It’s never too early to start thinking about purchasing a dehumidifier. After all, you don’t want to wait until the summer rush when temperatures are sweltering and pickings are slim. Plus, hot weather isn’t the only reason you may want to invest in one.
Dehumidifiers reduce the humidity levels in your home, because with high humidity comes moisture, which can do serious damage if not addressed. According to Chris Koehner, owner of Halo Heating & Cooling, too much moisture can cause doors to stick, create a musty smell in the air and even lead to mold and mildew, which in turn can trigger allergies or hinder people with asthma or other respiratory conditions. To avoid this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping humidity levels in your home as low as possible — no higher than 50%.
According to our experts, an air conditioner alone will not solve the problem of high humidity levels. “It can only work as a dehumidifier when it’s on,” says Koehner, “but even when it’s on, it’s not running continuously.”
Today’s dehumidifiers come in all shapes, sizes and tank capacities. To help you navigate the many choices that are out there and determine the best dehumidifier for your space, we spoke to experts about the benefits of dehumidifiers, the different types available and what to consider when shopping for one. We also rounded up highly rated options based on their expert guidance.
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How we picked the best dehumidifiers
Although the Department of Energy says the two primary performance ratings for dehumidifiers are capacity and energy efficiency — the DOE defines capacity as the amount of water a dehumidifier can remove in 24 hours, and energy efficiency as how many liters of water a dehumidifier can remove per kilowatt-hour of energy consumed — our experts recommend also keeping in mind the following factors when choosing a high-quality dehumidifier:
- Energy Star certification. Our experts recommend choosing a dehumidifier that has the Energy Star seal of approval because they use 15% less energy than non-certified models.
- Noise. If you are placing your dehumidifier in a highly trafficked area of your home, you want to opt for a unit that is quiet, our experts say. They recommend looking for a unit that is between 53dB and 60dB, adding that for a basement or garage, you could expand your search to one that has a noise level of up to 65dB.
- Tank capacity. The dehumidifier’s water tank is also often referred to as the condensation collection bucket. Obviously, the larger the tank size, the better, unless the unit has a pump that automatically drains out the water. Otherwise, you will need to remove the tank and empty it each time it fills up, so a larger tank will reduce the times you need to go through this process.
- Moisture removal capacity. The moisture removal capacity is the amount of water a dehumidifier can extract in a 24-hour period. Our experts recommend the following pint capacities per square foot (the smaller pint size for each square footage is based on an 50% to 60% humidity level; the larger pint size is based on an 80% to 90% humidity level):
- 400-square-foot room: 20-30 pints
- 600-square-foot room: 25-40 pints
- 800-square-foot room: 35-50 pints
- 1,200-square-foot room: 50-60 pints
- Portability. Many dehumidifiers come with handles and omni-directional caster wheels so you can move them easily from room to room or into storage. Our experts also recommend checking the weight of the unit, as residential units most commonly range between 45 and 75 pounds.
- Removable air filter. When air enters a dehumidifier, a filter cleans the air by trapping any debris. When the air filter is clogged, it can reduce the unit’s performance, so regular cleaning is important. That’s where a removable air filter makes a big difference, says experts.
- Auto shutoff. The last thing you want is your dehumidifier to overflow, says our experts. An auto shutoff automatically turns off the unit when the water tank is full — and will also shut off when your space reaches the proper humidity level, saving on energy costs.
- Reviews. Koehner and certified mold inspector Jennifer Nitrio of Mold Help For You agreed that you should rely on reviews when shopping for a dehumidifier, adding that a good product should have mostly 4- to 5-star reviews. “Go with a company that has been making that type of product for a long time and has a track record,” Nitrio said.
The best dehumidifiers of 2023
To help you find the right dehumidifier for your needs, we turned to the experts for shopping tips and sought out highly rated options based on their guidance. All of our dehumidifier recommendations come in multiple tank sizes for various-sized rooms, and all but one have the Energy Star seal of approval, which means the organization has determined that it removes moisture using less energy than a similarly sized conventional unit.
