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Consumer Reports: Best Dehumidifiers for Basements, Crawl Spaces, and Other Damp Areas

Top-performing dehumidifiers from Consumer Reports' tests
/ Source: Consumer Reports

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Whether you’re dealing with a muggy basement, a humid laundry room, or another damp area in your home, a dehumidifier can help guard against mold and mildew. It can also make the space more comfortable.

But even the best dehumidifier won’t solve all your problems. First, address the source of the moisture in your home.

“A dehumidifier will remove water from the air, but if your problem is driven by a continuous source of water, a dehumidifier won’t be enough,” says Misha Kollontai, the Consumer Reports engineer who oversees our dehumidifier tests.

Tackle any underlying problems (like checking for leaks and clearing your dryer duct and gutters), then run a good dehumidifier to help keep the humidity level between the ideal 30 and 50 percent—any higher and mold and dust mites start to thrive.

You’ll see models from a wide variety of manufacturers in our dehumidifier ratings, including Danby, Frigidaire, GE, Hisense, hOmeLabs, Honeywell, Midea, and TCL. A little more than half of the tested dehumidifiers earn an Excellent rating in our water-removal tests. That means they remove the amount of water from the air that their capacity claims.

All dehumidifiers have a humidistat (like a thermostat for humidity), but our tests find that some are more accurate than others. The humidistat detects the humidity level in an area and cycles the dehumidifier on or off as needed to maintain the desired humidity level, similar to how your air conditioner holds the room at its set temperature.

Only a handful of the dehumidifiers we tested earn an Excellent rating in our humidistat-accuracy tests, coming very close to meeting the humidity level you select. For under $10 you can buy a low-priced hygrometer—a device that measures humidity—to keep track of humidity levels.

Changes in the Dehumidifier Market

In 2019, the Department of Energy changed its test standard by which dehumidifiers are evaluated. The DOE lowered the testing room temperature to better reflect conditions in a basement, where dehumidifiers are commonly used.

Since then, manufacturers have typically claimed that their dehumidifiers can remove between 20 and 50 pints of water from the air in 24 hours. That’s a change from older dehumidifiers, which tended to have claimed removal rates of 30, 50, and 60 pints per day.

It doesn’t mean that new dehumidifiers remove less water than the old group. “In a colder environment the dehumidifier is surrounded by less water in the air, so the volume of water it is able to pull out goes down,” Kollontai says.

All the models in our current dehumidifier ratings meet the new DOE standard.

Below are seven impressive models, with capacities ranging from about 20 pints to at least 40 pints per day. All score high enough to make our recommended list, and do well at removing water. Be sure to consult our dehumidifier buying guide as you shop. Our advice? Consider a larger capacity than you might technically need. The dehumidifier will dry your room faster, and you won’t have to empty the tank as often.

Best Large-Capacity Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers in this category pull in at least 40 pints of water per day and should be used in large rooms that are damp or wet.

Honeywell TP70WKN

CR’s take: The Honeywell TP70WKN is the highest-scoring of all dehumidifiers we tested and can remove 50 pints of moisture from the air per day. The tank, however, is smaller than most in this category, and holds just 13 pints of water. That means you’ll have to empty it more often. But like all the tested models, this one allows you to connect a hose that diverts water to a drain. A nice touch: The hose is provided.

Midea MAD50C1ZWS

CR’s take: The Midea MAD50C1ZWS checks all the key boxes for keeping your basement dry. Water removal: excellent. Humidistat accuracy: also excellent. Noise and energy efficiency: very good. Indeed, its only drawback is a relatively small, 15-pint tank, contributing to its mediocre convenience score. To remove the 50 pints it’s designed to handle daily, you’ll have to empty it several times a day, or buy and attach a hose to divert the water to a drain. Predicted reliability, though, received an Excellent rating; owner satisfaction received a Good score.

hOmeLabs HME020031N

CR’s take: The hOmeLabs HME020031N dehumidifier makes good on its promise to remove 50 pints per day; we give it an Excellent rating for water removal. Humidistat accuracy, noise and energy efficiency are receive Very Good scores. But this unit is receives just a Fair rating for convenience because of its relatively small, 12-pint tank. To avoid emptying it several times a day, you’ll have to buy and attach a hose to divert the water to a drain. Predicted reliability received an Excellent rating; hOmeLabs also was the only dehumidifier brand in our ratings to earn a Very Good score for owner satisfaction.

Best Medium-Capacity Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers we tested in this category can remove 30 to 35 pints of water from the air per day and are meant for midsized or large rooms that are somewhat damp but not wet. Only one medium-capacity recommended model in our ratings earns an Excellent rating for water removal; for alternatives, consider the higher-capacity models above.

hOmeLabs HME020006N

CR’s take: The hOmeLabs HME020006N can remove 35 pints of moisture from the air per day and is one of the quietest models in this category, garnering an Excellent rating in our noise tests. The tank holds 12 pints of water, and like most models we tested, there’s a timer and an auto-restart feature—handy if there’s a power outage. There’s a clean-filter alert, too. Predicted reliability received an Excellent rating; hOmeLabs also is the only dehumidifier brand in our ratings to earn a Very Good score for owner satisfaction.

Best Small-Capacity Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers in the small-capacity group can remove 20 to 25 pints of moisture per day and can help dry out small, damp spaces.

TCL TDW20E20 (unavailable)

CR’s take: Our best-scoring small-capacity dehumidifier, the TCL TDW20E20 earns top marks for water removal and energy efficiency. It can remove up to 20 pints per day, but its 7-pint tank is smaller than the other top performers in this group, so you’ll have to empty it more frequently.

Frigidaire FFAD2233W1

CR’s take: The Frigidaire FFAD2233W1 can remove 22 pints of water from the air per day, and the tank holds 12 pints, almost twice the amount of most models we tested in this category. It gets the job done, but the humidistat isn’t as accurate as others in this category—it earns only a Fair rating in that test. (For under $10, you can purchase a hygrometer that measures humidity.) This is a basic model and does not have an auto-restart feature or a clean-filter alert.

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