Commercial dehumidifiers work much the same way as consumer grade dehumidifiers work, except that they’re optimized for more heavy duty use (we’ll go over these optimizations in great detail later on in this guide). Like consumer grade dehumidifiers, commercial dehumidifiers can remove moisture either by using a desiccant or by using a compressed refrigerant. Desiccant commercial dehumidifiers are normally rented or leased as they can be very expensive to buy outright and their proper use and setup often require professional expertise. Compressor based commercial units are for the most part much less expensive (and therefore readily available for purchase) and are also generally much easier to setup and use.
Who This Guide Is For
Our goal with this guide is to give the consumer a general idea of what type of commercial dehumidifier options are out there (for purchase), which we recommend, and which we don’t recommend. For this reason, we will solely focus our attention on compressor based units for the rest of this guide. As we’ve already mentioned, desiccant units are very expensive and difficult to use. As such they’re not a great option for consumers. Compressor based units, on the other hand, are much more reasonably priced and are much less difficult to use, making them a viable option for consumers.
If you’re a business owner or even just a homeowner wanting to know what the next step up is, if you will, from consumer grade dehumidifiers – what the next most heavy duty option is after 70 pint compressor based dehumidifiers – then this is the guide for you. If you’re a restoration professional looking to buy new equipment for your business then this guide can still help but note that we’ll only discuss compressor based options (we won’t be discussing any desiccant options). Finally, if you’re a business owner needing to solve severe restoration problems, our recommendation is that you forego reading this guide altogether. Instead we recommend that you contact your local restoration professional and rent (not buy) dehumidifying equipment locally.
Commercial Dehumidifiers Are Optimized For Heavy Duty Operation
As we mentioned earlier, commercial dehumidifiers are optimized for heavy duty use. As such, they have several features and certain functionality that is either an augmentation of or unique to those features and functions that you might find on the average consumer grade dehumidifier. Those features/functions include:
1. Greater moisture removal – We want to start our discussion of this, what you might consider to be the most obvious distinction that can be drawn between commercial and consumer grade dehumidifiers (greater moisture removal rate), with a warning. Dehumidifiers touted as “commercial” units may not always have a greater moisture removal rate than comparable consumer grade units. How and why does this happen?
Most consumer grade dehumidifiers top out at 70 pints of moisture removal per day. Most consumer grade units have this specified moisture removal rate calculated at AHAM, which is a group that certifies that any particular dehumidifier can actually remove the amount of moisture per day that its manufacturer claims that it can. AHAM tests dehumidifiers at a specific temperature and relative humidity – 80° F and 60% RH (relative humidity). Thus, a 70 pint consumer grade dehumidifier is certified to be able to remove 70 pints of moisture at 80° F and 60% RH. A 50 pint dehumidifier is certified to remove 50 pints of moisture per day at 80° F and 60% RH, and so on and so forth.
The listed or manufacturer specified moisture removal rate (the rate on the box) for consumer grade dehumidifiers is their moisture removal rate at AHAM. A 70 pint consumer grade unit removes 70 pints of moisture per day at AHAM. A 50 pint consumer grade unit removes 50 pints of moisture per day at AHAM. The same isn’t true for commercial dehumidifiers. The listed or manufacturer specified moisture removal rate for commercial units is often, if not most of the time, not their moisture removal rate at AHAM. For this reason you have to be very careful when looking at and comparing their listed moisture removal rates. A 120 pint commercial dehumidifier, for example, specified by the manufacturer to remove up to 120 pints of moisture per day, does not necessarily remove 120 pints of moisture per day at AHAM.
How and why is this true? To answer that question we have to take a quick look at the relationship between moisture removal rate and temperature and humidity. Moisture removal rate is in fact directly proportional to the temperature and humidity of the air that is being dehumidified. A dehumidifier on a certain setting and a certain fan speed will remove moisture at a greater rate in environments at higher temperatures and higher humidity levels than it will in environments at lower temperatures and lower humidity levels. A 70 pint dehumidifier on max. settings may be capable of removing 70 pints of moisture per day at 80° F and 60% RH but it will remove much less moisture per day at 60° F and 60% RH and even less moisture per day at 50° F and 60% RH. Decreasing humidity levels will have the same effect as decreasing temperature. The same dehumidifier on the same max. settings will remove less than 70 pints of moisture per day at 80° F and 50% RH and even less moisture per day at 80° F and 40% RH. Decreasing both temperature and humidity at the same time will exponentially decrease a dehumidifier’s efficiency. Conversely, increasing both temperature and humidity at the same time will increase dehumidifier efficiency. And increasing one or the other will also increase dehumidifier efficiency. A 70 pint dehumidifier can remove even more than 70 pints of moisture per day in a room with a temperature of 80° F at 100% RH, for example.
