Not only does excess humidity make you feel sticky and uncomfortable, but it also increases the risk of mold growth in a home, which can damage furniture and stored items. Some regions, especially those that get a lot of rain, are naturally humid, and that humidity can find its way into a home. Sometimes, steamy showers taken in unvented bathrooms can introduce excess moisture into a home. In yet other cases, basements—because they’re located below grade—can build up high humidity levels. If you feel sticky in your home, odds are your house has an overabundance of humidity, and you would benefit from a dehumidifier.
The higher the humidity level in the house, the more efficient a dehumidifier should be. For personal comfort, an indoor humidity level should range between 30 percent and 50 percent. Ahead, learn how to select the best dehumidifier for your house, and find out why the following picks are good options for a variety of homes and lifestyles.
- BEST OVERALL: Vremi Dehumidifier
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: LATITOP Compact Dehumidifier
- BEST BASEMENT DEHUMIDIFIER: hOmeLabs Basement Dehumidifier
- BEST CRAWL SPACE UNIT: ALORAIR Sentinel Basement/Crawl Space Dehumidifier
- BEST FOR LARGE ROOMS: Ivation Large-Capacity Dehumidifier
- BEST QUIET DEHUMIDIFIER: TOSOT Super Quiet Dehumidifier
- BEST WHOLE-HOUSE SYSTEM: Aprilaire Whole-Home Dehumidifier
Types of Dehumidifiers
All dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air, but they accomplish this in various ways. Whether you need just a little drying action or a lot, the dehumidifier you select will be one of the following three types.
A refrigerant dehumidifier works by cooling a steel surface within the machine, and when air is drawn over the cold steel, the moisture in the air condenses—much like what happens when warm air condenses on the side of a glass of iced tea. The condensation is collected in a tank or drains from a hose into a floor drain. Refrigerant units work best in rooms where the temperature is more than 65 degrees Fahrenheit—at lower temperatures, condensation is not as significant.
Sometimes called “chemical absorbent dehumidifiers,” desiccant units feature internal cartridges made from moisture-absorbing gel or powder. As air flows into the machine, the desiccant collects the moisture, which then drains into a collection tank or out via a drain hose. This dehumidifier works well in warm and cold temps, making it well-suited to a cool basement or garage workshop.
A whole-house dehumidifier is installed on a home’s central HVAC duct and removes moisture from the air whenever the furnace or air conditioner is running. Whole-house dehumidifiers work well in humid climates where homeowners would otherwise need to run multiple dehumidifiers to keep the indoor humidity at an acceptable level. A licensed HVAC technician should install this dehumidifier as it is more complicated.
What to Consider When Buying a Dehumidifier
Humidity is directly related to comfort, and humidity levels higher than 50 percent will make a room feel sticky during hot weather and downright chilly when the temperature drops. In addition to selecting the right type of dehumidifier for your situation, consider the following factors.
Some smaller dehumidifiers only feature collection tanks that must be manually removed and dumped when they get full. Larger units often feature a collection tank in addition to a hose connection that allows the user to run a drain hose from the dehumidifier to a floor drain or a sump pump. The connection accepts a standard garden hose, which is typically sold separately.
Most models feature filters that you need to replace or wash when they become clogged to keep dust and dirt from entering the working parts of a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier may have a filter light that comes on, or, in some cases, it might throw a digital error code to let you know the filter is dirty, indicating the unit is struggling to draw air through the clogged filter. When a filter is clogged, it reduces the unit’s effectiveness.
As long as a dehumidifier is running, it’s drawing humidity out of the air, but once the humidity level in the room falls below 30 percent, a dehumidifier doesn’t offer much benefit. If it comes with an auto-humidistat, you won’t have to manually switch the unit on and off to control the humidity. Instead, you can select the humidity level that feels best to you. The machine will automatically monitor the air’s moisture and only turn on when the humidity exceeds that number. When the humidity level drops, the unit will turn off again.
When it comes to dehumidifiers, capacity indicates how much moisture the machine can remove from the air in 24 hours if it runs continuously. Capacity and collection tank sizes are not the same thing, however. A 20-pint dehumidifier might have a 1-gallon collection tank you must repeatedly dump to reach the 20-pint total in a day. In general, if a room is moderately humid, meaning the humidity level is around 65 to 70 percent, the following capacity levels will be suitable for the corresponding room sizes.
- A 30-pint dehumidifier will effectively treat a room of 500 to 1,500 square feet.
- A 50-pint dehumidifier is ideal for a space that’s 2,000 to 2,500 square feet.
- A 70-pint dehumidifier will treat a room that’s 2,500 to 3,000 square feet.
If the humidity is higher than 70 percent, consider opting for a higher-capacity dehumidifier.
Our Top Picks
To qualify as a top pick, a dehumidifier should be efficient, durable, and easy to operate. The best dehumidifier for your home will depend on how much humidity is present, whether you plan on dumping a collection tank or if you’d prefer a drain hose, and the size of your room. The following dehumidifiers will remove unwelcome humidity in a variety of situations.
The Vremi Dehumidifier can remove up to 22 pints of moisture from the air per day in areas up to 1,500 square feet, making it well-suited for homes with open floor plans. It operates at a consistent speed to keep humidity at a comfortable level, but if you come home to a sticky house, just switch on the turbo mode to increase air movement for quick air drying. The dehumidifier comes with a 4-gallon collection tank and a see-through window, so you can tell when the water in the tank is nearing the top.
