Noise Output

side-exhaust-dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers make a lot of noise. Some of that noise can be controlled but much of it cannot.

Factors you can’t control

1. Compressor noise – some models have louder compressors than others – our individual model reviews cover the details.

2. Exhaust location – all dehumidifiers have a fan. The fan exhausts through the side (such as in the photo above) or through the top of the dehumidifier. The air exhausting makes a much more pleasing “noise” than the compressor – that of a lot of air moving through an opening.

On side exhaust units the compressor noise isn’t masked nearly as well as top exhausting units because the fan noise is more directional.

3. Intake location – all dehumidifiers need to intake air to process it. This intake of air happens through a grille that’s usually on the back of the dehumidifier. The air is taken in through a filter and all of this also generates noise. Thankfully, it’s again a fairly pleasant noise (at least compare to compressor noise) and it’s usually emanating from the back of the dehumidifier (since the air intake grille is usually on the back).

4. CFM – the last factor you can’t control is CFM. Some models have a higher CFM than others. Sometimes, high CFM is good for noise output – the higher the CFM, the greater the wind noise, the more it masks the compressor noise. Sometimes, high CFM is bad for noise output – if compressor noise is close to nonexistent or minimal it isn’t necessary to mask the unpleasant compressor noise.

Factors you can control

1. Fan speed – simply set the dehumidifier to a lower speed to reduce raw noise output

2. Distance between the dehumidifier and you
a. place it further away from you in the same room to reduce audible noise
b. place it in an altogether different room to essentially eliminate noise – for example, you can put the dehumidifier a room close to your HVAC intake and have it distribute dry air throughout your whole house instead of a specific room

Noise Output Testing

We performed four different noise output tests:

Test 1: sound meter right above unit’s control panel – high fan speed
Test 2: sound meter right above unit’s control panel – low fan speed
Test 3: sound meter 10 ft. away from unit – high fan speed
Test 4: sound meter 10 ft. away from unit – low fan speed

The first two tests allowed us to determine the unit’s noise output at close range while the last two tests allowed us to make the same determination at a range we felt was more indicative of a real world environment. In fact, our recommendation is that you focus on each unit’s performance in our 10 foot test much more than you do on our close range testing (we do the same in our product reviews).

Test Advantages

Before we show you the results of our testing, we need to discuss the sizable advantage certain units had in each noise output test we performed.

All dehumidifiers intake air and exhaust air. The location of the exhaust is especially important since most of the noise produced by a dehumidifier comes from the exhaust. Here’s the thing: those units that exhausted out of the top of the dehumidifier had a distinct disadvantage compared to those units that exhausted out of the side in our testing. This is especially true for the tests that were carried out at the dehumidifier’s control panel.

The noise produced by the side exhaust units was directed to the side of the unit, away from the sound meter’s location – the result was a relatively lower reading. The noise produced by the top exhaust units was directed above the dehumidifier, much closer to the sound meter’s location – the result was a relatively higher reading. While this disadvantage was more pronounced during the control panel tests, it was still present during long range testing.

Keep this information in mind as you study the comparison charts below.

You can sort the table below by clicking on the up/down arrows next to each column heading.

  • Clicking on the down arrow next to “far high fan”, for example, will sort the dehumidifiers we tested from most quiet to least quiet in the noise output test where we placed the sound meter 10 ft away from the dehumidifier while it was on high fan speed.
  • Clicking on the up arrow will reverse the list sorting the same units from least quiet to most quiet.

 

Current Models – Side Exhaust

Manufacturer and Model
CP High Fan
CP Low Fan
10 ft High Fan
10 ft Low Fan
hOmeLabs HME020031N59.358.650.348.8
Vremi VRM01018462.160.252.650.6
Danby DDR050BJPWDB61.859.352.149.6
Keystone KSTAD504D68.264.956.653.8
Toshiba TDDP5012ES261.259.152.450.3
Frigidaire FFAD2233W159.954.250.644.6

Current Models – Top Exhaust

Manufacturer and Model
CP High Fan
CP Low Fan
10 ft High Fan
10 ft Low Fan
Frigidaire FFAD5033W170.264.854.649.8
Black+Decker BDT50WTB73.370.154.250.6
Honeywell TP70WKN73.367.353.349.2
GE ADEL45LY67.162.153.147.9
LG UD501KOG570.866.453.849.8
Hisense DH7019K1G
74.272.854.452.4

