back on. Place the humidifier in between the string on your guitar, and let it do its job.
As the vapor transmission takes place, the Oasis OH-1 will shrink due to the loss of water. That way, you can monitor and determine when it’s time for a refill. Thanks to the Humigel, the OH-1 usually lasts about 7-10 days between refills.
Oasis OH-5 Humidifier
Though it looks nearly identical to the OH-1, the OH-5 features several distinctions when compared to its blue brother. And one of those differences lies in the humidity output, as the OH-5 was made to satisfy desert conditions.
The OH-5 follows the same cylindrical shape of its predecessor; however, the manufacturer decided to give it a different color coding and paint it tan. It features a slightly upgraded fabric that’s more suitable for dryer climates, especially areas with less than 25% relative humidity.
The Humigel was also tweaked, and now provides 50% bigger humidity output, when compared to the OH-1 model. This is great if you're living in dry climates, or your guitar needs a quick humidity boost. Unfortunately, it retains the same amount of water as the previous formulation, so you can expect it to dry out quicker due to the more massive vapor output.
The OH-5 features the same leakage protection, so you can be sure your guitar won’t suffer any water damage. It’s reported that the use of tap water for hydration of the Humigel causes bacterial and mold growth, so we highly recommend that you use distilled water.
Other than that, the device is easy to use, just remove the cap, fill the container with water, and screw the lid back on. Place the humidifier between the G and D string, and let it transmit water vapor to your instrument. One the humidifier shrinks, it's time for a refill.
The OH-5 is a rather heavy-duty defense solution for dry climates and does its job wonderfully. Use it only when required, like when the relative humidity levels fall under 25%.
Homech Cool Mist Humidifier
For those who like to put their guitar on a stand, or hang it from a wall, a soundhole humidifier isn't enough. It will waste much of the water vapor on the surrounding space, and you can expect it to dry very quickly. So, if your guitar hangs from a wall in your room – get a room humidifier.
The Homech Cool Mist humidifier is excellent at maintaining the humidity of large living space, thanks to its fantastic design. It features an ultrasonic system that uses high-frequency sound vibrations to create a fine water mist, which is expelled through the nozzle into your room.
The nozzle on this model rotates 360°, which is excellent for even moistening of the surrounding air. Thanks to the powerful, built-in fan, the nozzle is capable of projecting mist up to 3 feet high, with an hourly capacity of 300ml.
Such water mist output works great for large living space, and room size anywhere between 215ft2 and 430ft2. Moreover, it has a 1.6-gallon tank, which provides it with approximately 12 hours of continuous work, before it runs out of water.
For added protection, the Cool Mist Humidifier has built-in protection and shuts down when there's no water left in the tank. Once it runs out of the water, simply pour more through the 3.5" opening that's specifically designed for that purpose.
With Homech Cool Mist Humidifier, not only your guitar stays protected from cracks and warps, but your skin health improves also.
LEVOIT Ultrasonic Humidifier
When you let your six-string beast out of the cage, it may wither and die due to the dry conditions of your room. But that can't possibly happen if you're using the LEVOIT LV600HH to increase the relative humidity in your living space.
The LV600HH humidifier is more than your standard room humidifier – equipped with a plethora of features; this is one of the best humidifiers on the market. It has a built-in humidistat, a powerful mist creation, and covers spaces bigger than 750ft2.
This humidifier is perfect for increasing the relative humidity of your living space. It can produce cold mist, which is ideal for hot summer months, or warm mist, which is more suitable for cold winters. We strongly advise that you start with warm mist, if your living space is below 25% RH, as it saturates the air more quickly.
The great thing about this humidifier is the Auto mode. It allows the humidifier to adjust the moisture of your living space automatically. It uses a staggeringly accurate humidistat to read the RH levels and temperature and disperse water mist as necessary.
The LV600HH comes with a 1.6-gallon tank that provides enough water for 36 hours of continuous work, on a low setting. When set to maximum, the humidifier has an output of 500mL per hour, which is great if you place it in a large room.
Overall, the LEVOIT LV600HH is one of the better guitar humidifiers you can use to add relative humidity to your living space. However, it’s one of the pricier methods of humidifying your guitar.
Martin Guitar RDM1400GH Humidifier
Vintage guitar owners know how much time and effort goes into maintaining proper humidity in their guitars. Since the ounce of prevention is worth the pound of cure, obtaining a good humidifier is of paramount importance.
The RDM1400GH is an entry-level guitar soundhole humidifier, made of high-quality perforated rubber, with sponge inside. It features two black caps on both the top and the bottom. The top lid was designed to hold the humidifier between the strings, while the bottom cap prevents the rubber from coming into contact with the wood.
