Your guitar is not just a piece of wood with strings – it is a delicate and finely crafted work of art that requires proper care and maintenance! One crucial aspect of guitar care is ensuring the correct humidity levels, as fluctuations in humidity can cause significant damage to your instrument.
To prevent issues and ensure your guitar’s longevity, it is essential to maintain a stable humidity environment. Well, how can you do that? With a hygrometer, you can get a clear picture of the humidity levels and take the necessary steps to address it (i.e., buying a humidifier), and this guide will share more information about hygrometers for guitars and some of the best ones available.
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What is a Hygrometer & Why Do You Need One?
A hygrometer is a device designed to measure the humidity levels in your environment accurately. It helps you monitor and maintain the ideal humidity range for your instrument, typically between 40% and 55%.
By using a hygrometer, you can prevent potential damage caused by extreme humidity conditions or lack of humidity and take the necessary steps to adjust the environment accordingly.
Many digital hygrometers measure temperature readings, too, which is also crucial for instruments. Ideally, you’ll want your guitar or bass to be stored at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit on average, or about 21 to 24 degrees Celcius, according to Fender.
That said, a hygrometer is crucial because our living environments are not always ideal for guitars. Factors like seasonal changes, heating or cooling systems, and geographic location can significantly affect the humidity levels around your guitar. Without a hygrometer, you might be unaware of these fluctuations, putting your instrument at risk of irreversible damage.
This is because guitars and basses are primarily made of wood, and wood is susceptible to temperature and moisture content changes. If the humidity levels are too low, the wood can dry out, leading to shrinkage, cracks, and even structural damage. On the other hand, excessive humidity in the air around your guitar can cause the wood to swell, resulting in warping or even mold growth.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hygrometer
When selecting a guitar hygrometer, various factors must be considered to ensure you choose the right one for your needs – here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Accuracy: The accuracy of the hygrometer is paramount. Look for devices that have been calibrated and offer a high level of accuracy in measuring humidity levels, or look for ones that allow you to calibrate yourself.
- Display: Opt for a hygrometer with a clear and easy-to-read display. This will allow you to monitor the humidity levels at a glance without any confusion.
- Size and Design: Consider the size and design of the hygrometer. Some models are compact and easily placed inside your guitar case, while others are larger and can be placed on different surfaces.
- Battery Life: Check the battery life of the hygrometer to ensure it will last for an extended period without frequent replacements.
- Additional Features: Some hygrometers offer bonus features such as temperature readings, memory functions, data logging, or alerts when humidity levels deviate too far from the desired range. Consider which features are important to you and choose accordingly.
The Best Guitar Hygrometers on the Market
Now that you understand the significance of a guitar hygrometer and the essential features to look for let’s take a look at some of the top options available for you and your guitar or bass:
Music Nomad makes excellent guitar care products, and I always recommend their stuff to anyone looking for affordable yet effective solutions to maintain their instruments better.
The Music Nomad HONE does precisely what you expect it to do – it’s accurate, pre-calibrated, reads on a 20-second basis, is easy to use, and has features tailored to guitarists specifically. For example, you can clip this guitar hygrometer to your strings so that it’s always secured.
However, this isn’t the only way to use it. In general, this is an excellent guitar case hygrometer due to its compact size, so you can also have space for your case humidifier. These are also compatible with the Music Nomad Humitar – simply by removing the lid and replacing it with the HONE, you can have an all-in-one solution to your humidity concerns.
Those who own acoustic guitars will also be pleased with their Humitar ONE, which is effectively a soundhole humidifier with the hygrometer already included. Simply slide it in between your middle strings, and you’re all set!
- Innovative Humidity & Temperature Guitar Monitor Easily Clips Directly onto Your Acoustic or Electric Guitar Strings
Like Music Nomad, Oasis makes great products meant for guitarists, and their humidifiers and hygrometers are some of the best around and notable around guitar communities all over, especially acoustic guitar ones, which is why they’ve made this list.
The OH-2+ digital hygrometer and thermometer is easily one of the most accurate ones you can get; hence, it has a higher price tag than the other options on the market. While you most likely won’t need to calibrate this guitar hygrometer, you have the option to if you’re looking for even more precision in humidity level readings.
Since Oasis is a brand centered around humidity control for acoustic guitars, you can also expect to find humidifiers to go with the OH-2+ too. For example, you have the OH-6 humidifiers, which are tubes that can fit anywhere in your acoustic guitar case.
