If you’re looking for the best whole-house dehumidifier, there are a few factors you must take into account. The most important, of course, are the size of your house and the corresponding capacity of the dehumidifier you need. How do you know the right size or capacity? I’ll give you all the necessary information to find out for yourself. I picked seven of the best whole-house dehumidifiers you can choose from depending on your needs.
In certain climates, a dehumidifier is a necessary addition to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. High humidity inhibits the growth of mold and mildew, which can trigger allergic reactions and damage furniture or your house structure. The main purpose of a dehumidifier is to remove excess moisture in the air, helping maintain the indoor humidity within a comfortable range.
For easy humidity control no matter the climate, connect a whole-house dehumidifier to your HVAC. Alternatively, get a portable unit you can use throughout the house.
Later we’ll go through the details about how I picked my top seven and how you can find the perfect fit for your house. First, take a look at the table below of my top picks and the important features I looked for.
Best Whole-House Dehumidifiers
|Model||Aprilaire 1820 Pro||Santa Fe Compact70||AlorAir Sentinel HDi90||AlorAir Sentinel HD55||Aprilaire 1870 XL Pro||COLZER 70-pint||Ecor Pro DryFan 200 pint|
|Capacity (AHAM)||70 PPD||70 PPD||90 PPD||55 PPD||130 PPD||70 PPD||74 PPD|
|Coverage||2,800 sq. ft.||2,300 sq. ft.||2,600 sq. ft.||1,300 sq.ft.||7,200 sq. ft.||4,500 sq. ft.||3,000 sq. ft.|
|Max. Airflow||200 CFM||150 CFM||210 CFM||130 CFM||310 CFM||110 CFM||309 CFM|
|Energy Factor||2.2L/kWh||2.4L/kWh||2.69L/kWh||2.47L/kWh||2.9L/kWh||Not indicated||Not indicated|
|Current||5.8 Amps||5.1 Amps||5.56 Amps||4.1 Amps||8.3 Amps||Not indicated||11.7 Amps|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||12.5 x 12.5 x 25 in.||12 x 12 x 21 in.||17.7 x 15.2 x 23.2 in.||11.81 x 11.81 x 17.72 in.||18.75 x 19.5 x 30 in.||23.8 x 11.4 x 11.4 in.||13.58 x 13.86 x 24.8 in.|
|Weight||56 lbs.||55 lbs.||57.2 lbs.||57 lbs.||113 lbs||28.7 lbs.||45.2 lbs.|
Best Whole-House Dehumidifier: Aprilaire 1820 Dehumidifier
After hours of research and analyzing more than 20 products, down to seven, Aprilaire 1820 is my top choice dehumidifier for whole house application. It’s the perfect size for the average home. It removes 70 pints of moisture per day at average 80°F, 60% relative humidity as dictated by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). It has an airflow rate of 200 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and covers an area of up to 2,800 sq ft.
This energy-efficient dehumidifier features an interactive display that is easy to set up and use. You can mount the control panel on the front of the unit. Set a humidity level and it will automatically start dehumidifying when humidity is above your desired level.
Like other dehumidifiers of its capacity, the Aprilaire continuously drains the condensate via gravity. Just attach the included hose to the outlet port and place the dehumidifier above a drain. The unit also comes with a filter that you will need to clean or replace at least once a year. Aprilaire is USA-made and built to last with corrosion-resistant aluminum coils and a reliable five-year warranty.
One thing I don’t like is it doesn’t come with a built-in pump, which limits the drainage options. If you really need the pump functionality, I recommend looking for an external pump. For larger spaces between 2,800 and 5,200 square feet, consider the Aprilaire 1830 or 1850 units. Watch this video for more information on Aprilaire whole-house dehumidifiers.
- Automatic humidity control
- Efficient and effective moisture removal
- Excellent quality built to last
- Five-year warranty
- No built-in pump
Best for Crawl Space: Santa Fe Compact70 Dehumidifier
Crawl spaces can be a breeding ground for moisture and mold. If not controlled, it will spread to the whole house through your air vents. To maintain the crawl space, find a dehumidifier specifically designed for it.
One of the best ducted units built for crawl spaces is the Santa Fe Compact70. It removes 70 pints of moisture per day. This powerful dehumidifier is Energy Star certified with an energy factor of 2.4L/kWh, helping you save money on electricity bills.
