Humidifier is an important component in air humidification-dehumidification desalination plant for fresh water production. Liquid to air flow rate ratio is optimization is reported for an industrial cooling towers but for an air humidifier it is not addressed. The current work is focused on the design and analysis of an air humidifier for solar desalination plant to maximize the yield with better humidification, using finite difference method (FDM). The outlet conditions of air from the humidifier are theoretically predicted by FDM with the given inlet conditions, which will be further used in the design calculation of the humidifier. Hot water to air flow rate ratio and inlet hot water temperature are identified as key operating parameters to evaluate the humidifier performance. The maximum and optimal values of mass flow rate ratio of water to air are found to be 2.15 and 1.5 respectively using packing function and Merkel Integral. The height of humidifier is constrained to 1.5 m and the diameter of the humidifier is found as 0.28m. The performance of humidifier and outlet conditions of air are simulated using FDM and compared with experimental results. The obtained results are within an agreeable range of deviation. © 2017 Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.