Buyer’s Guide: How to Buy the Best Dehumidifier for Your House

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Justin Williams

Tired of that sticky feeling in the air? Notice a musty smell, condensation on your windows, or perhaps your allergies are acting up?

You're not alone. Excess humidity is a common household problem, but it's one you don't have to live with!

Dehumidifiers are your secret weapon against moisture, transforming damp, uncomfortable spaces into havens of dry, breathable air. They're not just for basements anymore – living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, even RVs can benefit from their moisture-busting power.

But with so many models, features, and promises out there, choosing the right dehumidifier can feel like navigating a damp jungle. That's where we come in. This comprehensive guide will arm you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

We'll explore how dehumidifiers work their magic, the different types available, where to strategically place them for maximum effect, and the key factors to consider when shopping for your perfect match.

Let's dive in and discover how to banish excess moisture for a healthier, more comfortable home in 2024

What Does a Dehumidifier Do?

Dehumidifiers are more than just appliances; they're guardians of your home's well-being. Their primary function is to extract excess moisture from the air, lowering the humidity level. This doesn't just make your environment feel more pleasant; it has a host of benefits:

  • Mold and Mildew Prevention: High humidity is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can cause health problems and damage your home. A dehumidifier keeps these nasty fungi at bay.
  • Allergy and Asthma Relief: Dust mites, another common household allergen, thrive in humid conditions. Lowering the humidity can reduce their populations and alleviate symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers.
  • Odor Reduction: Musty smells often accompany dampness. By removing moisture, dehumidifiers help eliminate those unpleasant odors.
  • Preserving Belongings: Excess moisture can damage furniture, electronics, books, and other valuables. A dehumidifier helps protect your possessions.
  • Improved Comfort: High humidity makes the air feel sticky and uncomfortable. A dehumidifier creates a more pleasant, breathable environment.
how do dehumidifiers work and what does a dehumidifier do

How Does a Dehumidifier Work: The Science Behind Dry Air

Most dehumidifiers operate on a simple but effective principle: condensation. It's the same process you see when water droplets form on a cold glass on a hot day.

Here's how it works inside a dehumidifier:

  1. 1
    Air Intake: A fan draws warm, moist air from the room into the dehumidifier.
  2. 2
    Cooling Coils: The air passes over refrigerated coils, which are much colder than the surrounding air.
  3. 3
    Condensation: The sudden drop in temperature causes the moisture in the air to condense on the coils, turning into water droplets.
  4. 4
    Water Collection: These droplets collect in a reservoir or drain out of the unit.
  5. 5
    Dry Air Release: The dehumidifier releases the now-dry air back into the room.

This cycle repeats continuously, gradually lowering the humidity level in the room until it reaches the desired level.

How Many Types of Dehumidifiers? Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

Choosing the right type of dehumidifier depends on several factors, including your climate, the size of the space you need to dehumidify, and your budget.

While some might classify dehumidifiers into 4 different types, this article will simplify the categorization into 2 main types instead:

1. Refrigerant (Compressor) Dehumidifiers

  • How they work: These dehumidifiers use a refrigerant cycle, similar to your refrigerator, to cool the coils.
  • Best for: Warmer climates and spaces where the temperature is typically above 65°F (18°C).

✅ Pros: Effective at removing large amounts of moisture, energy-efficient in warm temperatures.

❌ Cons: Can be noisy, less effective in colder temperatures.

2. Desiccant Dehumidifiers

  • How they work: These dehumidifiers use a moisture-absorbing material (desiccant) to collect water vapor.
  • Best for: Colder climates and spaces where the temperature drops below 65°F (18°C).

✅ Pros: Quieter than refrigerant models, effective in low temperatures.

❌ Cons: Less energy-efficient, may not be as powerful as refrigerant models.

Where Should You Place a Dehumidifier in Your House?

The location of your dehumidifier can significantly impact its effectiveness. Here are some strategic placement tips:

    • Basements: Basements are often damp due to their below-ground location. A basement dehumidifier can prevent mold growth, musty odors, and structural damage.
    • Bathrooms: Shower steam and limited ventilation can make bathrooms moisture hotspots. A bathroom dehumidifier helps prevent mold and keeps towels and linens fresh.
    • Kitchens: Cooking, dishwashing, and boiling water all contribute to humidity in the kitchen. A dehumidifier can make the space more comfortable and prevent condensation on windows and cabinets.
    • Laundry Rooms: Wet clothes release moisture into the air. A dehumidifier can speed up drying times and reduce the risk of mold growth.
    • Bedrooms: If you wake up with a stuffy nose or allergy symptoms, a dehumidifier in the bedroom can improve air quality and sleep.
    • Crawl Spaces and Attics: These spaces are often poorly ventilated and prone to moisture buildup, leading to mold and structural issues. A dehumidifier for attic or crawlspace can help maintain a dry environment.
    • Whole-House Dehumidifiers: If you have widespread humidity issues, consider a whole-house dehumidifier. These are integrated into your HVAC system and work to control humidity levels throughout your entire home.
    where should you place a dehumidifier in your house

    Pro Tip: Don't place your dehumidifier too close to walls or furniture, as this can obstruct airflow and reduce its efficiency. Also, avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can affect its performance.

    Buyer's Guide: How to Choose a Dehumidifier in 2024

    With so many options on the market, choosing the best dehumidifier for your needs can feel overwhelming. But armed with the right information, you can make a confident decision.