Coming back to our discussion of commercial units, be careful to note the temperature and humidity at which commercial dehumidifier moisture removal rate is given. The BlueDri BD-76P, for example, removes an incredible 150 ppd (pints per day) at 90° F and 90% RH but only 76 ppd at AHAM – 80° F and 60% RH. The $1000+ Pridiom PGD800HCW removes 96 ppd at saturation (100% RH) but only 50 ppd at AHAM. Note that not all commercial units have such a drop off that their efficiency at AHAM is on par with what you get with a consumer grade unit. The Frigidaire FAD954DWD removes 90 ppd at AHAM, the Dri-Eaz LGR 3500i removes an incredible 170 ppd at AHAM, etc.
2. Higher CFM fans – A dehumidifier’s fan pulls warm humid unprocessed air into it and also pushes (or exhausts) dried processed air out of it. CFM is an abbreviation for “Cubic Feet per Minute”. Thus, a higher CFM fan is able to pull a greater of volume (measured in cubic feet) of air into a dehumidifier per unit time (measured by minute in this case). Consumer grade dehumidifiers normally come equipped with a fan in the sub-200 CFM range. The top rated Frigidaire FFAD7033R1′s fan, for example, operates at 182 CFM on high fan speed and 159 CFM on low fan speed. Commercial units come equipped with a much higher CFM fan – for the most part 200+ CFM. The Dri-Eaz LGR 3500i’s fan, for example, operates at 400 CFM.
Commercial dehumidifiers’ higher CFM fans allow for two different benefits and one disadvantage. The two benefits are greater moisture removal rate and greater area of coverage. Its higher CFM fan allows a commercial dehumidifier to process a greater quantity of air per unit time – the direct result is a greater moisture removal rate. A higher CFM fan is also able to pull air from a further distance and circulate air through the room to greater effect – the direct result is an increased area of coverage – in other words, the dehumidifier can be used in a larger space. The one disadvantage of a higher CFM fan is noise output. All other things being equal, the greater the CFM of a fan, the faster its spins, the greater the noise it produces. Note that we said “all other things being equal”. Fans on some commercial units may be larger in diameter than fans on consumer grade dehumidifiers. The greater diameter of the fan allows for greater CFM without requiring the fan to spin faster. That being said, most commercial dehumidifiers have fans that are similarly sized to fans on consumer grade units and thus most commercial units make more noise than comparable consumer grade units.
3. Optimized for external drainage – consumer grade units have a water collection tank built into the dehumidifier that serves as the primary option for collecting moisture. Most units give you the option to drain them using gravity or a pump but doing so normally involves installing extra adapters, supplying your own drain hose, etc. Commercial units are first and foremost set up for pump drainage. Most commercial units come equipped with a heavy duty built in pump that absolutely requires that you drain the dehumidifier using supplied hosing. There is either no water collection tank or a very small backup reservoir (that only fills up during emergency shutdowns) on most commercial dehumidifiers.
4. Greater portability – Commercial dehumidifiers are optimized for portability. This is because most commercial dehumidifiers are owned and operated by restoration professionals that need to be able to easily move and transport them from one job to the next. The ways in which commercial units are optimized for portability vary. Commercial units are often stackable. Many come with semi-pneumatic wheels that makes them much easier to roll around than consumer grade units with casters. Most also have heavy duty handles that make moving them from one location to the next easier. Finally, most commercial dehumidifiers have a very long 25 ft power cord. This allows them to easily be used in out of the way, difficult to reach areas which would otherwise require that you use a cumbersome heavy duty extension cord to use the dehumidifier.
5. More “rugged” build quality – commercial units are built for commercial applications. As such they feature more rugged construction than what you’d find on the average consumer grade dehumidifier. Consumer grade units have a thin plastic outer shell. Commercial units often feature a steel chassis and housing or at least a more durable plastic housing which makes them much more durable and viable in rough commercial settings. Internal parts on commercial units are also “heavier duty” – and thus are “beefier” and more solidly built – than comparable parts on consumer grade units.