Discontinued 50 Pint (70 pint 2012 DOE) Dehumidifiers

Manufacturer and Model
CP High Fan
CP Low Fan
10 ft High Fan
10 ft Low Fan
Frigidaire FFAD7033R161.257.252.948.8
Keystone KSTAD70B58.255.949.948.1
Danby DDR70A2GP73.671.554.850.8
Honeywell DH70W71.966.553.350.1
RCA RDH70558.855.949.747.8
GE ADEL70LR71.568.555.652.8
Haier DE65EM71.067.854.252.9
Kenmore KM7059.35751.449.9
Whirlpool AD70GUSB61.958.453.651.1
Hisense DH-70KP1SLE67.564.152.149.7
Friedrich D70BP73.167.755.451.1
SPT SD-72PE59.657.4
50.448.2
Haier HM70EP73.670.656.653.3
Delonghi DD70PE72.166.254.851.7

Discontinued 35 Pint (50 pint 2012 DOE) Dehumidifiers

Manufacturer and Model
CP High Fan
CP Low Fan
10 ft High Fan
10 ft Low Fan
Frigidaire FFAD5033R161.9
55.653.647.2
Keystone KSTAD50B60.257.451.948.8
Friedrich D50BP68.761.851.147.3
Delonghi DD50PE68.763.353.651.4
SPT SD-52PE 58.255.451.748.6

Discontinued 22 Pint (30 pint 2012 DOE) Dehumidifiers

Manufacturer and Model
CP High Fan
CP Low Fan
10 ft High Fan
10 ft Low Fan
Frigidaire FFAD3033R162.155.453.346.1
Hisense DH-35K1SJE575.171.558.255.9
GE ADEL30LR73.367.154.849.7
Haier DM32M-L73.170.956.153.3

Important Notes

#1 All readings are in decibels. “50.2″ = a sound meter reading of 50.2 dB

#2 “CP” = control panel = sound meter reading right above the dehumidifier’s control panel

#3 “10 ft” = sound meter reading 10 ft from the dehumidifier’s location.

#4 Lower readings are better. For example, a dehumidifier producing 50 dB of noise is quieter than a dehumidifier producing 60 dB of noise.

#5 Side exhaust discontinued units are the Frigidaire 70 pint unit, the Keystone 70 pint unit, the RCA 70 pint unit, the Whirlpool 70 pint unit, the Kenmore 70 pint unit, the SPT 50 and 70 pint units, and the Hisense 30 pint unit. As we discuss above, these units had a distinct advantage in all noise output tests.

The tables above demonstrate the following:

1. Side exit units tend to have lower raw dB numbers than top exit units as we noted earlier.

Again, be very careful when analyzing this data.

First, understand that side exit units have lower numbers here simply because of the location of the exhaust relative to the sound meter.

Second, understand that even though top exit units have higher raw dB numbers the overall noise profile for these units tends to be more pleasant than the one produced by side exit units.

Why? Because top exit units distribute a fairly pleasing sounding wind noise upwards, omnidirectionally throughout the room.

Top exit units distribute that same pleasing noise in a particular direction.

All of this is important because the fan noise acts to mask compressor noise. Of the two most prominent noises that dehumidifiers produce – compressor buzz and fan noise – the former (compressor buzz) is much more unpleasant to listen to than the latter (fan noise).

Top exit units mask compressor buzz much better than side exhaust units because their fan noise is omnidirectional.

Note that fan speed also impacts how well the compressor noise is “masked”. You will almost always want to run any particular dehumidifier on high fan speed to mask compressor noise as much as possible. You will rarely want to run it on low fan speed. Yes, raw dB numbers are lower on low fan speed but the noise profile is more unpleasant.

This also relates to CFM. Units with higher CFM generate more wind noise and will do a better job of masking compressor noise than lower CFM units.

Thus, we recommend a dehumidifier with a top exhaust and high CFM if pleasant noise output is a priority.

If low noise output is a priority, see below.

2. Smaller dehumidifiers have lower noise output.

Smaller units not only produce less raw noise but certain models also tend to have less compressor noise than larger equivalents.

Why? Because they have smaller compressors.

So, if low overall noise output is a top priority for you we would recommend a smaller capacity unit even though it doesn’t fall in line with our general recommendation of buying as large of a dehumidifier as you can afford.

