The MeacoDry Arete One review in a sentence: the quiet and cost-effective way to banish damp and ban mould from your domain.
Suffering from damp and mould in your home? Then you need to take the fight to that moisture-laden air with a dehumidifier. You can then bask in the glory of a dry home, with mould-free walls, and windows you can see out of because they're no longer streaming with condensation. If you've previously tried to tackle damp with electric heaters, one of the best window vacuums, anti-mould sprays and paints, reams of kitchen paper or any number of other questionably effective methods, then once you've swapped to a quality dehumidifier, you'll wonder why you didn't do so years ago.
For many people, the noise and running costs associated with dehumidifiers are the reason they don't want to make that swap, but with the MeacoDry Arete One, Meaco has addressed both issues.
Meaco is a leading manufacturer of dehumidifiers, and the company says that its new MeacoDry Arete One is its best combined dehumidifier and air purifier ever. It's designed with input from over 2,000 customers, has received a Quiet Mark award for its low noise levels and, depending on the model you choose, it can remove up to 20 or 25 litres of moisture from the air a day.
For this MeacoDry Arete One review, I tested the 'MeacoDry Arete One 20L Dehumidifier / Air Purifier', to give it its full name, and the result is that this machine makes it into T3's best dehumidifier buying guide – and in the #1 slot, no less.
MeacoDry Arete One review: price and release date
The MeacoDry Arete One 20L costs £259.99 (about $355) and is new for 2021. The 25L model is £299.99 (about $410).
Note that the 'L' here refers to how many litres of water the machines can remove from the air each day, at 30C and 80% relative humidity. It does not refer to the size of the tank, which is 4.8 litres on both models. Also note that you won't actually be removing that amount of moisture per day, unless you like your home to have the hot and moist ambience of a tropical rainforest.
MeacoDry Arete One review: design and features
The MeacoDry Arete One is a compressor dehumidifier – you can read about the difference between desiccant vs compressor dehumidifiers in our handy guide. While traditionally compressor dehumidifiers have not been so efficient at low temperatures, the Arete One has been designed to operate from a balmy 35ºC all the way down to a chilly 5ºC.
Open the box and the first thing you notice is that this dehumidifier is quite heavy. It weighs 15kg, but there's a retractable handle on the top to aid carrying as well as hidden castors so you can roll it along the floor. The unit is 562mm high x 376mm wide and 232mm deep. It's not a bad looking machine, as dehumidifiers go. It has been designed so that it works even if you place it flush against the wall, as the air intake at the back of the unit is inset a little.
As well as being a dehumidifier, the Arete One is also an air purifier and it can be used as a stand-alone air purifier during months when humidity levels in your home may be lower. It comes with one free H13 HEPA filter in the box and you can buy replacement filters as you need them. Note that you don't have to use a filter if you'd prefer not to, as there is also a washable dust filter in the machine.
There's a hose adaptor clipped onto the water tank should you wish to add a pump and hose – available separately. With this, you can plumb the Arete One in and enjoy continuous draining rather than having to manually empty the tank. Most people will opt for manual emptying, however, and for them, there are two ways to know when it's time to empty the tank. It'll beep to let you know it's full, and switch itself off, or you can see the tank's water level through the window in the front of the machine. Once you've slid the tank out, there's a handle on the top to carry it, and a spout on each side so you can empty it by tipping it in either direction.
When you switch on the Arete One and then select Smart Humidity Mode it will aim for a humidity level of 55%rh. You can adjust this target between 40%rh and 70%rh, in 10% increments. As it runs, the dehumidifier will regularly check the humidity level and adjust its performance accordingly, either slowing down or speeding up the fan, or switching off entirely until it senses that the humidity level has risen above the desired level. When the relative humidity is 15% above the target level, the machine runs at maximum fan speed to bring the humidity down as quickly as possible. When it gets to less than 15% of the target, it switches to the low fan speed.
The Arete One also offers Smart Laundry Mode for drying clothes; and Night Mode which switches the fan to low speed and disables both the lights and the audible 'tank full' alert beeps. Additionally, you can switch off the dehumidifier entirely and simply run it as a stand-alone air purifier, or you can choose to run the unit in continuous dehumidifying mode if you wish.
One thing that Meaco wanted to address when designing the Arete One was noise levels and the company says that this dehumidifier is twice as quiet as the industry standard. With the fan running at high speed it produces a claimed 40dB and 38dB at low speed.
