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5 Best Desiccant Dehumidifiers

Last updated October 18, 2021

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Author
Author avatar Danny Ashton

Danny as been writing about air purifiers for 10+ years. He is a major fan of home technology, which makes him the perfect person to test and evaluate products for HouseFresh

Living with excess moisture and humidity can lead to a number of issues both for your home and your health. You might notice signs of mold and mildew alongside the unpleasant, musty odors they can cause. An increase in allergy symptoms and persistent coughing are also unfortunate consequences. 

Investing in a dehumidifier is an effective way to resolve these problems and a desiccant unit could be exactly what you’re looking for. Unlike a compressor model which uses condensation, a desiccant system utilizes a wheel that acts like a sponge to absorb and remove moisture. The dry air is subsequently propelled back out again, enabling you to breathe easier.

There are many benefits to desiccant dehumidifiers. For example, they’re generally:

  • Smaller and lighter than compressor systems, so you can move them around to different areas more easily
  • Designed to operate in lower temperatures
  • Built with a faster airflow
  • Quieter

Alongside factors like noise levels and energy consumption, we also made sure to accommodate a variety of budgets and included units for a range of room sizes. If you’re keen to find something to use in a relatively small room, the Keystone 14 Pint Desiccant Dehumidifier is a great choice and covers up to 200 square feet. But if you have a larger space to fill, the ECOR PRO 30 Pint Small Portable Commercial Desiccant Dehumidifier is designed for rooms up to 500 square feet.

To ensure we found the best desiccant dehumidifiers to meet your needs and find the ones which work best, we used consumer reports analysis. We made sure, however, to remove any fake reviews and all our recommendations came from genuine people like you who have used these models.

1. Ivation 13-Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier

Measuring 10.59 x 6.85 x 17.52 inches, this is a compact unit ideal for small spaces. It’s perfect for RVs, closets, basements, boats, or attics. It has a hose for optional continuous drainage. If you don’t use the hose, the water reservoir is easy to remove when it needs to be emptied. This unit can even be used for drying carpets and upholstery after flood damage. 

The advanced control panel has a backlit display with touch buttons for effortless control of the ambient environment. It can be set to show Celsius or Fahrenheit statistics. It has an on/off switch that maintains the set humidity and conserves energy. It will automatically turn off with the safety auto-stop feature if the water tank starts to overflow or if the unit gets tilted. The automatic restart turns the unit on after a power outage. 

Moreover, humidity can be adjusted in five percent increments from 35 – 85 percent and it can be set for continuous running. You can alternate the fan speed, heat options, and it has a sleep mode for less sound. You can set the automatic operation within one to 12 hours. The filter is easy to remove and is washable. It weighs 13.96 pounds.

  • Purifier Technology: Highly efficient desiccant rotor technology
  • Room Size Suitability: 270 sq. ft.
  • Capacity: 13 Pints
  • Noise Level: Whisper-quiet operation
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $8.00-13.00

What we love

  • It automatically turns off when the reservoir is full or the desired humidity level is achieved
  • If there is a power outage, it will automatically turn on when the power returns and adjust for the new humidity level
  • User-friendly LCD with an adjustable brightness
  • It has an adjustable, swing air vent

We don't like this as much

  • The clean, hot exhaust air is not preferable for those in hotter climates
  • The optional hose drainage requires an additional clamp to hold it on

2. Keystone 14 Pint Desiccant Dehumidifier

This dehumidifier has four modes to cover different areas: medium, minimum, normal, and laundry with low, medium, and high fan speeds. The maximum mode will run the unit until the relative humidity reaches 40 percent humidity. The normal mode reaches 50 percent and the minimum mode reaches 60 percent. The laundry mode reaches 35 percent humidity to dry hanging clothes. 

This dehumidifier removes about 14.37 pints of moisture every day and has a 4.22-pint water collection tank. In a high humidity environment, the water tank may need to be emptied more than once a day. One advantage of buying desiccant dehumidifiers is that they can work in all temperatures as low as 32 degrees F. This model is especially useful in unheated spaces like garages and crawl spaces. It will remove the musty odor in damp rooms such as cabins that are only used seasonally. 

This unit is very efficient and will remove more humidity from an average size room in less time than a larger compressor-type humidifier. This makes it very suitable for boats and places where there is plenty of rain. The dimensions are 7.4 x 13.8 x 19.7 inches and the weight is 14.1 pounds. It is suitable for a bathroom, basement, laundry room, boat, or RV.

