Just as our bedrooms may need a humidifier for winter months when the heater dries out the air, our basements may need special care, too. Basements are highly susceptible to drastic temperature variances from all sides, and excess moisture can quickly accumulate.
This article will examine the best dehumidifiers to help combat moisture, mold, and mildew as well as odors in your basement. Whether you need a portable or permanent solution, we have you covered. Read on to find out all you need to know about selecting the best dehumidifier for your basement.
Signs That Your Basement Needs a Dehumidifier
Just because you have a basement doesn’t mean you need a dehumidifier. While it is highly likely, there are signs you should look for to know for sure a dehumidifier is something you need.
- Musty odors
Basements aren’t known for their airflow, so musty odors aren’t a true tell-tale sign. However, that musty odor could be from mold or mildew and not just stale air.
- Mold and mildew
One sure sign of excess moisture is mold and mildew. While mold can grow almost anywhere, growth on basement walls, floors, and surfaces is a sure sign you have too much moisture in the room.
- Water stains
If you notice water stains on the walls or floors, this indicates either a leak (which you would notice) or high humidity levels in the room (which you may not notice).
Walls, floors, and windows with condensation is a sign of high humidity and drastic temperature variances.
How Dehumidifiers Work to Remove Moisture
There are a few primary types of dehumidifiers, but they all have the same purpose: remove humidity and excess moisture from the air in your home.
The most common type is a heat-pump style humidifier. A fan will draw the warm, humid air into the device where it passes over coils. These coils are cooled (usually with refrigerant), causing the air to condensate. The moisture drips into a collection tank or drain, and the moisture-free air is expelled back into the room.
You can also have a ventilator system. These basically replace the air in your home with less humid air. Using a humidistat or moisture detection sensor, the fans will turn on, pulling air out of your basement and pushing it outside. Once the humidity level is low enough, the fans turn off.
Finally, you also have chemical dehumidifiers. These devices use a fan to pull air in and pass it over chemicals that absorb moisture, such as silica gels, desiccants, or salts. Most units use a cartridge that needs replacement regularly to continue to function properly.
Dehumidifiers for Basements Compared
Buying the Right Dehumidifier for Basements
The first thing you need to consider is what type of dehumidifier you want to get. Each type (as listed above) has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Primarily you need to decide if you want a system to remove the moisture, remove the air or trap the humidity in a filter-like cartridge.
Different regions of the United States have different temperature and humidity zones. The higher the humidity in your zone, the lower the temperature requirements for your dehumidifier need to be. Most sales in your area will meet requirements, but make sure your online purchases do, too.
Capacity & Coverage Area
For cartridge and container dehumidifiers, you will need to replace or empty them on your own. You need to know these systems’ capacity and how often they fill based on your humidity levels. Most units will shut off when the container is full and won’t run again until it is emptied.
The coverage area of the machine will play a large part, too. You want a unit designed for more square footage than your basement, to ensure proper airflow is met.
Drainage & Ducting
Using a system with an automatic drainage system is the ideal fit. Once set up, you don’t have to worry about draining water tanks or cleaning out silica gel packs. However, these units are also more expensive.
You will want to know the ducting requirements for ventilation systems and find out how much you need to add, if they can be installed with existing ducting or where the exhaust vent is located.
Besides the primary factors listed above, there are secondary factors to consider too. These are the features that may or may not be included with your dehumidifier. Each one is optional but makes life a bit easier.
- Filter Indicator Light
Units that use filters for the air or water need those filters changed. A machine with a filter indicator light will alert you when it is time to change, taking the guesswork out of remembering install dates.
A humidistat measures the humidity in the surrounding air. Dehumidifiers with auto-humidistats will turn on or off based on the readings. These help save you money in your monthly electric bill by only running the system when and for as long as needed.
- Auto Reset
In the event of a power failure, some models will offer an auto-reset feature. Once power is restored, the machine will come back on with all previous settings in place. This prevents you from having to go to the unit and manually restart and reprogram the machine.
