Efficiency & Energy Use
Comfort & Safety
Design & Dimensions
Warranties & Support
Why Use a Dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier is a great option for a home in a sticky, humid climate or one with a damp, moist basement. Excessive humidity can produce mold, fungus and mildew, which can ruin furniture, clothing and even the walls of your home. Abnormally high amounts of moisture in the air create the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria that adversely affect your health.
These units are designed to draw the moisture from the air and collect it in a reservoir that you dump later. Dehumidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, and we reviewed and compared the best ones on the market to find their special niches. Here are our top-rated picks for home dehumidifiers, along with hints for picking the best for your needs and what we discovered during our review process:
The Keystone KSTAD70B is our Gold Award winner because it can dehumidify nearly 4,000 square feet of space and is still relatively quiet, only producing 53 decibels of noise. This whole-house dehumidifier can continuously drain and collects about 10 pints at a time in its reservoir. The auto defrost feature kicks in if the unit gets too cold, and the auto restart turns your dehumidifier back on at the previous settings following a power outage.
Friedrich is an Energy Star qualified dehumidifier that works well in basements because I can pull 70 pints of moisture from the air each day and collects over 16 pints in its reservoir at one time. As our Silver Award winner, the Friedrich D70BP has a 24-hour timer that lets you set it to come on and go off throughout the day, which is helpful if your home tends to be more humid during the afternoon while you are at work and unable to turn it on yourself.
Sunpentown is a small room dehumidifier that is portable, so you can easily move it and use it in multiple rooms. It only pulls about 50 pints of water from the air per day, but it can dehumidify an area up to 1300 square feet in size. Safety features include an automatic shut off, a full bucket alert and a viewing window so you can visually see the water level without opening the bucket. The Sunpentown SD-52PE is our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner.
Is a Dehumidifier right for you?
A dehumidifier is one tool that can clean the air in your home. While it can help minimize the number of bacteria and other microorganisms living in your house, there are other products that have more specific uses if you are truly worried about clean air.
Air purifiers are specifically designed to clean the air you breathe in your home. These units pull harmful particles, such as smoke, dust and pollen, from the air to make it healthier and easier to breathe. Air purifiers are a great choice for allergy sufferers since they remove allergens from the air completely rather than just with the moisture that carries the particles. You can learn more and see out top picks for air purifiers here.
Humidifiers work in the opposite way of home dehumidifiers. These machines add moisture to the air, which is helpful in arid environments. Because they are small and easily to move, humidifiers are a good option for adding moisture to a single room such as a child’s bedroom if they suffer from congestion. We’ve tested and evaluated the best humidifiers and compare them here.
In our tower fans review, we looked at units that circulate and cool the air already in your home. Some people find tower fans useful for drying small areas, cooling off during a hot day or comforting white noise. While tower fans can dry a small area, we still recommend a dehumidifier if your goal is to continuously remove moisture or you need something for a large space.
Features & Efficiency of the Best Dehumidifiers
All dehumidifiers are made to remove moisture from the air, but there are several characteristics that differentiate them from one another. Check our ranking chart and reviews for information about the performance, convenience, warranty and design of each unit we reviewed to find the best one for your situation. Here are a few points to ponder while choosing a portable dehumidifier:
Size Matters: Daily Moisture Outtake & Collection
A dehumidifier’s size matters. The size of the room and amount of moisture you want to remove determine the type of dehumidifier you need. For a bathroom or bedroom, choose a small dehumidifier that is portable and can be positioned in an area where it isn’t a safety hazard. Just because a dehumidifier is small, it doesn’t mean it can’t handle high-moisture environments.
If you are looking for a whole-home or basement dehumidifier, you need a high-capacity unit that can remove at least 70 pints of water a day. The Haier HM70EP is a good choice for this purpose since it can pull 70 pints of moisture out of the air each day and has a collection reservoir that holds 18 pints.
The collection reservoir should play a significant role in your decision. If you want a low-maintenance dehumidifier that you do not have to check often, then you need one with a large collection reservoir. Otherwise, you have to dump the bucket multiple times a day.
None of the room humidifiers we reviewed have a collection reservoir that is equal to the maximum moisture outtake, so some dumping should be expected. However, we did discover that you can attach a hose to your dehumidifier for continuous drainage. To use this feature, you typically need to purchase a compatible hose and position the dehumidifier higher than the drain you are diverting water to.
The noise level is also something to consider if you plan to continuously run your dehumidifier, especially in a main room of your home. If you often have company, or even just a lot of people living in the home, a quiet machine creates a more comfortable environment for conversations, phone calls or television viewing. Noise level is measure in decibels (dB). For context, 50 dB is about as loud as a running refrigerator or a car driving past, while 70 dB is the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner. Danby makes a room dehumidifier that has a noise level of only 50 dB, the quietest model on our review.
Over the past five years, there have been several recalls on dehumidifiers because of the possibility of overheating, smoking or catching fire. While there certainly are risks with owning and using a dehumidifier, there are several design features and smart practices that help minimize these hazards.
The most important safety feature to look for is an automatic shut off. Units with this feature shut off when the collection reservoir is full so they don’t continue to run and overheat.
Auto defrost is another good safety feature to have. When the evaporator coils inside a dehumidifier reach a certain low temperature, they can freeze and keep the unit from running efficiently. When they freeze, the machine also must work harder, which can make it overheat. Auto defrost turns off the compressor so the dehumidifier’s fan pulls warmer room air inside to heat up the coils. Once they are at a safe temperature, the dehumidifier turns the compressor back on to resume collecting moisture.
Warranties protect you if your dehumidifier breaks or doesn’t work correctly when you first get it home. Every home dehumidifier we reviewed comes with more than one warranty, and it is important to understand what each means and what is covered.
All the dehumidifiers we reviewed have both a parts warranty to cover the cost of any replacement parts needed to fix you unit and a labor warranty to cover the cost of the technician that fixes it. The industry standard is one year on each, but the best dehumidifiers have an extended warranty on the cooling system.
A dehumidifier’s sealed system includes the parts inside that keep it cool and working correctly. These include the compressor, condenser coil, capillary, filter drier and internal connecting tubing. Dehumidifiers that include a sealed-system warranty cover these specific parts longer than the traditional parts warranty, which covers the less expensive parts in the unit. Sealed-system warranties vary between four and five years – DeLohnghi offers a four-year warranty, and Frigidaire offers a five-year warranty.
Our Final Thoughts on Portable Dehumidifiers
Controlling the humidity in your home affects more than just your comfort – dehumidifiers protect your home and assets from the damaging effects of excess moisture. You can improve your health by keeping the humidity in your home at optimal levels, and doing so also protects your furniture, curtains, carpeting, books and much more. The right dehumidifier can keep the moisture level in your home well under control to keep you, your family and your possessions in good shape.
Contributing Reviewer: Renee Shipley