If you want to combat excess moisture in the air and reduce damp, mold and condensation, then the best dehumidifiers are a good investment. Too much humidity in the home can be caused by cooking, showering and even just breathing. Whatever the cause, a dehumidifier can really help when it comes to reducing damp, mold and condensation.
But why does that matter? Here’s the thing: humid conditions create mold, which can be troublesome to health because it can cause coughing, allergies and even respiratory tract infections.
“Dehumidifiers are essential tools to lower the relative humidity, which in turn could reduce mold growth and hence increase air quality," explains Wei-Ning Wang, an associate professor of indoor air quality and aerosol technology at Virginia Commonwealth University.
But bear in mind that while dehumidifiers can reduce moisture in the air, they can also dry out a home - which can cause a whole host of different issues for people with congestion of skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis (this is where you might want to instead invest in one of the best humidifiers, to add moisture back into the air).
So, which is the best dehumidifier for you? There are several factors to think about, including the size of the room you want to dehumidify, as well as the type of product (refrigerator vs desiccant). At Live Science, we’ve tested a range of dehumidifiers looking closely at price, design, effectiveness, usability, size, maintenance, energy use and availability of extra parts. We’ve also scoured online user reviews to see how people rate the devices we’ve tested. Read on to find out which brands have the best dehumidifiers available to buy and in stock today.
The best dehumidifiers
1. Frigidaire FFAP5033W1
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
This refrigerator dehumidifier from Frigidaire features a host of standout features that make it a great choice for fighting dampness and humidity. A built-in pump allows you to leave the Frigidaire FFAP5033W1 working continuously, whether you’re at home or away. A hose attachment allows you to connect the pump with a water outlet, such as a sink or drain. And if you choose not to allow continuous drainage, an automatic shut-off feature stops the appliance when the water tank is full.
Customizable humidity controls allow you to set your preferred humidity levels and let the dehumidifier get on with the job, while its portable design, complete with castor wheels and side handles, make it easy to move it from room to room.
The Frigidaire FFAP5033W1 is designed to operate at low temperatures down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal choice for basements and garages.
Finally, a washable filter helps to trap dust and keep your dehumidifier working efficiently, while auto-restart means that your dehumidifier powers up again automatically, even if you’ve had a power outage.
With a 50-pint capacity per day, three fan speeds, and a maximum volume of 51 decibels, this dehumidifier is no noisier than a refrigerator. The Energy Star-certified Frigidaire FFAP5033W1 could be the right fit for you, if you’re after a sturdy, reliable dehumidifier that just gets on with the job.
The Frigidaire FFAP5033W1 scores well on Amazon, with over a thousand users giving it 4.5 stars out of 5. Buyers rate its manoeuvrability, suitability for small spaces, and how easy it is to use straight away. They also score it highly for how powerful it is, with one user commenting that their ‘dripping’ basement was dry within 24 hours of switching the dehumidifier on. Negative reviews cite problems with getting the pump feature to work, loud volumes on its highest settings, and leakage from the base of the unit. These do seem to be appliance-specific problems, though, with the majority of users happy.
- We are still in the process of testing the Frigidaire FFAP5033W1.
2. HOmeLabs 1,500 sq.ft dehumidifier
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Designed for medium to large rooms, the HOmeLabs dehumidifier covers 1,500 square feet. It's not quite as wide-ranging as some dehumidifiers in this guide, but it's suitable for most home spaces.
Removing up to 22 pints of water from the air every 24 hours, the HOmeLabs has a sleek, clean design. Featuring continuous drainage, as well as a water tank, you can choose to empty it frequently or let the water run away down the drain using a hose attachment. Note that a hose attachment is not included with this model, so you’ll need to purchase a separate hose if you want to use the continuous drainage feature. HOmeLabs recommends a garden hose with a ⅝ diameter and an internal threaded end.
With automatic sensors to detect humidity levels and adjust settings to power up or down, the HOmeLabs also features a ’Turbo fan’ setting for maximum moisture removal. You can also time it to power off, from anywhere between 1 hour and 24 hours.
A filter check light warns you when the filter needs cleaning, while auto defrost mode helps the dehumidifier remove ice from the coils inside the machine.
One of the smallest dehumidifiers in our buying guide, the HOmeLabs dehumidifier is designed to be tucked away and forgotten about. Its neutral white colorway means that it seamlessly blends in with any decor, and its quiet operation means that you probably won’t notice it running in the background.
This HOmeLabs dehumidifier has almost 41,000 ratings on Amazon. Even more impressive is that 92% of buyers have given it four or five stars. They really rate its power to suck moisture from the air, with one user commenting “I haven’t seen mold in so long I’ve forgotten what it looks like.” They also enjoy how simple it is to operate, and its stylish design. Another user said, “It's also almost too nice looking to be in my unfinished laundry room.” Negative reviews, of which there are only a few, say the water tank is too small to be convenient, while others say the turbo mode is too loud.