6. A greater operating temperature range – many commercial units can be operated in temperatures as low as 33° F and as high as 125° F. Compare this range to the average operating temperature range of a consumer grade dehumidifier – 41° F to about 90° F. This allows for much greater flexibility and versatility in terms of what type of environment a commercial dehumidifier can be used in.
7. More advanced defrost modes – to aid their efficiency in low temperature environments many commercial units are equipped with what we refer to as “advanced defrost modes”. The Ebac Neptune, for example, features a “Hot Gas” defrost mode which actively melts away frost and thereby melts frosts much faster than the more passive defrost modes you find on consumer grade dehumidifiers.
We don’t recommend that you use any consumer grade compressor based dehumidifier in temperatures below 50° F, despite their specified operating temperature limit normally being as low as 41° F. We do not make this same recommendation for commercial units. These advanced defrost modes enable commercial compressor based units to operate efficiently at even the lowest most close to freezing temperatures at the very bottom of their manufacturer specified operating temperature range.
Best Commercial Dehumidifiers
In order to find the best commercial dehumidifier option for consumers, we surveyed all readily available reasonably priced commercial dehumidifiers on the market (compressor based only). Below is a summary of the features and specifications in addition to our own opinion of each dehumidifier that we surveyed.
Note: because of the frequency with which we will refer to “pints per day” in the paragraphs that follow we will use its abbreviation, ” ppd”, instead. We will also refer to conditions at 80° F and 60% RH as conditions at “AHAM” and conditions at 100% RH (relative humidity) as conditions at “saturation”.
#1 Frigidaire FAD954DWD
We recommend the Frigidaire FAD954DWD as the best commercial dehumidifier option for consumers. It’s more heavy duty than the highest capacity 70 pint consumer grade dehumidifiers, while still maintaining a good amount of affordability. Other commercial dehumidifiers can remove more moisture per day, but cost an arm and a leg to do so, making them unaffordable for the average consumer.
The FAD954DWD compared to the top rated FFAD7033R1
We’ve rated the FAD954DWD as the best commercial dehumidifier option for consumers, but how does it compare to the best rated consumer grade dehumidifier, the FFAD7033R1? The FAD954DWD removes 90 ppd at AHAM, which is 20 ppd more than the top rated FFAD7033R1. The FAD954DWD retails for around $400 while the FFAD7033R1 retails for around $250. 90 ppd is about 30% more than 70 ppd and $400 is about 60% more than $250. Thus, you’re paying 60% more for the FAD954DWD for only 30% more moisture removal per day. Our recommendation is therefore, at least in terms of value, that you opt for the consumer grade FFAD7033R1 over the FAD954DWD. The only circumstances under which you should purchase the FAD954DWD are one, if you absolutely need its extra 20 ppd of moisture removal and don’t want to spend the approximately $500 it’s going to take to buy two FFAD7033R1s and two, if you need it to dehumidify a very large area and again don’t want to spend the $500 on two FFAD7033R1s.
The FAD954DWD is capable of dehumidifying very large areas mostly due to its high CFM fan. The FAD954DWD’s fan operates at 259 CFM on high fan speed and 206 CFM on low fan speed. Compare these speeds to 182 CFM and 159 CFM for the FFAD7033R1 on high and low fan speed. As we discussed earlier in this guide, a higher CFM fan allows for greater moisture removal and a greater area of coverage at the cost of usually being louder than a lower CFM fan. The FAD954DWD therefore has a greater moisture removal rate than the FFAD7033R1 and can also dehumidify a larger volume of air. Its higher CFM fans allow it to pull air from a further distance away from the dehumidifier and also circulate air (that exhausts out of the dehumidifier) more efficiently in the space that is to be dehumidified. Of course, should you compare this efficiency to two FFAD7033R1s in the same space, the two FFAD7033R1s would be able to circulate air even more efficiently.
The bottom line is that the FAD954DWD should only be purchased if you need a one dehumidifier solution and you absolutely needs its extra 20 ppd of moisture removal and/or larger area of coverage. In all other cases, our recommendation is the FFAD7033R1. Click here to read our review.
