Last Updated: January 24th 2020
There are three major types of dehumidifiers:
- Compressor based dehumidifiers
- Thermo-electric dehumidifiers
- Desiccant dehumidifiers
Full-size compressor based dehumidifiers (such as those in the photo above) are capable of removing upwards of 10 gallons of water from the air each day. Most thermo-electric and desiccant units can remove only a few ounces per day at best.
Compressor based units can be used to dehumidify any (reasonably) sized space at any humidity level. Most thermo-electric and desiccant units can only be used to dehumidify small spaces (like a closet, for example) and only if the humidity level in that space isn’t very high.
Because thermo-electric and desiccant units simply will not work for most people in most situations we’re going to leave our discussion of them for later.
Our focus for most of this guide will be on full-size compressor based dehumidifiers – the only type of dehumidifier that will serve the needs of most people in most situations. This is also the type of dehumidifier that most people traditionally think of when they hear the word “dehumidifier”.
A Critical Step Before You Buy
We’ll get to our top dehumidifier picks (our recommendations of the best dehumidifiers) in just a moment, but before we do, it’s necessary that we first go over a very important concept – dehumidifier capacity.
A clear understanding of this concept will be absolutely critical for you to determine exactly which model dehumidifier you need to buy.
Note: Even if the concept of dehumidifier capacity isn’t completely new to you, we ask that you bear with us through the next section of the guide as we explain how our view on this concept (and how it should be applied in selecting a particular dehumidifier model) is much different than the view held by most other consumer publications.
We mentioned earlier that compressor based dehumidifiers are capable of removing upwards of 10 gallons of water from the air per day. But not all of them can remove a whole 10 gallons. Some can only remove about 6 gallons per day, others only 4 gallons per day.
How much water (moisture) a dehumidifier can remove from the air per day is referred to as the dehumidifier’s capacity. So, a dehumidifier that can remove 10 gallons of water from the air per day is said to have a capacity of 10 gallons. Or is it?
Dehumidifier manufacturers don’t use gallons to specify the capacity of their dehumidifiers. It’s too large of a volume. Instead, they use pints. Of course, a pint is simply an eighth of a gallon.
So, the dehumidifiers we talked about having a capacity of up to 10 gallons per day are simply referred to as 70 pint dehumidifiers. 70 pints is actually a little bit less than 10 gallons. It’s equal to 8.75 gallons to be exact.
70 pint dehumidifiers are the most common type of compressor based dehumidifier, followed by 50 pint dehumidifiers (50 pints = 6.25 gallons) and 30 pint dehumidifiers (30 pints = 3.75 gallons). There are also dehumidifiers on the market that stray somewhat from these general capacity standards. It’s not uncommon to find dehumidifiers rated to remove 32, 45, or 65 pints of moisture per day, for example.
What Capacity Dehumidifier Should You Buy?
At this point in most other dehumidifier buyer’s guides the author of the guide would point you to a size chart to help you determine what capacity dehumidifier you need to buy. The most popular of such sizing charts is the one given by AHAM, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. AHAM tests and verifies the moisture removal rate and energy efficiency of most dehumidifiers sold in the United States (note that they don’t actually review and compare dehumidifiers; they just verify manufacturer claims). Because they conduct this testing and verification they’re viewed as an authority on dehumidifiers. And so, most consumer publications reference their size chart without hesitation. The AHAM chart we’re talking about is reproduced in the table below.
To use this chart follow these steps
- Select the dampness of the space you need to dehumidify
- Select the square footage of that space
- Match the selected dampness row with the selected square footage column – this gives the capacity of the dehumidifier you’re advised to buy
For example, let’s say you have a very damp 1,000 square foot space – the chart advises that you buy a 17 pint dehumidifier.
Area (Sq. Feet)
Furthermore, the chart makes the following definitions:
- Moderately Damp: space feels damp and has musty odor only in humid weather
- Very Damp: space always feels damp and has musty odor. Damp spots show on walls and floor.)
- Wet: space feels and smells wet. Walls or floor sweat, or seepage is present.)
- Extremely Wet: laundry drying, wet floor, high load conditions.)
Unlike most other consumer publications, we do not recommend that you use the chart above to help you decide what capacity dehumidifier to buy.
Why do we disagree with the use of this chart? See the 8 reasons below.
1. The chart cannot actually be found anywhere on AHAM’s official website or AHAM’s official test specification website. Even though a number of different consumer publications reference the chart above and give the source as AHAM, the fact that AHAM is indeed the source cannot be verified because the chart, as it has been reproduced by those same publications, doesn’t actually exist anywhere on any of AHAM’s websites.
2. Only two of the capacities listed in the chart – 32 in the second and third row and 30 in the bottom row – correspond to actual capacities of dehumidifiers you can buy in stores. Reading the top row of the table, there are no 10, 14, 18, 22, or 26 pint dehumidifiers readily available for purchase anywhere online or in stores.