Of course, you can take this line of thinking to the extreme and purchase a desiccant or thermo-electric dehumidifier. Such dehumidifiers are even more quiet than the compressor based options we discussed in this guide. However, their overall moisture removal rate is so low that we cannot in good faith recommend them over a compressor based option even if noise output is a top priority for you.

Best Quiet Dehumidifiers

#1– Frigidaire FFAD2233W1

The FFAD2233W1 is a small dehumidifier with a small compressor that makes less noise than the average compressor on a large dehumidifier. It also exhausts out of the side.

These two features make for a unit that produces less audible noise than any other dehumidifier currently on the market.

See Price on AmazonRead our Full Review

#2 – Frigidaire FFAD5033W1

The FFAD5033W1 produces the most pleasing noise output profile of any model currently on the market. Its high CFM fan produces a lot of wind noise. And it exhausts out of the top of the unit which distributes that wind noise evenly throughout the room. These two features combine to mask compressor noise very well – better than any other unit we’ve tested.

See Price on AmazonRead our Full Review

#3 – hOmeLabs HME020031N

The HME020031N has a louder compressor than the FFAD5033W1 but it exhausts air through its side which allows you to direct much of the noise it produces (the fan noise) away from you.

The overall noise output profile is less pleasant than that of the Frigidaire but the overall perceived loudness is lower also so this is “technically” the more quiet option.

See Price on AmazonRead our Full Review

Comments

  1. Jay Kavanaugh says

    Why don’t you say whether these have a continuous drain option? Surely that’s the first thing you need to know if you’re buying a dehumidifier.

  2. Jane says

    We want a central dehumidifier system without having central air conditioning. We do not like AC and love having all of our windows open as much as possible, even when it rains, as long as it’s not coming in. But our house has become so damp this summer. Nothing ever dries and our bed linens feel almost damp. We have a noisy old dehumidifier in basement. Is our only option to have units upstairs as well? Master bedroom is 180sqft. Thank you, Jane from Ithaca, NY

  3. mike says

    Frigidair FFAD7033R1 (without built in pump) has low noise level and performs well. Does Frigidair FFAD7033T1 (with built in pump) do the same? My home is of 2500 sqft, morderatly damp. Could you advise which one to go?
    Thank you,
    Mike

  4. philip harding says

    Hi, we live in kefalonia in a large 3 bedroom apartment, constructed of concrete floors and ceiling with block wall, no isulation, what would be a good buy dehumidifier that is quite, energy efficiant and say 15 ltrs a day.

  5. Holly Hoskison says

    Could you recommend me a dehumidifier? Student room, top floor, to help avoid mould growing when drying washing. Quieter the better. Thanks

  6. Marc says

    I live at 8,500′ elevation in a modern 3,000sf (1st & 2nd dfloor), 100% concrete house plus 1509sf lower area that is open to upper area (no door) in Lerma, estafe de México, México. The exterior temperature never goes below 32 F or above 82F. The rainy season is during the summer. Outside temps are really the same as winter except the nighttime temp only goes to 45-55F. As the rainy season ends is when our mold/mildew problem exists. We don’t use a/c or heat. nice! Low Noise and energy effiiceiemcy is very important. What size, Mgr and model would be the best for our whole house?

    • Anonymous says

      Our situation here in Ithaca, NY is we hate air conditioners & on hottest days, fans are sufficient. We love keeping all windows open. But in the summer, nothing dries & our bed linens feel almost damp. We obviously need a humidifier but want a central dehumidifier system without central air. Please tell me it’s possible.

  7. Duncan Tsang says

    I am confused, without a Rating Scale, all 12 Legend can be very subjective. Can you send me the Rating Scale to look into ?

    E.g. Noise Output of Danby ddr70a2gp is rated 3; but Haier-HM70EP is 2, the readings have small differences (I understand), but in the absent of the Scale, it just not very helpful.

    70 Pint Dehumidifier Noise Output
    Model NO Rating CP High Fan CP Low Fan 10 ft High Fan 10 ft Low Fan
    DDR70A2GP 3 73.6 71.5 54.8 50.8
    HM70EP 2 73.6 70.6 56.6 53.3

    • Admin says

      The rating rubric we use to give the dehumidifier a score out of 5 in each review category, including noise output, can be found about halfway down this page.

Have a question or comment? Let us know below.

Your email address will not be published.