Get rid of dampness ASAP!
When it's humid, unfortunately, that stickiness doesn't always stay outside. It can creep into your home and make already wet spaces like the bathroom and laundry room even more damp. For most, a home between 30-50% humidity is ideal (higher in the summer and lower in the winter). When humidity creeps above 50%, the space can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, dust mites, and other critters.
That's where a dehumidifier comes in. Unlike a humidifier, which adds moisture to the air, a dehumidifier removes excess water from your environment, preventing mold, mildew, and other issues that can harm your health — or your home. Most dehumidifiers draw humid air in through an inlet using an internal compressor and fan. The air goes through cool coils that pull out excess moisture and condense it into the reservoir. Dry air is then propelled back into the room.
The Good Housekeeping Institute regularly tests home appliances including dehumidifiers. When we select dehumidifiers to evaluate, we choose condensing models, which remove far greater quantities of moisture from the air than desiccant models (which use a water-absorbing material), or thermoelectric dehumidifiers (which use an electric charge to "attract" humidity). We look at things like if it has a pump (which allows you to drain water upwards into a sink or through a window), the noise level while running, and efficiency of operation. We also look at ease of use, such as whether it has wheels to make it easy to maneuver into place, if it has easy-to-operate controls, and if removing and emptying the bucket is easy to do.
Here, we’ve rounded up our top picks based upon categorical Lab tests, road tests of some newer models, and industry expertise:
The size of your room and how damp it is will determine how big or small your dehumidifier should be. Dehumidifiers are sized based upon how many pints of moisture they can remove in a day: The larger and more wet your space is, the more powerful your unit will need to be. For example, a 70-pint dehumidifier can cover a very damp 700 square feet or a slightly damp 1,200 square feet. Keep in mind: If the room is cooler (say, a basement), the dehumidifier will remove less moisture since colder air contains less moisture than warmer air.
A note on DOE 2019: In 2019, the Department of Energy (DOE) changed the parameters of measuring the capacity of dehumidifiers. In the past, dehumidifiers were officially tested at 80°F but since June 13, 2019, dehumidifiers are required to be tested at a lower temperature, 65°F, "to more accurately reflect expected performance in a basement setting." This means that a dehumidifier tested in accordance with the new protocols will likely report a smaller capacity. For example, a previously labeled "70 pint dehumidifier" will now likely be a 50 pint dehumidifier under new guidelines. We've included picks that were tested under both standards and noted sizing differences below.