A desiccant dehumidifier is very different to a compressor-style unit. It still is designed to remove humidity from the air but instead of using condensation it uses a chemical compound. The chemical used to pull moisture from the air is called a desiccant.
There are quite a few different types of desiccant style dehumidifiers. Here we will look at how the different desiccant dehumidification systems differ and provide some specific examples of some of the best desiccant dehumidifiers on the market.
The Different Types of Desiccant Dehumidifiers
There are four different types of desiccant dehumidifiers. They include:
1. Disposable Desiccant
This type of dehumidifier is also known as a moisture absorber. These are relatively inexpensive and are disposable as they cannot be reused more than once. They work simply by exposing the moist air to a small container of absorbent crystals. Once full, the container is thrown away.
2. Rechargeable Desiccant
A rechargeable style desiccant is also a moisture absorber but instead of being disposed of once the absorbing material is full, it can be ‘recharged’ for future use. The recharging is essentially a drying process. Neither this or disposable desiccants are suitable for use in large areas.
However, the size of a rechargeable or disposable desiccant dehumidifier makes these options great for use in small applications. They are effective when used in cupboards or wardrobes, and are also considered a great gun safe desiccant dehumidifier.
3. Full-Size Consumer Grade Desiccant
These are generally smaller in size than compressor-type dehumidifiers. Also, the amount of moisture removed from the air by a full-size consumer grade desiccant dehumidifier will be less. They will roughly cost between $150 and $350.
4. Commercial Desiccant
These are typically the models that are used by construction contractors. A commercial desiccant dehumidifier has the ability to dry air that is already dry. They can also dry materials in either a very cold or very warm temperature. Compressor type dehumidifiers are not very effective at doing this.
How A Commercial Desiccant Dehumidifier Works
The Parts Of A Desiccant Dehumidifier
There are five main components in a desiccant dehumidifier. They include:
1. The Desiccant
This is the chemical compound used to adsorb (not absorb) moisture in the air. The reason for this is that when heated, the compound will release the same amount of moisture that it absorbed. The collection of moisture and release of it when heated is crucial in the process of a desiccant humidifier.
2. Rotating Drum, Large
The drum measures an inch or two thick and is as wide as the dehumidifier. The drum will contain alternating layers of corrugated and flat sheets. This is where the desiccant is placed. Air flows perpendicular to the drum which rotates to remove moisture from the room air.
The warm, moist air is condensed on this plastic item that measures roughly as long and wide as the dehumidifier.
A small heater is used to reheat the cooled air that flows through the desiccant dehumidifier.
5. Blower Fan(s)
One or more fans are used to send air throughout the entire desiccant dehumidifier system. Typically the blower is located in the back of the unit and it pulls air through the front of the dehumidifier and sends it through the top.
How It Actually Works
The rotating drum has a large process zone (about 75% of the total surface area of the drum) and a recharge zone. Warm air is pulled through the process zone by the large fan in the back of the unit. The desiccant compound adsorbs moisture as the air is passed through the process zone.
Once the air moves through the process zone it is sent out the top of the dehumidifier. The heater covers the recharge zone and it reheats humid air that is pulled through the desiccant as it passes through at the opposite direction of the incoming humid air.
The air that is reheated by the heater removes the moisture that has been collected by the desiccant. When this happens the moisture is released into the air. The now warm humid air leaves the recharge zone and enters the condenser at the front of the dehumidifier.
The warm humid air in the condenser will condense at room temperature. The water that forms from the condensation process drips down into a collection bucket. Once full, the removable bucket can be taken out of the unit and the water disposed of.
The main difference between a consumer-grade and a commercial desiccant dehumidifier is that the commercial style does not have a condenser. Instead, the warm moist air that leaves the recharge zone is removed by being pushed through the top of the unit and away through ducting.