- We are still in the process of testing the HOmeLabs 1,500 sq.ft dehumidifier
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
This sleek dehumidifier is a talking point for any room. Encased in a black shell and featuring a clear plastic side-loading water tank, it’s one of the most stylish dehumidifiers on the market.
The LG UD501KOG5 also comes with a host of features, from humidity auto controls to maintain your preferred levels, to a continuous drain feature, meaning you don’t have to keep emptying the water tank.
Automatic shut-off means the device sounds an alarm and powers off as soon as the water tank is nearly full, while a safety standby kicks into operation every 23 hours, to prevent overheating.
Our tester found the LG Puricare a cinch to set up and turn on, with virtually no real assembly required. Unfortunately, there are only two fan speeds, and there's no continuous mode. You also can't set the LG Puricare for a 24 hour cycle – the maximum is 12, which is unusual for a 50 pint unit.
We set the device up in a bedroom measuring 45% humidity, and set it to the highest setting to drop it to 30%. After an hour, it had dropped to 35%, and half way during the second hour had hit 30%. After two hours the bucket contained nearly three full cups of water, which was easy to dump out thanks to the removable lid. In fact, the bucket on the LG Puricare is one of the best we've seen. Removing and dumping out the bucket is incredibly easy thanks to a removable splash guard/lid which gives you optimal surface area for emptying out the tank.
Side pocket handles and castor wheels make it easy to move from room to room, wherever you need it most.
At 26.2 inches high, it’s the tallest dehumidifier in our buying guide, so you may need to take this into account when comparing models for your specific space.
The LG Puricare 50-pint dehumidifier scores an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Walmart. Happy customers say it’s easy to use and reliable during operation, relatively quiet, and they enjoy its sleek design. They also like that the display is clear and easy to read, even from a distance. Negative comments tend to be around individual appliances, and cite problems with operation, the appliance breaking down, or unusually noisy units.
- Read our full LG Puricare 50-pint dehumidifer review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
This Energy Star-rated dehumidifier is suitable for spaces of up to 3,000 feet, making it an ideal choice for homes with medium to large rooms. It's a lot smaller and lighter than the LG Puricare 50-pint dehumidifier, despite having the same tank size.
With a smart digital control system that actively monitors your space for moisture levels and changes modes accordingly, you can leave the Honeywell TP50WK running, as it features continuous drainage as well as a water tank. An auto-shutdown feature allows you to use the water tank alone, without worrying that your dehumidifier will overflow.
One thing to be aware of, however, is that the continuous drain relies on gravity, rather than an in-built pump. So you’ll have to ensure your hose isn’t too straight or long, otherwise water may collect in the hose and even return to the unit.
The tank itself also comes with splash guards to avoid leaks and spills, while a washable dust filter helps to reduce dust and impurities in the air. The Honeywell TP50WKA also features an auto-restart mode, so if your home experiences a power outage, it simply starts up again all by itself. A generous 5-year warranty is also included for extra peace of mind.
We set the device up in a medium-sized living room in the middle of a very hot day. Upon turning it on, the LED display read that the room was at 89% humidity – and it felt like it. After an hour of running it consistently, it had dropped to 42% humidity, and there was a notable difference in the room.
Emptying the bucket was easier, and moving the dehumidifier around was a breeze thanks to the built-in wheels and robust handle.
With a clean white finish, easy-to-operate controls, and a digital display that makes it easy to check your humidity levels, the Honeywell TP50WK is an attractive piece of kit that fits discreetly into any space.
On Amazon, the Honeywell TP50WK scores a respectable 4.2 stars out of 5, with over 60% of users giving it the full 5 stars. Users enjoy how easy the unit is to set up and operate, and how quiet it is during use. One user commented, “I’ve had several dehumidifiers over the years , but none have impressed me to the level this one has.” Negative comments cite problems with water dripping into the unit itself, a short draining hose, and problems with individual units not working.
- Read our full Honeywell TP50WK dehumidifier review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Like the The GE Dehumidifier APER50LZ features a built-in pump that helps to continuously pump water out of the unit and drain it away, using the 16 ft-long hose that comes with the appliance. Able to pump 50 pints out every 24 hours, this dehumidifier has a water tank capacity of 15 pints. Available in a sleek ‘stratus gray’ color, this dehumidifier looks more like a piece of tech than a household appliance.
The GE Dehumidifier APER50LZ monitors the humidity levels in your space and adjusts its settings accordingly between three fan speeds. It also features a ‘clean filter’ alert, so there’s no need to worry about forgetting when it’s time to clean away any dust and residue build-up.