All you need to do is submerge into water, allowing the sponge to soak up. Afterward, squeeze the water out, moving from the top to the bottom. This will remove any excess water that might cause dripping and induce damage. Before placing the humidifier into the guitar, make sure you wiped any excess water from the rubber tube.
The RDM1400GH absorbs only small amounts of water, so you can expect it to do dry in about a week. We advise you to check the sponge periodically and moisten it accordingly.
Dampit Guitar Humidifier
Much like the previous product on our list, the Dampit is an entry-level soundhole humidifier, that’s quite simple and straightforward to use. It features an 11-inch perforated rubber tube, with sponge housed inside, and black plastic caps on both ends.
Before the first use, submerge Dampit into some distilled water, and allow the sponge to soak up some water. Take it out of the water, and thoroughly squeeze out any excess water that might leak and cause damage to your instrument.
Once wet, place the Dampit into the soundhole, suspending it from the G and D strings. It would help if you kept in mind that Dampit features 11 inches of length, which makes it unsuitable for shallow-bodied guitars.
Along with the humidifier, the Dampit comes with the soundhole cover, that helps you keep the humidity inside your instrument. Also, you get the humidity indicator chart that helps you visually determine RH; we still advise you to use a digital hygrometer.
Boveda Two-Way Humidity Control Kit
Honestly speaking, two-way humidifiers are probably your best bet at maintaining proper relative humidity levels in your instrument. They’re specifically designed to maintain anywhere between 45-55% relative humidity by absorbing excess water in wet conditions, and releasing it when things get dry.
Boveda was one of the first companies to create two-way humidification using special packets that naturally regulate RH. Those packets contain special salts that will emit or absorb purified water vapor, thanks to the packet's semipermeable membrane. That way, it prevents leaks, allows water vapor to pass through, and eliminates mold and bacterial build-up.
Thanks to its design, Boveda doesn't require filling, refilling, or activation. Place the packets into a leak-resistant fabric pouch, and put them around the strings and next to the headstock. That way, you get even humidification of your instrument throughout the entire case.
Boveda packets last anywhere from 2 to 5 months, depending on the relative humidity and temperature of the surrounding space. That's why they're most effective when used inside the closed guitar case. And though long-lasting, Boveda packets have their downside – they can't be refilled.
Once the packets lose their absorbing properties, they'll solidify, and you'll have to swap them out. Fortunately, the manufacturer offers additional packs as a stand-alone purchase.
This is one of the best humidification methods for your wooden instrument. It’s a cleverly designed scientific method of maintaining proper RH levels within your instrument.
Buyer’s Guide to Guitar Humidifiers
There's a lot to consider before purchasing the best humidifier for your guitar. The most important factor is your geographic location, the weather changes, temperature drops, humidity levels, all of which affect your guitar.
But there are other equally important factors which we will describe in this buyer’s guide. Read through our guide to find out how humidity affects your instrument, and how you can create the perfect storage conditions for your beloved instrument.
Wooden instruments and humidity
Most of us live in relatively dry conditions. We turn on the AC when we’re hot, and turn on the heating when we’re cold. When the temperature drops, the relative humidity increases, and when the temperature rises, the humidity decreases. Relative humidity affects human health, but it also affects our wooden musical instruments.
Instruments, like humans, have their own preferred temperature and humidity levels. For most acoustic guitars, the appropriate humidity levels are anywhere between 35% and 50%, with temperature ranging from 70° to 75°F.Electric guitars aren’t as likely to be harmed by temperature and humidity changes, though they might affect them, mostly by warping their neck.
Most people believe that a dry environment enhances the guitar's tones and playability, by drying out the wood over time. Natural aging of the wood does result in a more transparent, louder, and more dynamic sound, due to wood hardening and cell crystallization. However, it has nothing to with dryness.
Water is bad for your guitar, but it also is dryness. If the humidity drops and stays slightly below 30% for a long time, you can expect varying degrees of damage. This damage includes reduced playability, poor sound quality, fret buzz, sharp fret edges, loose joints, and warped necks.
If the humidity drops below 15%, you can expect more severe damage. The wood will naturally develop cracks along the body and fretboard, as it dries out. This damage is rarely reversible, and when it is, it's done by professionals, hefty fees. Most of the time, extreme dryness incurs irreversible damage.
But you can prevent the damage to your guitar by maintaining the ideal humidity levels. All you need to do is throw a damp cloth into your guitar case, watching that it doesn’t come into direct contact with your instrument. If you have your guitar on the stand, you should pay attention to the relative humidity of the surrounding space.
