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Best dehumidifiers for ditching the damp

Too much humidity in your home can cause loads of problems, including mold growth, dust mites, bad smells and even damage to your property. A dehumidifier can make your home a nicer place to live by sucking up that pesky moisture.

But not all dehumidifiers are the same, and some specialise in certain things. Do you know the difference between a compressor and a desiccant dehumidifier? In this guide, we'll walk you through the key things to think about when buying a dehumidifier, like room size, energy efficiency, whether you’re drying clothes and more.

What is a dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier is a clever device that reduces humidity by sucking in air and removing excess moisture. And this isn’t just about damp. Whether you’re hanging out laundry on a clothes horse, having a shower or boiling a kettle, it’s important to keep moisture levels down. This is especially true in the winter when it’s too cold to open doors and windows. Dehumidifiers also improve indoor air quality, which makes your home a nicer place to be. Check out our article on what a dehumidifier does for more info. There are two main types of dehumidifiers:

Best compressor dehumidifiers

Compressor dehumidifiers work by drawing in moist air through a filter and then passing it over cooled coils. As the air cools, the moisture condenses into water which drips into a tank or reservoir. Compressor dehumidifiers work best at higher temperatures and higher humidity levels. They are perfect for places you’re likely to keep warm - like living spaces, bedrooms or other areas of the home.

Best desiccant dehumidifiers

Desiccant dehumidifiers use an absorbent material to soak up moisture from the air. The material then gets dried out by a heating element, which moves the water into a condenser. These dehumidifiers work best at lower temperatures or in colder environments such as garages, basements or bathrooms.

Best dehumidifiers for drying clothes

Using a dehumidifier is a game-changer when it comes to drying clothes quickly indoors. It works by reducing the humidity in the air surrounding your wet clothes, allowing the moisture to evaporate more quickly. Not only does this shorten the drying time, but it also helps prevent musty odours from developing on damp clothing.

A dehumidifier with a high-capacity reservoir and an automatic shut-off is the best dehumidifier for drying clothes. That way, it can keep working until there’s no more capacity in the water tank but won’t keep running once the job is done. Look for a unit with a fan option to circulate air and speed up the drying process.

Why not try…
The Laundry+ function on the DD8L Zambezi is different. Rather than running flat out, it samples the air for humidity and adjusts power usage - meaning it’s a much more efficient way to get clothes dry fast.

Best low energy dehumidifiers

If you're in search of a dehumidifier that runs great without running up a huge electricity bill, look for an energy-efficient compressor that uses less power to get the job done.

Having an auto shut-off and restart function saves energy by automatically shutting down the appliance when it reaches your preferred humidity level. It’ll only turn on again when the moisture level increases.

Why not try…
The Meaco 12L Low Energy Dehumidifier & Air Purifier prides itself on having some of the lowest running costs around. And because it uses less power, it’s one of the best quiet dehumidifiers around too. Producing only 41 decibels (the same as a quiet library) it’s ideal for bedrooms or homes without much noise insulation.

Best small dehumidifier

If you have a small room or closet that you’re having trouble keeping dry, a compact model with a smaller water capacity might be the best option. They also have the advantage of being easy to move around to where you need them, so look for something portable and lightweight.

Why not try…
This Tower Portable Dehumidifier is only 2.3kg but can extract 2.3 litres of moisture from the air in 24 hours! Its carry handle and wheels make it easy to move it to where you need it too.

Best dehumidifiers for damp walls

If you have damp in your walls, you’ll need to solve the underlying problem. But If it’s only short term (like bad weather or a recent leak) then dehumidifiers can help dry out your walls. The best advice here is to set it to a humidity level of 50%, which will draw away enough moisture. You’ll also want a large water tank since tackling damp can be a big job.

Why not try...
Being able to have your dehumidifier set to detect a certain moisture level and then shut off is a great feature (which also saves energy). Most Meaco dehumidifiers have it included.

Best dehumidifier for under £100

Setting a budget of under £100 will probably stop you from getting a larger dehumidifier. But if you’re happy with something a little more compact, there are lots of great options. The important thing is to find the features you really want and make sure they’re included - whether that’s auto shut off, a decent sized water tank or a dehumidifier that’s nice and quiet.

Why not try...
The Russell Hobbs Fresh Air Pro is a great shout. It’s great for average sized rooms, is portable and has a super quiet motor - so you can use it in bedrooms too. As soon as the tank is full, it’ll stop. So you won’t have to worry about spills. As a nice bonus, it can detect when the air temperature is freezing, so keeps the water collected in its tank warm. Clever!

Best basement dehumidifiers/ best dehumidifier for bathroom

Because desiccant dehumidifiers work best at lower temperatures or in colder environments, that’s a good place to start. These places are also more likely to have a lot of moisture in the air, so you’ll need a larger model that can work harder. So go for power, a large water tank and the ability to handle cooler temperatures and still work great.

Why not try...
The Woods L40 is a beast for basements and bathrooms. Not only does it have an 11.4-litre tank but you can also attach a hose for continuous drainage - so it’ll never get full!


Which type of dehumidifier is most efficient?

Generally speaking, the larger the tank the more efficient the dehumidifier. It’s simply because a dehumidifier uses more energy to get up and running. If you need a smaller model, go for a low energy or a compressor dehumidifier - both are very efficient ways to decrease humidity.

Which dehumidifier is best for small houses?

Any dehumidifier can work fine in a small house, but a portable dehumidifier is going to be easier to move from room to room and a lot more convenient to store when you’re not using it.

What is the best dehumidifier for a cold area?

Desiccant dehumidifiers operate best at lower temperatures and can withstand cooler conditions.

Refresh your space!