Best Dehumidifier Research & Buying Guide

Best Dehumidifier Research & Buying Guide

Our Updated Research on Choosing the Best Dehumidifier

We've updated our research guide on the best dehumidifiers this year in order to help you find the appliance that will solve your issues most effectively. We hope along the way you also learn a bit about how dehumidifiers work, typical dehumidifier options, and solving the most common problems with your dehumidifier.

As always, we use the Mentor Methodology to conduct our research. That means we start with real problems - not just the end products - to determine what's the best recommendation for a dehumidifier. We hope you find this guide helpful!

Before we begin, here's a quick overview of what you will find in this guide:

  • Do you actually need a dehumidifier? Breaking it down.
  • How do dehumidifiers work? What are the options I should consider? And what is the right size device for me?
  • Best Dehumidifiers by specific use.
  • Troubleshooting dehumidifier issues.

Impatient? Just Jump to our Best Dehumidifiers by Room

If you're a "just give me the answers" type of person, this is your section. You can simply skip all the background information!

You can see a table of all our best dehumidifier choices, and links to the deeper reviews if you're interested.

And if you're still reading, then let's begin!

The Right Amount of Humidity

'Humidity is always relative' meteorologists like to say!

What is relative humidity? And how does it affect your indoor environment? Absolute humidity is the actual amount of moisture in air. But, in order to understand how the moisture affects you, relative humidity has to be considered.

Relative humidity is the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold. It is not just the moisture level in the room or outdoors, it also has to do with the temperature inside or out. If the relative humidity is 100%, that translates to the amount of water the air can hold at the current temperature. So if the temperature in your home is 75 degrees and the relative humidity is 80%, the air is holding onto 80% moisture at that temperature. If the temperature rises, the relative humidity goes up as well.

People are affected by relative humidity because our skin rids itself of excess fluid through the air. If you're sweating, the body is trying to cool itself by releasing moisture. When the air is too wet, or at 100% humidity in a room with a temperature of 75 degrees, it means the sweat will not be able to evaporate off your skin. This will make you hotter and more uncomfortable.

A temperature of 75 degrees will feel like 77 degrees with 100% humidity inside your home or office. With an inside humidity level of only 20%, 75 degrees feels like 72 degrees. (See the calculator here.) A lower amount of humidity in your home will help you feel cooler!

Also, when the moisture level in the air is high in your home, and the temperature cools down, the air will 'shed' water. You see this when a glass of iced tea is taken outside to humid, warm air. Condensation forms from the water being released by the air. Problems arise in your home, office, RV, or other indoor spaced when condensation increases. This is where a small dehumidifier is perfect for a small room or if you have too much condensation in your garage, you can purchase a dehumidifier for garages.

The suggested level of humidity in your home is 40 to 60%. The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, recommends 30 to 50% moisture for indoor air. Indoor humidity levels over these amounts for a long period of time will increase the negative effects of high humidity in your home.

You need a certain amount of humidity inside to feel comfortable. But too much can cause havoc in many areas.

Install dehumidifiers for Allergies

​ALLERGIES

​High humidity in your home can cause microorganisms and allergens to build up and thrive, making allergy sufferers sick. Humidity levels in excess of 75% will provide a thriving breeding ground for dust mites and other allergy culprits.

​ASTHMA

​Damp air inside your living or working space will affect respiratory ailments like asthma, COPD- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and PH - pulmonary hypertension. The dangerous molds and fungi that exasperate these conditions grow freely in moist indoor air. Even people without these medical conditions, can suffer from difficult breathing if the humidity inside is over 75%.

Install dehumidifiers for asthma

​BUGS

​Bugs love high humidity! When it's warm and humidity levels are 70-80% or higher, creepy crawlers and bug mites love to make their home in your living space causing an increase in spiders, roaches, beetles, fleas, and more. 

Install dehumidifiers for Chemical Contaminants

​CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION

​The inside of buildings contains many building and décor products that are made from materials that contain small amounts of chemical contaminants such as formaldehyde. A process called 'off-gassing' happens normally as these small amounts of chemicals are released into the air. High humidity will increase the rate of off-gassing, increasing the toxicity of your air. 

Dehumidifiers for Electronics

​ELECTRONICS

​Electronics hate humidity. Condensation can cause corrosion on electronics and moisture can short circuits. This includes any electronics, which we all have much of in today's society: computers, televisions, cellular phones, tablets, and home security and comfort gadgets. 

