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How to choose the best dehumidifier

Lynn Wright / 19 May 2016

Looking for a dehumidifier to keep your home damp and mould-free but not sure which one to buy? We explain what to consider when buying the best dehumidifier for your home.

What size dehumidifier should buy depends on where you plan to use it
What size dehumidifier you should buy depends on where you plan to use it

Keep condensation, damp and mould at bay in your home with a great dehumidifier that quietly and efficiently removes moisture from the air. The best models are easy to set up, cost little to run and make emptying collected water easy.

For a full list of dehumidifier features read Dehumidifier features explained.

How much should I spend?

While you can buy a budget model for as little as £40-£50, expect to pay anywhere from £100 to more than £300 for an efficient dehumifidier. Typically, the more you spend, the larger the dehumidifier’s capacity and the more features it will have.

Which type of dehumidifier should I buy?

There are two main types of dehumidifier available. Both work to remove moisture from the air but use different methods to do so.

Refrigerant dehumidifiers are the most common type of dehumidifier available. Inside these units is a fan that sucks in damp air and passes it across a metal cooling plate or coils. Moisture from the air condenses on the metal plate and drips into a collection tank. The air is then warmed and re-circulated into the room. This process continues until the room’s humidity reaches the selected level.

  • Pros: Cost-effective to run, refrigerant dehumidifiers work best in small to medium-sized rooms and at room temperature. You’ll need to empty the tank of collected water, although some models come with a hose that can feed water directly into a sink or drain.
  • Cons: Refrigerant dehumidifiers can be heavy to move around and noisy in operation. Less efficient at low temperatures, they’re not suitable for use in sheds or garages.

Desiccant dehumidifier A desiccant dehumidifier works by sucking in damp air but rather than condensing moisture, it uses several layers of absorbent material to remove it before re-circulating the dryer air. Most models use heat to dry the desiccant material, which in turn warms the air exiting the machine.

  • Pros: Using filters rather than a compressor pump, desiccant dehumidifiers are much quieter in operation than refrigeration units, making them suitable for living rooms and bedrooms. Anti-bacterial filters mean allergens, dust and bacteria are removed from the air before it’s passed back into the room, and some models offer ‘continuous drainage’ using a hose so there’s no need to empty a container of collected water. They’re also lighter to move around too and can work even at very low temperatures.
  • Cons: Far more expensive to run.

What size dehumidifier do I need?

Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes with capacities ranging from 0.5 litres to 20 litres. What size you should buy depends on where you plan to use your dehumidifier.

Typically, the bigger the room or space, the larger the dehumidifier capacity you’ll need.

When comparing refrigerant dehumidifiers, be careful to note the difference between a model’s extraction capacity – which refers the amount of water it can remove from the air per day – and its water tank capacity – how much water it can hold in its tank before it needs to be emptied.

Typically, a dehumidifier’s ability to extract moisture far outweighs the amount it can store, which means regularly emptying the water tank when using the dehumidifier for long periods. If you plan on using a dehumidifier throughout the day, look for a model that lets you attach a hose so that water can drain away continuously.

Ready to choose the perfect dehumidifier for you? Read our guide to the Five best dehumidifiers.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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