How to buy the best dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers

How to buy the best dehumidifier

by Oli McKean

Looking for the best dehumidifier to help tackle condensation, damp and mould? We'll help you find the best dehumidifier for you.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

  • Get the Which? verdict from our independent experts
  • Weigh up the pros and cons in an instant
  • Go to town on the details with our full review
  • Read our member reviews to see what they think
  • Is it a Don’t Buy? It could be a dud, and a costly one too
  • Best Buy
    7
  • 40 Dehumidifiers available

Ebac, Meaco and DeLonghi are just a few of the big names you'll spot when shopping for a dehumidifier. All offer a wide range of choice to help you pick the best dehumidifier for your needs.

Dehumidifiers can cost anything from around £40 up to about £300. The amount you spend depends largely on the dehumidifier’s capacity and any extra features it comes with.

Read on to find out what your options are. We'll help you avoid overspending or ending up with a dehumidifier that’s not suited to what you need.

Take a look at our Best Buy dehumidifiers, to discover the models that Which? recommends.

Buying the best dehumidifier for you

Use our interactive tool to understand which type of dehumidifier to go for, and discover some key features to look out for.

Read below for more information on how to choose the best dehumidifier for you, as well as how much you should spend. Know what you want already? Head to our dehumidifier reviews.

What type of dehumidifier do you need?

There are two main types of dehumidifier to choose from, with each claiming to be better suited to different drying needs.

  • Refrigerant (or compressor) dehumidifier It’s often claimed that a refrigerant dehumidifier works better at higher temperatures and higher humidities, and so is the better choice for most occupied homes in Britain. Refrigerant dehumidifiers draw in air over a filter and then pass it over cold coils. Water then condenses on the coils and drips into the water tank.
  • Desiccant dehumidifier A desiccant dehumidifier is designed to work more effectively in colder temperatures – the sort of environment you might expect in your typical garage or conservatory. Desiccant dehumidifiers use an adsorbent material to extract water from the air, and then the material is heated so that the moisture drips into the water condenser. It’s often claimed that desiccant dehumidifiers tend to use more energy than refrigerant dehumidifiers because of the way they use heat to warm the adsorbent material.

There are currently more refrigerant than desiccant dehumidifiers to choose from when shopping in the UK. Head to our dehumidifier reviews to find out how they compare.

What size dehumidifier should you choose?

Dehumidifier capacities typically range from 0.5 litres to 20 litres - this refers to how much water they can hold. The best-sized dehumidifier for your needs depends on the space of the size you want to use it in. For instance, a small capacity one might be a better option for you if you want to use it for a specific small room or space, such as a caravan. But if you’re looking for a dehumidifier to help dry out your whole home, a larger model should do the trick.

We've found that water extraction claims are often based on conditions you'll unlikely experience in your British home. Many refrigerant dehumidifiers base claims on how much water is removed over 24 hours at 30ºC and 80% relative humidity - these conditions better represent a tropical rainforest than your home. Plus desiccant dehumidifiers often base claims on 20ºC and 60% relative humidity conditions - making it more confusing to make the best choice.

We test all dehumidifiers in more realistic conditions to help you pick the right one. We measure how much water each dehumidifier pulls from the air at 21ºC and 10ºC, both with 59% relative humidity. Our reviews of over 30 dehumidifiers should help you make the most informed choice.

We test dehumidifiers in realistic conditions

If you’ve looked at a few dehumidifiers already, you may have noticed a difference between the dehumidifier’s capacity and its water tank capacity. A dehumidifier’s capacity is the amount of water each model claims to be able to pull from the air over a day, whereas the water tank capacity is how much water the dehumidifier can hold at one time.

The amount of water a dehumidifier claims to extract per day is often far greater than the water tank, which means you might need to regularly empty the water tank if you’re using your dehumidifier a lot. However, a typical dehumidifier will allow you to attach a hose so that water pulled from the air will drain continuously – useful if you can feed the hose through a low-level drain outlet.

What other features should you look out for?

Check out the list below for some of the key features to bear in mind when considering which dehumidifier to buy:

  • Continuous drain facility If you don’t want to empty the dehumidifier's tank regularly, this feature allows you to connect a hose and flush the collected water directly away to a low-level drain. Be aware that some dehumidifiers with this function don’t come with a hose in the box – so you’ll have to buy it separately.
  • Frost watch Refrigerant dehumidifiers typically have technology to prevent water from freezing on its cold coils when pulled from the air. Desiccant dehumidifiers, on the other hand, tend not to have this technology as it’s claimed it’s not needed due to the way they work.
  • Humidistat The dehumidifier uses this to monitor the moisture in the air so it can turn itself on and off to maintain the humidity level you’ve selected. So instead of repeatedly turning your dehumidifier on and off, you can let the dehumidifier do this by itself to maintain your desired humidity level. We test the effectiveness of the auto-setting function – head to our dehumidifier reviews to find the models that excel at this test.
  • Integrated cord storage This can help save space if the dehumidifier isn’t in use, as well as removing the risk of tripping over a rogue cable.
  • Timer Allows you to programme the dehumidifier to turn on and/or off after a specified amount of time, which could help you save electricity.
  • Wheels/castors These let you wheel the dehumidifier around rather than having to lift it if you want to move it. It might be worth looking for a dehumidifier with wheels if you have limited strength.

How much do dehumidifiers cost?

You can spend from around £40 up to about £300 on a dehumidifier for your home, and the amount you spend largely depends on how you want to use your dehumidifier. Generally, the larger the capacity, the more expensive the dehumidifier. Plus you’ll typically spend more for any extra features.

 

The larger the capacity, the more expensive the dehumidifier - plus you'll pay more for extra features

Which are the best dehumidifiers?

We’ve tested a range of dehumidifiers from different brands, including Ebac, Meaco and DeLonghi, to uncover the best dehumidifiers that are worthy of our Best Buy dehumidifier recommendation.

The best dehumidifiers do a good job of quickly pulling water from the air at both room temperature and in colder conditions, without using up too much energy. The worst dehumidifiers, on the other hand, are slower at drying rooms - meaning you'll have to use them for longer to do the same job.

Our tough tests have found that there’s no direct link between price and quality – so it’s well worth doing your research before deciding which dehumidifier to buy.

Click on the links below to find out how models from different brands fare: