Best Dehumidifiers of 2018
As soon as you sense mold or mildew in your home, it's time to get a dehumidifier to combat them. Our shopping guide and top product recommendations are here to help you find the best option for your home.
Compare Reviews for the Best Dehumidifiers
We've all smelled a musty room, but no one enjoys that dank aroma. Dampness in a home has an unmistakable odor. Not only does it smell bad, but it could also signify other issues.
- Poor ventilation can trap humid air and moisture inside your house.
- Structural problems with your roof or foundation can usher unwanted water into your home.
- An inefficient air conditioner doesn't pull as much moisture out of the air as it should. This can create an odor of dampness.
What's more, an excess of dampness in your home can actually cause new problems.
- A constantly damp home is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. These fungi can prompt allergic reactions and wreak havoc on your health.
- Excessive dampness can lead to rotting wood and ruined drywall over a long period of time.
- Insects and rodents often gravitate toward homestead areas with abundant moisture.
Thankfully, you can minimize indoor dampness by using a dehumidifier. This device draws moisture from the air, reducing or eliminating dampness from a room or even your whole home.
To select the best dehumidifier for your home, it helps to understand which features are key. To help you determine which dehumidifier suits your needs, BestReviews performed dozens of hours of laboratory research. The result is the shopping guide that follows.
We also compiled a product matrix that outlines our five favorite dehumidifiers on today's market. To avoid bias, BestReviews never accepts free samples from manufacturers. This means you can trust the information we provide to be honest and free of bias.
What to Consider When Buying a Dehumidifier
To help you narrow your product search, keep the following considerations in mind when buying a dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers are classified by size. The average dehumidifier measures between 1.5 and 2 cubic feet. This is fine if you'll be stashing your dehumidifier out of sight. But if you'll be placing it in a high-traffic area, consider investing in a smaller unit. Some dehumidifiers only measure several inches on each side.
If you decide to place your dehumidifier in a cool or cold location, you may see frost form on the coils as the unit draws moisture from the air. Frost could compromise the unit's efficiency; excessive exposure could even cause it to fail. Thankfully, some units have a "defrost" feature, and most shut off automatically when they sense frost on the coils.
Other Dehumidifier Considerations
Emptying the Tank
A dehumidifier stores its water in a tank. Depending on the model you buy, you may have to physically carry that tank to another location to empty it. Some units include a hose attachment that conveniently transports the collected water to a floor drain.
Another consideration for placement of the machine is how much noise it generates. At its highest fan setting, a dehumidifier is a little noisier than an air purifier. Keep this in mind if you're thinking of stationing the dehumidifier in an area where people congregate.
The best dehumidifiers offer features that make your life easier. These features improve the overall economy, ease of use, and effectiveness of the unit.
Fan Speed: A dehumidifier with adjustable fan speeds provides a valuable perk. You can run the fan at a slower speed when you want less noise and at a higher speed when you're dealing with dampness.
Hose: As previously mentioned, some dehumidifiers allow you to drain collected water with a hose. The water flows directly to a floor drain rather than a holding tank, eliminating the bothersome chore of emptying the reservoir.
Air Filter: A dehumidifier contains a washable air filter that prevents dust from accumulating in the unit. Some machines also include an air filter sensor that alerts you when it's time to clean the filter. This is a smart option, as a clean filter promotes efficiency and extends the life of the appliance.
Automatic Shutoff: All dehumidifiers should have an automatic shutoff feature that kicks in when the tank is full. This guarantees that the tank won't overflow and flood your home. Choosing a dehumidifier with high-quality parts minimizes the chance of shutoff failure.
Caster Wheels: A dehumidifier with caster wheels is easier to move than one without wheels. For example, you could wheel a dehumidifier with casters to the drain when the tank is full.
If you have an older dehumidifier at home, you may wish to consider a new model for its excellent upgrades in the areas of energy efficiency and controls.
Newer dehumidifiers are well-versed in energy conservation. You probably wouldn't save $100+ per year with a new dehumidifier in terms of power costs, but a new dehumidifier would clearly outperform your older unit, saving you money over time.
Newer dehumidifiers should give you several options on the control panel. You may be able to set the humidity percentage you want in the air, for example. At minimum, you should be able to set the humidity level to low, medium, or high.
Whole-Home Versus Single-Room Dehumidifiers
Should you buy a dehumidifier that tackles the moisture problem in your entire home, or should you invest in one or more smaller units for individual rooms and spaces? Here's a look at the pros and cons of the different sizes available.