With an airflow rate of 150 CFM, the 1820 covers up to 2,200 sq ft. It operates in temperatures between 49°F and 90°F. Set your ideal humidity level from 20% and 80% using the adjustable knob.
You may run the fan continuously or only when the unit is operating. To purify the air and protect the internal components, it features a pre-filter and a MERV-13 filter. Although not as effective, a MERV-11 filter may also be used as a replacement.
The unit comes with a drain hose for continuous drainage. It also features auto restart and defrost functions. See more customer reviews here.
- Energy Star rated
- Dual filtration system
- Top-rated crawl space dehumidifier
- Excellent quality
- No built-in pump
Best Value: AlorAir Sentinel HDi90 Dehumidifier
When looking for heavy-duty dehumidifiers for residential use, AlorAir often came up in my search. AlorAir offers a range of high efficiency dehumidifiers for crawl space and whole-house applications. My top pick from their crawl space dehumidifier line is the AlorAir Sentinel HDi90. It is energy efficient and affordable, giving you great value for your money.
This highly cost-effective Energy Star dehumidifier has an energy factor of 2.69L/kWh, removing moisture up to 90 PPD under AHAM conditions (80F, 60% RH), and a maximum of 198 PPD. With a maximum airflow of 210 CFM, it can cover a 2,600 sq ft area.
The unit features the Hot Gas Valve system for quick and efficient defrosting, allowing the unit to run in temperatures as low as 36°F. This ensures continuous operation without having to stop periodically to defrost. AlorAir uses a rare earth alloy tube evaporator which protects the unit from corrosion and freon leakage. This high quality device comes with a five-year warranty.
One of the best features of the Sentinel HDi90 is the built-in heavy-duty pump that pushes the condensate continuously. Another feature that makes it ideal for crawl spaces and whole-house dehumidification is the optional remote control. It also comes with duct flanges to connect it to your central air ducting system. It uses a MERV-8 filter that you can easily remove and clean. Overall, with its high-end specifications and low initial price, it is one of the best choices for small to medium houses.
- Energy Star rated
- Low temperature operation down to 36F
- High durability
- With built-in pump
- Five-year warranty
- Small coverage area
Best Dehumidifier for Small Spaces: AlorAir Sentinel HD55 Dehumidifier
The smallest and cheapest ductable dehumidifier in our list is the compact AlorAir Sentinel HD55. I really like how small yet functional this dehumidifier is. It is also Energy Star rated so you can be sure of high performance without racking your monthly bills. This small yet powerful dehumidifier extracts up to 55 PPD at AHAM conditions or 120 PPD at saturation. It has an airflow rate of 130 CFM and covers up to 1,300 sq ft.
With its onboard humidistat, you can set your desired humidity level from 35% to 90% and the unit will work until this is reached. It is also equipped with the HGV defrosting system which enables operation down to 36F. Once frost is detected on the coils, the unit defrosts to prevent damages. AlorAir uses epoxy-coated coils to protect the internal components against corrosion and freon leakage. The five-year warranty also applies for this model.
In particularly narrow spaces, you may use the optional remote control. Due to its size and capacity, the Sentinel HD55 is ideal for small and tightly sealed crawl spaces. One downside is there is no built-in pump, which means you need to attach the drain hose provided and rely on gravity for continuous drainage.
- Energy Star rated
- Low temperature operation down to 36F
- High durability
- Five-year warranty
- Small capacity and coverage
- No built-in pump
Best Dehumidifier for Large Spaces: Aprilaire 1830 Whole-House Dehumidifier
The Aprilaire 1870 Whole-house Dehumidifier has a high capacity of 130 PPD or up to 16 gallons of water removed per day under AHAM conditions, and 250 PPD at saturation. With a coverage area of up to 7,200 sq ft, it is perfect for whole-home dehumidification and commercial purposes. It has been granted the Most Efficient ENERGY STAR rating in 2020 with an energy factor of 2.9L/kWh.
This powerful dehumidifier has a high airflow of 310 CFM. Built to save you from costly repairs and maintenance, it is made with corrosion-resistant aluminum coils in the USA and backed with a five-year warranty.
The 1870 features intuitive controls that anyone can use. For easy access, the control panel can be mounted on the top or side of the unit. Set it and forget – just attach a hose in the outlet, place the dehumidifier over a drain and set your desired humidity level. The drawback is it doesn’t come with a built-in pump, which should be a standard for a unit of its capacity. Additionally, it can be difficult to move around due to the size. For its premium quality and size, Aprilaire is priced at the high end of commercial dehumidifiers.
