Acoustic guitar wood needs moisture to play and look its best, especially in the winter months when the heating in modern homes can dry out the wood. In this buyer’s guide, we present you with the best guitar humidifiers around.
At a Glance: Our Pick of the Best Humidifiers for Guitar
- D’Addario Humidipak Automatic Humidity Control System (Best Overall)
- MusicNomad Humitar (MN300) (Best Budget)
- Prolix Music PET-1 (Best Innovation)
- Oasis OH-6 (Best for Cases)
- Kyser Lifeguard (Best for Classical Guitars)
- Martin Guitar Humidifier
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information on Amazon.
Table of Contents
- Best Guitar Humidifiers Product Round-up
- What Do Guitar Humidifiers Do?
- Is My Guitar at Risk?
- Common Issues with Extreme Dry or Wet Environments
- Buyer’s Guide – Key Considerations
Best Guitar Humidifiers Product Round-up
D’Addario Humidipak Automatic Humidity Control System
If you want to eliminate all the guesswork and anxiety of maintaining your guitar’s proper humidity level, then the D’Addario Humidipak Automatic Humidity Control System is for you.
Humidipak automatically adds or removes moisture to maintain an ideal humidity level of 45%-55% RH inside your instrument case. It automatically dispenses or absorbs purified water vapor as needed. Can’t get easier than that!
The simplicity and convenience of the Humidipak are hard to find fault with – it’s practically impossible to use incorrectly and gives you absolute peace of mind.
You can even use it to revitalize extremely dry guitars.
- Eliminates the guesswork of maintaining your instrument’s proper humidity level – there is no need to make manual adjustments based on seasonal changes, geographic locations, temperature, or other factors – it does it all for you
- Maintains a constant 45%-50% relative humidity level within your instruments case
- Protects your guitar against warping and cracks caused by lack of humidification
- Use it to revitalize extremely dry guitars and cases
MusicNomad Humitar (MN300)
A favorite with many players, Music Nomad’s ‘The Humitar’ fits into your guitar’s soundhole and releases moisture evenly to eliminate warping, shrinking, and cracking.
The Humid-i-Bar sponge holds 10x its weight in water and is anti-drip – its convenient quick-flip top lets you quickly check if the sponge is wet or dry too. To rehydrate it, you just remove the sponge, soak it in distilled water and you’re back in action.
It’s also pretty low cost in comparison to others, making it a great investment for those shopping on a budget.
- Humid-i-Bar sponge holds 10x its weight in water and is anti-drip
- Reusable sponge
- Decent price
Prolix Music PET-1
Here’s something a bit different from innovators Prolix Guitar.
They’ve taken the annoyances that come with all the products above, and come up with a solution that on the face of it is much less hasslesome.
With the PET-1, they’ve done away with the caps, lids, sponges and syringes required for many of the above. The hanging between strings. The repurchasing of beads, sponges and crystals. It’s all gone.
Instead, it’s a piece of material that’s designed to live inside your guitar so you can play and the guitar is constantly being humidified. It’s leak free, large capacity (75 ml)
- Constant humidification, leave in while you play
- Large capacity (75ml)
- Leak free
- Great innovation!
The in-case Oasis OH-6 is perfect if you need ‘in case’ care and hydration, as this style of humidifier attaches to the inside of your instrument case.
Using two neodymium magnets, you can attach the OH-6 to either a stainless steel strip with adhesive backing or steel clip (you get both with the humidifier).
You also get a 10cc syringe to help you fill it with water. Remember, it should be distilled water as tap and bottled water have dissolved minerals that can clog the liner.
- Superb in case humidifer
- Automatically collapses when it needs replacing, so it’s obvious when more water is required
- Magnetic strip and metal clip to hold it in place inside your case
- 10cc syringe included allowing simple but accurate refilling with water
If your classical guitar is precious to you (of course it is) and deserves to be protected, then Kyser Lifeguard is worth considering
The design is a bit different to the rest, as covers the entire sound hole a bit like a plug rather than dangling through. This one is designed to fit a classical guitar sound hole of 3 3/8″ to 3 3/4″, so make sure you measure up before you hit purchase.
To use it, you immerse the humidifier in water, shake off the excess, the position it. Its designed to slowly let moisture out and keep your the your wood at satisfactory humidity levels.
What we like:
- Simple to use, and cost effective
- Snug ‘plug like’ fit in the sound hole
- Bespoke size for classical (you can also get a standard acoustic guitar version too)
Martin Guitar Humidifier
The tube from Martin is a great option for those on a budget. This product starts hydrating your instrument once the tube has been filled with distilled water and fitted between the strings.
The hydrating element of this product is highly effective due to being made from superfine material, which allows it to absorb up to ten times its weight in water.
To maintain consistent hydration, the tube also contains several tiny pores that slowly emit moisture into the body and case.
The tubes are sourced from the finest non-vinyl and non-allergenic resin, making this product soft enough not to exert pressure around the soundhole and strings, and sufficiently sturdy to minimize contact with the inside parts of the guitar.
