Venta LW44 Air Humidifier and Purifier All-in-one

 
List Price: $444.43

Our Price: $319.00

You Save: $125.43 (28%)

 

Product Description

Air that feels good must be properly humidified. Heated air dries out the mucous membranes (weakening your resistance to viral infections). Overheated dry air makes you feel tired and listless. Your skin dries out, your plants suffer and your wooden furniture starts to show cracks. The Venta-Airwasher is ideal to reduce chapped lips, stuffed up noses, sore throats, and dried out eyes. Protect your valuable wood furniture and floors as well as musical instruments from drying out. Dry indoor air is difficult to clean; every movement causes millions of particles to be stirred up and become airborne. However, humidification keeps a large number of airborne particles down on the floor; making the ?two-in-one humidifier/purifier? more effective than air purifiers alone. The Venta Airwasher humidifies the air while simultaneously drawing in and removing dust, pollen and other contaminating particles down to 10 microns ( 10/1000 mm ) in size from the air. Easy maintenance. No filters to change or clean or cumbersome containers to fill. The simple design and convenient access to the tank allow for easy cleaning. 10 Year Limited Warranty Made in Germany

Features:
  • Uses no filter pads
  • Water is the filter. Fresh every day. Cleans with a consistently high level of effectiveness, as water doesn't clog the way filter pads do.
  • Extremely quiet. Ideal for use in bedrooms.
  • Visible purifying performance. Pure water evaporates, leaving dirt trapped in the tank like salt in the sea.
  • Odorless. No smell of moldy filters or stagnant water.
Customer Reviews:
  • Best Humidifier I Have Owned - Still Cranking Along After 4 Years
    I have owned about 4 or 5 humidifiers in my lifetime and Venta is by far the best one ever. I have had this one now for 4 years and am fully satisfied. Venta is by no means perfect. One big issue with humidifiers is keeping them clean. Fact is, nobody wants to clean a humidifier regularly. In our busy lives, we focus on other things and we usually don't want to clean a humidifier until we have no choice.

    This model consistently keeps the humidity in my place between 35 - 45% which is ideal for me. It will not boost the humidity in high ranges > 60% like steam model humidifiers since it uses water evaporation. It works best if you're in a super dry room and then turn it on. For example, if your humidity is at 10%, it will quickly raise it to 35-40%. You would not be able to raise your humidity from 40% to 60% with this type of humidifier. This is a major plus because the water evaporates at a rate that compensates for the dryness level in the room and you will not end up with sweating walls and windows as with steam humidifiers.

    In addition to humidifying your room, the Venta removes dust particles from the air and makes my breathing better. I personally find the unit quiet even on the high fan setting. You can use the Venta even in damp months of the year to clean the air and it won't over humidify the space. It's amazing how much dirt and dust it captures in the water reservoir.

    Cleaning is not as easy as the manufacturer indicates. Point blank: when this thing gets super dirty, use a small utility plastic bristle brush, rubber gloves, and a strong cleaning solution such as bleach, ammonia, etc. Do this in your shower or bath tub. Simply using the manufacturer's cleaning solution in no way cleans all the areas that can gather sludge: the fan, case vents, motor, etc.

    When the unit gets dirty, it may start to make squeaky sounds like a squeaky wheel. This has only happened to me when it gets super dirty. After a cleaning, the sound goes away.

    Cost. This thing is super super expensive for what you get. I'm still in disbelief that it cost me $400. The engineering concept is pretty brilliant, so I expect you're paying for a patent. I would guess this thing could sell at $50 and Venta would still make a profit. It consists of a tank with air vents, a fan, and two cylindrical discs. The unit is almost entire plastic. Some body is making a fortune off these things.


    ...more info
  • a necessity not a luxury
    The VENTA-AIRWASHER LW44 allows me to breath without gagging in my dry air winter time house. Cold water evaporates off the spinning discs instead of spraying water directly into the room like other humidifiers while the fan sucks in air and deposits the dust and grime where it is washed by the water. This ingenious method leaves my rooms (I have two AIR-WASHERS) with clean smelling air that is humidified at the right levels. (The dryer the air, the more the water evaporates off the discs giving the right level of humidity.)

