Best Picks / Reviewed
Best-in-class: Whynter RPD-951DXP Elite Portable 95 Pint Dehumidifier Review
This attractive dehumidifier offers a smooth and clever design with a 95-pint-per-day capacity capable of managing humidity in spaces as large as 4,500 square feet. Whether it’s peace of mind that you’re after or a unit powerful enough to keep your whole house (or office building) comfortable, the Whynter will certainly deliver.
This unit includes virtually all of the bells and whistles available on the market today, and offers a professional-level capacity to exceed your home dehumidifying needs. Energy efficiency, top-of-the-line electronic controls, and a variety of drainage options to choose from make the Whynter a best-in-class choice.
- Low temperature operation (40 degrees) and an Energy Star rating ensure that your energy consumption is kept under control to minimize the unit’s impact to your utility bill.
- It offers manual emptying, floor draining, and pump draining options, so the level of maintenance required can be adjusted to fit any lifestyle.
- The auto-defrost option means that moisture won’t freeze in the unit and create build-up.
- The auto-restart, auto-shutoff, programmable timer, and dual fan speed functions allow you to make your dehumidifying experience as hands-on or hands-off as you want.
- Unlike many units, the Whynter includes a drain hose to allow you to seamlessly transition from one drainage method to another.
- The humidity level is easy to control with the Whynter’s customizable humidity controls.
Best value: Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 Energy Star 70-pint Dehumidifier Review
The Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is a high-value product that offers versatile drainage options, a sleek and unimposing design, and the perfect combination of beneficial bells and whistles at a manageable price point. Its modest size (11.6 x 15 x 24.4 inches) allows it to blend into any room without becoming a distraction. Its large 70-pint-per-day removal capacity makes it a versatile choice for a variety of room sizes and moisture situations.
Its tank is suitable for manual emptying but can also be drained automatically using a hose attachment and a floor drain. When you do need to pull out the tank, an easy-carry handle and convenient splash guard take the headache out of manual cleaning. When the tank is full, the Frigidaire uses an alert system to let you know. An auto shut-off feature, a digital humidity readout, a customizable timer and humidity settings, and caster wheels for easy transport make the Frigidaire a well-rounded choice.
For those with less severe humidity problems or smaller spaces, the Frigidaire also comes in a 50- and 30-pint version.
- The 70-pint capacity keeps your home dry, safe, and comfortable, and it can handle more severe moisture problems.
- Versatile drainage options allow you to use direct drainage or manual emptying.
- It’s Energy Star rated, so it will save you money on utilities in the long-term.
- Digitized controls let you choose both run times and a set humidity level.
- The Frigidaire includes a washable air filter that helps remove bacteria and allergens from the room and saves you the hassle of purchasing disposable filters.
Also great: Frigidaire FAD504DWD Energy Star 50-pint Dehumidifier Review
The Frigidaire FAD504DWD is subtle in design but rich in features, and comes at a slightly lower price point than our best-value pick. This model offers many of the perks of our top-choice model in a smaller package: the 50-pint capacity offers humidity control for up to 2,000 square feet of space in moderately moist environments.
Its modest design offers air filtration for allergy sufferers, a choice between manual emptying and direct drainage for those with access to a floor drain, and an auto-off feature that prevents the unit’s tank from overflowing.
- This Frigidaire model is Energy Star certified to keep energy consumption under control and save you money on your utility bill.
- Its removable and washable filter removes contaminants from the air without forcing you to spend money on replacement filters.
- Handles and caster wheels make it an easy unit to transport.
- It also comes with an adjustable humidity setting, fan speed control, alerts when your filter needs to be cleaned or your tank emptied, and a customizable timer.
- This Frigidaire model can’t be used with a standard extension cord because the unit uses more power than most extension cords can safely accommodate. So, you’ll need to make sure you can plug it directly into a wall socket or get a extension that is safe to use.
Budget choice: Keystone KSTAD50B Energy Star 50-Pint Dehumidifier Review
This Keystone-brand dehumidifier is a sturdy, portable, and versatile choice for the budget-conscious shopper. Its simple, unassuming design is available in both black and white to match your décor, and a 50-pint capacity ensures wide dehumidifying coverage for moderate moisture and mold problems. The unit features a removable easy-clean dust filter and a light-up warning when the filter requires cleaning.