- Low Temperature Settings
Along with the humidistat and climate controls, some units will have low temp settings. These allow the machine to operate, or not, based on the lowest temperature for your region. When this threshold is crossed, the unit will not run, regardless of humidity levels.This is ideal in the winter when you are trying to raise the humidity, but don’t want to continually have to go back and forth, turning your dehumidifier on or off.
- Frost Sensor
If it gets cold enough in your basement to cause frost, the coils in some dehumidifiers can freeze over. If this happens, a frost sensor will alert you and the machine and allow it to go into a deicing mode to remove the frost and prevent damage.
- Digital Controls
Digital controls may seem like a standard option, but they are not. Having a machine with digital controls and readout is a lot easier to operate than one with analog controls. However, they will cost you a bit more. Make sure you weigh the cost versus the convenience before you buy.
- Noise levels
Some models are a lot louder than others. With refrigeration systems, fans and evaporators, these noises can be amplified coming from your basement. Insulation and motor padding are common methods of reducing noise levels, but not all models will offer this.
Price & Warranty
The price will be one of the largest consideration factors. Depending on the size and type of dehumidifier you are putting in your basement, you may also incur installation costs. Make sure you know the full, final price before you buy so you can stay within budget.
Understanding the warranty is also crucial. Coverage terms and duration are important to know and take note of. You should also understand what is required to make a claim, as some companies may require professional installation, repair, or even have you pay to ship it to the claim center.
9 Best Dehumidifiers for Basements Reviewed
Our Top Pick For Basements
|Moisture Removal||50 Pints per day|
|Coverage||4500 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||1.8 gallons|
|Air CFM Range||156-188 CFM|
|Drainage System||Reservoir or gravity drain|
The dehumidifier from hOmeLabs is one of the highest capacity portable units currently on the market. It is also affordable for almost every budget and has a host of features, easily making it our top pick for basements.
The portable dehumidifier actually comes in three different sizes so that you can pick the one best suited for your space. The largest model can comfortably remove moisture in areas up to 4500 square feet. This is the best dehumidifier for large basements. If your basement is smaller, you may be able to save a bit of money by going with a smaller model.
Either way you go, you can expect up to 50 pints of moisture removed, per day, helping you keep your basement between 30 and 50% humidity. The hOmeLabs models are also sleek and stylish, so you don’t have to worry about bulky eyesores in your room.
The best feature here is the ability to choose how the unit drains. By default, the machine collects the condensation in a collection tray and will shut off when the tray is full. After you empty the tray and put it back in service, the machine will come on and start working again.
If this is a hassle (or if you don’t visit your basement often), you can connect a garden hose (5/8th inch inner diameter), and the unit will drain continuously without any extra work on your part. For the price, the hOmeLabs dehumidifier is arguably the best value dehumidifier for basements. Durable, rugged and long-lasting, you will enjoy having this unit in your home.
- Simple to set up and use
- Moves up to 50 pints per day
- Multiple drain options
- 2-year warranty
- Digital readout with touch-sensitive controls
- Water tray fills quickly
- May be too large for your space
Best Rated Dehumidifier For Small Basement
|Moisture Removal||30 Pints per day|
|Coverage||500 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||0.5 gallons|
|Air CFM Range||86 – 128 CFM|
|Drainage System||Reservoir or continuous drain|
If you have a smaller basement, then you may not need a large capacity dehumidifier. In this case, the best rated unit for small basements is the Airplus system.
This humidifier is ideal for small spaces and will work wonders in your basement. It offers you the choice of drainage options that best suit your needs. The tank will hold 1.5 liters of water (about half a gallon) and will need to be emptied about every 2 or 3 days.
If you prefer, there is a hose attachment (hose included) that allows for continuous draining as long as you have a sink or drain nearby. This unit will remove up to 30 pints per day, depending on the relative humidity and temperate (as well as your settings).
The touch control display features 4 operational modes and 2 timers. You can set it to come on during a 24 hour period or off during the same period. You also get to choose between fan speed modes for drying, sleeping (noise reduction), and standard operations.