    Although the directions say change the water rinse out the unit, and add the water additive every ten to fourteen days, I do it every three weeks which works out fine. The AIR-WASHER is a great product and one that is truly essential for my families comfort and well-being. (my wife has asthma and it helps her breathing.) ...more info
  • Expensive but works very well
    Unit in use every night for a month. Works flawlessly, much better than the wick filter type it replaced. It is pretty dry here (30 - 40%) year around. This unit puts out almost 2 gal of water overnight. This is twice what the previous humidifier put out. It is quite expensive up front, but there are no filters to buy. We had to replace filters in our old unit every 90 days, and even then, they got moldy and the performance of the humidifier would slowly decrease. The Venta just keeps on chugging! Easy to clean and refill. Also like the low power consumption, water based air cleaning, and reasonable noise level, even at highest speed....more info
  • The Best
    I was so confused by all the information you can get on humidifiers I bought four and tried them all. I also have an AprilAire Central humidifier and spoke to our HVAC company as part of this. Here's the net:

    When the humidity is right (40%-60%) it eliminates dry skin and stuffy noses. My dog also quit scratching. Guitar makers recommend it.

    The Venta LW 44 is my favorite unit. It has no filter at all. It cleans the air using the water. It's easy to fill, and requires less attention in terms of filling and cleaning. Overall it's a simpler design. Visually it's the least obtrusive unit - the only one my daughter would allow in her room. It's also the quietest. It also cleans the air so it eliminates an air cleaning device. In some reviews it is criticized for not humidifying. Unlike the others it doesn't have a built-in hygrometer. The moisture it puts into the air is not as noticeable as the others. However, I got a separate hygrometer and it works as well as the others. The humidity can be the same level in a room, and it will feel more humid with one unit than another. The steam units make you feel the moisture the most. The feeling of moisture - by-the-way - is not good. The less it feels moist the better. Venta allows you to use scented oils, if you like that option. Others do not. Amazon has several hygrometers. I got the Honeywell TM005X Wireless Thermo-Hygrometer.

    Central Unit - The central unit will not do the job alone. We have a two-story house and it really has no impact on the upper level, where the bedrooms are and where you most need it.

    Air-O-Swiss U7142 Ultrasonic humidifier. I saw it at a Bed, Bath and Beyond while shopping and it looked so slick I got it. It's not obvious until you get it home, but the instructions require you to place it up 3 feet off the ground, even though it looks like a floor unit. This is going to be a problem in most rooms because it limits where you can put it and it becomes the visual focus of the room. It worked for one day, though it produced a lot of white powder that covered the unit itself and would have become a problem for every object in the room. It only got the room to 29% humididty. On the second day the red light was on, so I refilled it and could never get it to work again. After hours of effort and troubleshooting with the customer support line, I could never make it work. The good news is that Bed, Bath and Beyond was super easy to deal with on the return and had the Venta model I discovered when troubleshooting the Air-O-Swiss.

    Honeywell QuietCare - This unit will definitely humidify a room. It has a built in hygrometer. So you can set it to get to a certain level and stop. The two big tanks make the job of filling it less frequent, and the two-tank design is a good idea since it would be hard for most people to handle a single tank with 11 gallons of water. On the downside, it's a bit loud on high and you need it on high when it's cold outside and the humidity inside is low. The tanks often don't work, as they have to be positioned just right and I've never mastered getting them on 100% right 100% of the time. It has a filter, so it's cleaning the air - but the instructions tell you to remove the (rather large) filter and re-wet it every time you fill it. That's such a pain I doubt anyone would do it. Another reviewer suggested just flipping it over each time - good idea! After a while it begins to smell a bit moldy, so you have to clean it and change the filter.

    Honeywell Quick Steam - This unit also definitely quickly and noticeably humidifies a room. Since it's the hot steam type you can actually see the steam and you feel it more in the air. It has a smaller tank - needs refilled more often. Also has a filter, but only for the water, so it never has a bad smell. It gurgles and my wife can't sleep in a room with it. After a couple months of use, the heater element was caked with mineral deposits and it was very hard to clean. Some people have noted in these reviews that they just buy a new one every year.
    ...more info
  • CR rates it low
    Just saw a repost on it from CR and they were not impressed. I love the claim of "gets stuff down to 10 microns." 10 microns in the particle world is HUGE! Most debris that size is not even airborne. Even the most basic water filters, for example, are rated at 3 microns....more info
  • Sometimes cheapest is the best option
    Used both this model and the smaller LW24 for a year.

    Here's my experience:

    - Good, not great humidification. Specifically, there's not a need for a humidistat, but they also take a while to get humidity up.