3. The chart has a limited range. It begins at 500 square feet and ends at 2500 square feet. What if the space you need to dehumidify is smaller than 500 square feet? What if it’s larger than 2500 square feet? The chart fails to make recommendations for spaces that fall outside of the given range.
4. The chart fails to take into account the height of the space you need to dehumidify. Rooms with higher ceilings contain more air than rooms with lower ceilings – something that the chart above doesn’t take into account at all. Much more appropriate would be recommendations based on the volume (measured in cubic feet ), not the area of the space you need to dehumidify.
5. The chart fails to take into account dehumidifier CFM – the CFM of the dehumidifier’s intake fan (the Cubic Feet of air the fan pulls into the dehumidifier every Minute). We rate dehumidifiers with higher CFM fans much higher than those with lower CFM fans. Why? Because only half the battle in dehumidifying a given volume of air involves the process of actually removing moisture from it inside of the dehumidifier. The other half involves pulling that air into the dehumidifier for it to be dehumidified. A higher CFM fan is able to pull more air from greater distances surrounding the dehumidifier. This is especially important if you want to dehumidify a large space. The chart above doesn’t take into account that a smaller capacity dehumidifier with a higher CFM fan may very well outperform a larger capacity dehumidifier with a lower CFM fan under certain circumstances.
6. The chart is likely based on an extrapolation of test data obtained in a highly controlled environment. It’s likely not based on actual experiments in environments corresponding to the actual conditions (moderately damp, very damp, wet, extremely wet) it makes recommendations for.
How can a dehumidifier manufacturer make the claim that their 70 pint dehumidifier can actually remove 70 pints of moisture per day? The manufacturer does so by voluntarily sending it to AHAM for testing. AHAM then measures the dehumidifier’s moisture removal rate in a laboratory that is set to exactly 60% relative humidity (RH) and 80º F.
We think it’s safe to assume that AHAM doesn’t actually conduct any testing in the “wet” or “extremely wet” conditions referenced in their sizing chart. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that they conducted testing in a room with wall or floor sweat (a room that would be classified as “wet” in the chart) or in one in which laundry drying occurs (a room that would be classified as “extremely wet” in the chart). The bottom-line here is that the chart is likely based on data obtained in a space much different than the space that you actually need to dehumidify.
7. The chart contradicts manufacturer recommendations. See this Friedrich dehumidifier brochure, for example. It recommends that a 70 pint dehumidifier be used for a 1,000 to 2,000 sq. ft. “wet” or “extremely wet” space which contradicts the 20 pint to 37 pint recommendation of the size chart above for the same size space under exactly the same conditions.
8. The chart contradicts our own research and testing. Take for example, the chart’s recommendation that a 44 pint dehumidifier be used for a 2,500 sq. ft. “extremely wet” space. Our own experiences with all of the dehumidifiers we’ve tested so far lead us to believe that a 44 pint dehumidifier (which doesn’t actually exist, but that’s beside the point here) is not nearly of a large enough capacity to dehumidify such a large space under those conditions.
Clearly, we believe that the AHAM dehumidifier sizing chart has a lot of flaws. And, because of them, it is our strong recommendation that you do not use it to determine what size dehumidifier you should buy. So, what do we recommend? Our recommendation is simply the following:
Buy the largest capacity dehumidifier you can afford.
In other words, we recommend that you buy a 70 pint dehumidifier – the largest capacity consumer-grade dehumidifier you can buy – regardless of the size or dampness of the space you need to dehumidify.
If you have a smaller space that’s not very damp – say you live in an approximately 1,000 square foot apartment – then you certainly can get away with a 50 pint or even a 30 pint unit. But, you’ll be doing so at a cost. What exactly is that cost? We explain below.
Why You Shouldn’t Take Our Recommendation Lightly
Our recommendation that you buy the largest capacity (for consumers this means 70 pint) dehumidifier you can afford is based on the following very simple fact:
70 pint dehumidifiers dehumidify faster than 50 or 30 pint units.
It may sound like we’re stating the obvious here but really think about that statement – a 70 pint dehumidifier dehumidifies faster.
It’s easy to associate a 70 pint dehumidifier’s capacity with a certain volume of water – the volume of water that the dehumidifier removes from the air each day. And the truth is that such an association isn’t incorrect. A 70 pint dehumidifier is certainly capable of removing a volume of 70 pints of water from humid air every day.
But, the much more important association to make here is that a dehumidifier’s capacity relates to the rate at which it can remove moisture. A 70 pint dehumidifier removes any given quantity of moisture – not just 70 pints – at a faster rate in any given quantity of time – not just in 24 hours.
If this sounds confusing, think about it this way. A 70 pint dehumidifier is rated to remove 70 pints of moisture per day. This translates to 2.92 pints of moisture removal per hour. A 50 pint dehumidifier can remove 2.08 pints of moisture per hour and a 30 pint dehumidifier can remove exactly 1.25 pints per hour. Let’s say you have a space that holds a block of air containing 100 pints of moisture. Here’s how fast each size/capacity dehumidifier will be able to remove that moisture.