A whole-home dehumidifier is an expensive unit. However, if you're experiencing continual dampness throughout your home, this could be the appropriate option. A whole-home dehumidifier is not something you'd purchase at a store. Instead, you'd typically purchase it from a heating and air conditioning dealer. The dealer would normally perform the installation too, tying it into your basement furnace. Oftentimes, these units expel moisture through a hose that runs into a drain, so you never have to empty a tank.
A large dehumidifier is classified as one that can remove 45 to 75 pints (roughly 5.5 to 9 gallons) of moisture from the air per day. Large units tend to remove moisture faster than smaller machines. So, if you're faced with a big dampness problem in your home, a large unit could be the way to go.
A medium-size dehumidifier pulls 25 to 45 pints (roughly 3 to 5.5 gallons) of moisture from the air daily. If you're primarily looking to remove humidity from the air so your home stays cooler in the summer, this is a great size choice.
A small dehumidifier removes 10 to 25 pints (roughly 1 to 3 gallons) of moisture per day from the air. These are best used in small spaces with dampness problems.
What to Know About Dehumidifier Tank Size
Tank size varies from 5 to 50 pints (0.5 to 6 gallons). Some even go as large as 70 pints. Before you buy a dehumidifier, be sure you know its tank size. Why is this important? The larger the tank, the less often you'll have to empty it. And the longer your dehumidifier can run before filling up with water, the longer it will do its job for you.
That said, we'd like to remind potential buyers that lugging a large, full tank of water across the floor is no fun chore. As such, you should choose a tank size that you can lift and carry successfully.
For your reference, here are some approximate weights when a tank is filled with water.
- A 5-pint tank holds 0.63 gallons of water and weighs 5.2 pounds.
- A 10-pint tank holds 1.25 gallons of water and weighs 10.4 pounds.
- A 20-pint tank holds 2.5 gallons of water and weighs 20.9 pounds.
- A 35-pint tank holds 4.38 gallons of water and weighs 36.5 pounds.
- A 50-pint tank holds 6.25 gallons of water and weighs 52.1 pounds.
If you're worried about how you'll manage to carry a heavy tank, remember that you can attach a drain hose to some models. Alternatively, you could look for a tank with sturdy handles that make it easier to carry.
Q. Why is my dehumidifier running so much?
A. If your dehumidifier seems to be running more than you think it should, you could have a seepage problem. Water can seep into basement areas, causing excess moisture. To address this problem, we recommend the following:
- Make sure your rain gutters are carrying moisture away from your home's foundation.
- Check your home's exterior foundation for low spots where soil has washed away and water may collect.
- Additionally, look for leaky windows.
It's also possible that the humidity in the air is higher than normal due to the weather, which doesn't indicate a problem.
Q. How much does a dehumidifier cost?
A. The price range for dehumidifiers varies depending on size, features, and controls. Whole-home dehumidifiers are definitely the most expensive; our top pick for whole-home dehumidifiers is a Frigidaire model that comes in at $290. Keep in mind that dehumidifiers are a worthwhile investment to protect the structure of your home and maintain comfort. That said, you can find quality, small dehumidifiers for under $50, such as a single-room unit from Eva-Dry.
Q. Will a dehumidifier save me any money?
A. If you remove humidity from your home's air, your air conditioner should run less, as the home will be cooler. This allows you to shave a bit of money off your electricity bill.
What's more, any drywall, flooring, baseboards, and other construction materials will be spared the exposure to dampness. These home features tend to last longer in a low-humidity environment.
Q. Should I stick with a well-known dehumidifier brand?
A. It's best to look for trusted brand names when picking a dehumidifier. For one thing, it's easier to find replacement parts for a unit backed by a strong manufacturer. (You may occasionally need to replace the air filter, for example). Some of the best brand names in dehumidifiers include Eva-Dry, Frigidaire, GE, Haier, Ivation, Kenmore, Keystone, and LG.
Q. I've been told to buy a whole-home dehumidifier. Do I actually need one?
A. If you constantly have problems with dampness in your basement, a whole-home unit is worth considering. It will remove moisture from the air constantly, which is great for those who live in humid climates. An added bonus: You don't have to worry about emptying the tank of a whole-home dehumidifier.
Compared to a single-room dehumidifier, however, a whole-home model is very expensive. You may wish to experiment with a couple single-room dehumidifiers first to see if that solves the problem.