Nothing can ruin a home quite like damp. Causing mould, black spots, crumbling paint jobs and many other unpleasant symptoms, the only thing to do is tackle the problem at the source. That’s where the best dehumidifiers come in, sucking excess moisture out of the air and preventing it from building up and infecting the environment.
Now we’re not claiming that dehumidifiers can tackle the most serious problems with damp, which could require an expert to come in and lend their expertise, but they are a brilliant solution for low to medium cases, keeping moisture at bay and preventing mould from forming and building up.
Some models can collect up to 25 litres of moisture a day, making them incredibly useful for drying clothes in the winter months (not unlike a tumble dryer, but usually less expensive).
Note: don’t confuse a dehumidifier for a humidifier, which does the opposite job of adding moisture into the air of spaces that are too dry. Mixing those up could be a bit of a disaster!
We’ve taken a look at some of the best dehumidifiers out there right now to see which ones perform the best, provide the best value for money, and just generally fit well into the home. Scroll down to see what we thought.
Read next: the best air purifiers to improve your indoor air quality and reduce allergens
The best dehumidifiers in 2021
1. Meaco 25L Low Energy Dehumidifier
Best dehumidifier overall
Capacity: 5 litres
Power: 270 watts
Dimensions: 28.7 cm (D) x 37.8 cm (W) x 64.4 cm (H)
As one of the best known dehumidifier brands around, the Meaco 25L Ultra Low Energy Dehumidifier is one of the finest out there. Is it a dehumidifier? Is it a tumble dryer? It’s sort of both. This beast sucks so much moisture out of the air it will actually dry your wet clothes as they hang nearby.
It’s also one of the first UK dehumidifiers to feature a DC inverter, something usually found in high-end air conditioning units. That means it does all these jobs without using a lot of power at just 270 watts. Despite being relatively small this dehumidifier can suck up to 25 litres of water out of the air per day. It covers an area about the size of a five bedroom house.
The tank tops out at 5ltrs though so you may have to do a lot of emptying depending on the extent of your damp. Thanks to wheels you can roll this dehumidifier to the bathroom or back door easily enough. You can use the water tank handle to easily slide out and empty the water. There’s a continuous drainage mode and two metre hose, making it the ideal dehumidifier for drying out a shed or boat.
A digital display makes access to the timer, fan speed, louvre swing, ioniser, auto defrost, auto restart and child lock settings nice and intuitive. Modes can also be selected here including laundry mode and a useful night mode that runs super quietly. All this and at a competitive price – this really is one of the best dehumidifiers you can own right now.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
2. EcoAir Desiccant Dehumidifier DD1
Best quiet dehumidifier
Capacity: 6 litres
Power: 442 watts
Dimensions: 17.4 cm (L) x 26.9 cm (W) x 44.5 cm (H)
Reasons to buy: It’s lightweight, portable and can fit anywhere
Reasons to avoid: Not ideal for big rooms
If portable is what you’re after and smaller areas are what you need to get dry then you’ll be hard pressed to find a dehumidifier that outperforms the EcoAir DD122. The 2-litre capacity unit stands just under 55cm tall making it perfect to slip into a cupboard, potentially turning it into a clothes drying space.
Equally this will be right at home in a bedroom ensuring you don’t breath in any harmful damp air while you sleep. It’ll do this without disturbing you too as the system produces just 34 dB which in real-world speak is not a lot, unless you’re a very light sleeper. In fact we found it quite soothing as a way to lull us into the land of nod.
This is a desiccant dehumidifier, meaning there’s no compressor, like most of the units in this list use. As such, that gets you the quiet performance but also a eco-friendly delivery of dry air too. That means it works in a wide variety of temperatures ranging from just 1 degree Celsius right up to 35. This will suck away the moisture in the air at a rate of 7-litres per day, cutting off when full so you can empty the tank which, even when full, is still nice and light.
Everything is super simple to use with Low, Medium and High options to pick from in terms of power. If you’re using it for clothes drying then you can pick the Laundry mode, which essentially means high power performance for faster drying clothes when hung nearby. There is also a maximum performance Turbo function, so if you really need a spill or damp area dried fast this will make short work of the job.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
3. ElectriQ Portable Low Energy Dehumidifier
Best eco-friendly dehumidifier
Capacity: 12 litres
Power: 180 watts
Dimensions: 38 cm (W), 19.5 cm (D), 58 cm (H)
Reasons to buy: Saves 40% more energy that regular dehumidifiers
Reasons to avoid: Could be a tad noisy for some
We’re all becoming more aware of our energy consumption these days, and the sheer number of machines and gadgets in our homes isn’t helping matters. That’s why it’s good to know when we’re buying something that these issues have been taken into account.
While its looks are basic, the Electriq CD12LE is not only affordable to buy but also to run, and it’s very capable at the same time. That means a 12 litres per day extraction rate into a 4 litre tank. This is all run by a humidistat so you can sit back and let this do its thing as it covers an area of about three rooms. The company claims this saves you up to 40 percent on energy compared to competitors, at just 180 watts. This is further enhanced using the timer function.
Control over the humidity ranges from 35 to 85%. That allows you to hit the perfect level and, potentially, to dry clothes too. Plus, there is a continuous mode so you can drain off a wet area like a garage easily using a hose.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
4. Pro Breeze 500ml Compact Mini
Best dehumidifier for small homes
Power: 23 Watts
Dimensions: 18 cm (L) x 28 cm (W) x 16 cm (H)
Reasons to buy: Super lightweight, very portable
Reasons to avoid: Its water tank holds just 500ml, will struggle against serious damp
If a small area needs dehumidifying then a more compact unit like this Pro Breeze 500 ml Compact Mini could be ideal. It will work to cover an entire room but anything more and you’ll be struggling. It does offer a respectable 250 ml extraction rate and a 500 ml tank so emptying isn’t difficult or something you need to do regularly. But then this is so small and quiet you’ll barely notice it’s even there. Easy to tuck away into a cupboard when not in use, too.