Once set up in your basement and your selections are made, you can leave the dehumidifier to do its job. However, because it is a portable unit, it will need to be checked on from time to time to ensure it is still running as expected and the draining hose has not come dislodged.
With a 2-year warranty and money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose with this model, except, of course, excess moisture in your basement.
- 2-year warranty
- 4 speed settings and 2 timer modes
- Easy setup and use
- Large moisture removal capability
- Drain hose is a little small
- Doesn’t run constantly
Top Of The Range
|Moisture Removal||120 Pints per day|
|Coverage||1300 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||N/A|
|Air CFM Range||130 CFM|
|Drainage System||Continuous gravity|
If you are looking for the top of the range and only want the best, then this might just be your next dehumidifier. The AlorAir dehumidifier is a continuous run refrigerant model that offers superior moisture removal for wet basements.
Not only does this model run constantly, but it is also engineered to use less energy than most other models, keeping your monthly energy bill low. It also uses a gravity drain system, so you don’t have to worry about water tanks or pump malfunctions.
Capable of removing up to 120 pints of moisture per day, this unit will efficiently work in basements up to 1300 square feet. It also allows you to run year-round with a special hot gas valve (HGV) defrosting method.
Utilizing the HGV, the machine doesn’t need to shut off to defrost. Instead, it will work continuously, even through frost at temperatures as low as 36 degrees Fahrenheit. For the basement that stays wet, this is the cure.
Not only does the machine work year-round and move a lot of moisture from your basement, but it is also backed by a 5-year warranty and plenty of after-sales customer support. If you ever have questions or concerns, the techs spread nationwide will happily help you out.
- 5-year warranty
- Hot gas valve defrosting
- Simple settings for user-friendly operation
- Removes up to 120 pints per day
- 6-foot drain line
- More expensive than most other options on this list
- Operation can become too loud
Best Dehumidifier For Mid-Size Basement
|Moisture Removal||35 Pints per day|
|Coverage||3000 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||1.6 gallons|
|Air CFM Range||138 CFM|
|Drainage System||Reservoir, continuous|
We’ve covered the large basements, the small basements, and the wet basements. What if you are somewhere in between? The Vremi dehumidifier is the best model for mid-sized basements and should suit your needs just fine.
Once again, you have three sizes to choose from, with ranges between 1500 and 3000 square feet, you are sure to find the model that fits your basement size with ease. Just don’t forget to add a little extra space, so your unit doesn’t have to work overtime.
With the Vremi model, you have two drain options. The large collection tank will hold about 1.6 gallons of condensation before the machine shuts off. If you prefer less work, you can connect a garden hose to the machine for a continuous drain. Make sure the hose is always going downhill to prevent a clog.
This model also has many features that help you out, such as the filter indicator letting you know when it is time to replace it (usually about every 90 days, depending on location and use). You also get a timer and turbo settings so you can let it run as needed or speed things up for a faster moisture removal period.
The 1-year warranty is a little slim for this industry and is about the only negative thing to offer here. However, during the warranty period, customer service is easy to get a hold of and happy to help. In some cases (depending on where you buy), they offer help to ensure you remain happy even after the warranty period.
- Turbo mode for quick moisture removal
- Continuous drain only requires a standard hose
- Great customer service
- Simple control options
- 1-year warranty
- Can get a little loud during operation
5. Aprilaire 1870 XL Pro Dehumidifier
Most Powerful Dehumidifier For Basement Mold
|Moisture Removal||130 Pints per day|
|Coverage||7200 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||N/A|
|Air CFM Range||250CFM|
|Drainage System||Continuous gravity|
If you have a wet basement, are rebuilding or modifying, or already have mold growth, you need the Aprilaire XL Pro. This is the most powerful dehumidifier for basement mold and will get your space back to homeostasis quickly.
This machine can move air and is designed specifically for basements, crawl spaces, and installation as a whole-home unit. With 130 pints per day moisture removal, you can reduce your basement to less than 50% humidity in no time.
With continuous draining, you don’t have to worry about emptying water trays or fiddling with pumps. In fact, this unit is relatively maintenance-free. The only exception is during the initial set up if you need to make changes or the once-yearly filter cleaning.
This unit does get loud, reaching upwards of 55 to 60dB. While this isn’t ear-shattering, in a basement it can echo and cause some disturbances upstairs. Insulation and padding will help reduce the noise levels and echoes, though.
The XL Pro comes in many sizes and capacities ranging from 2800 feet and 70 pints per day to the large capacity 7200 feet, 130 PPD model reviewed here. With a 5-year warranty, you can rest assured that this unit will perform as expected and offer you years of comfort and mold reduction.
- 5-year warranty
- Moves more air than other models here
- Filter cleaning/replacement is yearly
- Multiple capacities available
- Can get loud during operation
- Requires ducting that isn’t included
Best Portable Dehumidifier For Basement
|Moisture Removal||50 Pints per day|
|Coverage||2500 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||2.0 gallons|
|Air CFM Range||152 CFM|
|Drainage System||Reservoir, continuous pump|
With a brand like Frigidaire, you would think they know something about moisture, condensation, and humidity. That is why their dehumidifier is easily the best portable model for basement use.
With a powerful fan system, this model moves up to 152 CFM of air and can remove up to 50 pints of moisture in 24 hours. The best thing, though, is that this unit is highly portable and efficiently runs wherever you put it.
The controls on this unit are very user-friendly and offer you the ability to set timers, control humidity levels, and select fan speeds. It also features an auto shut off function based on time or water level in the collection tank.
The tank itself holds an incredible 2 gallons of water and has a simple front load system to make it easy to get to. Not only that, but Frigidaire thought of everything. The tank has a center-mounted handle and anti-slosh sides, so emptying it doesn’t make a mess.
If you’d rather not deal with emptying the tank, you can connect a garden hose and select pump operation. This will give continuous draining through the hose, so your maintenance routine becomes near zero.
The filter is also front-mounted for easy access and cleaning. The only downside here is that this unit can get a bit noisy, and the replacement filters aren’t easy to find. If you do find them in stock, it is recommended that you purchase a couple so you always have one when needed.
The warranty is a two-part warranty and covers the parts and labor of the unit for 1 year. The sealed system (fan, refrigeration, and pump) are covered for 5 -years.
- 1-year parts & labor, 4-years sealed system warranty
- No-slosh water tank
- Pump drain option
- Multi-speed fan with auto shut off
- Can get loud
- Replacement filters are hard to find
7. Midea MAD20C1ZWS
Best Cheap Dehumidifier For Basement
|Moisture Removal||20 Pints per day|
|Coverage||1500 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||0.8 gallons|
|Air CFM Range||128 CFM|
|Drainage System||Reservoir, continuous drain|
If you are looking for an affordable and functional dehumidifier, Midea has the answer. Their lineup includes some of the most reliable and best cheap dehumidifiers for basement, bathroom, or bedrooms around. They also produce quality air conditioners which you can check out here.
There are three models to choose from, including the highly budget-friendly 20 PPD model. You can also upgrade to larger models, up to the 4500 square foot, 50 PPD model. However, for the best experience, we found the 20 PPD is adequate for almost all basements.
With up to 1500 square feet of airflow space, the Midea dehumidifier can move a lot of air. About 128 CFM results in maximum moisture removal. Of course, as with most portable units, you have drainage options. The water tank itself is relatively small, only holding about 0.8 gallons. In a basement setting, this can mean having to empty it every day.
However, there is a continuous drain option that only requires a hose and a place to empty it. Once set up with drainage, you can use the touch-sensitive controls to set the unit exactly how you need it.
This model also features indicators for the fan speed, humidity levels, filter replacement, and tank full indicator. You won’t ever have to guess what the machine is doing or when things need to be maintained.
It does come with a 1-year warranty, and customer service is great when they are needed. However, it seems that any problems you may have (which is rare) happen well after the warranty period.
