For the most part the models on our list are effective and easy to use and maintain, according to dehumidifier reviews. They quickly dry out humid spaces and aren't difficult to empty or clean.
Moisture Removal.Of course, the most important attribute of any dehumidifier is how well it draws moisture from the air. Our top picks seem to perform quite well. The Frigidaire FAD504DUD (starting at $189) is capable of drying a dripping basement within 48 hours, according to dehumidifier reviews posted at Walmart, where more than 100 consumers give the dehumidifier an average of nearly five stars. In the same way, consumers say the Soleus Air DP1-70-03 (starting at $179) dries out basements with almost miraculous speed. In a review at Amazon, a user notes that the bucket had to be emptied several times a day at first, because the machine was drawing so much water from the air. Another satisfied consumer who posted a review on the website of specialty retailer Sylvane used a hygrometer to measure the moisture in his basement. He reports that the humidity dropped from 80 percent to 57 percent in a day, with the Soleus dehumidifier set at 50 percent on the other side of the basement. The Eva-Dry 2200 (starting at $79) is no match for all but the smallest rooms, according to dehumidifier reviews. A couple of consumers posting at Target have been pleased with this appliance's performance in their bathrooms, but others have found it ineffective. Even satisfied customers warn that the Eva-Dry 2200 can't efficiently control humidity in large areas.
Ease of Use and Maintenance.How Stuff Works explains that most dehumidifiers use a fan to pull air inside, where coils cool the air to a point where it can't hold as much water. The resulting condensation drips into a container or hose, while the dehumidified air is reheated and sent back into the room. Most of the budget dehumidifiers we researched collect the water in a container that must be manually emptied but also come with a drain attachment. If you choose a dehumidifier with a container, make sure it has a sensor that prevents overflow by automatically turning off the unit when the container is full, as all our picks do. The container should be easy to remove and empty without spilling. Repair Clinic also advises users to clean the container at least every couple of months to help keep the unit running smoothly and prevent scummy build-up. A cheap dehumidifier that hooks into a drain via a hose may take a little longer to set up but doesn't require any emptying or cleaning after that.
A consumer who posted a dehumidifier review on the Frigidaire site writes that the Frigidaire FAD504DUD took about 10 minutes to set up. However, several people had problems hooking it up to a hose for continuous drainage, according to reviews at Amazon. Some say it doesn't work at all unless you tip it back a bit and others warn that the hose needs to be perfectly straight. As noted by Consumer Reports and user reviewers, some units may require an adapter that should be provided free by the manufacturer. Emptying the container manually seems to go far more smoothly. As one reviewer points out, the 2-gallon bucket doesn't get too heavy, and a handle makes it a snap to carry.
Reviews of the Soleus Air DP1-70-03 at Sylvane deem this model simple to set up, even if you're connecting a hose. The same is true for the Eva-Dry 2200, according to dehumidifier reviews, although it doesn't attach to a hose. The smaller bucket has to be emptied more often, but on the plus side, a reviewer points out on Amazon that it's easier to carry.
Most dehumidifiers also come with air filters or ionizers that remove dust and other allergens from the surrounding air, and Repair Clinic recommends replacing or cleaning these once a year. The NewAir AD-400 (starting at $200) has a built-in ionizer, and the Soleus Air DP1-70-03 and Frigidaire FAD504DUD have washable air filters, which eliminates replacement costs.