Do Guitar HUMIDIFIERS Actually WORK?

Do you use Guitar Humidifiers? Or, if have you ever used them in the past? Even bigger question is do they actually work to protect your guitars wood from cracking or warping?

Personally, I've tried using them (many years ago), probably 30 years ago (or more), and I found that they did little to nothing for any my guitars... So, I quit using them. 

They were honestly too much effort (and too much maintenance) to keep soaked with water. In fact, I have two guitars that have never seen the use of a guitar humidifier, (one I've had for 30 years and the other I've had for 20 years). They both play fine and I've never had any issues with them whatsoever.

In this episode of the "GuitarBlog Insider" we're going to discuss whether "Guitar Humidifiers" are useful devices, or if they're just a device selling Wishful /Magical Thinking.


What humidity is, how does it affects us, our homes, and how does it affect guitars. Now, I'm no scientist or anything, but from searching across several websites it would seem that humidity is quite a simple concept. It just a measurement of water-vapor in the air, and as the air changes outside it slowly changes in our homes.

According to the atmospheric science service, there's two types of humidity, Relative and Absolute. Absolute is the more precise, and we would need a controlled environment to determine that. It's the mass of water vapor divided by mass of dry air. The problem is, that in a typical residential house, this is always changing. So, to compensate for that, we'll tend to more often hear about "Relative Humidity."

Relative humidity means we take a current reading of absolute humidity at a given moment in time and compare it to the highest possible air temperature which is outside, then from there we create a ratio of the both of them.

All you really need to understand about these humidity measurements is that humidity is always changing, and it's changing rapidly. Too rapid to actually calculate. So, that's why when we hear about humidity levels in the news and weather reports, we hear relative humidity.

What does this mean for wood and guitars. Well, since humidity is always changing, we need to determine what a common indoor humidity level might be and what might happen once it's adjusted seasonally. So, if we take a typically cold winter season, the heat from our indoor furnace causes humidity levels indoors to be lower.

Humidity levels in summer time, are different again, (especially if a rain storm is coming in July). In a summer rain, the humidity will rise up higher, than on a cold day in January when the heating system is running and the warm heated air in a house is drying out the indoor air.

So, throughout a year, we'll experience large variations in humidity. Even in one day we'll have a lot of variation. And, depending where you live, the variations can become quite extreme, or they can remain fairly constant.

For example if you live in North Dakota, USA, (like a good friend of mine does), the winters will be very, very dry indoors and the summers will be very hot and extremely humid on some days. This is probably one of those environments that might cause a guitar problems, or maybe not, because the indoor air is climate controlled.

The humidity in North Dakota in September is normally between 70 to even 90%. What if you lived in Palm Desert California like a student of mine, as well as, my cousin who lives out there. Palm Desert has extremely low humidity pretty much all the time. Usually around 40-45% - it's a desert.

So, would that affect the guitar? Well, nobody I know in North Dakota or in California has ever used a guitar humidifier on any of their guitars and they've never had any issues with them either. So, what this might mean, is that there's a lot to be considered when it comes to indoor air temperature relative humidity, (which according to pretty much every home heating and air conditioning service website - home air is quite static between 40-45% at 24 deg. celsius. or 75 deg. fahrenheit).

According to several websites including Taylor guitars, Hoffman Guitars (and many others), the ideal humidity a guitar needs to be kept at is approx. 45%. which surprisingly is exactly the normal humidity level of indoor environments at 24 deg. celsius or 75 fahrenheit.

So, I'm not sure how a guitar humidifier is going to make a lot of difference if a guitar is simply kept in the home out of the case in the open. But, let's say perhaps that guitar humidifies work. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt here... Let's say soaking a very small sponge with some water (probably less than 1/2 an ounce of water), lets off enough water vapor, that it somehow effects the relative humidity of a room, or a guitar case and that it works to protect the guitars wood from cracking.

The big question would be, How could it possibly do that? If outdoor air is fluctuating and indoor air is kept at a acclimatized air temperature of around 24 deg. celsius, we're going to have at least around 42% humidity (in most climates) at the lowest level anyway. Still the big question is how can a tiny little sponge (with less than a half an ounce of water) going to make any much difference?

If there's someone out there who can explain how a 1/2 ounce or less of water in a very small sponge or gel is going to effect a guitar significantly, or effect room relative humidity enough to keep wood from splitting, I've love to hear the details on that.

I can understand a room, that has temperature and humidity controlled, like rooms you'll find in a museum, or even a wine room in a million dollar home. Or, humidifier machines, that produce humidity in a room, pumping out a gallon of water every 3 hrs.... I get that. But, I've never kept any guitar I've ever owned in a room like that, and I've never used any type of guitar (or any other humidifier unit) for any period on any of my guitars, and I've never had any issues.

I'm opening it up to all of you on YouTube. I'd love to hear your opinions. Please comment on whether guitar humidifiers are functional pieces of gear, or if they are just selling wishful /magical thinking.

If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership. When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

As I said, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll catch up next week for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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  1. I'd have to say that they do absolutely nothing. If a guitar was built correctly and you keep it stored in the open away from direct sunlight or heaters, air conditioners etc. The guitar should be fine. Incorrect storage is the issue. And, the other issue is poor build quality causing problems within the first year or two.

  2. Anyone who actually believes a tiny little bottle with a spoonful of water in it will help humidify their dense hardwood guitar is either an idiot or delusional.

  3. I am a luthier who has been repairing for 37 years. When the heating season starts in November, houses start to dry out. By late January, like clockwork, I receive a deluge of calls with guitars that have dried and cracked and in some cases have imploded so the convex tops and backs reverse causing strings to lay on the fretboard and braces to delaminate and fret ends to protrude. These clients never keep humidification either in their house or in the guitar cases. The worst offenders are those who routinely leave their guitars on guitar stands. I struggle to keep relative humidity in my shop in the dead of a dry cold winter at 40%. With no room humidification my shop can sink to 20%. Guitar makers keep their factories at about 45%. You do the math. Wood shrinks and swells! The Dampit style humidifier does not hold enough water for too short a time between rewetting. It also tends to drip especially if the sponge is old and hard mineralized water is used to dampen the sponge. I've repaired drip-caused delaminations from a guitar stored on a guitar stand without completely drying off of the dampit.