    - Quiet at low speed (best for sleeping), tolerable at medium speed (best for maintaining humidity), noisy at high speed (best for getting humidity up to desired level)

    - Seasonal maintenance cost is reasonable (about $10 for end of season cleaner, $20 for a season's worth of water additive)

    - The biggie: ultimately no easier to clean than other humidifiers, which is a big selling point. If it was as simple as they make it out to be (rinse and wipe out the unit) it would be good, but I had the same experience as Amazon user djac "beantown boy" - a yellowish waxy residue built up on multiple inner surfaces, including nooks & crannies hard to clean, and to a lesser extent fan blades. This residue is difficult to remove. I got it even using filtered water, and not using their aromatherapy additives. On balance, this residue makes maintaining the Venta more effort than some other humidifiers.

    A couple of caveats to the last point:

    - I live in a brownstone New York City apartment. There is probably a higher than average level of dust/soot/cooking oil in my air, and perhaps that's what's causing the residue. So it's possible that other users won't have this problem.

    - Strictly speaking, you might not have to clean that residue. It doesn't seem to impair the functioning. But I found it too yucky to bear leaving there. I would say I'm probably cleaner than the average guy I know, but I'm no obssessive.

    My advice, which I'm about to follow, is to buy a $25 2 - speed warm steam unit (Duracraft DWM-250 / Honeywell DWM-910 is ideal, both available from Amazon Marketplace sellers) and stand alone hygrometer ($10-20). I've had several other humidifiers with built in humidistats - none were accurate, you might as well manage it yourself, just need to check once or twice a day. Don't fuss too much over maintaining the humidifier. Instead of weekly maintenance, which I dreaded, I plan to just wipe out the water tray each time I refill water.

    When it stops working or requires too much cleaning effort, toss it out and buy another one next season. It's no more expensive than the seasonal maintenace costs for the Venta.

    I also tried using a cast iron kettle. Problem was that the stove is not ideally placed from a circulation perspective to humidify my apartment, and it wouldn't keep steaming for long when placed on a trivet in my bedroom.

    If you do want to try the Venta - buy it from a place where you can return it after a season. I know of a *b*ig *b*ox *&b*azaar that will let you do that :) These are just too expensive to risk w/o an open-ended return policy.
    ...more info
  • expensive but well worth it
    We liked the first one so much we went and bought another. Only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because of the price. We added a second LW44 after we added another room to the downstairs of our colonial bringing the downstairs square footage up to about 1400 sq. ft. including a two story foyer. We keep the upstairs bedrooms closed off during the winter. I can't understand people who say this unit doesn't humidify. We have a digital humidity gauge and keep our humidity between 35 and 40 % all winter. Before the humidifiers it would go down into the 20s which feels absolutely horrible. Your skin cracks and dries out, you get more colds, and static electricity is a problem. None of that since we added the ventas. The water that I pour out is absolutely filthy. I clean one of them every weekend, alternating between them. I love the idea one writer suggested about using dishwashing detergent instead of Venta's expensive additive, I just might try that.

    I also take issue with people who said they're noisy. They have 3 speeds and on low speed you would practically have to stand right on top of it to hear it. When it's really dry, cold weather and we have them both going on high speed, we still watch TV and barely notice them. It's a lot quieter than a regular fan.

    There's a small plastic part that drives the 2 multidiscs that has gotten stuck a couple of times, probably because of all the minerals in our well water clogging them up. I called Venta and they shipped me out a replacement and threw in a couple of extras. Very promptly I should add. It was a snap to replace.

    This is our 4th winter with the Ventas, and our friends are on their 3rd winter with theirs. I'd buy another in a heartbeat. Good product and great 10 year warantee. Experts recommend your house should never drop below 30% humidity...it should always be between 30 and 50%. Even if you don't buy a Venta, buy some kind of humidfier....more info
  • Was not effective in increasing the humidity of my apt.
    I've had this unit for three years and was hoping it would service my one bedroom apartment. After three years, I have to say that I'm disappointed with my purchase. Even when I used this in my bedroom with the door closed (1/3 of my apartment), the unit still failed to raise the humidity of the room much higher than say 40%. While I still use the unit, thinking it at least provides a cleaning benefit, I now use the Air-o-Swiss product. Lastly, I don't recommend the oils/scents that can be added to the water - I think they gum-up the fan and underlining of the cover....more info
  • Best Humidifier, hands down!
    Like one of the other reviewers, I also reside in a Manhattan apartment. In the winter it becomes absurdly dry. I have tried a variety of humidifiers over the years, and the Venta LW44 is the first I've found that really does the trick. It is pricey, but worth every penny, especially given the 10 year warranty. One word of advice- be sure to purchase a model large enough for your apartment size, and take into account that the recommendations of the manufacturer are based on eight foot ceilings. My ceilings being 14 feet, I had to go up a size from the one I first purchased in order to see amazing results from this product. ...more info
  • Good but you don't need their additive!

