Dehumidifiers: How to buy the best dehumidifier Dehumidifiers explained
Dehumidifiers are designed to keep a room's humidity levels in check, so the air is more comfortable and you notice fewer physical signs of damp air - such as mould on walls or condensation on your windows.
We’ve independently reviewed a range of the latest dehumidifiers to reveal the best and worst models available in the shops. Go straight to our dehumidifier reviews to discover which models are worth buying.
How dehumidifiers work
Dehumidifiers draw excess moisture from the air - helping to combat condensation, mould and damp on walls, and peeling paint and wallpaper.
The most common type is compressor-driven, and these dehumidifiers use a fan to pull air over two sets of refrigerant-filled coils, one cool and the other warm, wringing out moisture along the way into a water tank, which you empty after use. Desiccant dehumidifiers contain a material that absorbs water from the air, then releases it into the water tank for you to empty.
Do dehumidifiers really work?
Our tests of compressor-driven dehumidifiers found that in many cases, they are good at their main task of lowering humidity levels, but there are big differences between them when it comes to noise, energy efficiency and how easy – or not – they are to use.
We’ve tested nine widely available models and rated them from a dazzling Best Buy 79% to a distinctly Don’t Buy-worthy 34%. You can make sure you don’t buy a dud by checking our comprehensive dehumidifier reviews before you buy.
Our page on choosing a dehumidifier also reveals some of the features to look out for when shopping for a dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers can help to remove excess moisture from your home - after you've taken a shower, or if you're drying washed clothes indoors, for example - but they're no cure for a serious damp problem.
Damp on walls can have many causes - our guide to dealing with damp helps you work out what kind of damp is affecting your property, including advice on combating condensation.
How to use a dehumidifier
To get the best from a dehumidifier, it's a good idea to vacuum beforehand - so you're not spreading around irritating dust particles, or clogging up the air filter if your dehumidifier has one.
Set the dehumidifier away from walls, furniture and curtains, keep doors and windows closed while the dehumidifier runs and empty the collected water out of the dehumidifier after every use and before moving it to another room. Vacuum the air filter clean on a regular basis; you can usually wash it if it’s very dirty, but check the manufacturer’s instructions first.
Most dehumidifiers allow you to set the humidity range - you should be aiming for the room's humidity level to be somewhere between 30% and 50%.
When to use a dehumidifier
Using a dehumidifier should be the last measure you take to tackle excess moisture. Our dehumidifier FAQs page reveals simple steps you should take to reduce your reliance on a dehumidifier.