A dehumidifier's primary task is just what it sounds like, to remove excess moisture and humidity from the air. It's the opposite of a humidifier, which adds moisture. You may not be in the market for one now, but if the musty scent of mildew wafts through your home after a major leak or flood, or on hot, humid days, you'll be glad you have one, especially if it can keep your home dry 24 hours a day for a good price.
Removing a certain amount of humid air per day from your home can reduce the likelihood of mold growth, bugs that thrive in moist climates, and odors in general. An added bonus is that many you buy can do so while still fitting into a small space.
To find which one you should buy, we tested eight of the best dehumidifiers. After extensive testing, our top pick, is the LG Puricare UD701KOG(available at Amazon for $259.41), which drastically reduced the moisture level in our lab in a short amount of time.
These are the best dehumidifiers we tested ranked, in order:
LG Puricare UD701KOG
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Range of humidity settings: 30%-80% RH, continuous
In our tests, the LG Puricare dehumidifier was able to reduce the humidity in our test lab by about 45% in a little more than 90 minutes, which is no joke. On top of that, this dehumidifier had the lowest energy usage of the 70 pint models we tested by a wide margin. While dehumidifiers are unobtrusive, and are the epitome of the "set it and forget it" mindset, there are definitely times where more rapid humidity removal is better, and this LG is the best horse in that race.
The Puricare is noticeably taller than the rest of the 70 pint dehumidifiers (with a height about 2" taller than the usual 24" height of the other dehumidifiers), but it looks sleek, is easy to use, and has deep hand-holds and wheels for easy moving and storage. With an easily accessible air filter and an auto defrost function that is ideal for operating in cold temperatures, the LG Puricare UD701KOG will rid your home of humid air in no time.
The Hisense DH70K1G easily earned its place in the rankings with its solid performance and very respectable price. Often cheaper than most other models at this capacity, the Hisense was able to reduce the air humidity by amount similar to that of the LG Puricare, but over a slightly longer time period and using slightly more energy.
While this model doesn't have hand holds on the sides, it does have a big handle on top, so it can still be lugged up or down flights of stairs. The filter is easily accessible, and the buttons and text on the control panel are highly visible.
Solid performance at a respectable price
Lack of handholds makes it more difficult to move around your home
Of the three smaller models we tested, the Eva-Dry E-500 removed the most moisture from the air, reducing the relative humidity by about 19% in about 1 hour and 40 minutes. The E-500 is especially portable because it doesn't require power to operate; it uses desiccant silica beads (like those silica packets that sometimes come with things you've just bought) that passively absorb moisture.
Unlike entirely non-electric dehumidifiers, the Eva-Dry does use electricity sometimes. Once the orange beads are full of moisture, they turn green. To refresh the beads, you need to plug it into an outlet and wait for 10-14 hours as the moisture is evaporated away, causing the beads to return to their original orange color.
The Eva-Dry E-500 is not meant to be used in situations where you need to remove moisture immediately; we recommend you use the E-500 for low-key, constant moisture removal, such as on boats or in RVs.
Requires no power to use
ideal for use in tight spaces
Can only absorb six to eight ounces of moisture at a time
Not useful for removing a large amount of humidity from a room, quickly
We have plenty of experience testing these products in the lab, but we've also used them like normal people would in the course of their daily lives, which means that we have a great sense for what appliances are bargains at their price points, and which appliances have really useful extra features (as opposed to the kitchen-sink approach to features).
With all this in mind, you can feel confident that when we recommend a product, we're giving it our Reviewed stamp of approval, which means two things: firstly, this appliance performs well, and secondly, this appliance is easy to use. We're always reviewing new products, so stay tuned for our reviews and roundups of the latest products in laundry, refrigerators, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners.
We tested all the dehumidifiers in our custom-built, 17" x 12" test lab. It has highly accurate climate control, making an ideal place to find out whether these things do what they claim. We use this same room for testing refrigerators, freezers, and humidifiers.
