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Everyone wants a fresh-smelling and comfortable home, but humidity can cause dampness, mustiness, and even mold. You don't have to put up with indoor mugginess just because you live in a humid climate, though. A dehumidifier can help.
But how do you find the dehumidifier that’s right you? All kinds of makes and models are on the market, and selecting the best unit to meet your requirements can seem like a daunting task.
Don’t worry. At BestReviews, we've done the research so you don't have to.
We test products in our labs, consult experts, gather information from existing customers, and analyze data. The result: fair, thorough product reviews and recommendations you can trust. We also consult experts like Caroline, America's Healthy Home Expert, to provide the most thorough, helpful information possible.
Above, you'll find a product matrix featuring our five favorite dehumidifiers. Please click on any product that interests you to learn more.
If you’d like to gather more information about dehumidifiers before making a purchase, just keep reading.
A top-of-the-line dehumidifier is a fairly large purchase, so you might be on the fence about whether or not to buy one. If you can’t decide, here are some reasons why a dehumidifier is a smart buy.
Dehumidifiers decrease the likelihood of mold growth on your walls, around your windows, and in your linens and clothing.
Dried foods such as grains, flour, and cereal last longer in a less-humid environment.
Small dehumidifiers in bathrooms help towels dry and stop mold from forming around tiles — especially if you don't have a ceiling fan.
In the event of flooding, a powerful dehumidifier will dry your home out faster.
Lower humidity can curb certain allergens, such as dust mites and mildew.
Dehumidifiers can reduce dampness in the walls and help get rid of musty smells.
America’s Healthy Home Expert® for over 17 years, Caroline Blazovsky is certified in indoor air quality, environmental house investigations, sustainable design, green lifestyles, and healthy homes. Caroline works with physicians and clients across the country to improve wellness by creating healthy living spaces through her company My Healthy Home®. She is a recognized media expert educating the public about home safety and wellness. To learn more about Caroline, visit www.healthyhomeexpert.com
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Keystone Energy Star Dehumidifier, 70-Pint
The Keystone KSTAD70B's standout feature is its controls. Owners can choose between “normal,” “turbo,” and “auto-defrost” modes depending on their level of need. If your basement floods, for example, you might take advantage of the turbo setting. We especially like the auto-defrost mode because compressor-driven humidifiers like this one have a tendency to freeze with constant use during high humidity. Keystone Features we admire include an air filter sensor, 24-hour timer, and programmable humidistat. A clear gauge on the side of the 1.3-gallon water tank helps users judge its fullness, but it can be emptied at any level. Our lab testers noticed that the tank fits quite precisely onto the back of the unit and must be removed with care. It's bulky and heavy when full.
Think about how much moisture you'll need your dehumidifier to handle. Caroline says you need to purchase a dehumidifier that fits your size home and area you want to dehumidify, as well as the climate (dew point is a more reliable measure to consider than temperature).
Mini-capacity dehumidifiers remove 12 to 25 ounces of moisture per day. They're not designed to dehumidify whole living spaces but can be useful in bathrooms and crawl spaces.
Small-capacity dehumidifiers remove 20 to 30 pints of moisture per day, so they're best for small spaces that are damp but not wet.
Medium-capacity dehumidifiers remove 40 to 50 pints of moisture per day. Use them for medium-sized spaces or large spaces that are only slightly damp.
Large-capacity dehumidifiers remove up to 70 pints of moisture per day, so they can tackle large, wet spaces.
When the dehumidifier is in a defrost cycle, the cost to operate the unit will increase, but the amount of water being pulled out of the air will be very minimal – cooler air does not hold as much moisture as warmer air. If a system does not have a defrost unit built in the unit will freeze up and stop dehumidifying.
Most dehumidifiers have either a simple dial or digital controls.
Those with a dial typically allow you to choose between a few pre-set humidity levels, such as "normal," "dry," and "very dry."
Those with digital controls allow for much greater precision when selecting a humidity level.
Look for a model with digital controls if you want to be able to set a specific humidity level as a percentage.
Many dehumidifiers have timers, letting you set the time of day you want the unit to switch itself on.
This is useful if you want the appliance to run while you're out of the house, switch itself on at night when your electricity use is lower, or if you're simply likely to forget to turn it on.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Eva-dry Electric Petite Dehumidifier
The pint-size Eva-dry Edv-1100 is designed for modest dehumidifying tasks. While the manufacturer's claim of up to 1,100 cubic feet of coverage may be a reach, the Eva-dry performed respectably in our lab tests, removing 95 ml of water from our test chamber and dropping relative humidity from 80% to 62%. This unit is light enough to be easily placed in a remote location like a crawl space and strong enough to keep a bathroom mold-free. However, it's not powerful enough to reduce the humidity in an entire living space, save perhaps for something small like an RV.