The machine will shut off if the collection tank fills up. Still, if you have a floor drain nearby—such as in a utility room—you can connect a drain hose (sold separately) to the Vremi and drain the collected water directly into the floor drain without worrying about dumping the tank. Finally, because it’s Energy Star certified, it operates using minimal energy consumption.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to remove excess humidity from your home. The LATITOP Compact Dehumidifier will remove up to 4.25 quarts of moisture from small rooms up to 480 square feet, and it’s available at an attractive price point. You can move this portable dehumidifier from room to room, and it features easy one-button operation.
You won’t find a drain hose connection on this unit, so be prepared to check and dump the collection tank frequently. However, it features a safety shutoff, so there’s no need to worry about spills if you don’t empty the collection tank as soon as it’s full. Finally, it operates quietly and efficiently, reducing energy usage.
A basement often is the most humid spot in the house, but with the hOmeLabs Basement Dehumidifier, your basement can stay dry and comfortable. The hOmeLabs dehumidifier comes with a 1.8-gallon collection tank, but it operates best when connected to a drain hose (not included) for hands-free emptying into a floor drain.
Designed to remove humidity from areas of up to 4,500 square feet, the hOmeLabs dehumidifier is powerful enough to tackle the toughest humidity problems. The dehumidifier is simple to operate, and users can select from a timed mode or select continuous mode, which means the unit will run until it’s shut off or until the tank fills.
Homes in rainy regions with sealed crawl spaces are at high risk of humidity-related problems. When you need serious moisture reduction in a humid crawl space to protect your home’s structure, consider a unit such as the AlorAir Sentinel Basement/Crawl Space Dehumidifier. The dehumidifier removes up to 55 pints of moisture per day, and there’s no collection tank to dump. Instead, the AlorAir comes with a condensate pump, similar to a sump pump, that automatically pumps the water through a hose (included) outside the home or to a floor drain.
The homeowner can select the desired level of humidity, and the dehumidifier will automatically turn on when it detects that level and shut off when the moisture once again drops. You can control the AlorAir with a remote control (sold separately) for changing settings without needing to enter the crawl space. Finally, it features an efficient defrosting process so you can use this unit even at the low temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
With the ability to remove up to 50 pints of moisture per day from areas up to 4,500 square feet in size, the Ivation Large-Capacity Dehumidifier is a good choice for great rooms and homes with open floor plans. The Ivation dehumidifier comes with a 1.3-gallon collection tank and can connect to a drainage hose (not included) if desired. It features automatic shutoff when the tank is full and comes with two speeds and a simple on-off switch for easy operation. Alternatively, you can program the dehumidifier to run at specific times of the day. The unit also features auto-restart, which will turn the machine back on after a power outage. It is Energy Star certified and features a bright and easy-to-read LED display.
For quiet operation, check out the TOSOT Super Quiet Dehumidifier that emits no more than 50 decibels of sound (about as loud as light rainfall) when operating at its highest speed. The unit removes up to 34 pints of moisture from the air per day and treats rooms up to 3,000 square feet. It comes with a 1.5-gallon collection tank. For continuous operation without having to dump the tank, you can attach a standard garden hose (not included).
The TOSOT comes with an easy-to-read digital display, a timer option for turning the dehumidifier off after a specified amount of time, a filter warning light, and a power-adjustment button. Additionally, you can save energy costs because this model is Energy Star certified. The air filter is washable, and the machine features a safety shutoff when the tank is full if you’re not using hose drainage.
Remove a whopping 95 pints of moisture from your home’s air each and every day with the Aprilaire Whole-Home Dehumidifier, which treats your entire home rather than just a room or two. Say goodbye to damp carpet and mold growth and say hello to more comfortable air with this unit that installs directly on your home’s central HVAC air-intake ducting.
The dehumidifier requires an attached drainage hose (not included), and you can program it to maintain the level of indoor humidity most comfortable for you. The Aprilaire dehumidifier will treat homes up to 5,000 square feet in size, and it requires professional installation by a licensed HVAC technician.
The Advantages of Owning a Dehumidifier
Keeping your home’s humidity at a manageable level can make you feel more comfortable and protect your home and belongings.
- Lower humidity reduces the risk of mold and mildew growth.
- A dehumidifier will make a room feel more comfortable all year long.
- High humidity levels can lead to condensation forming on windows and even walls.
FAQs About Dehumidifiers
If this is the first time you’ve shopped for a dehumidifier, you likely have some questions.
Q. What kind of dehumidifier do I need?
If you want to move it from room to room, get a portable unit. If there’s nowhere to run a drain hose, you’ll have to settle for one you must dump manually, and if you want your entire house dehumidified, opt for a whole-house unit.
Q. How do I choose the right size dehumidifier?
Choose a dehumidifier sized for the square feet of the room you want to treat.
Q. Where is the best place to put a dehumidifier?
The most effective spot for a dehumidifier is usually where it’s the most humid, such as in a kitchen, laundry room, unvented bathroom, or basement.
Q. How often should a dehumidifier filter be replaced?
This will depend on how often the machine is running. Many of today’s models come with a filter warning light that indicates when you should clean or replace a dirty filter.