on March 21, 2004
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.
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.
on January 16, 2005
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.
on December 18, 2005
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.
on December 7, 2013
This is an GREAT, quality humidifier (not so much as an air purifier). If you are looking for a great AIR PURIFIER, I highly recommend the IQAir New Edition HealthPro Plus Air Purifier, which is pricey but worth it).
I purchased my first Venta Airwasher LW25 almost 10 years ago. I currently own 5 Ventas ... both the LW25 and LW45 ... in white and gray. I did extensive research on various allergy/asthma websites before ultimately deciding to purchase the Venta. Yes, it is expensive ... but well worth it for humidifying the air. In all these years, I have not found another product that even comes close to the Venta (for humidifying the air). There is absolutely no white dust on anything when using this unit. I purchased it to humidify the bedrooms and living room during the cold winters (when the heat is running almost non-stop), not as an air purifier. There is a noticeable/drastic improvement in the air humidity when it is running versus not running. My family sleeps so much better with the Venta and IQAir HealthPro Plus running ... no nose bleeds, no coughing.
Since I purchased my Venta as a humidifier (not a purifier), I don't use it in the summer (when the humidity is naturally high) and only use the IQAir HealthPro Plus. The Venta should not be used in areas/times where the humidity is high because it will over humidify the room. (There is no humidity control/monitor on the unit.) For this reason, during the summer, I put my Ventas away and only use air purifiers to clean the air in my bedrooms. The Venta works best when you can close the room off (i.e., shutting the door to the room); however, it still works in big open rooms (i.e., living room) ... just not as good. It has 3 levels of operation. On level 1 it is extremely quiet and on level 3 it provides enough "white noise" for a great night's sleep. (My family has trouble falling asleep when it is too quiet in the room.)
YES, you do need to buy/use the Venta Airwasher Venta Water Treatment, 35oz Bottle. I repeat ... YOU NEED TO BUY/USE the VENTA WATER TREATMENT ADDITIVE. It needs to be added to fresh/clean water every 2 weeks (after you clean the tank). It is similar to salt in salt water, where it stays in the tank during those 2 weeks (and you just add water). The Water Treatment Additive keeps the water from getting that musty/moldy smell and helps prevent hard water deposits from building up on the inside of the Venta during the 2 weeks that you are just adding water (and not emptying/cleaning the unit). It works!
Venta has made some changes to their current model, compared to the units that I purchased over 8-10 years ago. I like the new blue-lit display and the fact that you can leave the setting level (1, 2 or 3) and just turn the unit on/off (without cycling through all the settings to turn it on/off, as it was in the older model). The new model also now auto-shuts off and the display goes red when the water level is too low. The plug on the current model does not seem as heavy duty as the previous model. It is more of a cordless phone-like plug now versus the older heavy-duty paper shredder-like plug. The motor/fan is much lighter and the base and wheel are slightly wider than those on the older version. Overall, happy with the improvements.
I own 4 LW25s and 1 LW44s. The advantage of the LW45 over the LW25 is the tank is almost double the size and it has 2 wheels so it can humidify a larger room (or a smaller room faster) and does not need to be filled as frequently. Generally, one tank of the LW25 can run 12 hours in my child's room during the winter before it needs to be re-filled.
I think both the black and white units look nice in a room, so it is just comes down to personal preference on the color.
Cleaning the unit is relatively easy. The tank, wheel and top (after you remove the fan/motor from it) can all be soaked/cleaned in the tub easily. The fan (and its parts) are a little more difficult since the fan motor cannot be submerged in water (but can only be wiped down). This really isn't a problem until you've owned the unit for a year or so and dust and other film/deposits start to build up on the parts. Still, given this, the Venta unit is easier to clean and maintain than other humidifiers ... especially since it only needs to be done every 2 weeks.
One final note: When you get your Venta Air Washer, write down the unique serial number and register your product. The number is only on a sticker in the top and fades over time. Again, buy and use the Water Treatment Additive every 2 weeks.