Using four humidifiers (leftover from our humidifier roundup), we raised the room's relative humidity to 100%. Once there, the humidifiers were turned off, and the dehumidifier was turned on, with its maximum humidity removal and fan speed applied. Each dehumidifier ran for two hours. At the end of the two hours, we looked at the data from the monitoring system and four data loggers that capture both temperature and moisture level.
Dehumidifiers were judged on the relative reduction of the relative humidity (i.e the minimum humidity achieved subtracted from the maximum humidity of the room once the dehumidifier was turned on), the time it took to reach that minimum humidity value, and the energy usage. Some subjective aspects, such as filter accessibility, were also incorporated into the rankings.
What You Should Know About Dehumidifiers
An electric dehumidifier works in a very similar fashion to an air conditioner. Inside of a dehumidifier, you'll find a number of components: an evaporator, a compressor, and a condenser. As the warm, humid air in your home passes over the winding, tubular surface of the evaporator, refrigerant chemicals inside the tubes absorb the heat in the air. As a result, the air's temperature is cooled. As the air chills, the moisture in the air is cooled enough to transform into liquid water, which collects on the evaporator. This water drips off of the evaporator and is collected into a container to be disposed of.
As it absorbs the heat from the outside air, the refrigerant inside of the evaporator is heated. This increase in temperature transforms from a liquid to a gas. The vaporized refrigerant is sucked into the dehumidifier's compressor. Here, the refrigerant is, well, compressed, raising both the amount of pressure it's under and its temperature. The resulting hot, pressurized gas is then forced into the condenser, where it is transformed back into a liquid state as the heat in the refrigerant is radiated away. Unlike the condenser on an air conditioner, which is designed to channel warm air out of your home, The condenser on dehumidifier keeps the heat inside of your home, using it to heat the air cooled by the evaporator back up before it is pumped out, now dehumidified, into your home. Once the liquid refrigerant has been cooled in the condenser, it's recirculated back into the evaporator where the whole process starts all over again.
As you'll see in this guide, not all dehumidifiers use this method to pull humidity out of the environment around them. Some use silica gel, formed into beads, to collect moisture from the air. Moisture is absorbed into pores on the surface of the silica, leaving the air that carried the moisture as dry as a bone. There are limits to how much moisture silica gel can absorb. Once the gel has reached its limits, heating it at a high temperature, either in an oven or through the use of an electric heating element will dry the moisture out of it, leaving the material ready to take on more water.
What To Look For in a Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers come in a range of sizes that are optimized for different room sizes and different humidity circumstances. Some are energy efficient enough to warrant an Energy Star rating. Others... not so much. Dehumidifiers are sized based on a volume capacity, usually in ounces or pints, of how much water that dehumidifier can remove from the air in a 24-hour period. Below, we've listed the different sizes of dehumidifiers, and the circumstances for which they are best-suited.
Up to 40 pints: For wet, damp, or humid spaces up to 300 square-feet (one to two rooms)
40-70 pints: For wet, damp, or humid spaces up to 1000 square-feet (three or more rooms)
70-90 pints: For wet, damp, or humid spaces up to 1500 square-feet (multiple levels/basement)
Most of the products we tested were 70-pint dehumidifiers, which are heavy-duty dehumidifiers that are typically used to remove moisture from basements after flooding.
What The Different Dehumidifier Drainage Types?
Dehumidifiers draw in warm, moist hair and then use coolants and fans to remove moisture from the air before pumping it back out again. Once all that water—or condensate— is removed it has to go somewhere, and that will probably be your biggest factor in deciding what kind of dehumidifier to buy. For electric dehumidifiers, there are three main types of water collection:
Bucket: These are the simplest, but they'll shut off when the bucket is full to prevent overfilling. You also have to dump them manually, so it may not be the best choice for hard-to-access or high-humidity places.
Continuous drain: Sometimes called a "gravity drain," this is simply a drain hose that sticks out the back of the dehumidifier. To empty, you'll need a drain that is lower than the height of the spigot on the dehumidifier (otherwise the water will have nowhere to go). This is a great option for a room with a floor drain. If you don't have one, you'll need a built-in pump. Alternately, with a little elbow grease, you can save money and connect it to an inexpensive condensate pump which will pump the water up to 20 feet away.
