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Best Portable Dehumidifiers

By: Carl Laron on June 26, 2018

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Portable dehumidifier

Frigidaire FAD704DWD

For a single room or a small basement, the Frigidaire 70-pint dehumidifier is tops

Once again, for this year a pair of 70-pint Frigidaire dehumidifiers rise to the top of the pack. Our former top pick, the Frigidaire FAD704DWD (Est. $230), is still very much worth considering, but depending on your specific needs and preferences, the also well regarded Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 (Est. $230) is a top choice as well, and our new Best Reviewed pick. The two dehumidifiers are priced similarly, and perform like champs, experts and users say, but there are some differences to consider. The FFAD7033R1, for example, offers 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, that 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 FAD704DWD is the older of the two Frigidaire dehumidifiers, and an earlier version was included among the models in a late 2016 recall of more than 3 million dehumidifiers sold in the U.S. between 2003 and 2013 (see Has your dehumidifier been recalled? on the Buying Guide page for more information). However, versions that are currently available at retail are not impacted. Though it's no longer top rated by experts, user feedback continues to be exceptionally strong, with thousands of owners reporting at sites such as Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy, Walmart 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 it's now been around long enough that we can be confident that the initial highly positive impressions have been borne out. It's now been tested by Consumer Reports and earns Recommended status. In addition, the FFAD7033R1 has replaced the FAD704DWD as the top rated 70-pint dehumidifier at Dehumidifier Buyer's Guide. The editors there find that the newer model is quieter than the older FAD704DWD, and that it is capable of removing more moisture. It's also the top rated dehumidifier at both Wirecutter and Your Best Digs. User reviews are every bit as glowing as for the older Frigidaire dehumidifier; though the FAD704DWD has still more feedback, the FFAD7033R1 has garnered thousands of reviews across sites on the Internet in its own right, with satisfaction scores that are roughly the same.

One consideration, however, is that the design of the FFAD7033R1 requires careful placement for best performance. Because it draws the air in from the rear, that dehumidifier 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 at Dehumidifier Buyer's Guide say. In addition, the air exhaust is through one side of the unit (the FAD704DWD exhausts air through the top), which can impact the distribution of dehumidified air in the room if, for example, the unit is placed in a corner, with the vent facing a wall.

Despite this, and some other small knocks, such as an inaccurate humidistat (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," Dehumidifier Buyer's Guide says. Styling is also sleeker than on the FAD704DWD, which has a bit of an industrial vibe with its front-facing intake.

So which of these Frigidaire dehumidifiers is best? For typical uses, in a damp basement, we give the FAD704DWD a slight nod on the basis of its more flexible placement options and, importantly, larger collection bucket. For use in living spaces, the sleeker styling, slightly smaller size and lower noise levels give the FFAD7033R1 a small boost. 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 your budget is a concern, we've also seen some consideration for the hOmeLabs HME020031N (Est. $185). It's not been tested by Consumer Reports, but it's the budget pick at Your Best Digs. It's also been tested by Dehumidifier Buyer's Guide and earns decent respect. The editors note that it outperforms most dehumidifiers tested, except for the FFAD7033R1.But, they add, value is where the HME020031N shines, calling it "tremendous" compared to other 70 pint dehumidifiers.

User reviews aren't as plentiful as for the Frigidaire dehumidifiers, but we found more than 1,500 at Amazon, with high overall satisfaction -- better than the Frigidaire models earn at the site. However, it has a much shorter track record -- with the oldest reviews we spotted appearing a little more than a year ago. Still, what's there is encouraging, and something well be watching for the next update of this report.

Portable dehumidifiers with built-in pumps

The one drawback to the dehumidifiers profiled above is that they lack a pump. That limits continuous draining to gravity via a hose fed to a floor drain. If that's an issue, 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, expert reviews for dehumidifiers with built-in pumps are pretty negative. Dehumidifier Buyer's Guide says that "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 -- at least those prior to this year -- also failed to impress overall, making it tough to recommend any model with a built in pump.

For 2018, however, maybe things are changing for the better. The Frigidaire FFAP7033T1 (Est. $280) is "all but identical to the FFAD7033R1, except for the fact that it comes equipped with a built-in pump," Dehumidifiers Buyer's Guide reports, though adding that buying the cheaper FFAD7033R1 and buying your own pump is a better way to go.

Consumer Reports tests the model, and though it scores a couple of points behind the FFAD7033R1, that's still good enough for Recommended status. In a free article, Daniel Wroclawski notes that it's the highest rated 70 pint humidifier with a pump in the site's testing. The most serious shortcoming was in its cold room performance, where it was only fair, but fares pretty well in all other performance and ergonomic aspects (including noise). User reviews aren't terrific at Amazon, but there aren't a ton of them, and user feedback at other sites, including Frigidaire own site, are notably better.

It hasn't been professionally tested, but we saw strong user feedback for the GE APEL70LW (Est. $280) At Home Depot it earns a 4.7 star score based on more than 500 reviews, with recommendations from 95 percent of owners. This Energy Star qualified dehumidifier has a three-speed fan, two and four hour off timers, and comes with a 16-foot hose. The warranty is for one year, which is typical.

What about smaller portable dehumidifiers?

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 Consumer Reports say that larger dehumidifiers can handle "a wider range of humidity levels." Dehumidifier Buyer's Guide is more emphatic, saying that you should "Buy the largest capacity dehumidifier you can afford."

Those 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. Some of the expert reviews we consulted put the 50-pint Frigidaire FFAD5033R1 (Est. $200) at or near the top of their lists; that's really not much of a surprise as this is the little brother of our Best Reviewed 70 pint model. User reviews are solid as well.

If your budget is more of a concern, the 50-pint Keystone KSTAD50B (Est. $180) might be an even better option. It's named a Best Buy among medium-capacity dehumidifiers at Consumer Reports, and finishes second (behind the FFAD5033R1) among 50-pint dehumidifiers at Dehumidifier Buyer's Guide. User feedback is solid as well, and it earns a 4.2 star rating at both Amazon and Home Depot based on nearly 1,900 reviews spread over the two sites.

A mini dehumidifier for mini spaces

A large dehumidifier isn't practical for a small, enclosed space, such as a bathroom or closet. The Eva-Dry Renewable E-333 (Est. $15) 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 were introduced last year, 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 where it earns a 4.2 star rating based on nearly 2,775 reviews, 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.)

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