Best Inexpensive Home Dehumidifiers and How to Choose

Humidity, or the lack thereof, is a popular topic this time of year. Where I live in northern Colorado, it’s dry! We have like no humidity. Well, not exactly, but it averages 15% to 20% during the summer and fall months. We have a humidifier in our home, and it runs 24/7  for health and comfort.

Recently, lots of readers have inquired about how to deal with the opposite—high humidity, which can get pretty miserable. A dehumidifier can be a godsend for those who live in high humidity areas to remove excess moisture from indoor air.

man hot humid sweaty


What is a dehumidifier?

Think of a dehumidifier as a vacuum that sucks the air from a room, removing the moisture and then blowing dry air back into the room again. The condensation drips into a collection tank inside the machine that must be emptied from time to time.

Many people find that a dehumidifier works together with the air conditioning system to keep the rooms in a home comfortable even on the hottest days with super high humidity. Others rely on a dehumidifier in place of an air conditioner.

Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes, typically rated according to how many square feet they can dehumidify and how many pints of water they can produce in a day. Most home dehumidifiers are controlled by thermostats and humidity sensors so you can make the room as hot and dry as you wish.

Signs you need one


High humidity is just plain uncomfortable. It’s that hot, sticky feeling you just can’t shake. When it gets hot, it’s normal for your body to sweat as its way of cooling you down. But when it’s also super humid, your perspiration never dries completely, making you feel terminally damp, sticky, and just plain uncomfortable!

Wet windows

If your windows on wet on the outside, chances are pretty good it’s raining. But when they’re drippy wet on the inside? That’s humidity, baby! An accumulation of condensation on the inside of windows is a clear sign of unreasonably high humidity. This is another sign that you could certainly benefit from a dehumidifier.

Mysterious water stains

You’ve checked the roof and all the pipes and can find no sign of leaks. Still, you have what look like ugly water stains on the ceiling and or walls. Those may be another symptom of excessive humidity inside the house. Water that condenses in these areas can eventually lead to peeling paint and even damaged drywall. Both of which are not cheap to repair.

You’ve got mold

Discovering mold and mildew climbing the walls in your home… and driving you up the wall, is another sign that it’s just too humid in there. That condition is inviting airborne mold spores to take up residence where they are free to multiply.

According to the Mayo Clinic, breathing air laden with mold spores can lead to more serious health problems. Symptoms include a chronic stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

A scientific review of the health effects of humidity published in 1986 by Arundel et al, reports that high levels of indoor humidity can encourage bacteria, viruses, mites and fungi, and more respiratory infections and sicknesses. “The majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%.”

High humidity

It’s one thing to feel hot and sweaty, it’s another to see exactly the relative humidity level. In the same way a thermometer checks the temperature of a room, a humidity gauge—also known as a hygrometer—shows the current humidity expressed as a percentage. In general, when the outdoor temperature is over 50F, indoor humidity levels should not exceed 50%.

hygrometer humidity guage for indoors


How to choose?

Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes and capacities—from whole-house units that tie into the HVAC system and dump water right into a sump pump, to portable units that are self-contained and can be moved from room to toom.

Whether you’ve got a humid office, garage, closet, or bedroom, there’s a dehumidifier that can handle it all. The smallest size of dehumidifier I recommend removes up to 30-pints of moisture from the air per day with its 3-liter water tank capacity. It’s recommended for small, indoor spaces like closets or offices up to 1,000 square feet.

A  50-pint capacity dehumidifier is built to handle a 1,000 to 2,500 square foot area and works well for bedrooms or common spaces. A 70-pint capacity dehumidifier is intended for rooms between 2,500 to 4,000 square feet, such as basements, cellars, or large spaces.

Typically, dehumidifiers are cheaper to operate than air conditioning.

Best Inexpensive dehumidifiers

The hOmeLabs family of dehumidifiers deserves your full attention for several reasons. First, these machines are not ugly—who wants some big monster of a machine taking up space?


A bicycle parked in front of a building


Next, these units are workhorses that come in a variety of sizes. Remember to select the machine that most closely matches the square footage of the space you need to dehumidify. And, they are super easy to use. hOmeLabs dehumidifiers are quiet, efficient, attractive, Energy-Star certified, and priced right with a 2-year warranty.

For these reasons, the hOmeLabs dehumidifier is my pick for Best Inexpensive dehumidifiers.


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6 replies
  1. Pinzira says:

    I seriously love this dehumidifier. Living in a studio apartment in Georgia, humidity control is a nightmare. We originally purchased a small dehumidifier that was for 260 square feet and the humidity in our apartment only got below 50% once in the three weeks we had it running continuously. This piece of technology has changed our lives. We are no friends to mold and this gives us total peace of mind. Our favorite feature is that it will automatically turn on when the humidity is too high and turns off at our desired level. Great option for the price. Go big!! You won’t regret it.

  2. Rhonda Mo says:

    We are building a house now. While investigating electric hot water heaters, I came across Hybrid models. They pull heat out of the air to heat up water. A bonus is they pull humidity out as well. It does have a winter mode when you don’t want to pull heat out of the air and it operates like a regular water heater. On a 50 gallon heater, electric bill savings is estimated at over $4000 over the life of the water heater. The cost was about $500 more than a regular water heater but at this time there is a $300 tax credit and a $100 local electric company rebate.

  3. Priscilla Khirfan says:

    I agree with Pat 100%
    I run a dehumidifier in my basement to avoid that basement smell. However my energy bill jumped $50 per month after I set it up to run when the humidity reached a certain level. I have it hooked up to a hose that runs to a drain so I don’t have to empty it. It is a new energy efficient machine.

  4. Pat C says:

    Dehumidifiers are great but they are electricity hogs. If your electricity provider is on a Time of Use (TOU) program, make sure that you don’t run it during the expensive electricity times. We had ours on a heavy duty timer and it kicked on at 7 pm and off at 7 am (when rates were lowest).

    If possible put your AC on the same system. Your home will remain comfortable during the day even with the AC and humidifier not running as long as you cooled it and dehumidified it overnight. And of course, if your home it empty during the day, don’t waste electricity cooling an empty building. Our neighbours ran their AC all day even when no one was home and couldn’t figure out why their electricity bill was so high compared to ours! Duh!

  5. Lora says:

    I also live in Eastern Oregon. It also is very dry and we’re sitting approximately 5100′. I’m looking for a good humidifier. Any suggestions??? Thanks Mary.


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