How we test dehumidifiers
By Christina Woodger
Discover the lengths we go to when testing dehumidifiers so that we only give our Best Buy recommendation to the very best.
Which? tests more thoroughly than any other organisation to make sure we only recommend the very best dehumidifiers – and guide you away from those that don’t make the grade.
Our test results and ratings reveal big differences between the best and worst dehumidifiers you might buy in the shops. A good dehumidifier will extract significantly more water from the air of your home, work quietly and do this without guzzling excess electricity.
We have reviews and test results for more than 30 dehumidifiers and rated them from a dazzling Best Buy 85% to a low-scoring 43%. Those models that score earn above 75% get a Best Buy recommendation from us. Those that score below 45% get a Don't Buy label, so you know straightaway which models to avoid.
Our reviews answer the important dehumidifier questions, including:
- How much water does the dehumidifier extract from the air?
- How much energy does the dehumidifier use?
- How noisy is it?
- How easy is it to use?
- Does the auto-setting function work effectively?
- Should I buy it?
Head to our dehumidifier reviews to find the best dehumidifier for your needs and budget - or read below for more details of how we test.
How much water does the dehumidifier extract from the air?
We run each dehumidifier twice at its maximum setting for an hour at normal room temperature, using a special climate-controlled test room. From these two tests, we work out the average amount of water pulled from the air – we compare these results to other dehumidifiers to generate star ratings.
We then cool down the room to the kind of temperature you’d expect in an unheated caravan or conservatory and run our water extraction tests again. This enables us to see how well the dehumidifier works in the cold.
Our star ratings help you see which dehumidifiers are the best at their core job of quickly pulling water from the air at different temperatures to help you remove condensation, help solve damp and prevent mould growth in different rooms around your house. You'll also be able to see which dehumidifiers are best avoided.
How much energy does the dehumidifier use?
We measure the energy consumption of each dehumidifier at normal room temperature while we’re carrying out our water extraction tests. This gives us a reading of the power the dehumidifier uses, which we use to calculate our energy efficiency rating.
A less energy-efficient dehumidifier will cost you more to run, so it’s worth checking out our dehumidifier reviews to make sure you don’t pick an energy guzzler.
How noisy is it?
Our expert lab testers subjectively rate how noisy each dehumidifier is. This can range from a gentle, barely noticeable hum to a great gurgling that makes the unit sound like it’s about to take off.
Some dehumidifiers have variable speeds, so we also check how much noise each one makes at its highest and lowest settings.
If you're planning on using your dehumidifier in a room you spend time in - like a bedroom or living room - then you can use our noise rating to make sure you pick a quiet model that won't get on your nerves.
How easy is it to use?
When buying a new dehumidifier, you’ll want to avoid one that’s a pain to use. We try to overcome this with our ease of use assessments – including how simple it is to use the controls, whether emptying the water tank is likely to cause any problems, and whether it’s easy to move the unit around.
We also look at the instruction manual to check that it’s clear to follow and understand. Our ease of use tests combine to generate an overall star rating. You can use this rating to avoid any models that are likely to be a pain to use.
Does the auto-setting function work effectively?
Many dehumidifiers have an auto-setting function that you can use to program the dehumidifier to turn itself on and off at specified humidity levels. We test how well the auto-setting function works in room temperature by asking it to turn the dehumidifier on and/or off at certain humidity levels.
Should I buy it?
All of the assessments above contribute to making up a total test score, which is the overall percentage figure we give to each dehumidifier.
Some tests are more important than others in determining just how good each dehumidifier is, and so count for more in our overall score. For instance, we think that water extraction is more important than how easy each dehumidifier is to use.
The total test score ignores price and is made up of the following:
- 40% water extraction
- 20% noise
- 20% energy efficiency
- 15% ease of use
- 5% auto-setting function
A dehumidifier needs to earn 75% in our tough lab tests to earn our Best Buy recommendation.
Just want to know the best dehumidifiers to buy? Head to our list of best dehumidifiers for a model that excels across all of our key tests.