Dehumidifier Buying Guide
Go from Damp to Dry with a Dehumidifier

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. Typically, the damper your space, the more capacity you’ll need in a dehumidifier.

To remove moisture, dehumidifiers use a fan to move air over refrigerated coils, which pull moisture from the air and drip it into a tank. All the models we tested performed at least adequately overall. But some came much closer than others to meeting the humidity levels indicated on the humidistat. And some were more efficient or ran more quietly.

We also found that most tested models have auto re-start in case of power outages, as well as frost control in case temperatures in the room drop below 50 degrees F.

What to Know Before You Shop

Consider Where It Will Go
Noise is a concern in living spaces. Our measurements from 3 feet typically range from about 55 to 67 decibels for the dehumidifiers we test. That's about the difference between the sound of loud conversation and the din of street traffic.

New Energy Standards
Because of new federal energy standards, almost every dehumidifier in our latests tests scored very good or better for energy efficiency. That means you'll see savings in operating costs compared with older dehumidifiers.

Large or Wet Spaces
The best large capacity models remove moisture quickly and efficiently in the toughest situations like 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.

Time Your Purchase
New models appear in late spring and early summer, and most sales and in-store promotions occur from June through August. You might find closeout deals in the fall and early winter.

Fix Existing Problems

Even the best dehumidifier may not work effectively if too much outside moisture seeps into your home. Unclogging gutters and checking that downspouts are directing rainwater at least 3 feet from the house can help. For more information, read about the spring fixes that can help keep water from seeping into your home.

Match the Machine to the Moisture

Dehumidifiers vary according to how many pints of moisture they can remove in 24 hours. Here are the types of dehumidifiers to consider. (Note that Consumer Reports does not test whole house units.)

Photo of a large capacity dehumidifier.

Large Capacity

These models are rated at up to 75 pints per day. They can also handle a wider range of humidity levels with little or no additional noise. And, you may be able to run it on a lower, quieter setting. For large, wet spaces, buy the largest capacity model you can afford. The modest extra cost is worth it.

Check Out Our Dehumidifier Ratings
Photo of a medium capacity dehumidifier.

Medium Capacity

For medium-sized or large spaces that aren't quite as damp, these models are typically rated to remove 45 to 50 pints of moisture per day. While medium capacity dehumidifiers can sometimes cost as much as large models, you'll typically pay less.

Find The Best Dehumidifiers
Photo of a small capacity dehumidifier.

Small Capacity

Rated to remove roughly 25 to 40 pints of moisture per day, these can dehumidify small spaces that are damp rather than wet. They typically cost the least overall.

Explore Our Dehumidifier Ratings
Photo of a whole house dehumidifier.

Whole House

Available as portable units or add-ons to your existing central heating and air conditioning system. Manufacturers say they can handle an area up to 3,000 square feet. These units are expensive, but the large amount of moisture they remove lets you run your air conditioner less. (Consumer Reports doesn't test this type.)

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 come similarly equipped, but a few special features are worth looking for. Here are the dehumidifier features to consider.

Dehumidifier Brands

The major brands of dehumidifiers are Kenmore, LG, Whirlpool, GE, and Haier. Almost all offer a variety of features, sizes and price ranges. Use these profiles to compare dehumidifiers by brand. 

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