This modestly priced unit offers a direct drainage option for worry-free tank maintenance and also offers the option to empty the tank manually (with a full-bucket alert).
- Electronic controls allow you to control your room’s humidity level and place the unit on a timer to control your energy consumption and, by association, your energy cost.
- Normal, turbo, and auto-defrost settings allow you to customize the unit’s activity to keep your comfort (and your wallet) exactly how you like it.
- A full bucket alert and auto shut-off feature keep the tank from overflowing.
- The Keystone has an auto-restart feature that allows the unit to turn back on after a power outage.
- Its Energy Star certification ensures a more energy-efficient unit.
- Its noise level is roughly equivalent to its more expensive competitors.
- The dehumidifier features a less style-conscious design than most models.
2. How dehumidifiers work
Dehumidifiers all work in generally the same way: they use a fan to move air over cold coils that strip the moisture from the air in your room and blow it back into the room. Then, they drip the moisture into a tank that needs to be emptied. But the specific reason for your dehumidifier purchase will determine which one will solve your problem most effectively.
3. When you need a dehumidifier
Many small annoyances caused by humidity can turn into big problems if left alone for a long period of time. You may need a dehumidifier if:
- You experience allergies, headaches, or breathing problems only when you’re at home or that worsen when you’re at home.
- You notice dampness that damages paint, creates condensation on walls and windows, or that creates a “heaviness” in the air, especially in your laundry room or basement.
- You notice mold in your living spaces, basement, laundry room, or crawl-spaces.
Regardless of how severe your humidity problem is, there is a dehumidifier to relieve your home of unwanted moisture. Read on to explore the factors that determine which humidifier will best suit your needs.
4. What capacity do you need?
Dehumidifiers typically fall into one of four size groups: Small-capacity, medium-capacity, large-capacity, and whole-house. Capacity, in this case, refers to the amount of water (moisture) the dehumidifier can remove from a space in 24 hours. Follow the guidelines below to see how your home’s unique humidity level, the height of your ceilings, and the size of your space determine what kind of capacity you need in a dehumidifier.
- 10-40 pint capacity humidifiers are ideal for spaces with slight to moderate dampness problems and can generally dehumidify between 500 and 750 square feet.
- 41-55 pint dehumidifiers can cover up 1,000 square feet, and they can handle more severe humidity in smaller spaces with mold, condensation, and staining.
- 56-75 pint dehumidifiers are ideal for shoppers with large, tangibly damp, or outright wet spaces, and they’re better equipped to handle spaces that are damp enough to have mold problems. These dehumidifiers can generally handle spaces up to 1,500 square feet.
- 76-pint+ and whole-house dehumidifiers come in portable units like the smaller options, but can also be purchased as an attachment (and supplement) to your current HVAC system. Whole-house dehumidifiers are the most expensive option, but they can dehumidify large spaces with serious humidity, dampness, wetness, and mold problems.
Use the table below to match the square footage of your space and the severity of your humidity problem to your ideal dehumidifier capacity. If you live in a home with above-average ceiling heights (generally, greater than 9-feet tall) you will need to add a few extra pints to the capacity you need to accommodate that extra space.
|500 sq. ft||750||1000||1500||2000|
|Slightly damp (50-65%)||30 pint||40 pint||50 pint||60 pint||70 pint|
|Moderately damp (65-80%)||40 pint||50 pint||60 pint||70 pint||80 pint|
|Very damp / wet (80-100%)||50 pint||60 pint||70 pint||80 pint||90 pint|
Clearly, some overlap and a certain level of “intuition” are involved in choosing the correct capacity for your needs. When in doubt, it’s best to choose the larger of two models. It’s much better to have a too-large machine working lightly than a too-small machine working overtime to do a sub-par job.
Other capacity considerations
The size of your space, the severity of your humidity problem, and the type of space that needs humidity treatment will help you determine the correct capacity for your needs. Keep in mind that there are pros and cons to investing in different sizes that go beyond your dehumidifying needs:
- Portability and weight: Smaller units may be more portable, but you’ll want to check the precise weight on your top models to make sure the difference in portability is significant enough to sway your decision.
- Efficiency and cost-effectiveness: Larger units usually get the job done much more quickly while exerting less effort, which may save you money on your utility bill (and replacement units) in the long-run—regardless of how large your space is or how severe your humidity problem is.