Dehumidifiers for Air Borne Illnesses

​ILLNESS

​Viruses and bacteria do very well in damp, humid environments. Air that contains 60% humidity and above, can increase your chances of getting air borne illnesses in your own living space. A work office with high humidity levels is a mixture for danger when you add coworkers who are sneezing and coughing. Those bacteria and virus germs multiply and spread quickly in humidity.

Dehumidifiers that are harmless toWalls & Furniture

​WALLS and FURNITURE

​Think about your walls and your furniture. Stains from excess humidity can indicate rot in the wall materials and wallpaper can peel from the dampness. Ceilings may end up with rings of moisture stains and too much humidity can distort furniture and make cabinets hard to close or chairs that don't sit flush on the floor anymore. 

Dehumidifier Benefits

All dehumidifiers are designed to do one thing; reduce the amount of humidity in the air thus reducing the risk of allergens, bugs, and damage from various causes of high humidity.

A dehumidifier provides quite a few benefits whether you use it at home or at your office. Homes may have damp basements or hard-to-reach crawlspaces that are prone to flooding and moisture buildup. Apartments are typically at the mercy of other units around them, and their tenants. Temperature changes in mobile homes or RVs may cause condensation. All are valid circumstances for too much moisture in your indoor air.

One side effect from moist indoor air can be odors that go with mold and mildew causing a musty or old, rotted smell. When the air permeates with these odors, you know the mold causing it is being breathed in and spreading throughout your home. A dehumidifier will greatly reduce or eliminate the mold hidden in dark, warm moist areas. Mold can also gather on curtains, draperies, in carpeting, and on your clothing.

People in the deep south-eastern states of America know how it's almost impossible to keep dry foods from becoming stale or worse, soggy when the humidity and hot temperatures of summer creep into your home. Breads will mold faster and cereals will become stale. A dehumidifier will create a safer environment for your family by keeping the moisture levels low and foods fresher.

Using a dehumidifier will also prevent germs from multiplying and spreading and will keep dust at bay to reduce allergens. Dust will float out of windows, can be vacuumed up, removed with dust rags, and be eliminated with a dehumidifier. Removing excess moisture from the indoor air prevents the dust from becoming moist and heavy and makes it easier to get rid of. You will find you don't have to clean as often also. Of course, less indoor humidity will reduce respiratory system irritants and allow you to feel more comfortable in your home.

Another great benefit of a dehumidifier is saving money on energy costs to run your air conditioning. Air conditioners may remove a bit of water from air, but not nearly as much as a dehumidifier. The condensation leaves behind excess water which flows into a collection area built into the dehumidifier or in the case of a whole house unit, through a hose and down a drain. Air conditioners run more efficiently when there isn't as much warm, moist air in your home or office. The air conditioner has to work harder to remove the moisture when air is damp. More energy is needed and the unit will likely wear out sooner.

According to your outdoor and indoor environment and regional weather, a dehumidifier can be a valuable and healthy asset.

How does a dehumidifier work?

 But how exactly does a humidifier remove excess water and create more humidity in an area? It’s pretty simple, actually:

  • ​Air is brought into the dehumidifier by use of a fan.
  • ​The air is then passed over an incredibly cold surface, and while it is being cooled, the moisture is condensed overall.
  • ​The extra water that is drawn out will fall into the remaining container in the unit.
  • ​The extra water that is drawn out will fall into the remaining container in the unit.
  • ​Most unites will automatically switch off when the container is filled with water, or when the pre-selected level of dryness is met.

What types of dehumidifiers exist?

Before picking the best dehumidifier for your needs, you should know there’s a variety of different dehumidifiers available on the market. These include the following:

Refrigerator Dehumidifier

​These are perhaps the most commonly bought dehumidifiers on the market, and work to cool and dry air before releasing it back into the room. There’s many style options, but most will actually take on the look of a miniature refrigerator.

​Desiccant dehumidifier

​Unlike a refrigerator model, the desiccant dehumidifier will use desiccant materials like silica gel to cool down the air before releasing it into the room. With this model, you can find tiny portable models to large commercial grade options, making it ideal for personal or business use. It can also work through incredibly low temperatures without the worry of freezing.

​Portable dehumidifier

​These are most commonly found inside of a home, as they well worth in small to medium sized spaces. They are a breeze to work; most just require the changing of water from time to time, which makes them ideal for the busy person who wants to get rid of excess water and enjoy more humidity throughout the day and night.

Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifier Capacities and Options

  • PINT CAPACITY: Based on the relative humidity in a home or office, as little as 10 pints or as much as 50 pints of water can be removed from indoor air. Often, buyers purchase a 30 pint dehumidifier because it's smaller and they count on it being quieter and more energy efficient. In actuality, the larger 50 and even 70 pint units are just as quiet and cost effective as the 30 pint machines. Depending on the size, you may need a smaller dehumidifier for a bathroom, or a dehumidifier made especially for a crawlspace. But a 30 pint capacity one will be fine for a room or separate area in your home or office. The pint capacity equals how much water can be removed from the air in the space the humidifier occupies over 24 hours.
  • PERMANENT OR PORTABLE: You can have a dehumidifier unit installed in a permanent location in your home or a specific area in an office. There are usually higher pint capacity models. A whole house dehumidifier is a permanent system. Portable systems are smaller and many come with wheels for convenient placement anywhere in your living space. They are made lighter and often come with a handle for lifting.
  • ​ELECTRONIC OR MANUAL: There are still units you can find that have a manual dial for a controller. Most new systems are electronic based. This is based on personal preference.
  • ​HUMIDISTAT: A humidistat keeps a running measurement of the relative humidity in the area it's placed. It's essential you know where this level is to determine if your dehumidifier is operating at the proper levels. A unit with the humidistat built in is much easier to use and can make changes to the dehumidifier automatically. Although you can buy a separate humidistat, it's much more convenient and efficient to have it built into your machine.
  • AUTO RESTART: If the power goes out, a machine with an auto restart feature will turn the machine back on after the power is restored. If you aren't at home when this happens and there is no auto restart, you risk the air moisture content building up again.
  • COLLECTION CONTAINER AND DRAINAGE: In order to accommodate the unit's pint capacity, you'll need a good sized collection container. With a hose connected for drainage, you usually don't have to keep an eye on the condensation output. But the more portable units for your home or office will have collection containers. This is a preference based on how often you will have to empty the extracted water. Never use this water for consumption!
  • AUTO-OFF: This feature shuts the unit off when the collection container is full. This is a handy option so when the container is full, the unit will turn off to avoid spillage of the condensate. There may be other options to consider based on the type of situation you have. At times, people may even need a dehumidifier for a gun safe! These will be starkly different from a room or home unit.

​What is the best dehumidifier for my space size?

​Wetness Level

​300 Sq. Ft.

​500 Sq. Ft.

​700 Sq. Ft.

​1000 Sq. Ft.

​1500 Sq. Ft.

Slightly Damp

30 Pint 

45 Pint 

​50 Pint 

​60 Pint 

​70 Pint 

Moderate

30 Pint 

​​45 Pint 

​​​50 Pint 

​​​60 Pint 

​​​​70 Pint 

​Very

​40 Pint 

​​​50 Pint 

​​​​60 Pint 

​70 Pint 

​​​​90 Pint 

​Sopping

45 Pint 

​​​​​60 Pint 

​​​​​65 Pint 

​70 Pint 

​90+ Pint 

Keep these things in mind as well:

  • ​Someone who lives in an excessively more humid climate should add 10 more pints to their unit.
  • ​If there are multiple people located in the area of the dehumidifier, add an additional 5 pints.
  • ​Lots of doors and windows in an area can cause the unit not to work as well, so add another 5 pints to an area such as this.
  • ​If you notice that there is a washer and dryer machine near the units location, add another 5 pints.
  • ​Someone who lives in an excessively more humid climate should add 10 more pints to their unit.
  • ​If there are multiple people located in the area of the dehumidifier, add an additional 5 pints.
  • ​Lots of doors and windows in an area can cause the unit not to work as well, so add another 5 pints to an area such as this.
  • ​If you notice that there is a washer and dryer machine near the units location, add another 5 pints.

​How much electricity does a dehumidifier use?

Every dehumidifier will differ when it comes to electric costs, and will depend solely on the size of the model and how efficient it is. A larger sized model may be more efficient, but it will cost more as it uses more electricity. To find out exactly what your cost will be, you can always check the label to see how much kilowatts the unit uses.

However, a basic overview of the running costs of the best dehumidifiers show: 

  •  Dehumidifiers have an average cost to run of around 6 to 10 cents an hour, 
  • which equates to anywhere between $15 and $30 a month. 

This number can skyrocket during the winter times, though, as it is used far more often, with a bill landing at around $50 a month.

