Tips for Choosing a Great RV Dehumidifier
Some people go to a store, choose a product, and are quickly on to other things in their day. However, this is an excellent way to select the wrong dehumidifier for your needs.
While all dehumidifiers basically accomplish the same task, only some are suitable for an RV environment. You’ll need to make decisions on specific criteria. The most important decision you can make about a dehumidifier for your RV is the type. Here is a breakdown of each one.
The first type, the compressor dehumidifier, is the best type for RVs. The answer to this will become clear as we go through the three types of dehumidifiers. A compressor dehumidifier works by using – you guessed it – a compressor. It also has four other important parts. These are the fan, the cooling coils, the re-heater, and the reservoir. Without one, the entire system won’t work.
The way these parts work to remove moisture from the atmosphere is through the simple process of condensation. It’s much like having a refreshing drink on a hot day – you’ll notice the outside of the cup collects moisture, and that moisture runs down the side of the cup and pools on the table. An RV dehumidifier does the same thing but does it neater and more efficiently.
First, the fan pulls the air into the unit. As this is happening, the compressor compresses refrigerant back and forth, causing the cooling coils to cool down. The cooling coils cause the air to cool off as it’s pulled through the unit by the fan, which then causes the moisture in the air to collect onto the cooling coils dramatically. As this happens, the condensation drips down into the reservoir where it is collected, and you can later dump it out.
The process isn’t finished because you don’t want to blow cold air back out into your room (this would make the machine an air conditioner, not a dehumidifier). The re-heater does what the name says – it reheats the air before it’s blown back out into the room. The dehumidifier continues this cycle, and eventually, you’ll have beautiful, dry air in your RV.
The second type of dehumidifier also called an electric dehumidifier, uses Peltier technology. It’s a relatively new technology that allows them to operate without a compressor. It instead has a Peltier module surrounded by a heat sink. The Peltier module is connected to the heat sink at two opposing points (at the front and back of the unit).
The science behind this is that when electricity is applied to the Peltier module, the thermo-electric heat goes to the back of the heat sink, which causes the front to become cold. As the fan pulls air into the dehumidifier, it flows around the cold part of the heat sink, causing the moisture to collect on it. This moisture then drips down into the reservoir. The air is cycled around to the hot side of the heat sink, which then reheats it, and the air is expelled out of the back of the RV dehumidifier.
While Peltier technology is suitable for smaller, tabletop models, it’s not strong or efficient enough for larger dehumidifiers. Because of this, you won’t often find larger units that use Peltier technology.
These types of dehumidifiers use absorption to get rid of moisture in the air. Air is pulled into the dehumidifier and passed over silica gel technology, which absorbs the water moisture. The Silica gel beads do not draw heat from the air, so no heat has to be added back to the air (in theory). Desiccant models have a lot of good points about them:
- They’re quieter than the other two.
- They’re lighter than the other two.
- They can be used in cold weather, unlike the other two.
However, there is one big reason that a desiccant dehumidifier is probably not the best choice for an RV. That reason is efficiency. Desiccant models remove less water vapor from the air than the other two types do. They have to run longer to achieve what a compressor or thermo-electric model does. This means that when it expels the air back into the room, it’s also expelling moisture back into the room. Desiccant units can be hard on your battery or generator.
What Size Dehumidifier to Choose for Your RV Space
Dehumidifiers come in many sizes, many different power levels, and many different technology types. There is not a “chart” approach to choosing what size you need for your RV size. However, there are a few generalizations that will help.
One thing you can be sure of is that tabletop models are not going to be sufficient for large RVs unless you buy more than one. While buying two or three small ones can be cheaper than buying one large model, you’ll run into the problem of needing extra outlets and experiencing more power consumption. Your best bet is to get a larger dehumidifier for larger RVs.
Features to Look for in an RV Dehumidifier
Quantity of Water Moisture Removed
As you can imagine, an RV dehumidifier has limitations on how much moisture it can pull from the air. This limitation is usually given in a measurement of how well it can remove moisture from the air, typically given in pints per d. The exact science behind this is a bit complicated to explain here, so we’ll say that it’s a combination of size, quality of the parts, the ambient humidity levels, and the amount of power the dehumidifier draws. If you’re going to be in an extremely humid area, aim for the highest quantity of moisture removal per day that your budget can handle.
