Bathrooms are naturally wet and humid. There are ways to reduce moisture, but a dehumidifier is often the best solution.
The best bathrooms are bright, well-equipped, smell fresh, and most importantly, dry. Most bathrooms, however, feel wet – because they are. Mold grows in corners, mildew in cracks along the walls. Not surprisingly, bacteria thrive in a warm, moist and dark environment.
Experts suggest a few ways to keep bathrooms dry.
First, fix any leaks. Water leaks from pipes, sinks, toilets and showers contribute to moisture in the air. An important but often-neglected step is to inspect the bathroom for leaks and plug them.
Second, don’t leave surfaces wet. It may be tempting to dash out of the bathroom after a shower or bath, but the wet surfaces evaporate and add to moisture levels. Wipe surfaces dry with a clean cloth or sponge and keep the shower curtain drawn and bathroom door open. This will let heat and moisture escape, keeping the bathroom dry.
Third, beware of wet laundry. In small apartments, clothes tend to go into a basket in the bathroom to await the laundry machine. But if the laundry is wet, the bathroom will be as well. Try not to dry your clothes in the bathroom; this should be done in a well-ventilated space.
Nonetheless, most people find that these measures aren’t enough. Fans may help, but they’re often not powerful enough to truly dry out a bathroom, especially if the space is large. For a truly dry and clean bathroom, a fan is not enough – a suitably strong dehumidifier is needed.
What’s The Right Dehumidifier?
Search for “dehumidifier” online and the number of choices will be overwhelming. Only a few, however, are truly suitable for the average American bathroom. Experts suggest a close look at the following features before choosing one.
This means how big of a space the dehumidifier can reach, typically measured in either area (square feet) or volume (cubic feet) of space. Ideally, the dehumidifier should cover an area that is the same as, or slightly larger than, the size of the bathroom. This will ensure that the dehumidifier has sufficient power for the bathroom.
Most of the recommended dehumidifiers here cover at least 1,000 square feet or more. This should be more than enough for the standard bathroom in a typical home. But size of coverage is not enough – how powerful a dehumidifier is will be important as well.
Some dehumidifiers are more powerful than others in extracting moisture from the air. Performance is often measured in the “pints” of moisture that a dehumidifier can extract in a day. More powerful units can extract more water. In contrast, small portable units typically don’t reduce humidity as much.
Experts suggest 30-pints as the minimum recommended performance rating for dehumidifiers that are to be used in bathrooms. This is higher than typical units for bedrooms or living spaces, as bathrooms tend to be wetter than other spaces. Ideally, portable units should be avoided, unless the specific space configuration in the bathroom does not allow it.
This simply means the amount of water that the dehumidifier can contain in its reservoir tank before it has to be emptied out. For bathroom units, a larger tank capacity would be better.
Like the performance rating, tank capacity is measured in “pints”. But it is important to understand that these are two different features. A powerful unit rated at 30 or even 50 pints per day of performance may come with a much smaller tank, which means that the tank has to be emptied out several times a day. Ideally, the unit would have a tank capacity that has a larger capacity (in pints) than its performance rating – this would save some manual labor.
Most dehumidifiers rated at 30 pints or more of performance would have reservoir tanks of sufficient size. Some come with a “continuous drain” option, which could work even better than a large tank for some bathrooms. If the dehumidifier can be connected to a drainage pipe, the water would be discharged directly into the pipe and the tank would not need to be used or emptied at all.
This is often a highly desirable feature, which eliminates the need to empty the reservoir tank. A standard hose that is either included with the dehumidifier, or which can be easily purchased from most hardware stores, is attached to the unit and connected to a drainage pipe or sink. The dehumidifier can then be set up once and left alone to work continuously.
However, the water must flow correctly and not be blocked. A common user mistake is failing to ensure that the point at which the water exits the dehumidifier is higher than the drainage outlet. Larger and more powerful units, such as those with more than 50 pints of performance, sometimes have integrated water pumps to force the water out instead of relying purely on gravity.
Many bathrooms, however, may not have a convenient and permanent location for a continuous drainage unit, especially if the “natural location” for the dehumidifier is not near a drain or sink.
Recommended list: The best bathroom dehumidifiers
After an exhaustive evaluation of the best-selling dehumidifiers in the market, here are a few which will suit every bathroom.
