This GE 50-Pint Dehumidifier Dried My Basement and Empties Itself

My basement is dry, and I don’t have to empty a messy bucket.

By Mark Wolfe | Published Dec 4, 2023 11:07 AM

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Hot, humid summers and cool, damp winters are part of life here in Georgia. The plentiful moisture can impact health and the home by creating an ideal environment for mold, mildew, termites, and cockroaches to thrive. To prevent that from happening, I have always used a basement dehumidifier in my home. In my latest effort to control the humidity in my basement, I discovered the GE 50-Pint Portable Dehumidifier and put it to the test.

General Electric has been one of the most trusted home appliance brands for generations. As of this writing, the GE dehumidifier has received average ratings of 4.5 out of 5 stars from 547 reviewers on GE’s website, and 4.2 out of 5 stars from 440 reviewers on Amazon. I am happy to say that the brand reputation and hundreds of positive reviews aligned with my firsthand experience. In the review ahead, I will share my observations after using this dehumidifier in my basement for a month. Reviews of other dehumidifiers our team has researched can be found in The Best Dehumidifiers for Basements guide.

GE APEL50LZ 50-Pint Dehumidifier: At a Glance

Rating: 9.6/10

Gray GE dehumidifer on concrete floor in basement with orange extension cord

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

SPECS

  • Moisture removal: 50 pints per day
  • Drain bucket volume: 15 pints
  • Coverage: Up to 4,500 square feet
  • Dimensions: 24 inches tall by 15 inches wide by 11.5 inches deep
  • Weight: 43.7 pounds
  • Sound range: 47 to 51 decibels

PROS

  • Energy Star certified; offers the same performance as competitors while using less electricity
  • Built-in pump and included drain hose can empty water up to 16 feet away
  • Auto-defrost feature prevents stalling and inefficiency due to ice buildup on the coils
  • Resumes operation automatically after a power failure thanks to auto-restart feature

CONS

  • Pump feature requires a drain location within 16 feet of the dehumidifier
  • Does not offer Wi-Fi connectivity for voice or app control
  • Price might be higher than some shoppers would like

Get the GE dehumidifier for basements at The Home Depot for $306.90.

What is the GE 50-pint dehumidifier?

Person pulling bucket out of dehumidifier to see i it needs to be emptied

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

This dehumidifier is a portable unit capable of removing 50 pints of water per day in spaces up to 4,500 square feet. It comes equipped with a humidistat to accurately detect and control humidity levels, and it boasts a three-speed fan that moves air at rates of 147, 165, or 200 cubic feet per minute. Users have the option to let water collect in the 15-pint bucket or attach the included drain hose and route it to a floor drain or sump for nonstop operation. Thanks to the onboard pump, the dehumidifier can be configured to drain into an elevated drain as well.

Several features make this dehumidifier a versatile option that’s well-suited for a variety of settings. For example, the automatic defrost system keeps the coils from freezing in cold basements. The automatic restart system boots the unit up after a power outage, automatically reverting to the previously saved settings. Generous airflow and moisture-removing capabilities make it a good option for large open spaces, including those in high-humidity locations. And it operates at low noise levels between 47 and 51 decibels, which makes it suitable for bedroom use. Audible alarms sound when the water bucket fills and when the air filter needs to be cleaned.

Is the GE 50-pint dehumidifier easy to use?

The GE 50-pint portable dehumidifier arrived ready to use right out of the box. After removing the packing materials, I unpacked the drain hose, which was nestled inside the water bucket. Then I simply plugged the unit in, pressed the power button, and watched as it began to draw moisture from the air immediately. Without any adjustments, it reduced the humidity level in my 1,200-square-foot basement from 67 percent to 61 percent in 3 hours. I then emptied the partially full bucket and set the humidistat to 40 percent.

The controls, which are laid out plainly on the top of the unit, are simple and intuitive. The control panel includes a power on/off button, a button to select high/medium/low fan speed, minus and plus buttons to select the targeted humidity level, a timer button, and a button to initiate the pump. The humidity level is displayed on an LCD screen in the center, and it flashes continuously when the bucket is full. When the ambient humidity approaches the target humidity level, the fan automatically slows, eventually stopping when it reaches that target. If the ambient humidity increases, after a storm, for instance, the unit can detect this and increase the fan speed automatically.

