The Best Dehumidifier - A Buying Guide

here's what's important when you're

looking to buy a dehumidifier first of


the pints per day or the capacity of the

unit the three most common capacities

are 50 pints 35 pints and 22 pints

so for example a 50 pint model is able

to remove up to 50 pints of moisture per


now between the most common capacities

on the market we strongly recommend the

50-pipe model so why do we make that


first of all 50-pint models dehumidify

faster a 50-point model dehumidifies 43

faster than a 35 pint model and it

demetifies 127 percent faster

than a 22 pipe model the second reason

why we strongly recommend 50 pi models

is the value proposition with such

models our market research indicates


50 pine models are only 15 percent more


than 35 pipe models they are only 30

percent more expensive

than 22 pine models a 22 pound model is


expensive at around 200 so when you move

up to a 35 pipe model when you move up

to a 50-pound model

the difference between that approximate

200 price range

and the prices of the higher capacity

units the price difference there is not

that much

and you just get a much better value

with those higher capacity units

especially 50-pine models

again a 50-pound model is 127 percent


at dehumidifying than a 22-pin model and

for that difference of 127 percent

in terms of performance you're only

paying 30 more

for the 50-pi model the third reason why

we recommend 50 pipe models is energy


so how does that work let's take a look

so every dehumidifier has

three primary energy states the first is

standby mode on standby mode

the unit is off but plugged into the

wall and it draws only about

1 watt of power the power usage there is

very low on standby mode the second

energy state is fan only mode so

on fan only mode only the fan is running

only the fan is drawing power this mode

is activated when

defrost mode is activated defrost mode

is activated when frost builds up on the

unit's evaporator coils and in order to

melt the frost off of the coils there

the unit will cycle off its compressor

and it will only run its fan

the fan also only runs when the

compressor cycles off once

desired room humidity is reached so on

these dehumidifiers you set them to a

desired humidity level

so let's say you want to set the room to

a desired humidity level

of 50 relative humidity what happens is

the unit will cycle off

once it accomplishes that goal when it

cycles its compressor off

the fan will continue to run for about

three minutes on most models

now on fan only mode most units draw

about 60 or 70 watts of power so the

power draw there

while not nearly as substantial as it is

when the compressor is fully cycled on

there is still quite a bit of power draw

on family mode the third energy state

involves the compressor fully cycling on

and the fan also running so on this

energy state this is the highest energy


and what happens here is that the unit

tends to draw more power

depending on the humidity in the room if

the humidity is really high

the unit will draw more power if the

humidity is lower the unit will draw

less power

now most 50 pi units that we tested they

tend to draw about

600 watts around 50 relative humidity or


and then they tend to draw closer to 800

watts when humidity is very high

so the energy draw there varies

dramatically depending on the relative


of the space that is being dehumidified

so when it comes down to

energy efficiency for dehumidifiers the

first place that we look is

energy star certification and energy

star actually publishes their

requirements for different dehumidifiers

now the requirements are different

depending on the pints per day

of the dehumidifier the capacity of the

dehumidifier so let's take a look at

that chart real quick

so when you look at the chart you can

see that units that have a capacity

equal or less than 25 pints per day

have a requirement of having an

integrated energy factor equal to or

greater than 1.57

a units that have a capacity greater

than 25

up to 50 pints per day those units have

a more stringent requirement here

in terms of the integrated energy factor

the requirement here is that those units

have a integrated energy factor that is

equal then or greater than 1.8

and that integrated energy factor takes

into account

all of those power states that we just

mentioned and the factor there is simply

a ratio

of the liters of moisture removal

compared to the kilowatt hours of

power draw there so it's simply a ratio

there and the higher the ratio there the

more the unit has to remove in terms of

liters per kilowatt hour of energy use

so clearly here just looking at the

energy star certification alone

you can see how higher capacity units

have more stringent requirements here

moving on to the third factor to look

out for we have cfm

specifically we saw that the frigidaire

ffad 5033w1 here it offers about 20


greater cfm than most other 50 pound

units on the market

and what we saw was that it humidified

20 percent faster in our tests

so the cfm there compared to how quickly

the unit dehumidifies

in real world conditions in a real world


the cfm is strongly correlated to the

unit's performance

and the higher cfm the better in terms

of dehumidifying as quickly as possible

the fourth factor considered here is

noise output now when evaluating

demodified noise output we look at three

different things we look at the

compressor noise

we look at the cfm and we look at the

