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Best dehumidifier 2022: Banish damp, mould and condensation


Don’t let moisture and damp spoil your home. Fight off the mould and misery with these mean machines

If your home suffers from damp patches or mould, the root cause is often excess moisture. Sometimes the construction of the building, poor insulation, ineffective drainage or a lack of ventilation are to blame, while cooking or drying clothes inside can have an impact. Either way, once your humidity level gets much above 60%, it’s bad for both you and your home.

It’s bad for you because bugs and mould love high humidity levels. Dust mites and mould spores thrive and can trigger allergies, skin irritation and respiratory problems such as asthma. Moods and general wellness can also be affected.

It’s bad for your home because you’ll get patches of damp and mould on your walls and ceilings – some superficial, but some creating lasting damage. You might even find your favourite things affected: books, clothing, furniture, printed art and old records can all be wrecked by mould and damp.

While opening windows and fixing up your home can help, the best way to combat excess humidity is often a dehumidifier. It will dry out your rooms, fight back against the damp and protect your walls and precious things from being affected.

Best dehumidifiers: At a glance

How to choose the best dehumidifier for you

All dehumidifiers do the same basic job of removing excess moisture from the air. However, there are three different technologies that do all the hard work.

Compressor dehumidifiers work in much the same way as a fridge or freezer. They draw in air and cool it, condensing any moisture as it passes across a refrigerated coil. The water then drips off into a water tank below, while the air is reheated and released into the room. Compressor dehumidifiers can be noisy and they use more energy than other types, but they’re also the most effective at removing lots of moisture from a larger space.

Peltier dehumidifiers also cool the air and condense the moisture content into water, but they do it using a cold heat sink rather than a compressor. They’re not as effective as compressors, removing smaller amounts of water in a given time, but they’re quieter and more energy-efficient. Peltier dehumidifiers tend to be compact, lightweight units designed for smaller spaces.

Desiccant dehumidifiers don’t use condensation. Instead, air is drawn through a fan onto a wheel made from a desiccant material, which sucks the moisture from the air. As the wheel turns, these moist patches are heated to dry them out again, with the moisture dripping into the water tank. Desiccant models tend to be expensive, but they’re quieter than compressor dehumidifiers. What’s more, they’ll work in temperatures of under 10°C where compressor and peltier units won’t work. If you need to dry out a loft or garage, you really need a dessicant model.

What size dehumidifier do I need?

It all depends on how much space you need to dehumidify. Dehumidifiers are often rated in terms of their extraction rate: how much water they can remove from the air in a single day. This is separate from their water tank capacity, which covers how much water they can store before you need to empty them out.

An extraction rate of around five to ten litres per day is fine if you’re dehumidifying a small to medium-sized room in an average UK home, but if you want to dry out larger rooms where you spend more time, you might want to go up to 10 litres and beyond. Push that further to 15, 18 or 20 litres and you can dehumidify large rooms or even a flat, terraced house or a floor of a detached house or semi.

If you’re only planning to dehumidify occasionally – for a few hours here or there in a kitchen or bathroom, for instance – you can get away with a mini-dehumidifier with an extraction rate of under one litre. It will be cheap to buy, cheap to run and perfectly effective. The same applies if you’re trying to fight damp or mould in a smaller area, such as a wardrobe, utility room or box bedroom.

If you’re pulling out 15 to 20 litres per day, the dehumidifier needs to have a tank with the capacity to handle it or you’ll be emptying it out every few hours. Three litres is the absolute minimum, while five or six litres will give you a bit less emptying to do.

Is there anything else worth looking out for?

Dehumidifiers don’t have to be noisy, and there are some good near-silent options. They will work discreetly in your home without interfering with your sleep or work, so a quiet mode or eco mode is well worth any extra, particularly if it will save you some cash in running costs.

Laundry modes are another great feature. Wet laundry drying on a rack or radiator is one of the most common causes of excess moisture in the winter months, and models with a specific laundry setting are designed to suck the water out of your drying clothes at a faster rate and prevent it from adding to the room’s humidity. They might even create airflow across a drying rack. Your clothes should dry quicker, too, making this a more eco-conscious alternative to slinging them into a tumble dryer.

How much do they cost to run?

