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 1852 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.
FYI: The Aprilaire 1852 is an upgrade from the previous model (the 1850). The main difference: the 1852 model can now vertically discharge water out of the top of the unit. So now you have the choice: vertical or horizontal water drain.
What We Liked
• Drain hose 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.
• Humidistat automatically starts unit when humidity exceeds certain level.
• Maker has do-it-yourself installation videos if you want to give it a try. But read the caveat about the warranty below before you do this!
• 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
• Warranty is voided if it’s a do-it-yourself install. That’s unfortunate, since the maker even has videos on how to do your own install. Aprilaire says the warranty is only valid with professional installation.
• 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.