- Most energy efficient with energy factor of 2.9L/kWh
- Powerful airflow of 310 CFM with minimal noise level
- Excellent quality built to last
- Five-year warranty
- Bulky device
- No built-in pump
Portable Option: COLZER 70-pint Dehumidifier
Among all the heavy whole-house dehumidifiers in the list, I also included this portable option in case you live in an apartment or any building where ducting is not possible. This high-capacity portable dehumidifier by COLZER can cover an area of 4,000 sq ft. It removes up to 70 pints of moisture from the air in 24 hours. Just be sure to open all doors between rooms to cover everything.
You can see the current humidity level on the LED display and set your preferred level with the controls found on top. The unit will automatically stop when the ambient humidity becomes lower than your setting, and restarts when it detects a higher level. The set humidity needs to be lower than the current room humidity by at least 10% or the unit will not work.
The top display also includes a 24-hour timer and the fan speed button to choose between fast and slow speed. You can also choose between two modes: dehumidifying (DEH) and drying laundry (DRY). If you’re using it in the bedroom, this unit has the added convenience of the lights off feature which turns off all the lights on the front and top display.
The compact structure of this unit reflects its small reservoir. The 4.5-liter tank will need to be emptied at least twice on a hot and humid summer day. This unit has an audible and visible alert when the tank is full. If you don’t have time for manual draining, use the included 6.56-ft hose to allow for gravity drainage.
Like most portable dehumidifiers, the COLZER 70-pint dehumidifier has the auto shut-off, auto restart, and auto defrost features. It also comes with a washable filter that you will need to clean once or twice every month. It is not Energy Star certified like the rest of our picks, but it performs exceptionally well in average conditions.
- Compact and portable design
- Easy-to-use intelligent controls
- Continuous drain option with hose included
- Small tank capacity for its size
- Low energy efficiency
Best for Low Temperatures: Ecor Pro DryFan EPD200 Desiccant Dehumidifier
In low temperatures, your options become limited. Investing in a desiccant model is your best choice. The Ecor Pro DryFan EPD200 is the only desiccant dehumidifier in our list. It operates in a wide range of temperatures, from as low as -4F, to as high as 104F.
This light and compact dehumidifier removes 74 PPD under AHAM conditions and up to 95 PPD at saturation. It has an airflow rate of 309 CFM and covers an area of 2,000 square feet.
It uses the four hole system: it has two separate inlets and outlets for the process air and regeneration air stream. You also have multiple ducting options for this unit. With its light and compact design, any able-bodied person can easily carry and install the EPD200. The stainless steel interior and exterior of the unit can handle harsh conditions and last for a long time.
It self-regulates to maximize energy efficiency at any temperature and humidity level. It also features auto restart in the event of a power interruption. You may connect the Ecor Pro EPHUM220 humidistat for remote operation and control. If you get extremely cold winters in your area, this is a great investment for crawl space, garage, and whole-house dehumidification. Although, keep in mind that desiccant dehumidifiers typically come at a higher price than refrigerant models.
- Light, small and compact
- Operates in low temperatures down to -4F
- High quality and durability
- No humidistat
- Higher cost
Signs You Need a Dehumidifier
High humidity inhibits mold growth and dust mites, which can cause discomfort, allergy symptoms, and other health issues. If left unattended, it can also lead to serious damage to your properties. The best way to eliminate excess moisture and prevent any of these problems is by investing in a good dehumidifier. If you notice any of the following signs, it may be time to invest in a whole-house dehumidifier.
- The optimal indoor humidity is from 35% to 50%. If you have a hygrometer and it often reads above 60%, this may be a sign that you need a dehumidifier to control humidity. Aside from causing discomfort, prolonged exposure to high humidity can negatively impact your health. If you live in a place with a humid climate or in a small apartment with poor ventilation, you can expect high humidity levels.
- If you notice water droplets on the windows, this may be a sign that your home is too humid. Condensation occurs when the warm and moist air touches a cold surface, such as the windows, mirrors, and metallic surfaces. In worse cases, you may find water stains or damp spots in the walls and ceiling.
- A musty or moldy smell is another indicator of excessive moisture in the air. Damp and humid environments encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Mold spores may trigger allergic reactions or cause irritation in people with allergies or asthma. Poor air quality also takes a toll on otherwise healthy individuals.
