Indoor air can hold a lot of water vapor and high humidity levels can make an area feel extremely uncomfortable. High humidity can also lead to property damage, mold, and mildew. Though your home air conditioning unit naturally removes moisture, there are situations where you may need a portable unit to remove excess moisture. That’s where a dehumidifier comes in: a dehumidifier reduces and regulates the amount of moisture in the air.
Dehumidifiers come in several sizes and price ranges. They are versatile machines that can be used for single rooms, basements, apartments, or large commercial areas. The type of dehumidifier you choose will depend on your budget, home, and needs. Here are the most common types:
Before getting into how a dehumidifier works, here’s a breakdown of its main components:
Dehumidifiers work in one of two ways—by refrigeration or by absorption/adsorption.
If you have a smaller space and don’t have enough room for a dehumidifier, try these alternatives to remove moisture from your air:
Running a dehumidifier will make the air in your home more comfortable, but you don’t need to run it 24/7. Here are some tips for maximizing the efficiency of your unit:
Too much moisture indoors can lead to several health issues and cause damage in your home. Dehumidifiers help to:
The best dehumidifier for you will mainly depend on the size of the space you want to put the unit in. A dehumidifier’s size is determined by its total capacity to remove moisture. The capacity is rated in pints of moisture removed per day (within a 24-hour period.) Its capacity indicates how large of a space it will cover in square feet.
You’ll need to know the square footage of the area you’d like to dehumidify to get an idea of the capacity you’ll need.
Other factors such as style, custom humidity settings, digital displays, and more are based on personal preference and budget.
Here are our top recommendations for dehumidifiers:
Modern style, custom timer and humidity settings, removes up to 70 pints of moisture in a 24-hour period
No drain pump for continual draining, heavy and not super portable
Durable wheels, digital display, quiet, 1-year manufacturer's warranty
Mold can grow in the reservoir if not routinely cleaned
The ideal indoor humidity levels for health and comfort is about 40–50%.
A dehumidifier uses about 4.2 cents of power per hour. Energy efficient rated units will use less.
The noise level will depend on the brand. Some units are as subtle as a house fan.
Empty the collection tank whenever it’s full. Depending on the humidity levels in your home, you may need to empty your bucket once every two days to twice a day.
Run a dehumidifier only if your space has excess relative humidity. Typically, your air conditioner will do a good job of removing excess moisture from the air in your home.
Dehumidifiers generate heat to operate. Removing humidity from the air will cause the dehumidifier and your room to heat up.
Single-room dehumidifiers are designed to remove air moisture from one room. Whole-home units are large or fixed appliances that will remove moisture from larger spaces.
Dehumidifiers don’t kill mold, but they do prevent it by reducing the humidity levels inside your home.
Debbie is a content creator based in the metro Atlanta area. She covers a variety of topics including DIY, how-to’s, home improvement, parenting, travel, crafting, and shopping. She's a regular contributor for both HGTV and DIYNetwork, Home Depot, and Walmart.com.