    It works as expected with a modicum of care, but its retail price is rather high. However, I have found that I do not need to buy the expensive additive they sell. Instead once or twice a week I dump it our, wipe the inside of the tank, refill it with water and put just a very tiny amount of hand dish washing detergent in with the water. The big advantage for me of using cheap dish detergent is that I can dump it frequently without buying lots of their expensive additive, so it never gets very dirty.

    Their additive contains "surfactants" they say, but so does any detergent. Simple physics, actually: without a little surfactant water tends to bead-up on the plastic disks without wetting them as it should -- but the surfactants found in Joy dish detergent do the job equally well. Only trick is be careful to use MUCH less dish detergent than you would to wash dishes, because you do not want suds! Also, ONLY add detergent after dumping, not when just adding water because detergent doesn't evaporate.

    In three winters of use the only problem I've had with mine was a small crack on the upper housing which I fixed with tape and it still works OK.

    Unlike some users I've never seen much dirt accumulation in the water, because I live in a modern condo so my air has very little dust in it. And because I dump the tank at least once a week, I've not seen that much accumulation of mineral deposits either.
    ...more info
  • not what you think, you will be disappointed
    I am one who believes in buying the best in everything because in the long run it saves you money. Boy, was I wrong about this one. This expensive humidifier is not what I expected at all... when i opened the package, the item looked like a plastic toy with a large fan inside. Of all the German made products that i own(and i own many, including Leica cameras) , this has to be the one item that most resemble products made in China!! The whole thing is made of cheap plastic and mine arrived in already damaged condition. When i tried to return the item back to the seller (Ace photo and digital), they said that I have to pay for the return shipping!!!! This gadget is basically a fan blowing off water. It is clunky in appearance and NOT at all sturdy looking. i am very dissapointed in this German company. This humidifier is NOT worth over 50 dollars in my opinion. I am very, very disappointed. i recently purchased an Air-O- Swiss humidifier and that is a real winner.
    Don't worry, I don't work for either company. I am a physician....more info
  • Quality product - best humidifier I've ever owned
    Pros:
    - Humidifies and purifies the air
    - No filters
    - Quick to clean
    - Quiet fan, pleasing background noise when running - similiar to the motor of a refrigerator
    - Well designed and built - sturdy plastic
    - Energy efficient

    Cons:
    - Expensive initial investment
    - Cools the air if placed in a standard sized bedroom - in the cold winter this may be a problem for some people

    Notes:
    We've tried 5 different humidifiers the past two winters in our 1st floor home on the dry North East Coast. This is by far the best humidifier we've had. Not only does it humidify wonderfully so that we haven't had to use lip balm on our dry, cracked lips and skin, it also takes out dust, sut, etc. from the air. We have had a Sharper Image Ionic Breeze air purifier in the room next to the one the Venta Airwasher sits in for a year. Before we used the Airwasher, we would have to clean the Sharper Image unit every week. Since we've used the airwasher, we only have to clean the Ionic Breeze every 3 weeks.

    Cleaning this humidifier is the easiest of all the humidifiers I've owned. No filters or scrubbing mold. You wash out the basin and wipe it and the fan with a cloth. Then add a bottle of the Venta water additive and turn it back on. Every six months you pour in the Venta unit cleaner to the basin. At the Venta website you can buy both the water additive and the unit cleaner and they'll ship them to you for free.

    Although the humidifier is a sizable cost up front, with the ten year warranty it breaks down to a more reasonable investment.