70 pint – 34.25 hours
50 pint – 48.08 hours
30 pint – 80 hours
Clearly, given a set quantity of moisture, a 70 pint dehumidifier can remove that moisture much faster than smaller capacity dehumidifiers.
Another way of looking at it is with percentages.
In order to remove any given quantity of moisture from any given space, a 70 pint dehumidifier, compared to a 50 pint dehumidifier, will be able to remove that moisture 40% faster. Compared to a 30 pint dehumidifier? A whopping 134% faster!
Because it dehumidifies faster, a 70 pint dehumidifier needs to run for a much shorter period of time than smaller capacity dehumidifiers to dehumidify any size space under any conditions.
This is extremely important for the following reasons, which also happen to be the primary reasons why we feel so strongly about recommending 70 pint units:
1. It makes 70 pint dehumidifiers more energy efficient compared to smaller capacity units. 70 pint dehumidifiers do draw more power than smaller capacity units per unit time but they draw this power over a much shorter period of time. We’ve done the math and the end result is that, in real-world conditions, 70 pint dehumidifiers are, overall, more energy efficient than smaller capacity dehumidifiers over time. You should be able to more than recoup the initial cost difference between a 70 pint and a 50 or 30 pint dehumidifier in energy cost savings over time.
2. It makes 70 pint dehumidifiers more reliable than smaller capacity units. This is perhaps the biggest reason why we recommend 70 pint units. You see, every minute that your dehumidifier runs puts stress on its internal parts (its compressor, condenser, etc.). Because 70 pint dehumidifiers have to run for a shorter amount of time than smaller capacity units to dehumidify any given quantity of air, the stress on their internal parts occurs over a much shorter amount of time. This allows them to last much longer than smaller capacity units.
Think of it this way: a dehumidifier’s longevity isn’t determined by how long you own it but rather by how many hours you operate it. The math is simple. A smaller capacity unit has to operate for a far greater number of hours than a large capacity unit to dehumidify the same space with the same amount of moisture.
We’ve surveyed countless consumer reviews for hundreds of different dehumidifiers of all different sizes. It’s actually startling to see how big of a discrepancy there is between the number of consumer complaints about the reliability of smaller capacity units (50 and especially 30 pint) compared to the number of those complaints for large capacity (70 pint) units. The percentage of complaints is much much higher for smaller capacity units.
Our Top Picks for 2020
After several hundred hours of research, testing, and in-depth analysis here are our model recommendations for 2020. These are the very best dehumidifiers we’ve tested so far.
The Best Overall – Frigidaire FFAD7033R1
Simply put, the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is by far the best dehumidifier we’ve tested as of the writing of this guide in early 2020. It is unequivocally the best dehumidifier on the market today. Here’s why.
It removes moisture fast – We conduct two different tests to determine how well and how fast a dehumidifier can remove moisture in a real-world environment. In the first test we measure how long it takes for the dehumidifier to lower room humidity from 90% down to 40% relative humidity (RH). In the second test we measure how long it takes for it to lower room humidity from 80% down to 50% RH. The FFAD7033R1 was able to lower room humidity from 80% down to 50% RH faster than any other dehumidifier we tested. It was the second fastest lowering room humidity from 90% down to 40% RH.
It’s quiet – The FFAD7033R1 has two things going for it when it comes to producing as little noise as possible. First, it doesn’t produce any audible compressor noise. Ever hear your fridge’s compressor kicking on? If you get really close to your fridge and/or if you have an older fridge you may very well be able to hear its compressor make a buzzing noise. A dehumidifier also has a compressor and it also can produce the same buzzing noise a refrigerator’s compressor can make. The FFAD7033R1′s compressor didn’t produce any audible noise during testing. The same cannot be said for many of the other dehumidifiers we tested.
The second thing the FFAD7033R1 has going for it, in terms of noise output, is the fact that it exhausts out of its side. On a dehumidifier such as this one with very little to no compressor noise, exhaust fan noise makes up almost all the noise you’ll hear when you turn it on. The FFAD7033R1 exhausts out of its side allowing you to direct this noise wherever you want by simply rotating the dehumidifier on its casters. Most other dehumidifiers on the market exhaust upward in which case fan noise is always directed upward as well. This type of noise distribution is much more difficult to manage.
It’s exceptionally well-built – We’ve had a lot of hours getting hands-on experience with a lot of different dehumidifiers. In terms of build quality and the quality of the materials used for its construction, the FFAD7033R1 is simply a cut above every other dehumidifier we’ve tested so far. It’s actually remarkable how big of a difference there is, in terms of build quality, when comparing the FFAD7033R1 directly side by side with other dehumidifiers. Placed directly next to other popular dehumidifiers it would be obvious even to someone with far less experience with dehumidifiers than we have, that the FFAD7033R1 is clearly a much better built higher quality appliance.
The FFAD7033R1 does more things better than any other dehumidifier we tested. It earns our highest recommendation as the best dehumidifier on the market today.
