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Flow-Through Humidifier Vs. Drum Humidifier Comparison

Flow-Through Humidifier vs. Drum Humidifier

So you've decided you're interested in purchasing and installing an in-duct whole house humidifier. Maybe you're tired of refilling and cleaning those trusty portable humidifiers. Maybe you're still battling uncomfortable dry air even with portable units placed strategically throughout your home. Or maybe you're just looking for a more cost-effective, out-of-sight solution.

Whatever your reason, we can help. Let's start by examining the differences between 2 of the most common types of ducted whole house humidifiers: flow-through humidifiers and drum humidifiers. Browse our comparison chart below to learn how each model works, understand their benefits, and gauge potential drawbacks.


Flow-Through Humidifiers

Honeywell HE360 Flow-Through Humidifier

Drum Humidifiers


Skuttle 190 Drum Humidifier

How It Works
  • Switches on when your home's humidity falls below the set level on the humidistat.
  • Warm air from your furnace moves through the evaporator pad while water from your water supply moistens the pad.
  • Warm air absorbs moisture to create humidified air.
  • Air then flows through your ductwork and out into your home. 
  • Also switches on when your home's humidity falls below the set humidity level on the humidistat.
  • A rotating evaporator pad spins in the unit's water pan, lifting water into the warm air stream.
  • Warm humidified air is then distributed out into your home through your ductwork.
Ease of Installation
  • Installed on the vertical or horizontal warm air supply or cold air return plenum of your furnace.
  • Require a nearby floor drain
  • Installation kit usually included
  • DIY or professional installation
  • Installed on the vertical or horizontal warm air supply or cold air return plenum of your furnace.
  • No floor drain required
  • Installation kit usually included
  • DIY or professional installation
Moisture Output
  • Tend to put out less moisture than drum-style models
  • Deliver higher moisture output than flow-through models.
  • Generally only 30 to 40% efficient
  • For example, for every gallon of water delivered into the air, 2 gallons of water flow through.
  • 100% efficient
  • All water supplied to the humidifier is transformed into humidity.
  • Stay cleaner longer than drum humidifiers
  • Fresh water supply flushes out minerals and other impurities.
  • Excess water drains into nearby floor drain
  • Unit generally needs cleaning once per year
  • Replace evaporator pad once a year
  • Prone to mineral, mold, and bacteria buildup since water remains stagnant in water pan
  • Unit generally needs cleaning once every few months to once per month
  • Replace rotating evaporative pad annually or more frequently
Price and Cost of Ownership
  • Generally priced a bit higher than drum humidifiers
  • Use more water than drum-style models
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Less frequent maintenance
  • Generally priced a bit lower than flow-through humidifiers
  • Use less water than flow-through models
  • Higher maintenance costs
  • More frequent maintenance

Now that you have a good grasp of the differences between whole house flow-through and drum humidifiers, you can move on to selecting the right type for your home.

Check Out These Other Helpful Resources

Still Have Questions?

We know choosing a whole house humidifier isn't an easy decision. To learn more about humidifiers and how to shop for one, visit our Humidifier Knowledge Center. Not sure what's best for you? We can take the guesswork out of decision-making. Call us at 800-934-9194. We want to help make your indoors healthy and comfortable. 


Why Shop With Sylvane

Our product experts give you personalized guidance and trustworthy service. Call us at (800) 934-9194. 

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