What is a humidistat, and do I need one? Keep an eye on your home's humidity levels

Humidistats can accurately detect, monitor, and control the humidity levels of your home, but how do they work?

Humidifier surrounded by plants and leaves
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Humidistats are becoming a more common feature in new home builds. It comes with our increasing understanding of our air quality and, like thermostats and air conditioning, they help to control the air we breathe at home.

But what exactly is a humidistat? And is it a necessity to have at home? Like the best dehumidifiers, the best humidifiers will have humidistats built into them, but these are standalone models, while humidistats can connect to your home's system to give you more control over the whole house.

We spoke with the experts to learn about humidistats, how they work, and who would benefit from installing one in their home.

What is a humidistat?

As the name suggests, a humidistat is a device used to measure home humidity levels. 

'A humidistat measures the relative humidity (RH) level in the air, detecting if the air is too dry or too humid,' explains David Miloshev, electrician and home improvement expert at Fantastic Services.

This tiny electronic device helps you understand whether your home has the best humidity levels year-round. 'By providing you with accurate readings, it helps you maintain a healthy environment,' adds Glenn Gault, CEO of Gault Heating & Cooling.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's important to remember that humidistats themselves don't necessarily control the humidity unless they're hooked up to a home's HVAC system or stand-alone humidifier/dehumidifier. And, saying that, many humidifiers will already have a humidistat built in.

Connected humidistats work by comparing a room's RH to the desired range that you've set. If the humidity strays too far, it'll adjust your home's humidifier, evaporative cooler, dehumidifier, or fans.

Do I need a humidistat?

Ideally, every home should have one - understanding your home's humidity levels means understanding your home's air quality. But while it's important for everybody to own one, it's even more important for those with allergies or respiratory diseases.

qwAs Glenn puts it: 'People with respiratory diseases are sensitive to too low or too high humidity levels, and both can trigger unwanted symptoms such as coughing, throat irritation, and wheezing.'

'When the air in a home is too dry, it typically contains more irritants and pathogens, which are better to avoid for people with respiratory diseases, particularly allergies. Too humid air is a favorable environment for mold and mildew growth, which is also bad, because mold and mildew are serious allergens.'

Somewhat less seriously, humidistats can also help to create controlled climates for specific rooms. Bethany Uribe, division manager at ASAP Restoration, puts it best: 'Homeowners might want to have a humidistat to control the humidity in a specific room, such as a wine cellar, a home brewing operation, or for people that grow their own food indoors.'

'Plants and other consumables require specific temperatures and humidity levels in order to reach fruition, and a humidistat can help to regulate this variable.'

So, a humidistat can help understand your home's air quality, relieve allergies, help with respiratory diseases, and create controlled environments in specific rooms. You can find them online at Home Depot for as little as $10, with options that can connect to your home's systems or humidifiers.

Staying on top of your home's humidity levels will maintain a healthy level of moisture in the air. To take things further, the best air purifiers will capture fine particles in the air like dust, pollen and other allergens that exist at home.

Dan Fauzi
Home Tech Editor

Dan is the Home Tech Editor for Homes & Gardens, covering all things cleaning, smart home, sound and automation across the Solved section. Having worked for Future PLC since July 2023, Dan was previously the Features Editor for Top Ten Reviews and looked after the wide variety of home and outdoor content across the site, but their writing about homes, gardens, tech and products started back in 2021 on brands like BBC Science Focus, YourHomeStyle, Homes & Antiques and Gardens Illustrated.

Dan is based in Bristol, UK with a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Magazine Journalism. Outside of work, you'll find them at gigs and art galleries, cycling somewhere scenic, or cooking up something good in the kitchen.