If you're looking for an affordable powerful 20-litre dehumidifier this definitely ticks all the boxes. It is a little on the noisy side, but it has worked wonders in tackling damp and mould and slots in discreetly to a room if you have the space to spare.
Relatively affordable for a dehumidifier of this extraction rate
Easy to use
Smart and Laundry Drying modes
High energy use means higher running costs
Water tank capacity isn't the biggest considering its extraction rate
Water tank is a little tricky to empty
Not the quietest
Why you can trust Ideal Home
A dehumidifier is essential in my rented flat in London where I struggle with no bathroom fan and an ongoing damp and mould issue. As such, this Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier review encountered plenty of real-world moisture issues as I put the brand's largest dehumidifier through its paces.
Previously, I've tried to battle condensation and damp issues without paying too much by opting for small and cheap dehumidifiers from Amazon. So, I was interested to find out if this large dehumidifier would be worth the upfront expense, and worth sacrificing the floor space it takes up.
Standing at 51cm tall and 35cm wide the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L is big plain and simple, but, it promises to suck 20 litres of moisture out of the air in 24 hours. It also includes a number of clever functions to help with laundry drying and maintaining air humidity.
I tested the dehumidifier out over the course of six months through summer and winter. From drying clothes on the coldest days in winter to drying out a damp kitchen wall, I've put the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier through its paces to find out if it is worth finding space for in your home, and how it compares to the best dehumidifiers on the market.
Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier review
- Type: Compressor
- Extraction rate: 20L/day
- Water tank capacity: 3 Litre
- Max room size recommended: 35-50m2
- Noise level: 47.5dB
- Power: 440W
- Dimensions: H51 x W33 x D24.5cm
- Weight: 15kg
- Portable?: Yes
- Continuous drain option: Yes
- Laundry mode: Yes
How I tested
I'm Rebecca, Ideal Home's Deputy Digital Editor. Alongside my main job I help the team to put all manner of products through their paces to find the top recommendations for our readers, from the best air purifiers to the best heated clothes airers. I tested Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier in my London flat which is a converted Victorian terrace plagued by a wide range of issues typical in period properties. This dehumidifier had to content with single-glazing, condensation on walls, an extractor-less bathroom, and damp from a leaky roof, so it was definitely put through its paces!
Unboxing, assembly and set-up
The Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier arrived in a large box with minimal packaging and was incredibly easy to set up as it was basically just a case of taking it out of the box and plugging it in. The only delay is in waiting for the refrigerant to settle after transportation.
The Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier comes in two colours, black and white. I tested out the white version.
Overall, it's design and shape impressed me. Russell Hobbs has kept it boxy so it was the perfect shape to tuck away in a corner and still access the reservoir and controls.
The design is also compact and minimal enough to blend into a corner while it was working. It feels sturdy and well-made which helps to justify its price tag.
However, if I was being very picky, I do find the shiny white finish of the body attracts marks very easily.
Ease of use
I found operating the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier extremely easy.
This dehumidifier doesn't have a remote or any clever Apps to control it, everything is done via the LED display and electronic control panel on the top of the dehumidifier, which I found kept things nice and simple.
As soon as the dehumidifier is plugged in it shows the current humidity level in your livig space, and the controls are as simple as selecting either the Smart, Laundry Drying and Continuous modes by using the mode button, and then clicking through three fan speeds using the fan button.
I began testing the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier by using the Continuous mode after I'd been in the shower to help clear the excess humidity in my flat. As the dehumidifier requires connection to mains electricity it obviously isn't safe to use in the bathroom itself, however, I positioned it in the small room facing the bathroom so it was safely away from any splash risks.
I was able to use the LED display panel to see the humidity level and use the fan controls to select how quickly I wanted the dehumidifier to suck in the moisture.
Once running, even with the dehumidifier positioned in the small room opposite the bathroom we noticed that the steam and condensation in the bathroom cleared more quickly. In the flat overall we noticed an improvement in the dampness and mould that had been building up in the flat.
During the winter I tested out the Continuous mode on the highest fan level in the kitchen to dry out a wall where we'd had a leak. In just 24 hours the watermark had shrunk significantly despite the cold weather outside.
It was clear the dehumidifier was obviously working hard, because I found its 3 litre water tank needed to be emptied every day when running it continuously for 4 to 6 hours per day.
One of my favourite functions quickly became the Smart mode as I battled the issue of damp in the flat while trying to keep my energy bills as low as possible. The smart mode monitors the humidity levels for you, turning the dehumidifier on and off as soon as it rises above the recommended home humidity range between 45%~55%.
This function meant that I didn't have to worry about leaving the dehumidifier on all the time, and it was only in use when it needed to be.
However, we did occasionally spot some inconsistencies with the function, I noticed that the reported humidity levels on the screen would usually show as lower if I hadn't cleaned the vents at the back properly.
That said, overall, the Smart function did work well and helped us minimise the dampness and mould returning to our flat over the winter. It also cut down on how frequently I needed to empty the tank, usually taking around two days to fill up completely.
The only thing I found strange about the smart mode was that it didn't work with the humidity setting function. However, as the main reason I was using the dehumidifier was to keep damp at bay rather than create a specific environment this wasn't an issue.
