What Type of Dehumidifier Do I Need?

What type of dehumidifier your place needs depends on the size of your house and the overall humidity level.

If you have a medium-to-large house with a high moisture level, then getting a whole-house dehumidifier might be your best option. Portable refrigerant dehumidifiers are great at keeping the space dry during the summer, while desiccant units can be used throughout the whole year.

What is the difference between refrigerant and desiccant dehumidifiers? Is it better to get a unit with a pump or without one? Keep on reading to find out what dehumidifier would be perfect for you.

What Type of Dehumidifier Do I Need?

  • One of the first things that you would have to decide is whether you should go for a portable or a whole-house dehumidifier. If you have a medium-to-large house (with existing ductwork) that needs high-quality humidity control in every room, then it is generally recommended to go for a whole-house dehumidifier. 
  • The two main types of dehumidifiers include refrigerant and desiccant units. The former is better for the hot summer days, while the desiccant dehumidifiers operate in lower dew point applications.
  • You would also have to pick a dehumidifier of the right size. To choose the perfect capacity, take the size of the room and the level of moisture in the space into consideration.

Read: Where Is The Best Place To Put A Dehumidifier Upstairs Or Downstairs?

Is There a Difference in Dehumidifiers?

Even though all dehumidifiers were created to fulfill the same function (to remove moisture from the air), the devices do that in different ways. Moreover, the sizes of the units differ a lot.

Depending on your dehumidification needs, you can choose to go for either a whole-home unit or a portable device.

  • Whole-house dehumidifiers are installed permanently into your HVAC system’s ductwork. These units remove the moisture from all the air that cycles through your heating and cooling system. Such a dehumidifier can effectively lower the humidity level in your case if you live in a humid climate zone.
  • If you live in an area with mild humidity levels, then going for a portable dehumidifier that is going to remove the moisture only from the air in a specific space might be more beneficial for you. Portable units are a lot cheaper and quite convenient as you can move them from one room to the other.

Read: Dehumidifier Settings For Winter And Summer 

What Are the Different Types of Dehumidifiers?

There are over a dozen different types of dehumidifiers. The three of them that are most commonly used in residential buildings include:

  • Refrigerant dehumidifiers (also called ‘compressor’ dehumidifiers)
  • Whole-house dehumidifiers

What Is the Difference Between Refrigerant and Desiccant Dehumidifier?

Refrigerant units have a cold surface inside. Once the fan draws the air into the device, the moisture condenses on the cold metal plate, and then the water drips into a special tank.

Desiccant dehumidifiers, in their turn, feature an absorbent material that ‘sucks’ in the moisture from the air. Just like in the case with refrigerant units, the water then gets collected in a reservoir.

Refrigerant dehumidifiers can effectively work in warm and hot temperatures. They are energy-efficient and relatively cheap to operate. Moreover, the upfront cost of the majority of these units is lower than that of desiccant dehumidifiers.

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The devices that use a desiccant work not only in warm but also in cool temperatures. A lot of them are quieter than refrigerant units and they are typically lighter in weight.

Read: Do Dehumidifiers Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Which Is Better a Dehumidifier with a Pump or without a Pump?

  • Dehumidifiers with a pump can be emptied continuously into a floor drain or a sink (even if it’s located quite far from the actual unit). Once the device’s container is full, the pump will get activated. Most pumps are able to push water 15-17 feet horizontally or even vertically.
  • Dehumidifiers that don’t have a pump can be emptied in a few ways. The first way to get rid of the water is to simply empty the tank manually (in some cases, you might have to drain the tank a few times per day). Another way to empty the dehumidifier is by taking advantage of gravity – connect a hose to the drain outlet and make sure that the water can flow down into the tub, drain, or outside. 

How Do I Know Which Dehumidifier to Buy?

When shopping for a dehumidifier, you would have to figure out the type, size, and efficiency level of the device that your house needs.

Before buying the unit, ideally, you would want to test your whole house for excess moisture. You can easily do that by getting a hygrometer – a device that will help you monitor the moisture level throughout the building.

If the humidity level is over 60% throughout the house, you might need a whole-house dehumidifier. If there is a moisture problem only in one room or if the humidity level is between 30% and 50%, then you will benefit more from a portable dehumidifier.

What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need for 1500 Square Feet?

The size of the space is not the only factor that you should take into consideration when choosing a dehumidifier. The moisture level in the room is another thing that you would have to pay attention to. By the way, if the space has plenty of windows and you’re planning on using the dehumidifier in the summer, then oversizing the unit a bit might be the right choice.

A 30-pint unit would typically be enough to lower the humidity level in a 1,500-square-foot space. However, if the room is damp, then you might want to go for a 50-pint dehumidifier.

What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need for a Bedroom?

The humidity level in bedrooms is generally not high as there are no sources of moisture. If the moisture level in your bedroom doesn’t exceed 50-60%, then you can go for a 20-25-pint dehumidifier.

If your bedroom is over 1,200 square feet or if the humidity level is over 70% (in case you tend to keep the bathroom door open when using the shower, for example), then you might want to go for a 50-pint unit.

What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need for My Basement?

Basements are usually among the wettest spaces in the house. If that’s your case, then you might need a 50-60-pint dehumidifier to keep the space nice and dry.

For small basements (up to 300 square feet) that are only slightly damp (up to 60%), you can try using a 20-25-pint unit.

What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need for a 3-Bedroom House?

Installing a whole-house dehumidifier might be the best option for a medium-to-large-sized house with a relatively high humidity level.

If that’s not an option, then opt for a 70-pint portable dehumidifier – these units are perfect for the majority of houses as with dehumidifiers it is usually better to go bigger.

What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need for Drying Clothes?

It can take a dehumidifier about 3-5 hours to dry an average-sized load of clothes and this device is less likely to damage your clothes than a regular dryer.

If your laundry room is very small, a 30-pint dehumidifier would be able to do the job quite fast. However, you can always go for a 50-pint unit. If the dehumidifier is energy-efficient, then it will dry your clothes a lot faster.

Read: Why Dehumidifier Freezing Up?

What Is the Most Reliable Home Dehumidifier?

With the right maintenance, portable dehumidifiers can last for up to 5 years, while whole-house units – up to 8 years.

With that being said, any type of dehumidifier is reliable as long as you buy one from a reputable manufacturer and manage to take proper care of it.

Read: Mini Split In Dry Mode Vs. Dehumidifier: Which One Is More Efficient?


If you have a house with a few bedrooms and the humidity level in all the rooms is quite high (over 60%), then you would benefit the most from a whole-house dehumidifier. Portable units are a great option if you need to lower the moisture level in a specific room.