As there is no condensation step in a commercial desiccant dehumidifier, they can dehumidify at much colder temperatures. They can also operate effectively in reducing humidity at far lower moisture levels than residential/consumer style desiccant dehumidifiers.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Desiccant Dehumidifiers
Because desiccant dehumidifiers differ quite a lot from regular compressor-style dehumidifiers such as whole-house dehumidifiers, it is good to know what some of the advantages and disadvantages are.
- Low-temperature operation
- Consistent moisture removal rate
- Extremely quiet operation
- Lightweight and portable
- Limited capacity
- Depending on the style, they can be lower value compared to compressor-style dehumidifiers
- Potential odor release
Our Best Desiccant Dehumidifier Reviews
To find out more about desiccant dehumidifiers, here is a review of some of the most popular choices:
EcoSeb DD122EA-SIMPLE Desiccant Dehumidifier, 15-Pint
Quiet, small and lightweight, this desiccant dehumidifier for sale features a rotary dial de-humidistat, laundry mode, manual adjusting louver and much more. It even has an Auto Restart and Tilt Over Protection.
The 4.2-pint tank can be continuously drained with the supplied hose.
There’s an Auto Power Saver function as well as an Auto Sensor which keeps monitoring the air humidity and will automatically slip into dehumidification mode when needed.
It comes complete with a 2-year Manufacturer Warranty.
It weighs just 13.2 pounds.
- Easy operation right out of the box
- Quiet and efficient
- Auto shut-off function is handy
- Small capacity (up to 15 pints per day)
- Best suited for use in small areas such as a basement, garage or boat storage rather than for large home rooms
Ivation 13-Pint Dehumidifier
This small desiccant dehumidifier features quiet operation because it does not have a compressor. The desiccant rotor technology does all the work of removing up to 13 pints/day.
The washable filter inside the unit is easy to clean by using either a vacuum cleaner or water.
One major bonus is that this desiccant dehumidifier is designed for continuous drainage; use a hose to drain the unit into a bucket or nearby drain.
- Very quiet operation
- Works very well as a dehumidifier
- Some report that the unit can run a bit hot
- This unit does not come with an adjustable humidistat
Anself Air Freshener Dispenser
Using Peltier Technology, this quiet dehumidifier is as quiet as a whisper.
It has an automatic shutdown which is activated when the water tank reaches capacity (500ml). When the tank is full the panel indicator light turns yellow just prior to shutting down to act as a warning.
The indicator light also shows you when the dehumidifier is in operation.
It is a small, portable desiccant dehumidifier that can be used in storage spaces, garages and most anywhere that needs humidity control but would be too small a space for a larger style model.
- The compressor-less design makes this a very quiet unit
- Small portable design is effective in regulating humidity is smaller spaces
- Limited features
- Small capacity water tank (500ml)
Dry-Packs 750 Gram Silica Gel Canister Dehumidifier
This is a portable desiccant dehumidifier that is actually a small steel canister that contains 750 grams of silica gel. The sturdy construction of the canister means it can be moved around and placed in just about any small location without fear of it getting damaged.
The silica gel is top grade orange that is easy to recharge when needed. The manufacturer states that this small dehumidifier can be used for a lifetime and still be effective.
It is recommended for use in gun cases, ammunition storage, camera bags, toolboxes, shoes, and cabinets. It can also be used in drawers, backpacks, camping gear, RVs, trailers and anywhere else moisture in the air can be a problem.
The orange silica gel turns dark green when it requires reactivation. You can reactivate the small humidifier in the oven. Full instructions included.
- Handy size that can go anywhere you need moisture control on a small scale
- The best desiccant dehumidifier reviews say this is long-lasting if you keep reactivating
- Reactivation instructions do not warn you to remove the lid before heating canisters in the oven
- Depending on your climate, you may find yourself reactivating these frequently
Eva-Dry E-333 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier
If you have a small enclosed area measuring roughly 10-feet by 10-feet this mini desiccant dehumidifier system is perfectly matched for the job. Using a specialized and engineered crystallized silica gel, this handy little product can be hung in a closet or other location to work.
