Dehumidifier Features To Look For
There are two basic categories for how moisture disposal is handled; with a bucket/tank, or with a drainage hose. Some models offer both methods of moisture removal. For those that have a bucket or tank it is important that the container is easy to remove and empty. Look for models that have built in easy-grip handles, or contours, and clicking locks, so you can securely remove it and know when it is properly back in place.
In place of relying on a container to collect the moisture in, some dehumidifiers make use of a drainage hose (with or without a pump). The models that only have a hose are ideal for basements, or any other place, that has as a floor drain. When there is not a drain available, a drainage pump would be required to allow the hose to be draped out a window, or into a sink drain that is above the unit. Ideally, you would want to look for what will suit your needs in regards to where the dehumidifier is to be used. For the ultimate measure of versatility, look for models that have both a reservoir and a hose.
Automatic Shutoff When Full
For models that use an internal compartment to store the moisture it collects, a sensor that detects when the compartment is near full and automatically shuts off the unit is invaluable. This is especially true for times where a dehumidifier is left to run without supervision for extended periods of time. Always make sure any model you consider purchasing has an automatic sensor, or some other foolproof methods of stopping overflow.
Similar to detecting when its full, frost detection sensors register when the coils in the unit accumulate frost and shuts off the machine. The reason for this is because if there is frost forming on the coils, then it will not be able to draw in moisture and running it at this point would just waist money. Not all models include frost detection, so be sure to look for its, especially if you live in cooler climates or plan to use the unit in a cold area.
Another feature that is about as common as a shutoff sensor, is a system to automatically restart the dehumidifier if the power is interrupted. Brief power outages, such as flickers or complete failures that are restored, will cause most electronic devices to simply shut off and remain so. With a dehumidifier that is to be used in areas that will not be constantly supervised, or if you happen to go away on vacation and want it to keep running, having a model with an automatic restart can help keep it working.
Not standard on all models, but one of the most convenient and energy saving features to look for is a timer. As the name implies, having a timer can a dehumidifier allows you to set it to only run for a set period of time. Some models have more complex timers that can be used to set up a daily schedule for running. For those who like to be able to set and forget, timers are an important feature to look for.
Easy to Use Controls
Like collection options, there are two basic types of controls; digital and standard. Digital control panels tend to allow for more specific settings, such as regulating what percentage of moisture should be left in the area, or at what level of moisture the device should start working. With basic control panels there are typically dials and predetermined settings, such as “normal”, “dry”, and “very dry”. In addition to easy to adjust settings, a simple on/off feature is something that not all models have, but that you may want to look for. Overall, for ease of use, it does not matter so much which style is used, just be sure to look for one that is clearly labeled and has the settings you want.
Just about all dehumidifiers will have a filter to help reduce particulate build up inside the device. Normally it is located just behind the intake grill, as it serves to reduce accumulation of dust and debris inside the machine. The optimal type of filter for dehumidifiers is a washable electrostatic filter. The reason you want to make sure the dehumidifier you purchase has a washable filter, is that it will reduce maintenance costs. While some models use disposable filters, even washable ones will need to be completely replaced about once a year. Consider which is more convenient for your lifestyle when choosing a dehumidifier.
There typically three size ranges for dehumidifiers; small, medium, and large. Smaller models are designed for under counters, closets, or half bathrooms. Medium-sized models are designed to sit on counters or floors and can be compared to smaller models in terms of how easy they are to move. Large models, which are the kind used in basements, attics, and other rooms of a home or office, can be very cumbersome to move. Depending on the size, and more importantly, weight of the dehumidifier, wheels or castors are a necessity. For all sizes, handles are considered optional, but can be extremely convenient. Any feature that can make it easier to move, or adjust its position once placed, are important features that are often overlooked.
Often times when consumers look for a new appliance, they look to names they are familiar with. Frigidaire has been manufacturing quality home appliances for generations, and they have become known setting the bar for quality, value, and features. In terms of dehumidifiers, they are the company that produces several models, many of which rank at the top of the lists for customer satisfaction and performance. They are best known for being packed with features and being competitively priced. Buying brand new also means they are covered under multiple year warranties from Frigidaire.
Relatively new in comparison to other companies on the list, NewAir stands firm in their company’s motto to produce quality products. They only have a single model of dehumidifier, but what they lack in variety they indeed make up with in features. The AD-250 from NewAir is a compact and portable dehumidifier, but it is not one to let size be misleading about. It can work with both continuous drainage or removable tank collection. The versatility and performance excellence is what lands this particular model, and brand, on many consumer rated top ten lists.
As a company that specializes in heating and cooling appliances, Comfort-Aire has established a reputation as a quality company. Their goal is to help homes have as comfortable an environment as possible. They have a line of six different dehumidifiers that can cover everything from portable and small area needs to large basement areas. Regardless of size, each of them can operate at temperatures as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Aside from the universal resistance to cold, trademarks of the brand include sleek design and versatility in regards to using the built in tanks or hoses for drainage.
