What the best
capacity. Depending on the size of the area you need to use your dehumidifier
in, a large capacity dehumidifier will be capable of removing more moisture
than smaller-capacity models.
collection container. If you're looking at a dehumidifier which has a water collection
container, consider its size. A smaller-capacity container will need to be
emptied more frequently.
range. Dehumidifiers can be set to the preferred humidity, ranging between 30
and 85 percent. Machines with a wider range have more customization options to
suit your preferences; however, most users will strive for relative humidity
between 50 and 60 percent to avoid mold and mildew.
speeds. Dehumidifiers that utilize fans sometimes have two speed options,
meaning you can set the fan to run faster or slower depending on your
preferences. The slower speed typically is less noisy than the high speed.
shutoff. Automatic shutoff deactivates the dehumidifier when the collection
canister becomes full, a useful feature if you won't be available frequently to
empty the unit.
defrost. When used in cooler spaces, the coils in dehumidifiers can freeze up,
rendering the machine useless until it warms up. Auto defrost helps to thaw out the coils without human intervention.
full indicator. It can be difficult to tell if the container is full, but some units
offer indicator lights to let you know it's time to empty the unit.
control. Remote humidistat control isn't an essential feature if you're using a
dehumidifier in a space you occupy frequently. But if you're using it in a
remote area, such as a basement, a remote control makes it easier to maintain
your ideal settings.
restart. Dehumidifiers are often used in unoccupied homes to help prevent mold
and mildew buildup while a home is on the market or otherwise vacant for
extended periods of time. In the event of a power outage, auto restart will
reactivate the machine after a power interruption-when you'd otherwise have to
physically visit the property to turn it on.
minimum temperatures. Depending on where you'll be using a dehumidifier, you'll want to
choose a model that operates effectively at the lowest temperatures it will be
exposed to. Basements and crawl spaces, for instance, tend to have lower
temperatures than main living quarters.
Star rating. Dehumidifiers with an Energy Star rating operate more efficiently than
non-rated models. If you're dealing with an area with high humidity and will be
running the appliance often, Energy Star-rated models will save you money on
warranty. Be mindful of the warranty options when purchasing a dehumidifier. In
general, dehumidifiers last a few years, although malfunctions are possible.
is your space? Before you buy a dehumidifier, you'll need to know the size of the
space you intend to use it for. Dehumidifiers vary significantly in the square
footage they can effectively remove adequate moisture from, so choose a model
with sufficient coverage, or consider buying two units.
be using your dehumidifier in a crawl space? If you're using a
dehumidifier in a crawl space, you'll need to know the dimensions of the area
you can actually place the appliance in, in addition to the square footage of the
area you want to cover.
want to move the dehumidifier? Sometimes, consumers
purchase a dehumidifier that they plan to rotate through different areas of the
home. If this is the case, heavier models aren't the most practical option.
Consider where you'll be using it, whether you'll need to relocate it up or
down flights of stairs and whether the dehumidifier you're considering is
designed to be permanently or semi-permanently configured in one place.
expectations: The dollars and cents of it
Dehumidifiers vary drastically in price from a few hundred dollars for
a standard appliance to well over $1,000 for professional-grade machines. The
amount you'll want to spend depends on the seriousness of your moisture
problem. If you have a larger space with a significant mold or mildew problem,
for instance, the investment in a high-priced machine can be worth it. Most
dehumidifiers last for just a few years, and
warranties don't always cover repairs. Consider the fact that you'll likely be
replacing the machine within several years before you buy.