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Top dehumidifiers get smaller and cheaper

A new energy standard has changed the market—and our Ratings

Published: March 17, 2014 11:00 AM

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Danby DDR60A3GP dehumidifier

Dehumidifier sales pick up in March and April, for obvious reasons—spring showers giving way to sultry summer heat make for damp basements and humid living areas. If you’re in the market, don’t delay too long, since supplies of top-rated models can run out fast. Fortunately, Consumer Reports’ latest dehumidifier Ratings include more winners than ever, thanks to a new energy standard that’s made small and midsized models a lot more efficient. Here are the details.               

In the past, our advice has always been to go large with your dehumidifier selection, since models with a capacity of 60 to 70 pints per day did the job more quickly and efficiently than less expensive models with a capacity in the 20-to-40-pint range. But the new standard, which we’d been advocating, raises the efficiency of the devices by about 20 percent (it also uses the same standard for all sizes).

Based on our tests, which involve running the units in a climate-controlled chamber, manufacturers have managed the cutback without compromising performance. In fact, our top-scoring model is the 30-pint Sunpentown SD-31E, $200, which was excellent at sucking moisture from the air. It also has an extremely accurate humidistat and it’s one of the quietest models we tested, making it ideal for small living spaces that are prone to dampness. For even greater savings, consider the Danby DDR30A2GP, a $170 CR Best Buy.  

If you need to dry out a larger area or one that gets very wet, we still recommend choosing a larger dehumidifier. Besides running at maximum efficiency, 60-to70-pint models tend to have larger tanks, so you won’t have to empty them as frequently. Best of the bigs in our Ratings is the 60-pint Danby DDR60A3GP, $250, which features a built-in pump that can expel water to an elevated drainage location, such as a basement utility sink. On the downside, its fan runs continuously, adding to its noise and energy consumption. If that’s a concern for you, consider the 70-pint Frigidaire FAD704DWD, which performs well and alerts you when it’s time to clean its included air filter.

For medium-sized spaces, we like the 50-pint Frigidaire FAD504DWD, which earned solid marks across the board. A model to think twice about from that category is the Haier DE45EM-L. During testing, one of three samples had water overflow from its bucket, and we’ve seen similar complaints from online user reviews.

—Daniel DiClerico 

   

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