There is also the Oasis HH Combo OH-30, a soundhole humidifier with a built-in hygrometer, similar to the Music Nomad Humitar One. As mentioned before, these are pricier than alternatives but may be worth it if you want the highest quality stuff.
Inkbird doesn’t necessarily make products specifically for guitarists as Music Nomad does, but their ITH-10 hygrometer is another excellent choice for those who want something ultra-compact for their guitar cases.
Similar to the Oasis OH-2+, this hygrometer is very compact – it’s just over 4 inches long and quite thin, so you’ll never have to worry about not having any room for this, even if you have a standalone humidifier for your guitar case.
Overall, this little hygrometer is one of the best bangs for your buck because it’s very affordable yet highly accurate as long as it’s calibrated correctly.
Depending on your needs, manual calibration can be an advantage or a disadvantage, however. Calibrating does require some extra steps, but it will ensure that your hygrometer is highly accurate and does what it’s supposed to do.
- [Convenient] Delicate size, portable and light.
While all of the previous digital hygrometers have been centered around guitar cases and, by extension, soundhole ones, tons of people prefer to store their guitars on a stand or rack in their rooms.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry; there are ways to monitor the humidity and temperature levels of the entire room, and one of the best options for this is the Thermo Pro TP50.
This one isn’t necessarily made for guitarists specifically; instead, it’s a multipurpose hygrometer that is surprisingly very accurate for its price and can detect changes due to its readings being refreshed every 10 seconds.
Since it’s meant for larger areas, this room hygrometer can sit in various places, such as your studio desk or any flat and stable surface in your practice room. The comfort level reading on the display is also a nice touch, so you can quickly get a glimpse of the air’s humidity and temperature in the room at any given time.
- Air Comfort Indicator: This humidity meter with humidity level icon indicates air conditions – DRY/COMFORT/WET, allowing this humidity sensor to ensure you’re always aware of changes to your home/household with just a quick glance
How to Use a Guitar Hygrometer Effectively
Once you have chosen and acquired the perfect guitar hygrometer, it is essential to know how to use it effectively. Here are some steps to follow:
- Position the Hygrometer: Place the hygrometer in the area where you want to monitor the humidity levels. Some of the best places are inside your guitar case or in the room where your guitars are stored.
- Calibrate the Hygrometer: If your device requires calibration, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure accurate readings.
- Monitor the Display: Regularly check the hygrometer’s display to monitor the humidity levels. Ensure they remain within the desired range (40% to 55%) for optimal guitar care.
- Take Action: If the humidity levels are too high or too low, take appropriate action to adjust the environment. This may include using a humidifier, dehumidifier, or even relocating your guitars to a more suitable space.
Remember, while digital hygrometers like the ones here constantly update, consistent monitoring and timely adjustments are vital to maintaining the ideal humidity levels for your guitar.
Additional Tips for Guitar Humidity Control
While a guitar hygrometer is an essential tool for humidity control, there are additional measures you can take to protect your instrument:
- Use a Guitar Case Hygrometer: Consider investing in a guitar case hygrometer. These specialized hygrometers are designed to be placed directly inside your guitar case, providing accurate humidity readings specifically for your case and instrument rather than the whole room.
- Keep Your Guitar in a Stable Environment: If you don’t leave your guitar in a case and prefer guitar stands, try to maintain a stable environment for your guitar, avoiding extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations. Keep your guitar away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, and areas of high humidity, such as bathrooms.
- Avoid Sudden Changes: Avoid subjecting your guitar to sudden changes in temperature or humidity. If you need to transport your guitar from a cold to a warm environment, for example, allow it to acclimate gradually to prevent damage.
- Regular Maintenance: Regularly inspect and clean your guitar to ensure optimal care. This includes monitoring for any signs of damage caused by humidity fluctuations, such as cracks or warping.
By implementing these additional tips, combined with a guitar humidifier or dehumidifier, whichever you require, you can ensure your instrument stays in the best possible condition.
Caring for your guitar’s humidity levels is crucial for its long-term health and performance. Investing in a reliable and accurate guitar hygrometer allows you to monitor and maintain the ideal humidity range to protect your instrument from potential damage caused by fluctuations.
Consider the factors and features this article discusses when choosing the best hygrometer for your guitar. Remember to place the hygrometer correctly, regularly monitor the humidity levels, and take appropriate action if necessary. Additionally, follow the additional tips provided to enhance the humidity control for your guitar further.
With the right hygrometer and proper care and storage, you can keep your guitar safe and sound, ensuring it brings happiness and beautiful music for years to come.