A dehumidifier can be an essential tool in the fight against airborne moisture. But don’t believe the manufacturer’s hype: they base their water extraction claims on tests that might as well be conducted in a sauna. The only way you’ll get a good indication of dehumidifier performance at Kiwi winter temperatures is by using our test results.
Snapshot: This model is a 3-in-1 heater, air conditioner and dehumidifier. Is it a great all-rounder, or jack of all trades, master of none?
Snapshot: Has this big name in dehumidifiers delivered a good performer in this feature-rich model?
Snapshot: DeLonghi has a good reputation for home appliances. But is this dehumidifier a valuable ally in the fight against airborne moisture?
Snapshot: There’s 3 DeLonghi dehumidifiers in our database. How does this model fare?
Snapshot: This Panasonic dehumidifier has impressive energy efficiency, but how much water does it remove from the air?
Snapshot: The Panasonic F-YCL17N has a timer and digital humidistat. Can it effectively reduce humiditiy?
Snapshot: Is this small, relatively lightweight Goldair the solution to your condensation problems?
Snapshot: This Goldair model lacks extra features like a timer, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s a poor performer. How did it fare in our tests?
Snapshot: Goldair’s GD330 has been on the market for a relatively long time. Is there a good reason?
Snapshot: This Dimplex dehumidifier, rated at 16L of water removed per day, comes at a competitive price. Is it a good bet?
Snapshot: Goldair’s well known for its domestic appliances. Does this dehumidifier deliver?
Snapshot: Mitre 10’s Nouveau dehumidifiers were subject to a high-profile recall in 2014. Is this model a better bet?
Snapshot: This Mitsubishi Electric Oasis dehumidifier offers a bevy of features and an air-purifying function. Is this high-end model worth it?
Snapshot: This Mitsubishi Oasis dehumidifier offers a bevy of features, including an air-purifying function. But is this high-end model worth it?
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If you’ve got a problem with condensation, consider where the water is coming from. Before buying a dehumidifier, do everything possible to reduce the causes of dampness.
We also consider running costs, and whether they fill to their claimed capacities before switching off. We finish our test with an assessment of each model’s ease of use, including the usability of controls, ease of cleaning and whether we had any trouble emptying the tank.
Dehumidifier manufacturers base their water extraction claims on tests conducted at about 30°C and 80% relative humidity (RH). Unless you live in the Amazon, those conditions are nothing like the winter climate in your home.
We tested dehumidifiers in conditions ranging from 8°C and 90 percent RH to 16°C and 65 percent RH, which are more typical of a New Zealand winter, and found actual performance is far lower than claimed.
Dehumidifiers perform best when placed in the centre of a room with doors and windows shut. We advise vacuuming before switching them on, otherwise the filter can clog up quickly.
Every model we recommend has an adjustable humidistat allowing you to choose from a range of humidity levels. Take care though, removing too much water from the air can result in dry skin and itchy eyes. We recommend a humidity level between 30-50%.
Price: We’ve found you need to spend at least $350 to snag a good dehumidifier. That said, they’re often on sale, especially in the off-season. If you’re budget is tight, consider a second-hand model. Our reliability survey found dehumidifiers were very reliable appliances – 96 percent had never needed repair. At time of writing some of our recommended models were available on Trade Me for half their RRP.
Energy efficiency: Our energy efficiency score indicates how much energy the dehumidifier uses to extract each unit of moisture from the air. Higher scores mean it uses relatively less energy. We also calculate the running cost per year, based on typical use.
Humidistat: Like a thermostat for relative humidity, this allows you to set desired humidity and the dehumidifier will work until the room reaches that level. All our recommended models have digital humidistats.
Laundry mode: This setting means the dehumidifier will run at full bore without switching off in order to dry laundry quickly.
Timers: Allow you to set the times a dehumidifier will switch on and off, giving it a set duty period each day. If you don’t have this function, you can use an inexpensive wall plug timer.
Noise: Most dehumidifiers, including all our recommended models, make upwards of 50 decibels (dBA) of noise. That’s enough to be annoying if you’re trying to watch TV or have a kip. For comparison, a reasonably quiet fridge makes about 40dBA. See our ‘quietness’ scores, a model scoring above 7.0 is quieter than average.
Tank: There’s a trade-off between mobility and tank size. Small water-collection tanks make a dehumidifier more compact, lighter and easier to carry around. But if the tank is too small, you’ll have to empty it several times a day. Models with larger tanks won’t need to be emptied as often but can take up more floor area, and a big tank full of water can be difficult to manoeuvre to the emptying point. All dehumidifiers can be plumbed with a hose allowing continuous drainage, a good option in the garage.
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Check out more of our tests, articles, news and surveys in our Home, heating & renovation section.
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