Portable dehumidifiers buying guide and tips, what to look for, and expect. How does a dehumidifier work, and what are the pros and cons? How to choose the right dehumidifier size for your home? Compare features of the top-selling models.
A dehumidifier is a device that removes moisture from the air and maintains it at the desired level. Cooler and drier is then released back. When used in residential homes, dehumidifiers reduce humidity to comfortable and healthier levels, reducing or eliminating the risk of mold and mildew growth.
These are recommended home appliances to reduce allergies and health problems caused by the high humidity and enhance comfort.
A dehumidifier uses an electric-powered fan to move air over the metal coils where it condenses, and a storage tank or drip pan to accumulate moisture.
One of the visible signs of the high humidity inside your home is water condensation on the windows and metal surfaces such as pipes. Homes with a basement are known for basement dampness, and it is easy to recognize it as the air is stuffy and musty. An even worse situation is when you see small black spots on the walls, bathtubs, showers, and in the areas where humidity is high. Those small black spots are mold spores which can affect health if not properly treated.
High humidity inside your home can be the result of the climate where you live, also the use of a shower, cooking dishwasher, and such appliances.
Portable dehumidifiers have the same function as the larger models, but the portables are smaller, easy to move around, install, and use. These models are also compact, lightweight, have built-in carrying handles and rolling casters for mobility.
Choosing a dehumidifier for your small home or apartment is not hard as long as you follow the buying guide. There are many good quality and compact dehumidifiers for a home, most of them built and assembled by the manufacturers from China, the EU, and the USA.
Before buying a portable dehumidifier, find out about the size/capacity you need; be familiar with different brands on the market; Kenmore, GE, LG, Haier, Frigidaire, or any other brand; see what features each model has to offer and finally check the price and warranty.
The modern, stylish look is for some important, but don't use as the only criteria. Most of the time, the best units are those with a higher price and with the advanced technology and features. Energy Star compliance ensures efficient operation and saving money on utility bills.
This is what you should check:
Dehumidification capacity or unit size. Look for the model based on the amount of moisture it extracts from the air in 24 hours, or simply buy one that can meet your needs for the ideal comfort level. So, if a dehumidifier is designed with 50 pints capacity, that means it can remove 50 pints of moisture in one day.
Dehumidifiers with a lower capacity mean more hassle for you, as you have to empty the bucket often.
According to AHAM, or Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, mini dehumidifiers with the lower capacity won't be able to lower the humidity level to the desired and will run continuously.
Sizing tips: According to a Home Depot store, if you need a dehumidifier for the damp room, which has an area of 500-1500 square feet, get a model that comes with a dehumidification capacity of 30 pints. For the damp room with an area of 2000-2500 sq. ft, get a 50-pint dehumidifier, and if the area is around 2,500 sq.ft, use one with the capacity of 70 pints.
Drainage. Decide between dehumidifiers with the continuous drainage and those with the tray or a bucket. Continuous drainage allows you to drain out the moisture through the hose, which reduces the hassle of emptying the bucket. The bucket is usually front loading.
You want to avoid guessing when the bucket is full of water, so having the visual indicator is preferred.
Fan speed and noise. By having more settings, you should find the right speed for your level of comfort (less than 60 dB is recommended). This affects the noise level.
Humidity control. In order to control the humidity level, look for the unit with a built in humidity meter or humidistat – it will allow you to increase or decrease the level of humidity.
Safety features. Auto shut-off, as the safety feature, will prevent the unit from damaging or spilling when the bucket is full, so it will turn the unit OFF. Check also for thermal overload and fuse protection.
Auto-restart function. It restores the setting you choose after the power restores due to a power outage.
Auto defrost function. The function prevents accumulated water from being frozen due to low outside temperatures.
Digital controls. 24-hour timer, sleep mode, operation modes, low-temperature operation are just some of the features you might need for convenience, safe, and cost-effective operation.
Filters. Good quality and washable filters and easy to remove are important for durability, maintenance, and service.
Before buying any of the portable dehumidifiers, keep in mind that there are two types to choose from: passive and active.
Passive is also called a desiccant dehumidifier, and this type is recommended for regions with low humidity and temperature. Desiccant dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air by using the chemicals, not condensation. Passive models are cheaper and less efficient, as they do not use the compressor.
Active models are much more efficient and used than the previous models and are usually found combined with the air conditioners. Active dehumidifiers are known as mechanical units.
The most popular manufacturers and brands of the portable dehumidifiers are:
Portable dehumidifiers are recommended for humid areas to control and maintain the humidity level and improve air quality and comfort.
Keeping the recommended humidity levels of 30-50% during the summer and 30-40% during the winter will eliminate potential home damages and health problems. Buy a dehumidifier with the largest capacity (for the size of your home) as it will get rid of the excess moisture faster, with less noise and more efficient work (Energy Star approved).