This varies a lot with the design, size and extraction rate. Generally speaking, desiccant dehumidifiers use more energy per hour than a compressor model but can also work more effectively at removing moisture, meaning costs tend to even out.

However, it’s worth looking out for newer and more energy-efficient designs. For example, Meaco’s MeacoDry ABC dehumidifiers cost around 2.45p per hour to run, based on an electricity rate of 15.2p per kWh, while some models will cost double that at the same rate. Use your dehumidifier daily for a couple of hours and the difference soon mounts up.

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The best dehumidifiers to buy

1. Inventor Dehumidifier Fresh 12l/Day: The best-value dehumidifier

Price: £125 | Buy now from Amazon

This compact dehumidifier from UK manufacturer Inventor crams in plenty of moisture-fighting power. It will remove up to 12 litres per day, filling into a 2.1-litre tank, and there’s a hose for continuous drainage if you’ve got a drain within easy reach. The “Silent” function is arguably a misnomer: it’s quieter, but at around 41dB there’s still a noticeable fan hum. Otherwise, this is an easy-to-use dehumidifier that does the job, with a digital humidity indicator, built-in air filtration and an automatic shut-off when the tank gets full.

At 11.4kg, it’s just about light enough to move from room to room, and the smart defrost function means it will work in cooler environments than many compressor models. There’s also an automatic timer to turn it on and off when you’re not in the room, plus a continuous dehumidification mode you can use when you have a damp room, spillages or clothes to be dried. If you have a larger house or want to dry multiple rooms at once, you might want to step up to a 20-litre model, but this is a brilliant no-fuss option at a reasonable price.

Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 2.1 litres; Extraction rate: 12 litres per day; Dimensions: 42 x 32 x 21.5cm (HWD); Weight: 11.4kg; Warranty: 2 years

2. Meaco MeacoDry ABC: The best quiet dehumidifier for smaller homes

Price: £140 | Buy now from John Lewis

In smaller homes, noise can be a serious issue, as you don’t have a large enough space to absorb the racket of a typical dehumidifier. This is where Meaco’s ABC range comes in. It’s the culmination of two years of development work on a new kind of compressor, resulting in noise levels of just 35dB to 40dB. At its quietest, it’s not much louder than the kitchen fridge, and actually quieter than many desiccant dehumidifiers.

Weighing 10kg, it’s just about compact and lightweight enough to take from room to room, and at under 50cm tall it doesn’t dominate the space like larger units. Yet it still does a fine job of extracting moisture – up to 10 litres per day – and it has a laundry mode and an auto-off timer, although you may need a bigger model if you have more than a small rack of clothes to dry. Got a small flat or just a couple of rooms that need a little help with mould and damp? The MeacoDry ABC does the job without making too much fuss.

Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 2.6 litres; Extraction rate: 10 litres per day; Dimensions: 46.3 x 30 x 25cm (HWD); Warranty: 2 years, which can be extended to 5 years

Buy now from John Lewis

3. Ughezz Dehumidifier 1000ml: The best dehumidifier under £50

Price: £46 | Buy now from Amazon

Small and lightweight, the Ughey dehumidifier is easy to carry around the house and a breeze to empty once its one-litre tank is full. Using Peltier technology, it’s quiet too, and its one-touch controls make it one of the easiest dehumidifiers on our list to operate.

Although compact, it’s more powerful than it looks, packing enough of a punch to stop your kitchen from getting steamy while you cook or to clear the mist from a busy bathroom. It can only extract around 450ml per day, so it’s not up to handling larger spaces, but it’s ideal for less intensive use or smaller rooms.

An internal LED light that cycles through a rainbow of colours is a nice touch, and it turns red when the tank is approaching full (800ml), so you’ll know when it needs attention. Don’t worry if you don’t get to it in time, though, because it shuts off automatically when full. The machine stays very clean while it works, but there’s an easy-to-remove panel on the back for clearing out any gunk.

Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 1 litre; Extraction rate: 450ml per day; Dimensions: 26 x 15 x 15cm (HWD); Weight: 1.3kg; Warranty: 1 year

4. Argo by Ebac 2650E Smart 18l Dehumidifier: The best air-dehumidifier for mid-sized homes

Price: £260 | Buy now from Argos

This Ebac model gives you a step up in drying power from the smaller units; with an 18-litre extraction rate and a 3.5-litre tank, it can combat moisture in a three- to four-bedroom house without any worries, and help banish mould and condensation. In fact, its manufacturer claims that it’s been designed specifically for the UK climate, and that it will take more water out than other brands with lower running costs. Ebac’s intelligent Smart Control system constantly monitors moisture levels in your home and proactively acts to stop condensation building up before mould or damp become a problem.

