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Desiccant vs Compressor Dehumidifiers

When choosing the right dehumidifier for you, confusion might arise from deciding between the two different types of dehumidifiers: compressor and desiccant. Whilst both fulfill the same purpose by extracting moisture from the air, they achieve this via different methods.

Compressor dehumidifiers use a fan to draw in air and run it over a cold coil (much like a refrigerator) so that the water condenses and is collected by the water tank.

A desiccant dehumidifier draws air into the machine before passing it over a desiccant chemical to absorb the moisture from the air.

For any application where the ambient room temperature is likely to fall below 15 degrees Celsius, a desiccant dehumidifier is recommended. As the room temperature falls, the compressor dehumidifier will become less effective. Whilst a desiccant dehumidifier will remain consistent regardless of temperature, compressor models may be the better choice for warmer spaces.

However, temperature is not the only determining factor. Compressor dehumidifiers are very effective at maintaining the recommended household atmosphere between 45-50%RH but if you want to manage your home at a lower humidity level, then a desiccant dehumidifier is likely to be the better option.

The energy consumption also varies between the two types of dehumidifiers; in general, desiccant dehumidifiers have a higher energy consumption. Our smaller desiccant models have a power consumption of approximately 250-550W compared to 210W from our similarly sized compressor models. However, as desiccant models are usually more powerful, they don’t need to be active for as long. For example, our desiccant models take 2-4 hours to dry an 8kg load of laundry whereas a compressor model will likely take 4-6 hours to dry the same load. In addition to this, as desiccant dehumidifiers emit warmer air (approx. 3-5 degrees Celsius warmer than the ambient air), you are likely to be using less energy on heating for your home. Therefore, whilst a compressor model theoretically has a lower cost operation, they are likely to cost a similar amount to run, with the desiccant possibly even being slightly cheaper if you plan on using your dehumidifier for laundry and heating purposes.

Quick Comparisons
Noise level - Desiccant dehumidifiers are quieter than compressor dehumidifiers
Ambient Temperature - Desiccant dehumidifiers work well in ambient temperature range between 1 to 40 degrees Celsius.  Compressor dehumidifiers only work well between 16 to 40 degree Celsius.
Weight - Desiccant dehumidifiers are much lighter. in weight  For example a 7L per day desiccant dehumidifier is equivalent to a 10L per day compressor dehumidifier but the weight is 6 Kg and 11 Kg.
Power Consumption - Generally desiccant type will use consume slightly higher energy cost compared to compressor type.  However a desiccant dehumidifier will generally extract moisture at a faster speed than a compressor, therefore it is debatable as to whether a desiccant dehumidifier is more expensive to run.    See next section Turbo.
Turbo - Most desiccant dehumidifiers come with a turbo function where it literally doubles up its power when you need to do a fast extraction of moisture, for example there has been a flood, or you want to dry your laundry with the dehumidifier.  This turbo function is designed to be used on a need to basis rather than as a normal basis.  Compressor dehumidifiers do not have a turbo option. Generally the highest power consumption is being compared between one dehumidifier to another in the case of desiccant dehumidifiers, comparison is made between its Turbo mode against a normal mode of a compressor dehumidifier.