Built-in pump: If you need to continuously remove water and you don't have a conveniently-placed floor drain, you'll need to pump that water up and away. Some premium dehumidifiers include a built-in pump, but you'll likely pay for the privilege.
What Should I do With the Water my Dehumidifier Collects?
While the easiest solution for dealing with the large amount of water collected by a portable dehumidifier is to empty the bucket down the drain, we can recommend some more environmentally-friendly methods to dispose of all that liquid you just pulled out of the air:
Water your plants with it
Use it to flush your toilet instead of drawing fresh water for the job
Wash your pets
Add a little soap and use it to clean your floors
Under no circumstances, however, should you drink the water collected by a dehumidifier. The inner workings and collection tubs built into these devices provide the perfect breeding ground for dangerous bacteria that could make you seriously ill (not to mention the dust mites and other gross stuff collected by the hardware as it draws in humid air). Certainly, you could boil the water from your dehumidifier before ingesting it, but the amount of power or natural gas used would offset any environmental benefits that could come from using the water in other ways.
What Is The Best Humidity Setting For A Dehumidifier?
According to Allergy Consumer Review, the best setting for your dehumidifier is between 30 and 50%, especially if you're using it to reduce mold in your basement. If you set the humidity level too low it can overload your electricity needlessly. Alternately, if you set the humidity too high it can cause more mold and defeat the purpose of using a dehumidifier.
Range of humidity settings: 35%-85% RH, continuous
It's not surprising that the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is one of the most popular dehumidifiers on the market. This no-nonsense dehumidifier managed to reduce the relative humidity by about 50% in about an hour and 40 minutes.
While it doesn't have hand-holds, the FFAD7033R1 has a large handle and wheels that allow it to move easily. The filter is mounted on the back of the dehumidifier and is easy to remove and clean as needed. The Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is a great workhorse dehumidifier.
Easy to remove filter
Not as easy to move as other models in its price range
Range of humidity settings: 35%-85% RH, continuous
Of all of the 70-pint dehumidifiers we tested, the Frigidaire FGAC7044U1 removed the most moisture from the air: in nearly two hours, it reduced the humidity in the room by about 54%.
With a handle, wheels, and handholds, this Frigidaire dehumidifier is easy to move and store. However, the filter is hidden and is only accessible after removing the water bucket.
On the other hand, the FGAC7044U1 is also "smart" and can be controlled over Wi-Fi through the Frigidaire app (iOS, Android) ; this functionality is a really great way to start removing moisture, even when you're away from your home.
Controllable via WiFi
Easy to move and store
Filter can only be removed after removing the dehumidifier's reservoir
Range of humidity settings: 35%-70% RH, continuous
Of the high capacity dehumidifiers we tested, the Kenmore KM70 pulled an impressive amount of moisture out of the air: the relative humidity in the test lab was reduced by about 53% in a time duration just shy of two hours.
Even though the filter is hidden and can only be removed once the water tank is removed, this dehumidifier has wheels and huge hand grips, making it easy to maneuver it across or between floors.
70 pint capacity
removed relative 53% of humidity from our test lab in two hours
In the course of 1 hour and 50 minutes, the Friedrich D70BPA was able to reduce the relative humidity by about 46%.
In addition to solid performance with respect to moisture removal, the D70BPA also has both a defrost setting (for use in colder climates) and an internal pump that allows for water removal through other windows or other methods of drainage that are up higher than the dehumidifier itself. The wheels and the large hand holds make the D70BPA a cinch to move.
Range of humidity settings: 35%-80% RH, continuous
In about 1 hour and 45 minutes, the GE APEL70LW reduced the humidity level in the test lab by about 26%.
Like the Friedrich D70BPA, the GE APEL70LW has both defrosting and internal pumping functionalities. While the filter is difficult to access, the large handholds are easy to grip and mean that you won't topple over lugging this down your basement stairs.
Comes with defrosting and internal pumping functionalities
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.