In an era where there are a plethora of guitar gadgets and tools, it is often difficult to judge the difference between something that is necessary and important and something that is just a gimmick and a way to swindle guitar owners out of their money. Today we will take a look at guitar humidifiers. We will tell you what they are, if you need to invest in one, and how to select the best guitar humidifier for your needs.
Do I Need a Guitar Humidifier?
Acoustic guitars are generally made up of wood, which is made up of cells. Even though the wood used in acoustic guitars is quite dry, it still has some amount of moisture in it and this moisture is very important. Completely dry wood would be quite brittle and this lack of flexibility would lead to cracks and even structural failure. Even though an acoustic guitar can look like a rock solid instrument, it actually flexes and is under tension from the strings and the truss rod. The wood in the guitar has to absorb all these forces without cracking or warping and that is where the moisture comes in. A small change in the dimensions of the guitar due to dryness can lead to minor issues like fret buzz to major issues like cracks.
Humidity tells us the moisture content in the air. If the humidity gets too low then the air starts absorbing moisture from things that are lying around and if that happens to be your guitar then the dry air can literally suck the moisture out of it. Most acoustic guitars are built to operate in humidity that is at about 45 percent, and if you live in an area with dry weather then your guitar could be in danger.
That is where the guitar humidifier comes in. It is a simple contraption that keeps the humidity inside your guitar at the optimal range so that the acoustic guitar does not dry out and suffer any of the consequences we mentioned earlier.
It's worth noting that the outer part of the guitar is protected by paint or finishing and external humidity doesn’t play as large of a role.
Best Guitar Humdifiers
Music Nomad MN300 Humitar Acoustic Guitar Humidifier
We start off with the Music Nomad MN300. This is a no-nonsense guitar humidifier which aims to make the whole process of keeping the moisture content at the right levels inside the guitar as convenient as possible. The housing is made of sturdy plastic and is quite hardy. It is also quite easy to use. The humidifier can be housed in the sound hole by placing it between the strings. The natural tension of the strings will hold it in place. One major issue with most humidifiers is trying to figure out if it is wet or dry. The MN300 Humitar makes it very simple to find out if the humidifier needs topping up with water. The top has a simple lid that can be used to access the material that holds the moisture. A simple touch will let you know if it needs topping off. Make sure to use distilled water to avoid contaminating the humidifier. The material is also great at retaining moisture and spreading it evenly.
- Simple to use
- Great build quality
- Easy to install
- Not the most secure way to attach it to the guitar
- The strings do get a bit stretched
Planet Waves GH D'Addario Acoustic Guitar Humidifier
This is the budget option on our list, something that happens to be Planet Waves' forte. It avoids the use of clips or fasteners and uses the familiar design of employing tension of the strings to hold the humidifier in place. The dispersion method is also quite simple. The design means that the humidifier does not touch any wooden part of the guitar directly. Figuring when the material has dried out requires a bit more of a hands-on approach. The entire spongy material has to be pulled out to check the moisture content but at this price point, it should not be a big deal. The design is quite cool and having this humidifier on the guitar does not appear out of place. The strings do get a bit stretched out and it is best not to leave the humidifier on for too long. The build quality is pretty decent and so is the operational life. If you are looking for the most bang for the buck humidifier that still works then this is it.
- Easy to use
- Decent build quality
- Stretches the strings
- Topping up the moisture takes a bit of effort
Oasis OH-1 Guitar Humidifier
The Oasis OH-1 uses a slightly different design that resembles a syringe and its circular design is able to dissipate moisture in a more controlled and uniform manner around the inside of the guitar. It also uses string tension to attach itself to the guitar but does not stretch out the strings as much as other humidifiers. The way this humidifier stores and dispenses moisture is impressive. Instead of going for some sort of spongy material it uses some type of wonder material that forms a gel-like structure when water is added to it. This gel ensures that water does not drip or spill into your precious guitar while dissipating enough moisture to keep the humidity inside the guitar within desirable limits even in extremely dry conditions. Filling the humidifier is quite easy as well. Overall, the Oasis OH-1 Guitar Humidifier is a nicely built humidifier with longevity which justifies its premium price.
- Revolutionary gel technology to hold moisture
- Doesn't stretch out the strings too much
- Excellent build quality
- Odd color scheme
- Slightly on the expensive side
Dampit Guitar Humidifier Super
The Dampit is one of the most classic old-school humidifiers. It looks crude but this is a design that has worked for a long time and there is no reason why one should try to fix something that isn't broken. At least that is the case when it comes to the actual method used for dissipating the moisture. It uses a more primitive way of attaching itself to the guitar. The whole thing slips into the soundhole except for the top part that looks like a button. The only problem is that the guitar has to be in a certain position for this to work and it isn't the most secure way of fastening the humidifier. This means that it cannot be used while traveling. Apart from that, this is one of the best humidifiers out there. It is longer than most humidifiers and therefore is able to spread moisture over a wider area. Adding water is also quite easy. If you can get past the price and the way it looks then this is a great option.
- Very effective in maintaining humidity
- Very easy to attach to the guitar
- Does not stretch out the strings
- On the expensive side
- Guitar has to be left motionless
Kyser Lifeguard Humidifier:
Almost every other humidifier leaves the entire soundhole open and that means that some of the moisture from the humidifier will go outside the guitar as well. This doesn't make a big difference as long as the humidity isn't too low. However, this can be an issue in extremely dry weather and that is where the Kyser Lifeguard Humidifier comes in. It uses a novel design that covers the soundhole completely so that whatever moisture is dissipated into the guitar stays there. It also doesn't look out of place and can be used inside even the most compact cases. Its design is also quite flexible allowing it to fit into a variety of soundholes that should cover most acoustic guitars out there. The build quality is great but fixing this to the guitar does require some dexterity. Slipping it under the strings and nudging it into place can take a few tries but nothing too frustrating. The price is also great and so is the way to top off the moisture.
- Covers the soundhole completely
- Effective in extremely dry weather
- Looks great
- Can be used inside compact guitar cases
- A bit difficult to fix this to the guitar
D’Addario Planet Waves Two-Way Humidification System:
The Planet Waves Two-Way Humidication system is one of the more advanced humidifiers out there. Most luthiers suggest a humidity level of 45% as optimal. If the weather is dry then most humidifiers can work really well in bringing the moisture content back to the optimum level but what if it is too humid or the humidity fluctuates a lot? That is where this baby comes in. It can not only dissipate moisture but it can also absorb it. This way the humidity is always maintained very close to 45% inside the guitar. This is very useful in places where the humidity levels can vary drastically within a short amount of time. It can also be very useful when traveling from a dry place to a humid place or vice-versa. It comes in an elegant bag that can be dropped into the soundhole. It looks good and can be used in most cases. It also requires no water top-ups as the water is absorbed from the atmosphere when not in use. This is one of the most complete humidifiers out there and that is why it commands a premium price as well.
- Works both in dry and humid conditions
- Long lasting
- Maintenance free
- Reputed brand
- Premium price