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The best dehumidifiers for preventing damp and mould, with advice from experts

Worried about damp, mould and condensation in your home this winter? Check out our list of the best dehumidifiers for reducing humidity levels, as recommended by experts.

The best dehumidifers (1)

If you’re looking to buy a dehumidifier, it’s more than likely that you’re also looking to remedy an issue in your home. Whether you’ve noticed condensation building up on your windows or you’re worried about damp from drying your clothes indoors, dehumidifiers are an affordable and perhaps the quickest and most effective way of regulating the levels of moisture in your home.

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Since dehumidifiers deal with water once it’s already in the air, they’re not the answer to fixing a damp wall or patch of mould. However, they’re a great preventative measure when combined with a few other useful hacks. Dehumidifiers work by extracting water from the air and releasing dry air back into your home, which, according to one of our experts, can drop humidity levels by as much as 50-60%.

When it comes to buying a dehumidifier, there are a few things to look out for. Depending on the temperature and the size of the area you plan to use a dehumidifier in, you’ll need to consider wattage, the amount of water that it can remove in a day, tank size, and whether you should opt for a desiccant or compressor-style appliance.

To help to make an informed purchase, The Recommended spoke to two damp and mould experts to compile our list of the best dehumidifiers for regulating moisture levels in your home. We’ve also asked them some of the most commonly asked questions about dehumidifiers and calculated how much one will likely cost you to run – all of which you can find at the bottom of this article.

Best dehumidifiers at a glance:

Best for small households: Meaco MeacoDry ABC Dehumidifier 10L

Energy-efficient features

1. Meaco MeacoDry ABC Dehumidifier 10L

A perfectly sized dehumidifier for small apartments or houses with one to two bedrooms, the MeacoDry ABC is designed to collect up to 10 litres of moisture per day.

This dehumidifier has an energy consumption of 160 watts, which is plenty for the size of the appliance. Any larger, and you’d be paying for extra energy unnecessarily. With the Meaco Dry ABC, you can also set a target humidity level, and the appliance will switch itself off and back on again to reach that target. It also has a built-in timer function, which is great for programming it to run when you’re asleep or away from home. The addition of a drain spout, which you can connect to a garden house for continuous drainage, is also handy, as it means you don’t have to empty the storage tank manually.

  • Estimated cost per hour = £0.05p

Best for large households: Meaco 20L Low Energy Dehumidifier and Air Purifier 2 in 1

Doubles as an air purifier

2. Meaco 20L Low Energy Dehumidifier and Air Purifier 2 in 1

With a capacity of 20 litres and an energy consumption of 225 watts, this dehumidifier from Meaco is an ideal size for controlling moisture levels in homes with three to five people.

Featuring a HEPA filter for catching dust and mould spores, this dehumidifier from Meaco also doubles as an air purifier, which is great for people with respiratory illnesses as it helps to clean the surrounding air. Like the 10-litre version above, this Meaco dehumidifier also has a built-in humidistat which monitors the moisture levels of the room and automatically switches the appliance on and off to hit the humidity target – saving you electricity and unnecessary running costs.

  • Estimated cost per hour = £0.09p

Best for energy-efficiency: Pro Breeze 12L/Day Dehumidifier with Digital Humidity Display

With a 24-hour timer

3. Pro Breeze 12LDay Dehumidifier with Digital Humidity Display

With an automatic humidity sensor and a 24-hour timer, this dehumidifier is a great energy-efficient pick as it allows you to input a target humidity level and set it exactly when you want it to operate.

What makes this dehumidifier from Pro Breeze energy efficient is that it shuts off when a target humidity is reached, only turning on again when it detects a change. It is also designed to collect up to 12 litres a day, which is ideal for homes with one or two bedrooms. It also comes with a continuous drainage hose, which means you don’t have to empty the 1.8-litre water tank during use.

  • Estimated cost per hour = £0.07p

Best for drying laundry inside: NETTA 12L/Day Low Energy Dehumidifier

Laundry drying mode

4. NETTA 12LDay Low Energy Dehumidifier

With a dedicated laundry mode and a 24-hour timer, this 12-litre dehumidifier is great for regulating moisture levels in rooms where you’re drying clothes indoors.

This 12-litre dehumidifier from Netta consumes 170 watts of energy, making it a suitable size for households of one to two people. This dehumidifier has a removable 1.5-litre water tank, as well as a continuous drainage option for operating when you’re away from home. The built-in humidistat also means you set the appliance to reach a target humidity level.

