What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need

If you need a dehumidifier, you might need to consider the room’s size, water tank capacity, and other features to ensure that the unit captures the air in your home for improved conditions.

If you have been asking yourself, ‘what size dehumidifier do I need’ we are here to answer all of your questions. Let’s take a look at why this criterion is important and how to come to the right decision throughout the buying guide.

Dehumidifier Capacity

Firstly, the dehumidifier size doesn’t mean the size of the dehumidifier unit. Instead, it means how many litres of water it can extract each day. Of course, dehumidifiers with a larger capacity unit will typically be bigger, but that doesn’t always happen with every unit.

In addition, capacity isn’t the same as the water tank, and most dehumidifiers have a size between 2ā€“6 litres. However, this capacity doesn’t mean that you’ll need to empty the dehumidifier every day.

Choosing Which Size Dehumidifier You Need

Focus on the capacity of a dehumidifier. The bigger the capacity, the more suitable it’ll be for larger spaces and the better it’ll be at extracting more moisture from the air. To get the room size, take the room dimensions using a tape measure. After determining its length and width, multiply these calculations to get the square footage you need.

Moreover, dehumidifier capacity is calculated by the amount of moisture removed within 24 hours. For example, a 30-pint dehumidifier can remove 30 pints in one day.

Here’s a breakdown to help you consider what size of dehumidifier you need:

  • 7ā€“12 litres: This is a small size dehumidifier best suited for a small apartment or someone who lives alone. Plus, this capacity and design will be lightweight and portable, allowing you to conveniently move it to different rooms to combat moisture levels in various settings.
  • 13ā€“16 litres: This medium-capacity dehumidifier extracts moisture levels after showering, cleaning clothes, and cooking. A dehumidifier this size is ideal for small areas where damp may have formed.
  • 16+ litres: Control humidity level and mould growth in a large room size if you have lots of moisture levels. For example, you can use a dehumidifier for removing moisture after a floor has been cleaned or to help dry lots of laundry.

Airflow Capacity

The dehumidifier size is also dependent on airflow capacity. It means that its moisture absorbing rate measurement should be based on air capacity that cycles through the home environment per minute. These units work by removing the moisture from the air passing through the dehumidifier during the air circulation process. In contrast, the square feet can indicate if the dehumidifier is compatible with all of the air in your living space.

Can a Dehumidifier Be Too Big?

checking the water tank

If you choose a dehumidifier that’s too small for your living space, it won’t be effective in all areas and might not even resolve mild damp, let alone severe damp. Dehumidifiers consider environmental conditions, so choosing one that’s too small for your home can lead to poor results.

However, this theory doesn’t always mean that a bigger dehumidifier is best, as it can impact portability. Plus, if the dehumidifier is large, it might not blend into your home’s decor, which can make it get in the way or impact your living arrangement.

Other Factors to Consider Aside From Room Sizes

Some other factors can influence a room’s humidity levels, determining the size dehumidifier you need.

  • Add 10 pints to the capacity if the living room you have has a humid climate
  • Add 5 pints to the capacity if you live with multiple people in one house
  • Add 5 pints if the room has multiple windows and doors
  • Add 5 pints if you’re using the dehumidifier in the laundry room where there are a washer and dryer present

Can One Dehumidifier Work for One Entire House?

Yes, dehumidifiers work with all sized houses, including mobile home and large houses. It all depends on the size of your house and the relative humidity you’re experiencing indoors. For a dehumidifier to work for your entire house, you’ll need one that can serve up to 5,000 sq ft (or more if your home is larger). Aside from size, the dehumidifier needs to work efficiently and installed effectively to draw moisture from every room in the home.

Types of Dehumidifiers to Consider

There are two basic types of dehumidifiers to try: desiccant dehumidifiers and refrigerant dehumidifiers. Desiccant models come with a lower capacity rating, making them more efficient in lower temperatures than refrigerant dehumidifiers.

The type of dehumidifier you need is dependent on your living situation and climate. You might want to choose a refrigerant dehumidifier in hot and humid climates. And you might also want to opt for a higher capacity rating which is more efficient with higher temperatures. Plus, using a refrigerant dehumidifier below 65 degrees Fahrenheit can cause frost to form and can disrupt how the unit functions.