exhaust location

depending on these three things the unit

will have a certain

quality of noise output and it will have

a certain level of noise output

now compressor noise is an unpleasant

noise it makes a buzzing sound the

compressor on these units

can get quite loud depending on the

model and that noise is not a pleasant

noise to listen to

on the flip side of things you have fan

noise so the fan in the unit

it pushes out a lot of air out of the

unit's exhaust and that moving air noise

is a much more pleasant noise to listen


and depending on the ratio between the

loudness of the air noise

and the loudness of the compressor noise

the unit is going to have a certain

quality of sound

the higher the ratio of air noise to

compressor noise

the more pleasant the sound conversely

the higher the compressor noise

compared to the fan noise the more

unpleasant the noise output on the unit

now fan noise is of course directly

correlated to cfm higher cfm units are

going to push

more air through there so your air noise

is going to be greater another factor


is the location of the exhaust units

like the home labs on the end here

have a side exhaust units like the

frigidaire that's closer to me here

they have a top exhaust so depending on

the location of the exhaust

the noise is distributed in different

ways on a unit with a side exhaust

that air noise is distributed in a

particular direction there is a more

directional quality to the noise

the air noise coming out of the unit on

a unit like this frigidaire where the

exhaust is on the top of the unit that

tends to distribute the noise more


throughout the whole room so you have

more even noise distribution

with the frigidaire than you do with the

home labs now this is important because

remember we want to mask compressor

noise with fan noise and on a unit like

this frigidaire

the compressor noise is masked very well

because the fan noise

is distributed very evenly throughout

the room on a unit like the home labs

the air noise is more directional and so

depending on your orientation

towards that exhaust you will hear the

compressor noise more or less if you are


directly in front of the exhaust then

the compressor noise

is masked very well whereas if you are

on the opposite side of the unit or

really any other side of the unit

the compressor noise is not going to be

massed as well because you're not

hearing the fan noise as loud

since you're not directly in the line of

sight there of that exhaust

the bottom line though when it comes to

noise output is that you're looking for

low compressor noise

you're looking for high cfm and you're

looking for a top exhaust

if you want a pleasant sounding noise

output if you're looking for

low noise output just in terms of

overall decibel output there

you are looking for a low compressor

noise you're looking for a side exhaust

and you're looking for low cfm because

that is going to bring the overall


the overall noise level of the sound

down much more the fifth factor to

consider here

is moisture collection and removal now

on these compressor-based dehumidifiers

what happens is that under normal

conditions if you don't do anything with

the unit other than plug it in and start

running it the unit will remove moisture

from the air and it will collect the


in the bucket here and depending on the

size of the bucket you will have to

remove the bucket

and you will have to empty the bucket

and replace the bucket more or less


what happens is as the bucket fills up

eventually it fills up to the top to


and then the unit shuts off and what you

have to do is you have to empty the

bucket manually in order for the unit to


normal operation again so the bottom

line here when it comes to bucket size

is the larger the bucket the better the

larger the bucket the less frequently

you're going to have to empty and

replace it now when it comes to drainage

you want to ask yourself

two questions where is the drain outlet

located and what's included for drainage

the drain access is easiest when the

drain is on the back of the unit you


take the cap off of the drain outlet

connect the garden hose it's very easy

to connect

the more difficult side of things there

are units that have a bracket on the

side that you open up and then what you

have to do is you have to remove the


bucket here you have to feed the garden

hose through the side of the unit you

have to reach up through the bottom

and there's a drain outlet located on

the bottom of the unit inside here

and then what you have to do is you have

to connect the guard hose through the

bottom here

so between those two options it's much

easier just to connect the hose on the

back of the unit than it is to go

through the process of removing the


feeding the hose to the side connecting

it replacing the bucket that whole


is quite a bit more difficult another

factor to consider here is

if there is a drainage adapter required

for gravity drainage some units

do come with an adapter some units even

come with screws in an adapter

and that also involves more complexity

in terms of actually connecting a garden

hose to the unit to employ gravity


finally there are also models that come

with a drain hose

now on all these models you can connect

the garden hose the

unit's drain out of it is threaded for a

garden hose so you can connect it easily

but some models do come with a hose

included so

that is definitely something to look out