The ‘moisture meter crystals’ change from orange when they are dry to green when they are wet. That’s when you need to ‘renew’ the unit for reuse. Recharging the crystals is easy as you just plug the dehumidifier package into a wall outlet.
Depending on the humidity level of where you intend to use this product, it will absorb about 8 to 10 ounces of moisture in three to eight weeks. When you consider that you would use this in a small storage place that is a pretty good timeframe for humidity control.
- Easy to recharge as you only need to plug it into the wall
- The small desiccant dehumidifier size is handy for tight locations
- Humidity levels can be detected by the color-coding of the crystals
- May not be very effective in a hot climate
- Does not collect a high volume of moisture
OSG-40 Silica Gel Dehumidifier
With a name like Hydrosorbent, you’ve got to get a bit of a feeling that this is a pretty serious product. In fact, it is actually a rather big name for a small item. That’s okay as it is designed for use in areas measuring roughly three cubic feet.
Think dresser drawers, wardrobes and toolboxes. As it turns out, the silica gel inside this canister can be recharged with heat – recommended by an oven by the manufacturer – and as a result, this product will last a long time provided it is reactivated when needed.
- Easy to use and recharge
- Does not require electricity to operate
- Does not contain Colbalt Chloride
- Reactivation with an oven may damage the viewing window in the canister
- Some customers received Lockdown brand canisters rather than Hydrosorbent branded ones
Dry & Dry 300 Gram [5 Packets] Premium Pure & Safe Silica Gel Desiccant
These packets measure 4 ½-inches by 7 ½-inches and they are filled with silica gel beads that are between 2 and 4mm in size. The packets are made from a strong fabric that uses Spunbond Technology for ultimate moisture absorption.
You just lay the package where you need moisture control. That could be in the bottom of a drawer, on a closet shelve or wherever you need it. Dry&Dry has been in the desiccant silica gel business for over 30 years and manufacture various size packets of their product.
- A quality product that can be used in various small spaces
- Easy to reactivate by heating in an oven or microwave
- This is one of the best desiccant dehumidifier products available for the size
- Beads that are contained in the sealed packets may crack when reheated in a microwave oven
INTERTECK PACKAGING 5 LBS Premium Quality Blue Indicating Silica Gel Bulk Desiccant Beads
The silica gel beads in this 5-pound tub change color from blue to pink indicating they have pulled out all the moisture in the air. That’s not a problem as you can easily recharge the beads by warming them in the oven. But how exactly would you use this volume of beads?
The packaging here is to provide you with enough silica gel beads to use in several areas. But you don’t just pour them out and hope for the best. You must package these beads in small fabric bags in order to use them effectively. That’s because you should avoid touching the beads.
You should not breathe in the dust that comes off the beads as well. However, if you do fill several bags with the beads, you will discover that they do a great job of pulling moisture from the air.
Place small bags of these beads anywhere you need to fight moisture such as in a cabinet, drawers, closets and those kinds of places. It does a great job of protecting electronics, jewelry, books, and ammunition.
Intertek Packaging is the manufacturer with over 30 years experience in silica gel desiccants and offers a money-back guarantee with this product.
- A lot of beads in a 5-pound container
- Easy to recharge once the beads change color
- Money-back guarantee as part of the manufacturer's customer satisfaction program
- You have to package the beads into smaller fabric bags in order to use them where needed
In the ongoing battle against the damaging effects of humidity on your belongings, you don’t always have to resort to electronic devices to do the job. Some of the best desiccant dehumidifiers are non-electric and non-toxic. They are moisture absorbers and work like a sponge sucking water out of the air.
Make sure that you have a look at some of the options we have mentioned above. As you can see, there are a variety of styles, and they are well-priced. So you should be able to find a small desiccant dehumidification system to suit your needs.