Note that 50 and 30 pint versions of this particular model are also available for purchase. Both units are identical to the 70 pint version except for capacity and size. They have exactly the same control panel, the same exhaust location, the same build quality, etc. Of course, for the reasons we discussed earlier, we do not recommend those smaller capacity versions over the 70 pint unit, but should you be set on purchasing a smaller capacity unit you can be confident that they provide similar noise output, exactly the same build quality, and most other benefits just the same as the 70 pint unit but at a smaller capacity.
The Best Budget Alternative – Keystone KSTAD70B
The Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is by far the best dehumidifier we’ve tested so far but it’s price and availability is often such that it may be out of reach for some consumers. A more budget-friendly alternative is the Keystone KSTAD70B. Here are the reasons why the KSTAD70B is a great second option.
It’s highly energy efficient – the KSTAD70B one of the most energy efficient 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested with a measured power draw of only 590 watts.
It’s quiet – this Keystone dehumidifier is one of the most quiet dehumidifiers in its size class. We measure the noise output (in dB using a sound meter) for all of the dehumidifiers we test for review. The KSTAD70B is one of the most quiet 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested so far.
It dehumidifies fast – it doesn’t dehumidify quite as fast as the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 but it’s still faster than average in its size class (70 pint). As noted above, we measure a dehumidifier’s moisture removal rate in two different tests. The KSTAD70B didn’t perform quite as well in these tests as the FFAD7033R1, but its performance was still above average.
The Keystone KSTAD70B removes moisture faster than most other 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested but more importantly, it removes moisture much faster than any 50 pint or 30 pint dehumidifier. This is important because the KSTAD70B is often priced much less than the average 50 pint dehumidifier and only $10 or $20 more than the average 30 pint dehumidifier. If you’re torn between purchasing a 30 or 50 pint unit and this Keystone 70 pint unit, our recommendation, without hesitation, would be the Keystone.
Read our Full Review
Winter 2020 Update
It has recently come to our attention that both our #1 pick (the FFAD7033R1) and our #2 pick (the KSTAD70B) are frequently out of stock at many online retailers.
It is therefore our recommendation that, should you need to buy a dehumidifier today and both our #1 and #2 pick are out of stock, you buy the the hOmeLabs 9 Gallon (70 Pint) Dehumidifier (model no. HME020031N). This dehumidifier tested very well and compares very favorably to the FFAD7033R1. In fact, in future updates to our site it very well may replace the KSTAD70B as our #2 recommendation (as the best budget option) and will at the very least replace the Danby DDR70A2GP as our #3 overall recommendation.
Why You Can Trust Our Recommendations
So far we’ve personally tested over 50 different dehumidifiers. Many other reviewers base their recommendations on manufacturer specifications. These specifications list performance data (namely moisture removal rate and noise output) that is based on testing conducted in a highly controlled environment which maximizes the performance of the dehumidifier and allows it to get ideal results. Our tests simulate real world environments and conditions that aren’t always ideal to determine how each dehumidifier we test actually performs in real-world environments. We rigorously test each unit to determine how quickly it removes moisture, how much noise it produces, how much energy it uses, and just how accurate its built in hygrometer (used to read humidity levels) really is in a typical home environment. This means that our test data is often quite different than what manufacturer specifications indicate.
In addition to the tests described above we also take time to assess each unit’s build quality, its features, portability, adjustability, versatility, and how easy it is to use. Finally, we examine its warranty, price, and consumer feedback and compare it to the other dehumidifiers we’ve tested. This is how we determine the best dehumidifier in each category.
Additional Picks for 2020
Earlier we gave general recommendations for the best dehumidifiers in 2020 – the best unit overall (FFAD7033R1) and the best budget alternative (KSTAD70B). Below we make more specific recommendations.
The Best Small Dehumidifier
Can you get away with buying a smaller cheap dehumidifier for less than $30?
Dehumidifiers in this price range are usually small desiccant units. Desiccant dehumidifiers use a desiccant – a chemical – to remove moisture from the air. This chemical saturates with liquid moisture over time.
The cheapest desiccant “dehumidifiers” are usually just called “moisture absorbers”. DampRid products are of this variety. Moisture absorbers are very cheap (usually only around $10), disposable (you throw them away after the desiccant saturates with moisture), and “wireless” (you can put them anywhere since they don’t need to be plugged in). On the negative side of things, moisture absorbers remove moisture very slowly (they remove only a few ounces every few weeks) and it doesn’t take much moisture for them to become completely saturated (once they do, they’re thrown out). As such, they should only be used in extremely small spaces (closets, safes, cars, etc.) and only in very mildly humid conditions.
More expensive desiccant “dehumidifiers” are rechargeable. A small indicator window shows you when the desiccant is saturated (it’s usually a strip that turns from one color to another0. When this happens, you plug in the dehumidifier to recharge the desiccant. Recharging involves heating up the desiccant so that it releases moisture back into the air. For this reason, you never want to recharge this type of dehumidifier in a space where you wouldn’t mind it releasing moisture back into the air.