The FAD954DWD compared to other commercial dehumidifiers
The FAD954DWD compares much more favorably to other commercial dehumidifiers than it does to high capacity consumer grade dehumidifiers. The reason why we recommend it over other commercial units is primarily due to its price to moisture removal rate ratio. At $400 you get a heavy duty commercial grade dehumidifier that removes more moisture per day than other commercial grade units that are 2, 3, even 5 times more expensive. Both Pridiom units retail for over $1000 and neither removes more than 70 ppd at AHAM. The BlueDri DB-76P removes only 76 ppd at AHAM and also retails for over $1000. The Ebac Neptune removes only 52 ppd at AHAM and is twice as expensive as the FAD954DWD. Most Dri-Eaz dehumidifiers remove more than 90 ppd but they also retail for several thousand dollars. Getting 90 ppd of moisture removal for $400 is a very good value when compared to other commercial grade dehumidifiers.
The major caveat here is of course that the FAD954DWD isn’t a commercial dehumidifier in every sense of the term. It doesn’t feature the heavy duty drainage options, advanced defrost modes, and other unique features and functionality that you only find on much more expensive commercial grade dehumidifiers. We only group it with commercial dehumidifiers because of its high moisture removal rate and higher than average CFM fan (although not as high as some commercial units’ fans). Note that we only recommend it as the best commercial dehumidifier to consumers looking for a more heavy duty single dehumidifier option. If you’re looking for the best commercial dehumidifier, period, any one of the Dri-Eaz dehumidifiers we discuss below would be a superior but much more expensive option.
#2 Dri-Eaz Dehumidifiers
While not recommended for and outside of the price range of most consumers, Dri-Eaz dehumidifiers are highly recommended for restoration professionals or anyone looking for the absolute best commercial dehumidifier money can buy (compressor or refrigerant based). Dri-Eaz manufacturers a number of different commercial dehumidifiers. We summarize each model’s most important features and specifications below.
Dri-Eaz Revolution LGR – The Revolution LGR is one of the least expensive commercial dehumidifiers Dri-Eaz manufactures. At around $1800 it’s still a sizable investment, but much more affordable than the $3100 LGR 700XLi or the $2800 LGR 2800i, for example. Other than price, the other defining features of this dehumidifier are its small size, light weight, and the versatility (in terms of where it can be placed) and portability (how easily it can be transported) that are the direct result of these features. The Revolution LGR is also stackable, further improving its portability, should you purchase multiple units.
Dri-Eaz DrizAir 1200 – The DrizAir 1200 is the least expensive Dri-Eaz dehumidifier we surveyed, retailing for around $1500. It comes equipped with many of the commercial dehumidifier features and functions we outlined earlier in this guide including a hot-gas bypass for faster defrost at cold temperatures and semi-pneumatic wheels and a rigid handle for improved portability.
Dri-Eaz Evolution – The Evolution is the exact same price as the Revolution LGR – $1800. Like all other Dri-Eaz dehumidifiers we surveyed it features a built-in condensate pump with a 20 ft head (meaning it can pump condensate 20 ft vertically) with an included 40 ft drain hose that is attached to the dehumidifier via a quick connect fitting. Again, like all other Dri-Eaz units we surveyed this is the primary means by which condensate is “collected”. There is a small reservoir to collect water in the event of an unexpected shut down but the primary means by which condensate is “collected” is by draining the dehumidifier through the included 40 ft drain hose.
Dri-Eaz LGR 2800i and LGR 3500i – The LGR 2800i and 3500i are the most heavy duty commercial dehumidifiers we surveyed. These units are built for maximum moisture removal. Both units feature a 400 CFM fan and both can easily remove more than 100 pints of moisture per day at AHAM. The LGR 2800i can remove 130 ppd and the LGR 3500i can remove 170 ppd at AHAM. Both units also have a larger manufacturer specified operating temperature range than any other commercial dehumidifier we surveyed, including all other Dri-Eaz dehumidifiers we surveyed. Both the 2800i and 3500i can be operated in temperatures as warm as 125° F. This type of performance doesn’t come cheap. The LGR 2800i retails for around $2800 and the LGR 3500i retails for about $3100. Both units are also extremely heavy – about 165 lb. each.
