You might have heard some enthusiasts claim that their beloved six-strings are living beings with their own character and soul. While certainly not alive, acoustic guitars are made of wood and need proper conditions to “breathe” properly.
Along with proper maintenance and temperature, optimal humidity is of key importance in keeping your six-string beauty in shape. Your first line of defense against low humidity is a guitar humidifier.
The soundhole variety is mostly made for acoustics, though the owners of electrics can use case and room humidifiers.
7 Best Guitar Humidifiers to Let Your Precious Breathe
Check out my selection of the best humidifiers for guitar out there. After the reviews, we’ll take a closer look at humidity itself, types of humidifiers and their roles, and how to create an optimum condition for your guitar.
Table of Contents
- 7 Best Guitar Humidifiers to Let Your Precious Breathe
- Humidity and Acoustic Guitars
- Benefits of Using a Humidifier
- Types of Humidifiers
- Should I Use a Humidifier with My Electric Guitar?
- Additional Tips
A good humidifier should be low maintenance and simple to install and remove. If you’re looking for a humidifier that’s easy to use, the D’Addario Humidipak might be the right solution for you. It is maintenance-free and pretty affordable to boot.
The Humidipak is a soundhole pouch. It has two compartments connected in the middle for mounting over the G and D strings. It offers constant 45%-50% humidity regulation and doesn’t need refills. A pouch of Humidipak can last anywhere between 2 and 6 months and then it’s replaced. Once it dries up, it can’t be refilled or reused.
D’Addario makes Humidipak in its facilities in the United States and the package has two spare pouches. The package also includes a soundhole mesh and a headstock mesh.
Some humidifier kits feature hygrometers or other useful accessories. If you are looking for a well-rounded guitar humidifier package, the Music Nomad MN306 Premium Humidity Care System might be an interesting option.
The MN306 is primarily a soundhole humidifier. It is made up of a small plastic container with a sponge inside it. The sponge can hold up to 10 times its weight in water and can be refilled when it dries up. You should install this humidifier between the D and G strings.
The hygrometer is a battery-powered unit with a small display and two navigation buttons on top. You can use it to constantly monitor humidity and temperature inside your guitar. When installing both the humidifier and the hygrometer, one should sit between E and A strings and the other should be placed between the G and B strings.
A guitar humidifier doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. In fact, the entry class has models that even some professionals routinely use. Therefore, acoustic guitar owners looking for a reliable option that won’t break the bank might be interested in the Planet Waves GH D’Addario Acoustic Guitar Humidifier.
The Planet Waves Humidifier is a simple soundhole unit and one of the most affordable options out there. The humidifier is made up of a plastic cartridge with ventilation holes on the sides and a plastic lid on top. A small but quality sponge sits inside the cartridge.
Ideally, you should place the cartridge with the sponge between the D and G strings inside the sound box. Make sure to check the wetness of the sponge regularly and refill as needed. The package doesn’t come with any accessories or extras.
4. Oasis OH-1
The Oasis OH-1 Guitar Humidifier is made for places with harsh climate and very dry air. So, if your guitar needs a significant humidity boost, this Oasis model might be the right one.
The Oasis OH-1 is primarily a soundhole model and best mounted between the G and D strings. In the performance department, the OH-1 is very capable, even when used in rooms and houses with less than 25% humidity.
Many acoustic guitar owners, especially of high-end or vintage models, have enough work on their hands with other maintenance duties as it is. Therefore, going with a straightforward humidifier can be beneficial, as it can save you precious time.
The Martin Guitar Humidifier is an entry-level option. In a nutshell, this humidifier is a bendable stick wrapped with a high-quality sponge. The top end has a plastic cap that holds the humidifier between the strings, while the bottom cap prevents it from direct contact with the wood inside the sound box.
You should refill the RDM1400GH as necessary. Make sure to check it regularly, as it should be soft and moist at all time for optimal performance.
Adding a guitar humidifier to your guitar care & maintenance kit is a good idea even if the temperature and humidity levels in your house are good most of the time. In such a case, a simple and affordable unit should meet your needs perfectly.
The Dampit Guitar Humidifier is a simple and straightforward soundhole humidifier. It is an 11-inch long rubber tube with a sponge inside. There’s a plastic cap on top to hold on to the strings and another one on the bottom to prevent the tube’s direct contact with the wood.
Along with the tube, the package also contains a see-through soundhole cover, humidity indicator chart, and a user manual. Before use, submerge the Dampit in water, take it out, and remove all excess water to prevent it from leaking inside the guitar.
Two-way guitar humidifiers are the way to go if the humidity in your house fluctuates significantly throughout the year. This type of humidifiers increases humidity when it’s below a certain level and reduces it when it gets too high. If you’re looking for a solution to fluctuating humidity, you might be interested in the Boveda 2-Way Humidity Control Kit.
