What should you be looking for when buying a basement dehumidifier? Here’s a useful guide to help you make the right decision.

For decades, basements have been the perfect setting for horror movies. Ever since Hollywood started showing ghost stories, these damp, dark areas in the house have shined in the silver screen. And while ghost and spirits might not be real, there are other horrors lurking in your basement.

I’m talking, of course, about mold, and excessive humidity.

If you’ve owned your home for a very long time, you’re no stranger to either of these conditions, and the ill effects they can have on your health. Fortunately, in this day and age, there are several solutions, such as basement dehumidifiers, that can help combat this problem.

Whether you’re looking into buying a new one, or trying to replace the one you have, you’re probably unsure as to what to look out for.

I get how challenging making this decision can be. I was in your position not too long ago, which is why I want to help you.

Below, I’ve prepared a list with the most important things to check when buying a new basement dehumidifier. I’m confident that, if you read them carefully, you’ll be able to make the right choice.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

What Matters, and What Doesn’t?

If this were a dehumidifier for your living room, I’d probably give more importance to how quiet it is, or how good it looks. But given that we’re talking about a machine that will be running in your basement, almost never to be seen, these things don’t matter too much.

We want to focus on functionality, efficiency, and self-sustainability. These will benefit you much more than any aesthetics-related feature ever could.

Here’s what you should look for in your new basement dehumidifier:

  • Automatic draining
  • Efficiency
  • An accurate humidistat
  • Auto defrost
  • Friendly controls
  • Self restart

#1 Automatic Draining

draining accumulated moisture
Find something that has a self-draining feature

Buying an appliance that can take care of draining its own reservoir is essential to your comfort. Having to constantly empty the container of non-basement dehumidifiers is inconvenient enough. Now imagine having to do it on your basement model

These days, most basement dehumidifiers are equipped with pumps, but it’s never a bad idea to double-check.

You want your appliance to be as independent of you as possible, requiring your attention only in case of emergency. Making sure that the machine is self-sustaining, should be one of your top priorities.

#2 Efficiency

The next thing you want to consider, is dehumidifying, and power efficiency.

You’re buying this appliance to prevent the formation of damp and mold in your basement, so you’ll want to get the best bang for your buck, right?

In theory, if you buy the right basement dehumidifier for your area’s dimensions, moisture should be kept under control. However, even when dehumidifying properly, some machines are more efficient than others.

When looking at a new basement dehumidifier to buy for your home, you should certainly look at the moisture removal capacity, but also at the hourly power consumption.

It’s great to have a dry basement, but paying low electricity bills while using your unit, is even better. After all, what’s the point of saving large amounts of money in mold damage repairs, if you’re going to have to spend it on paying your utilities?

Granted, your electricity bill will inevitably be higher if you run your machine constantly. But choosing one that is energy efficient, will keep the costs relatively low.

#3 An Accurate Humidistat

digital hygrometer
An indoor hygrometer comes in handy to check the water vapor in your home

Wait, aren’t all humidistats accurate?

Yes, and no. Let me explain.

Sure, any humidistat inside a dehumidifier should detect moisture levels accurately, and set the appliance to operate accordingly. However, not all components are created equal.

I’m not saying you will find 50 °F differences between one basement dehumidifier model, and another. But purchasing one that can provide extremely accurate moisture readings, can go a long way.

The accuracy of your humidistat can impact greatly how well moisture is removed from your basement, and how often the appliance kicks in. As we’ve established above, even using an energy efficient model can be costly. You want to make sure the machine only operates when it’s absolutely necessary.

#4 Auto Defrost

Man, I wish someone had told me about this one earlier.

As you know, both room, and basement dehumidifiers have two coils inside them. One that runs hot, and one that runs cold.

The latter condenses the excessive moisture in the air that’s been pulled in by the fan, while the former warms it up and releases the drier current into the area. This process is highly efficient, but extremely sensitive to low temperatures.

In fact, most manufacturers advise against operating dehumidifiers in rooms that are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. And there is a very good reason for that.

You see, when the room temperature goes below this limit, the cold coil can freeze up, and ice can form around it, preventing it from working normally. This not only compromises its moisture removal capabilities, but also puts it at risk of overheating.

It is very important that you look for this feature when you’re buying your new basement dehumidifier, as these areas are usually below the 60 °F threshold.

An appliance that has auto defrosting capabilities will sense when the cold coil has frozen up, deactivate itself, and wait for the part to thaw out. This will not only guarantee that the machine is always working under normal conditions, but also save you hundreds of trips to the basement.

#5 Friendly Controls

person operating dehumidifier
Take time to read the manual to understand how to use the machine

This is probably one of the elements that most people overlook.

I probably say this 100 times a day, but it just can’t be stressed enough. Ease of use in an appliance is extremely important.

When you think about buying a new machine for your home, you need to keep in mind the learning curve that comes with it, and how willing you are to take the time to master it.

If you have a very hectic lifestyle, it will be very difficult for you to take a couple of hours from your busy day and play with your dehumidifier’s settings.

Getting an appliance that you can use right out of the box is not only recommended to avoid testing your patience, but also to prevent user errors that could damage it permanently.

These days, you can even get dehumidifiers with app-based controls, so you can adjust the settings from your phone. A feature that definitely comes in handy, considering that this machine will be sitting in the basement.

It might take some time, but this is a big investment. Make sure to conduct proper research and ask experts all the questions you have regarding a specific model.

#6 Self Restart

Lastly, look for self-restarting features.

As technology advances, blackouts are becoming less and less common. And with appliances like backup generators, the frequency of this occurrence is reduced even further.

However, they can still happen now and then.

When looking for your new basement dehumidifier, you want to make sure to get one that has a self-restarting feature. Remember that you will be keeping the appliance in a cold, and damp section of your home, so you want it to be as independent of you as possible.

If we were talking about dehumidifiers for your living room or kitchen, self-sustainability would likely not be as important, but I’m trying to save you as many trips to the basement as I can.

A self-restarting appliance will cost you a little more, but it will be worth it in the long run.


Buying new household appliances is very exciting, but it can also be quite challenging.

These days, you have options for everything, and thousands of features that are not always necessary. It’s critical to know what elements truly matter, and which ones don’t to avoid paying extra for useless bells and whistles.

Remember that, the features you would appreciate in an appliance you’ll be using in your living room, won’t necessarily be as useful in a basement model. When it comes to the latter, it’s much more important to look at efficiency, and self-sustainabiliy, over aesthetics or quietness.

This guide has been designed to provide you with useful information, hoping that it can help you make the right choice. However, it should not be your only source.

Reading online reviews about specific models, and even asking people you know, can also aid you in choosing the right appliance for your specific needs. After all, word of mouth can’t be beat.

Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article interesting, why not keep the learning going through our other incredible resources below?

Happy shopping!