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High humidity levels in your home, office, or garage can invite the most unwanted of house guests: mold and mildew. Hard to get rid of and unpleasant to be around, it’s best to keep these invaders from showing up in the first place. To this end, a dehumidifier is an essential appliance in any space with elevated humidity levels.
Dehumidifiers generally use either a compressor or desiccant rotor to condense moisture from air drawn into the machine. Compressor dehumidifiers are the most common but may not operate in temperatures under 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll have to monitor the coil to ensure it doesn’t frost over. Both types of dehumidifiers are classified by how much moisture they can pull from the air each day. Small, portable dehumidifiers remove around 13 or 14 ounces of water per day, while larger units might remove 50 or 70 pints per day. Whole house dehumidifiers can extract up to 95 pints per day.
To choose an effective dehumidifier, you have to consider the size of your space and the humidity level.
Here, the best dehumidifiers for every space.
Best Overall: TOSOT 20 Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier
Room Size: 1,500 sq ft | Moisture Removal: 20 pints/day | Bucket Capacity: 8 pints | Drainage Pump: Gravity-Fed Continuous | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Drain hose sold separately
If you're looking for a reliable dehumidifier that gets the job done without complications or hiccups, consider this model from TOSOT. With a wide array of moisture removal capacities available, (including 20, 35, and 50 pints per day), TOSOT has a unit that will address your needs, whether you're hoping to dehumidify a single room or your whole basement. The brand has earned Energy Star Ratings across capacities, indicating that whichever version you choose, you can trust that it's working without adding a bundle to your energy bill.
You can set the unit to continuously operate, where the dehumidifier will run until the drain bucket is full, at which point the unit will stop, or you can set a desired humidity level on the control panel. When that target level is reached, the unit will power off. The drain bucket can be emptied by hand, but if you purchase a 3/4-inch drain hose separately and hook it up to the unit (making sure it feeds into a sink or floor drain), it will empty automatically.
The control panel will also alert you when it's time to clean the reusable air filter, which is usually after 250 hours of active use. In sum, TOSOT's dehumidifier handles most of the work on its own and makes it easy for the user to make sure it's running smoothly.
Best Budget: Pro Breeze Electric Mini Dehumidifier
Room Size: 250 sq ft | Moisture Removal: 1.125 pints/day | Bucket Capacity: 3.25 pints | Drainage Pump: N/A | Energy Star Certified: No
Small coverage area
Louder than expected
The damage from too-high humidity levels in your home can be costly, not to mention uncomfortable. Fortunately, even a basic and inexpensive dehumidifier can go a long way in reducing the chance of mold and mildew. This energy-efficient option from Pro Breeze removes up to 18 ounces of water per day and it has a 52-ounce tank that'll only need to be emptied every few days. Thanks to an LED indicator, you won't have to guess when it needs to be emptied, either.
The small but efficient Pro Breeze dehumidifier uses thermo-electric technology to condense moisture from the air and it operates quietly. This dehumidifier is great for in spaces up to 250 square feet—including home offices, garages, and even RVs and boats. If you need coverage in multiple rooms, you may just need a few.
Best Desiccant Unit: Meaco 17-Pint Desiccant Dehumidifier
Room Size: Not Listed | Moisture Removal: 17 pints/day | Bucket Capacity: 17 pints | Drainage Pump: Continuous | Energy Star Certified: No
Works in hot and cold climates
Doesn't save settings after shutting down
Slightly loud operation
Desiccant dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air via chemical attraction, rather than condensation. This key difference means they can work in a wide range of climates without freezing up. If you're hoping to remove moisture from your garage or anywhere in your home that tends to get chilly, a desiccant model might be right for you. This particular option from Meaco is our pick for its lightweight design and efficient operating capabilities.
This model can operate in temperatures as low as 41 degrees. With a capacity to remove up to 17 pints of water per day, it can work continuously or at intervals of one, two, four, or eight hours. The adjustable humidistat allows you to set your desired humidity level or you can use the unit's preset dehumidifying modes.
