The Essick MA1201 is a good bet for a budget-friendly whole house humidifier. The 3.9-gallon water tank means infrequent refilling. The moisture output is excellent. Plus, bonus features like the automatic shut-off, check-filter message and electronic display are welcome additions. Consumers do lament the flimsy, cheap construction and say that despite an "ultra-quiet mode," this machine is very loud.
Simple design and easy-to-use controls: The Essick MA1201 whole house humidifier is an excellent pick for those looking to humidify a large space. The simple digital controls and built-in humidistat allow users to easily control the moisture level in their homes. Consumers appreciate the automatic shut-off, check-filter message and the water refill light. Unfortunately, we did find several accounts where the LCD control panel stopped working after just months of use. Other reviewers claim that the humidistat is calibrated poorly.
Large, easy-to-clean tank: Like most whole house humidifiers, the Essick MA1201 is rated for up to 2,500 square feet -- nearly five times the space of a traditional tabletop model. We found excellent consumer feedback on the room coverage offered by this model. The 3.9-gallon tank allows for an estimated 12 gallons of moisture output per day. We did find some user complaints that the humidistat was calibrated poorly and that it must be turned much higher than expected to reach comfortable humidity levels. This unit has a three-speed motor, and a filter indicator lets you know when it must be changed.
It's loud. Perhaps the biggest, most common complaint about the Essick MA1201 humidifier is the very loud noise output. Many reviewers claim that this machine can be heard from another room. The humidifier does feature an "ultra-quiet mode," but users say that even in that mode the machine is quite loud.
Good value, but poor construction: Many reviewers say the plastic housing is flimsy, but also say that in spite of the poor plastic quality, this humidifier does perform quite well. We did find some reviewers who said that the unit lasts only through a few seasons with continual use, but others seem quite pleased with the durability of this product. Some did note that the humidifier tank does require regular cleaning, but it does a relatively good job at bacterial and mold growth regulation.
Review Credibility: Excellent In September 2012, ConsumerReports.org updated their report on humidifiers, testing 45 tabletop humidifiers and five console models. Results for all the humidifiers included in these tests are posted at ConsumerReports.org, although you need a subscription to view them. Models are rated on their moisture output, convenience, noise level, efficiency and performance when filled with hard water. The Essick MA1201 earns a top pick and is just one of three whole house humidifiers that receives a recommended distinction.
Review: Humidifier Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of September 2012
Review Credibility: Good Just 11 consumers provide feedback for the Essick MA1201 Humidifier at Amazon.com, awarding the model an average 4 out of 5 stars. While the reviews are relatively brief, reviewers do say that despite minor operational issues, this model effectively regulates the moisture level of a large space.
Review: Essick Air MA1201 Moist Air Whole House Humidifier, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012
Review Credibility: Good Nearly 70 users provide consumer feedback on the Essicks MA1201 humidifier. The model earns a strong 4.3 stars out of 5. Reviewers praise the machine for its simple design, easy-to-clean tank, large capacity and excellent moisture output. We did, however, find some complaints thanks to the flimsy construction, and others noted that it only lasts a few seasons before petering out.
Review: Essick Air Products MoistAir Evaporative Whole-House Humidifier for 2500 sq. ft., Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of October 2012