Koehner recommends the hOmeLabs dehumidifier for large rooms and for those that are very wet because of its 1.6-gallon water tank and its ability to remove up to 50 pints of moisture from the air per day. It also has a sleek design and is one of the quietest models on the market, at 51dB, he said. It comes equipped with wheels and handles, which make this 40-pound unit easier to move around. It also has an auto restart, an auto shutoff and an auto defrost function.
Moisture removal capacity: 50 pints | Tank capacity: 1.6 gal | Max. recommended room size: 4,500 sq ft | Weight: 40 pounds | Noise level: 51dB | Auto shutoff: Yes | Removable water filter: Yes | Drain Pump: Yes | Wheels: Yes
The Danby DDR050BLBDB is the newer version of the brand’s older and discontinued DDR070BDWDB 70-Pint model. Designed for spaces up to 3,000 square feet, this Danby still includes the best caster wheels of all dehumidifiers, Nitrio said, which is what she loved about the older version. “In addition to outstanding portability, the newer Danby is one of the most energy-efficient dehumidifiers on the market,” she added. It has an Energy Star certification to run economically even in the most humid environments, according to the brand.
Moisture removal capacity: 50 pints | Tank capacity: 12.6 pints | Max. recommended room size: 3,000 sq ft | Weight: 41.7 pounds | Noise level: 50-56dB | Auto shutoff: Yes | Removable water filter: Yes | Drain Pump: Yes | Wheels: Yes
Nitrio said she’s become more impressed with the Frigidaire dehumidifier line. “I would suggest this dehumidifier as a good alternative to the Danby if it’s not in stock,” she said. “It’s easy to clean, and it’s a workhorse. It’s really robust in a high-humidity area, and it has the continuous drain option.” It’s also easy to move around, with caster wheels and side handles. The only caveat, she said, is that it does not have the auto restart feature.
Moisture removal capacity: 50 pints | Tank capacity: 2.1 gal | Max. recommended room size: 2,500 sq ft | Weight: 44 pounds | Noise level: 47dB. | Auto shutoff: Yes | Removable water filter: Yes | Drain Pump: Yes | Wheels: Yes
The Tosot 35-Pint dehumidifier is fit for spaces as big as 3,000 square feet, according to the brand. It will automatically stop running once the water bucket fills up or you reach your target humidity level, and you can hook up a 3/4-inch drain hose (not included) to the Tosot so that it will automatically drain if you aren’t around. It also has an auto restart in case the power goes out, and when your filter needs cleaning, a light on the display screen will let you know it’s time to remove and wash it.
Moisture removal capacity: 35 pints | Tank capacity: 2 gal | Max. recommended room size: 3,000 sq ft | Weight: 36.4 pounds | Noise level: 47dB | Auto shutoff: Yes | Removable water filter: Yes | Drain Pump: Not included | Wheels: Yes
Staff favorite brand Midea’s 22-pint dehumidifier has a 4.5-star average rating from over 12,700 reviews on Amazon and was awarded Energy Star’s “Most Efficient 2023” designation, which the Environmental Protection Agency says “recognizes products that deliver cutting-edge energy efficiency along with the latest in technological innovation.” It removes up to 22 pints of moisture a day and has an adjustable humidity setting from 35% to 85%, says the brand. There’s an auto restart in case the power goes out, a digital control panel, along with handles and 360-degree caster wheels for easy portability. The unit automatically stops when the water tank is full, or you can connect a drainage hose to it, but it’s not included.
Moisture removal capacity: 22 pints | Tank capacity: 0.8 gal | Max. recommended room size: 1,500 sq ft | Weight: 33.29 pounds | Noise level: 46.5dB | Auto shutoff: Yes | Removable water filter: Yes | Drain Pump: Not included | Wheels: Yes
If you’re on the lookout for a heavy-duty dehumidifier for larger projects, then the BlueDri should be a top choice, says Nitrio. “There isn’t a place this [machine] can’t dehumidify,” she said. “It also comes equipped with temperature sensors, automatic water pumps and a high-tech digital panel.” Though this dehumidifier isn’t Energy Star certified, the brand says its efficient rotary compression helps extract up to 225 pints of water per day, more than double the amount of typical dehumidifiers. It can also dry up to 4,000 square feet and includes a 38-foot drain hose that can automatically pump water up to 16 feet in height so you can direct water out of a window if necessary.
Moisture removal capacity: 225 pints | Tank capacity: N/A | Max. recommended room size: 4,000 sq ft | Weight: 103 pounds | Noise level: NA | Auto shutoff: No | Removable water filter: Yes | Drain Pump: Yes | Wheels: Yes
This smart dehumidifier removes moisture from rooms up to 1,500 square feet and automatically adjusts its fan speed based on the humidity levels in the room, says the brand. Homeowners can download the SmartHQ smartphone app to control and monitor this dehumidifier from anywhere. It also comes with a drain hose connection so you can attach a hose, or you can empty the tank manually.
Moisture removal capacity: 50 pints | Tank capacity: 15 pints | Max. recommended room size: 1,500 sq ft | Weight: 42.8 pounds | Noise level: 61dB | Auto shutoff: No | Removable water filter: Yes | Drain Pump: Yes | Wheels: Yes
This Honeywell smart dehumidifier removes up to 70 pints of moisture daily from medium to large rooms such as basements, dens and storage rooms, says the brand. It includes a drain hose for continuous drain operation and automatically senses room moisture levels and activates dehumidification to maintain desired humidity levels. Wi-Fi connected with Amazon Alexa voice control, — a 2.5 GHz connection is required — it lets you monitor humidity in your home through the Smart Dehumidifier App. It’s also compatible with Apple iOS9.0 (or later) and Android version 4.3 (or later).
Moisture removal capacity: 70 pints | Tank capacity: 7 pints | Max. recommended room size: 3,000 sq ft | Weight: 35.2 pounds | Noise level: 50dB | Auto shutoff: Yes | Removable water filter: Yes | Drain Pump: Yes | Wheels: Yes
How to shop for a dehumidifier
Once you’ve determined the humidity level in a space is above 50% and needs to be addressed, there are a number of things to consider when shopping for a dehumidifier. Experts recommend keeping the following in mind:
Know the size of your space. Dehumidifiers are sized by the square footage of your space and by how many pints of fluid they can remove per day, so knowing the size of the space you’re working with, as well as the humidity level, is the first step to determining which dehumidifier is best for your needs.
Look for a built-in humidistat. Some dehumidifiers require considerably less maintenance than others given their features. “Ideally, shoppers should look for a model that has a built-in humidistat, which not only measures the relative humidity but also controls it automatically,” Nitrio said. “This takes the guesswork out of whether or not you need to turn your dehumidifier on or off.”
Opt for these standout features. In addition to a handy built-in humidistat, Nitrio recommends looking for some other standout features, including:
- An adjustable thermostat
- An automatic timer shutoff or restart when it’s needed so you don’t have to constantly check the humidity
- A defrost mode on a refrigerant dehumidifier so the coils don’t freeze in lower temperatures
- Water-level windows to monitor the bucket as it fills
- Direct-to-drain installation compatibility so you don’t have to manually empty water that collects in the machine’s reservoir
- A filter-change indicator light
- Handles and rotational wheels for easy transport from room to room
Make sure it’s energy efficient or carries the Energy Star seal of approval. Koehner warned against any model that isn’t isn’t energy efficient, especially if you’ll be running it throughout the day and night. “Dehumidifiers can increase energy usage and drive your electricity bill up,” he said.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Chris Koehner is the owner of Halo Heating & Cooling in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Jennifer Nitrio is a certified mold inspector from the International Association of Certified Mold Inspectors and the owner of Mold Help For You.
- Derek Anneser is an HVAC sales engineer at HTS, a full-service HVAC distributor in North America.
Why trust Select?
Barbara Booth has published several guides on home appliances at Select, including best countertop dishwashers, best humidifiers, best mini fridges and best portable washing machines. For this piece, Barbara interviewed three experts and researched dozens of dehumidifiers on the market. We included dehumidifiers recommended by experts, along with those that are highly rated and meet expert shopping guidance.