for as well unfortunately top rated

models don't come with a hose but there

are several models on the market

that do come with a gravity drain hose

which is definitely a nice bonus for

those units

another important factor to consider

here is build quality now

when we tested these units we tested

several full-size 50-pound units and we

did test

several lower capacity units as well

what happened is

we definitely noticed a difference in

build quality depending on the exact

brand and model there were standout

models that definitely featured

much better build quality it featured

much better quality of materials and


handling those units you just got a feel

for the fact that these units were

better built with better quality parts

now other than our own observations and

testing another resource you can use

here is consumer reviews

consumer reviews are very helpful in


specific issues with specific models

what happens is

over a period of time especially if the

unit has been on the market for at least

a year or two

you will see in consumer reviews if

there is a certain issue that keeps

cropping up

and that is definitely something to be

aware of something to look out for to

gauge long-term reliability on these


finally you want to consider the

warranty that's included with the unit

now we just talked about build quality

warranty goes right along with that

with a warranty the industry standard

here is one year for most full-size

compressor based units

most manufacturers simply give you a

one-year warranty

that comes included with the unit that

is not to say that there are

exceptions though if you look around

you'll find that certain manufacturers

do offer a slightly longer warranty for

example home labs offers a two-year

warranty that is double the length of

the industry's standard one year

warranty so taking all of this


into account what are our

recommendations currently for current

models on the market

first of all our number one

recommendation is the frigidaire ffad


this unit that i have right next to me

here so looking at capacity

this unit offers a full 50 pints per day

of capacity

looking at energy efficiency this unit

is fully energy start certified

looking at cfm this unit offers more cfm

than any other 50 pint unit that we

tested this unit offers a full

229 cfm most other 50 pound units that

we tested

offer only about 180 to 190 cfm so you

do get a full 40

extra cfm with this particular

frigidaire unit in terms of noise output

this frigidaire offers everything you


it offers low compressor noise it offers

high cfm and it has that upward facing

exhaust to really be able to mass

compressor noise very well

in terms of moisture collection this

unit has the biggest bucket

of any 50-pound unit that we tested its

bucket has a capacity of 16.9 pints

the average for the 50 pint size class

is closer to 13 or 14 pints

so you do get a very large bucket with

this unit as well in terms of build

quality this unit features excellent

build quality

again we noticed a distinct difference

with certain models having better build

quality than others

this frigidaire was on the side of units

that do offer

better build quality than most other

units so build quality is excellent with

this unit when it comes to warranty that

is the one complaint that we have with

this unit

it only comes with that industry

standard one year warranty we definitely

would have liked to see a longer

warranty come with it but on the flip

side of things this unit does offer that

superior build quality

which does offset the lower warranty

length to a certain extent all around

though this is just an

excellent dehumidifier and it is our

number one recommendation at this time

in terms of a number two recommendation

in terms of an alternative for the


we have the home labs unit on the end

here the home labs unit also offers 50

pints per day of moisture removal

the home labs unit is also energy star

certified now the home labs unit does

offer something slightly different

when it comes to noise output the

frigidaire masks compressor noise very


it produces a very pleasant sounding

noise the home labs unit

also has low compressor noise but it has

a much lower cfm

and it also has that sideways-facing

exhaust so with the home labs unit the

overall noise

level the quietness of the unit it is

actually a

quieter unit technically because the

measured noise output is going to be

less on the home lapse unit

so if you're looking for a unit that

maybe doesn't have as pleasing of the

noise output

but you're just looking for a unit that

is as quiet as possible in terms of the

raw noise output there

the home labs unit is the better choice

between the two units here the home labs

unit does have a much smaller bucket

than the frigidaire

it only comes with a 12.8 pint bucket so

that is definitely something to consider

there with the home labs

in terms of build quality the home labs

only offers average build quality

but on the flip side of things there the

home lapse does come with a much better

warranty than the frigidaire the

homelapse comes with a two-year warranty

as we talked about earlier

overall the home labs offers a great

alternative to the frigidaire it is not

the best humidifier we tested that title

belongs to the frigidaire

but if you are looking for things like

lower noise output overall

if you're looking for a unit with a

longer warranty the home labs is also an

excellent choice