- Longevity of the product: Smaller units can get the job done, but they’ll work harder to do it. That means that all of the machine’s internal parts will be more stressed for longer periods of time and, as a result, you’ll likely need to replace the unit sooner than you would a larger one.
If in doubt, we recommend erring on the side of caution by purchasing a larger capacity unit than strictly necessary. That way, you get the job done more quickly, efficiently, and reliably.
5. Draining, pumping, or dumping the tank to remove water
As you shop for a dehumidifier, it’s also important to consider how you want to dispose of the moisture that your dehumidifier collects. Depending on the size of your unit (capacity), the level of moisture in the space, and the type of humidifier you select, the tank will need to be emptied of water anywhere from weekly to daily. Dehumidifiers feature three primary options for water removal:
- Bucket or Tank: Many budget-friendly units feature an easily accessible bucket or tank for manual emptying. You’ll need to check these units regularly to empty them before they reach capacity. If you choose this route, try to select a unit with a tank that features easy-to-use handles, a cover over the tank itself (a splash guard), and a design that allows for easy cleaning. Units with manual emptying features are typically the least expensive—but they also require the most upkeep on your end. Keep in mind that smaller-capacity tanks need to be emptied more frequently. Luckily, most dehumidifiers that require manual emptying also shut off automatically when they reach capacity, and a warning light turns on when the tank needs to be emptied.
- Direct Drainage: This feature allows your unit to continue operating without the need to turn it off and manually empty its bucket. However, it requires a floor-level water drain, and the unit must be positioned higher than the drainage point to let gravity do its work. Dehumidifiers with direct drainage systems offer a less maintenance-heavy approach for a slightly higher price tag.
- Internal Pump: This feature allows you to position the unit next to or near a sink or window above the level of the dehumidifier itself. The unit will pump the water from floor-level up to the sink or window, so you don’t have to manually empty its tank. This is the most efficient and versatile draining option, but it’s also the most expensive.
Direct drainage units are ideal for those who need to dehumidify their basements and who have a floor-level drain available. Dehumidifiers with an internal pump are ideal for those who need to pump the water upward into a sink or through a window instead of down into a floor drain.
Generally, it is worth it to invest in a dehumidifier with one of these two drainage systems due to the time commitment involved in emptying a tank by hand. If you’re on a budget and are willing to make a trade-off for maintenance time, though, the bucket- and tank-based drainage options are a solid choice.
6. Energy efficiency
Dehumidifiers are an excellent way to strip moisture from a room, but they can also use more electricity (and money) than running a fan or an air conditioner. Dehumidifiers with an “Energy Star” rating have more efficient coils, compressors, and fans than unrated models. Energy Star rated models remove the same amount of moisture as other models but typically use 15 percent less electricity to do so.
If you don’t see an Energy Star rating on a product, look for its energy factor. An energy factor is the amount of moisture removed per kilowatt-hour. The higher the energy factor, the more energy-efficient the product will be—as long as you select the correctly sized unit for your room.
Most dehumidifiers cost between 5 and 10 cents an hour to run. On a monthly basis, you can expect to see a $15-40 increase in your electricity bill. To minimize costs as much as possible, choose a dehumidifier with a humidity control and set it at 40-50 percent—higher for basements and lower for living spaces. That way, the unit will only turn on when the room gets too humid.
7. Available controls and settings
Like most tools, your experience with a dehumidifier is made better when it has the features you need to operate it headache-free.
There are a variety of controls available that allow you to personalize the way your dehumidifier works to suit your home’s unique needs.
- Timers allow you to pre-program the hours in the day that your dehumidifier will run. Doing this puts control of cost, energy consumption, and noise levels in the palm of your hand.
- Humidity controls let you set the percentage of humidity that the unit should maintain. When it reaches the level you’ve set, the unit will shut off and will only turn back on again when the humidity level has increased.
- An auto-restart feature allows the dehumidifier to turn itself back on again if the power goes out. This is especially handy for those who are away from home for long periods of time.
- Auto-defrost features keep frost from building up inside the unit and lowering its efficacy. This feature is a must-have for dehumidifiers that will be running in cold areas (like basements).
