Best Dehumidifiers for Basements

By: Evan Scoboria, Last updated: June 12, 2023

As you descend into your basement, you're greeted by that all-too-familiar musty smell and damp atmosphere. It's a common problem that many homeowners face - excess moisture in the basement leading to unpleasant odors, mold growth, and a less-than-ideal living environment. Dehumidifiers can save you in such situations, efficiently reducing humidity and creating a more comfortable space.

This article will guide you through selecting the best dehumidifier for your basement. We'll cover various aspects, including performance, size, features, and price, ensuring you make the right choice for your needs. Whether you're looking to tackle a minor dampness issue or need a powerful solution to combat severe moisture problems, we've got you covered.

We will explore two distinct categories of dehumidifiers catering to different needs and budgets.

First, we'll delve into commercial-grade dehumidifiers designed to deliver high performance, efficiency, and longevity. These units are built to withstand demanding conditions and are ideal for those who seek top-of-the-line equipment to handle excessive moisture issues in their basements.

Next, we'll discuss consumer-grade dehumidifiers that offer reliable performance but may have a shorter life expectancy. These units are perfect for homeowners looking for a more affordable solution to combat basement humidity without breaking the bank.

So, let's embark on this journey to find the perfect dehumidifier to transform your damp, musty basement into a dry, inviting space for you and your family to enjoy.

Our Top Pick
Santa Fe Compact70 70 Pint Dehumidifier for Basements

Best Commercial Dehumidifier for Basements

Santa Fe Compact70 70 Pint Dehumidifier for Basements

Years of testing have proven to us that the Santa Fe Compact70 is the best commercial dehumidifier for basements. It's American engineered, offers a low-clearance design, and employs MERV 13 filtration.

In our testing, the Santa Fe Compact70 70 Pint Dehumidifier has been a game-changer in high moisture basements. It's my hands-down choice for both my home and my clients. Designed specifically for basements, this unit is a powerful and efficient solution to eliminate dampness and improve air quality. Its compact size, measuring 12" H x 21" W x 12", means it's easy to pass through egress windows and crawlspace vents. It's small enough to be installed by one person, whether a homeowner or professional. The 70-pint moisture removal capacity has proven sufficient for my 2,000+ square foot basement and many high-volume basement applications we've addressed for friends and clients.

Coupled with an automatic condensate removal pump, the Santa Fe Compact70 can be set up to run continuously without the need to empty a water reservoir. This is a huge benefit for those who want to set it and forget it. We use a looped drain hose to form an airlock which we then run into a sewer drain cleanout or sump pump.

Also Great
Frigidaire Gallery FFAP5033W1

Best Consumer Dehumidifier for Basements

Frigidaire Gallery FFAP5033W1

The Frigidaire Gallery FFAP5033W1 really impressed us. It's a great consumer-grade dehumidifier with a lift pump for basements, with a very reasonable price tag.

While testing various dehumidifiers, the Frigidaire Gallery FFAP5033W1 stood out as an exceptional choice at a very reasonable cost. From my experience, this unit has consistently delivered impressive results in tackling high humidity levels and improving overall air quality in basements. However, it needs to be installed such that the continuous drain feature can be employed and the wastewater routed into a drain or sewer outlet.

We have read about the Frigidaire Gallery FFAP5033W1 being used to handle spaces up to 3,000 square feet, which might be possible if sufficient airflow is provided through fans or ducting. Our testing showed that it maintained fairly stable ambient humidity in spaces up to 1500 square feet without continuous runtime, making it suitable for larger basements or rooms with higher moisture content. Its 50-pint moisture removal capacity effectively maintains an ideal humidity to protect your belongings and prevent mold and mildew growth.

Our Research

How Does a Dehumidifier Work for Basements, and Why Should You Use One?

Basements are notorious for being damp and musty, often leading to mold and mildew growth. A dehumidifier can be a valuable appliance for maintaining a comfortable humidity level in your basement, protecting your home's structure and its inhabitants' health. In this article, we'll explain how a dehumidifier works and how to determine if your basement could benefit from one.

How a Dehumidifier Works in Basements

Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air, maintaining a healthier humidity level. They typically operate using one of two mechanisms: refrigeration or desiccant absorption.

Do You Need a Dehumidifier for Your Basement?