  • Estimated cost per hour = £0.06

Best for large laundry loads: ANSIO Dehumidifier 26L

High capacity

5. ANSIO Dehumidifier 26L

Designed to collect up to 26 litres of moisture per day, this dehumidifier is great for households drying laundry for three or four people on a regular basis, regardless of the size of the home.

This dehumidifier from Ansio allows you to set the desired humidity level of a room between 30 and 80% relative humidity and automatically shuts off when the desired target is met. It also has a 24-hour timer, which is useful for helping to dry laundry when you’re out of the house or asleep.

  • Estimated cost per hour = £0.11

Best 2-in-1 dehumidifier: ElectriQ 12 Litre Smart WiFi Dehumidifier and Air Purifier

Two machines in one

6. ElectriQ 12 Litre Smart WiFi Dehumidifier and Air Purifier

This dehumidifier with a built-in air purifier features a HEPA filter designed to trap pollutants such as dust, pet dander and smoke, which is helpful for people with respiratory illnesses.

As a dehumidifier, this appliance can collect up to 12 litres of moisture a day and has a power consumption of 185 watts. It also comes fitted with an adjustable humidistat for setting the desired humidity level between 35 and 80% relative humidity. It can also be used with a water tank or permanent drainage hose.

  • Estimated cost per hour = £0.06

Best for cold spaces: EcoAir DD1 Simple Blue Desiccant Dehumidifier

For spaces without heating

7. EcoAir DD1 Simple Blue Desiccant Dehumidifier

This desiccant-style dehumidifier from EcoAir is designed to remove moisture from the air in spaces below 10 degrees Celcius, such as garages, sheds and rooms where there is no heating.

This dehumidifier from EcoAir is designed to collect up to 7.5 litres of water per day. It has an energy consumption of 300 watts and is said to be capable of collecting moisture in spaces as low as 1 degree Celcius. It has a water tank with a capacity of 2 litres and comes with a 1-metre hose for continuous drainage.

  • Estimated cost per hour = £0.10p

Best budget dehumidifier: Pro Breeze Dehumidifier 500ml

Low running cost

8. Pro Breeze Dehumidifier 500ml

With a low price tag and energy consumption of just 23 watts, this is the most budget-friendly dehumidifier on our list, costing approximately just 1 pence per hour to run.

This dehumidifier is designed to remove up to 250ml of water per day and has a 500ml water tank, meaning that it is only really suitable for very small spaces such as home offices, wardrobes and cupboards. It also has an auto shut-off function, so it turns off by itself when the water tank is full.

  • Estimated cost per hour = £0.01p

Do dehumidifiers work?

The short answer is yes, they do. According to Thomas Goodman from Myjobquote.co.uk – an online service that connects homeowners with tradespeople – dehumidifiers can drop humidity levels by as much as 50-60% in your home. However, they don’t eliminate humidity completely and, therefore, won’t fix any pre-existing issues such as damp and mould.

Chris Michael, managing director of Meaco – a supplier of home and commercial dehumidifiers and air purifiers – adds that a dehumidifier is “the quickest way to dry air in your home”. They are also “affordable to run, and can even help to reduce your energy bills because dry air is warmer air, so your heating won’t have to work so hard to keep your home warm”.

What should people look for (and avoid) when shopping for a dehumidifier?

When shopping for a dehumidifier, there’s a surprising amount to consider. Much of this will depend on what it is that you want a dehumidifier to do.

Dehumidifiers to help with laundry

If you’re buying a dehumidifier because you’re drying clothes indoors, the size you should opt for will depend on the number of people in your home and the amount of washing you do each week.

According to Chris, if you live alone, a 12-litre compressor dehumidifier with an energy consumption of around 150 watts will be plenty. As a rule, he says that you only really need to move up to a larger machine if you’re drying laundry for three to four people on a regular basis. In this case, a 20-litre or 25-litre dehumidifier with an energy consumption of no more than 270 watts will be plenty.

In terms of features to look out for when drying laundry, Chris says to look for appliances that automatically shut off after six hours, as this means you can set it before leaving home or going to sleep and know that it will turn off. He adds that dehumidifiers with humidistats are also desirable, as they measure the amount of moisture in the air and turn off when the humidity is low enough. Not only are these types of dehumidifiers more energy-efficient, but they are also more cost-effective to run.

Dehumidifiers to prevent mould and condensation

If you’re looking to prevent mould and condensation, the size of the dehumidifier best suited to you will depend on the size of your home and the number of people living there.

