A guitar humidifier is one of the most underrated and overlooked accessories that anyone can get. The climate can have a profound effect on instruments, and both extremes can negatively affect them. Excessively dry climates can cause the wood to crack, and conversely, if the weather is too humid, it can cause it to swell and expand. Unlike how its name sounds, this accessory is more of a regulation tool; the best guitar humidifier will make sure the humidity levels are correct which will protect and prevent damage to your guitar.
Table of Contents
- Is A Guitar Humidifier Necessary?
- What Does A Guitar Humidifier Do?
- Which Guitar Humidifier Is Right For You?
- What’s The Best Guitar Humidifier For Each Type?
- Guitar Case Humidifier – Oasis OH-6
- Sound-Hole Humidifier – Music Nomad MN300 Humitar
- Guitar Room Humidifier – iTvanila Cool Mist Humidifier
- Hygrometer – Inkbird Digital Thermometer & Hygrometer
Is A Guitar Humidifier Necessary?
Some people will need a guitar humidifier more than others, but these little accessories are quite affordable, so having one can save you some money in repair costs later down the road – you never know. I think it’s worth having one, no matter what.
However, there are some conditions where people can benefit from these the most. The first main one is if you reside in an area that is very dry for most of the year. In California and a lot of the Southwestern United States, there is a lot of dry heat. You definitely don’t want to leave your guitar in your vehicle during the summertime.
Similarly, if you’re expecting a cold winter and you’ll be running the heater often, you’ll still need to get your hands on a humidifier. I don’t want this to sound like a scare tactic, but your home and the weather, if it gets too dry from these elements, can be detrimental to the wood on your guitar if it’s not properly cared for. Thankfully, you can take small precautions and ward off a potentially big problem by knowing when to use a guitar humidifier.
What Does A Guitar Humidifier Do?
Using a humidifier will provide the proper humidity level and also maintain it. In most cases, it is a device that you can refill with water every so often, and it releases water vapor or mist; however, many can also absorb moisture depending on what the climate calls for. The mechanisms in which this occurs can vary – some use sponges, tubes, or have tanks that store a significant amount of water.
The best guitar humidifiers won’t leak – water can be damaging to all woods. The idea is to create a damp environment for your guitar, not a wet one. If your humidifier is leaking, clearly there is something wrong with it. This is something that doesn’t really apply to guitar room humidifiers though since those aren’t as intimate as the other options which we will talk about next.
Which Guitar Humidifier Is Right For You?
Depending on how you store your guitars on a regular basis, this will decide what guitar humidifier(s) you need to get. Here are the three main options:
- Guitar Case Humidifiers – ideal for those who have one or multiple guitars that are stored in a case when they aren’t being played.
- Sound-Hole Humidifiers – since electric guitars don’t usually have these, this is, by default, the best acoustic guitar humidifier if you don’t keep them in a guitar case.
- Room Humidifiers – These are an excellent choice for those who have more than one guitar in a room, typically resting on a stand.
While they have the same basic function, how you install them is a little bit different from one another, but overall, they are pretty straightforward to get going.
Using a guitar case humidifier is probably the simplest out of the three – it’s normally placed near the headstock area of the case and just sits there until you need to add more water to it. Sometimes there can be an adhesive material on some products that allow you to put it elsewhere without being intrusive or falling out of place.
Sound-hole humidifiers require you to pay a little bit more attention than one that sits in a guitar case. These ones usually rest on or along the guitar strings near the sound hole of an acoustic guitar, but it has a minor risk with it. They are easy to take off if you need to refill or re-wet it, but just be careful and make sure that it is not leaking and dripping water. As always, you don’t want water anywhere near your guitar and its strings.
Lastly, a guitar room humidifier is a reliable option for those who have their guitars outside of a case. Perhaps you have a room where you practice and record, and you like to have your instruments on a guitar stand for your convenience. There are different kinds, and you’ll want to make sure it will adequately cover your room space. You may also need to check on the filter of it if it has one.
Additionally, a humidifier will sometimes include a hygrometer built into it but don’t worry if it doesn’t. A hygrometer can be purchased for relatively cheap, and you’ll find my recommendation down below. Keep this in mind, if you decide to go with a case humidifier, you can put the hygrometer along with the humidifier, and you’ll always know exactly what percent the humidity is.
Guitar workshops that store instruments and perform setups, constantly have a steady humidity level range in them, and you should too. It can typically be anywhere from 40 to 50 percent. Anywhere around there and your instrument should be safe.
What’s The Best Guitar Humidifier For Each Type?
Now that we’ve gone through and discussed a lot of the details about these handy devices, their importance, and how they can be used, we can talk about what the best guitar humidifier is for each type: cases, sound-holes, and room.
Let’s start out by talking about guitar case humidifiers first!
Guitar Case Humidifier – Oasis OH-6
My favorite humidifier for a case has been Oasis’ OH-6. Because it is a little bottle, it doesn’t really take up much space inside it. It also includes a clamp attachment that fastens onto the edges of the case, allowing it to remain still – it won’t roll around in its enclosure.
