When shopping for a dehumidifier, most homeowners will opt for a portable model. Rated to remove up to 70 pints of moisture per day, these models are perfect for rooms of various sizes and even small basements. Though they can get quite heavy, many feature casters or carry handles to make it easier to move from one room to another. They also feature collection containers to capture the water wrung out of the air so a plumbing hookup isn't a concern -- unless you want it to be. If you don't plan to move the dehumidifier, and if there is a convenient drain -- or in models with a pump, a sink -- nearby, most have a hose hook up to eliminate the chore of regularly emptying the collection bucket. You'll also want a nearby electrical outlet as manufacturers recommend against using an extension cord, but most room dehumidifiers run on standard 115-volts AC.
For this year, a pair of 70-pint Frigidaire dehumidifiers rise to the top of the pack. Our reigning champ, the Frigidaire FAD704DWD (Est. $270), retains its crown, but depending on your specific needs and preferences, the also well regarded Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 (Est. $270) is a top choice as well. The two dehumidifiers are priced identically, and perform like champs, experts and users say, but there are some differences to consider. For use in living spaces, some might prefer the FFAD7033R1, with its sleeker styling and very slightly smaller footprint. That dehumidifier also features a three-speed fan (versus the two-speed fan of the FAD704DWD) and has a slightly lower noise level rating -- 51 dB versus 53.4 dB on each dehumidifier's highest setting.
However, the FAD704DWD has a couple of important pluses of its own. It has a more powerful fan (not a surprise considering its higher noise rating) so it can draw air in more rapidly -- 194 CFM (cubic feet per minute) versus 182 CFM for the FFAD7033R1. Its collection bucket is also larger -- 16.3 pints versus 13.1 pints -- which means it needs emptying a little less often. However, than means it will also be heavier to wrangle, so that may be a concern for some. There's a hose bypass for those who want to empty water into a floor drain, but no pump, so you'll need to find a third-party pump if you want to empty the water directly into a sink.
Whichever Frigidaire dehumidifier you wind up with, you are likely to be pleased. The Frigidaire FAD704DWD is well-rated in one independent comparative review, where it gets excellent scores in water removal, though, as is typical, poorer performance when tested in a cool room.
The FAD704DWD is the older of the two Frigidaire dehumidifiers, which in this case is actually a positive. While, as we'll see in a moment, the FFAD7033R1 is drawing highly positive feedback in its own right thus far, the FAD704DWD simply has a longer track record and has amassed impressive ratings (typically 4.3 to 4.5 stars) with thousands of owners reporting at sites such as Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com, BestBuy.com, Walmart.com and elsewhere -- including Frigidaire's own web site (although some of those reviews appear on some of these other sites as well).
The Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 was first introduced in 2015, and initial highly positive impressions seem to be carrying through. The FFAD7033R1 has replaced the FAD704DWD as the top rated 70-pint dehumidifier at DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com. The editors there find that the newer model is quieter than the older FAD704DWD, and that it is capable of removing more moisture.
One concern, however, is that the design requires careful placement for best performance. Because it draws the air in from the rear, the FFAD7033R1 won't perform best if against a wall (the FAD704DWD, on the other hand, pulls in air from the front). "To maximize moisture removal efficiency we suggest that you either place the FFAD7033R1 in the center of the room (for severe humidity problems) or orient it so that the front of the unit is towards the wall and the back of the unit is facing the center of the room," the editors say.
Despite this, and some other small knocks -- an inaccurate hygrometer (used to measure a room's humidity) the biggest negative is the aforementioned smaller collection bucket. "This approximately 20% reduction in water tank size means that you'll be emptying the unit's water tank 20% more frequently than you had to on the previous model," the editors say.
Users thus far are as pleased with the FFAD7033R1 as they are with the FAD704DWD, if not a tick or two more so, with scores ranging from 4.5 stars to 4.7 stars at sites like Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, HomeDepot.com, and elsewhere. However, these ratings are based on hundreds of reviews -- still a substantial number -- versus the thousands of reviews for the older model. In the end, however, the choice might come down to simply which model your favorite retailer has in stock when it comes time to buy. It looks like you can't go wrong with either one.
If neither of these Frigidaire dehumidifiers is available, the 70-pint Keystone KSTAD70B (Est. $195) is an excellent second choice -- or an excellent first choice for those on a budget as it sells for a bit less. It's the second-highest rated dehumidifier at DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com, and a 50-pint version, the Keystone KSTAD50B (Est. $170) is the top rated dehumidifier in its size class (and a Best Buy, too) at another independent reviewer
User feedback, while not quite as glowing as for the Frigidaire dehumidifiers, is still strong (4.2 stars at Amazon.com, for example, based on over 1,000 reviews) and are based on long-term use (The Keystone dehumidifier has been on the market since 2013).
