Memorial Day weekend has arrived and it's time to set summer in motion. ...
Portable Dehumidifiers, Dehumidifier Size
Our top picks are portable dehumidifiers with wheels to make them easy to transport from room to room. Most cheap dehumidifiers can't be considered lightweight, though -- the models we researched range from 25 to 49 pounds.
Dehumidifier Size.A dehumidifier's size or capacity explains how much moisture it can pull from the air in a 24-hour period. Allergy Consumer Review suggests a 25- to 30-pint dehumidifier for a 400-square-foot area, a 40-pint dehumidifier for 800 square feet, a 50-pint dehumidifier for 1,000 square feet, and a 65-pint dehumidifier for 1,300 square feet. If in doubt, buy a larger model than you think you need. A model that's too small will run continuously and still not lower the humidity sufficiently to reduce mold, mildew, and dust mites.
In our price range, dehumidifier sizes generally range from 8 ounces (half a pint) up to 50 pints (800 fluid ounces). The Soleus Air DP1-70-03 is unusual in handling up to 70 pints of water a day for a budget price. This makes it a frugal choice for basements -- even fairly large ones don't seem to deter it, according to reviews. The Frigidaire FAD504DUD can accommodate up to 50 pints a day, which is typically the most you can expect out of a low-cost portable dehumidifier. In the middle range of dehumidifier sizes are the 40-pint NewAir AD-400 and the 30-pint Danby DDR30E (starting at $139, Amazon). The Eva-Dry 2200 will work for closets or small bathrooms, with a daily capacity of about 2 liters of water (a little more than 4 pints).
Eva-Dry also makes a so-called mini dehumidifier, the E-333, with a small price tag to match (starting at $13, Amazon). It is specifically meant for closets and absorbs just 6 ounces of moisture (a little more than a third of a pint). This mini dehumidifier works very differently from a typical electric dehumidifier; it contains crystals that absorb moisture from the air. An indicator turns from blue to pink when the unit is full and needs to be "renewed." That requires the user to plug the mini dehumidifier into an outlet in a well-ventilated area (such as a garage or an outdoor porch) to heat up the crystals and release the water vapor back into the air.
Electronic Controls.Most of the larger dehumidifiers we researched, with the exception of the Eva-Dry 2200, can be set to a desired humidity level using an adjustable humidistat that reads the amount of moisture in the air. Some cheap dehumidifiers, including the Soleus Air DP1-70-03, turn on and off automatically to maintain the proper humidity. The Frigidaire FAD504DUD and Eva-Dry 2200 are set up for continuous operation, so they are always on the go unless they're turned off manually or the bucket fills up (which signals the dehumidifier to turn off automatically). Owners of the Soleus Air DP1-70-03 note online that the dehumidifier automatically starts up again after a power failure. One consumer who posted a review on Amazon found this feature especially handy for clearing out the dampness when the power returned after a hurricane. The NewAir AD-400 and Danby DDR30E also restart automatically.
Many electronic dehumidifiers come with multiple fan settings. The fan can be noisy as it sucks in air and disperses it, so consumers see the ability to turn it down as a definite plus. The Frigidaire DAD504DUD and Danby DDR30E have two fan settings and the Soleus Air DP1-70-03 has three. (See the next page for more on quiet dehumidifiers.)
Most cheap dehumidifiers are designed to work indoors at temperatures of about 65 degrees or higher, but basements are liable to be chillier. While the dehumidifiers we looked at can operate in areas as cold as 41 degrees, low temperatures can freeze the coils. The Soleus Air DP1-70-03, as well as the NewAir AD-400 and Danby DDR30E, have an automatic defrost function to help keep them from freezing.
Don't Bother Cheap Dehumidifier
Before you jump at the dehumidifier with the lowest price tag, pay close attention to the capacity. This unit won't clear the moisture out of a large area. It doesn't have a compressor, so it's quiet, but it's also not very effective, some consumers say. Reports of the power adapter overheating also raise red flags. Read more »
Danby DDR30E Review
Eva-Dry E-333 Review
Eva-Dry 2200 Review
Frigidaire FAD504DUD Review
Soleus Air DP1-70-03 Review
EvaDry EDV-E-500 Renewable Wireless Mini Dehumidifier
NewAir AD-250 25 Pint Portable Room Dehumidifier
Sunpentown SD-30E Dehumidifier
This summer enjoy the outdoors without the bugs. We suggest several make-at-home deterrents to pesky insects.
Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner and so is the start of grilling season! See our list for economical meats and ways to prepare.