When we first started up the GE dehumidifier on its highest setting, the humidity in the room was 55%, and it decreased to 40% after just an hour of running.
Like many of the dehumidifiers in our guide, the GE Dehumidifier APER50LZ features an auto-shutoff and auto-restart. That means it shuts down if the water tank is full, and powers up again automatically if you have a power outage.
When running the dehumidifier consistently, we needed to empty it of water approximately once a day, although this will definitely depend on the environment you’re using it in (more humidity equals more water). The water tank is easy to slide out and empty, if you prefer to use that instead of the continuous drainage. Personally, we found it much easier to pour the water out, though the pump feature tends to be a fan favorite with other users. It also features an empty bucket alarm, which sounds for 10 seconds if the bucket is full or missing.
Castor wheels and in-built pocket handles make the GE Dehumidifier APER50LZ easy to move around the home. An automatic defrost feature also ensures your machine keeps running, even when frost builds up on the coils inside.
The GE Dehumidifier APER50LZ scores an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with over three-quarters of customers giving it the full 5-star rating. Users rate its powerful ability to remove unwanted moisture from the air, how easy the unit is to set up, and how simple it is to adjust humidity levels using the controls. Negative reviews tend to cite problems with individual appliances, but some users say the water tank is hard to re-insert smoothly, while others criticize the 1-year warranty, with a few saying their machine stopped working just as the warranty expired.
- Read our full GE APER50LZ dehumidifier review
6. Frigidaire FGAC5044W1
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Smart, Wi-Fi enabled Frigidaire FGAC5044W1 can be controlled from anywhere at any time. Working with voice-enabled control services such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, you can switch on, power off, or change your fan’s speed settings whenever you like. You can even set the humidity levels you want and the Frigidaire FGAC5044W1 will adjust its settings to suit.
It’s also one of the few dehumidifiers in this buying guide to feature a clean air ionizer. This extra feature helps to reduce airborne particles by charging the particles, making them fall to the floor or other surfaces, ready to sweep up or dust away. This will improve the quality of your indoor air as well as removing excess moisture.
Other bonus features include a ‘quick glance light’ which uses color coding to communicate how your dehumidifier is performing, as well as reminding you to check or wash the filter. A child lock ensures tiny fingers can’t accidentally mess up your settings too.
As with most other dehumidifiers in this guide, the Frigidaire FGAC5044W1 comes with a separate draining hose, so you can operate the appliance continuously without worrying about emptying the tank. It doesn’t feature an in-built pump, though, so you’ll need to make sure gravity helps the water out of the unit and along the hose.
Customizable controls let you set the humidity levels you want, while auto shut-off and restart features allow you to have peace of mind that the unit won’t leak when the water tank is full, and that it’ll power up again after a power outage. The front loading bucket features a splash guard and the portable design, with castor wheels and side handles, means it’s easy to move from room to room.
The Frigidaire FGAC5044W1 scores an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 77% of buyers giving it 5 stars. Happy customers say this dehumidifier is powerful during operation and works quickly to remove excess moisture. Critical reviews mention that the air intake is at the back of the unit, so it can’t be placed up against a wall, while others mention it uses a lot of energy, even at low fan speeds. Some customers say the Frigidaire customer service can be poor, and the packaging or units are sometimes damaged or broken during shipping.
- We are still in the process of testing the Frigidaire FGAC5044W1
How we test dehumidifers
Each dehumidifier in this guide has been tested to the exact same standards, using the same processes.
We start by noting the humidity level of a closed room. We then let the dehumidifier run on the highest setting. While the machine is running, we measure the noise level of the machine in decibels. After an hour, we measure and take note of the humidity level in the room. This process is repeated for each mode the unit has, such as lower mode and night mode. We take note of how quickly the water tank fills up, how often we need to empty it, and how easy this is to do.
Our testing also takes into account the size of the unit, the cost, ease of use, availability of additional parts, ease of cleaning and the energy use on the lowest and highest settings. Finally, we check online user reviews to see what people think, and we test for any persistent problems or defects that we read about.
As per our testing policy, we fully disclose all of our findings in our reviews.
Frequently asked questions
Do you need a dehumidifer?
There may be some clues around your home to suggest problems with damp air. Here are some of the signs that your home may benefit from a dehumidifier:
- Your windows often have condensation.
- There are signs of mold on your ceilings and walls.
- There is a musty odor in your home.
- You have wooden window sills that are soft and/or rotting.
- There are water stains on the walls.
- Clothes smell damp even if they’re freshly washed.
- You, or members of your family, have persistent respiratory illnesses.