At 12kg it’s heavy even before you start filling up the tank, but it’s powerful enough to dehumidify a large room or a whole floor at a time. What’s more, it has a laundry boost feature to help get the washing dry faster, a timer function and built-in air purification through a carbon filter (though not a HEPA filter as you’ll find in stand-alone devices). Other dehumidifiers are more powerful or quieter and less obtrusive, but the Ebac is a great option for medium to large-sized rooms or an average three-bedroom home.

Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 3.5 litres; Extraction rate: 18 litres per day; Dimensions: 54.5 x 34 x 26.5cm (HWD); Weight: 12kg; Warranty: 2 years

Buy now from Argos

5. MeacoDry Arete One: The best dehumidifier for larger homes

Price: £269 | Buy now from Argos

High-capacity dehumidifiers are usually power-hungry and noisy, but the MeacoDry Arete One is designed to do more with less energy and a lower volume, topping out at 40dB during typical use and keeping consumption to around 200W. In fact, both figures fall dramatically as humidity levels start to drop. It’s an excellent dehumidifier for larger spaces and, unlike most compressor models, will work at temperatures of between 5 and 25°C.

Its talents don’t end there; it has a laundry mode to dry your washing and a night mode for working quietly while you get some kip, although it’s still not really suitable for lighter sleepers. It also has an air purifier mode, complete with a proper HEPA filter. Throw in easy-to-use controls and a five-year warranty, and you’re looking at one of the most feature-packed and effective dehumidifiers out there, and easily the best for medium-sized and larger homes.

Key specs Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 4.8 litres; Extraction rate: 20 litres per day; Dimensions: 56.2 x 37.6 x 23.2cm (HWD); Weight: 15kg; Warranty: 5 years

6. Meaco Platinum 20l LE: The best dehumidifier for larger spaces

Price: £260 | Buy now from Argos

It’s not the sharpest-looking unit, but this low-energy Meaco dehumidifier can remove up to 20 litres per day, and with a maximum airflow of up to 160m³ per hour, it will work well in larger rooms or even a medium-sized home, particularly if you’re prepared to move it between the upstairs and the downstairs. It also bundles in a HEPA air filter and has a laundry mode for getting your clothes dry.

With the added power comes a little extra noise and energy consumption, although it’s not anywhere near as bad as some comparable models, and there’s a hefty six-litre tank to empty (although you can have continual drainage if you provide the plumbing and the hose). Luckily, the handle and cover should help you avoid any spillage, and it’s easy to get the tank in and out.

The smaller Meaco ABC dehumidifiers are cheaper to buy and cheaper to run, but if they haven’t got the power to fight damp and condensation in your home, this is a great step up.

Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 6 litres; Extraction rate: 20 litres per day; Dimensions: 59.5 x 38.5 x 29cm (HWD); Weight: 12.6kg; Warranty: 2 years

7. EcoAir DD1 Simple: The best dehumidifier for colder spaces

Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon

This EcoAir model can extract up to seven litres of moisture per day, and as a desiccant-type dehumidifier, it works at lower temperatures than your average refrigerant device.

It’s slightly louder and consumes more power than the equivalent refrigerant, but can also run more effectively over shorter periods. That makes it a good bet for drying clothes or using in an outside office, garage or workshop where damp is becoming a problem, and it’s relatively lightweight and portable to boot.

With a two-litre tank, it might need emptying more regularly than some models, but there’s a 1m hose if you need continuous draining into a sink or drain. And while there’s no timer, you do get a laundry mode and a choice of quiet and turbo functions, and the rotary control is – as advertised – simple and easy to use.

Keep it running all day long and the costs could mount up, but this is an excellent dehumidifier for situations where a refrigerant model just won’t work.

Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Desiccant; Tank size: 2 litres; Extraction rate: 6 litres per day; Dimensions: 48.5 x 29 x 17.5cm; Weight: 6kg; Warranty: 2 years

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