Dehumidifiers and dehumidifying products are all that Eva-Dry produces, and they produce them well. Their line of compact and large scale dehumidifiers are highly rated and award winning. Key components to their design include their compactness and portability. For anyone with limited space, Eva-Dry is a brand to consider. Their basic dehumidifier is available in medium and petite sizes, while their larger model is able to handle areas up to 4,000 square feet in size.
With a line of dehumidifiers that showcases eighteen different models, Danby offers small to large capacity units at very competitive prices. In general rankings and comparison lists, it is not uncommon to see at least one or more Danby model. They keep a high standard in regards to performance, durability, and appearance. While not flashy, they do make a point to keep their products as compact and stylish as one can with such a device.
Keeping things simple and functional, Friedrich dehumidifiers can be described as a single feature-packed dehumidifier that is available in three capacity sizes. They price in at a somewhat competitive range, they not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive. The sleek design and unassuming appearance houses their trademark collection of high quality features, which includes things like drainage hose and pump system, with optional reservoir, and complex but easy to use controls.
A company whose dehumidifier if often compared to Frigidaire’s models, Keystone produces a single model that is a high quality and competitively priced model. It has the capacity for larger areas and come with several features that are popular for high end models. These include automatic defrosting and washable dust filter, casters for ease of movement and an energy star rating.
Features of Professional & Commercial Dehumidifiers
If a dehumidifier’s coils freeze over the unit will be unable to condense the humidity from the air. While sensors that shut off the device are fairly common, automatic defrosting systems are not. The typical remedy is to merely let it thaw slowly over time. For those who would rather not have to go the hours that would take, a unit with an automatic defrost would work best. It is typically found in higher end models from such brands as Friedrich and Frigidaire.
Filter Cleanliness Indicator
Most humidifiers need weekly to monthly maintenance, depending on how much they are used. This involves cleaning the filter, reservoir, and hose (if they have one). Models that have a filter indicator can be helpful for those that have busy schedules and sometimes forget about chores. Indicators are almost always included on high end models, but they can also be found on all size dehumidifiers. Much like reservoir indicators, filter cleanliness indicators are often presented as warning lights that come on, and are sometimes accompanied by a sound.
Reservoir alerts are common features on many different brands, regardless of the model’s size. The reason for this is simple, even if they have an automatic shut off system for when the reservoir is near to its capacity, without drawing attention to this fact, people may not realize there is a problem. The alert is often something as simple as a constant or flashing light, which can be accompanied by a noise. In terms of special features, for lower priced models, it may be something that requires a bit more searching.
While many mid-range to high-end dehumidifiers have built in thermostats, not all will have a display for the information. It is often considered unnecessary and a luxury to have. Some would argue that it helps homeowners to better track environmental conditions. No matter which viewpoint is supported, to find a model with a thermostatic display, you would need to look for the more feature rich brands. Try looking for Friedrich, Frigidaire, or Haier higher capacity models to find thermostat displaying units.
Energy Star is a near universally recognized rating for energy efficiency. Not every make and model of dehumidifier is rated high enough to get Energy Star qualified. If there is a great, of consistent need to use a dehumidifier, then it is worth the time and effort to find an energy star rated model. While it may sound a bit daunting, you can rest assured that just about every dehumidifier that makes a top ranked list will likely be an energy star, and thus be more energy efficient and cost effective.
Multiple Speed Intake Fan
Dehumidifier’s work by pulling in air, condensing the moisture from it and expelling the drier air. The fan on many models runs at a singular speed. Multiple speed fans have the advantage of being able to cycle the air more quickly (at a slightly higher cost in energy) for times where intense humidification is needed. The feature is considered standard for some brands, and is reserved for higher end models for others. To find a dehumidifier with a variable speed fan, look for phrases such as “two speed”, “variable speed”, “multiple speed” on the feature or specification listings.
Identifying Size Classification
Small, Medium, Large, and House-sized are basic terms that are commonly used to describe the capacity of a dehumidifier. Alternately, and more commonly for the industry, manufacturers will refer to models by the capacity of the reservoir, or how much water they can pull through in a day. The measurement is often given in pints of liters. An example is small range units typically rate around 20 to 25 pints of moisture a day and rate for small areas, like half bathrooms, while house-seized units pull 200+ pints a day and can affect up to 3,000 square feet.
Determine What You Need
There is no harm in using units that are rated for higher square footage than where it will be placed. To get an idea of how to determine what size unit to look for consider the square footage of the area and humidity level. For perspective, a small (300 sq. ft.) room that is barely damp (50-60% humidity), a 30 pint unit should be enough. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a soaking room (85-100% humidity) that is large (1,500 sq. ft.) would need at least a 90 pint (or higher) unit.
Remember To Give Them Room
An important aspect to properly using a dehumidifier is that they require the ability to create good airflow. Each unit will come with a guide that illustrates how to properly place it within a room. As a rule of thumb, make sure there is nothing that will be blocking the intake and output vents. Some suggest being sure to leave at least a foot clearance around all sides from the dehumidifier. Be sure to take accurate measurements of the room it will be going into and to pay close attention to the unit’s dimensions. There is nothing worse than finding a great deal on a high-end product and then not being able to use it because of a mistake in measurements means you don’t have room for it.