5 Types Of Dehumidifiers: Which One Should You Pick?

Maintaining indoor humidity at the proper level is important for overall comfort at home. Using a dehumidifier is conducive for those who live in humid regions or have a moist summer. 

There are several types of dehumidifiers on the market. If you are one of those who are unsure which one to choose, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will walk you through each type so that you can make the best decision.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Refrigerant dehumidifier 

refrigerant dehumidifier

Most portable dehumidifiers and whole-house dehumidifiers are refrigerant models. It is also known as a compressor dehumidifier. 

This type of dehumidifier draws air by means of a built-in fan. When the air gets into the machine, it will pass through an evaporator coil which has a low temperature. 

As you know, water vapor will convert to liquid water when the temperature is below the dew point. Therefore, the excess humidity in the air will be removed and accumulate in the water tank during this process. 

Next, the dry air will pass through another coil—the condenser coil. At this point, the air will be reheated and then return to the room through the vent. 

Refrigerant dehumidifiers are energy efficient. However, these models cannot function properly in cold climates because they are prone to freezing. They typically work well in temperatures above 60 °F.

2. Desiccant dehumidifier 

This is another main type of dehumidifier in the marketplace but works on a different principle. 

Likewise, it makes use of a fan to pull the air. However, the air will enter a desiccant rotor rather than the coil. The silica gel or similar material in the rotor can absorb the moisture, making the air dry when coming out of it. 

The moisture in the wheel will not always stay there. The regeneration air will flow through a heater and then pass through a part of the wheel simultaneously.

The warm air can take away the moisture in the wheel in the opposite direction, and then the moist air will be ducted away from the machine, or the moisture will be condensed out as liquid water.

Since the desiccant dehumidifier doesn’t use a compressor, it is quieter than the refrigerant unit. In addition, it is not sensitive to low temperatures as it has a built-in heater.

Nevertheless, it has lower efficiency and blows warmer air which is not a good choice for summer months. Some people use it to dry clothes in cold climates, which is smart. 

3. Bathroom mini dehumidifier 

bathroom dehumidifier

Mini dehumidifiers are a type of dehumidifier that is suitable for small spaces, like bathrooms or small bedrooms. 

It comes in a small size so that you can place it on the table or any flat surface. Meanwhile, it is budget-friendly. You can get a pretty good one for under $50. 

In terms of working principle, it is similar to a regular refrigerant dehumidifier, which collects water through an evaporator coil. However, it is not as powerful as a standard dehumidifier, meaning it can only collect a small amount of water per day

While it is not a good choice for a living room, it can be perfect for a small bathroom.

When comparing a bathroom dehumidifier with an exhaust fan, using a bathroom dehumidifier is easier to set up and can keep the humidity level in a proper range constantly, but it can’t remove the odors, and you have to empty the water bucket every so often. 

4. Whole-house dehumidifier

Whole-house dehumidifiers refer to dehumidifiers attached to your HVAC system. Different from the other types we mentioned above, these models can prevent your entire house from having moisture problems. 

This type of dehumidifier can collect more than 100 pints of moisture per day and keeps every room of your house in good condition. It is quiet because the machine is not placed in any room where you will stay in.

However, the cost of a whole-home dehumidifier is high, which can cost you a few thousand dollars. In addition, you should hire a pro to get it installed because adding a dedicated return-air duct is needed. 

If you want to improve the overall comfort of your home, this is your best bet. 

5. Dehumidifier bag

dehumidifier bag

All the dehumidifiers I mentioned above are powered by electricity and can take up space. 

If you are on a really tight budget or your living area is not so humid, dehumidifier bags could be a good alternative. 

These bags consist of calcium chloride, silica gel, rock salt, or other moisture absorbers, which can absorb moisture in the air. Some of them are reusable by sucking the moisture out of them with a microwave. 

They often come as hanging bags, which you can easily place in the closet, basement, laundry room, or other places. But they are not as effective as other electric models.

Check other ways to keep a basement dry without a dehumidifier here.


This post has summarized almost all types of dehumidifiers on the market.

Refrigerant and desiccant dehumidifiers are two main types, but refrigerant models are more popular these days because they are more efficient. 

However, desiccant models could be better for those living in cold areas because refrigerant models can ice up at temperatures below 60°F. If you are sensitive to noise, desiccant models are quieter.

Mini dehumidifiers fit well with small bathrooms and have a low price tag, whereas whole-house dehumidifiers can control the level of humidity in your entire house and are expensive. Whole-house dehumidifiers are the best choice when comfort is your top priority.

Why not try dehumidifier bags if you can’t afford any of these models? They are extremely cheap and can work in many cases. 

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Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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