Picking one of the best dehumidifiers on the market is a very wise move if you have condensation in your bathroom, utility room or, even worse, damp, mould-infested walls. This isn't always a winter issue either as even well ventilated homes can suffer from condensation and subsequently get mould appearing on walls and ceilings. This is especially so if you hang your washing to dry on or near the radiators.
Or perhaps you've simply overdone it with one of the best humidifiers that we told you to buy last week. We're joking; you can't make your home damp that way. Dehumidifiers can help reduce the amount of bacteria in the air, but their main purpose is to beat damp.
We’ve gathered together a tidy selection of the best dehumidifiers that do the job better than most. All of these dehumidifiers perform exceptionally well and are highly regarded by both users and professional reviewers.
But for our money the new, compact MeacoDry ABC takes top spot for exceptional, low-cost moisture extraction, hotly followed by its larger stablemate, the Meaco 25L Ultra Low Energy. Don't discount the keenly-priced and very efficient Electriq CD12LE though.
How to buy the best dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are not the most popular or glamorous of appliances, but they can be among the most useful. If you already have a good extractor fan in your bathroom or utility room you probably will never need one, although some people use them to dry clothing instead of a tumble dryer.
But if you have a damp problem – and especially evidence of mould including flaking paintwork and crumbling plaster – then a dehumidifier is an essential purchase, at least until you can afford the necessary building repairs.
It’s not just your crumbling walls you need to worry about, it’s your health. Mould and fungus are a bad thing when confined indoors and are a recognised cause of respiratory problems including chest infections, allergies and asthma. A dehumidifier isn’t the ultimate cure, but it will dry out the offending area. It'll also help prevent mould spores from getting airborne and make things a little more habitable.
The really good thing about a dehumidifier is that you can easily see evidence of it working. Just peer into the water collection container and you’ll likely be amazed at how much moisture it has extracted from thin air (up to 25 litres a day with some models). Every so often you’ll need to empty the water container, although all of these models will switch themselves off when full.
'Tell me more, Derek, tell me more,' you cry.
There are two main types of dehumidifier: compressor or refrigerant and desiccant. There’s some good words for your next game of Scrabble.
According to a horde of experts, desiccant models can operate consistently at temperatures from 1ºC to 30ºC, but use more energy than compressors, which work best at around 20ºC – but then, as good luck would have it, that happens to be the average UK household temperature.
We’ve concentrated on compressor models since they tend to be the most popular type of dehumidifier for the British climate.
Before randomly clicking on a purchase, you’re strongly advised to contact the prospective website’s sales department first to discuss your needs. This is a complex subject and some professional guidance should not be sniffed at.
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The best dehumidifiers, in order
Our long-running number one contender has finally been usurped – by one of its younger siblings no less. This new 10-litre model is actually rather attractive for a dehumidifier and we definitely like the simple top-mounted interface. At just 46cm in height and 30cm in width, it’s not too big either and that makes it perfect for smaller rooms like bath and shower rooms – which is what it was ostensibly designed for.
This particular compressor model boasts a moisture extraction rate of 10.26 litres per day and comes with a 2.6-litre container which will need to be emptied from time to time (thankfully the unit turns itself off when full). However, a 12-litre and new 20-litre version are also available for those with bigger rooms.
The interface is a doddle to navigate and includes a humidistat button for selecting a target humidity, two fan speeds, a timer, a child lock and a laundry drying mode which runs the unit at full pelt for six hours before switching itself off. Don’t worry too much about running cost and noise because, being of the compressor variety, it not only burns just 2.45p worth of electricity per hour, it’s also amazingly quiet (up to 40dB), even with the fan at high speed.
If you’re looking for a small, attractive and exceedingly efficient dehumidifier that has garnered a wealth of favourable reviews, then stop right here. But if your room demands a much higher extraction rate, then check out its larger award-winning stablemate below.
This British family-run company makes both compressor and desiccant units and this is its award-winning flagship compressor model. It’s not the prettiest of appliances, granted, but you know what's uglier? Mould up your walls.
The stats certainly impress. It’s a DC inverter model for a start and that means exceptionally low running costs. In fact, Maeco says that the more you make it work, the more water it collects and the less electricity it will use. It's similar to using air-conditioning - if it runs 24/7 it's more economical.
This thing isn’t just for dealing with day-to-day damp issues either since it will also dry your clothes, perhaps not as quickly as a tumble dryer but almost certainly for a lot less wonga.