Best for Basements: hOmeLabs Energy Star Dehumidifier
Room Size: 4,500 sq ft | Moisture Removal: 50 pints/day | Bucket Capacity: 12.8 pints | Drainage Pump: Continuous | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Large coverage area
Affordable for its size
Bucket spills easily
With supersized coverage for spaces up to 4,500 square feet, this large dehumidifier from hOmeLabs is well-equipped to monitor and manage humidity levels in areas with temperature fluctuations—AKA basements. Thanks to a turbo fan setting, you can increase circulation up to 188 CFM (cubic feet per minute) which gives the unit a leg up in particularly damp areas.
This hOmeLabs unit is rated to remove 50 pints of moisture per day from the air via multiple modes of operation. The continuous mode is a good bet for really damp areas where around-the-clock moisture management is necessary, while a comfort mode allows the unit to adjust target humidity based on the ambient temperature of the space. There's also a manual mode which lets you select the target humidity level and causes the unit to cycle on and off until meeting such conditions.
For a basement dehumidifier, you'll likely want to elect for continuous drainage operation. With a suitable drain nearby and the addition of a threaded hose, you can set this dehumidifier up to drain itself—preventing you from needing to empty the somewhat-limited 1.8-gallon water tank.
"We put the hOmeLabs 70-Pint Dehumidifier to the test in the dampest and mustiest place we could find—our 110-year-old partially-finished basement...It drew a surprising amount of water from the air and kept our humidity levels at a comfortable 45 percent."—Shannon Wells, Product Tester
Best with Built-in Pump: LG PuriCare 50-Pint Dehumidifier with Pump
Room Size: 2,000 sq ft | Moisture Removal: 50 pints/day | Bucket Capacity: 13.3 pints | Drainage Pump: Continuous | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Large coverage area
Steeper price point
Slightly loud operation
Continuous drainage is always a plus when shopping for a dehumidifier, and if that drainage gets a boost from a built-in pump, all the better. The LG PuriCare dehumidifier spares you the chore of not only emptying its drain bucket by hand but it also removes the risk of overflow. Operational in rooms up to 2,000 square feet, this model removes up to 50 pints of water per day, which it can drain straight into a sink, down a floor drain, or even out a window. When in continuous operation mode, the pump and hose work in tandem to make sure that the water reaches its final destination without issue. Otherwise, the unit will automatically shut off and alert you when the drain bucket reaches capacity.
The LG's draining system should already save you a few trips to the basement, laundry room, or wherever you set it up, but the accompanying SmartThinq app makes it so you don't even have to get up to change the unit's settings. Via the app, you can monitor the bucket's capacity, set a target humidity level, and shut the unit off and on.
Best Whole Home: Aprilaire 1850 Pro Dehumidifier
Room Size: 5,200 sq ft | Moisture Removal: 95 pints/day | Bucket Capacity: 100 pints | Drainage Pump: N/A | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Easy to install
Steep price point
While many dehumidifiers are intended for use in a single space, like a living room, bedroom, or bathroom, there are also whole home dehumidifiers. These larger units connect to your home’s HVAC system and provide moisture management for the entire living space. The Aprilaire 1895 model removes up to 95 pints of water per day and is suitable for houses up to 5,200 square feet in size.
This whole house dehumidifier is compatible with HVAC systems in the basement, attic, crawlspace, or closet. It’s easily ducted into your existing heating and cooling system and can be positioned over a drain or connected to a hose to drain away moisture. The advantage to a model like this is the ability to set a target humidity level for the entire house. In addition, you don’t need to monitor or manage multiple water tanks. While this model is efficient, it may tend to be a bit noisy. But when installed alongside your HVAC system and tucked away in a basement or crawlspace, it’s unlikely to cause a problem.
Best for Bathrooms: Tenergy Sorbi 1000ml Air Dehumidifier
Room Size: 200 sq ft | Moisture Removal: 1.6 pints/day | Bucket Capacity: 2.11 pints | Drainage Pump: N/A | Energy Star Certified: No
Compact and sleek
Small coverage area
Air filter requires replacing
If you want to maintain the proper humidity level in your bathroom, you can purchase a dehumidifier that removes excess moisture from the air and also purifies the air. For this, we recommend the Tenergy Sorbi Dehumidifier, which includes a HEPA filter that removes 99.97 percent of airborne micro-particles.