Rechargeable units are slightly more expensive than disposable moisture absorbers. They usually cost around $20 to $30 (the Eva-Dry E-333 and E-500 are two examples). The increase in cost is mostly due to the fact that they can be recharged. These units still remove very little moisture very slowly. Most remove somewhere between 4 to 8 ounces of moisture every 2 to 8 weeks (depending on the exact model and environment). Like disposable moisture absorbers, rechargeable desiccant units should only be used in very small spaces (cars, closets, etc.) and only if the space is very mildly humid.
So, can you get away with purchasing either one of these two types of “dehumidifiers”? Yes, but only if the space you need to dehumidify is very small and not very humid. The best disposable option is the DampRid FG50T. The best rechargeable option is the Eva-Dry E-333.
If the space is any larger than even 20 or 30 sq. ft. and if the space is fairly humid, at least a 30 pint compressor based unit like the Frigidaire FFAD3033R1 is recommended instead.
Can you get away with buying a dehumidifier for less than $100?
Dehumidifiers in this price range are either small disposable or rechargeable desiccant units or thermo-electric units. We discussed desiccant options at length above. Now we’ll address thermo-electric options.
In a compressor based dehumidifier, warm air condenses on ice cold evaporator coils. Condensation drips down into the dehumidifier’s collection bucket at a rate of 70, 50, or 30 pints per day (for most models).
In a thermo-electric dehumidifier, warm air condenses on a cooled down heat sink (the dehumidifier uses the thermoelectric effect to use electricity to cool down the heat sink). The condensation drips down into the thermo-electric dehumidifier’s collection bucket. The issue here is that it drips down – that is to say, the dehumidifier removes moisture – at a rate of only about 0.5 to 1.25 pints per day for most models.
This rate of moisture removal is slightly faster than it is for disposable and rechargeable desiccant units, but it’s still much slower than it is for full size compressor based units. An approx. $50 thermo-electric dehumidifier like the Ivation IVAGDM20 removes only 0.5 pints of moisture per day. That’s 60 times slower than even a relatively small 30 pint compressor based dehumidifier. Larger thermo-electric units like the Ivation IVADM35 (approx. $80) can remove as much as 1.25 pints of moisture per day but this is still well below the moisture removal rate of even the smallest compressor based dehumidifier.
So, can you get away with buying a dehumidifier for less than $100? Yes, but only if the space you need to dehumidify is both very small and only mildly humid. A larger thermo-electric unit like the IVADM35 (it would be the top rated option in this price range) could service a small bathroom, but don’t expect it to quickly lower humidity after a warm shower. It would take days to properly lower humidity under such conditions in stagnant air.
For any room larger than about 50 sq. ft. and any space that’s more than mildly humid, we would recommend at least a 30 pint compressor based dehumidifier like the Frigidaire FFAD3033R1.
The Quietest Dehumidifier
The perceived loudness of a dehumidifier depends on many different factors including:
1. the fan speed – higher fan speeds produce more noise than lower fan speeds
2. the distance you are away from the dehumidifier – the closer you are to the dehumidifier the louder it is
3. whether the dehumidifier exhausts air upwards or to the side – if upwards, noise distributes evenly throughout the room; if to the side, the noise can be directed away from you
4. whether the dehumidifier produces an audible “compressor buzz” – some units have internal compressors that make a “buzzing” sound when the dehumidifier is actively dehumidifying
At a distance of about 10 ft. (away from the dehumidifier) on high fan speed, expect the typical dehumidifier to produce about 50 to 55 dB of noise. This is about the same level of noise your fridge or AC system produces.
The quietest dehumidifiers exhaust air out of the side and produce little to no compressor noise. The 50 to 55 dB of noise is mostly wind noise produced by dried air exhausting out of the dehumidifier.
Any dehumidifier that exhausts air out of the side and produces little to no compressor noise is a great option if you’re looking for a quiet dehumidifier. A top rated unit like the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 also does well in other areas like energy efficiency and moisture removal rate. Thus, it gets our recommendation here.
Note that, for the most part, smaller capacity units are not any quieter than large capacity units. In other words, 30 pint units are not any quieter than 70 pint units.
The Most Energy Efficient Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers draw a lot of power in order to facilitate removing as much moisture as they do. A good rule of thumb to approximate power draw is to multiply the unit’s capacity by 10. For example, a 30 pint dehumidifier draws about 300 watts of power (30 x 10 = 300). 50 pint units draw about 500 watts and 70 pint units draw about 700 watts of power*.
The most energy efficient dehumidifier takes all of that power and uses it as efficiently as possible to remove moisture. Our testing has shown that larger capacity dehumidifiers are more energy efficient than smaller capacity units in real world scenarios.
Thus, we would strongly recommend a 70 pint dehumidifier if energy efficiency is a priority for you. Among the 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested, the top rated Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is again our recommendation if you’re looking for the most energy efficient option available.
*For comparison, your TV likely draws about 100 watts of power. A fridge usually draws between 200 and 400 watts of power. Your home AC system likely draws between 1000 and 4000 watts of power.