In terms of running costs, Meaco says that the 20L unit costs 3.3p per hour based on 15.32p / kWh – and remember that the Smart Humidity Mode means that you probably won't be running the unit 24/7 unless you have a serious humidity problem, in which case a dehumidifier may not be your best long-term solution.
The Arete One comes with a generous five-year parts and labour warranty.
MeacoDry Arete One review: performance
I live in an old building with single-glazed sash windows and the downstairs rooms are in the basement, so damp can be an issue. The upside is that this makes it a perfect location to test a dehumidifier. When I unboxed the unit in my basement office, my humidity meter was reading a very high 89%. No wonder the liquid in the jar of scented reeds was taking so long to evaporate – Meaco to the rescue!
Once I'd unboxed the Arete One, read the instructions, removed the HEPA filter from its plastic bag – don't forget to do that – and placed it back in its holder in the dehumidifier, I switched the unit on and pressed the Smart Humidity Mode button. The dehumidifier whirred quietly into action and an hour later the humidity level showing on the display had dropped to 80%. The following morning the level was down to 55%, according to the display on the machine, while my cheap humidity meter from Amazon claimed 50%. One side effect was that the warmer air that the dehumidifier expels raised the temperature in the room by 2C, so there's a potential saving in heating costs there.
When running the dehumidifier overnight, you can use the Night Mode to drop the fan to its slower speed and switch off the 'tank full' beeps and control panel lights. There's no timer to do this automatically, so you do need to remember to do this before bed and to put it back into Smart Humidity Mode in the morning.
At night, with the dehumidifier placed in a room adjoining the bedroom, with the door to that room left open, I could barely hear it. But when I placed the unit in the hallway directly outside the bedroom door, it was much more noticeable, and my Fitbit agreed, telling me the following morning that my sleep score the previous night was a mere 'Fair' 75 with just 32 minutes of deep sleep. Of course, your tolerance of night-time noise may vary from mine.
The next night, because I'd now reduced the humidity levels to acceptable levels, I tried switching the dehumidifier off, but the result was that in the morning, humidity was back to 80%, so I suspect this is not an economical way to use the machine. Indeed, when I left it in Smart Humidity Mode during the day it just switched on occasionally when humidity levels started to rise above the chosen level.
I also tested the Arete One in Laundry Mode where it runs at maximum dehumidification and maximum fan speed for six hours before switching off. It had not occurred to me to use a dehumidifier to try clothes before but it effectively dried a rack of bedding in that time and stopped the windows from fogging up in the process. One thing that took me by surprise was that when Laundry Mode ends, the dehumidifier switches itself off, whereas I expected (and would have preferred) it to go back to its previous mode, in this case Smart Humidity Mode. A workaround for that is to simply set the Smart Humidity Mode to 40% and then dial it back up to 55%, or whatever setting you prefer, once the laundry is dry.
Other than this, there are few changes I'd make to the MeacoDry Arete One. I would like to have a timer included, to automatically turn the unit on and off. However, since letting the dehumidifier run in Smart Humidity Mode is a) easier and b) almost certainly leads to lower electricity bills in the long term, this is not a huge minus point. Control via a phone app is increasingly commonplace for fans, air purifiers and other air-processing machines, but there is none for the MeacoDry Arete One. It's not a deal breaker for me, though.
MeacoDry Arete One review: verdict
The MeacoDry Arete One is easy to use and the Smart Humidity Mode means that once you've switched the unit on and chosen your desired humidity level, you can walk away and forget about it, apart from having to empty the water tank, of course. It's very effective at removing moisture from larger spaces and the low noise level of the fan, at least on its slower speed, is a major bonus. If you want to tackle damp in your home, then you can trust the MeacoDry Arete One to get the job done.
A timer would be a handy addition and, if I was being really picky, I could say that I'd like the dehumidifier to feature Wi-Fi and an app so I can change the settings and check my home's humidity levels when I'm in another room or away from home However, both these things would almost certainly lead to an additional cost, so if they Meaco ever does introduced a model with them included, I hope it keeps this simpler model available alongside it.
MeacoDry Arete One review: also consider
A cheaper alternative to the MeacoDry Arete One is the MeacoDry ABC 12L Dehumidifier. It's also quiet, at 36-40dB, though will only extract up to 12L of moisture a day (at 30°C and 80%rh), so is best suited to smaller spaces. It also forgoes the air purifying functionality, Smart Mode and Night Mode, although it does have Laundry Mode and the ability to schedule it to automatically turn off.
Alternatively, there's the smaller and even cheaper Meacodry ABC 10L Dehumidifier.