- Someone in your home has a dust mite allergy.
- There are unwanted pests in your home, such as cockroaches, moths, or silverfish.
What dehumidifier is best?
There are generally two types of dehumidifier. A refrigerator dehumidifier works by using a fan to draw in moist air which then passes over coolant-cooled coils. The air is warmed and dried and allowed to re-enter your home. A desiccant dehumidifier, on the other hand, uses a heated, absorbent material to draw moisture out of the air and this is collected in a water tank that needs emptying periodically.
If your home is regularly heated, you may prefer to opt for a refrigerator dehumidifier, as these need the air in the room to be warmer than inside the dehumidifier.
Desiccant dehumidifiers are more efficient in cooler temperatures, so if you want to tackle mold or mustiness in a cold basement, garage, or conservatory, one of these may be a better choice.
If you’re replacing an old dehumidifier, you may be dismayed that many models have a lower capacity these days. Be aware that in 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy finalized new standards for dehumidifiers that changed the testing temperature from 80 degrees fahrenheit with 60% humidity, to 65 degrees fahrenheit with 60% humidity. This new figure more accurately reflects the average temperature of a basement. However, it also reduces the amount of water a dehumidifier can remove from the air.
Be reassured that dehumidifiers with a lower capacity aren’t any worse than your older model (in fact, they’re likely to have more features and be more energy efficient). Rather, the old 70-pint capacity is the same as a 50-pint capacity because of these new testing regulations.
All the models in our buying guide are Energy Star certified. This means that they can help you save on your energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, or comfort. They also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Choosing a dehumidifier that has the Energy Star label means that you’re saving almost 15% in running costs. So look for a dehumidifier with the Energy Star label, to do your bit for the environment and save yourself some cash in the process.
A continuously draining dehumidifier will allow you to turn it on, and forget about it. Many dehumidifiers come with a hose attachment that can drain the water away during operation. Some even come with pumps, so you can direct the hose upwards into a sink if you need to, although it’s usually easier just to let gravity do its work and let the hose empty into a drain.
Dehumidifiers that offer timers can also be a more affordable option, if you only want the appliance to run while you’re at home.
Finally, think about the size of the space you want to use your dehumidifier in. Is it small or large? This, according to Kyle Knappenburger, Director of Technology for air filtration company Timilon Corporation, is the most important factor to consider above all else. So choose an appliance that has sufficient capacity for the space it’s in, especially if you don’t want a continuously draining dehumidifier.
Are dehumidifiers worth it?
Dehumidifiers can actively improve the quality of your indoor air by keeping humidity levels in check. According to the Mayo Clinic, high humidity levels can increase condensation, triggering the growth of mold, harmful bacteria, and dust mites. These can, in turn, cause respiratory problems, and even trigger allergy or asthma attacks.
Knappenberger also tells Live Science: “The benefits are mainly observed in warmer and moister climates by removing or reducing the amount of water in the air. Higher humidity in warm air makes it much more uncomfortable. In a home, this can also potentially lead to other issues with indoor air quality and mold issues. So reducing humidity can impact comfort and safety.”
The Sleep Foundation also points out that high humidity can affect sleep patterns, increasing wakefulness and reducing the amount of time you spend in REM sleep, which can affect your overall health. Worsening allergy symptoms or respiratory problems will also affect your sleep over time.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor humidity levels should be kept below 60%, but ideally rest somewhere between 30% and 50%.
A good dehumidifier will give you an idea of humidity levels in your home, and allow you to set your preferred humidity levels. It will then adjust its settings continuously to ensure your indoor space meets those preferred levels. Look for the term ‘humidistat’ in the appliance specifications.
If you don’t have a dehumidifier with a humidistat, Energy Star suggests buying a hygrometer. This is a gauge that measures humidity levels. Hang it somewhere near your dehumidifier, so you can check humidity levels and adjust your dehumidifier’s settings when you need to.
Kyle Knappenberger is the director of applications at Timilon Technology Acquisitions. He holds a degree in microbiology from Kansas State University, which he earned while researching and testing water purification techniques. For over a decade, Knappenberger has been working on using safe metal oxide technology for odor control and toxic chemical neutralization applications.
Wei-Ning Wang is an aerosols expert and associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is an editorial board member for several scientific journals, including Nanotechnology, KONA Powder and Particle Journal, Applied Sciences, Nanomaterials & Nanotechnology and is an advisory panel member for the Journal of Physics D.
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Joanne Lewsley is a UK-based freelance writer and editor, covering health and lifestyle news and features. She mainly creates evidence-based health and parenting content and has worked with a number of global sites, including BabyCentre UK, Medical News Today, Fit & Well, Top Ten Reviews, and Yahoo!