Dehumidifier Features – What To Look For In A Dehumidifier

what to look for in a dehumidifier

So, you are on the market to buy a dehumidifier. Do you know what to look for in a dehumidifier? There are several different styles and many different models available each with different dehumidifier features. Not all of these features will be relevant to your specific needs. This is why it is important to know what you want and need in a dehumidifier, and review what is available before choosing the best option to suit your requirements.

In this article, we will do just that – break down the features of a dehumidifier and explain what they do to help you make an informed choice.

Features To Look For In A Dehumidifier

Before you make a purchase, here is a list of what to look for in a dehumidifier…

Air Filter

An air filter is considered an optional accessory. It does exactly as you would expect, it filters the air that is being pulled into the dehumidifier.

For the dehumidifier to work efficiently, air has to be circulated through the unit. Moisture in the air is collected in the water tank at the bottom of the dehumidifier. Air that is pulled through the unit passes through the air filter, and the clean (filtered) air is blown back out of the unit into the living space the air originated from.

Some dehumidifiers have filters and others don’t. For units that do, you may have to occasionally replace the air filters which will take some time and money.

Automatic Shut-Off

This is a very useful dehumidifier feature. A unit with an automatic shut-off may do so for a couple of different reasons.

The shut-off feature ensures that the dehumidifier will turn off after a certain amount of time (eg. 2 hours), or if the humidity level reaches a certain point (eg. 60% humidity). This means that the unit can operate without you having to manually turn it off.

Another way the automatic shut-off works is that a sensor in the water collection tank signals to the dehumidifier that the water tank has reached its capacity. The unit then shuts off to prevent more water from collecting which could result in an overflow spilling water into the home and/or damaging the unit.


If you live where power failures or interruptions occur frequently with power to your home, an auto-restart can be a key consideration. The feature is self-explanatory. If the power is lost shutting down the dehumidifier, the auto-restart will activate once power is restored.

The best thing about an auto-restart, aside from it starting on its own when the power comes back on, is that it will start the dehumidifier up with all the previous settings still in place. This means you do not have to reset the temperature, humidity levels, or any other operational setting.

Caster Wheels

This is a common feature found on almost all types of dehumidifiers… especially larger units. Caster wheels provide a means of moving a dehumidifier from room to room or from one location in a room to another.

They also give the unit portability so that it can easily be put into storage and pulled out when needed. Caster wheels appear on not just residential dehumidifiers. They are also found on industrial commercial units.

Collection Tank/Collection Bucket

The collection tank or bucket is where the water that is pulled out of the air that flows through the dehumidifier goes. They are designed to hold only so much water and are meant to be removable to permit emptying. The auto-shut-off function on most models will force the dehumidifier to cease operating once the collection bucket is full.

A sensor located within the location the bucket sits activates the shut-off mechanism. There are high-volume dehumidifier models that do not contain a collection bucket but can be drained directly to a water drain with a hose (see below). Some models provide both options.


If your needs require operating the dehumidifier continuously, then you will want to find a model that features a built-in drainage system. Keep in mind, not all units with this come with a pump (ie. Water flows through a hose using gravity only), so depending on the model you select, you may have to purchase a pump separately (eg. If your drain is higher than the dehumidifier, then you will need a pump).

If you are just using a dehumidifier for humidity control in a residential setting, a unit with a collection tank or bucket should be all you will need to purchase for your home.

Electronic/Manual Controls

Electronic controls are the norm in today’s dehumidifier world. If the control panel of the unit you are looking at contains buttons, then it is most likely an electronic control model. Those with a dial or dials are manual.


This device is what measures the relative humidity in a room. The data collected from the humidistat is delivered directly to the humidifier and the unit will operate to make any necessary adjustments to the room’s humidity to keep it at a level you desire.

Humidistats are typically built into the dehumidifier, but they can also be purchased separately to monitor relative humidity.

Low-Temperature Operation

Of the various types of dehumidifier models available, there are some specifically designed for use in low-temperature environments. These environments would typically be in a basement or crawlspace.

These models can operate efficiently in a temperature range far below that of a unit best suited for indoor use in a home or apartment. Some low-temperature models can withstand temperatures as low as 30-degrees F and still control the humidity level of the space.

Noise Level

Another important consideration when shopping for a dehumidifier is the noise level produced. Compared to many other home appliances, even a quiet dehumidifier can produce more noise than you might expect. That being said, these units are rated and measured.

A dehumidifier rated at 50 decibels (dbs) of noise is quiet for a dehumidifier, but will not be as quiet as you may think. The reason why you should be aware of noise levels is that a light sleeper may be kept awake if a dehumidifier is operating in their bedroom while they are trying to get some sleep.

Pint Capacity

This is a reference to how much moisture, measured in pints, a dehumidifier can remove from the air where it is operating within a 24-hour timeframe. Dehumidifiers rated 70 pints or less are typically for home use. Models that collect more than 70 pints are best for commercial or industrial applications.


This is a reference to the size of the dehumidifier. Smaller units have caster wheels and handles making them very easy to move from location to location. Larger dehumidifiers do not usually have handles as they are intended for permanent installation.

In Conclusion

Once you have decided that you need a dehumidifier, you can now look at the many different options knowing that you have a better understanding of the dehumidifier features that are available.

When you know what to look for, it makes searching through all the dehumidifier features much easier and means that you will buy the best dehumidifier for your specific circumstances.

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