We tested six dehumidifiers under £50 – and this one was the best

As the cold, damp weather drags on, you may find it difficult to keep condensation and mold out of your home, especially if you have to dry your laundry indoors.

Humidity in the air can also be a health hazard that can trigger asthma and other respiratory problems, as well as affect your immunity. It can also cause mold in your home.

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Rosie Taylor tested six dehumidifiers to find the bestCredit: Chris Eades

We spoke to a real estate expert for his top tips on removing mold and condensation.

But one solution to the problem is to use a dehumidifier, a machine that extracts water from the air to reduce humidity levels. They don’t come cheap though – dehumidifiers usually cost between £150 and £200.

In recent years several retailers have started selling budget models for under £50 – but are they any good?

According to consumer expert Martyn James, consumers should shop around to ensure they are getting the best dehumidifier for their money.

“Generally, the more you pay, the better the quality, but even at the market budget level there is a lot of variation in standards,” he says.

“Don’t rush into a purchase just because it looks cheap – a poor quality product is always a waste of money, no matter how expensive it is.

“Try to find reliable reviews or get recommendations from friends and family before you buy.

“And don’t forget that you have the right to return a product under consumer protection laws if it doesn’t perform as expected or is of lower quality than expected.”

We tested six budget models costing between £30 and £49.99 to see which was the best – with surprising results.

Most claims about the effectiveness of dehumidifier packaging are based on testing in an ‘ideal’ environment, which is typically much warmer and more humid than the average UK home.

None of the models we tried were very effective in our real-life home test environment, but the best one was almost twice as good at extracting water as the worst one.

And surprisingly the cheapest product – a £30 Blaupunkt design sold by B&M – was among the most effective.

To test the products, we ran the six dehumidifiers for eight hours in a humidity chamber at 20°C.

All items were placed equidistant from the laundry drying area.

We measured how much liquid each product collected over eight hours, then multiplied by three to predict how much each device would collect over a 24-hour period.

We rated each model for ease of use (including ease of setup, emptying and cleaning), noise levels and value for money, giving a total score out of 20 for each product.

Here’s what we discovered about each dehumidifier:

Inexpensive but surprisingly effective

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Inexpensive but surprisingly effectiveCredit: Chris Eades

Blaupunkt compact dehumidifier – B&M: £30.00

Extract: 35 ml in 8 hours (equivalent to 105 ml in 24 hours)

Efficiency – 4/5

Ease of use – 5/5 Sound levels – 4/5

Value for money – 5/5

Total score: 18/20

This model – designed by German manufacturer Blaupunkt – was the second most efficient at extracting water, recovering the equivalent of 105ml over 24 hours.

It was easy to use, with a slide-out water pan with removable lid that could be completely emptied, and removable air filter covers.

It was slightly louder than most of the other products tested, but produced a deep hum that was less annoying than the hum of some of the other models.

The water pan seemed well made, but the main body felt cheap and flimsy, with the edges of the case not lining up properly.

Since this was the cheapest product we tested, we were surprised at how effective it was at extracting water.

For this reason, it got the highest score for value for money.

Most efficient at extracting water - but one of the most expensive models we tested

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Most efficient at extracting water – but one of the most expensive models we testedCredit: Chris Eades

Small Xaxazon Dehumidifier 1000ml – Amazon: £45.99

Extract: 41 ml in 8 hours (equivalent to 123 ml in 24 hours)

Efficiency – 4/5

Ease of use – 4/5

Noise levels – 3/5

Value for money – 4/5

Total score: 15/20

This model was the most effective at extracting water, gathering around 123ml in 24 hours, twice as much as the worst model we tested.

It also looked quite stylish, included adjustable color-changing LED lights, and was easy to empty and clean, with a removable drip tray and air filter covers.

But it was noisy when turned on and the design was heavy, which meant it tended to tip over when there was no water in it or the tray was removed.

It was also one of the most expensive products we tested.

The Vazzidea dehumidifier was more stylistic than its rivals

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The Vazzidea dehumidifier was more stylistic than its rivalsCredit: Chris Eades

Vazzidea Dehumidifier 750ml – Amazon: £42.99

Extract: 32 ml in 8 hours (equivalent to 96 ml in 24 hours)

Efficiency – 3/5

Ease of use – 3/5

Noise levels – 4/5

Value for money – 4/5

Total score: 14/20

Many dehumidifiers look ugly, but this one from Vazzidea has a sleek round black body and adjustable color-changing LED lights, which shine through the water pan.

Unfortunately, the fancy design makes emptying quite difficult, as you have to unscrew the top to access the water pan.

The round shape of the tray also makes it difficult to pour without spillage, as there is no spout.

We found the sound of it quite annoying – it made a moaning buzz.

But it was one of the most efficient models we tested, extracting the equivalent of 96ml of water over 24 hours.

NINTCHDBPICT000707985765

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NINTCHDBPICT000707985765Credit: Chris Eades

Mini Challenge Dehumidifier 0.5L: Argos £49.99

Extract: 32 ml in 8 hours (equivalent to 96 ml in 24 hours)

Efficiency – 3/5

Ease of use – 3/5

Noise Levels – 5/5

Value for money – 3/5

Total score: 14/20

It was the smallest and by far the quietest model we tested – it made virtually no noise.

This was however not very efficient, only extracting the equivalent of 84ml over 24 hours.

It got extra points for having a removable air filter cover, which means you can clean out the dust trapped inside, and for having an easy-to-remove drip tray.

But it lost points because you can only empty the bin through a hole filled with a rubber stopper, which means it’s impossible to clean it completely.

This compact dehumidifier was small but loud

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This compact dehumidifier was small but loudCredit: Chris Eades

Compact dehumidifier – Coopers of Stortford: £39.99

Extract: 26 ml in 8 hours (equivalent to 78 ml in 24 hours)

Efficiency – 2/5

Ease of use – 3/5

Noise levels – 4/5

Value for money – 3/5

Total score: 12/20

This one looked a lot like the Challenge model sold by Argos but felt sturdier.

However, the power socket on the model we tested was poorly made and we had to remove a loose piece of plastic from it.

The model was relatively quiet and easy to use with a removable drawer-style water pan.

But he lost points because the tray could only be emptied through a hole in the lid, so it couldn’t be fully cleaned, and there was no way to remove the air filter lid to clean it.

It was the second least efficient model we tested, extracting only around 78ml of water in 24 hours.

The PureMate dehumidifier was fiddly to use

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The PureMate dehumidifier was fiddly to useCredit: Chris Eades

PureMate 600ml Air Dehumidifier – To Buy: £34.99

Extract: 21 ml in 8 hours (equivalent to 63 ml in 24 hours)

Efficiency – 1/5

Ease of use – 4/5

Noise levels – 4/5

Value for money – 2/5

Total score: 11/20

This On Buy dehumidifier was easy to set up and use, with a simple on/off switch and a water pan with a removable lid, which can be completely emptied and cleaned.

But it lost a point for ease of use because it was very fiddly to put the tray cover back on.

It was pretty quiet but it didn’t seem like he was doing much either.

This showed in the amount of water collected, which was the lowest we found at just 63ml per 24 hours.

We rated this one badly for value because it just didn’t work very well.

Elsewhere, we tested heated air dryers to find out which was the best.

Plus, here’s how much it costs to run an electric heater for the evening.

And shoppers are going wild for Aldi’s heated dressing gown this winter.

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