- Quiet operation
- Auto-reset function
- 24-hour timer
- Washable filter
- 1-year warranty
- Water tank is a little small
8. AlorAir Basement/Crawlspace Dehumidifiers
Best 90 Pint Dehumidifier For Basement
|Moisture Removal||90 Pints per day|
|Coverage||2600 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||N/A|
|Air CFM Range||210 CFM|
|Drainage System||Continuous pump|
Your basement is susceptible to excess moisture; we know this and have covered it intensely here. What you may need is a high-capacity dehumidifier to combat the constant onslaught of moisture and humidity. The AlorAir basement and crawlspace unit is made specifically for that.
You won’t find a lot of unique features like noise reduction and creature comfort add-ons. This model is designed to reduce humidity and save your basement from mold or mildew outbreaks. With a continuous pump drain system, you don’t worry about water tanks and having to empty them.
Instead, you place the unit in your basement, connect the drain (and ducting if applicable) and turn it on to let it do its job. It does its job well. Removing up to 90 pints per day of moisture, this unit moves air like a turbine. Up to 210 CFM of airflow and a non-stop, yet energy-efficient dehumidifier dries out your basement in no time.
The best part is that you know it is going to work. With a 5-year, full support warranty, there is no question that the company stands behind their products and know they will service all of your needs. If you have a wet basement, crawlspace, or floor and need to reduce mold and mildew build-up, this is the model for you.
- 5-year warranty
- Continuous pump drain system
- Easy controls to set and forget
- Hot gas valve defrost method
- Unit is loud during operation
- May be too powerful for non-basement use
9. BlueDri BD-130P 225PPD Commercial Dehumidifier
Best Commercial Dehumidifier For Basements
|Moisture Removal||225 Pints per day|
|Coverage||8000 square feet|
|Water Tank Capacity||N/A|
|Air CFM Range||410 CFM|
|Drainage System||Continuous pump|
For the contractor or construction crew dealing with saturated spaces, the BlueDri 130P is the best commercial grade dehumidifier for basements on the market. With high airflow and incredible moisture removal, this unit will outlast your foreman.
Designed for industrial use, this large, heavy unit is loud but effective. Use in spaces up to 8,000 square feet (or more) and let the machine run overnight to see a difference. For heavily saturated areas, you can even run the unit for several days on end.
The washable filter and drain pump make maintenance a breeze. It also includes a 38-foot drain hose that is mounted and stored in the front of the unit. With a 16-foot pump, you don’t have to worry about slope or landscape.
The only downside is that this unit comes with a 1/5-year warranty. The 5-years sounds great but only covers the case housing. The rest of the unit is only covered by a 1-year warranty. However, because of the rugged build, built-in defrost and coated pump, you shouldn’t have any issues for several years to come.
- 38-foot drain hose included
- Removes more moisture than any other model on this list
- Construction grade design
- Washable filter
- Simple controls and indicators
- 1-year warranty parts (5-years on casing)
- Very loud, not recommended for home use
Common Causes of Basement Moisture
Basement moisture and higher humidity are common. Regardless of where you live, the basements location is the most significant cause of excess moisture. Because the basement is below ground, water from soil and plant life, as well as any water tables running underneath, will raise the moisture level all around your basement.
Poor drainage, faulty insulation, or even a cracked downspout can cause moisture levels to rise in your basement. Because we also use our basements as laundry rooms, the heat from the dryer and colder air in the basement can easily cause condensation.
There may be underlying problems as well, such as a leak in a pipe or a clogged drain from a kitchen or bathroom above.
With these issues, you can do some things about it, such as repairing leaks or replacing downspouts. Proper insulation and finishing the basement to include walls and flooring are also helpful.
Of course, a proper dehumidifier will also fix most of these issues (though it won’t repair your leaking pipe or clogged drain) by removing the excess moisture and humidity before it becomes a problem.
Dehumidifier Draining: Gravity Vs. Pump
For permanent installations, you will need to consider the drainage. Gravity drains are simple and cost-effective. In these types of drains, the condensation, moisture and water go to the drain and outside your walls.