Here are some factors to consider when determining if a dehumidifier is necessary for your basement:

A dehumidifier can be a valuable addition to your basement, promoting a healthier and more comfortable living environment. By understanding how a dehumidifier works and assessing your basement's moisture levels and related issues, you can decide whether a dehumidifier is right for your home.

Alternate Options for Dehumidifying a Basement

While a dehumidifier is often the go-to solution for controlling basement moisture levels, several alternative methods exist to consider. In this section, we'll discuss using air conditioning units, improving airflow, and employing desiccants as alternate options for dehumidifying your basement.

Air Conditioning Units

Air conditioning units can help control basement humidity to some extent because they operate similarly to dehumidifiers in terms of the refrigeration process. As the AC unit cools your basement, it removes moisture from the air by condensing it on the cold coils, thereby reducing the humidity. If you already have an air conditioning system in place, you may find it helpful in controlling the moisture levels in your basement. However, it's important to note that air conditioning units are primarily designed for cooling, not dehumidifying, so they may not be as effective as a dedicated dehumidifier in addressing high humidity levels.

Improving Airflow

Enhancing the airflow in your basement can help alleviate dampness by encouraging moisture to evaporate more quickly. One way to improve airflow is to strategically place fans or air movers throughout the basement. Opening windows and doors when the outdoor humidity is lower than the indoor humidity can also help promote air circulation, allowing the moist air to escape and be replaced by drier air from outside. Additionally, ensuring that your basement has proper ventilation, such as vents or exhaust fans, can help prevent stale, damp air buildup.


Desiccants, like silica gel or calcium chloride, can help absorb moisture in small, enclosed spaces, such as closets or storage areas within your basement. These materials attract and retain moisture from the air, effectively reducing the humidity level in the immediate vicinity. You can purchase desiccant packets or containers designed for this purpose and place them in the affected areas of your basement. While desiccants can be useful for targeted moisture control, they may not be as effective as dehumidifiers for addressing larger-scale moisture issues in your basement.

Our Criteria for Choosing the Best Basement Dehumidifier

We consider several factors to ensure that the chosen units effectively address your specific moisture control needs. This section will outline our criteria for choosing the best basement dehumidifier, focusing on capacity, energy efficiency, ease of use, and additional features.


When reviewing basement dehumidifiers, our primary consideration is their capacity, measured in pints of moisture removed daily. A unit's capacity should be appropriate for your basement's size and moisture level, and some basements are exceptionally wet, requiring high-volume moisture removal. For this reason, we focused on commercial and consumer-grade units to provide a range of capacities for you. To determine the right capacity for your home, consider both the square footage of your basement and its relative humidity. A larger capacity unit will be more effective in handling wet conditions, while a smaller capacity unit may suffice for less severe humidity issues.

Energy Efficiency

An energy-efficient dehumidifier can save you money on your energy bills, making it an important consideration in our selection process. Look for units with an Energy Star rating, indicating that they meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy-efficient units typically consume less power and operate more effectively, reducing your overall energy usage and cost.

Ease of Use

The best basement dehumidifier should be user-friendly and require minimal maintenance. Features like an easy-to-read digital display, adjustable humidistat, and intuitive controls make operating the unit simple and maintain your desired humidity level. Additionally, we considered the ease of emptying the water reservoir or setting up a continuous drainage system.

Additional Features Like Pumps and WiFi

While the primary function of a basement dehumidifier is to control humidity, additional features can enhance its overall performance and utility. For instance, an auto-restart function ensures that the unit resumes operation after a power outage. At the same time, a timer allows you to program the dehumidifier to run during specific hours, such as when electricity rates are lower. Units with built-in air filters can also improve air quality by capturing dust and allergens, making the basement environment healthier and more comfortable. WIFI connectivity is another useful feature that allows you to monitor and control the unit remotely using a smartphone app. And a built-in lift-capable pump is a must for basements if you don't have a floor drain or sink nearby.

Our Testing Conditions

As an initial baseline test, we tested each dehumidifier in my basement environment with a relative humidity of 60% and a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (pretty standard for a PNW home). We ran each unit for 24 hours and measured the water collected in the reservoir. We also evaluated each unit's performance regarding its noise level, ease of use, and additional features.

For a better idea of how each unit would perform over time and during fluctuations in ambient humidity conditions, we ran the units for one month during March and April. In our neck of the woods, these are very wet months, and the water was visibly seeping into the basement and wetting the soil in the crawlspace.