Note: You don’t need to know what the water moisture level of the air is to one. A lot of models have a humidistat that allows you to set your desired humidity levels. Once it reaches that level, the unit will automatically turn off.
The reservoir captures all that water that is removed from the air, so eventually, it will get full, and you’ll have to dump it out. This means that the smaller the reservoir, the more often you’ll have to dump it. Most dehumidifiers are also able to filter the moisture through a hose, so you don’t have to worry about dumping it, but in an RV, it might be impractical to use this hose unless you filter it to a bucket (which you’ll still have to dump out). You could also run the hose to a sink, which would allow a dump-free operation.
In general, compressors can be loud. However, generally, the compressor in an RV dehumidifier is small so that it won’t be as loud as a refrigerator, for example. Most products have the noise level listed, and it’s given in units of dBA. A whisper is about 25 dBA, while a normal conversation is about 60 dBA. You’ll probably want to aim closer to a whisper if you’ll be running your unit at night.
There are a lot of features that are nice to have but not necessary to run the dehumidifier. For example, a programmable timer allows the unit to run only when you want it to. A remote control is nice to have so you can control the product from afar. Some units may even have Wi-Fi capabilities so that you can control them from your smart device.
A backlit digital display panel allows you to see settings without having to guess about them easily. Wheels and handles will enable you to move larger models easily while a long power cord gives you flexibility when placing your unit in your RV. Keep in mind that the more features will drive up the price of a dehumidifier, so if budget is your primary concern, skip the unnecessary elements.
The Best Dehumidifier for RV Owners: Dehumidifier Reviews
Now that you know how dehumidifiers work and what criteria to use when shopping for one, we’ll give you some great suggestions to get you started. We spent hours researching the best dehumidifiers for RVs based on the information we listed above. Here are our top seven choices.
Pro Breeze Electric Mini Dehumidifier
The Pro Breeze is a great size for a small RV bathroom or a small RV bedroom up to 150 square feet. Measuring 7 x 6 x 11 inches and only weighs 2.4 pounds, compact, and energy-efficient are two excellent terms to describe this unit. This makes it perfect for RVs. It uses Peltier technology, so it’s very quiet. The noise rating is only 33 dBA. This makes it suitable for use at night.
The Pro Breeze extracts up to nine ounces of moisture from the air every day and has a 16-ounce reservoir. It shuts off automatically once the water tank is full, so you don’t have to worry about overflow. It also has an indicator light that lets you know when the reservoir is full. The ideal operating temperatures are 59-86°F, which is average for a small dehumidifier. Unfortunately, this isn’t an excellent device for extremely cold weather.
- Ultra-quiet operation.
- Simple on/off operation.
- Can’t connect to a drain hose.
- No humidistat.
hOmeLabs Small Space
Best Mini Dehumidifier for RV
This mini-unit is almost a replica of the Pro Breeze. It’s shaped the same, as the vents in the same place. The reservoir is the same size and shape. It will get rid of about nine ounces of water per day from the air and has a 16-ounce water reservoir, just like the Pro Breeze. It also runs on Peltier technology. The only real noticeable difference is that the logos are in two different places.
There are three slight differences (emphasis on slight) that we observed. The hOmeLabs model is slightly smaller than the Pro Breeze. It measures 6.5 x 5.3 x 8.5 inches. The hOmeLabs unit also comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty while the Pro Breeze only has a one-year warranty. On the other hand, the Pro Breeze is slightly quieter than the hOmeLabs, but not enough to make a huge difference. These are the only differences in the two products, so if you must choose between them, go with the one that’s on sale that week (because they’re both about the same price as well).
- Quiet operation.
- Extra compact size.
- Can’t connect to a drain hose.
- No humidistat to set humidity level
Best Designed Dehumidifier
The InvisiPure kicks things up a notch from the last two models. For one, it’s better for larger spaces/RVs up to 300 square feet. It can remove from 16 to 27 ounces of water vapor from the air and can hold up to 64 ounces (2 liters) in the reservoir. It runs from Peltier technology, which means the noise level won’t bother you.
You can attach a drain hose to this unit, but the hose isn’t included. It also has an overheating safety feature and an automatic shut-off feature if the reservoir gets full. It also has an indicator light which turns red if the reservoir is full.
