The Difference Between a Hygrometer & Humidistat

Anyone who is looking to improve the level of humidity inside of their home will want to learn the difference between a hygrometer & humidistat. Learning the difference between the two is the best way to determine what your exact needs are and which instrument will best fit those needs.

Hygrometers vs Humidistats

Digital Hygrometer

A hygrometer is an instrument that’s used to measure the level of moisture that’s in a room. Its sole function is to give the user either a digital or manual read-out. You can either buy a hygrometer as a small unit that operates off of batteries, or a unit that can be placed on a shelf in order to get a quick readout. Hygrometers are sometimes put in the same group as other air measurement devices, like thermometers.

Sometimes hygrometers are built directly into humidifiers, dehumidifiers or air scrubbers. One thing to take note of in this case is that unless the hygrometer is combined with a humidistat, it won’t control the level of humidity in the room.


Humidistats are built into appliances that are used to control the humidity that’s removed from a room or directly into the room. In most cases, humidistats are not sold on their own, but are a control device designed into an appliance. Even though appliances that have humidistats can be more expensive, they are often worth the extra cost since not having one can lead to excessive moisture. Too much moisture is just as bad as too little moisture.

When trying to differentiate between the two, remember that a hygrometer can be used if you need to know whether or not you need to get a humidifier or dehumidifier while a humidistat can help with controlling the humidity in a room.

The Importance of Controlling Humidity

Now that you understand the difference between hygrometers and humidistats, you might want to learn a bit more about humidity. The higher the humidity levels in your home, the more heat the air will be able to contain. Having high humidity levels inside of your home will also cause your air conditioner to work harder than it has to in order to combat the humidity as well as the warm air. During the winter season having low humidity inside of your home means that you’ll be using your heater more since low humidity can’t hold as much heat.

Not only can maintaining a proper level of humidity inside of your home keep you from spending too much money on your heating and cooling bills, it can also affect your health. Dry air can leech moisture from your skin and irritate your throat, sinuses and eyes. Not only that, but low levels of humidity can also inflame your mucous membrane, which can increase a person’s risk of becoming sick, catching an infection and succumbing to the flu.

Should you decide to use a humidistat to control the humidity in your home, you must make sure that there isn’t too much humidity, otherwise you run the risk of mold growing in your home. Mold can have a negative impact on your health as well as the health of anyone else living in your home. Not only that, but the warmth that a humidifier creates can easily lead to the development of fungi and bacteria that you risk breathing in. Breathing in this bacteria- and fungi-soaked air can cause infection as well as other lung problems.

Just like you should keep a close eye on the temperature of your home, you should also keep a close eye on the humidity levels of your home since they also have a key part to play in how hot or cool your home is. Learning the difference between a hygrometer and humidistat is good for your health as well as your HVAC unit.

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Kara Zorn

About Author

Kara Zorn is a wife and working mom who loves life hacks that help her schedule allow for as much quality family time as possible. She enjoys cooking with locally sourced food and produce and recently took up brewing Kombucha.

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