That last part is important as construction quality isn't a highlight on the Keystone. DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com frets about what its light weight means for the overall build quality (though that's a plus for portability) and about its flimsy plastic components, especially the collection tank. "We suggest that you carry the tank not only by the handle but with a hand under the tank when disposing of the condensate if you end up purchasing this Keystone dehumidifier," they say. Convenience is also a bit of a downer as the tank is small at 10.4 pints. There's a hose bypass, but that requires installing an adapter, which opens things up to some issues such as potential leaks.
There are no qualms regarding performance, however. In testing, DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com notes that the Keystone did a great job in bringing down humidity, actually wringing out moisture faster than the Frigidaire FAD704DWD in that regard. It's also a touch quieter, no surprise as the Keystone sends its exhaust out the side (the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is also a side-exhaust model) rather than through the top. While side exhaust dehumidifiers are generally quieter than top exhaust models, they are also usually less efficient in reducing humidity -- though, as noted, tests show that it's not that much of a concern with the Keystone KSTAD70B.
The one drawback to the dehumidifiers above is that they lack a pump. That limits continuous draining to gravity via a hose fed to a floor drain. You can buy an optional third-party pump if you want to continuously drain moisture to a raised sink or through a basement window, or you can opt for a model with a built in pump.
Unfortunately, reviews for dehumidifiers with built-in pumps are mixed. DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com names the Hisense DH-70KP1SLE (Est. $260) it's top rated dehumidifier with a pump, then recommends that you skip it in favor of a model without a pump. "Every one of the built-in pump dehumidifiers we reviewed has a major issue that prevents us from recommending it over any top rated non-built-in pump dehumidifier," they say. User reviews are unimpressive, too -- 3.5 stars at Lowes.com, for example, following more than 130 ratings. Based on this and other feedback, we will bow to the experts at DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com and say that for those who need a pump for their dehumidifier, buy a condensate pump separately and use it in conjunction with one of the top rated non-pumping dehumidifiers profiled above.
If you are looking for a dehumidifier to deal with a modest humidity problem or a smaller room, a mid-sized (roughly 50-pint) or small sized (roughly 30-pint) dehumidifier might be all you need. However, experts say that they might not be your best choice. In a free buying guide, the editors at ConsumerReports.org say that larger dehumidifiers can handle "a wider range of humidity levels."
DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com is more emphatic: "Our recommendation is that you buy the largest dehumidifier your budget will allow for no matter what size space you are dehumidifying – in other words we recommend that you buy a 70 pint dehumidifier, if you can afford it."
These recommendations are based on a number of factors. While smaller dehumidifiers are more energy efficient, that advantage is somewhat nullified by the fact that a higher capacity dehumidifier will need to cycle on and off less often to maintain the same humidity levels -- with the added advantage of less stress on the appliance and less overall noise since it won't be running as frequently. The larger models will also work faster and have a larger collection tank -- a big plus if you'll be emptying condensate by hand.
Still, if a smaller dehumidifier is right for your situation and your budget, there are some models worth considering. Expert reviews we consulted put the little brothers of the top 70-pint dehumidifiers at or near the top of their lists, that includes the 50-pint Frigidaire FAD504DWD (Est. $190), 50-pint Frigidaire FFAD5033R1 (Est. $190), and 50-pint Keystone KSTAD50B. All score similarly with users -- 4.3 stars to 4.4 stars at Amazon.com, but where the FFAD5033R1 and KSTAD50B draw hundreds of reviews, the long-available FAD504DWD draws over 3,600 -- and based on that track record is our recommendation in this size category.
According to tests, the FAD504DWD does a great job of wring moisture out of the air -- though it will pull less moisture than a 70-pint model, and be slower about doing it. Otherwise, it has essentially the same functions and features as the FAD704DWD.
A large dehumidifier isn't practical for a small, enclosed space, such as a bathroom or closet. The Eva-Dry Renewable E-333 (Est. $20) Wireless Mini Dehumidifier solves that problem -- it's a lightweight unit that can be hung in a closet or placed in a corner. It requires no batteries or electricity to operate; however, it must be plugged in to recharge, which typically takes between 10 and 12 hours.
The Eva-Dry Mini Dehumidifier doesn't use fans or blowers for operation. Instead, it relies on specially designed silica crystals -- they're orange when dry and turn green when they've absorbed as much moisture as they can hold. Those colors are new for 2016, and are said to be easier to see than previously, when the crystals were blue when dry and pink when wet. Plugging in the unit releases moisture from the crystals, allowing the unit to be used again with no filters or crystals to replace.
The Eva-Dry E-333 will remove about 6 ounces of excess moisture before it needs recharging. The amount of time it takes to reach capacity depends on the size and humidity levels in your space, although it typically takes between 20 and 30 days to reach capacity. User reviews, particularly at Amazon.com, praise this mini dehumidifier for its effectiveness at reducing mold and mildew growth on towels, clothing and other items exposed to moisture in poorly ventilated bathrooms and closets. It's also popular with gun owners, who place the Eva-Dry in gun safes to prevent moisture damage to their firearms. (We recommend the top gun safes in our separate report on home safes.)