The last decade has witnessed the emergence of hydrovoltaic technology, which can harvest electricity from different forms of water movement, such as raindrops, waves, flows, moisture, and natural evaporation. In particular, the evaporation-induced hydrovoltaic effect received great attention since its discovery in 2017 due to its negative heat emission property. Nevertheless, the influence of electrode reactions in evaporation-induced power generation is not negligible due to the chemical reaction between active metal electrodes and water, which leads to “exceptional” power generation. Herein, we designed a series of experiments based on air-laid paper devices with electrodes of different activities as the top and bottom electrodes. To verify the contribution of electrodes, we compared the output performance of different electrode combinations when the device was partially-wetted and fully-wetted. The device hydrophilicity, salt concentration, and acidity or basicity of solutions were also comprehensively investigated. It is demonstrated that the chemical reaction of active metals (Zn, Cu, Ag, etc.) with different aqueous solutions can generate considerable electrical energy and significantly distort the device performance, especially for Zn electrodes with an output voltage from ~ 1.26 to ~ 1.52 V and current from ~ 1.24 to ~ 75.69 μA. To promote the long-term development of hydrovoltaic technology, we recommend use of inert electrodes in hydrovoltaic studies, such as Au and Pt, especially in water and moisture environment.