The Most Portable Dehumidifier
Three factors determine a dehumidifier’s portability:
3. the quality and design of its handles
70 pint and 50 pint dehumidifiers are exactly the same size. The only difference between them is their internals – 70 pint units have beefier internals to facilitate their higher moisture removal rate. These units are usually right around 2 ft. tall, slightly more than a foot wide, and about one foot deep.*
30 pint units are slightly smaller. They’re usually about 4 to 5 inches shorter, and ever so slightly less wide and less deep (a few inches at most).
70 pint units weigh upwards of 50 lb. 50 pint units weigh a little less – usually close to 40 lb. 30 pint units weigh the least – usually around 30 to 35 lb.
Two types of handles dominate the market:
1. Side pocket handles
2. A top extendable handle
During testing, we found units with top extendable handles to be much easier to pick up than units with side pocket handles.
Thus, the most portable dehumidifier would be a 30 pint unit (smallest and weighs the least) with a top extendable handle (easiest to pick up). Our recommendation here would be the 30 pint Frigidaire FFAD3033R1 as it does well in other areas (other than portability) as well. It’s also energy efficient, quiet, and removes moisture quickly for its size class.
* For comparison, a standard dishwasher is about 10 inches taller and 10 inches wider than a 70 or 50 pint dehumidifier.
Scoring Our Dehumidifier Reviews
Each of our dehumidifier reviews is broken down into 13 different categories including
- Energy Efficiency
- Noise Output
- Moisture Removal Rate
- Hygrometer Accuracy
- Extra Features
- Ease of Use
We use the rating rubric below to give each dehumidifier we test a score out of 5 in each category.
|2.0||Below Average||Our worst rating indicating poor and unacceptable performance|
|3.0||Below Average||Below average but acceptable performance|
|3.5||Average||The unit's performance was up to par compared to the industry standard|
|4.0||Above Average||Only slightly above average performance|
|4.5||Above Average||More than slightly above average but also not perfect|
|5.0||Above Average||Perfect. Nothing could have been done better|
These 13 scores are then added up to give the dehumidifier a cumulative score. It is largely this cumulative score that we use to determine the best dehumidifier in each size category.
Complete Dehumidifier Rankings
All the dehumidifiers we’ve tested so far, ranked according to their cumulative score (in the right-most column), are listed in the tables below. Note that you can read our full review for each unit by clicking on its model name.
70 Pint Dehumidifiers
|The best rated dehumidifier overall. Provides terrific all-around performance.|
|Really strong performer in all real world tests except noise output test – was one of the loudest 70 pint units we tested. Otherwise, a great performer.|
|A great option for the more budget minded consumer. A solid performer at a great value.|
|Very good performer in moisture removal rate and energy efficiency tests but poor performer in our noise output tests – one of the louder 70 pint units we tested. Also lacks certain important modes like a continuous or auto mode and has some quality control issues.|
|Great energy efficiency and low noise output but unacceptably poor performance in our moisture removal tests. Also one of the less durable dehumidifiers on the market.|
|Large water collection bucket and well made but below average performer in all 4 of our real world performance tests. Also one of the more expensive 70 pint dehumidifiers on the market.|
|A little lighter and smaller than other dehumidifiers in the category. Also quite energy efficient. But a poor performer in our moisture removal tests and comes equipped with a highly inaccurate built-in hygrometer.|
|Very large water collection bucket and also features extra modes not available on most other dehumidifiers in the category. But expensive, a poor performer in our moisture removal tests, and has a major design flaw – the unit doesn’t show the room’s relative humidity so there’s no way for you to know how well it’s working without buying a separate hygrometer.|
|Energy efficient and highly portable but a poor performer in most other categories. It also has received an abnormally high percentage of very poor consumer reviews.|
70 Pint Built-in Pump Dehumidifiers
|Feature rich and also comes with a built-in pump but a poor performer in our moisture removal tests and also doesn’t come with an automatic defrost mode.|
|Comes with a built-in pump and an above average sized water collection bucket. Durability is above average and brand customer support is excellent. However, the unit was a poor performer in both our moisture removal rate and noise output testing.|
|Performed better than most other built-in pump units we tested in all 4 of our real world performance tests. Also one of the more inexpensive built-in pump units on the market. But has several issues that prevent us from recommending it – most notably its low durability.|
|Removes moisture very quickly for a built-in pump unit and also fairly inexpensive. But is highly energy inefficient and noisy. Also not very durable.|
|Durable but very expensive. Also did not perform well in any of our real world tests.|
50 Pint Dehumidifiers
|The best 50 pint dehumidifier on the market. Like its 70 pint counterpart, a great all-around performer.|
|Built-in pump and highly durable but expensive and has received a high rate of negative consumer reviews.|
|Energy efficient and portable. Also a great option if you’re looking for the best value option in the category.|
|Energy efficient and feature rich but less than average performance in our real world performance tests and very expensive.|
|Energy efficient, portable, and a good value but has poor durability and is also noisy.|
30 Pint Dehumidifiers
|Equipped with exactly the same features and has much of the same functionality as its 50 and 70 pint counterparts – just removes moisture less quickly. The best 30 pint dehumidifier we’ve tested.|
|Well equipped with plenty of features and good performance in all of our performance tests except our noise output test – one of the louder 30 pint units on the market.|
|The quietest 30 pint unit we’ve tested so far but a high rate of negative consumer reviews.|
|Very light and portable but comes equipped with a mechanical control panel (vs the electronic control panels on most other dehumidifiers) and a poor performer in our moisture removal tests.|
Our Initial Thoughts on Newly Released Models
Below are our thoughts on newly released models that we haven’t tested yet. Rest assured we will test most of these units in the near future with in-depth reviews following shortly thereafter.