Despite its size (64cm x 38 x 29), it’s a genuine all-rounder. You can site it pretty much anywhere in the home (it’ll dehumidify a five-bedroom house), including the garage, the cellar, the bathroom and the laundry room. It’s also suitable for use in museums, apparently.
The Meaco has four main operating modes: Humidistat lets you choose your target humidity between 30 and 80%rh (relative humidity); Laundry makes use of the 280m³/hour fan speed to dry clothes; Quiet turns off the beeper and lowers the fan speed; and Auto mode regulates the compressor and fan speed to retain an ideal balance of 50% humidity. It even has a built-in ionizer to help clean the air.
As with all dehumidifiers, the 25L’s extraction rate varies depending on the temperature and humidity in the room but, to use an extreme example, at a rather stifling 30˚C and 80% humidity it will absorb 24.96 litres in a 24-hour period. That’s a lot of water extracted from seemingly nowhere. Don’t worry about it overflowing either since it will switch off when the float in the five-litre water tank hits the top.
Meaco is one of the most awarded brands on the market and the staff know their stuff, so you’re advised to click on the company website’s ‘chat’ link before purchasing if only to be sure you’re buying the correct model for your damp needs.
You’re not going to see anything beautiful in this feature, but this wifi-enabled compressor model is at least a bit more stylish looking than most. It’s certainly a unanimous hit with users.
The Electriq uses very little energy (180 watts) and comes with an air purifier function replete with plasma ionizer and UV sterilisation for extra air-cleaning pizzazz. According to Electriq it also ‘dries laundry more efficiently than a tumble dryer’. We’re not convinced it was better than our Bosch tumbler but it did dry a pair of jeans in about 90 minutes, so that’s okay.
But enough of that, lets bask in some stats: The Electriq’s water collection tank capacity is four litres; its extraction rate is up to 12 litres per day; it has a 24-hour timer and an operating temperature range of 5˚C to 35˚C.
The front of the unit also displays the level of humidity in the room – a handy visible feature that lets you know whether you should make any adjustments to the humidity setting. And even if you’re not in the same room, you can launch the iOS or Android app on your phone or tablet and check the humidity levels at home and control it all from a beach in the Caribbean. Not that you would, of course.
The Electriq is suitable for flats and homes with up to three bedrooms and is one of the cheapest and quietest models in this roundup. With a surfeit of glowing user reviews, perhaps this is the only dehumidifier average-sized homes may ever need.
This portable, two-litre capacity dehumidifier is just the thing for that damp storage area under the stairs, the dank end of your narrowboat or the mouldy kitchen cupboard next to the leaky washing machine. It measures just 29x48.5x17.5cm and weighs next to nothing so storage and placement won't be an issue.
Being of a dessicant nature (unlike the other models on this page which are all compressor types), you can run the EcoAir in any ambient temperature from 1˚C to 35˚C. On average, it sucks up around seven litres of moisture a day, which means you will have to get off your butt to empty the two-litre reservoir on at least three occasions – it cuts off automatically when it’s had its fill – but that’s hardly unusual for dehumidifiers. You could take the view that the smaller tank is lighter and easier to empty, even if you have to do so more frequently.
This new model ditches the slightly awkward bubble button fascia of its predecessor (see #6) in favour of an intuitive rotary humidistat with clearly labeled settings that even your cat could get a handle on: Lo, Med, Hi, and, for those who don’t have a tumble dryer, Laundry. It also has a fairly quiet setting for night-time work and a turbo function for full-on damp sapping efficiency. A deft mini moisture muncher.
This compact DeLonghi entry boasts some decent stats, and a tranche of positive user reviews.
It comes with a small two-litre water tank and a separate outlet hose for those who can’t be arsed with making trips back and forth to the sink. Its optimal operating temperature range is between 2˚C and 30˚C and it’ll absorb up to 10 litres of moisture per day.
This is the model to go for if you have a small bathroom, cellar, cabin or narrowboat as it takes up very little room and can be easily moved around.
This compressor model is 50cm in height and sports an extraction capacity of 18 litres per day, so it’ll work just fine in properties with up to three bedrooms. A smaller than usual 3.5-litre water tank may mean a few extra runs to the sink and back, however.
I have got to say that this model’s unattractive LED control fascia is a bit of a let down as it’s of the old fashioned bubble press variety with confusing icons that will almost certainly have you reaching for the manual. Nevertheless, the unit itself isn’t quite ugly enough to warrant hiding it in the cellar.
The EcoAir comes with the usual gamut of functions including a Laundry mode that is said to dry clothes in two to four hours – handy if you don’t have the space or financial means to afford a tumble dryer.