Best Dehumidifiers

Updated November 2020
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Buying guide for best dehumidifiers

Depending on where you live, humidity can range from being a minor nuisance to a destructive force. Too much humidity in your home can cause your wood to rot while it facilitates mold growth. You don't want to take any chances with your family's safety or health by purchasing an inferior dehumidifier.

The best models have a hygrometer that monitors how much moisture is in the air and automatically turns the unit on whenever those levels exceed desirable limits. Alternatively, you can get a unit with a programmable timer so it only operates at designated times. An Energy Star certified dehumidifier with a high capacity tank that is adequately sized for your room or home is ideal.

If you're ready to start battling the moisture in your home, consider purchasing one of the models in this article. If you desire more information on how dehumidifiers work and what other features you should consider, continue reading this article.

Why buy a dehumidifier?

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 mould 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.

Dehumidifier considerations

Capacity

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.

Testing dehumidifiers
After researching 103 dehumidifiers, we purchased two that made it into our top tier. We tested their ability to thoroughly dehumidify a home, as well as the noise they produce.
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Controls

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.

Timer

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.

Tank size

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.

Noise level

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.

Dehumidifier tips

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.

  • 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.

Dehumidifier prices

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 product list above, or consult customer reviews to find out whether a specific model is worth its price.

The amount of water a dehumidifier can pull from the air can be shocking, and the difference it can make in air quality is substantial.

FAQ

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.

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