    Thank you Venta for making a non-filter humidifier that works and is quick to maintain - and as a bonus cleanses the air....more info
  • Great low tech - weird pricing strategy
    This humdifiyer does what it says: it humidifies the air in an adequately sized room to 40-60%. I bought this one for my bedroom to ease the dryness in the New England winter air and it works wonders. It puts up to 3 gallons of water into my bedroom air per day without any water condensation on my windows and walls. The fan is quiet for my standards. The only thing I found annoying is that the mechanism that rotates the discs moves the whole disc array around in the base which makes a silent but ennerving sound that kept me awake for a night. I solved the problem with two rubber bands wrapped around the disc holds. This works great, but I don't think you should have to do such tweaking on a $320 product. A simple 10c o-ring on each side would completely take care of this. For the money I invested I would expect a much better built quality overall. I guess the high price reflects the 10-year warranty the manufacturer gives, which is pretty exceptional these days. Why this thing won the "red dot design award" is completely obscure to me. Maybe this award is for products being asthetically offensive? But I don't care for the looks. All I wanted was humid air in my bedroom without the noisy bubble and condensation of a steamer or the health hazards of a sonicator. I got it - I'm happy....more info
  • Price too high for what you get.
    I bought one of these things a week ago at BED, BATH, AND BEYOND. I took it home and it was broken on top. I returned it the next day. I took the next one home and it looked okay, until I tried to use it. I was shocked at how cheaply made it is. There is a small piece of silicone strap that drives the little cogs and fingers which in turn drive the evaporation wheels. I could not get one of the two wheels to work. Everything is made of plastic parts that are not very sturdy. Also, on the second unit I got to replace the first one, the plastic housing for the wheels started coming apart. I would have expected something a whole lot better from Germany. I paid around $358, with a discount, for this unit. From what I saw, it is only worth around $50, at the most. You can get a good quality whole house unit for a central AC system for $300. This unit comes with a 10 year warranty. I would have had to use it right away, if I'd kept it. If the warranty is like the unit, watch out for the fine print. Don't waste your money on this one!...more info
  • Noisy and Doesnt Increase Humidity
    This over priced piece of junk was a waste of money. Like some of the other people on this site, I thought that if I purchased the most expensive I was getting the best. WRONG. Two issues: 1) it doesnt generate much humidity. The water in the tank is only about 2 inches lower after two days of operation and our bedroom is still bone dry. 2) the plastic gears that rotate the disk slip every 5-10 minutes, creating a loud "stuttering" noise that wakes us up. I only bought one unit - i was going to get 2 more for the kids - thank god I didnt waste the money.
    DONT BE FOOLED - this doesnt add humidity and its noisy....more info
  • Best Humidifier of All
    I am a pharmacist and have tried a great number of humidifiers available through the various retail Rx chains that I have worked for over the past 25 years. The "drug store" humidifiers are generally disposable. They either break down after a season or two or the filters and or other parts are nearly impossible to purchase a year or two later. The Venta is different. Not only is it quiet, efficient, and easy to maintain, the Venta company backs up its product better than any other company. After 4 years of steady use the motor on our unit failed. I called Venta, gave them the necessary purchase date/serial number info and I had a new motor in 3 days. It is so simply designed that anyone can take it apart for thorough cleaning and or replacement of parts. Thanks Venta. Your product is Tops!...more info
  • Holy Mother of God!!! $439??? and for what?!
    Well, this is quite unbelievable. Have you seen this thing? It is one hysterical piece of engineering - just a small and noisy fan spinning over two sets of plastic disks that slowly rotate inside a water tank. If you think you can skim on water additives, you're wrong. Without those additives, the discs won't even rotate.

    Also, the piece is as attractive and as elegant as a German WWI tank. Think of a car battery prominently featured in your living room. Now, try to find ways of making it blend with the rest of the room. And have I mentioned how noisy this thing is? It generates as much noise as a small fan - oh, well... it IS a small fan, that's the whole point. Nothing about this machine screams, "I am worth half a grand!" I'd say, 50 bucks tops; as for the "good looks" - $30 in Kmart. Oh, by the way... I bought it in "Bed, Bath, and Beyond." I had to return the item and get a replacement; all the insides are made of flimsy materials that break easily. So when I unpacked the original unit, and a few plastic parts fell out, I returned it to the store for exchange. The odd part was that the store manager and I went over several of them, and the three out of the four items we inspected were damaged. AND THEY COME DIRECTLY FROM DEUTSCHLAND!!!