There are few moving parts, and aside from cleaning the drain and pipes every year or so, there isn’t much maintenance. However, this may not be an option depending on your surrounding area, the pitch of your property, and where the drain is located.
For the rest, there are pump drains. Unlike a gravity drain, pumps forcefully remove the water by pumping it out of the home. These can be installed in places where gravity drains won’t work, such as piping uphill.
They do have moving parts, an electric motor, and belts. The pumps need maintenance, and when a part breaks it needs to be replaced. While they are more effective than gravity drains, the maintenance is much higher.
Tips for Installing Basement Dehumidifiers
When installing a dehumidifier in your basement, you need to think about location. Not only the location of the machine but the area of vents, airflow, and drainage.
The first thing is to decide what type of dehumidifier you will use. Portable dehumidifiers are inexpensive but require more maintenance. They also may not be large enough to accommodate the size of your basement.
Once you have the dehumidifier installed, you must think about drainage. Automatic drainage for basement dehumidifiers is ideal since it requires less work on your part, and you don’t have to empty a collection tray continually.
Ensure the hose can reach the drain, sink, or outside and that the water flow is not impeded. For pump drains, there should be adequate ventilation to keep the pump cool and room to do maintenance when it is time.
If everything goes well, you will have a lower humidity basement and less moisture in the air or on your walls.
Additional Tips for Maintaining a Damp-Free Basement
Dampness and moisture in basements are going to happen. However, there are things you can do to reduce this moisture accumulation.
Insulation is a primary option. Insulation will help regulate the temperature changes from outside to inside and reduce condensation. You should also inspect the basement of cracks or damage that allows air into the room. This can be in walls, floors, ceilings, or even ductwork.
Repairing any damage, putting in insulation, and ensuring proper ventilation will help reduce or eliminate excess moisture. On top of all that, though, the perfect dehumidifier will do wonders for maintaining humidity levels in the basement space.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
What’s the ideal humidity level for a basement dehumidifier?
Regardless of the space, humidity levels above 60% are where mold and mildew form. Keeping your basement well below this level will remove the chance of mold and mildew occurring. The ideal settings for basements, or any room, is between 30 and 50%.
What kind of dehumidifier is best for a basement?
There are several types of dehumidifiers made for basements. The ideal set up is a whole-home system that works with your HVAC set up to remove and regulate the humidity levels. Aside from those, a portable unit with automatic drainage rated for the size of your basement is best.
How do I know what size dehumidifier to get for my basement?
Dehumidifiers are rated on their moisture removal capacities. The higher the capacity, the larger space they are useful in. Based on the moisture removal rates (pints per 24 hours at 65 degrees Fahrenheit with 60% humidity), you can figure out a base square foot area of coverage. You can learn even more about sizing at Sylvane.com. However, you should know that the capacity is a correlation of room size, and your capacity should always be larger than the room it is in.
What are the average running costs of a dehumidifier for basements?
The average cost per year for running a dehumidifier will rely on a lot of different factors. Primarily the type and size of the unit, along with relative humidity levels and ambient temperatures where you live. Small, personal units may only cost about $20 to $30 per year to run, while larger units and whole-home systems can reach $300 or more per year.
Will a dehumidifier help with basement smell?
Most of the time, if you have a foul odor or musty smell in your basement, it is mold or mildew. A dehumidifier will help in these cases by lowering the humidity level below that which mold and mildew grow.
Where is a good place to buy these units?
Dehumidifiers are sold in a lot of places, and what is good for one person may not be an option for another. Most big box stores will carry a wide range of dehumidifiers at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards, to name a few, should have what you need. For those that need or want to shop online, Sylvane.com and Amazon are among the best options. They have less overhead and larger supplies giving you better deals and more options than you might find in the store.
The best dehumidifier for your basement is going to be the one that can move the air in your space. Larger basements will need larger units. You also need to consider drainage and maintenance.
The hOmeLabs dehumidifier, our top pick in this article, covers up to 4500 square feet, moves 50 pints of moisture per day, and has several drainage options, including automatic gravity drain. If you are undecided, take another look at this model, it is well worth the investment.
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