The FFAP7033T1 is essentially an FFAD7033R1 with a built-in pump. This added functionality makes the FFAP about $50 more expensive than the FFAD at most online retailers.
When we eventually test it, the FFAP should have very similar energy efficiency, noise output, moisture removal rate, and hygrometer accuracy to the FFAD. Both units are housed in a very similar body with very similar internals. Again, the biggest difference between them is the FFAP’s built-in pump and its $50 (approx.) more expensive price tag.
The FFAD is the best dehumidifier we’ve tested so far. The FFAP is just an FFAD with a built-in pump. This should make the FFAP a very good dehumidifier as well, outside of the fact that it comes with an extra feature (built-in pump) at an extra cost (approx. $50).
The question then is does this extra feature at an extra cost make it a better or worse dehumidifier? Does it make it a better or worse buy? In other words, is it worth the extra $50 to “upgrade” to the FFAP over the FFAD?
Our strong recommendation is that it is not. Why not? For these 3 reasons:
1. Both units come with exactly the same size water collection bucket. Most users will only need to use the water collection bucket to collect the moisture that the dehumidifier removes from the air, and this bucket is identical on both units.
2. Both units come with exactly the same gravity drainage outlet. Those users that want to use the dehumidifier continuously can easily connect a garden hose to either unit to drain it using gravity. The only limitations of gravity drainage are that the drain has to be beneath the drain outlet (on the dehumidifier) and the drain also cannot be too far away from the dehumidifier since it’s draining using only gravity.
3. The FFAP’s built-in pump adds another point of failure to the dehumidifier’s internals. A dehumidifier is comprised of many internal components. Adding a built-in pump to the mix makes for one more thing that can break and when it does, the pump itself needs to be repaired or replaced or the whole dehumidifier needs to be replaced for you to be able to continue to enjoy pump functionality.
Instead of purchasing the FFAP7033T1, our recommendation is that you buy an FFAD7033R1 and an external condensate pump separately.
You can buy the FFAD at a lower initial price than the FFAP and try out using its water collection bucket and/or draining it using gravity at a lower initial cost. If you find those two options are sufficient, you’ve just saved approx. $50. If you find you really do need pump functionality, you can easily buy a condensate pump separately for right around $50, after the fact.
An external pump is much less likely to break than an internal built-in pump, is usually more powerful than a built-in pump, and is usually right around or even less expensive than the approx. $50 price difference between the FFAD and FFAP.
External pumps are also very easy to set up and use. You simply connect a garden hose to the dehumidifier like you would when draining it into a floor drain but instead of draining into the floor drain you drain into the condensate pump.
All of the above being said, if you absolutely need to buy a unit with a built-in pump, the FFAP7033T1 is likely the best option currently on the market. Each of the other built-in pump dehumidifiers we’ve tested have issues that keep us from recommending it. The biggest problem we have with the FFAP is that the FFAD with an external pump is simply the better option.
For the FFAP7033T1:
See Price on Amazon
GE ADEL70LW (Home Depot), ADEW70LW (Walmart)
The ADEL70LW/ADEW70LW is the successor to the previously tested and reviewed ADEL70LR. The ADEL70LR performed poorly in all four of our real world performance tests. It was also one of the more expensive 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested.
We’re eager to see if the ADEL70LW/ADEW70LW does better in our testing. It continues to be one of the more expensive 70 pint dehumidifiers on the market. It also comes with one of the weakest warranties for any dehumidifier on the market. The warranty is only for 1 year on all parts. Most units that do come with a 1 year warranty come with an additional 2-5 year warranty on the sealed system (compressor, evaporator, etc.). These GE units do not. This alone makes us very unlikely to recommend them even if they do test better than their predecessor, the ADEL70LR.
Note: the GE APEL70LW/APEW70LW is the pump version of the models we discussed above. The same recommendations that apply to comparing the Frigidaire FFAP to the FFAD apply here (i.e. the cheaper non built-in pump model is recommended along with a separate condensate pump).
We’re eager to test this model in a future round-up. Unfortunately, we have yet to test any other LG models to compare it to.
Vremi and Tosot Dehumidifiers
We’re holding off on testing these units until they’ve been on the market for at least a few years (the Vremi units were only released in November 2018 while Tosot units were only released in May 2018). So far, consumer reviews look good for both models but neither model has been on the market long enough for us to really know much about its long term reliability, and this is heavily factored into our recommendations.
