Two things normally send people running to the store to look for dehumidifiers – and neither of them is good. One is discovering dampness in a cellar, crawl space or other enclosed area (or even worse, discovering mould). The other is a doctor’s diagnosis of allergies, along with a strong recommendation to buy a dehumidifier.
Those are both good reasons to purchase a dehumidifier (or several). However, there are other arguments for running a dehumidifier in your house; key among them is preventing the two scenarios we’ve just mentioned. They have many other beneficial functions, though, ranging from keeping your bread fresher for a longer period of time, to simply making your home’s day-to-day environment more comfortable.
Since you can’t really “see” the work that a dehumidifier does, it’s not easy to judge one’s performance until you’ve run it in your own house for a while; you can’t road test a dehumidifier before buying it. There are some basic requirements common to all of the best dehumidifiers, and some extra features that can definitely be helpful. However, you’ll largely have to rely on dehumidifier reviews and recommendations to make an informed choice.
Luckily, we happen to have them right here, and we’ll get to our list of the top 10 choices on the market after we first consider some of the major factors you should consider in your decision.
Top 10 Best Dehumidifiers At a Glance
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If you’re like many first-time buyers, you may be confused between humidifiers and dehumidifiers – not about what they do, since obviously the first adds moisture to the air and the second removes it. More specifically, some who have trouble breathing or sleeping at night aren’t really sure when each machine is appropriate.
In a nutshell, they each can help specific types of respiratory problems. A humidifier is useful when you are congested because of a cold, or have dry skin or chapped lips. A dehumidifier comes in handy for dealing with allergies and asthma, which can be triggered by contaminants or too much moisture in the air. Both can keep the air in your home comfortable, and in rapidly-changing climates having both available can be a good idea.
Other clear signs that you need a dehumidifier are finding water stains on the ceiling or walls, seeing black spots (which are mould spores) in the bathroom or kitchen, or detecting a musty smell in some areas of your house. Smaller flats or apartments are also good candidates for dehumidifiers because moisture and mould can travel through a shared ventilation system. Removing excess moisture can keep your food fresher and prevent electrical connectors and tools from corroding or rusting. They can also help you save money on your energy bills, because your air conditioner won’t have to do double-duty of dehumidifying.
We’re not including one major classification of machines in our listings: whole-home dehumidifiers. Those are a good choice in climates which are moist and humid, but shoppers more commonly need portable or compact dehumidifiers that can be moved from room to room and packed away when not needed. We’ll be focusing on those.
There are three basic types of dehumidifiers, categorized by the way they operate.
- Refrigerant dehumidifiers (sometimes known as compressor or heat pump dehumidifiers), use a pump to pull air inside and then remove moisture as a fan blows across heat-exchange coils containing refrigerant. The machine then releases the excess liquid into a collection tank and reheats the air to be released back into the room.
- Ventilators for attics and crawl spaces, which simply just keep humid air from entering living spaces, and desiccant dehumidifiers (sometimes called chemical absorbent dehumidifiers) which pass air through heated silica gel and desiccant substances to remove excess moisture.
- Heat pump dehumidifiers, although desiccant models are becoming more popular because they’ve gotten better over time and perform better in lower temperatures.
The most important consideration in narrowing down your choices will be the size of the dehumidifier, measured in two different ways. One is simply the physical size of the machine, since some are much easier to move around the home than others. The other is the amount of liquid (in litres) the dehumidifier can remove per day. Anything smaller than 500ml is suitable primarily for enclosed spaces like cupboards and wardrobes, or small areas like kitchens and garages, 5-10 litre machines will take care of areas that are around 30-60 square metres, and 10-20 litre machines can handle 60-120 square metre spaces.
Other factors which should enter into your decision are whether a dehumidifier has an adjustable humidistat to let you choose the target humidity for the area, a digital display, a multi-speed fan and an automatic shutoff (when the collection tank is full). If your dehumidifer will be permanently left in one spot, a drain hose (or at least a connector for one) is desirable so you don’t have to manually empty the machine’s tank every day. Higher-end units will also have options like directional louvres, pumps to assist in evacuating water from the machine, and automatic defrost (for refrigerant dehumidifiers).
Those are the basics – it’s time for the specifics. Here’s our list of the best dehumidifiers you can buy for home use, but there are two things to consider as you read these reviews. First, the sizes mentioned in the names of products often refer to the size of the water tank, not the amount of water the machine can remove from the air per day.
Second, some smaller-capacity dehumidifiers perform much better than you’d expect in terms of the size of a space they can handle, while some larger ones are often labeled with a higher capacity than they really have because the measurements are made under ideal conditions.
Top 10 Dehumidifier Reviews
1. Pro Breeze 500ml Compact Mini Review
This machine falls into the second category we just mentioned. Even though it’s only rated at removing 250ml of moisture per day, it does a nice job of dehumidifying a small bedroom or conservatory. It’s lightweight and doesn’t take up much space (measuring 10 x 15 x 23 cm) and it’s quiet since it runs with thermo-electric cooling instead of a traditional compressor. The Pro Breeze has auto-shutoff but no other “extra” features, but you don’t really expect them when you can pick up a nice machine like this for a relatively inexpensive price.