It’s easy to tell when the bottle needs refilling, is designed not to leak, and overall, the humidity will last a decently long time before it needs more water. For me, this guitar case humidifier keeps my guitar around 50 percent humidity.
Plain and simple, this little humidifier is perfect for those who like to leave their instruments in cases. It actually was designed to help out other instrumentalists such as violinists and cellists, but clearly, it has been useful for electric guitarists who don’t have a sound hole and store it in a case.
Just make sure to be careful not to overfill it by using the included syringe. A sink may seem more convenient, but the syringe will make your life easier in the long run and prevent problems from occurring.
Sound-Hole Humidifier – Music Nomad MN300 Humitar
I’ve always been a pretty big fan and supportive of Music Nomad’s stuff. I’ve talked about some of their cleaning maintenance products in another guide, which I’ve found to work really well. Likewise, Music Nomad’s Humitar has been excellent too.
It is specifically designed for sound holes and is the best acoustic guitar humidifier in my opinion. Essentially, it is a sponge that is made from a material that is able to hold a lot of water without any leaking. They call it the Humid-i-Bar, and it safely sits in its blue casing until it is ready to be refilled again. Just pop open the top, and if it’s dry, simply add some more distilled water to it.
With this one, you shouldn’t have any confusion about how to install the guitar humidifier on your acoustic guitar. It securely hangs from the strings, providing moisture to the guitar. Because sound-hole humidifiers work more closely with your guitar than other kinds, always make sure that it is not dripping water anywhere on the guitar. This device has a lot of safety precautions in place to prevent that, but always be sure.
Finally, if you get their complete humidity control system, it will also include a hygrometer that also fits on the guitar strings.
There is a guitar case version of this fantastic product for those who may prefer this design over the Oasis one. It’s basically the same as the sound-hole one, but it comes with a holster that allows it to hold it in place in a case. Most people like to put it in the headstock area because that’s where there is plenty of room with no interference.
Guitar Room Humidifier – iTvanila Cool Mist Humidifier
This isn’t a humidifier that’s specifically created for guitars, but it might as well be. It is perfect for it and just about everything else.
The iTvanila Cool Mist is a general-purpose humidifier that holds a lot of water (5 liters, to be precise), and it has a lot of cool features. You can adjust the level of mist that it emits, and it is pretty quiet so it won’t be distracting. To prevent the humidity from rising too high, this device has an automatic shut-off feature built-in, but importantly there is also a hygrometer LED display on the front so you can visually see if the humidity percentage is excessive.
This humidifier is designed to provide coverage for your typical living room, bedroom, or office, so even a smaller, personal guitar practice space is well within its reach. For me, not only does it keep my guitars content by providing enough moisture in the air, it keeps my skin from drying out during those rough seasons. Therefore, no wood or skin should be cracking with one of these.
You may be curious or wondering why I would need one of these if I have the other ones. The answer is quite simple. I actually bought this one for my skin because I tend to leave my guitars in cases. However, there are times when I set my guitars on stands too, so having a guitar room humidifier is also helpful. This one is also ideal for those with multiple guitars on display in a room and aren’t usually put inside a case at all.
Hygrometer – Inkbird Digital Thermometer & Hygrometer
If you go with a humidifier that doesn’t include a hygrometer, this one on Amazon is a super affordable option that will get the job done. The best guitar humidifiers will make sure that the humidity is correct, but if you want some reassurance that is quantifiable and on a digital screen, one of these will give you some peace of mind.
There is not a whole lot to mention about this hygrometer other than it is compact, it works, and it is accurate. Its small, fun-sized casing should allow it to fit alongside your guitar case humidifier, and they can work side-by-side to keep your guitar healthy.
Unfortunately, this one isn’t the best choice for acoustic guitars that use sound-hole humidifiers. If you’re going that route and you really want a hygrometer with it, I highly suggest going with Music Nomad’s Premium Humidity Care System, which includes both a humidifier and hygrometer that you can carefully fasten onto your guitar strings.
Overall, this is an optional piece of equipment, but it is certainly helpful if you want to know what the humidity percentage is.
Even for some of the most experienced guitarists, owning a humidifier may be one of those accessories that you have been missing out on for years. This is especially true if you are a guitarist who happens to live in a dry atmosphere, which can occur as a result of seasonal changes or if the area just has low humidity in general, such as a desert or valley region.
In this article, we talked about a few of the top guitar humidifiers that you can get. Depending on how you choose to store your instrument, you have different options. Here are my best choices:
- The Best Guitar Case Humidifier – Oasis OH-6
- The Best Sound-Hole Humidifier – Music Nomad MN300 Humitar
- The Best Guitar Room Humidifier – iTvanila Cool Mist Humidifier
On top of that, the Inkbird Digital Thermometer & Hygrometer is a fantastic tool for those who think they would benefit from one of these. I, for one, like to know the humidity, so I’ve found great use in having a hygrometer.
Hopefully, you learned a thing or two (or more!) about what a humidifier does and why you should pick at least one of these up. Your guitar can last a lifetime if treated well, which is why well-taken care of vintage instruments are sought after. Choosing the best guitar humidifier for you will preserve its health and keep you happy for as long as you continue to maintain it.