Dehumidifier Buying Guide

A dehumidifier can take that damp feeling out of a basement or laundry room and prevent a few other sticky situations: Humidity levels above 50 percent can breed dust mites, mildew, and mold, triggering allergies or other health problems.

Using a fan to move air over refrigerated coils, a dehumidifier pulls moisture from the air and drips it into a tank. All 30-plus dehumidifiers in CR’s ratings remove the number of pints of water from the air as claimed by the manufacturers. But some come much closer than others to meeting the selected humidity level, run more quietly, or use less energy. 

How We Test Dehumidifiers

We test dehumidifiers in three categories based on capacity, which refers to the amount of water they’re claimed to remove from the air—a claim we test.

Small: Claimed to remove 30 to 35 pints of moisture per day.

Medium: Claimed to remove 50 pints per day.

Large: Claimed to remove 60 to 70 pints per day.

Our water-removal tests measure a dehumidifier’s ability to remove moisture from the air (the number of pints of water per day, as claimed by the manufacturer) in our test chamber at 80° F and 60 percent relative humidity. The humidistat accuracy test determines how closely each dehumidifier can reach and maintain a set humidity level.

For energy efficiency, our engineers calculate the amount of energy it takes to remove 1 pint of water from the air, and our cool-room performance test judges a model’s water removal and efficiency performance in a room at 50° F and 60 percent relative humidity (a good indicator of performance in a cold, wet basement). We also evaluate noise levels. 

These lab test results, along with brand reliability and owner satisfaction data from our CR member survey, are incorporated into an Overall Score for the dehumidifiers we test. 

Changes in the Dehumidifier Aisle

Most dehumidifier boxes say 30-pint, 50-pint, or 70-pint, referring to the amount of water the dehumidifier can remove within 24 hours, which is what you’ll see in our ratings. But as these models sell out, you’ll start to see dehumidifiers labeled 20-, 30-, or 45-pint. 

“It doesn’t mean they remove less water, it’s just that they were tested in a condition where less water had to removed,” says John Banta, who leads CR’s tests of dehumidifiers. They’re typically used in basements, and the Department of Energy changed its test standard by lowering the room temperature to better reflect basement conditions. There’s less water to remove in cooler air, which is why the number of pints of water drops. We’ll test these dehumidifiers when more become available in stores and online.

What to Know Before You Shop

Consider Where It Will Go
Noise is a concern in living spaces. Our measurements from 3 feet away typically range from about 50 decibels (approximately the sound of a refrigerator running) to 67 decibels (about as loud as a box fan set to high) for the dehumidifiers we test.

Large or Wet Spaces
Typically, the damper the space, the more capacity you’ll need in a dehumidifier. The best large-capacity models remove moisture quickly and efficiently in the toughest situations, such as an especially wet basement.

Small or Damp Spots
A large-capacity dehumidifier will help dry a smaller space quickly, but a medium-capacity model will probably do it with less cycling on and off, according to manufacturers.

Fix Existing Problems

Even the best dehumidifier might not work effectively if too much outside moisture seeps into your home. Unclogging gutters and making sure downspouts are directing rainwater at least 5 feet from the house can help.

Match the Machine to the Moisture

Dehumidifiers are fairly similar in size, even though they vary in the amount of moisture they can remove in 24 hours. Here are the types to consider.

A large-capacity dehumidifier.


These models are claimed to remove 60 to 70 pints per day. They can also handle a wider range of humidity levels with little or no additional noise. You may also be able to run them on a lower, quieter setting. For large, wet spaces, buy the largest-capacity model you can afford. The extra cost is worth it.

Check Out Our Dehumidifier Ratings
A medium-capacity dehumidifier.


For midsized or large spaces that aren’t quite as damp, these models are typically claimed to remove up to 50 pints of moisture per day. While medium-capacity dehumidifiers can sometimes cost as much as large models, you’ll typically pay less.

Dehumidifiers Ratings
A small-capacity dehumidifier.


Claimed to remove roughly 30 to 35 pints of moisture per day, these can dehumidify small spaces that are damp rather than wet. 

Explore Our Dehumidifier Ratings
A whole-house dehumidifier.


Whole-house dehumidifiers are available as portable units or as add-ons to your existing central heating and air-conditioning system. Manufacturers say they can handle an area up to 5,000 square feet. These units are expensive, but the large amount of moisture they remove lets you run your air conditioner less. (CR doesn’t test this type of dehumidifier.)

Interactive Video Buying Guide

For more information, watch our interactive video below. You can skip to different chapters depending on your interests—for example, how we test, how they work, moisture prevention, capacity, and placement. 

Features That Count

Most portable dehumidifiers now come similarly equipped. Here are the features you’ll see most often. 

Dehumidifier Brands

The major brands of dehumidifiers are Frigidaire, GE, Haier, Kenmore, and LG. Almost all offer a variety of features and sizes in a range of prices. Use these profiles to compare dehumidifiers by brand.

Frigidaire, owned by Electrolux, features models ranging from 30 pints to 70 pints. They’re available at Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears, Target, and Walmart. Most models are Energy Star certified. 
Models in the GE line range from 30 to 65 pints and are Energy Star certified. Features include auto shutoff, electronic controls, and low-temperature operation. GE’s dehumidifiers are sold at Walmart, independent and regional appliance dealers, electronics stores, and online retailers.
Haier offers a wide range of Energy Star certified models with electronic controls. Some features include washable filters, LED displays, and auto defrost. They’re sold at Target, Walmart, online retailers, and appliance stores.
Kenmore features dehumidifiers ranging from 35 to 70 pints in capacity. Features include a remote control, a built-­in pump, and electronic controls. Kenmore also offers models that are Energy Star certified. Kenmore products are sold at Amazon, Kmart, and Sears.
Sold at Home Depot, appliance stores, and online retailers, LG offers a wide variety of models ranging from 40 to 65 pints in capacity. LG offers a number of basic features and has Energy Star certified models.
Other dehumidifier brands on the market include Aprilaire, Danby, Hisense, Honeywell, and Soleus Air.
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