Dri-Eaz LGR 7000XLi – The LGR 7000XLi is the same price as the LGR 3500i – $3100. What makes it unique is its “Advanced Crossflow Technology” which allows for improved efficiency at low grain or in low humidity environments. At 80° F and a mere 20% RH the LGR 7000XLi still removes 17 pints of moisture per day, much more than commercial units from competing manufacturers or any consumer grade dehumidifier.
For pricing on all Dri-Eaz dehumidifiers see below.
#3 BlueDri BD-76P
The BlueDri BD-76P removes 76 ppd at AHAM and 150 ppd at 90° F and 90% RH. It does so at a very competitive price point, at least when compared to other commercial units. The BD-76P retails for around $1200 and has similar features and functionality to the $1500 Dri-Eaz DrizAir 1200. It even looks very similar to the DrizAir 1200. Our biggest problem with the BD-76P is the fact that we were unable to find any information online about its manufacturer. There is no manufacturer website for BlueDri. We procured the manual for this unit and all other relevant information from third party websites. For this reason alone (the fact that it’s by all accounts an unknown commodity in the market) we hesitate to recommend this dehumidifier.
#4 Ebac Neptune
Ebac is a well-known brand that’s much more popular in Europe than in the United States. In Europe Ebac manufactures and distributes both consumer grade dehumidifiers and commercial dehumidifiers. In the United States they appear to be limiting distribution to commercial dehumidifiers. The Neptune is one of many commercial dehumidifiers manufactured by Ebac. We chose it for our survey because its form factor (it’s small and portable) and price (it’s under $1000) is much more likely to entice consumers than other more bulky and more expensive options from Ebac.
At $800 the Neptune is very competitively priced, at least when compared to other commercial dehumidifiers. Unfortunately, its low price is at the cost of a very low moisture removal rate. The Neptune only removes 52 pints of moisture per day. For $250 the top rated Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 removes almost 20 pints more moisture per day. Why then would anyone ever consider purchasing the Neptune instead?
The reason is or the reasons are – features. The Neptune features an epoxy powder-coated steel chassis and housing which is much more durable than the plastic housing of the FFAD7033R1. It also features a “hot gas” defrost which melts frost much more quickly and more efficiently than the defrost mode of the FFAD7033R1, making the Neptune a much better option at low temperatures. It also features other more minor improvements such as a very long 25 ft power cord. Are these features worth getting the Neptune over the FFAD7033R1? The answer is a resounding no for most. The Neptune is only an option if you need a highly durable dehumidifier than can withstand extreme conditions such as extremely cold temperatures. Then again, there are other better options that fit those requirements, namely any one of the Dri-Eaz dehumidifiers we surveyed above.
#5 Pridiom PGD800HCW and PGD1080HCW
Both the PGD800HCW and the PGD1080HCW retail for well above $1000 and both units have very unimpressive moisture removal rates. The PGD800HCW removes only 50 pints of moisture per day at AHAM and the PGD1080HCW removes only 70 pints of moisture per day at AHAM. Both units do come equipped with fairly high CFM fans – 253 CFM to be exact – and both units also feature built-in pumps. However, for a fraction of the price of either Pridiom unit the Frigidaire FAD954DWD features a 259 CFM fan and while it doesn’t feature a built-in pump, you can easily purchase and install one separately for less than $50. Should you want something more durable and more heavy duty (something more “commercial”) the Dri-Eaz DrizAir 1200 is similarly priced and features a similar moisture removal rate (64 ppd) at AHAM with greatly improved durability and performance in commercial settings.
#6 Oasis D-165-HG GST
The Oasis D-165-HG GST really isn’t a commercial dehumidifier at all. The only thing “commercial” about it is its price. At $500 you would expect it to at least have a built-in pump or some other feature common to most commercial units. Instead, it offers no such features at all. It removes an unimpressive 7.2 gallons or 57.6 pints of moisture per day and appears to offer gravity drainage functionality only. The truth is that we were able to find very little information about this dehumidifier online. The manufacturer’s website only lists the unit’s moisture removal rate, the fact that the unit is on casters, and that it comes with a 5 year warranty. Otherwise, we used product photos to come to the conclusion that the Oasis D-165-HG GST is really nothing more than a consumer grade dehumidifier (at least according to what we define as a consumer grade dehumidifier) that is incorrectly marketed as a commercial unit.