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- Dehumidifiers help remove excess moisture from the air to prevent mold and remove allergens.
- The best dehumidifiers are from Frigidaire, HomeLabs, and Honeywell.
- We also include budget-friendly, portable, and small-space options.
The purpose of a dehumidifier is to remove excess humidity from the air, keeping your room dry and helping prevent mold and mildew growth.
You might need a dehumidifier if:
- Your room feels stuffy and humid
- You see mold and mildew, and the area smells musty
- There are wet spots or condensation on the windows and walls
- You or your fellow inhabitants experience upper respiratory problems like sneezing and coughing
You can also use a hygrometer to directly measure humidity levels in your house. “We recommend keeping the relative humidity in your home between 30-50%. High humidity can increase ground-ozone levels, dust mites, and mold – all of which can be allergy or asthma trigger[s],” said Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
We found the best dehumidifiers for rooms of various sizes and different needs. See the FAQs section for information on how to shop for a dehumidifier, how to clean your unit, and more.
Here are the best dehumidifiers of 2021
- Best dehumidifiers overall: Frigidaire, HomeLabs, Honeywell
- Best dehumidifiers for small spaces: Mooka, Vremi
- Best dehumidifiers for large spaces: Ivation, Toshiba
- Best portable dehumidifiers: Eva-Dry, Afloia
In our first major rewrite of this guide, we consulted allergy, skincare, and HVAC experts to learn more about how a dehumidifier can help your health and what features to look for. We spoke to Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA); John McKeon, CEO and founder of Allergy Standards Limited (ASL); Jeanine Downie, MD, FAAD, Director of Image Dermatology PC; and a spokesperson for The Home Depot.
Using their insights, along with our own research and knowledge of the space, we picked a few dehumidifier options per category. Down the line, we plan to personally test these dehumidifiers to choose one best pick per category.
The best dehumidifiers overall
Our best dehumidifiers are quiet, efficient, Energy-Star certified, and look sleek rather than clunky.
The best dehumidifiers for small spaces
Whether you have a closet or small bathroom that smells musty, small dehumidifiers can efficiently remove moisture from the air without taking up too much space.
The best dehumidifiers for large spaces
Large basements and living rooms will benefit from the following dehumidifiers. Large dehumidifiers also often have the perk of more advanced features like custom settings or auto-shutoff.
The best portable dehumidifiers
“For smaller spaces or rental units, I recommend including portable dehumidifiers to keep the space feeling fresh,” said a spokesperson for The Home Depot. Portable dehumidifiers are also great for small closets, cabinets, traveling, and gym bags.
Why do you need a dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier helps maintain the optimal level of humidity in your room so it’s not too humid. It reduces the growth and incidence of mold, mildew, and dust mites.
Dehumidifier vs. humidifier: what’s the difference and which do you need?
A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to the air.
If your room feels stuffy and you see condensation or mold, you need a dehumidifier. It’s commonly used in bathrooms, basements, closets, boats, and RVs, but you can use it anywhere else in the house, too.
If your room feels dry and your skin is irritated, you need a humidifier. We tested the best humidifiers here.
What to consider when buying a dehumidifier
Dampness level: Dehumidifiers come in different sizes depending on how much moisture they can remove in 24 hours. Here’s what size to buy based on how humid your room is:
|Dampness level||Characteristics||Dehumidifier size||Room size|
|Moderately damp||Musty aroma in the area during humid weather||25-39 pint capacity||Small (closets, small bathrooms)|
|Extremely damp||Always damp in the area regardless of season||40-59 pint capacity||Medium (bedrooms, small basements, large closets)|
|Wet||Visible condensation on ceilings and walls||60+ pint capacity||Large (large basements)|
How the unit removes moisture: It will either have a built-in pump or a direct drain. “A dehumidifier with a built-in pump allows you to run the drain hose up to a window, sink or elevated drain. A unit with a direct drain will funnel the water directly into a sink or basement drain,” said a spokesperson from The Home Depot.
Energy performance: To get maximum efficiency out of a unit, look for those that are Energy Star-certified.
Automatic or useful features: Look for a unit with an adjustable humidistat, which will automatically turn your unit on and off to maintain the preset humidity level. Other useful features, according to The Home Depot, include:
- Automatic shutoff: Turns your unit off once the tank is full
- Digital display: Shows the relative humidity level and other settings
- Filter sensor/indicator: Tells you when it’s time to replace the filter
- Programmable timer: Lets you run the unit only at certain times of the day
- Auto-defrost: Keeps your unit from freezing in cold temperatures
It’s also worth pointing out that many AC units have built-in dehumidifiers. If your AC unit is in your desired room, check first to see if it has a dehumidifier and whether it works well. We tested the best air conditioners here.
How does a dehumidifier work?
A dehumidifier works by blowing moist air over coolant-filled coils, causing the moisture to condense into water droplets. The condensation then drips from the coils into a receptacle. The collected water is directly drained out or pumped into another area like a sink, depending on the unit you have.
Is a dehumidifier good for your skin?
“Dehumidifiers decrease the incidence of dry skin,” said Jeanine Downie, MD, FAAD, Director of Image Dermatology PC. They also reduce irritation due to allergens like dust mites and mold. If your dehumidifier removes too much humidity from the air, however, it may dry out your skin.
“It’s important to note that if the humidity starts to drop below 30% it can have a negative impact on health, including drying out of the eyes and mucous membranes,” said McKeon. “Very dry air can also result in dry skin, worsening of eczema, and irritation of the airways.” You should continue to monitor humidity levels and how your skin feels as you use your dehumidifier.
How do you clean a dehumidifier?
There are two parts to focus your attention on: the air filter and the tank. Clean the air filter under your faucet often (once a week). Wipe down and dry out the tank after every use to reduce mold and mildew growth within your dehumidifier.
Check out our other home-climate-control guides