Heat Pump

A heat pump dehumidifier features a fan, heat exchange coils, and a heat pump to combat the amount of moisture in your living space. In particular, the heat pump can extract indoor air through the coil and fan. But if the moisture condenses, it can reheat and then be dispersed into the living space.

Dehumidifier Ventilators

These dehumidifiers are great for attics, basements, and confined spaces. They feature an exhaust fan and sensor that can work together to remove moisture from the living space.

Chemical Absorbent Designs

Chemical absorbent dehumidifiers heat the silica gel in the unit, while a separate loop can keep the air dry. The unit then extracts the humid air.

Common Features of a Dehumidifier

Not all dehumidifiers come with the same features, but to help with water extraction, here are some common features of these units:

Frost-Control Sensor

This sensor turns off the dehumidifier if frost begins to happen in the coils, which is common in cooler spaces. This frost-control sensor keeps the appliance from racking up your energy bills without running the dehumidifier all day, every day.

Clean-Filter Alert

It’s important to clean and properly maintain a dehumidifier for it to operate properly. The filter is responsible for cleaning the air that flows through the dehumidifier. When the filter becomes dirty, it can affect the dehumidifier’s efficiency. Many of these units come with an indicator light that lets you know when to clean the filters.

Water Tank Size

When choosing a dehumidifier, it’s important to look for a water tank with comfortable and easy-to-use handles. You can remove the water and easily carry it when it’s full, no matter the dehumidifier’s size.


A timer program automatically switches it on and off when you’re out of the house. This feature can help you to save money while helping with health problems.

Furthermore, dehumidifiers with an auto-restart function mean that it turns the unit back on if there’s been a power outage, which is great if you’re not at home.

Is It Time for a Dehumidifier?

Before considering the features and factors of a dehumidifier, let’s take a look at some signs that you need to combat the moisture level in your home.

Your Home Is Humid

If you find that your home has become humid, it might be time to invest in a dehumidifier. Some common signs of a build-up of humidity can include misty windows and small patches of mould forming near the windows. You can even invest in a humidity meter to measure your home’s moisture levels for a better understanding since you can’t always see the effects of high humidity levels.

You Might Have a Mould Problem

A dehumidifier can help eliminate mould growth caused by too much humidity and moisture built up in your home. If you have a mould allergy, you might be more sensitive to these issues, such as having dry skin, a runny nose, sneezing, a cough, and other symptoms.

You can usually notice signs of mould in your home by recognising spores on the walls and near the windows. When these mould spores are inhaled with severe damp issues, it can worsen these symptoms. If you suffer from a mould allergy, it’s important not to ignore these. Fortunately, dehumidifiers can reduce humidity levels to prevent an allergy in the first place or making you feel worse while you’re at home. Moreover, dehumidifiers can reduce dust mites in your home too. It is because dust mites and particles need moisture to survive, so without it, they will die.

Condensation Build-Up on Your Windows

cat on the sofa

If you’ve noticed a build-up of condensation on your windows, it’s important not to ignore it. Of course, you can try opening the windows more often when it’s too humid indoors, but this can create a colder temperature, which you might not be looking for.

There might be some reasons for this build-up on windows, such as after a shower or when cooking a hot meal in a pot without the lid on. You should be careful when using a dehumidifier in a bathroom, as electrical components can pose a safety risk. Therefore it’s best to use it in another room.

Discovered a Damp Smell

Choosing a dehumidifier if you have a damp smell is essential because it can make you feel more at home without hygiene issues. Often, you can find a damp smell in unventilated spaces or the kitchen, and a dehumidifier can prevent this odour from returning. This damp smell can affect your clothes and furniture, so best to catch it before impacting your belongings.

Size Does Matter

We hope this article has answered the question ‘what size dehumidifier do I need?’. But remember, it’s not just the size of the room you need to consider – do you need a desiccant dehumidifier, or will a refrigerant option work better for the climate?

Now, we’d love to hear your thoughts on choosing dehumidifiers. If you already own one, share in the comments the areas you commonly use it and which rooms you place it in.

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