BRITAIN has a naturally humid climate (although we normally associate humidity with heat, plenty of countries are both cold and humid, lucky us! ) so one of the best dehumidifiers can be a big help in the winter months to help avoid damp and mould.
I’ve been a fan of dehumidifying my one-bed flat ever since I read up about the dangers of drying your clothes indoors, either on a radiator or on a clothes horse. During the winter months, drying clothes indoors, with the windows closed, can lead to an excess of moisture in the air, which can then trigger allergies and also lead to dampness in the home. Plus, steamy showers and even the kettle boiling can add to the rise in potential damp problems.
Within days of plugging my dehumidifier in, I had filled up an entire tank of water; I was in shock!
Dehumidifiers generally help to improve the quality of the air around you, by removing excess moisture from the air that encourages the growth of mould spores, dampness and bacteria.
So, they’re a pretty useful machine to invest in. But which is best for you and your home? I gave a range of dehumidifiers a try, from the cheap and cheerful to the expensive and chic, and these models came out on top.
7 Credit: LUCY GORNALL
MeacoDry Arete One 12L, £190 from Argos – buy here
Pros: Tailored for UK climate, energy efficient, very easy to use Cons: Upfront cost, styling Rating: 5/5
The result of five years of research and development, including consultation with its customers about what they liked and didn’t like about the brand’s previous Dehumidifiers, the Arete One is a compact machine that looks like the love child between a shredder and a kitchen bin (and not in a bad way!).
It has been specifically designed to cope with British conditions, with a relative humidity of 60% for temperatures between 10°C and 20°C, and it really shows in operation
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It’s a powerful 12L compressor machine with an accurate, advanced humidistat (which we verified independently), which, rather than constantly checking the humidity, takes its reading every 30 minutes and adjusts its output accordingly, shutting down in between to save energy.
Apart from its outstanding performance, we loved the straightforward interface of the Arete One.
You have a power button, a daily use button, a setting for drying clothes and a night mode. A couple of button pushes will put the machine in Smart Humidity Mode, which will take the air down to 55% humidity and switch off, although you can adjust the levels according to your needs. If it detects levels have risen again, it will kick back into life with the fan speed and compressor automatically adjusting to moisture levels.
Night mode is quiet; there are no blinking lights, no obtrusive beeps and the speed of the fan powers down to its quietest mode.
Backing all this up is good portability with easy-rolling wheels and a retractable carry handle, so you can transport it quickly between rooms or get it upstairs without too much effort.
You can rest easy with this purchase since it's got an outstanding 4.9-star rating on Argos with praises of its 'great ease of use' and notable effectivity, claiming that they had 'no more condensation.'
Dimensions: 47cm x 32cm x 24cm, Weight: 10.9kg, Extraction capacity: 12L (24hrs) , Power consumption: 165W , Water tank: 2.5L
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Von Haus 12l dehumidifier, £129.99 – buy here
Pros: Powerful, nice LED screen, easy to move with smooth wheels Cons: Not as quiet as others Rating: 4.5/5
If you’re after a compact, neat-looking dehumidifier, then this Von Haus machine is a good option. It can extract up to 12l of water a day in its 2l tank, which is pretty impressive, and it’s not too large, coming up to about knee height.
There’s a drainage hose to drain out the water continually if you fancy this, however, you can also remove the tank and empty it this way instead if you prefer.
In terms of sound, I have heard quieter dehumidifiers, but it’s still fairly quiet and won’t disturb you if you’re working or need peace. And, I love how smooth the wheels are on this so it’s easy to move around.
The sleek LED display is easy to control and it has a clear water-full light signal at the top of the machine, so you know when the tank is full and when it needs emptying. It’s very sleek and would sit nicely in a flat I reckon; in fact, it looked lovely in my flat as it wasn’t overbearing. Added to this, there’s a two-year warranty for peace of mind.
Wessex 12l Dehumidifier, £129.98 at Toolstation – buy here
Pros: Laundry mode to suck moisture from wet clothes, 12-hour timer,compact Cons: Tricky to lift Rating: 4.5/5
This Wessex dehumidifier is a really neat, compact and tidy machine. The 2l tank has an auto shut-off, so when the tank is full, it simply stops extracting and there’s no worry of potential overflow or leakage.
The dehumidifier has three power modes (Auto, Laundry and Sleep) and also a 12-hour timer, so it will shut off itself should you forget to switch it off.
