This story was updated in April 2022 to ensure all dehumidifiers tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute's Media & Tech Lab were in stock and reflected current pricing.
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 damper. For most, a home between 30% to 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. Here, we’ve rounded up our top picks based upon categorical Lab tests, road tests of some newer models and industry expertise:
Our top picks
- Washable Filter
This dehumidifier came out on top because it has simple, helpful features. A digital read-out helps you monitor the current humidity, and the circular window shows you when the bucket needs a change (you can also connect a hose for continuous drainage). The cord wraps around hooks on the back for easy storage, and the side handles and wheels make it a breeze to move around.
- Ideal for small spaces
- Washable filter
This 22-pint dehumidifier has the same great features as our best overall pick such as portability, easy storage (with hooks for wrapping the cord) and a tank you can monitor through the window. With a 22-pint capacity, it's nice and lightweight, making it an optimal choice for a smaller space or less damp area.
- Sleek design
- Washable filter
This pick from LG has a sleek design and well-thought-out features. The clear bucket lets you monitor water as it rises (with an alert for when it's full) and has a splash guard with a large handle to make dumping easier. You can connect a hose to the back for continuous drainage and it rests every 23 hours to help prevent overheating.
- Built-in pump
- Clunky design
If draining via a hose isn’t an option, this model from GE has a built-in pump so you can drain out a window or into an elevated sink. Since it can remove moisture in a space up to 1,500 square feet in size, this durable pick is ideal for use in basements or in small homes requiring more widespread dehumidification. If you choose not to use the hose, it has a full tank alert — and if you can’t empty it in time, it will automatically turn off to avoid overflow.
- Works with Alexa
- Built-in pump
- Washable filter
This pick has a 12-hour timer and will control dehumidification to maintain pre-set humidity levels in the room. Connect a hose for continuous draining using the built-in drain pump. If you choose to use the bucket, you’ll get an alert when the bucket is almost full, and the auto-shutoff will prevent an overflow. It has clear displays and a washable filter, as well as four wheels to make it easy to move. Wi-Fi connectivity lets you start and stop the dehumidifier, monitor the bucket capacity and receive other notifications via the LG SmartThinQ app when you’re not home or with Alexa commands. Although it's called a 50-pint dehumidifier, the change in testing standards would equate to roughly that of a 30-pint dehumidifier tested now.
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 whether it has a pump (which allows you to drain water upwards into a sink or through a window), the noise level while running and the 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.
✔️ What kind of dehumidifier do I need? If humidity is a problem throughout the entire house, an integrated whole-home system may be the way to go.
If your moisture issues are more seasonal or confined to only some rooms of the house, a portable residential unit is your best bet. Smaller dehumidifiers tend to cost less and can be easier to move, but they can be less efficient when running at a constant rate. It's best to err on the side of caution by buying a larger unit than a smaller one and having the unit run less frequently.
✔️ How do I pick the right size dehumidifier? 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 wetter 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.
✔️ What do the dehumidifier sizes mean?
- Small: Removes 20 to 25 pints of moisture at 65°F, or 30 to 40 pints at 80°F (about 400 to 600+ square feet)
- Medium: Removes 30 to 35 pints of moisture at 65°F, or 50 to 60 pints at 80°F (about 800 to 1,000+ square feet)
- Large: Removes 40 to 55 pints of moisture at 65°F, or 70 to 90 pints at 80°F (about 1,200 to 1,500+ square feet)
✔️ What features matter when it comes to buying a dehumidifier?
- Hose connection. If you'll be using a large-capacity dehumidifier for a particularly wet job, finding a dehumidifier with a hose connection can save you from having to empty the machine manually. If you can't find one with a hose, look for one that has a pump to send water up to a sink or window. Otherwise, you'll have to physically (and frequently) dump the captured water.
- A filter indicator reminds you when to clean your air filter.
- An auto-humidistat can sense the moisture in the air and turn off automatically once the desired level is reached.
- Low temperature setting and/or auto-defrost is helpful if the dehumidifier will be in a cool place, since it ensures the unit can properly operate in cooler temps.
✔️ How do I make sure my dehumidifier runs efficiently?
- Make sure airflow isn’t restricted. Some units have vents on top, allowing it to sit against a wall. Others have vents on the sides which means they shouldn't be pushed up against walls or furniture.
- Regularly clean the air filter. The dehumidifier won't work as well if it's dirty. Make sure you're tending to it at least once a week.
- Be sure to unplug the machine whenever you're emptying the container or cleaning it.
✔️ What do the new testing standards mean for my shopping? 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 considered a 50-pint dehumidifier under new guidelines. In this round up, all of the picks are reflective of these new standards. This means that if you previously purchased a dehumidifier, the original pint size may have been adjusted according to new guidelines as you cannot compare older units with newer units apples to apples.
Rachel Rothman is the chief technologist and head engineer at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she has worked for 14 years. She has a B.S.E. in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics with a mathematics minor from the University of Pennsylvania. She leads efforts for the constant evolution of GH’s technical and testing protocols and has tested just about every home renovation tool out there, ranging from space heaters to power washers, to lawnmowers and more.