The Boveda Humidity Control Kit offers true 2-way humidity regulation, keeping it at the 45%-55% range at all times. A standard humidity control pouch weighs 70 grams and you get four of them in the package. Each pouch can be installed around the strings or placed next to the headstock in the case. The package also includes two leak-resistant fabric holders.
A Boveda pouch lasts 2 to 5 months, depending on the temperature and humidity in the room. You should replace it when the bag gets dry and the content inside solidifies.
Humidity and Acoustic Guitars
Like humans, musical instruments also have their preferred humidity levels. Guitars, particularly acoustic guitars, are most comfortable at levels between 35% and 50%.
The ideal temperature is roughly in the 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit range. The electrics are less susceptible to temperature changes, though their necks might get warped if the humidity is too low or too high.
If the relative humidity in your home is under 30% for a prolonged period of time, you might start seeing some damage to your beloved six-string.
The frets might begin to buzz and the tone might deteriorate a bit. Also, the bridge on your acoustic might come loose and the body might show signs of cracking. If the humidity drops below 15%, serious and often irreversible damage might happen.
On the other hand, when the humidity gets high, you might see the top of your acoustic swell up and start to bend. In extreme cases, the bridge might pop out.
Very high humidity can damage your guitar as severely as an overly dry atmosphere. Therefore, it is very important to avoid exposing your guitar to extreme humidity levels.
The best guitar humidifiers will be able to handle both low and high humidity.
Benefits of Using a Humidifier
Most places in the United States have a rather dry climate throughout the year. Therefore, investing a few bucks in a good humidifier can save your precious acoustics from damage. Let’s look into the main benefits of guitar humidifiers.
Types of Humidifiers
There are three main types of humidifiers – room, guitar case, and soundhole humidifiers. Each type serves a different purpose and all are equally important in maintaining the optimal atmosphere for your acoustic guitar.
Room humidifiers, as the name suggests, regulate humidity levels in the entire room. Investing in one of these might be a good idea if you store your guitars in a dry room and like to keep them on display. The only drawback is that they’re more expensive than the other two.
A guitar case humidifier regulates humidity in your guitar case. The most common varieties include pouches and plastic tubes. They are substantially more affordable than room humidifiers and are a great option if you store your guitars in cases.
Soundhole humidifiers moisturize your guitar from within and are made primarily for acoustic guitars. Depending on the construction, they might cover the soundhole completely or sit between the strings with only just part of the humidifier inside the guitar.
Soundhole humidifiers are the simplest and the most affordable option. However, they are only effective if you store your guitar in a case. A soundhole humidifier shouldn’t actually touch the guitar body. It should either rest on the strings or be placed somewhere else in the case where it doesn’t have direct contact with the wood.
Should I Use a Humidifier with My Electric Guitar?
Electric guitars have less need for humidifiers, as they’re mostly made with completely solid bodies. Also, modern electric guitars tend to have thick, glossy finishes that protect their bodies from the atmosphere. Conversely, the necks are often completely exposed and prone to warping and bending from improper humidity.
On the other hand, hollow-bodied and electro-acoustic guitars can benefit greatly from a humidifier. You should be careful with the installation of the device, as the electro-acoustic and hollow-body guitars rarely have standard soundholes. In any event, you can go with guitar case and room humidifiers.
Finally, if you have a vintage electric, you’d want to try your best to maintain proper humidity in the room where it’s stored. Old electrics usually have thinner and more fragile paint jobs that need optimal conditions to keep them looking their best.
Here are some useful tips for optimal performance.
- You should avoid drastic temperature changes as guitars don’t take to them well. The paint might crack and the neck might warp. Also, you might get sharp or buzzing frets.
- If you have a case, you should always keep your guitar inside it when you’re not playing.
- For the best results with acoustics, consider adding a room or case humidifier to the setup.
- If you don’t have a case, keep your guitar in the living room or a bedroom. Avoid storing it in the garage, attic or other places where you don’t maintain proper humidity and temperature throughout the year.
- You should monitor the humidity in both the guitar case and in the room. The two levels might differ slightly, as the case and the room are isolated systems.
- It is recommended to take your guitar to a repair shop to assess the damage if it’s been stored in too low or too high a humidity for a long time. Even if there’s no damage, it will surely need a setup.
- Soundhole and guitar case humidifiers should never touch the body or the neck of the guitar. Water can damage the paint, warp the wood, and cause frets or machine heads to rust (unless they’re made of stainless steel).
A guitar humidifier should be a part of every guitarist’s care and maintenance toolbox, as it can significantly prolong your guitar’s life. Also, it can prevent potential damages caused by improper humidity levels.
If you live in a dry climate, you can go with a standard one-way humidifier. On the other hand, if the humidity fluctuates significantly throughout the year, you’re best off with a two-way model.
Consider adding a room and guitar case humidifier, as well, as these will make keeping your acoustic guitar in top shape even easier. Finally, you might want to consider adding a hygrometer to your humidifier kit for easy monitoring.