What is the best dehumidifier ?
Before buying and using a dehumidifier please take a moment to watch our video. Dehumidifiers work very well, but if you can eliminate any other unnecessary sources of moisture in your home, even the best dehumidifier will perform better and be more economical to run, this saves money.
I regularly update this page with real world recommendations and feedback that I get from the from landlords, large letting agencies and the users from this website. I personally know the misery that condensation causes so I make every effort to keep my recommendations on the best dehumidifiers bang up to date and factual. I have personally used all of the dehumidifiers I recommend.
Start free first – If you haven’t seen our video yet of the basics of how to stop condensation please have a look, following this advice will also make using a dehumidifier faster and cheaper.
Which dehumidifier should I buy ?
Before you can use a dehumidifier you need to buy one, and before we consider size, capacity and running costs, let me tell you about the two main types you should consider for home use.
Choosing the best dehumidifier…
- A Mechanical condensing dehumidifier – A very common and popular dehumidifier. It typically has a cold and hot coil, a fan is used to circulate air around a very cold surface created by the cold coil. Once the moisture is frozen to the cold coil it is heated so that the melted water can be collected by a built in tray or bucket for disposal like the popular Meaco low energy dehumidifiers listed below.
- A Desiccant dehumidifier – (Desiccant is a substance that promotes drying pronounced Des-ic-cant) Typically using Zeolite which absorbs water like a silica gel, a fan is used to drive the moist air through a wheel of rotating Zeolite which is then evaporated, condensed and collected for disposal. This is now a technology that is very popular in the UK, thanks to the ability to function effectively at colder room temperatures, especially useful at night.
Compressor V Desiccant dehumidifier
In real world usage (and I’ve seen and tested quite a few now) there is very little to choose between a good modern desiccant, and the latest high efficiency range of compressor based rivals. I used to recommend desiccants, but the latest breed of economical compressors have narrowed the gap significantly.
Compressor versus Desiccant – Two years in the making, this chart compares modern mid size dehumidifiers against each other. To make this chart I compared manufacturers test data, and factored in my own results when testing units in my home. I found that the point at which manufacturers say performance is comparable was around 21°c, but in my home it was often around 17°c.
Which dehumidifier is the best
Although both types of dehumidifier will work, a Desiccant dehumidifier will probably be the most effective in cooler houses or rooms as it’s more efficient at lower temperatures. Working effectively from only one degree centigrade (32F) upwards, it will extract more moisture than its counterpart. For example a 7 litre (14 Pint) rated Desiccant will extract more water than a 30 litre a day rated compressor based dehumidifier. If however your house is warm say above 16º C (59F) the new range of dehumidifiers like the Meaco low power consumption series listed below can also be an excellent choice.
List updated Autumn 2017
- Ideal for 3 bed semi detached houses and terraced properties, the desiccant Ecoair DD128 is a more modern version of the classic workhorse the DD122FW MK 5 . The list of features on these whisper quiet models is superb, I’ve had fantastic reliable feedback on both of these models. With only a few pounds between the two, I’d go for the DD128. Here is the DD128 user manual and the DD122MK5 user manual in PDF format if you want to take a peek.
- A slightly cheaper choice in the excellent Ecoair range is the DD12FW Simple and as the name suggests it’s very simple to use, but also very quiet and effective like the above.
- For very low power consumption a modern compressor based Meaco Low Energy dehumidifier is fantastic choice as long as you heat your home above 15ºC. This super efficient compressor based dehumidifier comes in a 12L 165 watt version, and the larger 20L 255 watt model. Suitable for 3 – 5 bedroom houses respectively. User manual here.
- Bursting onto the scene last year was the Inventor range of dehumidifiers. In a nutshell what you get is a cheaper brand than the Meaco low energy series above, and not quite so good performance in economy or silence (in my opinion). I have listed it because they have been very popular amongst landlords and tenants in 2016, think low cost for performance. Some people swear by them, but on the occasion I have heard of them going wrong they have no service facility in the UK. I would say read the reviews and make an informed choice.
Actually this isn’t so much a specific dehumidifier as a method of buying. I have literally lost count now of the number of people that wander into a DIY chain or large over the counter tool company and panic buy what they offer. Don’t. Often the dehumidifiers are overpriced, poor quality, or too small. Many is the time that a customer or tenant with damp problems, will say to me after I point out their roof leak is actually condensation, “well I have a dehumidifier”. Then wheel out some god awful cheap waste of space on wheels that simply won’t do the job.