We’d suggest using the Pro Breeze mini for occasional jobs, or in a small, unventilated bathroom that tends to have issues when you have guests over. It’s not the most powerful thing in the world, but it will do the job just fine.
As said, this dehumidifier isn’t for eliminating serious damp, but more for managing areas where mould builds up over a longer period of time. This offers an affordable way to manage damp that may otherwise cause issues with breathing and brickwork. The unit stops working when full and illuminates a light so you can easily empty, replace the tank and it’ll kick in working again.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
5. Duronic DH05 Mini Dehumidifier
Best budget dehumidifier
Power: 22.5 watts
Dimensions: 22 cm (L) x 154 cm (W) x 13 cm (H)
Reasons to buy: A great price for under £35, clears most rooms of moisture
Reasons to avoid: It’s size limits its power and capacity
If you just want an affordable little dehumidifier to clear a room of moisture, you can’t go far wrong with this miniature machine from Duronic. Costing you very little to buy, it saves in other areas with its meagre 2.5 watts power consumption. Of course, this is largely because of the size of the unit, which is made to handle a single room at most. If that’s all you require, however, it’s an easy way to save on upfront cost.
It also means a 250 ml daily absorption rate and a tank that tops out at 500 ml before needing an empty. You are alerted to with a simple notification light. The size also means this dehumidifier is light enough to move about and is easy to empty.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
6. De’Longhi Tasciugo AriaDry DX10.WGY Dehumidifier
Best portable dehumidifier
Capacity: 10 litres
Power: 190 watts
Dimensions: 18.80 cm (L) x 49.30 cm (W) x 31.00 cm (H)
Reasons to buy: Very stylish design, with choice of colours
Reasons to avoid: At over £170, it’s a big investment
As dehumidifiers go, this has got to be one of the best-looking one out there. The DeLonghi is light, meaning that carry handle can come in useful for moving and emptying the two litre tank. However you can’t adjust fan speed and you don’t get a humidistat. This does struggle in colder environments outside of the house.
All that said you do get a Dry Clothes mode, air filter, general low energy consumption and simple controls. In fact this whole unit is simple and that’s a big positive for the dehumidifier – it just works. It might not be the most powerful but as long as it’s in a warm environment it’ll do the job. It can suck 10 litres of water out of multiple rooms at once in a day.
Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars
How to choose the best dehumidifier
Buying the correct dehumidifier can be a complicated task. It’s always best to speak with the company you’re buying from to clarify your needs and make sure you’re getting the right model for you. But to narrow it down a bit, here are some facts it helps to know.
Do I need a dehumidifier?
Damp and mould is not only ugly but dangerous too, as it can eat away at your walls. Damp can not only ruin your home but it can cause and agitate respiratory issues too. Living in a house with damp has been associated with asthma, chest infections and allergies. Having a dehumidifier might help to prevent nasty spores from becoming airborne and being breathed into your lungs.
How much should I spend on a dehumidifier?
Prices for a dehumidifier generally range between just over £30 and up to £300. What you need will help clarify what you’ll need to spend. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the more water you’ll be able to absorb. As is often the case, spending more up front can often mean a saving in the long run as you will have a more efficient machine.
What are the main types of dehumidifier?
1. Desiccant dehumidifiers
Desiccant models are made to deal with temperatures of one degree Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. While this sounds impressive it uses more power than a compressor model and generally that range won’t be needed in the UK. These use a heated absorbent material to extract water from the air and drop it into a tank.
2. Refrigerant (or compressor) dehumidifiers
The compressor model is usually a better bet for the UK as it works best at around 20 degrees Celsius which is what the average UK home sits at. It also means far less energy usage so these compressor models are more affordable to run.
These dehumidifiers draw in air using a filter over cold coils which condenses the air moisture that drips into the water tank.
What else should I consider before buying a dehumidifier?
There are a few factors to consider when deciding which dehumidifier is right for you:
1. Multiple fan speeds
Consider if you’re planning on running the unit rarely or using it to dry clothes. A single speed is fine for slow and steady use where you leave it on running. But if you want to turn it off and on and gets bursts of dry, or dry clothes quickly, you may want to look out for more fan speed settings and a humidistat which keeps the humidity at a level you select.
Size is important as you may need to dry a larger area than some dehumidifiers are able to handle. Generally anything under 500 ml is for confined areas like cupboards, wardrobes or a single room at most.
Step up to 5-10 litre machines and you can clear a larger area of around 30 square metres, aka, a few rooms. If you want to take on the house you’ll need to opt for a 10-20 litre machine.
Digital or manual controls are another area where you may have a preference. Some dehumidifiers offer a fancy digital screen where you can access settings like power and timers. Others have more basic manual controls.
This is really a matter of preference on how comfortable you are with using either menu to interact with your dehumidifier.
Actually using your dehumidifier is another task. Be sure to aim for around 45 to 60% humidity – once set at this level the humidifier should automatically turn on and off as needed to maintain that. It will turn off when the water tank is full and needs to be emptied. Also make sure you vacuum first so that dust particles aren’t being sucked into the unit.
If your dehumidifier isn’t being moved then a drain hose can be useful as a way to empty the unit without lugging that full tank of water around the house.