Best Ducted Dehumidifier: Aprilaire 1850Z Pro Whole Houses Dehumidifier

When it comes to whole house dehumidifiers, you basically have two choices: ducted or portable dehumidifiers.

Ducted dehumidifiers are attached to your HVAC system and typically professionally installed. These are used for large homes and climates where you need to remove a lot of humidity from the air just about year around—we are looking at you, Louisiana.

Portable dehumidifiers, by contrast, are stand-alone units that can be moved from room to room as needed. They are better for smaller homes or less intense use.

We’ll recommend picks for both categories in this article.

First, let’s talk ducted dehumidifiers. Since these dehumidifiers are typically professionally installed, we interviewed five HVAC contractors in different parts of the country for their suggestions.

We then researched these dehumidifiers, comparing their features and reliability.

For the best ducted dehumidifier, we decided Aprilaire’s 1850Z Pro Whole House Dehumidifier is the best bet. This beast can remove 95 pints (almost 12 gallons!) per day . . . perfect for the most demanding humid home environments like Houston. Or Jacksonville.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Automatically drains water—there are no containers to empty.

• Quiet. That’s one advantage of a duct-mounted dehumidifier—since this is usually done in an attic or mechanical area, the noise is isolated away from the rest of the house.

• Excellent for dehumidifying basements, crawl spaces and houses up to 5200 square feet.

• Maker has do-it-yourself installation videos if you want to give it a try. 

• Brand has good quality reputation. We’ve owned Aprilaire products in our own home over the years and think they are well made. (As always, we pay for all the products we use with our own money—we don’t take freebies or money from the brands we review).

What Needs Work

• Professional installation can be pricey.

• Error codes can be frustrating. If this dehumidifier malfunctions, it displays an error code. Unfortunately, you typically have to call in a HVAC professional to fix it. And Aprilaire expects you to pay the labor cost.

• Pricey. 

Best Portable Whole House: Vremi 4500 Sq. Ft. Dehumidifier

When it comes to portable dehumidifiers, the basic difference between types is durability and capacity. Residential dehumidifiers typically are designed for smaller spaces and are made of mostly plastic parts. Design-wise, residential dehumidifiers are made to look more aesthetically pleasing than their commercial or ducted counterparts.

HVAC contractors we interviewed recommended portable dehumidifiers when the focus is on areas like a basement or crawlspace . . . or in parts of the country where the dehumidifying season is shorter (the Northeast, for example).

After speaking with contractors and doing 17 hours of research into different models, we think Vremi’s 4500 square foot dehumidifier is best if you need a portable solution.

Good news: this large-capacity dehumidifier combines both performance and value. It removes 70 pints of water from the air per day with a 1.8 gallon tank, lowering the humidity to comfortable levels in a short period of time.

Here’s more on why we recommend this model:

What We Liked

 Wheels. You’d think that would be a standard feature on dehumidifiers for basements, but no. This model has wheels.

• Quickly lowered humidity in our tests. 

• Auto shut off when tank is full. 

• Drain hose outlet for continuous draining into a sink or floor drain.

• Turbo mode and auto defrost. The auto defrost is important, as ice buildup on the dehumidifier’s coils can cause the units to malfunction.

• Water level line is visible on front of tank.

• Remembers settings after power outage.

• No professional installation required, unlike ducted dehumidifiers.

What Needs Work

• Loud. 

• Tank fills up to top—and can spill when you open it. That was no fun in our testing!

• Can get hot to touch.

• Hose attachment could be tighter.

Best For Crawl Spaces: AlorAir Basement/Crawl Space Dehumidifiers

A dehumidifier for crawl spaces has to be rugged enough to deal with wide swings of temperatures. HVAC contractors we interviewed stress this point, adding that crawl space dehumidifiers must work in both summer and winter. This one is rated to work as low as 36 degrees . . . that’s lower than other models we compared.

This particular model of AlorAir’s Basement/Crawl Space Dehumidifier is rated for 55 pints per day, although higher capacity models are also available. A 55 pint dehumidifier should work for most crawl spaces up to 1300 square feet.

What We Liked

• Can be ducted or work free standing. That’s great for crawl spaces, where free standing installations are more common.

• Compact size.

• Easy installation.

• Digital auto humidistat control. 

What Needs Work

• Heavy. This beast weighs 57 lbs. To be fair, however, most dehumidifiers in this category are quite heavy.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. For this article, we interviewed HVAC contractors for their advice on the best solutions to dehumidify the typical size home. Then we did additional research to find the best options, factoring in performance and price.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported.