Dehumidifier Features: What to Look for When Buying a Dehumidifier

Home Dehumidifier

Compiled below is a list of some things to look for when shopping for a dehumidifier. Many of these features come standard with pretty much all dehumidifier models, however some are designed for special applications and are only applicable for certain models.

  1. Pint Capacity
  2. Collection Tank or Collection Bucket
  3. Humidistat or Hydrostat
  4. Low Temperature Operation
  5. Electronic or Manual Controls
  6. Auto-Restart
  7. Caster Wheels
  8. Air Filter
  9. Noise Level
  10. Automatic Shut-Off
  11. Portability
  12. Drainage

Pint Capacity:

Pint capacity is the amount of moisture in pints that a dehumidifier model can remove from the surrounding area in 24 hours. Pint capacity is affected by the size of the area and the initial moisture within that area.

Generally speaking, models with a pint capacity less than 70 pints are suitable for home or residential use as opposed to models with capacities greater than 70 pints which would be suitable for commercial or industrial applications.

Most residential dehumidifiers are rated at a specific pint capacity based on maximum relative humidity, whereas commercial models are typically rated at 60% relative humidity.

Collection Tank or Collection Bucket:

Most home or residential dehumidifiers have an internal collection tank or bucket that can be removed for easy disposal of collected water. Once a dehumidifier extracts enough moisture to fill the collection tank, the tank must be emptied.
Most models have an auto-shut off feature that automatically turns the dehumidifier off once the tank is full.

Commercial or industrial dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air at exceptionally high levels so a collection tank would be impractical. These models typically drain the collected water directly, whether by use of gravity or a drain pump, as opposed to storing it in a tank.

Humidistat or Hydrostat:

A humidistat is an instrument that measures relative humidity within the environment and then relays that information back to the dehumidifier for any needed adjustments. A humidistat allows the user to set the dehumidifier to maintain a specific relative humidity level. Humidistats are built into dehumidifiers or can be bought separately.

Read More: The Differences Between a Hygrometer & Humidistat

Low Temperature Operation:

This is a feature found on dehumidifier models suited for use in low temperature environments such as basements or crawl spaces. Most models have an operating temperature range that should be more than suitable for most basements or crawl spaces, but there are some models that can operate in an environment as cold as 30°F.

Electronic or Manual Controls:

Most models on the market today feature electronic controls. The difference between the two is that electronic controls usually consist of settings controlled through a “button” type interface where as manual controls consist of settings controlled through a “dial”. One thing to note is that if power is interrupted, an electronic controlled model will turn off and will need to be manually turned back on.


Auto-restart is a function that can be very useful during power failures or power interruptions. If a dehumidifier loses power, auto-restart functionality automatically turns the unit back on at its previous settings once power is restored.

Caster Wheels:

Found on almost all dehumidifier models, caster wheels allow for easy transport and and increased portability. Residential and commercial models alike can be found with caster wheels.

Air Filter:

Air filters are an optional accessory that function to help clean air being drawn into the dehumidifier. The basic process is that air is passed through the dehumidifier and through the filter, moisture is drawn from the air and collected in the collection tank and clean air is exhausted back out through the unit.

Noise Level:

While not necessarily a feature, a quiet dehumidifier is definitely better than a noisy one. Dehumidifiers are generally noisier than other home appliances, and while many would not consider a decibel rating of 50 decibels to be quiet, it would be considered quiet for a dehumidifier.

Automatic Shut-Off:

This means that the unit can be turned off without having to unplug it from an outlet. It also shuts the unit off when the water tank is full, to prevent overflow.


Portable units are smaller in size, weigh less and generally come with rolling casters and/or a carrying handle. They are ideal for those who want the ability to move the dehumidifier about freely, as opposed to a more permanent installation.


If you know you want to run the dehumidifier continuously, you will want to look for a unit that has a built in drainage system and hose. A drain pump may be required for those that wish to drain to a point that is higher than the dehumidifier. Some models are equipped with a built-in pump, whereas others may require the purchase of an external pump. For environments that do not require continuous operation, the standard water tank receptacle will suit your needs.

Kara Zorn

About Author

Kara Zorn is a wife and working mom who loves life hacks that help her schedule allow for as much quality family time as possible. She enjoys cooking with locally sourced food and produce and recently took up brewing Kombucha.


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