    So if you think that your 30-bucks steam humidifier is dreck because you need to spend time cleaning it with vinegar, think again. In fact, it takes about half an hour to clean this thing. The humidity output is less then that of a typical steam humidifier; again, the engineering is at fault: the fan sucks in the humidifier air faster then it can leave the unit's area. If you still want to buy it, think again.
    ...more info
  • Love the Venta but it's Expensa
    I've been interested in the Venta Airwasher for several years now but the high price has kept me away. However, I recently found the LW42 (model prior to the new LW44) being liquidated on Ebay for $250 (with free shipping). I took the chance and bought one even though it came with a reduced one year warrantee.

    The Venta is very easy to operate & maintain. Just fill it each morning and wipe it clean every 10 days. The unit quietly puts out 3 gallons of moisture daily which has greatly reduced my daughter's coughing bouts. In fact, she hasn't had a single night-time coughing episode since we began using the Venta (2 months ago).

    The Venta is also very energy efficient. Their brochure claims it only consumes the equivalent of a 40 watt bulb. I guess I believe this as my monthly bill did not increase since firing up the unit. The add'l moisture in the air also increases the relative feel (warmth) in my house so the thermostat can be set slighly lower.

    I've found the water additive and cleaner a bit cheaper on buyhardwaresupplies.com and was pleased with their quick service (and free shipping > $50). I'm not knocking Amazon (I buy a lot from them) but I'm always looking for a better price.

    I did not give the Venta 5 stars primarily because of the high purchase price. I also cannot rate the durability as I've only owned it for 2 months. If my unit lasts 5+ winters than it's worth the investment and I'd certainly buy another one.

    ...more info
  • It's been a battle for the last 3 years
    After living with a low end humidifier that did little and made too much noise for the bedroom I decided I would get the best humidifier at any cost. That was three years ago and at that time the Venta fit that bill. My initial impression of the Venta was very good - the idea of a fan blowing over wet disks seems pretty ingenous and solves problems like airborn bacteria, mineral deposits, and gives the machine some air cleaning capabilities. Right from the start I was surprised how poorly it humidified the air - checked with a high quality hygrometer it only raises a medium sized bedroom's humidity by about 5% at maximum speed and is useless at lower speeds. Furthermore, at maximum speed the device sounds like an unusually loud room fan which is difficult to sleep with. People talk about the device being quiet at the slowest speed - which it was - but this setting is ineffective at humidifying even a small room based on my readings with a hygrometer.

    Now I've lived with this unit for 3 years and have encountered further problems that have finally driven me to admit this whole purchase was not a good idea.

    The first problem with this unit is that the "air washing" capability results in the machine getting dirty... but unlike almost every other kind of humidifier this dirt is everywhere on the machine - throughout the disks, all over the fan, all inside surfaces. On the inside surfaces (which have lots of hard to clean nooks) this dirt is similar to a sticky wax and on the wet surfaces its more like a slime. I spend about 30 minutes struggling to clean it each time I try before I feel I've done an OK job. The Venta cleaner additive doesn't work that well on the disks, doesn't do anything for the waxy sludge on the housing because it doesn't touch it, and the unit has so many difficult to clean parts that it's nearly impossible to get all the dirt. I even tried putting the non-electrical parts in the dishwasher which doesn't work either.

    The second problem is that this device can "easily" generate very loud noises to the point that I have to shut the machine off because I'd rather be tormented by dry air than this devices groanings. I say easily because it is possible with enough cleaning and fiddling to keep this device operating at the "merely loud" fan noise that it had when I got it. But after 3 years this is becoming very difficult to accomplish. There are two possible sources for this noise. First, the gears themselves operate by having plastic tabs press against the gears in an undulating fashion. When clean this usually happens quietly... but when even slightly dirty these tabs can make a loud studdering noise that is caused by two materials not moving against each other smoothly. If you've ever heard your car's windshield wipers studder across your windshield instead of smoothly glide over the glass you know what this sounds like. It's not quite that loud, but when you're trying to sleep it might as well be. The second source for this noise is imbalance in the fan. With a little dirt on the leading edge of the fan the fan seems to be aerodynamically or statically out of balance and makes an undulating groan about every 4-6 seconds the way an old fan can be expected to. On a $15 room fan it would be the kind of noise that might cause you to throw it out and get a new one. On a humidifier this expensive?