The high-power Laundry mode also means that when wet washing is drying indoors, it will pull in more air and more moisture, whilst also increasing the warmth of the air that leaves the machine; simply direct the dehumidifier towards your washing.
At night, switch to Sleep mode to lessen the noise, but generally, this is a quiet machine and I can’t see it causing too much disturbance.
The wheels glide easily so this is easy to move around however, there is only one back lifting handle which makes it harder to lift.
Bostik Breathe, £15.50 at Amazon – buy here
Pros: Doesn't require electricity, small and silent, great for small spaces Cons: Small, have to buy tablets Rating: 4/5
A slightly different style of dehumidifier is this one by Boston, which doesn’t need to be plugged in, so it really can be placed anywhere; inside cupboards, wardrobes, on bathroom shelves…you name it! In fact, Bostik calls this a humidity absorber rather than a dehumidifier. As the name suggests, its aim is to help you breathe more easily, by clearing the air of moisture and humidity.
Essentially, you pop in two of the Bostik moisture absorber tablets, which Bostik say can provide up to 33% more absorption than a standard moisture absorber that only contains one tablet, and let the 1.2l tank fill up with water from the air. Considering how small this is, the tank is a decent size.
You can just use one tablet, for smaller spaces, however using two tablets covers a slightly larger area of up to 25m2. Just to note, this does come with two tablets. A pitfall of this machine is that you will need to keep buying the tablets so it adds an extra expense in that regard. According to Bostik, tablets will last up to four months but this does depend on the humidity levels in the room so if your home is very humid, then you might need to top them up sooner.
Another big positive of this Bostik machine is mostly made from recycled materials, so it’s planet friendly too.
This would also be great for caravans too and sheds, or areas lacking in a plug.
Swan 20 Litre Low Energy Dehumidifier, £249.99 – buy here
Pros: Low energy, on wheels, super chic Cons: More expensive than others Rating: 5/5
For super-chic design, this is the dehumidifier you need. It can extract up to 20l of water a day, with a 4l tank that shuts off automatically when it’s full, so there's no leakage.
This dehumidifier comes in super tight packaging and is very heavy. But, when it’s out, the wheels glide easily and the lifting handles are easy to use and strong, so it’s simple to move.
The Swan looks so tidy it wouldn't look out of place in any room of the house.
It’s also low-energy, which means less of an impact on the electricity bills; something I am a big fan of.
I love the easy to use LED display and control panel which makes this feel a little more high tech and swanky. There is also a built in timer so you can have it switch off when you wish, without having to remember.
Plus, I noticed how quiet this machine was making it easy to leave on at night. There’s also a low and high speed option and the extractor fan cover opens when you turn it on.
Princess 10L Dehumidifier
Princess 10L Dehumidifier, £160 at Argos – buy here
Pros: Excellent clothes dryer, easy to roll around different rooms Cons: Very noisy, awkward water tank Rating: 3.5/5
This compressor offered a very useful level of extraction (10L), without costing the earth to run, with 205W of power usage and we found that it was very efficient in operation, particularly when drying clothes as there is a manual vent on top of the machine which you can use to direct the airflow towards your laundry to speed up drying time.
The humidistat was accurate, and there was good portability as the whole unit rolls well on carpet or hard flooring on quality castors, although it is a bit of an awkward beast if it’s travelling between floors in a property.
The timer function did fail once, but apart from that, we had no issues with it at all. Although the warning alarm for a full tank could be a little louder, and there were a number of occasions when the tank was full, we didn’t notice until we realised that it had automatically shut down.
In fact, the machine is very noisy, and that was what alerted us to the fact that the machine had powered down. The tank is a little difficult to extract when full, but the control panel was very easy to operate and read.
Seeing as this dehumidifier is available at a premium price, it's fair to want a premium-quality item. So, unsurprisingly this item comes in highly recommended from a store with an almost perfect 4.8-star rating.
Dimensions: 19.8 x 28.8 x 50.9cm Weight: kg Extraction capacity: 10L Power consumption: 205W Water tank: 2.5L
Black + Decker BXEH60004G
Black + Decker BXEH60004GB Dehumidifier, £99.99 from Amazon – buy here
Pros: Energy efficient, water tank capacity, styling Cons: Hard-to-read control panel, not optimal portability Rating: 4/5
This large compressor dehumidifier attempts to make itself a little less conspicuous with some nicely rounded edges, so you won’t be cursing it if you’re using it in a small room and need to work around it.