We know it sounds like a lot of work, and trust us; it is. Or you can purchase a guitar humidifier, which will monitor and control the relative humidity surrounding your guitar for you. What are guitar humidifiers, you ask? Well, read through our article to find out.
What are guitar humidifiers?
Guitar humidifiers are devices that evenly disperse water vapor inside your guitar case, and the guitar itself, thus increasing the relative humidity. They achieve this effect through several different methods, but the most basic guitar humidifiers consist of a porous material that can hold water.
Most guitar humidifiers employ a dampened sponge or some other porous material like clay or salts. Other, more advanced models may use different man-made composites that are specifically designed to fit the purpose, like crystals, jellies, or beads. The solutions for water absorbency and retention in some of these devices are quite unbelievable.
These water-retaining components are housed in a container that keeps the water from coming into direct contact with the instrument. The water will naturally evaporate over time, creating an adequately humid environment inside your guitar case. But there's more to it than just adding water.
Different types of guitar humidifiers
We explained what guitar humidifiers are, and now we'll cover what the different kinds of guitar humidifiers – soundhole, guitar case, and room humidifier are. And though they differ, ultimately, they serve the same purpose of maintaining the ideal humidity for your guitar.
Soundhole humidifiers moisturize your guitar from within. Depending on design and construction, they might cover the soundhole completely, or hang from the strings down into the guitar. Due to their design, and affordable price, soundhole humidifiers are the most popular humidifiers on the market. Be that as it may, they're only effective if you store your guitar in its case. Also, soundhole humidifiers should come into contact with the wood – they should be attached to the strings above the soundhole or places somewhere else.
Guitar case humidifiers monitor and regulate the humidity in your guitar case. And as with soundhole models, they're only effective if your guitar spends most of its time in its case. They're reasonably priced, comfortably riding the middle price range between the soundhole and room humidifiers.
Room humidifiers are great if your guitar is resting on a stand or hanging from a wall. Room humidifiers will regulate the humidity of an entire room, keeping your guitar in its top shape. And as a bonus, it will keep the moisture above 30%, which is beneficial to your health as well.
Soundhole and guitar case humidifiers are more affordable, as they only regulate and monitor moisture levels inside the guitar case. The guitar case is a relatively small, closed system, with a small number of factors that may influence the levels of humidity. Rooms, and living space, in general, are larger systems with a much higher number of influencing factors, making them more challenging to regulate. That's why room humidifiers feature additional electric components and a heftier price tag.
How to use a guitar humidifier?
Though they differ from one another, guitar humidifiers serve the same purpose. Most people look for a guitar humidifier that's convenient, easy to use, and requires minimal effort to fill or refill. That's why most competitive brands and manufacturers create guitar humidifiers that are pretty straightforward to use.
So, here’s how to use a guitar humidifier:
- Depending on what system your humidifier uses, you might want to pour water inside it, dampen it, or fill it using a syringe. We recommend that you use distilled water to prevent mold growth and bacterial build-up inside the device. The mold and bacteria can quickly spread from the humidifier to your six strings.
- Once you’ve filled the device, place it accordingly. Soundhole humidifiers should be attached to the strings, case humidifiers go into the case, and room humidifiers should be positioned accordingly.
- You should aim for effectiveness, positioning the device so it can give off the fairest dispersion of water vapor.
- Depending on the device type, you should clean it from time to time. Check the user manual and other instructions provided with the product to learn how to maintain it properly. Usually, guitar humidifiers are pretty low-maintenance, so your primary concern is refilling them with water.
But that's not all. The effectiveness of guitar humidifiers dramatically depends on how they're used. A proper and correct use maximizes the efficiency of guitar humidifiers, allowing them to keep your guitar healthy.
To ensure the longevity of both, your guitar, and your humidifier, we compiled a shortlist of things you should, and shouldn't do:
Quality dictates price, but so do additional features. Depending on your needs, you can purchase an affordable model, which only humidifies your guitar and guitar case. Or, if you require something more advanced, you can get a model with additional features, like smartphone notifications, or sound or light indicators.
guitar humidifiers are a worthy investment, and you should factor in additional features if you think you need them.
Though it may seem like an expensive purchase, guitar humidifiers prevent damage caused by improper humidity levels. We strongly recommend D’Addario Humidipak as one of the best two-way humidification methods for your guitar.
For those who keep their guitars on display, LEVOIT Ultrasound Humidifier is one of the best room humidifiers on the market. It will maintain proper RH levels in your room, keeping you and your guitar healthy and happy.