    Here's what to consider:

    • Capacity: This is measured in pints per day (ppd) and indicates how much moisture the dehumidifier can remove in 24 hours. Choose a capacity based on the size of the space you need to dehumidify and the severity of the moisture problem. For example, a 30-pint dehumidifier is suitable for a medium-sized room with moderate humidity, while a 50-pint model is better for larger spaces or high humidity levels.
    • Coverage Area: Manufacturers often provide guidelines for the square footage a dehumidifier can effectively cover. Ensure the coverage area matches the size of your room or area.
    • Features:
      • Humidistat: This feature allows you to set your desired humidity level, and the dehumidifier will automatically turn on and off to maintain it.
      • Continuous Drain Option: This allows you to connect a hose to the dehumidifier for continuous drainage, eliminating the need to empty the water tank manually.
      • Pump: Some models with continuous drain options have built-in pumps to lift the water to a higher drain location.
      • Air Filter: Many dehumidifiers come with an air filter that helps remove dust and allergens from the air.
      • Auto Restart: This feature automatically turns the dehumidifier back on after a power outage.
      • Automatic Shut-off: This safety feature prevents overflows when the water tank is full.
      • Energy Star Rating: Opt for an Energy Star-certified model for better energy efficiency and lower operating costs.
    • Noise Level: Some dehumidifiers can be quite noisy, especially those with powerful compressors. If noise is a concern, look for models with lower decibel ratings or features like "quiet mode."
    • Portability: If you plan to move the dehumidifier between rooms, choose a model with wheels and a carrying handle.
    • Ease of Use: Look for features like a clear control panel, easy-to-read display, and intuitive controls.
    • Price: Dehumidifiers range in price depending on their capacity, features, and brand. Set a budget and look for models that offer the best value for your needs.

    Pro Tip: Read our reviews to get real-world feedback on different dehumidifier models. Look for information on performance, noise levels, ease of use, and overall satisfaction.

    Getting the Most Out of Your Dehumidifier

    how to use dehumidifier most efficiently

    Once you've chosen the perfect dehumidifier, it's important to use it correctly to ensure optimal performance and longevity:

      • Proper Placement: Place the dehumidifier in the dampest area of the room, away from walls and furniture. If possible, elevate it slightly to improve air circulation.
      • Regular Maintenance: Empty the water tank regularly or set up continuous drainage. Clean or replace the air filter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
      • Optimal Settings: Use the humidistat to maintain a comfortable humidity level (between 30% and 50%).
      • Ventilation: In areas with poor ventilation, consider using a fan to circulate air and enhance the dehumidifier's effectiveness.
      • Temperature Considerations: Most dehumidifiers work best in temperatures above 65°F (18°C). If you're using a refrigerant model in colder temperatures, it may not be as efficient.

      Pro Tip: A hygrometer is a useful tool for monitoring the humidity level in your home. It can help you determine if your dehumidifier is working effectively and if adjustments to the settings are needed.

      Special Considerations: Dehumidifiers for Specific Needs

      While most dehumidifiers operate on the same basic principles, certain models cater to specific needs:

      • Dehumidifiers for Allergies and Asthma: If you suffer from allergies or asthma, look for dehumidifiers with HEPA filters that can capture allergens like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. Some models also have built-in air purifiers for added benefit.
      • Dehumidifiers for RVs and Boats: If you need to control humidity in a smaller space like an RV or boat, consider a compact, portable dehumidifier. These models are often lightweight and easy to move around.
      • Commercial Dehumidifiers: These are heavy-duty models designed for industrial or commercial use. They can handle high humidity levels and large spaces.

      Troubleshooting Common Dehumidifier Issues: Keeping Your Unit Running Smoothly

      Even the best dehumidifiers can encounter occasional hiccups. Here are some common issues and how to address them:

      • Dehumidifier Not Collecting Water: Check if the unit is plugged in, the water tank is full, or the air filter is clogged. Also, ensure the humidity level setting is appropriate for the current conditions.
      • Dehumidifier Freezing Up: This can happen in colder temperatures. Try increasing the temperature in the room or switching to a desiccant model, which is better suited for colder environments.
      • Dehumidifier Leaking: Check for cracks or leaks in the water tank or the hose if you're using continuous drainage. Ensure the unit is on a level surface to prevent leaks.
      • Dehumidifier Noisy: Some noise is normal, but excessive noise could indicate a problem with the fan or compressor. If the noise persists, consult the manufacturer or a technician.

      Final Verdict

      Investing in a dehumidifier is a smart choice for improving your home's comfort, air quality, and overall health. By understanding how these appliances work, the different types available, and the key factors to consider when choosing one, you can confidently select the perfect model for your needs.

      Remember to follow best practices for usage and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

      Say goodbye to dampness, musty odors, and the health risks associated with high humidity. Embrace a drier, healthier, and more comfortable home in 2024 and beyond!

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      My name is Justin Williams. I am the founder and blogger at (read more about us). I was an allergy sufferer and that is also the reason why I began my trek to finding the best dehumidifier for my own personal health issues. All of the dehumidifier top picks on the site were put through their paces by Lance Perez - our dehumidifier researcher. He put each one through a series of tests to see how well they performed. Then, our editorial team compiled the insights into articles and published them.

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