  • Purifier Technology: Consistent performance in all temperatures without a compressor or condenser and no refrigerant
  • Room Size Suitability: 200 sq. ft.
  • Capacity: 14 Pints
  • Noise Level: 38 dBA
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $9.00-18.00

You will also be interested in what we think is the best dehumidifier for low temperatures.

What we love

  • It has a laundry mode for drying damp, hanging clothes in a small enclosed room
  • When the desired humidity is reached, it turns itself off to save energy
  • When the humidity increases, it turns itself back on automatically
  • It removes a lot of moisture in only a few minutes

We don't like this as much

  • There is a large difference between the energy efficiency of the low and high power modes
  • Smart features, such as a mobile app, would allow for even more intuitive operation

3.  Meaco Zambezi 8-Liter Desiccant Dehumidifier

The dehumidifier has an automatic full-tank alert when the 6.34-pint reservoir is full and is equipped with an anti-spill cover. It also comes with a hose for continuous draining from the low-level tank. The size is 36 x 20 x 55 inches and it weighs 17 pounds. One of the unique features of this model is the onboard ionizer. Many domestic dehumidifiers have ionizers, but they are only effective in a small 3-foot radius and only filter dust. 

The Zambezi ionizer has an effective range of more than 32 feet and destroys dust, bacteria, viruses, mold, germs, and odors. It’s a good option for a boat, garage, RV, or cabin where there are dampness and mold issues. This dehumidifier indicates when the humidity is high, and you need to turn the unit on. This saves on energy usage when the unit is not required. 

The Meaco Zambezi dehumidifier also features a daily run timer that you can set which will run when you choose and for the duration of your choice. Another fantastic feature is the motorized rotating air deflector which directs the dry air wherever you decide. The continuous drainage system includes several safety features and will turn off the unit if it starts to overflow. You can control all of the above features with the digital display.

  • Purifier Technology: Zeolite desiccant technology
  • Room Size Suitability: 200 sq. ft.
  • Capacity: 16.9 Pints
  • Noise Level: 39dB
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $18.00

What we love

  • Meaco Zambezi donates to an elephant sanctuary in Africa for every unit sold
  • It removes about 17 pints of moisture every day
  • Continuously monitors the amount of humidity in the air
  • Will self-restart following a power outage

We don't like this as much

  • Slightly more energy-hungry than similar models
  • Extra care is required when emptying the tank as it fills to the top

4. Ivation 19 Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier

This lightweight but powerful desiccant dehumidifier is best suited for colder seasons. It has adjustable humidity control, a user-friendly LCD with a digital interface where you power the unit on and off and adjust the humidity, fan speed controls, a sleep mode, vent swing, and LCD screen brightness. The multiple drainage options include a 1/2-gallon water capacity and includes a hose for continuous drainage. 

The desiccant rotor is revolutionary and specially designed for semi-outdoor spaces. It will dehumidify rooms with a temperature as low as 33 degrees F and as high as 104 degrees F. During the winter with temperatures at 41-degrees F, it will remove 19 pints of water per day. A dehumidifier with a compressor will only remove about 2.9 pints per day and will also be loud and clunky. 

The warm air emitted by the device will help heat the room and dry hanging clothes, and it is anti-bacterial and anti-odor. It has an automatic shutoff feature if the unit becomes tilted or the water tank overflows. The filtration system is very effective against dust, fibers, dander, hair, and airborne spores such as mold and mildew. The Ivation 19 measures 19.5 inches high and weighs 15.45 pounds.

  • Purifier Technology: Highly efficient desiccant rotor removes moisture mold and odors.
  • Room Size Suitability: 250 sq. ft.
  • Capacity: 19 Pints
  • Noise Level: Nearly silent while running
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $7.00

What we love

  • The slightly warm expelled air is perfect for drying hanging clothes in a small space
  • It has a carrying handle for easy transport
  • The filter can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner
  • Along with the swing feature, it has a tilt feature for directional fan adjustment

We don't like this as much

  • A larger hose that fits the tank spout would allow for better drainage
  • The amount of heat produced by the unit can fluctuate after extended use

5. ECOR PRO 30 Pint Portable Desiccant Dehumidifier

The ECOR PRO 30 is a portable, commercial-grade desiccant dehumidifier that does not condense moisture. Designed with all-metal construction without a compressor, refrigerant, tank, or pump, this unit vents the moisture as wet air similar to a tumble dryer. This circumvents the common issue of water leakage across the floor from an overflowing water tank. It needs to be mounted with outside access to the exhaust vent. 