BTW ... Of my 4 older units ... ONE unit the fan motor started sounding funny/sticking after 8 years of use (so I tossed it this year), ONE unit the buttons are sticking (but it still works) and the other 2 units still work fine.
Highly recommend the Venta Airwasher for a humidifier and the IQAir HealthPro Plus for an air purifier!
on November 10, 2007
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.
on May 17, 2015
We purchased this in January 2015 and used it for the remainder of the cold dry Michigan winter. We had the air washer running 24/7 in our bedroom at the level 2 setting. Definitely did it's job of filtering the air as we found plenty of sediment in the bottom of the air washer every two weeks when we cleaned it. We added a gallon of water to the washer every day and noticed a huge improvement in the moisture in the air. The device is well made and easy to clean.
This is my third Venta Humidifier so I'm clearly a huge fan. My other two are the larger Venta Airwasher Humidifier LW45 WHITE models.
I've been though several types of humidifiers and every other one had serious drawbacks. Ultrasonic humidifiers leave a fine white dust. Swamp-cooler (fan blowing on sponge) humidifiers get moldy which is the opposite of what I want to blow into my air.
On the other hand, Venta is advertised as an Airwasher which implies that it cleans the air. In fact, it really does. If you fill the filter with clean water and check on it before it runs out you'll see that the water is dirty. The dirt came from the air.
Others have reported problems with their Ventas clogging up with mineral deposits. I haven't had that problem sine the water here isn't too bad in that regard. Venta sells Venta Airwasher Venta Water Treatment, 35oz Bottle to help prevent this but for me it didn't make any noticeable difference.
I clean mine periodically with white vinegar and a toothbrush. I wouldn't put it in a dishwasher like some users suggest since the plastic might melt.
My only minor complaint is that sometime the lid's motor and the water wheel don't engage the first try so you have to do a visual inspection to make sure it's actually working after you add water. Other than that, this product is built to last out of high-quality materials.
I think this is the best humidifier on the market.
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.
on April 18, 2009
Even though I have an LW14, the smallest of the three units offered by Venta, I thought I would post my comments here since it seems to be the most read section of the reviews.
I'd like to start out by stating that I am a smoker. Yes, I know, I'm a bad man, but let's skate on past that for the moment so you'll understand just why I think the Venta is such a great product. I live in Colorado where the humidity can get as low as 5% on some days. I keep my bedroom door closed year round to prevent my cats from overwhelming me while I sleep, read or watch television and just generally trashing my room with bits of fur and whatnot. Keeping the window cracked for ventilation in the winter keeps my room well below gas chamber thresholds while I smoke but also reduces the humidity to that of the outside air. I also have electric baseboard heat which further reduces the humidity in my room. While I have a large Hunter humidifier/air purifier that sits next to my wood stove for the rest of the house it's affects obviously can't be felt in my bedroom.
I tried the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze to purify the air in my bedroom but the cigarette smoke overwhelmed it and I had to clean it frequently, otherwise I'd have to endure the "short circuit" sound it puts out when the plates would get dirty. I've also read negative reports about breathing the high levels of ionized air put out by the unit.
Having said all of that, I have to say that the Venta has exceeded my expectations. Yes, the fan is a little loud on the LW14 but I bought this one used and a new fan may be quieter. I've also bought an LW24 for my girlfriend and it's 3 setting fan is indeed whisper quiet on the lowest setting. My bedroom now smells and feels fresh and clean and I feel that I'm eliminating the smell of tobacco in my room almost completely. While tobacco may be my vice that doesn't mean I care for it's affects on the walls of the room or the smell of stale tobacco, but no one's come up with a nicotine delivery system that doesn't leave those deposits behind, yet, so...
