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Best Portable Dehumidifiers

By: Carl Laron on July 20, 2017

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 reigning champ, the Frigidaire FAD704DWD (Est. $225), retains its crown, but depending on your specific needs and preferences, the also well regarded Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 (Est. $230) is a top choice as well. 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 Frigidaire FAD704DWD is the top pick at ConsumerReports.org, where it gets excellent scores in water removal, though, as is typical, poorer performance when tested in a cool room. This Energy Star qualified dehumidifier also gets top marks in energy efficiency.

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? for more information). However, versions that are currently available at retail are not impacted and user feedback continues to be exceptionally strong, 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 it's now been around long enough that we can be more certain that the initial highly positive impressions it drew have been sustained. Though it's not been tested by ConsumerReports.org, 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. It's also the top rated dehumidifier at TheSweethome.com. Though the editors there did not also test the FAD704DWD, they note that it has the same internals, and can sometimes be found for a lower price. 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 concern, 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 DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com 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," DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com says.

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.

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, 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 200 ratings.

The Friedrich D70BPA (Est. $270) is another option. Amazon.com users give it so-so reviews, and it earns a 3.9 star rating there based on around 85 reviews. On the other hand, it rates much higher at Sylvane.com, where it garners a strong 4.5 stars based on feedback from more than 150 owners. But DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com is decidedly unimpressed, saying that this dehumidifier performed "well below average" in its moisture-removal and noise testing. 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.

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 ConsumerReports.org say that larger dehumidifiers can handle "a wider range of humidity levels." DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com 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 FAD504DWD (Est. $200) and 50-pint Frigidaire FFAD5033R1 (Est. $200) at or near the top of their lists; that's really not much of a surprise as these two dehumidifiers are the little brothers of our top-rated 70-pint models. User reviews are solid as well.

However, 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 ConsumerReports.org, and finishes second (behind the FFAD5033R1) among 50-pint dehumidifiers at DehumidifierBuyersGuide.com. User feedback is solid as well, and it earns a 4.2 star rating at both Amazon.com and HomeDepot.com based on well over a thousand reviews spread over these 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.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.)

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