8. Noise levels
Like most appliances, some dehumidifiers are whisper-quiet and some are disruptively loud. To determine how much noise a dehumidifier will make, look at the decibel (noise) rating. Generally:
- 0-30 decibels is considered quiet. These dehumidifiers are ideal for living spaces.
- 31-60 decibels is considered reasonably quiet. These dehumidifiers are acceptable for living spaces.
- 61-80 decibels will feel disruptively loud. Dehumidifiers at this noise level are suitable for basements or less-traveled areas.
- 80 decibels and higher will be impossible to talk over and should, generally, be avoided.
9. Air filtration
All dehumidifiers come with air filters that help remove bacteria, dust, and other contaminants from the air. Some units come with washable filters, some include replaceable filters, and others still have a built-in air purification system. Each option offers its own pros and cons. Read on to find the option that best fits your needs.
Washable vs. replaceable filters
Higher-end models often offer a washable air filter that functions similarly to the ones on air purifiers. This means a little more maintenance on your part, but the alternative is a dehumidifier with replaceable filters: when they get dirty, you’ll have to spend extra money to replace them.
If you choose a unit with replaceable filters, be sure to replace them regularly. A build-up of contaminants will cause the dehumidifier to run less efficiently and will also increase the likelihood that those contaminants end up in your lungs.
And, if you’re also in the market for an air purifier, many companies offer combination purifier-dehumidifier models. These models are more expensive than a simple dehumidifier, but contain filtration systems that actively trap allergens and contaminants while managing the humidity level in your home. These are the ideal choice when you genuinely need both purification and dehumidifying functions.
If you want to learn more about air purifiers, take a look at our buying guide.
10. Buying Tips
There’s a lot to think about when you’re in the market for a dehumidifier, but we’ve put together a list of the basic components that make a dehumidifier worthwhile (must have features), the good-to-have features that will make your unit more satisfying and efficient for a little extra cash, and the great-to-have features that make a dehumidifier truly best-in-class.
Must have features:
- Pay attention to the capacity of the dehumidifier: 10-40 pints are sufficient for modestly humid 500-750 square-foot spaces, 41-55 pints will cover moderately damp spaces up to 1,000-square-feet, and 56-75 pint capacities are ideal for severely damp and wet environments or those larger than 1,000-square-feet.
- Find the most energy-efficient dehumidifier within your budget by looking for an Energy Star rating or, for a more budget-friendly option, a unit with a high energy factor.
- A decibel (noise) rating of under 61 dB is crucial if you plan to place the dehumidifier in a living space. Otherwise, it’ll feel like you’re talking over a vacuum cleaner.
- Look for a bucket or tank that can be easily emptied and cleaned when it becomes full and that includes a splash guard over the tank if you plan to empty the water manually.
Good to have features:
- Direct drainage models offer a hose attachment that lets your unit drain water as it accumulates, eliminating the need to empty the tank on a regular basis.
- A tank with a 60-75-pint removal capacity will cost more but will ensure that you’re covered for larger spaces or when your dampness problems become more severe.
- Timers allow you to pre-program the hours in which your dehumidifier will run to save on energy costs.
- Reusable air filters will help you keep allergens out of the air while you manage the humidity and will also save you from the extra long-term cost of replaceable filters.
- Humidity controls allow you to program the dehumidifier to maintain the same level of humidity in the room. It will only turn on when the humidity needs to be reduced.
Great to have features:
- Choose a dehumidifier with an internal pump for a versatile and efficient draining option. Internal pumps avoid the need for a floor drain and allow you to pump water to a higher level (into a sink or out a window) than direct drainage systems.
- Look for a dehumidifier with a noise rating under 31 decibels for the least disruptive and, often, whisper-quiet option.
- If you’re in the market for the whole package, consider a combination dehumidifier and air purifier to keep your air clean and
- An auto-restart feature ensures that your unit comes right back on when your power does to keep the humidity at bay.
- An auto-defrost feature will keep your unit running as efficiently and smoothly as possible—even in cold temperatures—to save you money and keep you comfortable.
Regardless of your budget, the severity of your humidity, and the size of your home, there’s a dehumidifier out there to keep your home safe and comfortable. A properly sized unit with as much energy efficiency as possible will have your house feeling dry and clean again in no time. By keeping the tips above in mind, you’ll have no problem identifying a high-quality product that delivers the results you’re looking for.