- Straightforward design – Easy for beginners to place and refill
- Very reasonable price – One of the cheapest ones on the market
- Consistent hydration – Tiny pores allow an even flow of water vapor into the case until water runs out
- Reusable – No need to buy an extra product or replacement items
What Do Guitar Humidifiers Do?
Guitars are usually constructed in an environment where humidity is meticulously controlled. Manufacturers and luthiers know that extreme changes in the atmosphere could cause wood to warp or swell before it’s even finished.
When you buy a guitar, maintenance is down to you once you get it home. Despite spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on it, many people don’t give humidity a moment’s thought.
The consequences of not regulating this are serious: cracks, warping of wood, or in extreme circumstances, even frets becoming loose. This is where a guitar humidifier can save the day.
In a nutshell, they regulate the level of moisture in and around your guitar.
Is My Guitar at Risk?
Many of us live in states and cities that are built-in dry, arid environments. In summer, air conditioning is on; then when the temperature drops, we turn on heaters and radiators which dries out the air.
If the relative humidity in your home drops to under 30% for long enough, damage to your acoustic guitar’s body wood can start to take place. Fluctuation in moisture is a big problem too: if where you live experiences extreme or even moderate fluctuations in moisture, you’re at risk.
So what’s the perfect level? Opinions differ, but according to Taylor, the perfect environment is 47% humidity. Moisture levels in guitar workshops are kept around a constant 45% – by heating your home, your indoor moisture levels can get as low as 20% – that’s quite a difference.
Common Issues with Extreme Dry or Wet Environments
In an extremely arid, dry environment common issues include:
- neck bow (where a slight curve in the neck brings the guitar’s fretboard away from the strings)
- lower string height (which causes buzzing notes)
- cracking of the neck and body
- sunken top
- glue to dry out and wood to separate, major joints to become loose and frets to stick out
- poor instrument tone
Maybe you’d read that a dry environment may even enhance your tone? Well, aging can cause cell crystallization and hardening of a guitar’s body wood – which results in a louder, more dynamic sound – but remember, this has nothing to do with dryness, which is responsible for irreversible, structural damage.
In very humid, wet environments you run the risk of body and neck wood swelling. This warping effect creates changes in the bridge and action and can reduce the quality of sound that the tonewood produces. If your six-string becomes too moist, the bridge rises, and the action becomes high and challenging to play.
This illustration from Taylor demonstrates the effect of both dry and wet environments.
Buyer’s Guide – Key Considerations
Once you’ve established you need one, there are a few considerations before you go buying one.
First up, which type. There are broadly three varieties: soundhole, guitar case, and room products. Let’s look at each in turn.
Soundhole ones are by far the most common type. They are based around relatively simple technology: the hydrating component usually consists of a removable sponge, which is either placed within your ax’s soundhole alone or inside a container to provide one-way humidification to the guitar’s body wood. Sponge-based models can be replenished with water once dried out, and reused over again.
Some types of soundhole products (see the Humidipak product review below) allow two-way control of humidity – by letting water vapor out in dry environments and by absorbing excess water in more humid conditions.
They can also be placed inside the soundhole and sealed to humidify the body, or wedged between the G and D strings to humidify the body, neck, and case. Due to being for single instrument use, soundhole products are suited for players with maybe one or two displayed guitars rather than a roomful.
These work using a similar concept to soundhole ones but are designed to hydrate your guitar while it’s in its case. They sit in the case alongside your guitar, usually next to the headstock and rehydrate it by releasing water vapor when necessary. They are an excellent option for the busy, touring musician – always on the move, as they don’t need to be dismantled before playing.
Room humidifiers are often a general household necessity in homes suffering from extraordinarily high or low humidity; however, they can also help maintain the quality of your instrument. A huge bonus of using this type is they can stabilize the atmosphere of an entire room and can, therefore, maintain the moisture levels of several guitars at one time.
Where do you store your guitar? Will it be kept in its case, on the wall or a stand? If you’re going to be storing your guitar in a case, then unsurprisingly a case humidifier is probably best. On the other hand, if you like to display your ax, a soundhole or room-based one is the best way to maintain its quality.
The number of guitars you have also has a bearing on which product you go for. If you have a collection it will be more practical to buy a room humidifier rather than having to mess about with individual units.
Travel much? If you’re going away for a holiday, it may be worth providing some extra hydration. You could do this by using an additional case humidifier to use along with your soundhole humidifier and sealing your guitar in its case.
It’s worth bearing in mind that a soft case or fabric style case will leak out any water vapor that is collected. If you’re going to store and humidify your guitar correctly, you’ll need a hard case with a good seal, to prevent dehydration.
Our top pick is the D’Addario Humidipak Automatic Humidity Control System – it’s been around for years and is tried and tested.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, MusicNomad’s ‘The Humitar’ is worth considering.
If you’re looking for something a bit more novel give the PET-1 a go. You can play while you humidify!
One final word. To take proper care of a guitar, managing humidity isn’t the only thing you need to do – you should also use the best guitar polish you can get your hands on to keep grime, sweat, and dirt in check.
Pay special attention to the fretboard too, which is the ‘nerve center’ of the guitar. For this area, you should apply a decent fretboard oil every so often.
Thanks for reading, and good luck!