To reduce cost of the dehumidifier, you can try the following:

  • ​To get the best use of your dehumidifier and ensure it’s reaching the length of the room, consider using fans for optimal circulation.
  • ​Consider purchasing an energy efficient model if you haven’t done so already.
  • ​Only run the unit when it is absolutely necessary, and buy the unit that is right for your specific needs.
Energy Saving Dehumidifiers

​How to choose the best dehumidifier

The two most important factors to consider when purchasing a dehumidifier is the size of the location it will be placed, and how damp the room is. A larger area that is extremely wet like a basement or crawlspace will need a large, 90+ pint dehumidifier, while someone needing a dehumidifier for their bathroom during the summer may only need a small, 30 pint unit.

Some of the other things to consider when buying a dehumidifier is the style that you and your space needs. You may opt for an energy efficient model to save on cost, or you may find that you need a dessicant style to ensure the unit will not freeze in the sub-zero temperatures found in your area.

1500 Sq. Ft.

Where to place a dehumidifier

Placement is key when you’re trying to get the most out of your dehumidifier. First and foremost, it’s important to note that a lot of systems will have an air discharge that is located on the top, so placement is less of a factor in terms of optimal production and should be put up against walls. However, if you do not have a unit with a top air discharge, you will want to make sure your unit stays away from walls and furniture so the air can circulate without any issues.

Make sure that the unit is never placed near electrical outlets or potential sources of dust, as this can cause potential danger and clogging to the dehumidifier.

Best Dehumidifier for Each Room in Your House

There are several locations inside of the home (or office) that will benefit from a dehumidifier. Knowing where you’re going to place your dehumidifier will ensure that you choose the best dehumidifier for the space you need, without buying anything too large for the space and moisture level, or buying something that isn’t large enough to benefit from the affects of a dehumidifier.

Some common places a dehumidifier is placed includes the following:

  • Bathrooms: A bathroom is a breeding ground for molds and mugginess thanks to all of the excess water from water, especially hot showers. All of that water clings to the mirrors, walls, doors, and ceilings, and is likely to hang around long after the bathing takes place. To ensure that mold doesn’t grow due to this excessive hot moisture sticking to surfaces, a bathroom dehumidifier is highly recommended.
  • ​Whole house: If you live in a home that may have a little extra humidity, or you just want your air to be superbly clean and free of any musty smells or allergens, you might want to consider a whole house dehumidifier. This is especially true if you notice the following in your home: mold growth, rotting wood, or allergies. A whole house dehumidifier can help with all of this and more.
  • Garage: The garage is obviously an extremely humid atmosphere that can be overrun with mold if you’re not careful. This is especially true if you work in your garage and there’s moisture trapped inside. To ensure nothing awry is going on in the humid-ridden garage, a garage dehumidifier may be a good choice.
  • Basement: Being the most prominent location in the home for humidity and moisture, the basement needs a dehumidifier to keep the air clean and the space mold-free. This is probably the most imperative locations in the home to consider a basement dehumidifier as basements are breeding grounds for bacteria thanks to all the excess warmth and water that’s found in this space.
  • Crawl space: Did you know that even with circulation the crawl space can become a moldy mess that can affect the structural soundness of your home? If the crawl space becomes damaged by water or excessive moisture, it can easily become destroyed. If you’re serious about keeping the structure of your home top-notch, then you may want to consider a crawl space dehumidifier to ensure nothing bad happens.
  • ​Gun safe: Avid gun owner? Love your guns? Any responsible gun-loving weapon owner knows how important it is to give your guns a safe space to lay. But did you know that gun safes are also prone to moisture as well? And any moisture that enters your secure gun safe has the potential to wreak havoc on your precious pieces of artillery. To ensure moisture doesn’t seep into your guns and ultimately ruin them, you might want to consider a specifically designed gun safe dehumidifier to keep things running smoothly.

Is it Worth Investing in a Dehumidifier?

Yes! If you have a high moisture problem and mustiness in your home or office. Seasons, climates, and locations will affect the relative humidity of your indoor environment. Once you notice signs like mold, condensation on windows, water stains on walls or ceilings, or detect the musty odor of heavy, wet air, it's time to look into purchasing a dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers are not loud and will not be a nuisance in your home or office. You'll hardly know it's there. The energy cost to run them is minimal versus the advantages. When you consider the benefits for your health, preservation of your home or office and belongings, the protection of the numerous electronic devices we live with, and the safety benefits for foods and even clothing, a dehumidifier is a practical and smart investment.


​Dehumidifier Research & Buying Guide (Part 2): Why is My Dehumidifier Not Working

Starting to notice troubles with your priceless dehumidifier? Don’t fret. This handy guide will teach you how to handle all of the potential problems you may run into when dealing with a dehumidifier.