Tosot 30-Pint Dehumidifier
Best For the Wettest Bathrooms
This is a reasonably powerful (30-point) dehumidifier, which hums along quietly throughout the day yet uses relatively little electricity. Operating the dehumidifier, such as setting the desired humidity level, is very intuitive through easy-to-understand menu interfaces.
The reservoir tank is straightforward to remove and replace. Tosot’s engineers even fitted the tank with a handle to be easily carried. There is also a continuous drainage feature using a standard garden hose (sold separately), which adds to the convenience of the unit.
Why We Love It
Powerful enough, with wide area coverage
Tosot designed its dehumidifier with an area coverage of up to 1,500 square feet – more than enough for most bathrooms. The 30-pint performance rating means that it’s on the powerful end of the spectrum.
Who doesn’t welcome some savings on the utility bill? Those who are environmentally-minded or simply conscious of their wallets, would welcome the energy efficiency of this unit, which is rated with an Energy Star.
A good dehumidifier is neither seen nor heard, but simply felt with the dry air. Tosot’s engineers clearly understood this principle, when they designed the dehumidifier to work between 48 and 52 decibels. At these levels, the dehumidifier doesn’t intrude and is heard only in the bathroom where the sound resembles unintrusive background noise.
In the event of power outage or if the dehumidifier were simply unplugged and moved to a different location, most units lose their settings and have to be set up again. Tosot had their customers’ convenience in mind when they designed a feature where the dehumidifier keeps the last-known settings and automatically applies them the next time the unit is powered up.
Washable Air Filter
The units have a conveniently-located and easily-accessible air filter which should be cleaned after about 250 hours of use. There is no need to keep track of the hours of usage; the unit has an indicator light which will come on when the filter has to be cleaned.
Removing the filter for cleaning involves a simple twist of the wrist. It can be washed with warm water and a regular mild soap or detergent. It is recommended to air out the filter and ensure that it’s completely dry before replacing it.
Negatives: Small Reservoir Tank
This is one of the units with a powerful rating (30 pints) but a relatively small reservoir tank. For most users, the tank will need to be emptied 2-3 times a day.
Rinkmo Portable 30-Pint Dehumidifier
Best For Portability
This is a good-looking unit, designed to be portable yet reasonably powerful for most needs. It has an area coverage of up to 1,050 square feet and a performance rating of up to 30 pints.
Interactions with the unit are through an intuitive and easy-to-use LED panel, which typically displays the current humidity in the bathroom – a useful feature.
There are other smart touches as befits its high-tech look and feel: auto-stop once the desired humidity level is reached, auto-off once the reservoir tank is full, and a restart button for power outages – this will quickly put the unit back into its last-known settings. Although the reservoir tank is relatively small, at only 3.8 pints compared to its performance rating of 30 pints, there is an option for continuous drainage by connecting the unit to a hose or pipe.
Why We Love It
Easy to use
The large LED panel gives an appropriate high-tech look to the unit, provides a large digital display that’s easy to read, and has an intuitive menu layout that makes operating the unit easy and straightforward. By default, the panel shows the room’s current level of humidity. Controls such as setting the desired humidity level, the desired dehumidifier speed and the 24-hour timer are all accessed through the LED display.
This is one of the unique features of the unit. Many people tend to forget to empty the reservoir tank. If the tank overflows, water can damage the unit or even ruin bathroom carpets, furniture or tiles.
Rinkmo’s engineers clearly had such a scenario in mind when they built the auto-shutoff function. The dehumidifier automatically shuts off once a sensor detects that the reservoir tank has reached its maximum capacity. At the same time, a warning light comes on, in the LED display panel, to indicate that the reservoir tank should be emptied.
Different Drainage Options
The reservoir tank is smaller than most at 3.8 pints, but understandable given that this dehumidifier is meant to be portable. The tank is easily located, removed and replaced which is a good thing considering the small capacity. Those who want to avoid emptying the tank multiple times a day may want to choose an option to set up continuous drainage with an external hose. However, this would mean a more permanent setup, which means the unit may not end up being as portable as intended.
Washable Air Filter
Similar to other dehumidifiers in the market, the unit has a conveniently located and easily-accessible air filter. Rinkmo recommends cleaning once a month or as needed. The filter can be washed with warm water and some mild soap or detergent or a vacuum. It should be completely dry before being replaced.
Negatives: Can be Noisy
One negative point is that the Rinkmo is relatively noisy. Apparently, being portable meant some trade-offs in terms of noise dampening. Some customers have provided feedback that their units became noticeably louder after several months of use.