Does the GE 50-pint dehumidifier work in cold basements?

Since I tested the unit during the autumn, I had a fairly wide range of temperatures to work with. During a cool patch of weather, when temperatures hovered in the 60-degree Fahrenheit range during the daytime and the 40-degree Fahrenheit range overnight, I left my basement roll-up door and windows open to cool the space as much as possible. Then, I closed the basement and set the dehumidifier to target 40 percent humidity, starting this test with a humidity level of 72 percent and a temperature of 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

For this test, I installed the drain hose on the dehumidifier, draining into my basement sump, in order to keep it running continuously. Due to the relatively warm soil surrounding the basement, the temperature inside quickly increased to 62 degrees Fahrenheit, which is still cool enough for a dehumidifier to freeze. With the temperature increase, the humidity decreased quickly to 55 percent, then slowly decreased until reaching the 40 percent target.

The temperature in my unheated basement normally fluctuates from the mid-60s to the low 50s degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. When the ambient humidity level in space is high and a dehumidifier runs nonstop for an extended period, there’s a high risk of the coils freezing up. The coils didn’t freeze during my test, and the automatic defrost was not triggered. I cannot speak to how the dehumidifier would perform in winter conditions in colder regions, but I feel confident that it will tolerate my mild winter area with no trouble.

Does the GE 50-pint dehumidifier need to be drained?

Digital control panel on top of gray GE dehumidifier

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Yes, one way or another the dehumidifier needs to be drained, but this model offers two options. Users can opt to manually dump the water bucket when it fills with moisture, or they can configure the dehumidifier to automatically drain water using the included drain pump.

Those who opt for dumping the water bucket manually may have mixed feelings about this dehumidifier. On one hand, the bucket is capable of holding 15 pints of water, which is pretty impressive. In my basement, this allowed the dehumidifier to operate more than 8 hours at a time without filling up completely, which was great for maintaining my desired humidity levels overnight and during the workday. I could check and empty the bucket if needed in the morning, after work, and before bedtime. Other dehumidifiers with smaller buckets fill up in as little as 6 hours, causing them to sit idle for hours at a time until they can be drained.

But removing the bucket was a little awkward, even though it was positioned on the front of the machine. And 15 pints of water weighs a little more than 15 pounds, so some degree of strength is required. That’s where the drain pump came in handy. I could press and hold the button to engage the pump and drain the water into a sink drain or other elevated drain without needing to remove the bucket. It worked great.

Still, my favorite configuration was the continuous drain option. To enable this, I connected the included hose through the drain port on the back of the machine and routed it to my basement sump. If enough water pooled inside the sump, which it rarely did, the sump pump promptly removed the water.

Is the GE 50-pint dehumidifier worth the money?

The GE 50-pint portable dehumidifier sits around the middle of the price range for 50-pint portable dehumidifiers. Those who shop purely on price without regard for convenience factors can find more affordable models that are capable of removing a comparable amount of moisture from the air in the same amount of time. But these more affordable options usually lack a drain pump, auto defrost, auto restart, and other helpful features. Shoppers who want top-of-the-line functionality, including voice control and remote access via a mobile app, can pay more for those options in higher-end models. Considering the options it includes and those it lacks, this GE dehumidifier is priced fairly.

Is the GE 50-pint dehumidifier right for you?

Some shoppers may be in search of a bargain or a higher-end model with a remote control, in which case they might prefer something different. For a cheaper price, the hOmeLabs 50-pint dehumidifier will save some cash and still get the job done, and it is also capable of a continuous drain setup. At the other end of the spectrum, for premium functionality, the sleek, mobile app-controllable LG PuriCare 50-pint WiFi-enabled dehumidifier comes equipped with a frost sensor, auto restart, timer, and is compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

But for a damp, unheated basement like mine, the GE 50-pint dehumidifier worked really well. After setting up the continuous drain into my basement sump, I really only needed to check on it once every day or two to ensure proper operation and to monitor the “change filter” notification. It reduced the humidity to the target level within 24 hours, and it maintained that level with minimal noise, no fuss, and low power draw. I didn’t even notice a difference in my electricity bill. The price was competitive, and I’ve had no problems with it to date. Consider me another satisfied customer.

Get the GE dehumidifier for basements at The Home Depot for $306.90.

Meet the Tester

Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn care products, and other DIY and home goods.