What Is Dry Mode On An AC? (Dry Vs Cool Explained)

Air conditioners have become a key part of our lives, but it’s become difficult to stay on top of all the new features and settings as technology has advanced. If you have an AC, you may have only ever used one setting, and the other controls can be confusing.

In this guide, we’ll help make things easier by explaining what dry mode is on an air conditioner and how you might benefit from using it.

What Exactly Is Dry Mode? (How It Works)

How Dry Mode Works

Air conditioners are often confused with dehumidifiers, even though they do entirely different things. The dry mode on your air conditioner essentially allows it to act or work as a dehumidifier and removes the need for two separate devices.

Dry mode on an AC allows you to lower the humidity in your home without a dehumidifier. This helps lower the overall temperature and protect your home and belongings from damage that can occur in humid environments. It works by drawing wet air into the device, capturing the moisture, and letting dry air blow into the room.

In many parts of the world, heat and humidity go hand in hand, so by using dry mode, you can not only regulate the temperature of the air in your home, but you can also regulate the moisture levels to give you complete control of your home environment.

Not every air conditioner will have a dry mode, so you’ll need to check your specific unit and product specifications to see if it does.

What Is The Difference Between Cool And Dry Mode In AC?

Cool mode is generally the standard setting on your air conditioner. It can often feel like cool and dry mode are doing the same thing; however, they are two completely different functions.

Cool mode is used to regulate the temperature in a room and keep it at the desired level set into a programmable thermostat.

The AC does this by drawing hot air into the device and using coolant to lower the temperature. It then blows the cold air back into the room, helping to reduce the overall temperature in an area. While cool mode will help lower the temperature, it won’t impact the humidity levels in the air.

Dry mode operates similarly in that it draws hot air into the device. However, while moisture is extracted, no coolant is used, and the actual temperature of the air isn’t impacted. This means that in dry mode, you don’t have cold air blowing back into the room.

If you live in a humid area, then lowering the moisture levels in the air can give a cooling effect. The room itself won’t become cooler, but because of the way our bodies feel the heat, it can make you feel more comfortable. However, if you want to reduce the temperature, you need to use cool mode.

Most users will benefit from dry mode at certain points of the year because humidity and temperature can go hand in hand. However, it’s worth noting that an AC on dry mode shouldn’t completely reduce the humidity to 0 and it should only be used for a few hours at a time to keep it within comfortable limits.

Benefits Of Dry Mode Function

The dry mode on your air conditioner gives you greater control of your environment. By alternating between cool and dry mode, you can keep the air in your home at an appropriate temperature and moisture level, which will make you feel the most comfortable.

Regulating the humidity levels in your home can also help protect your belongings. In hot, moist conditions, mold and mildew can grow and build up, damaging your home itself and everything in it. Dry mode helps prevent this from happening.

Harmful bacteria and microscopic insects are more likely to build up in humid conditions. By regulating the humidity in your home, you can reduce the risk of this happening and help protect your health and the health of your family. Lower moisture levels can also help eliminate some allergens which can trigger asthma or other medical conditions.

Generally, ACs with dry mode and most useful for those living in hot, wet conditions. This includes people in Asian countries and some parts of the USA. In these areas, you may find you need an AC and a dehumidifier, so investing in an air conditioner with dry mode can save you money because you only need one device.

When To Use The AC Dry Mode?

Your air conditioner is most useful in the hot summer months when you desperately need some relief from the heat. In contrast, dry mode is most useful during the winter months when there’s increased humidity but less heat. This allows you to remove the moisture from your home without losing the heat within your home.

If you notice that the conditions are very humid and you start to feel sticky in your home, then it may be worth switching on dry mode. This should help you feel more comfortable without cooling down your home too much. Similarly, if the weather is particularly rainy but it’s still hot, then you could benefit from using dry mode on your AC. Again, this helps to remove the excess moisture that’s built up in the air without losing the heat.

You generally want to keep the moisture levels in your home at 30-50% to protect your home and belongings and feel the most comfortable. If you notice the level rising above that, then it’s worth switching on dry mode. Remember, dry mode shouldn’t run consistently, and you should only use it for 1-2 hours at a time. It uses less electricity to run the dry mode on your AC, so it won’t add too much to your bills.

Why Use Dry Mode

How To Turn On The Dry Mode Of Your Air Conditioner?

It’s usually fairly straightforward to turn on dry mode on your air conditioner, but every model is slightly different. These steps should work for most models:

  1. Locate The Mode Button
    Most ACs some with a mode button that lets you switch between functions. This is probably on a remote control, but it may be on the air conditioner itself.
  2. Switch Between Modes
    Press the mode button to change the function of the AC. This will usually alternate between cooling, fan, dry, and automatic mode, but some ACs have other functionality, so it will vary.
  3. Turn On Dry Mode
    Keep pressing until you get to dry mode. This is usually shown on the air conditioner somewhere, and you should hopefully be able to feel the impact.
  4. Consult The User Manual
    If you can’t figure it out, then look at your user manual. It should give clear instructions on how to activate dry mode and how long it should be on for.

Turning On The Dry Mode Of The Different AC Models

Every model is slightly different, so we’ve given a quick breakdown of the most popular air conditioner brands:


LG air conditioners have a clear and easy to use display panel on the front of their models. This will allow you to control the power, current temperature, and the mode. Press the mode button to cycle through, and it should be the 3rd option. A light on the display will appear next to dry mode once activated. You can find more information on their website here. Or you can also read our LG AC reviews.


Frigidaire air conditioners also have a display panel to control the temperature and mode. You’ll typically have 4 or 5 different modes to choose from, and you just need to keep pressing the mode button until it activates dry mode. Not all Frigidaire ACs have dry mode, but if they do, it’s easy to activate.

You’ll be able to find the Frigidaire user manual for your specific model on their website here. You can also read our reviews of Frigidaire ACs here.


The majority of Hisense ACs have a remote control with a specific dry mode button on there to activate it. The control panel on the device itself has a mode button to switch between them, and you just need to press it until the dry mode button lights up. You can find more details in the Hisense manual here. You can also read our Hisense AC review here.

How Long Should You Run The AC In Dry Mode

Running your AC in dry mode for too long can have a negative impact on your air quality, and many ACs won’t be able to detect the humidity level and shut off automatically.

Your humidity level should ideally be 30-50%, and most experts say you should only run your AC on dry mode for a few hours at most. If the air starts to become dry, you should turn it off, or it can become uncomfortable.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Does dry mode in AC use the compressor?

Yes, your AC still uses the compressor in dry mode, but it runs a lot slower and consumes much less power.

Do all types of AC have a dry mode function?

No, not all ACs have a dry mode, and it isn’t a particularly common feature though it is found in most central AC units.

Is it good to run the AC in dry mode during the rainy season?

Yes, it’s a good idea to run your AC during the rainy season because it’s often when humidity levels spike. Remember to limit it to 1-2 hours a day max.

Is it expensive to run your AC in dry mode?

No, it’s a lot cheaper to run your AC in dry mode because the compressor isn’t working as hard to cool the air. It will be roughly 50% of your standard AC running costs when it’s in dry mode.


Dry mode on an air conditioner is used to help regular the humidity levels in the air. It won’t lower the temperature in a room, but it will help you feel more comfortable in your home and can make you feel cooler. Hopefully, this article has helped explain when to use dry mode and how to switch between functions on your air conditioner.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with DIY and improving my family home. HVAC topics can be tricky for homeowners so I decided to share my knowledge on the subject. When I am not working on DIY projects, you can find me at the beach or my local coffee shop.