We really liked the circular LED on the front of the machine, which is lit in three different colours according to the room’s current humidity level: yellow (30-49%), green (50-69%) and red (70-80%).
It offers a good balance between extraction capability and water tank capacity. It can pull 20L of moisture from the air a day and store it in a generous 6.5L water tank, which automatically switches the machine off when it reaches capacity, or after 24 hours – whichever comes first.
This means it’s an excellent machine if you want it to be working in an area where you won’t be able to constantly monitor it, for example, a boat, basement or rental property, as you can switch it on, let it get on with the job and return to empty the tank when it’s convenient.
We would have liked a way to check the water levels in the tank from the front of the appliance instead of having to turn it around, but that’s a small gripe in the grand scheme of things.
Portability was okay, although the side handles make it harder to carry the unit up and down a flight of stairs, which isn’t ideal considering it’s quite a heavy machine.
In terms of overall usability, the control panel is clear and organised, and the buttons are responsive, but the fact that the functions are written in grey on a grey panel background makes them hard to read.
Having a 4.5-star rating, it's no surprise that customers call it 'perfect' and an 'amazing product' and being 'compact and quiet', we're sure you'll be just as happy with your purchase.
Dimensions: 57cm x 24cm x 34cm, Weight: 14.5kg, Extraction capacity: 20L, Power consumption: 320W, Water tank: 6.5L
Honeywell 33L TP
The Honeywell 33L TP Dehumidifier, £249.95 from Airconcentre – buy here
Pros: Well-designed controls, energy efficiency Cons: Water tank could be too small for some users Rating: 4.5/5
As soon as we powered this 33L compressor on, its humidistat was able to give us a very accurate reading of the current humidity percentage in the room and then set about getting that percentage down to the target level.
Programming this level was straightforward, and the control panel itself was nicely laid out and easy to navigate.
This is a very efficient machine, and we can back up the 33L extraction capacity claim of the manufacturer, however, we could have done with a slightly larger water tank because if you’re faced with high humidity levels or a big load of washing, you’ll probably need to monitor the machine’s water tank alert regularly and empty the tank frequently.
For many, the smaller water tank will be a trade-off they’re willing to make as the unit is a nice size and won’t dominate the room it’s in. The tank itself is easy to remove, drain and replace and the unit does have a continuous drainage feature.
With a robust grab handle and multi-directional castors, we had no issues with portability on the ground floor, and its lightweight also made it a doodle to get it upstairs.
The product comes with a 2-year warranty to give you that extra piece of mind. If that's not enough, it currently has a 5-star rating, with the reviewer acknowledging they had condensation and mould issues, but this device 'solved the problem completely.'
Dimensions: 32cm x 40cm x 65cm, Weight: 15kg, Extraction capacity: 33L, Power consumption: 540W, Water tank: 3.3L
DUUX Bora Smart Dehumidifier
DUUX Bora Smart Dehumidifier, £299.99 from Amazon – buy here
Pros: Quiet operation, energy efficient, looks good Cons: App is not very user-friendly, very heavy Rating: 3.5/5
It makes a lot of sense to have a “smart” dehumidifier as it’s one of those appliances where continuous monitoring can be beneficial in terms of checking in with humidity levels and also seeing how full the tank is. However, it seems the Dutch manufacturer has been a little too eager to label their product “smart” because, apart from turning the machine on and off, the app is pretty much redundant and will only tell you what you already know – the active settings you have already programmed into the control panel.
The company have missed a trick in not letting you be able to control and interact with the machine via your smartphone, and the fact that the app doesn’t even warn you when the water tank is full seems ridiculous.
Smart grumbles aside, the machine is hugely efficient, whether dealing with damp, mould, or laundry, and a very accurate humidistat with good power and an efficient compressor combine to deliver a guaranteed 20L of daily extraction, which is collected in a big 4L tank that we had no issues emptying.
The control panel is clear, the wheels are robust, and the handle, which tucks away out of sight easily, is sturdy – but then it needs to be as this is a
very heavy machine
Dimensions: 33,5 x 24,5 x 51 cm, Weight: 15 kg, Extraction capacity: 20L, Power consumption: 400W, Water tank: 4L
Not up to speed on dehumidifiers? Chris Michael, Managing Director at Meaco, and somewhat of an oracle on all things dehumidifier-related, shares some tips below…
What should we look for in a dehumidifier?
“Energy efficiency is probably the most important consideration at present given the ongoing high electricity costs,” says Chris.