According to Chris, if you live in an apartment with one or two bedrooms, a ten or 12-litre dehumidifier with an energy consumption of around 150 watts is sufficient. For larger homes, a 20-litre dehumidifier will be suitable for three to five occupants (no more than 200 watts), while larger homes should consider a 25-litre machine (no more than 270 watts).

Dehumidifiers to help improve your health

As Chris puts it, “a damp home is not a healthy home”, adding that high humidity levels can exacerbate illnesses such as respiratory diseases, eczema, asthma and arthritis, with the young and old the most vulnerable.

If you fall into this category, Chris says that it’s important to buy a humidifier with a medical-grade H13 HEPA purifier filter that cleans the air as it treats it, as this will help to capture mould spores and dust.

How much does a dehumidifier cost to run?

Based on current electricity prices, the hourly cost of using a dehumidifier is approximately 5p for 150W dehumidifiers, 10p per hour for 300W dehumidifiers, and 15p per hour for 450W dehumidifiers.

We’ve calculated an approximate hourly operating cost for all of the dehumidifiers listed in this guide. If you’d like to know how we did it, use the following calculation.

  1. Multiply the appliance Wattage by 1 (number of hours) to calculate the Watt-hours
  2. Divide the Watt-hours by 1000 to calculate the Kilowatt-hours (kWh)
  3. Multiply the kWh by the price of electricity per kWh to calculate the appliance’s hourly operating cost

According to Ofgem, from 1st October, the current electricity price cap for households with typical consumption on a dual electricity and gas bill and paying by direct debit is £0.34 per kWh. The amount you pay may vary from the current price cap depending on your energy tariff. To find out how much you pay, see your electricity bill.

What is a refrigerant dehumidifier?

Best suited to ordinary indoor use above 10 degrees Celsius, refrigerant (or compressor) dehumidifiers are the most common and widely used in homes. As Thomas explains, they work by drawing in air over a cooled metal plate where moisture then condenses and drips into the tank. Since the surface of the plate needs to be colder than the air, this machine works best in environments over 10 degrees, which is the vast majority of homes.

What is a desiccant dehumidifier?

Desiccant dehumidifiers, on the other hand, are best suited to spaces under 10 degrees Celsius. As Chris explains, “a lot of desiccant units are used in garages, sheds and storerooms where there is no heating, and they are really effective in these environments”.

He continues: “Essentially, the air is drawn in over a filter and passed over an absorbent material called Zeolite. When the material is saturated, a heater in the dehumidifier blows warm dry air across the Zeolite, and the moisture condenses into water which is then dropped into a collection tank. The warm air is then passed back out of the dehumidifier at a higher temperature than the air that was taken in, so this dehumidifier can also act as a gentle heater.”

How to avoid damp and mould in your home

Chris and Thomas have outlined the following steps you can take to avoid the build-up of damp and mould in your home.

  • Reducing moisture vapour: Everyday tasks, such as cooking and showering, can create moisture without you even realising, explains Chris. To combat this, you should make conscious steps to limit the amount of steam released into your home. For example, putting lids on saucepans and using an extractor fan (or opening a window) when showering can make a big difference. Thomas agrees, adding that opening the windows in your home for around 30 minutes every day will allow humid air to ventilate out of the property.
  • Drying clothes indoors efficiently: With energy costs rising this winter, many of us will be looking to reduce the amount we use costly tumble dryers. To help prevent damp, Chris advises using a rinse cycle to reduce the amount of water left in your clothes before you hang them up to dry. When you do, place drying racks away from walls, hang items with as much space in between as possible, and open windows to encourage airflow. Thomas adds to make sure that you dry your clothes in a well-ventilated area (if possible) and to close any doors to the rest of your home.
  • Warming your home without central heating: Natural sunlight can help to warm your home and dry out damp air, says Chris. It’s, therefore, a good idea to open your curtains and blinds during the day in autumn and winter to prevent moisture from becoming trapped around your windows, causing condensation. Chris adds that laying rugs and mats on wooden and stone floors can help to make rooms in your home feel warmer.
  • External walls: Similar to the above advice, Chris says it’s worthwhile opening doors of built-in wardrobes that sit on outside walls and to keep furniture, clothes and shoes from touching outside walls, too. Even keeping gutters clean can reduce the amount of water that may spill down external walls and contribute to the build-up of moisture, says Chris.
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If you want to read more expert-recommended round-ups and product guides, check out our Household page, where you’ll find more home recommendations, including the best energy efficient heaters, the best hooded blankets, and the best alarm clocks.