It's not too early to buy a dehumidifier

Kenmore is a winner in Consumer Reports' latest tests

Published: February 24, 2015 08:00 AM
Inside the dehumidifier labs at Consumer Reports.

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Though much of the country is covered in ice and snow, home centers are stocking up on dehumidifiers, knowing that the first big thaw will lead to many damp basements. Consumer Reports recently tested a slew of new dehumidifiers to see which models are best at pulling moisture from the air. Kenmore had a particularly strong showing, and is joined by Danby, Frigidaire, GE, Soleus Air, and Sunpentown on our top picks list.

The 70-pint Kenmore Elite 54571 leads our Ratings of large-capacity dehumidifiers, which we recommend for large or very wet spaces, like that dank basement. Besides acing our water removal and energy efficiency tests, the $330 Kenmore features a built-in pump that can expel water to an elevated location, like a utility sink or open window. One caveat: we found the hose attachment a little tricky to work with and switching the machine into continuous-drain mode is more complicated than with other models. If you're not mechanically inclined, the Danby DDR60A3GP is another top-rated large-capacity dehumidifier whose continuous-drain feature is a bit easier to operate.        

Kenmore also has the top-rated model among medium-capacity dehumidifiers with its 50-pint Kenmore 54550. The same issue with the garden hose attachment applies, so you might also consider the recommended GE ADEW50LR, $200, sold at Walmart and the Frigidaire FAD504DWD, $220. If you're only trying to dehumidify a small area, the 30-pint Sunpentown SD-31E, $230, actually had the highest overall score of all tested models.                                         

Mold developing in a damp room.

Find the source of the moisture

Keep in mind that even the best dehumidifier can't make up for underlying issues that are creating dampness in your home. Here's a moisture-control checklist:  

  • Make sure gutters aren't clogged and that downspouts are directing rainwater at least 3 feet away from the house.
  • Grade your property so that rainwater flows away from the foundation.
  • Keep the duct for your clothes dryer properly vented to the outside, making sure that it isn't clogged or leaking.
  • Run an exhaust fan or open a window when showering, and squeegee or wipe down the shower walls afterward. 
  • When cooking, use a range hood or exhaust fan that vents outdoors.
  • Check plumbing for leaks and condensation in the basement.  
  • Use silicone caulk to seal small gaps in the foundation, and hydraulic cement for cracks.

—Daniel DiClerico (@dandiclerico on Twitter)  

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