- Little black spots, especially in the bathroom walls or around the toilet and bathtub, are signs of mold growth. Wooden surfaces and other porous building materials are highly susceptible to mold and mildew if moisture levels aren’t controlled. Some common spots for hidden mold are behind furniture, under permanent carpeting, or between walls and insulation.
- Excess moisture can cause rotting wood and termite infestation. It can also lead to rusting, corrosion, and rapid destruction of metal surfaces and equipment.
- If you notice cracks in drywall and gaps between the floor and baseboard, this may also be signs of an underlying humidity problem. If left for long, it can damage the very structure of your house.
What to Consider Before Buying a Whole-house Dehumidifier
The best dehumidifier for your whole house depends on many factors. Upon analyzing multiple products and user reviews from different sites, I’ve found the following features are most important when making a decision.
The first thing you need to consider is the amount of moisture the dehumidifier can remove per day. Whole-house dehumidifiers have a moisture removal capacity of at least 50 pints up to 200 pints per day.
The AHAM capacity is the amount collected at the average condition of 80°F and 60% RH, as recommended by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. This is closer to the actual performance of the dehumidifier in real life settings.
The maximum capacity is the largest amount that it can extract per day at saturation (90°F and 90% RH). We included both the maximum and AHAM capacities of each model to show you their full capabilities.
To know which pint capacity is best, get the dimensions of your space and measure the humidity levels. A larger space requires a higher capacity. At the same time, more severe dampness calls for a more powerful dehumidifier. However, it doesn’t mean that you should get the highest capacity you can find. Use only the right size for your space to maximize its effectiveness and efficiency.
It is essential to get a dehumidifier that can cover as much space as you have. The wattage you need in order to run your dehumidifier depends on the product’s energy efficiency and the amount of space that it has to cover. The airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), is the rate in which the unit can process the surrounding air. Typically, a higher airflow means a larger coverage area, but it can vary greatly between different brands and models.
Most dehumidifiers have the option for continuous drainage via gravity. Simply attach the hose onto the outlet and let gravity do the work for you. Some heavy duty dehumidifiers also come with a built-in pump. This allows for automatic draining in a vertical position up to a certain height. You can also purchase an external condensate pump for units that do not have it built in.
If you’re going to be using your dehumidifier year-round, it’s also important to know its energy efficiency before your purchase. Look for the energy factor or the volume of moisture (in liters) that the unit removes per kilowatt-hour of energy. The higher the energy factor, the more energy efficient the dehumidifier. Check out the Energy Star website for more information. Units with an Energy Star rating meets the EPA’s energy efficiency requirements.
Low Temperature Operation
Even the best dehumidifiers may have some trouble working at low temperatures. If your house gets extremely cold during the winter season, make sure you look for models that can continue operation when temperatures fall to 41°F or below. Whole-home dehumidifiers are usually built to handle tougher conditions than portable home dehumidifiers. Desiccant models are specially known for their ability to work in lower temperatures down to -4°F.
A built-in humidistat keeps track of the temperature and humidity level in the area. Set a target level and the unit will shut off automatically once this is reached, thus reducing your energy consumption. When humidity rises, it will start dehumidifying again. This can be very convenient and even necessary if your dehumidifier is ducted to your HVAC system.
Like commercial units, whole-home dehumidifiers are mostly built with steel or heavy-duty plastic, instead of the lightweight plastic present in portable units. This makes them more durable and likely to survive in harsh conditions. Look for a model which offers reliable warranty and service in case the need for repairs or other issues arise. A longer warranty period means the manufacturer has confidence in the quality and durability of its product.
Some extra features like the auto restart can be really convenient in a crawl space dehumidifier. In the event of a power outage, the auto restart function returns the dehumidifier to operation at your desired settings once power is restored. Some dehumidifiers like the AlorAir units also give you an option for remote control and monitoring. This can be extra useful in narrow spaces.
Benefits of using a whole-home dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes and with different features for your specific needs. Using a dehumidifier for the whole house will benefit the entire family and your properties.
In hot and humid climates, an air conditioner may not work as effectively. The main purpose of an air conditioner is to lower the temperature, which also helps reduce the humidity up to a certain degree. However, too much moisture in the air makes the job a lot tougher for your AC. This leads to faster wear and tear in your appliance and a higher power consumption.
Meanwhile, if you get cold rainy days in your location, you may not even need to run the AC often. Without any action, the cold air will remain heavy with moisture, potentially causing mold growth and dust mites. Running the AC may help reduce the humidity, but this will not be effective nor efficient in draining the moisture.