The InvisiPure measures 5.5 x 9 x 14 inches and weighs 5.7 pounds. This is still small and lightweight, so it’s easy to move around.
- Sleek, unnoticeable design.
- Simple one-button operation.
- Built-in carry handle.
- Uses close to 100 watts of power, which is a lot for a small device.
- No way to auto-set humidity level.
Eva-dry Edv-1100 Electric Petite
Best Budget Dehumidifier for RV
The Eva-dry EDV-1100 might be a small unit, but it works well. The product measures 8.5 x 5.3 x 6.5 inches and weighs around 2.6 pounds. It’s suitable for very small RVs like teardrop campers or closed-off rooms in the RV like the bathroom. As long as you don’t overextend the area that it is suited for, you’ve got yourself a good, dependable product.
The unit uses Peltier technology. It pulls about eight ounces of water vapor from the air and has a 16-ounce reservoir. It’s not able to hook up to a drain hose, so running at max capacity, you would have to dump it every other day. It has an auto shut-off feature when the reservoir gets full, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up messes.
- Simple plug n’ play operation.
- Good quality construction.
- Short power cord (4 feet).
- It’s loud (50 dBA) for a device using Peltier tech.
Hysure Portable Mini
Here is another small dehumidifier that does an excellent job. It removes 8 ounces of water vapor from the air per day and has a 16-ounce reservoir, just like the other mini models in the list. What sets this one apart is the design–instead of boring line openings for the vents, it has a neat geometric triangles design for the vent opening. While this doesn’t change the level of operation, it’s nice to have something different.
The unit is a simple one-button operation machine that uses Peltier technology. Still, we like the fact that out of all the models on the list, it uses the least amount of power. It only uses 21 watts of power, so it’s suitable to use with even the cheapest generators. This is important in an RV, especially if you plan to use a generator. It measures 6.1 x 5.1 x 8.7 inches and only weighs about 2.6 pounds.
- Uses very little power.
- Interesting vent design.
- Operates quietly at 37 dBA.
- Made from cheap ABS plastic.
hOmeLabs 1500 Sq. Ft. Energy Star
For those of you who need a product for a fifth-wheel, toy hauler, or a Class A, the hOmeLabs 30-Pint will do the trick. This model is excellent for medium to large-sized RVs because it’s designed to work in spaces up to 1500 square feet and removes 30 pints of water from the air every day. It has a one-gallon reservoir and the ability to hook up to a drain hose.
The unit is a little heavy, weighing 30 pounds, but it comes on caster wheels for easy mobility. Despite the weight, it only measures 15.2 x 10.2 x 19.7 inches, so it’s still a convenient size for an RV.
This compressor model has some attractive features. A “clean filter” indicator light as well as a water level indicator. It has a timer if you want to limit usage, or you can set it to a continuous run mode. There are even options to set the fan speed to two different choices and set your desired humidity level. hOmeLabs considered personalization when making this product.
- Beautiful, modern, sleek design.
- Energy star rated – saves power usage.
- Has carrying handles.
- Compressor makes it loud.
- No auto-shut off when it reaches desired humidity levels.
Frigidaire 30-Pint Dehumidifier
Best RV Dehumidifier
The Frigidaire is our pick for the best overall because of the sheer quality of the product. It’s made well, it has excellent features, and best of all it works. While Frigidaire doesn’t give the exact square feet that this mosel is good for, we can say that it will be suitable for mid-size to large size RVs.
This is a compressor model that will get rid of up to 30 pints of vapor from the air in 24 hours, but the reservoir holds a little less than eight pints (one gallon). It measures 10.25 x 13.75 x 20.5 inches and weighs about 31 pounds. It’s a little heavy, but it’s manageable.
The Frigidaire unit has a lot of excellent features such as a digital touch display, three fan speeds, caster wheels, a top carry handle that folds, and a cord keeper so your cord won’t be dragging all over the place. Its energy star certified, so it saves you power. The only thing that’s missing is safety features such as overheating protection. We don’t think this is necessary, but it would have made the unit perfect.
- All parts are high-quality and durable.
- Handle is conveniently located.
- Has a built-in humidistat.
- The caster wheels don’t lock.
- No safety features.
Last update on 2020-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API