The Best Dehumidifiers that Won't Bleed You Dry

By Kym Pham,

Some may like it hot, but most don't like it humid. The dampness that often accompanies warm weather can be blamed for allergic reactions, musty smells, mold, mildew, and bad hair days. A dehumidifier to combat these ills could easily set you back several hundred dollars, or even a few thousand dollars for a whole-house system. Cheapism's top budget dehumidifiers can remove excess humidity from large spaces without removing too much money from your wallet.

Users like that this Frigidaire dehumidifier is easy to use and effective.Users like that this Frigidaire dehumidifier is easy to use and effective.
  • The Soleus Air DP1-70-03 boasts a capacity of 70 pints per day and starts at $179. A three-speed fan gives you the option of turning the unit down so it runs little more quietly. In online reviews, many consumers say this dehumidifier is just the thing for a damp basement. Among its many useful features: It restarts automatically after a power outage, can be set to turn off after two or four hours, and automatically defrosts if it's cold enough for the coils to freeze.
  • The Frigidaire FAD504DUD is a quiet and effective dehumidifier, consumers say in reviews. It has a 50-pint capacity and starts at $189. The washable filter is designed to eliminate bacteria and odor, and an indicator light lets you know when the unit needs cleaning. Consumers posting feedback online note how easy it is to empty the bucket, which comes with a splash guard and a handle. The manufacturer provides a five-year guarantee on the sealed system (i.e., the compressor, condenser, evaporator, and tubing) in addition to the standard one-year limited warranty.

Related: Energy Star Dehumidifiers

Both of these models can be set to run continuously, although the resulting energy bills can add up over time. For a more cost-effective solution, you can set your preferred humidity level via a digital humidistat, and the unit will cycle on and off to maintain that level. Experts say somewhere between 30 percent and 50 percent is ideal.

Both dehumidifiers also meet government standards for efficiency, making them Energy Star compliant. This means they can save you about $20 per year compared with models that haven't earned the Energy Star designation. The models we chose, with their 50- and 70-pint capacities, can efficiently reduce the humidity in areas as large as 2,500 square feet, according to guidelines from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. If you are curious about the optimal capacity for your space, consult the Energy Star website.

Related: Best Budget Air Conditioners

These dehumidifiers work by drawing humid air in with a fan and cooling it to a point where some of the moisture in the air condenses and collects in a bucket. Each model features an alert to indicate when it's time to empty the bucket and automatically shuts off to prevent overflowing. To avoid emptying the bucket by hand every time, you can hook up a hose and let the water drain continuously. The dehumidifiers will work in conditions as cold as 41 degrees, so you should be able to keep one down in the basement year-round.

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