Adding a dehumidifier to your HVAC system gives you more control over the humidity level and temperature in your home. High humidity can cause discomfort or a muggy and sticky feeling. Instead of turning up your air conditioner, you can use a dehumidifier to maintain a comfortable humidity level, thereby saving more energy.
A dehumidifier removes moisture and contributes to better air quality. It eliminates mold spores, dust mites, and other common allergens in the air. This reduces the risk of allergies, asthma attacks, and other respiratory issues.
Dry air lowers the chances of mold and mildew growth. This preserves the structural integrity of your house. Drywalls and floors are especially susceptible to moisture and high humidity. Maintaining ideal humidity levels helps prevent rapid destruction caused by condensation, rust, corrosion, or pest infestation.
Unlike portable dehumidifiers, a central dehumidifier can cover the entire house. Although it costs more on initial purchase, investing in a whole-house dehumidifier saves you money in the long run, compared to using multiple portable units throughout the house.
Proper Usage, Maintenance and Storage of Whole-House Dehumidifiers
Whole-house dehumidifiers can be ducted to your HVAC system to dehumidify the air as it enters the house. The best way to install this type of dehumidifier is by adding a dedicated return duct that carries the air into the unit. You may also connect the unit to an existing return duct. To send the processed air back to the main air stream, you will need to connect the unit to your HVAC supply plenum.
In the case of a portable dehumidifier, place it where it can target the main source of humidity. Keep all the doors and windows closed while operating so that the unit only works on the specified area. The more outside air gets into the room, the harder the unit will have to work.
Make sure that the air isn’t blocked on its way in and out of the unit. It is recommended to maintain at least 6-8 inches distance from walls or furniture to allow for a breathing room. If you can’t get a good location inside the room, you may set up the unit elsewhere and use ducting.
When using the dehumidifier, always pick just the right setting for the application. Most whole-house dehumidifiers feature a humidistat to automatically adjust the humidity to your desired level. The ideal indoor humidity is around 35-55%. Keep the unit running continuously only when necessary.
Whole-house dehumidifiers usually require little to no maintenance, but it causes no harm to take extra care of your appliance. Review the included manual as it contains all the specifications and instructions for installing, using, and maintaining the unit. Warranty information is also included.
Frequent cleaning helps maintain proper functioning and prolong the life of any appliance. A dehumidifier is no different. It extracts moisture as well as dust, mold, and bacteria. These will collect inside the unit and eventually get in the air. To ensure your health and comfort, clean the unit at least every few weeks. Use a damp cloth to wipe the exterior and a mild detergent or vinegar to disinfect the water tank or hose. Vacuum the inside to remove any remaining dust and debris.
Dehumidifiers come with at least one air filter to purify the air as it enters the unit. This protects the machine and its components from dust, bacteria, and other allergens present in the air. For every model there is a recommended period after which the filter must be cleaned or replaced. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on filter cleaning and replacement to be sure.
Never turn on the unit immediately after turning it off. When you turn off the unit, wait for at least ten minutes to turn it on again. This time gap allows the machine to equalize the pressure manufactured during operation. Short cycling can cause the unit to overheat and eventually damage the compressor.
Most dehumidifiers work best at room temperature of 65°F, unless it’s specifically designed for colder conditions. If you operate in cool temperatures, condensate may freeze on the condenser coils. Frost buildup can damage the machine completely. Most commercial dehumidifiers have the auto defrost function that shuts off the unit to allow the ice to melt. Even with this feature, you must regularly inspect the coils to prevent any problem. If you really need to operate in cold conditions, get a dehumidifier designed for this purpose. Desiccant models, in particular, can handle temperatures down to subzero levels.
Lastly, when your dehumidifier is not in use, place it in a designated storage until it is needed. Turn it off, unplug, and allow it to dry completely. Ensure that the power cord and drain hose are wrapped neatly around their respective places. Store the unit in a clean dry area.
A whole-house dehumidifier is a necessity in locations with extreme climates. In any case, it can be a perfect complement for your HVAC system. A dehumidifier will help lighten the load on your AC and reduce the need for heating. Whether you decide to purchase a portable or central unit, it’s important to find the right size for your space. Find the total area of your house or the specific room(s) you need to dehumidify. Consider all the features we discussed above to be sure that you’ll get exactly what you need.