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, pull moisture from the air, and drip it into a tank. All the models in Consumer Reports’ tests perform adequately overall. But some come much closer than others to meeting the humidity levels indicated on the humidistat. And some are more efficient or run more quietly than others.

Most of the models we test have auto restart in case of power outages, as well as frost control to mitigate frost buildup on the coils, which sometimes happens when the unit is in a cold basement.

How We Test Dehumidifiers

We test dehumidifiers in three categories based on capacity, which refers to the amount of water they remove from the air:

Small: rated to remove 30 to 35 pints of moisture per day

Medium: rated to remove 50 pints per day

Large: rated to remove 60 to 70 pints per day

Our water-removal tests measure a model’s ability to remove water from the air 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 one 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 degrees and 60 percent relative humidity (a good indicator of performance in a cold, wet basement).

All this data is compiled into an Overall Score and ratings for every dehumidifier we test. Our complete dehumidifier ratings cover about 30 models.

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 55 decibels (approximately the sound of loud conversation) to 67 decibels (the din of street traffic) for the dehumidifiers we test.

New Energy Standards
Because of new federal energy standards, many dehumidifiers in our latest tests earn a Very Good rating or better for energy efficiency. That means you’ll see savings in operating costs compared with older dehumidifiers. That’s important because during hot and humid weather, a dehumidifier is running around the clock.

Large or Wet Spaces
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.

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


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.

A large capacity dehumidifier.

Large-Capacity

These models are rated from 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 modest extra cost is worth it.

Check Out Our Dehumidifier Ratings
A medium capacity dehumidifier.

Medium-Capacity

For midsized or large spaces that aren’t quite as damp, these models are typically rated 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.

Find The Best Dehumidifiers
A small capacity dehumidifier.

Small-Capacity

Rated to remove roughly 30 to 35 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
A whole house dehumidifier.

Whole-House

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 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 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 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 Frigidaire, GE, Haier, Kenmore, and LG. 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 pints to 70 pints. They’re available at Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's, Target, Sears, 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, electronic stores, and online retailers.
Haier offers a wide range of models with electronic controls that are Energy Star certified. 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 remote control, built-­in pump, and electronic controls. Kenmore also offers models that are Energy Star certified. Kenmore products are sold at Sears, Kmart, and Amazon.
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 brands on the market include Aprilaire, Danby, Hisense, Honeywell, and Soleus Air.
Consumer Reports is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers. We make it easy to buy the right product from a variety of retailers. Clicking a retailer link will take you to that retailer’s website to shop. When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission – 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our mission. Learn more. Our service is unbiased: retailers can’t influence placement. All prices are subject to change.