Frigidaire FAD704DWD
Frigidaire FAD704DWD

Best dehumidifier

The 70-Pint Frigidaire FAD704DWD dehumidifier is a top choice among both experts and users. It's got a large capacity container, which means it has to be emptied less often than some competing models, as well as a convenient hose connection for those who want to send the collected water directly down a drain. Reviewers agree that it is well built and generally reliable. It's also a quiet worker, though some models are a touch quieter still.
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Frigidaire FFAD7033R1
Frigidaire FFAD7033R1

Portable dehumidifier

The Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is an excellent alternative to the Frigidaire FAD704DWD, and might be an even better choice in some settings. That's because it's a tad quieter than our Best Reviewed pick, yet every bit as effective in removing moisture from the air. However, its 20 percent smaller collection bucket means more frequent emptying. It's a newer model than the FAD704DWD, but it's been around long enough now to have amassed a great track record of its own.

Est. $270
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Keystone KSTAD70B
Keystone KSTAD70B

Best value portable dehumidifier

If you are looking for a top performing dehumidifier at an appealing price, look no further than the Keystone KSTAD70B. Performance compares well to the best 70-pint dehumidifiers, as does energy efficiency. Some experts fret a little about build quality, but this Keystone has put together a good track record with users. Value is a big plus, but you'll sacrifice a little in convenience with the KSTAD70B's smaller collection bucket, and continuous draining requires installing a finicky hose adapter.

$191.98
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Eva-Dry Renewable E-333 Wireless Mini Dehumidifier
Eva-Dry Renewable E-333 Wireless Mini Dehumidifier

Best mini dehumidifier

For small spaces with poor ventilation, such as bathrooms, closets and cabinets, the Eva-Dry Renewable E-333 Wireless Mini Dehumidifier can't be beat. It absorbs up to six ounces of water using crystallized silicon and requires no batteries or electricity to operate, which also means it's completely silent while in use. The Eva-Dry can be recharged as often as necessary, but allow some time for the recharging process.
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$14.97
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New and Improved Eva-dry E-333 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier
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Santa Fe Advance2
Santa Fe Advance2

Best basement dehumidifier

With its compact size and robust moisture-removing capacity, the Santa Fe Advance2 is an ideal humidifier for unfinished crawlspaces and basements. With the addition of an optional ducting kit, the Advance2 can also be tied to your existing central air conditioning or forced-air heating system to dehumidify your whole house. There's no bucket to deal with, but you'll need a nearby drain or an optional pump to get rid of the condensate.
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Dehumidifiers improve air quality

Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air in basements, crawl spaces, storage areas, and from homes without air conditioning. A relative humidity above 50 percent makes a home's environment feel uncomfortable and can promote the growth of allergy-triggering mold and mildew. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the ideal humidity range is between 30 and 50 percent. While dehumidifiers are often thought of as a summertime appliance, they should be used year-round to keep humidity in check to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

A dehumidifier uses a fan to blow humid air over a set of chilled coils. This condenses the moisture in the air into water, which is then drained into a collecting basin or hose. The air that returns to the room is both drier and warmer. Manufacturers classify dehumidifiers by the maximum amount of moisture they can extract from the air in a 24-hour period. Portable dehumidifiers designed to be used in a single room generally have a capacity in the range of 30 to 70 pints per day. Models designed to dehumidify an entire basement or a whole house can remove more moisture -- some can wring out more than 100 pints per day -- and are equipped with more powerful fans so that they are effective over a larger area.

While any homeowner can install a portable or basement dehumidifier, a whole-house dehumidifier installation is more complex. Just like central air conditioning or forced air heating systems, a system of ductwork is needed to collect the humid air and redistribute it after the moisture has been removed. If you already have central air or forced air heating, your home has the needed ductwork. Otherwise it will need to be added, and that cost might make a whole-house solution a whole lot more expensive and a whole lot less appealing or practical. Either way, experts say that if you are contemplating a whole house system, installation is best handled by a qualified HVAC contractor.

Air conditioners also remove humidity from the air, though some are better in that regard than others. Some window air conditioners have a special dehumidifier mode that will reduce humidity without cooling. See our air conditioners report for more information.

Portable dehumidifiers have a container to collect the condensed water, which needs to be emptied by hand. When the container is full, the unit will automatically turn off until the container is emptied. Though larger containers are heavier when full, experts generally say that units with large containers are preferable because they don't have to be emptied as often.

Larger basement and whole house dehumidifiers typically lack collection buckets and have to be connected to a drain via a hose. Most rely on gravity to drain, but some have optional pumps that can be purchased as an accessory.

Many portable dehumidifiers also offer a hose hookup that allows you to connect a hose to a floor drain, using gravity to empty the condensed water continuously. Some models are also equipped with a pump to expel the water into to a sink or out a basement window, but reviews for current pump-equipped portable dehumidifiers are lackluster. Instead, most suggest buying a top-rated portable dehumidifier and adding a separate condensate pump.

Finding the best dehumidifiers

To identify the best dehumidifiers, editors evaluated reviews from experts such as ConsumerReports.org, DehumidifiersBuyersGuide.com and HVAC-For-Beginners.com. We also looked at thousands of owner-reviews at retail websites -- particularly important in the case of dehumidifiers as reliability has been a sore spot in past years. We considered performance, ease of use, noise and reliability in evaluating models. The end result are our picks for the best portable and whole house dehumidifiers.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Portable Dehumidifiers | Best Basement and Whole-House Dehumidifiers | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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