To all those that complain about the price let me say that you're buying a unit that has a 10 YEAR WARRANTY! How people expect the company to support such a warranty with a $50 product and still show a profit is beyond me. Show me another company that provides such a warranty, because I'm not aware of one. I agree with the comments that state that the unit as constructed could go for $50 or so at a Big Box store, but then it would have a 90 day warranty. I know as Americans we've been trained to believe that planned obsolescence is good, but I don't buy it...which is why I drive a Volvo...8) From all accounts, including my own experiences with Venta customer service, they're exceedingly liberal about supplying replacement parts. Contrast that against a company like Black & Decker where getting replacement parts under warranty just about takes an act of Congress.
Could the plastic housings be more robust? Certainly, and I do agree that it should be because they appear to be a bit thin and delicate. Treat the unit gently and you won't have a problem. But again, Venta customer service will take care of you if approached correctly. Get shrill and demanding and they'll most likely give you a hard time in return. Be reasonable and calm and they'll take care of you. American buyers expect their things to be as robust as a Timex watch, which takes a lickin' and keep on tickin', while German buyers appear to have a different sensibility about such things. Different strokes and all of that...
To those who complain about the looks of the unit I have to point out that it's a an air purifier/humidifier, not a merry go round. If you want something flashy, buy it, but expect to replace it on a regular basis. Form follows function...or should...and this unit meets that model. As consumers we're being led by the nose by American manufacturers to believe that flash over substance is what we should buy. I believe we should think for ourselves and be smart consumers, not lemmings.
To those that prefer 70% humidity I suggest that they live in a sauna...or the Amazon. Sweating walls and windows create the perfect breeding ground for mold, which has it's own health downside. 40 to 45% humidity is perfectly acceptable from a health and comfort perspective, given where I live.
In summation, I would absolutely recommend this unit to others. The initial purchase price can be a bit daunting but shop around a bit and you'll find a more reasonable purchase price than the MSRP.
The concept of an air purifier + humidifier in one seems too good to be true. Can 1 product really do the work of 2 machines? Well, yes and no. i've had an LW15 for almost 5 years and this is my 2nd unit.
the small LW15 size does an OK job, but get a larger unit-- much better. We all know ionic purifiers release ozone into the air, so this is still a filter-less, more healthy alternative. How? WATER is the filter. The fan intake pulls in dirty air; airborne particles get trapped in the water tank and sink to the bottom, while venting out fresh air evaporating near the top. The proof? After a few days, pour out the water and look at the collected particulate and pet hair. It does the job, but even in my tiny bedroom, the LW15 isn't powerful enough, even on 'high' setting. I should have gotten an LW25 or LW45 to increase the airwashing power.
Sadly, in my tiny NYC bedroom, the LW15 is not strong enough to humidify the air, and i still woke up with a dry nose. Therefore, I currently use TWO LW15's and put them on 'high' setting next to my bed, which is much better.
Truthfully, it's a better airwasher than humidifier. The LW15 merely balances out the dryness to an equilibrium. But i like my space to be on the moist, tropical-temp side of the equilibrium. It's just not powerful enough to emit loads of water into the air.
+German efficiency and quality (my nearly 5 yr old unit still runs perfectly)
+genius design of only 3 parts - motor, cylinder, and housing unit. No filter.
+easy to clean
+responsive customer service
+Expensive (but you can find used ones on Craigslist for cheap)
+LW15 size not strong enough to be effective even in small room - get LW25 or LW45 instead)
Despite the cons, i love the quality of Venta and the genius theory behind it, but the LW15 size is not strong enough to be effective even in small room. I HIGHLY recommend getting 2 sizes up and bonus-- you won't have to refill as often)
If you're unsure and need serious quantifiable power for purifying and humidifying, then get 2 separate machines. But if you lack the real estate (like me), and you want a good quality 2-in-1 machine, this is the absolute best. Don't go to Bed Bath & Beyond and get a cheapie purifier/humidifier hybrid-- this one does so much more and is worth the money.
The only hidden costs is buying the Venta treatment additive (a few squirts to the water) to improve performance. It costs about $18-20 a bottle, and i buy only 2-3 bottles a year. Less costly than filters.