2. EcoAir DD122FW Review
This is a larger, substantial machine for a larger space, and we like it. The 7L in the product name does represent the amount of water it will remove from a space per day, making the EcoAir suitable for taking care of several good-sized rooms in your home. It has a rotary humidistat control, auto-restart and tilt-over protection as well as auto-shutoff, has economy and turbo modes, can run in temperatures down to 1°, and includes a nano filter which many manufacturers claim can kill bacteria. It’s a desiccant model so it’s more expensive to run than a refrigerant unit, it’s heavier than some portable dehumidifiers (6 Kg) and it’s definitely pricier, but you’ll love it.
3. Futura Portable With Ioniser Review
A refrigerant dehumidifier with the ioniser-type of anti-bacterial action we just mentioned, this 12L machine is suitable for removing the moisture from several decent-sized rooms in most homes. It has a touch-button control panel with LED display, a two-speed fan, a 24-hour timer, a washable filter, a tube for continuous draining and auto-defrost, in addition to the more common features like auto-shutoff. What it also has that we really liked are castor wheels, so it can be easily moved from room to room. It’s loaded with great features and most importantly, brilliant at removing humidity. It’s priced similarly to the EcoAir we’ve just reviewed and the one we’ll look at next.
4. EcoAir DC12 Compact Review
Quite honestly, this EcoAir model may not be considered compact by some, as it’s 22 x 35 x 50 cm in size and weighs 11 Kg, but it’s definitely worth considering. It will extract 12L of liquid per day, has an electronic control panel with an active humidistat, a two-speed fan, a timer and auto-defrost, a 3.5L tank with continuous drainage capability, and thankfully also has castor wheels for easy movement. The only downside is that it’s fairly loud – but it does its job well.
5. Duronic DH05 Mini Compact 500ml Review
We’re back with another dehumidifier meant for use in small spaces, 15 sqm or smaller. It’s a bit bigger than the comparable Pro Breeze we’ve reviewed earlier but will still fit easily on a shelf while removing 250ml of moisture each day and depositing it into its 500ml tank. There’s an auto-shutoff, of course, but not much else in the way of features – but you don’t buy a unit like this for its features, you buy it for its ability to take care of a small space efficiently (which it does), and at a low price.
6. PureMate PM 468 Portable
About the same size as the Duronic, this PureMate is another unit which uses thermo-electric cooling instead of traditional refrigeration coils. It’s has the same nominal effectiveness as the Duronic, 250ml, but doesn’t seem to perform quite up to the same standards. Even so, you should be happy with it in a closet or other small space that has a mould or moisture problem, and it has automatic shut-off so there’s no worry having it in an area you don’t look into often. We think the price is a bit high for what you get, but it’s still inexpensive.
7. EcoAir DD122FW-MK5 Classic
Take the EcoAir DD122FW Simple unit we looked at earlier, add 3D louvers so you can pinpoint areas which need the most dehumidification, an electronic touch control panel with automatic sensors to manage all functions necessary to improve performance and save energy – and you have an upgrade to the Classic Desiccant. You may find the bells and whistles a little bit of overkill for a dehumidifier, especially at a high price, but it’s a great machine.
8. Dihl Mini Portable
This is a very simple dehumidifier, rated at just 250ml per day and one of the smallest you’ll find on the market (14 x 22 x 13 cm), but it’s ideal for the tiny spaces like cupboards and wardrobes that it’s designed for. It also comes with a 12V car adapter for use in the auto or caravan, and you can pick one up for a song.
9. TROTEC Compact Portable
They love to use words like “compact” and “portable” no matter what size the machine is, don’t they? This is the largest of all the dehumidifiers on our list and it’s able to remove 16 litres of water per day, enough for several large rooms in your home. It has all of the features you’d want in a good-sized, decently-priced refrigerant dehumidifier including automatic defrosting, an integrated hygrostat and external drainage, without some of the extra features that most people don’t need and simply add to the final price.
10. UniBond Aero-360 Pure Moisture Absorber Review
It’s important to look at the name of this product – there’s a reason it’s called an absorber device and not a dehumidifier. Yes, it removes excess moisture from the air but not in the traditional way, because it doesn’t pull it into the device. Instead, it will only remove from air that passes through it, which means the placement of the UniBond is crucial (situate it near a wall, as air naturally moves toward the cold). It’s primarily a plastic holder for absorbent tablets which are used up in about three months’ time (along with a tray to catch the extracted water) but it does work in a small room, just not as well as a “real” dehumidifier. It’s an economical alternative worth considering.
A Machine for Every Space and Budget
We’ve done our best to provide dehumidifier reviews at every price range, with every technology, and to fit every space a homeowner would want to dehumidify (without moving up to a whole-home dehumidification system). All of these machines do a fine job as long as they’re not asked to do “too much” for their capacity; all have the features required of an effective machine, and are good values for the money.
If you’re going to head out to a store to shop for dehumidifiers, you now have a good basis on which to base your decision. However, you might do better shopping online, because the prices you’ll find at retail stores are usually higher than the Internet values you can find. And if you’ve decided that you’re interested in one of the dehumidifiers we’ve highlighted (and we hope you have), it’s not always easy to find them on the shelf – stores usually only give space to either their top-sellers or products they’re paid to display.
Remember, even if you don’t have an allergy or mould problem now, a dehumidifier is the best way to prevent them in the future while also making the atmosphere in your home much more comfortable.