What to look for when buying a dehumidifier
After reading this article you should have a good idea of the functions you need from a dehumidifier. When looking for the best dehumidifier for you, look at the feedback left by the general public, Amazon is always a good place to see dehumidifier real world reviews from the regular people. I also keep my recommended dehumidifiers up to date.
Best dehumidifier – Apart from choosing a design style, size and tank capacity that you think will suit your home, look for economy and quietness, especially if you plan on sleeping in the same room. Get one with a humidistat built in if possible, this will mean you can set the desired humidity level and leave it running.
How much does a dehumidifier cost to run ?
Typical power consumption is between only 150 to 800 Watts meaning around 2-3 pence to 7/8 pence per hour. Dry air in the home is also far easier and therefore cheaper to heat, so there will be a considerable energy saving to take into account when working out the true cost of running a dehumidifier.
I always say do not worry, or become obsessed about power consumption figures. Dehumidifiers not only dry the air, but produce warm air as a byproduct of operation, further offsetting the low cost of running. This is especially true of desiccants, making choosing between a desiccant and compressor on power consumption alone almost a non issue. Yes a new low power compressor may have better power consumption figures, but it will not contribute to home heating in the same way. A desiccant may use more power, but the warm air produced allows you to lower the thermostat, and the heat blow out often helps dry damp air and surfaces faster. I can’t choose between them, and I’ve seen lots.
How to Dry clothes with a dehumidifier
A dehumidifier can be one of the best ways to dry clothes. For a start off, if your running one, a by-product will be heat. Not only does the dry heat created help to warm the air in your home making it more economical to heat, but placed nearby, the water will be drawn to the dehumidifier and captured for disposal thus removing the damp cold air.
Drying clothes with a dehumidifier – If a typical tumble dryer uses 2000 to 2500 watts per 2 hour cycle, that energy may be better used running a dehumidifier next to or nearby the laundry, a dehumidifier can even blow warm air over your clothes if positioned correctly.
Some dehumidifiers actually have a laundry function or laundry mode built in, like the models listed above. This basically means that the warm air produced by the running of the dehumidifier is blown over the damp clothes if they are positioned in the line of fire so to speak.
Where’s the best place for a dehumidifier
When trying to think of where to put a dehumidifier, first try near the source of the moisture, just outside these areas, or on route to the rooms where condensation is noticed. If for example you had a problem bedroom, you could run the dehumidifier in that room whilst you were in, but not sleeping in that room. At bedtime place the dehumidifier outside on the landing with the bedroom door ajar until the problem is solved. The dehumidifier could then be left on the landing permanently once the problem is under control.
Positioning a dehumidifier – The best position can be inside the kitchen and bathroom or in a hallway or on a landing just outside. Also try a mid point in your property between the kitchen and bathroom, some fine tuning may be required as no properties are the same.
How long do I have to run a dehumidifier
Normally problems with condensation are seasonal, obviously how much off time, or how many months of the year you will have to use a dehumidifier will be down to individual circumstances and occupancy levels. In the U.K. condensation season normally starts in October and ends in March. Experimentation may be required for when you can switch it off, no house or circumstances are the same unfortunately. You can learn more about dehumidifiers on Wikipedia if you wish.
Can I leave a dehumidifier on 24 hours a day
Many dehumidifier manufacturers may say yes, but I would say no. Whilst dehumidifiers are perfectly safe and EU tested, they should be treated like any other electrical appliance in the home. I would never leave my TV switched on whilst I go to work for the day if no-one was in. The possible exception to this may be a commercial grade dehumidifier that is purpose built to run 24/7.
Is there something better than a dehumidifier ?
If you are looking for a whisper quiet true ‘whole house solution’ to home ventilation and condensation problems you may want to consider a P.I.V system (positive input ventilation). These are super economical to run and purify the air at the same time, either professionally installed, or home DIY fitting, they are available online to buy and fit yourself like the Nuaire ‘Drimaster’ on my PIV system page.
PIV – While these are very easy to install and come with full instructions, always connect to the mains by using a qualified electrician for insurance and safety reasons. A unit like this will normally eradicate condensation in a matter of days over the entire property, and I recommend these to landlords and estate agents regularly.
The Unit itself is unseen in the loft and sits on the ceiling rafters or between the trusses, the concertina hose then connects to the only visible part of the PIV unit, the ceiling connector.