Next up was testing the Laundry function. Drying laundry has become one of the most popular reasons people have started investing in dehumidifiers and the Russell Hobbs drying function makes it perfect for tackling this task. It definitely halved drying time compared to leaving clothes to dry naturally.
I compared the drying time to my Dry:Soon Heated Airer, and while the heated airer still dried most clothes the quickest the dehumidifier dried some t-shirts in one night. However, the results were a little uneven with the t-shirts closer to it drying significantly faster than the jumpers further away.
I found the dehumidifier was pleasantly quiet compared to cheaper version I've used in the past. However, it does give off a low-level hum which I could hear down the corridor.
To put it to the true test I tried sleeping with it on in my bedroom. I'm quite a light sleeper, so although during the day I didn't find the hum that irritating, I did struggle to get to sleep with it and ended up switching it off.
The beeping noise that sounds when the dehumidifier is ready to be emptied is very loud. I can hear the two sharp beeps from all over my flat. I actually found this a very handy feature when I was relying on the smart mode function.
Although the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier is one of the most affordable large dehumidifiers we've come across and is cheaper upfront than the comparable 20L Meaco Arete One dehumidifier. The Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 uses a lot of energy in comparison, so running costs are higher.
The Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier uses 440W of energy compared to Meaco's 20L Arete One which uses 216W on average. At current energy prices, that means the Russell Hobbs model costs roughly 13p per hour to run, compared to the Meaco Arete One's average 6p per hour running cost.
The Russell Hobbs dehumidifier has four wheels on the bottom so is incredibly easy to move around the home. I could easily roll it around between my bedroom, the spare room where we dry the laundry.
The cable was long enough to easily reach around a room so you're not tied to the location of the plug socket with it if you can safely place it around the edge of the room.
To add to the portability it is also relatively light and easy to lift, with two hand groves on either side so I was able to easily carry it up and down stairs on my own.
As with all dehumidifiers, the most common maintenance you'll need to do is emptying the water tank.
The reservoir on the front of the dehumidifier features a small window which is supposed to help you gauge how full it is, but I struggled to see through it. However, the dehumidifier sounds a loud alarm when the tank is full and automatically shuts off.
The biggest issue with the water tank came when emptying it, the reservoir would full right to the very top so it often spilt over when I slid it out to empy it. There is a cleverly hidden carry handle built into the reservoir but it didn't help overcome the spilling issue.
If you don't want to emoty the tank so frequently then the dehumidifier also comes with an attachment (basically a plastic tube) that can be used to plug into the back of the dehumidifier and connected to your drainage system so you don't have to empty it manually. As I live in a rented property I wasn't able to test this part of the device out, but it does seem like a handy addition if you are able to connect it up that way.
Beyond that there's just cleaning to consider. The Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 dehumidifier isn't the easiest thing to clean. The grill at the back is fairly straightforward as it can be lifted out and wiped down. I also learnt that a quick going over with the vacuum cleaner helped keep it dust and lint free.
However, cleaning the reservoir was quite tricky due to its awkward shape. I struggled to get my hand or cloth inside to properly clean the side right down to the bottom. Even after trying for a few hours I've been left with a black mark all around the inside.
Still, whilst unpleasant to look at it, you don't see it once the tank is fitted into the applaince, and it doesn't affect the overall performance of the dehumidifier.
How it rates online
The Russell Hobbs dehumidifier is rated really well on Amazon, with a 4.5 star rating out of over 200 reviews. Out of these 75% are five star reviews with customers praising it's power and efficiency.
Many of the reviews commended the value saying that it does exactly what it needs to do. 'Good quality machine, does exactly what it should,' wrote one reviewer.
'Really easy to set up and use. Collects very efficiently and has made a massive difference to our house,' commented another.
The reviews which knocked a star off the rating mentioned issue with the noise and the method for setting the timer and a target humidity not fully explained in the manual, points I completely agree with.
The Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier is one of the most affordable large dehumidifiers we've come across. This appliance can extract 20 litres of water from the air per day, and comes in significantly cheaper than comparable options like the best-in-class MeacoDry Arete One 20L dehumidifier that currently costs around £80 more upfront.
However, whilst this Russell Hobbs number is cheaper upfront, running costs are higher, with the 20L dehumidifier using 440W of energy compared to Meaco's 20L Arete One which uses 216W on average. Plus, the Arete One offers a built-in air purifier which this model does not, and the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier's water tank is smaller at 3L compared to the Meaco's 4.8L, which means it needs emptying more often.
In terms of noise, the Russell Hobbs version is louder than many other top-rated dehumidifiers at 47.5dB.
However, just like the MeacoDry Arete One, as well as an impressive extraction rate the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier has some great features, including an easy-to-read LED screen that displays current humidity levels and a useful Smart mode that monitors the humidity levels for you, turning the dehumidifier on and off as soon as it rises above the recommended home humidity range between 45%~55% for more economical (and hassle-free) use. There's also auto-shut off functionality when the water tank is full.
Overall, the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L dehumidifier still impressed me during testing and has become an essential in my damp-prone flat.So, if you’re looking for a powerful dehumidifier with a cheaper upfront cost, the Russell Hobbs RHDH2002 20L is well worth considering.
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Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.
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