Review: WeMo-enabled Holmes Smart Humidifier is the go-to gadget for flu season
By John Brandon, TechHiveNov 10, 2014 3:54 am PST
At a Glance
Easy to control from the appliance or the app.
“Whole-house” humidifier really did improve the air quality in my whole house.
It costs a little more, but when you’re stuck in bed with the flu, you’ll love the convenience—not to mention the helpful notifications when it’s time to refill the tanks or change the filter.
Ask any homeowner what they do for wintertime fun, and you won’t hear too much about their humidifier. It’s a necessary evil during cold weather spells or when you’re sick with a sore throat, a large humming appliance that’s duller than dull. It pales a bit compared to a new 65-inch TV or PlayStation 4.
With the Holmes Whole House Smart Humidifier WeMo Enabled, the concept of controlling the humidity in your home just got a little more entertaining. While it’s nothing in comparison to a first-person shooter or even Scrabble, you can at least adjust humidity levels from your iPhone, and even check on the filters.
I tested the Holmes Smart Humidifier right at the beginning of flu season—and then promptly got the flu. Having the humidifier helped because it can increase the water humidity level in the air to help me breathe a little easier. And having Wi-Fi in that humidifier made it even better, since I could turn it on and off without having to stand up.
Humidity on demand
After filling both 2-gallon tanks and sliding them into the thigh-height appliance (it’s about 2 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 1 foot deep), I used one button to set the humidity level (it toggles between Max, 60%, 55%, 50% and 45%), and one button to adjust the fan level from Max down to Min.
That’s about all you can do on the unit itself. The “fun” comes when you connect up with your iPhone. (The unit also worked fine with a Moto X smartphone running Android.) I installed the free Belkin WeMo app and had no problems with the quick process. First, I pressed a green WeMo button the humidifier, connected directly to the unit over Wi-Fi, then chose my own Wi-Fi network and saved the configuration.
What can you do with the app? Just a hair more than you can do on the appliance itself. You can adjust the humidity level and fan speed, of course. But you can also set up a schedule to only run the appliance on specific days of the week and at specific times, say, only on weekends from 5:30 at night to 7 in the morning. The app also shows you the filter quality as a percentage. After using one for two weeks, it only went down to 98 percent.
I love being in control of my appliances. I ran the unit in my basement and never had to go down and push any of the buttons once. Even better, the Belkin WeMo ecosystem now includes motion sensors, light switches, wall outlets, and even a few more home appliances (Holmes has a heater and an air purifier coming soon), so it’s possible to control an array of connected home gadgets and without leaving your comfiest chair.
This one unit covered my lower level with no problems. I never even had to refill the tanks during my two-week test, and the air quality improved in my home as well.
I’m sold on having more connected appliances, and this one is a solid performer. You can easily adjust the humidity level whether you are even at home or not. My only slight gripe is the price. I’ve seen humidifiers on sale at Home Depot for as low as $90 that claim to cover an entire home. For $200, you would want to be fairly attracted to the entertainment value of adjusting humidity levels.