How to Clean, Maintain and Troubleshoot Your Dehumidifier

How to clean your dehumidifier

With all of the moisture that a dehumidifier traps, it’s a breeding ground for all types of mold and mildew. That is why it is extremely important to make sure you’re cleaning your dehumidifier at least once a month. This will also make it more energy efficient, which equates to a smaller bill on your side.

  • ​Begin by removing the water collection bucket. Using a soft cloth that is slightly damp, wipe it down generously to get rid of any mold and mildew, and stop it from forming.
  • ​Next, begin the air filter. Wash it using warm water and soap. Dry completely. Once dry, check the filter for any damage including holes or dents.
  • ​Remove the cover located on the outside. Use a small brush to remove any dirt from the coils, and a damp cloth to clean off the fan blade.
  • ​While the outer cover is removed, look inside of the unit for any extra dirt or mold that needs to be wiped clean.

How do you tell if your dehumidifier is working properly?

The best way to know if your dehumidifier is working properly or not is to troubleshoot it. You should look for these specific signs. If you notice any of the following happening, you may need to fix your dehumidifier to make it run well and efficiently again:

  • ​If you notice that there is no water or very little amounts of water in the holding tank, it may be a sign that the dehumidifier is not removing excess moisture from the air properly.
  • ​If the dehumidifier won’t turn on at all, or the light is on but the dehumidifier is not actually working, it is a big sign that something isn’t right with the dehumidifier. It may be a simple fix like adding more water, or something more sinister.
  • ​When there is no air coming out from the dehumidifier, it may mean there is a problem going on with the fan.
  • ​Coils can become extremely cold in sub-zero temperatures, and should be checked to see if they are frozen often. If they’re frozen the dehumidifier will not work properly.

Dehumidifier is not collecting water

Dehumidifier not collecting any water? There are several issues that may be causing the issue:

  • ​The capacitor may need to be replaced. This piece is responsible for circulating and removing excess water, so if there’s little to not water in the dehumidifier, it’s likely a capacitor issue. The first sign of a faulty capacitor is the overload acting up.
  • ​On the other hand, it may be a problem with the entire compressor, and may need to be replaced. This can be caused by a power cord too long or too short.
  • ​Check the fan to make sure it is blowing air. If not, that may be the root of your problem.
  • ​Newer models have an electric control board, which may be causing the issue. Check and see if the cause can be solved through your control board, if not, a new one may be needed.

​Dehumidifier is icing up

If you’re noticing that the dehumidifier coils continuously freeze up, these issues may be to blame:

  • ​A humidistat may not be working if your coils keep freezing. To check this item, turn the unit off and turn the knob. If it doesn’t make any noise, it likely isn’t working and is the root of the problem.
  • ​Blower wheels and fan blades may also be the issue. Check and make sure that there is no dirt buildup or anything blocking these things from movement.
  • ​The fan motor may also be to blame. If you want to make sure this is working correctly, check it for any damage. If it hums, or doesn’t spin at all, it is likely necessary to replace.
  • ​You may also want to make sure that the temperature sensors are in line and connected with the control board. If not, the unit will not get the notification to heat up as to not become frozen.

​How to fix a dehumidifier that is freezing up

The biggest reason a dehumidifier will freeze up is simply because it is in an area that is far too cold for it to function. Most dehumidifiers will work best in an area that is above 65 degrees. If you think that temperature is to blame (which is the cause in most cases) then you need to make sure that the temperature is high enough to avoid freezing in the future.

You should also ensure that there is adequate air flow throughout the unit. Fans can become clogged with gunk, so ensuring that the fan- and the rest of the unit- is cleaned properly at least once a month, you can have a better functioning product that is less likely to freeze up.

Dehumidifier fan is not working

If you find that the dehumidifier fan is not working, there are simple solutions to see if you can fix it at home. The easiest way is to ensure that nothing is blocking the fan or there is no grime buildup. Clean the fan and see if that fixes the problem. If not, you may need to purchase a new fan motor to get the unit operating again.

Dehumidifier Fan

Dehumidifier compressor problems (hot, won’t start, constantly running)

  • ​Compressor running hot: Make sure that the coils are functioning, and not frozen or dirty. Also check that the motor circuitry is set up properly. It may also be an issue of being low on refrigerant.
  • ​Compressor won’t start: The float assembly may be to blame, so make sure that it is not blocked in any way. If it doesn’t work, it may need to be replaced. Check the humidistat to ensure it’s working; you’ll be able to hear a clicking sound when turning if it’s good. Make sure your control board is functioning properly. If not, it may also need to be replaced.
  • Compressor constantly running: Likely due to a bad ground or faulty sensor switch.

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