Using a dehumidifier is your first line of defense in the fight against high humidity conditions.

Learn everything you need to know before buying a dehumidifier:

How to Find the Best Dehumidifier for You

We make it easy to find the right dehumidifier for you. You can either use our simple 3-question wizard for product suggestions or review our customer picks for best residential dehumidifier options.

Benefits of a Dehumidifier

In the simplest terms, dehumidifiers are used to lower the humidity level in a space. Sometimes lowering the humidity in your space is necessary in order to create a more comfortable indoors that’s free of clammy-feeling air, muggy conditions, and unhealthy mold growth.

Typically, an indoor humidity level of 60% or higher is considered high. To create the healthiest and most comfortable indoor environment, we recommend maintaining a humidity level of between 30 and 50%.

Other than the main mission of lowering your humidity, there are other reasons why you might want to use a dehumidifier.

Preventing Mold and Mildew Growth

Maintaining a healthier humidity level overtime helps stop a mold or mildew problem before it happens. Mold and mildew spores thrive and reproduce in hot, humid conditions above 60%.

Managing Your Allergies

High humidity can intensify common household allergy triggers like dust mites, mold spores, and airborne bacteria, all of which can grow and reproduce rapidly in humid conditions.

Pest Control

Like common household allergens, pests such as cockroaches, spiders, silverfish, and centipedes crave a moist environment.

Supplement Your Air Conditioner

Using a dehumidifier to supplement your central air conditioner keeps the air dry and frees your AC from working overtime to try to cool your humid space.

Maintain the Structural Integrity of Your Home

Excess moisture, particularly in your crawl space or basement, can lead to infrastructure damage including rotting support beams, buckling floorboards, and damage to hardwood floors.

Want to find the best dehumidifier for you in 3 short questions? Use our product finding wizard.

Ideal Spots for a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are great solutions for a variety of areas in your home, from your kitchen to your basement or garage.  Here is a list of common areas where you might use a dehumidifier:

  • Basementsdehumidfier in basement
  • Crawl spaces
  • Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Garages and workshops
  • Spa and indoor pool areas
  • Warehouses and other industrial/commercial spaces
  • Water-damaged areas

Looking for a dehumidifier? Browse basement dehumidifiers, crawl space options and single room models for homes. For warehouses and other commercial spaces, consider one of these options.

How Dehumidifiers Work

The vast majority of the portable dehumidifiers on the market today use a refrigeration system to condense moisture out of the air and lower the humidity. As a dehumidifier operates, humid air is drawn into the dehumidifier through an air inlet using the force created by an internal compressor and fan.

The air is propelled over a series of cool condenser coils that pull out excess moisture and condense it into the dehumidifier’s reservoir.

Once this process is complete, the now-dried air is reheated and propelled back out into your room through an air outlet.

Collected moisture remains in the water reservoir until you empty it or it is automatically drained via a connected hose.

This process continues for as long as you use the dehumidifier, gradually lowering the humidity level in the space and creating drier conditions. Most residential and commercial/industrial dehumidifiers operate in this way.

Which Type of Dehumidifier Do You Need?

  • Portable Residential Dehumidifiers:Perfect for single rooms or crawl spaces. They are typically easy to use and move as needed. Danby dehumidifiers are customer-favorite portable and single-room dehumidifiers.
  • Whole-House Dehumidifiers: For people who want dehumidification in all rooms or to keep dehumidifiers out of the way. Whole-house dehumidifiers work in conjunction with your HVAC system.
  • Commercial Dehumidifiers: Larger and heavier-duty, these are built for unforgiving environments and extreme conditions.
  • Desiccant Dehumidifiers: Desiccant dehumidifiers are especially popular for low-temperature dehumidifying. They don’t use refrigeration systems like most dehumidifiers (instead air passes over a rotating wheel with silica gel to remove moisture).

Choosing the Right Size Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier’s size is determined by its total capacity to remove moisture. Capacity is rated in pints of moisture removed per day, or 24-hour period.

To help simplify your choice in size, consult our handy sizing chart below:

dehumidifier sizing chart with old standards and new

Note: Dehumidifier testing standards changed in 2020. Dehumidifiers are now tested in colder temperatures, which lowers their total pint capacities compared to older models. Learn more about the updated dehumidifier testing standards.

Get more detailed information on choosing a size of dehumidifier in our article How To Choose the Right Size Dehumidifier.

Draining Your Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers that use refrigeration systems to remove moisture have to get rid of the collected moisture somehow. This is where draining comes in.

There are 3 main methods of draining: manually emptying the bucket, using gravity draining with a drain port or adding an external condensate pump.

Learn all about How to Drain Your Dehumidifier.

Features To Look For

All residential and commercial/industrial dehumidifiers have added features that add convenience.

Popular Features for Residential Dehumidifying

  • Automatic Humidistat: A humidistat automatically maintains your desired level of humidity by triggering the dehumidifier to run only when needed. Helps energy savings too.
  • Programmable Timer: Program startup and shutoff times based on your needs.
  • Various Operating Modes and Speeds: Choose from multiple speeds and modes to find the right level of dehumidification for your needs.
  • Casters and Handles: Casters and carrying handles aid in portability.
  • Automatic Restart: Loss of power protection automatically restarts a dehumidifier in the event of a power failure. Great for basements!

Popular Features for Commercial/Industrial Dehumidifying

Low temperature operation, an automatic defrost system, and automatic restart are ideal features for commercial/industrial dehumidifying as well. Look for the below features too.

  • Internal Condensate Pump: Most commercial/industrial dehumidifiers have pumps instead of water reservoirs since they remove larger amounts of moisture.
  • Advanced Air Filtration: Look for more advanced air filters on these dehumidifiers. They will help capture fine particles and debris and protect sensitive compressors from damage.
  • Hour Meter: Hour meters track the number of hours a unit has been in service.

Noise Level

A lot of our customers wonder how much noise a dehumidifier will make. Keep in mind that the vast majority of dehumidifiers, especially those with compressors and fans, work by physically moving air through them. This process makes noise. However, the noise level varies from model to model.

Some models are advertised as having “quiet operation.” With these models, manufacturers have taken certain steps to reduce noise by insulating the fan or using a smoother-running fan, for example.

Decibel Comparison Chart

Dehumidifier noise level is measured in decibels (dB). A maximum dB rating of 40 to 50 dB is about average for dehumidifiers, which is comfortable to talk over, but you will hear it.

Dehumidifier Maintenance

The best way to make sure you get the most out of your dehumidifier investment is to take the time to perform recommended the maintenance.

When you purchase your dehumidifier and begin using it, be sure to review the manufacturer’s maintenance tips in the user manual. These may include:

  • Cleaning and/or replacing air filters as needed
  • Draining the unit before storage season
  • Instructions for cleaning your dehumidifier and water reservoir
  • Troubleshooting recommendations
  • Contact information for warranty service

Dehumidifiers can last anywhere from 3 to 15 years. Performing the recommended maintenance and keeping your unit in good condition helps lengthen the operating lifespan. Learn more about how to take care of your dehumidifier in our article Maintaining Your Dehumidifier.

In Summary

This dehumidifier buying guide will help you find the right dehumidifier. Find one that’s the right size, can be drained easily, and includes the features you want.

Still Have Questions?

We know choosing a dehumidifier isn’t an easy decision. To learn more about dehumidifiers, visit our Dehumidifier Knowledge Center.

Not sure what’s best for you? We can take the guesswork out of decision-making. Find your dehumidifier. Call us at 1-800-934-9194. We want to help make your indoors healthy and comfortable.