All that moisture removed from the air has to go somewhere — and that somewhere is a tank inside the unit.
Each model is rated for a different cubic feet per minute (CFM) based on the capacity of the dehumidifier, explains Caroline. The greater the capacity of the dehumidifier, the greater the overall CFM of the dehumidifier.
Tanks range in size from around 10 to 75 pints and need to be emptied when full.
The larger the tank, the less often you'll need to empty it, but the heavier it will be when it's full of water.
Dehumidifiers aren't the quietest appliances.
Medium- and large-capacity units tend to produce about 55 to 67 decibels when running at full power.
Small-capacity dehumidifiers are quieter but still far from silent.
If you're going to be using the unit in your bedroom at night, look for models with lower noise levels.
Make the most of your dehumidifier, and deal with dampness and humidity in your home, with these tips.
Using a dehumidifier in a dirty room can spread dust and clog the air filter, if your unit has one. Vacuum before you use your dehumidifier for the first time. Keep any spaces in which you regularly use a dehumidifier well-vacuumed and dusted.
Don’t block the input or output. Station your dehumidifier at least an inch or two from walls, curtains, and furniture.
Some of the products can be heavy. Be sure you are aware of the weight and size of the product before having it delivered (one may need help getting the unit into a basement or crawlspace).
Washing and drying clothes indoors releases a lot of moisture into the air. Placed near your laundry space, a dehumidifier can make a positive difference in humidity.
Dehumidifiers can help with dampness, but they won't fix the root cause. Unless your home’s dampness is caused by living in a humid area, it's worth getting an expert to check that you don't have a problem like leaky pipes.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Ivation Powerful Mid-Size Thermo-Electric Intelligent Dehumidifier
The Peltier-driven Ivation IVADM45 Mid-Size Dehumidifier takes in far less air than refrigeration-style units. The manufacturer says it can be used in a room of up to 2,200 cubic feet. Our tests show decent performance, but smallish Peltier-effect dehumidifiers do not perform anywhere near the level of monster compressor-driven models.
The main factor affecting the price of a dehumidifier is its capacity.
Expect to pay roughly $180 to $300 for a large-capacity dehumidifier that can tackle up to 70 pints per day.
A medium-capacity dehumidifier that removes up to 50 pints of moisture per day costs around $150 to $200.
For a small-capacity dehumidifier capable of tackling up to 30 pints of moisture per day, expect to pay $100 to $150.
A mini-capacity dehumidifier that can remove 12 to 25 ounces per day can cost as little as $30 to $50.
It's worth noting that price doesn't necessarily equal quality with dehumidifiers. Just because a unit is expensive doesn't mean it's good. Take a look at our top picks in the matrix above, or consult customer reviews to find out whether a specific model is worth its price.
If you live in a climate with four seasons, you will need a dehumidifier that can dehumidify in colder temperatures without freezing up. Also, one does not need to dehumidifier a basement or crawlspace that is below 60°F.
Q. Do I need a dehumidifier with a hose connection?
A. A dehumidifier with a hose connection allows you to divert the collected water directly to a drain or sink so you don't have to empty the tank. This can be useful if you're running your unit in a basement with a floor drain or sink — or if the dehumidifier is in a practical location to divert the water straight out of the window into an outside drain or onto your lawn.
Not everyone needs a dehumidifier with a hose connection, but some people find it’s an invaluable feature.
Q. Will a dehumidifier help with my allergies?
A. Running a dehumidifier can help reduce certain indoor allergens. Some allergens — such a mold and dust mites — need a humid environment to thrive. Keeping the humidity in your home below 50% will help reduce allergens.
Q. What is a humidistat?
A. A humidistat tests the humidity in the air, so the dehumidifier can maintain the level you've selected. For instance, if you set a dehumidifier to maintain a room at 50% humidity, the humidistat can tell when humidity drops to 50% or below, at which point the dehumidifier will switch itself off.
Q. How do I maintain my dehumidifier?
A. You don't need to do much to keep a dehumidifier in good working order. Just make sure you clean the air filter about once a month, empty the tank every one to two days, and occasionally clean the tank to stop the build-up of limescale or bacteria.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.