The vent pipes are standard size, but they can be adjusted to duct vents. The unit removes up to 30 pints of moisture per day from a 500 sq. ft. room without using any toxic refrigerants. This is a wonderful unit for rental owners who may have unoccupied rooms during off-season times, which may develop a musty odor. 

This small but tough dehumidifier will clean up odors in no time. It’s also useful for commercial freezers and public bathrooms in restaurants or offices. The dimensions are 7.87 inches square, and the weight is 6.6 pounds. Because it’s lightweight and small, one person can easily move it around the house from room to room as long as there is a place for outside ventilation.

  • Purifier Technology: The dry filtered air is discharged directly through a dry air outlet
  • Room Size Suitability: Less than 500 sq. ft.
  • Capacity: 30 Pints
  • Noise Level: Very quiet 49dB at three feet
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $11.00

More like this: Best 30 Pint Dehumidifiers

What we love

  • The 4 anti-scratch plastic feet are adjustable
  • It can be mounted on a flat surface, wall, or ceiling
  • Can automatically adjust settings to the surrounding humidity level
  • Will auto shut off when desired humidity is reached

We don't like this as much

  • The smaller size of this unit renders it better at cycling areas of lower humidity
  • It’s only suitable if it can vent outdoors as it doesn’t collect the moisture in a tank

FAQs About Desiccant Dehumidifiers

What is a desiccant dehumidifier?

A home desiccant dehumidifier is a convenient appliance that absorbs moisture from the ambient air and reduces the humidity level as a consequence. It draws the air in through a duct where it passes through an exhaust fan made of desiccant material, usually zeolite and silica gel. The dry air is returned to the house through heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) ducts, or blown back into the room.

What are the advantages of having a desiccant dehumidifier?

A desiccant dehumidifier removes moisture from ambient air inside a room without condensing it to liquid. As a vapor, it is pulled out of the room and only becomes condensed to its liquid form after it is removed from the room. The main benefits of having a desiccant dehumidifier are:

Reducing allergy symptoms resulting from pollen, animal dander, mold spores, and dust mites
Removing foul odors from mold or mildew
Keeping the room fresh and clean which in turn helps the HVAC system run more economically

What are the main components of a desiccant dehumidifier?

The Desiccant
Typically, silica gel is attached to the corrugated ceramic wheel, so as the air is pulled along the corrugations, the desiccant removes the moisture from the air. This process produces heat that removes and carries away the moisture. The desiccant needs to be kept cool so it can continue to remove moisture. It’s a constantly repeating cycle.

The Drum
The drum protects the desiccant. It rotates slowly and draws in the air to pass through the layers of desiccant. It is 1 or 2 inches thick and as wide as the appliance. Drums are usually very quiet, even quieter than the fans that circulate the dry air.

The Condenser
This is the place where the vapor is condensed into a liquid and held in a plastic container. It is usually done after the air is pulled past the desiccant.

The Heater
The moisture that is collected when the air is pulled through the desiccant needs to be heated to keep the desiccant dry. It needs to stay dry to continuously absorb more moisture in the circulation of air.

The Blower Fans
Pulls the air into the dehumidifier and sends the dry air back into the room or the house HVAC duct system.

How to Know if You Need a Desiccant Dehumidifier?

If you, your family, or co-workers are experiencing any of the following conditions, you may want to have your home or office evaluated by a professional HVAC engineer to determine if you need to have the indoor air cleaned by a desiccant dehumidifier. Things to look for include:

  • A constant musty odor that doesn’t go away when you open windows
  • Tiny black spots of mold that start appearing on ceilings, walls, shower stalls, or bathtubs
  • Water stains on the ceiling or wall that never dry
  • Visible condensation on the windows

Indoor air that is contaminated by any of the above conditions may cause respiratory problems and asthma. A desiccant dehumidifier can reduce the potential development of mold on bed sheets, curtains, upholstered furniture, and clothing. For our top picks for budget, mid-range, and desiccant dehumidifiers designed for larger rooms, check out our list below.

Budget/Smaller RoomsKeystone 14 Pint Desiccant Dehumidifier
Mid-range RoomsIvation 19 Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier
Larger RoomsECOR PRO 30 Pint Small Portable Commercial Desiccant Dehumidifier