This dehumidifier can remove 1.6 pints of water from the air each day, and it operates at a super quiet range of 35 to 42 decibels. It’s perfect for spaces up to 200 square feet and the product includes an LED indicator that tells you when it’s time to empty the 1-liter water tank. This is the perfect dehumidifier for RVs, laundry rooms, bathrooms, or bedrooms—essentially any small space where you want to reduce humidity, prevent mold, and clean the air all at once.
"What we love most about this unit is its dual dehumidifying and air purifying capabilities. Since the air quality in any damp space is compromised, this added functionality is a win for those attempting to regulate spaces like bathrooms and basements."—Meredith Hurd, Product Tester
Best Compact: Eva-Dry Edv-1100 Electric Petite Dehumidifier
Room Size: 107 sq ft | Moisture Removal: 1 pint/day | Bucket Capacity: 1 pint | Drainage Pump: N/A | Energy Star Certified: No
Easy to use
Small water tank
Most dehumidifiers are fairly large and expensive, but if your needs are more modest, you might like the Eva-Dry Electric Petite Dehumidifier. This unit can remove up to 8 ounces of moisture from the air each day, and its performance and price point are hard to beat.
Because of its size (it measures 6.38 x 11 x 5.25 inches), the Eva-Dry is ideal for laundry rooms, bathrooms, closets, offices, RVs, and boats. It can sit on a counter or shelf to save space, and the noise from the unit's small fan is negligible. At its low price, the Eva-Dry doesn’t boast a lot of extra features, but it has a simple on-off button, a full-tank indicator, and an automatic shutoff.
Though this unit's reservoir only holds only 16 ounces of water at a time, users like how compact it is and don’t mind emptying the tank frequently.
"While the unit may be small in size, it’s perfectly portable and can be placed discreetly. Another major size-related plus is that it doesn’t require coils or refrigerants like larger units, so it makes very little noise."—Meredith Hurd, Product Tester
What to Look for in a Dehumidifier
Pints per day
The amount of liquid that a dehumidifier can remove from the air within a 24-hour period is typically measured in pints per day—though occasionally you’ll also see it labeled as gallons per day. Typically, the number of pints per day will be closely related to how big of a space the unit can dehumidify.
Small capacity dehumidifiers are those that remove about 20 pints per day or less. These mini dehumidifiers are best-suited for bedrooms or bathrooms. Mid-size dehumidifiers will usually be able to remove 30 to 50 pints per day of moisture from the air, making them much more versatile for use in your home. The most robust portable dehumidifiers can suck 70 pints or more of moisture per day from the air.
With the exception of mini dehumidifiers, there is often not much of a size difference between models capable of removing more pints per day versus units with more limited moisture-removing capacities.
The capacity of the water tank in your dehumidifier will dictate how often you need to empty the unit. If the tank becomes full, a float sensor inside the tank will cause the unit to shut off. It’s important to know that dehumidifiers with increased ability to remove more pints per day of moisture from the air don’t have tank sizes to match since that would make the size of the unit huge! Instead, most standard-size dehumidifiers have tanks that only hold about 1 gallon of water (some hold a little more and some hold less). As a result, if you want the unit to keep working at maximum efficiency, you’ll either need to empty the tank multiple times per day or set the unit up to continuously drain.
If you don’t want to frequently empty the water tank of your dehumidifier, you can look for a model that includes a built-in drain. The most simple drainage system is powered by gravity, but some units are equipped with a more powerful drainage pump. If you plan to use your dehumidifier in a basement with a nearby floor drain, a gravity drain may be sufficient. Just note that you’ll usually need to buy your own drainage hose to use with the dehumidifier. Make sure that the unit isn’t located too far from the drain and that there is at least a gentle slope to ensure that gravity can do its job to move the wastewater from the tank to the drain.
If you want to power the water from the tank to just about anywhere, then a dehumidifier with a drainage pump is a better option. These dehumidifiers are equipped with a pump and included hose that can direct water up and out of the tank to a utility sink or any other drainage location within the reach of the hose.