Colzer 30-Pints Compact Dehumidifier
Best for Versatility
The Colzer is the natural all-rounder: compact, good-looking, and relatively portable. This dehumidifier is powerful enough for most homes and bathrooms and effectively keeps humidity levels under control.
It can cover an area up to 1,500 square feet with sufficient power to remove 30 pints of moisture a day. The unit’s large reservoir means greater convenience – it doesn’t have to be emptied often. The air filter can be easily removed and cleaned, which means easier maintenance. An added bonus is that the unit has a smart sensor that will provide an alert when the reservoir tank is full and has to be emptied.
Why We Love It
This dehumidifier has a small, compact form factor and is easily added to most bathrooms. It just doesn’t take up too much space and can be tucked away in a corner or even under a sink or shelves. It doesn’t hurt that the design has modern and clean lines, which suits a wide variety of bathroom styles.
The unit is mounted on four wheels and weighs only 29 pounds (without water) despite the large tank. This means that the dehumidifier can be moved easily to different rooms, as needed. Some users may even rely on one Colzer unit to dehumidify two or more rooms, moving it into whichever room needs it most.
Large Area Coverage, Strong Performance
Even though it is small-sized, this unit effectively dehumidifies large rooms up to 1,500 square feet in size. At maximum power, it can remove up to 30 pints of moisture per day and store up to 9.6 pints of water in its reservoir tank. Most 30-pint units in the market don’t have such a large tank, which means less effort in emptying the tank each day.
Intelligent and Accurate Settings
In our tests, the Colzer stands out in providing some of the most accurate humidity readings, compared to its competitors. The engineers behind the humidity sensors have given the unit a true and precise reading of the environment, which means the user never has to worry about false readings.
Easy to Use Controls
The digital LED display panel is where all the action takes place. It comes with lots of smart controls, yet unlike many electronic appliances is easy and even a joy to use. The display panel lights up in a welcoming manner, allowing the user to set the desired humidity level, check the current humidity, and determine the unit’s speed. Additional features include a 24-hour timer to turn the unit on and off, and to check the water level in the reservoir tank. Alternatively, the display will automatically indicate when the tank is full and prompt the user to empty it.
Like most of the other models reviewed here, the Colzer comes with an option to set up continuous drainage. The bonus is the 3.2-foot hose that is included in the box. Simply hook it up to the nozzle near the reservoir tank, connect the other end to a sink or drainpipe, and water from the unit will be automatically drained without filling the tank. This is a very convenient feature for users.
Negatives: Can be noisy
Compared to the other models evaluated, the Colzer can sometimes emit quite a bit of noise. Some users have noticed that the unit tends to vibrate at high speeds, but not enough to interfere with its normal functioning.
Frigidaire 50-Pint Dehumidifier
Best for Power
Able to remove up to 50 pints of water from the air every day, the Frigidaire is one of the most powerful dehumidifiers in the market. It also acts as an air filter, cleaning the air of unwanted airborne particles and even removing bacteria.
Despite its power rating, it is relatively energy efficient. Customers can have extra peace of mind with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Why We Love It
Despite Size, Very Energy Efficient
The Frigidaire is highly efficient in its use of energy. Like other units, it uses only 115 volts of power and can be plugged into an ordinary electric socket. Its Energy Star rating means that using it will not add much to a utility bill.
Cleans the Air
The air filter in the dehumidifier is more active and effective than other units. It does not only work to reduce humidity, but also traps airborne particles. This is thanks to an antibacterial mesh attached to the filter which kills airborne bacteria and effectively neutralizes any unpleasant odors in the air. Some consumers may use it as a “two in one” solution – to dehumidify and to purify the air.
Can be moved easily
Although large and heavy, the unit can be moved around as it is mounted on four wheels. There are handles on the top and sides of the unit, for easy handling.
As befits its size, the Frigidaire has one of the largest reservoir tanks in the market, holding up to 16.3 pints of water. This is necessary as the unit can extract up to 50 pints of moisture from the air each day.
Like the other units reviewed, continuous drainage can be set up by attaching a standard garden hose to the unit and connect the hose to a nearby drain or sink.
Negatives: Short Shelf Life
This is a big minus. Many customers have reported that their Frigidaire unit stopped working after about 3 years. The manufacturer’s warranty provides some initial peace of mind, but at one year this is not nearly long enough for most consumers.