“By checking the appliance's wattage and size (typically 10, 12, 20 and 25 litres) you can compare models to identify the most energy-efficient model for the property. It’s a false economy to buy a cheap dehumidifier that has a high wattage as the running costs will quickly surpass the initial purchase cost savings when compared to a low energy model.”
Chris adds that a dehumidifier with a laundry mode is also a key consideration, ‘especially as households increasingly look for ways to dry washing indoors instead of using energy-guzzling tumble dryers’.
“In laundry mode, the machine runs for six hours, which is the average time it needs to dry a load of washing, then switches itself off to save on energy bills.”
Plus, how noisy is your potential dehumidifier? As these machines are on most of the day, you’ll want one that’s fairly quiet.
“Most dehumidifiers are placed in hallways or on landings and are often switched on overnight to dry wet washing. Low noise is important so that people can sleep and live with these appliances,” says Chris.
What size dehumidifier is best for your property?
According to Chris, the general guidance for dehumidifier sizing is:
Up to 2 bedroom flat house = 10L
Up to 3 bedroom house = 12L
Up to 4 bedroom house = 20L
Up to 5 bedroom or larger = 25L
“However, the number of occupants and how damp the property gets are other variables to consider when choosing a more powerful model than shown above,” adds Chris.
How much does it cost to run a dehumidifier?
This will depend on the litre capacity of your appliance, what wattage it operates at and doing some quick calculations involving the average unit price for dual fuel customers on standard variable tariffs, which is 34p kWh.
So, basing our costs on the average price of 34p kWh, a 12L appliance will use around 160 watts, which translates to 0.16 kWh, so an hour’s usage will cost a little over 5p an hour.
Bear in mind, though, that a lot of our featured dehumidifiers have smart modes and in-built humidistat, so won’t be running around the clock.
Where to buy dehumidifiers in the UK?
We've gone and done some of the hard work for you by testing dehumidifiers for you, but we know as well as you that there's a huge range of dehumidifiers on the market, and it's likely you'll want to test out a few of them for yourself.
We've put together a list for anyone whos looking to do a little bit more shopping around before making a purchase.
How much do dehumidifiers cost?
As seen in this article, dehumidifiers can, like all products, come in a wide variety of prices. From what we found, dehumidifiers aren't the cheapest of household accessories, and you'll be looking at around £50 for some of the cheaper variants, and it can range all the way up to a few hundred for any on the more technical side that comes with more functionality.
Costs don't end at just the purchase, unfortunately. However, most dehumidifiers are fairly cost-conscious in running as it works out to be around 5p an hour.
What does a dehumidifier do?
Much like a tumble dryer extracts moisture from clothes, a dehumidifier will extract moisture from the air by drawing warm, damp air inside and releasing drier air back into the space. At the same time, the condensation is collected in a tank, which the user can then empty.
All the machines we tested were compressor machines, (the most popular type of dehumidifier for the British climate). That means that they will suck the air in over-cooled coils so that the water condenses and is collected in the tank. The processed air is then vented out of the machine as dry, warm air.
Do dehumidifiers work?
They really do, although don’t forget that they're more effective in a heated room than an unheated room, because they need the air in the room to be warmer than the cold surface within the dehumidifier.
Compressor appliances work best at around 20ºC, which happens to be the average UK household temperature.
For the machine to work optimally, you need to ensure that doors and windows are closed when it’s running. If windows are open, your dehumidifier will be working harder to try to dehumidify a greater area.
Can a dehumidifier remove dampness?
This is one of the appliance’s main functions because the air in your house will contain moisture or humidity.
Mould is likely to occur if the relative humidity indoors is 70% or more for long periods of time, so you need the machine to bring that humidity down to between 30 and 60%, especially during the colder months of the year.
How effective the machine is at doing this depends on how well the room is sealed.
For example, if you’re using a machine in a basement and a door is constantly being opened, it will let fresh, moisture-laden air into the room, so the dehumidification process will take longer. This is why to optimise the efficiency of the machine and rid an area of dampness. You need to keep the room totally enclosed.
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Do dehumidifiers help with dust?
A dehumidifier draws air through it to extract the moisture from the air and, in doing so, will draw in dust, which is why all appliances are fitted with high-quality HEPA filters, or a filter with an anti-bacterial coating, which is there to catch dust and stop it from entering the inner workings and causing maintenance problems.
Most manufacturers recommend that the filters are removed and cleaned regularly to keep the machine operating efficiently.
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