Dehumidifier Buying Guide

Sticky, damp, clammy, dank, muggy, soggy, moist. If you’ve used any of those words to describe your basement or laundry area, you could use a dehumidifier. With its drying power, a dehumidifier can not only make a space more comfortable but also prevent potential health issues that result from too much moisture in the air—humidity levels above 50 percent can breed dust mites, mildew, and mold, triggering allergies or other health problems.

A dehumidifier uses a fan to move air in the room over refrigerated coils, removing moisture and collecting it in a tank. Dehumidifier makers all claim the units remove a given number of pints of water from the air; our tests showed significant variability in their success at that task (for more on this, see “Changes in Dehumidifier Test Standards,” below). Some of the models we tested come much closer than others to meeting the selected humidity level, use less energy, or have a larger tank, meaning you won’t have to empty it as often.

How We Test Dehumidifiers

We test dehumidifiers in three categories on their capacity, which is the claimed measurement of the amount of water each model can remove from the air. Here’s how we categorize the models in our current dehumidifier ratings:

• Small: Claimed to remove less than 30 pints of moisture per day.

• Medium: Claimed to remove greater or equal to 30 pints to less than 40 pints per day.

• Large: Claimed to remove 40 or more pints per day.

Our water-removal tests measure a dehumidifier’s ability to remove moisture from the air (the number of pints of water per day, as claimed by the manufacturer) in our test chamber set at 65° F and 60 percent relative humidity. The humidistat accuracy test determines how closely each dehumidifier can reach and maintain a set humidity level.

For energy efficiency, our engineers calculate the amount of energy it takes to remove 1 pint of water from the air. For our convenience rating, we evaluate how often you’ll have to empty the tank. We also measure and judge noise levels.

Changes in Dehumidifier Test Standards

Labels and packaging of dehumidifiers sold since the beginning of 2020 typically claim the units can remove 20, 30, or 45 pints in 24 hours. That’s a change from the packaging of earlier dehumidifiers, which claimed removal rates of 30, 50, or 70 pints per day.

The lower figures don’t mean these new models remove less water, though. Rather, in accordance with new, more realistic government standards that went into effect in 2019, they were tested by the manufacturer in a condition where less moisture needs to be removed.

Dehumidifiers are typically used in basements, and the Department of Energy changed its test standard by lowering the room temperature by 15° F to 65° F, to better reflect basement conditions. There’s less water to remove in cooler air, which is why the number of pints of water drops. The relative humidity level in both the old and new test is 60 percent. CR uses the new standard in its tests as well. 

What to Know Before You Shop

Fix Existing Problems
Even the best dehumidifier might not work effectively if too much outside moisture seeps into your home. Unclogging gutters and making sure downspouts are directing rainwater at least 5 feet from the house can help.

Consider Where It Will Go 
Noise can be a concern in living spaces. Our measurements from 3 feet away range from 58 decibels to 67 decibels for the dehumidifiers in our current ratings. 

Normal conversation is around 60 decibels, and a washer is about 70 decibels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Focus on Models Meeting the 2019 Standard
The more realistic claims should be closer to the dehumidifier’s true performance in your basement, says Misha Kollontai, who oversees CR’s dehumidifier testing. If you can’t find mention of the 2019 standard on the packaging or product information guide, check the model page on the manufacturer’s website. The retailer’s page may also display the information in the product details.

More refer:

*** hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier for Extra Large Rooms and Basements _

*** Aprilaire E70 Pro 70 Pint Dehumidifier for Crawl Spaces, Basements, Whole Homes, Commercial up to 2,800 sq. ft _

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