    Finally the device is sensitive to being assembled in just the right way or it will make the noises I've mentioned above much more easily. Normally you just put the top on the device and you're in business. But with these noises you start pressing on different parts of the top to try to shift the plastic pieces into better alignment. Once you press in just the right way and the device stops making noise you slowly remove the pressue and 99% of the time the noise comes back. If you push and prod you are sometimes able to get the machine to be quite, but often you have to unlatch everything, reseat the fan assembly and start over. That gets old fast when its 3am and the machine just starts making a really annoying noise that wakes you up.

    I call my 3 year journey with this Venta machine a battle because I've tried tons of things to help compensate for this machine's problems. The initial problem of low humidification is because the device sets up its own recirculating airflow that's limited to an area fairly local to the device. The humidity within one foot of the device is very good according to my hygrometer. The humidifier's fan sucks this air back into itself repeatedly. By placing another fan to the side of the Venta to provide room circulating air current you can get an additional 3-5% humidity 5-7 feet away from the device (like where you're head is in bed). Of course now you've got another source of noise in the bedroom.

    To compensate for the gear noise and the dirt problems I've tried adding all kinds of things to the water that might act as either a cleaner or a lubricant or both. I've tried double quantities of the Venta additive, a variety of soaps, various aeromatic oils in quantities where the oil's lubricant properites might help. Really nothing is effective.

    In the end I have to say that I'm most dissapointed by this machine's price. The unit is nothing more than a large hunk of plastic with fan on top of it. If it was made in China this unit would cost $39.95. But its made in Germany by a company that seems to be over charging far beyond what the added expense of German manufacturing and poor exchange rate would explain. Being German made I was expecting that the unit be better engineered. The machine is built well - nothing has broken in 3 years of constant operation. Its weaknesses are not structural. There are simple ways of eliminating the problems I've listed. Fan noise can be reduced by using a larger, slower moving fan with more and better bearings (something that should be expected in a $500 device). The gear mechanism that generates so much noise should be replaced with a non-contact device like a magnetic drive similar to high grade aquarium pumps. A top of the line magnetically driven pump costs 1/3 of what this Venta costs so magnetic mechanisms should easly have been considered for a $500 device. That these obvious techiques... or any others... are not employed on a device of this cost in the face of its inherent problems is criminal.

    99% of the time I recommend spending the extra money (even if it's 5-10 times more) and getting a machine built the right way. This machine is not built the right way - it's just 5-10 times as expensive. I don't believe anyone is building a humidifier the right way at this time. Given this I would have to recommend one of the 4+ star devices for $50-70 - steam seems to be the best for avoiding white powder and bacteria. I've purchased two Honeywell HWM450 steam humidfiers for $55 each. Their ability to humidify is incredible. In the same bedroom with 50% humidity the Vental might get it up to 55%. The Honeywell can get it to 70% if you want and has digital controls for setting the exact humidy you want (although they don't work that well). Overall any shortcomings of the $55 Honeywell are not related to it's main function - humidifying. The same can't be said for the VENTA....more info
  • High quality humidifier, exceptionally easy to operate and maintain.
    The Venta LW44 Air Humidifier is as advertised.

    First, it is exceptionally easy to set up, operate, and maintain. It took me less than five minutes to take the humidifier out of the box and place it in position in the front hall. Another couple of minutes were spent reading the few directions that tell you to add the cleansing ingredient included in the box to the water to make sure the fans function effectively. I filled up the tank, turned on the machine, and walked away.

    Second, daily maintenance is a snap. I take off the cover in the morning and evening and fill the machine to capacity, put the top on, and walk away. At the end of almost two weeks I brought the machine to the sink, emptied it, rinsed and wiped it out, filled it, added cleaner, placed it back in position, and turned it on again. This might have taken five minutes or so.

    Third, the machine quietly puts a couple of gallons of water each day into the air. The Venta is exceptionally quiet and extremely effective. I'm not sure how much cleaner the air is, but we are no longer sneezing from breathing dry, dusty air.

    Summary, the Venta LW44 is exceptionally easy to set up, operate, and maintain. The technology of rotating disks works as advertised to add moisture to a dry environment. The air seems to be cleaner, but I can't attest to the extent or degree of improvement beyond saying that we are breathing easier.

    Others have discussed the high price of this machine, but if it lasts ten years as advertised, it is well worth the purchase price. Cleaning solution is a modest cost I am willing to pay to keep the machine running effectively. Highly recommended. ...more info
  • Expensive, but very quiet and effective
    Having used a Venta humidifier in Germany several years ago, I was delighted to see that they are selling in the U.S. now as well. I had a case of sticker shock though, as they are now much more expensive than their older models used to be, but since I used to be very happy with them, I decided to go ahead and buy one anyway.

    All Venta humidifiers belong to the class of cool mist humidifiers, which in my opinion is the best principle, as you don't "over-humidify" the room. Normally a cool mist humidifier has a filter that sucks up water from the tank and a fan blows air through the filter. Thus the water evaporates into the air and increases its humidity.

    The difference in the Venta humidifier is that it doesn't use filters, but two arrays of plastic disks that rotate through the water. A fan on top of the device sucks suckes air through those disk arrays and the water drops that were lifted up from the tank evaporate.

    One of my major gripes with other cool mist humidifiers is that the fan is very noisy even on the lowest setting. The Venta fan is pleasantly quiet. I keep the device in my bedroom at night on the lowest fan speed and I don't notice the fan at all.

    While it is true that you won't have to replace filters every few months, you WILL need to replace the water treatment additive at every cleaning cycle (usually 10-14 days), so there ARE some maintenance costs. The LW44 comes with two fillings of the additive, afterwards you have to spent about USD 16-18 for a bottle of the water treatment which will last for 12 cleaning cycles (4-6 months). Venta also sells a cleaning solution, but according to their manual you won't need it in most cases. In any case the cleaning solution costs about $10 and is only good for one cleaning, so using it frequently will really drive the maintenance costs up.

    All in all this is indeed the best humidifier that I ever had. I'm not giving it five stars, because I still think the price is outrageously high....more info
  • Effective, Intelligent & Expensive
    Update on January 15, 2008:

    Yesterday, the motor in my Venta unit began making a grinding sound after nearly six year of flawless operation. I called Venta customer service this afternoon. After wating a rather long time on hold, I was connected to a very pleasant man, George, who asked me to put the phone next to the motor so he could hear the noise. I did, and he did.

    Without a moment's hesitation, George said he would have a new motor shipped at no cost to me, and that delivery could be expected within 5 - 7 business days.

    It's always a pleasant surprise to find a company standing unquestioningly behind their warranty. If only more understood that's all it takes to create loyal customers.

    *****

    Update on September 17, 2007:

    I'm pleased to report , my review, below, is still true in every detail. This product has been a terrific investment.

    *****

    I live in a desert~like New York City apartment and have owned my Venta Air Washer for almost exactly two years. During this time it has been operating on the "high" setting, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The Air Washer lives up to all of the manufacturer's claims.

    The Air Washer is a product of fanatical German engineering, over~design and bullet~proof construction, which accounts for it's rather grotesque price. However, I have owned products of inferior engineering and construction that have had to be replaced after one or two seasons. It is obvious I will own my Air Washer for many years to come.

    The principles of operation could not be more simple (it's like a High School science project developed into a luxury product):

    1) A fan blows room air straight down into a reservoir of water.

    2) In this reservoir of water, a few dozen disks are slowly rotating to multiply the surface area that is wet.

    3) Because you are blowing air onto a enlarged wet surface you are multiplying the rate of evaporation.

    4) Humidified air is exhausted out of the Air Washer through vents in the side.

    THIS WORKS.

    On the "high" setting the water reservoir needs to be refilled daily in my apartment (this is highly dependent on your local weather or heating cycle). I end up carrying a couple gallons of water to the device or carrying the device to the bathtub and then back to its spot in my livingroom.

    The design of the Air Washer is "neutral." It sits unobtrusive and un~noticed in a corner. It is nearly silent. It is built like a tank: It would be a challenge to damage this product on purpose.

    Why not Five Stars?

    The Venta Air Washer consumes expendables. You need a water treatment solution to prevent mineral deposits forming on the rotating disks mentioned above (weekly). AND you need a periodic cleaning solution to remove deposits that develop pn the bottoms and walls of the reservoir. I have tried operating the Air Washer without these things. They are required for optimal performance.

    Like the device itself, the Venta treatment and cleaning solutions work perfectly and simply. But, THE EXPENDIBLES ARE EXPENSIVE! Assume youy will spend US$50.00 per year.

    Also, you would think that for a company selling a FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR humidifier, the Venta aroma therapy scents would smell a bit less like a Central American bordello (not that I've ever seen one of those). Skip these even if they're free samples.

    If you want the very best at any price, buy this product.

    I am not affiliated with either the manufacturer or Amazon....more info