A third option to consider is buying an aftermarket dehumidifier pump that can connect to your unit and give you additional options for draining the collected moisture.
Some dehumidifiers are equipped with a digital display and keypad that makes operating the machine easier. Instead of turning knobs or simply powering the unit on, the electronic controls will let you set specific programs or tell the unit to stop running once a target level of humidity is reached (this is called an auto-humidistat). The advantage to a model equipped with electronic controls can be savings in terms of energy and money, along with easy operation.
The type and length of warranty coverage available on a dehumidifier often varies. Like many small home appliances, basic dehumidifiers are usually covered by a one-year warranty against defects in materials or workmanship. This warranty typically covers a replacement unit if your dehumidifier fails within the first year. For some manufacturers, this is where warranty coverage ends. Others, though, offer a longer limited warranty window in which parts like the compressor and coils of a refrigerant dehumidifier are covered. Read the details of any warranty policy on a dehumidifier you plan to purchase to understand what may be covered and what isn’t.
How do dehumidifiers work?
Dehumidifiers usually use a compressor or desiccant rotor to condense moisture from the air. They pull warm, moist air into the machine from one side and cool it against coils containing a liquid coolant. The moisture is then condensed out of the air and dry air is sent back into the room through the other side of the machine. The moisture that is collected from the air drips into a collecting tray. When the collecting tray is full, the machine will usually turn off and indicate to you that it needs emptying.
What size dehumidifier do I need?
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a dehumidifier. You will need to consider the size of the room you would like to put it in, how many pints of water the dehumidifier removes per day, the level of humidity in your area (or room you'd like to put it in), and temperature of the room overall. Knowing the square footage of the room can provide a good estimate of what size you will need. Small, portable dehumidifiers work well for smaller spaces as they remove around 13 or 14 ounces of water per day. If you're wanting to cover a larger room, you'll want to go for a unit that removes around 50 or 70 pints per day. Whole house units are also available and can remove up to 95 pints of water per day.
Temperature is another important factor to consider. If you live in a very humid climate, or the room you'd like to put your dehumidifier in (like a basement) has higher levels of moisture, a standard machine may not work as well. You'll then want to look for a high capacity unit built to function more often than a standard machine.
Does a dehumidifier cool a room?
Since dehumidifiers suck moisture out of the air, they can indirectly help keep a room cooler. Heat thrives in moist and humid environments, so when removed, cooling a room down becomes much easier. A dehumidifier won't directly cool the air itself, but it can still help keep temperatures at a more comfortable level by removing excess moisture in the air. It can be helpful to use in tandem with other cooling devices like a fan, but it won't give you the same results as an air conditioning unit.
How do you clean a dehumidifier?
Keep your dehumidifier in good working order with a regular schedule of cleaning and maintenance. Of course you’ll need to regularly empty the water tank, unless you have a continuous drain system in place. But to really make sure that your dehumidifier is capable of peak performance, you’ll want to also regularly clean and replace the air filters.
Most dehumidifier models have a simple filter to block large particles of dust and debris from entering the unit. These filters are often washable and a quick rinse with cool water is usually enough to clear the filter of accumulated particles, but you may need to use soap and rinse thoroughly if the filter is extra dirty. However, it’s also important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for filter replacement to make sure that this first line of defense against dust, pollens, and allergens is able to do its job.
Another important step in cleaning your dehumidifier is to regularly wash and sanitize the water tank. The damp, warm environment where moisture collects can become a safe haven for bacteria or mildew to develop. Keep things fresh and clean by regularly emptying the water tank as mentioned above and never letting the stagnant water sit for an extended period.
Additionally, it’s recommended to give your water tank a soapy scrub every few weeks to make sure that the tank stays sanitary. When you’re cleaning the tank, check to see if your model has a basket filter (a smaller filter inside the water tank). If so, make sure you rinse that smaller filter too.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Erica Puisis, a freelance writer who has been contributing to The Spruce since 2017. To make this list, she considered each dehumidifier's pints per day, water tank, drainage, and electronic controls.