The bottom line here is that none of these new options look like they’re likely to dethrone the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 as the best dehumidifier for 2020. However, we can’t know for sure until we do some hands-on testing, and that should come in the near future for most of the units mentioned above.
Commonly Asked Questions
What is the optimal place to put a dehumidifier?
Any location that leaves at least 6 inches of space between the dehumidifier’s intake* and any obstructions (like a wall) will work.
Other strategies you can use for optimal dry air distribution include:
1. Put the dehumidifier close to a return air vent while running your home’s AC system (or at least just the system’s fan). This will allow dry air to better distribute throughout the whole home.
2. In larger spaces place the dehumidifier in a more central location.
3. Use fans to better move air between rooms if necessary.
*The dehumidifier’s intake is where it intakes humid air – usually this is either on the front or back of the dehumidifier.
What fan speed should I use?
Most dehumidifiers are equipped with at least a low and high fan speed. Use the high fan speed to remove moisture as quickly as possible. Use the low fan speed to run the dehumidifier as quietly as possible.
Will the dehumidifier’s fan continue to run after the desired humidity level is reached?
This depends on make and model. Top rated units like the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 have fans that will cycle off when the desired humidity level is reached. Note that on many of these models the fan may run intermittently to continue to sample air (to determine if it’s still at the desired humidity level) but it won’t run continuously as it does when actively dehumidifying.
Also note that energy draw is very little when only the dehumidifier’s fan is running.
What about the filter? Does it need to be replaced?
Most dehumidifiers come equipped with an air filter. The filter’s job is to filter out large particles (from the air) to keep them from getting inside of the dehumidifier where they could potentially do damage to internal parts like the unit’s compressor, evaporator, etc.
The filter does not need to be replaced. It can be rinsed and/or vacuumed to clean it. This should be done regularly (every 2 weeks or so) if you run the dehumidifier 24/7. If you run it less often the filter doesn’t need to be cleaned as often.
Can I use an extension cord?
Most dehumidifiers have about a 6 ft. long power cord. What do you do if you want to put the dehumidifier further than 6 ft. away from a wall outlet? Can you use an extension cord?
According to the manufacturer, absolutely not. We don’t recommend it either.
Hypothetically, if you absolutely had to use an extension cord, you would need to use no longer than a 3 or 6 ft. 12 or 14 AWG extension cord.
Will the dehumidifier restart automatically after a power outage?
Yes, most dehumidifiers will restart automatically after a power outage with previous settings saved.
Do I need to buy a separate hygrometer (device to measure humidity) along with my dehumidifier?
Almost all dehumidifiers come equipped with a built-in hygrometer. The dehumidifier will tell you the room’s ambient humidity right on its control panel. Some built-in hygrometers are more accurate than others but most will give you a good enough reading for most applications.
The only time you really should consider buying a separate hygrometer is if you’re planning to dehumidify a very large space. You can then use the hygrometer to determine humidity levels at different locations away from the dehumidifier to determine
a. if the dehumidifier has sufficient capacity or if one dehumidifier is enough to properly dehumidify the furthest corners of the space
b. if you need to try putting the dehumidifier in different locations to dehumidify the whole space (eg. does it work better when you put the dehumidifier in this room or that room or does it work better when you add a fan to circulate air, etc.)
What is the lowest humidity a dehumidifier is able to achieve?
Most dehumidifiers can be set to dehumidify room air down to about 35% RH (relative humidity). In most cases you press up or down arrows on the dehumidifier’s control panel to set the desired humidity level. The lowest you can set it to is usually 35% RH. Most of the dehumidifiers we tested were able to achieve this level of humidity without issue.
What is the minimum and maximum operating temperature for dehumidifiers?
Almost all dehumidifiers on the market have roughly the same operating temperature range of approx. 41° F up to approx. 95° F.
Note that even at temperatures as high as 55° F frost (ice) can start building up on the dehumidifier’s evaporator coils. A unit equipped with an automatic defrost mode will automatically cycle off its compressor and only run its fan to melt away the frost. Once defrosted, it will automatically cycle its compressor back on to continue dehumidifying. Rest assured that all top rated units we recommend come equipped with this functionality.
If I drain the dehumidifier with a hose, does the size/capacity dehumidifier I buy make a difference?
Yes, it does make a big difference. A dehumidifier’s capacity is the amount of moisture (water) it can remove from the air every 24 hours. It is not the capacity of its water collection bucket.
A 70 pint unit is able to remove up to 70 pints of moisture from the air every 24 hours. It doesn’t matter if it’s draining into its water collection bucket or into a drain.
All dehumidifiers have a water collection bucket capacity that’s much less than their overall capacity. For example, 70 pint units usually have a bucket that’s in the 12 to 18 pint range.
What’s in the box of the typical dehumidifier?
Most units ship with just the dehumidifier and a manual. Some units come with an adapter that connects to the drain outlet. Built-in pump dehumidifiers usually ship with special tubing that connects to a separate outlet for the sole purpose of draining the dehumidifier via the built-in pump.