Which is the Best Refrigerant Dehumidifier in 2024?

Refrigerant Dehumidifiers

Refrigerant dehumidifiers use cold coils to trap moisture and extract it from the air. They are popular in the UK, as they excel in warm and humid environments - conditions that are common in British homes.

Listed below are our top picks if you're looking for a refrigerant dehumidifier. Each of these machines is also included in our list of the best dehumidifiers of 2024, as they provide excellent performance and value for money.

Before we get to the list though, here's a brief overview of how refrigerant models work.

How do Refrigerant Dehumidifiers Work?

If you've ever seen condensation form on your window, you already understand the basic principle behind a refrigerant dehumidifier. Warm air can hold more water than cold, so when it comes into contact with a cooler surface it releases moisture while cooling. This is why water collects on glass windows, as the panels are cooler than the air.

Dehumidifiers take advantage of this to remove moisture from the air. There are three essential components: compressor, coils and a fan. A water tank to catch any collected moisture is also included.

The compressor's job is to pump refrigerant through the coils to cool them. The fan then pushes warm and humid air over the coils, cooling it and releasing water in the form of condensation. This moisture collects in the water tank or is drained via a continuous drainage system.

Most dehumidifiers also have a heating coil. Air is passed over this coil once moisture has been removed to prevent the dehumidifier cooling the room. Many also have a filter to remove dust from the air before it's passed over coils

This is a very basic explanation of how a dehumidifier works. Advanced features such as humidity selection, timers and sensors are included with modern machines, but the underlying process is still the same.

Example of a Refrigerant Fan

Why are they Ineffective in Cooler Conditions?

As an environment gets cooler, the dehumidifier's coils must be colder in order to create condensation. This gradually lowers efficiency as the temperature drops.

At some point, the temperature of the coils is less than zero. As water collects on the coils, it starts to freeze which requires defrosting. Most dehumidifiers have freeze-protection, but during this time the dehumidifier won't extract any water. This reduces the efficiency of the machine and may increase running costs.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Refrigerant dehumidifiers are widely available in the UK, so there are more options available
  • They are great for warm and humid conditions such as those found in a typical home
  • Most have a large capacity, meaning they can extract plenty of water per day (in the right conditions)

Disadvantages

  • As refrigerant models rely on a temperature difference between the air and coils, they are less effective in cooler temperatures (below 10-15 degrees Celsius)
  • This makes them unsuitable for garages or unheated rooms
  • They also tend to be heavy and noisy compared to desiccant dehumidifiers (although this varies depending on the product - the Meaco ABC MeacoDry is a particularly quiet example)

Top 3 Refrigerant Dehumidifiers

Price RangeImageProductTypeNoise (Max)Water Extraction (Max)Tank Size
£££ - PremiumDelonghi DEX214F TasciugoRefrigerant40dB14 L/day2.1 litres
£££ - PremiumMeaco Low Energy MEACO20LERefrigerant46dB20 L/day6 litres
£££ - PremiumEbac 3850eRefrigerant46dB21 L/day2.5 litres
£££ - PremiumEcoAir DC202 HybridRefrigerant/Purifier45dB20 L/day4 litres

Meaco 20L Low Energy

Meaco Low Energy Dehumidifier

The Meaco 20L Low Energy is a great example of a whole house refrigerant dehumidifier. It's a powerful model that can quickly remove water from the air of homes with up to 5 bedrooms. The addition of a HEPA filter (optional) is also great for allergy sufferers.

Many people are worried about electricity bills when using a dehumidifier. Energy bills are rising, so an efficient dehumidifier is essential. That's why we've been impressed with the Low Energy's ability to quickly extract huge quantities of water without using too much power.

We've also talked a lot about how refrigerant dehumidifiers struggle in cooler temperatures - but the Low Energy is something of an exception. While it can't match the low temperature performance of the best desiccant models, it does a great job of removing water from the air even below room temperature. It can also function at a minimum of 5 degrees Celsius.

Other features include a digital display of the current humidity, 24 hour timer and 2 fan speeds. There are also 12 humidity settings, allowing you greater control over your room's environment. Like other Meaco models, it includes "Control Logic" which causes the machine to automatically sleep if the target humidity is reached.

We think the Meaco 20L Low Energy is an exceptional dehumidifier. It has a large capacity, huge water tank and can cope well with a range of temperatures. If you want to dehumidify your entire home, this is the machine to buy.

Pros

  • Excellent extraction rate considering its energy efficient design
  • Powerful enough for homes with up to 5 bedrooms

Cons

  • One of the heaviest dehumidifiers we've reviewed
  • Expensive

Specification

  • Type: Refrigerant
  • Noise: 46dB
  • Tank: 6 litres
  • Power: 255W
  • Max Extraction: 20 litres/day
  • Price: £££ - Premium

EcoAir DC202 Hybrid

EcoAir Hybrid DC202

Another powerful dehumidifier is the DC202 Hybrid. It's an excellent dehumidifier, but also includes 5-stage filter to remove odours and allergens from the air.

The purification system is designed to produce cleaner and allergen-free air. After being passed over the refrigerant coils, air is forced through five separate stages. These include a charcoal filter, to remove unwanted odours, and an anti-allergy filter.

The high 20 litre per day capacity makes it suitable for dehumidifying large homes. It has a four litre water tank, which isn't as large as the Meaco Low Energy but still one of the biggest for domestic models. Other features include a continuous drainage option and three settings for humidity.

If you're not interested in an air purifier, we recommend buying the Meaco Low Energy as it has a bigger water tank and better performance in cooler conditions. But if you suffer from an allergy, or just want your home to have cleaner air, the DC202 is an excellent option.

Pros

  • Excellent filtration system
  • Powerful extraction rate
  • Excels at extracting water in warmer temperatures

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Loud on its maximum fan setting

Specification

  • Type: Refrigerant/Purifier
  • Noise: 45dB
  • Tank: 4 litres
  • Power: 318W
  • Max Extraction: 20 litres/day
  • Price: £££ - Premium
Delonghi DEX214F

The Delonghi DEX214F (replacing the EcoAir DC18 on this list) is a popular refrigerant dehumidifier that provides an excellent extraction rate - especially in warm conditions. It also has a number of useful features, such as a laundry mode and energy efficient design.

With its relatively compact design, you could be forgiven for thinking the Delonghi didn't have the power to match larger models. This isn't the case, however, as it's capable of quickly extracting large amounts of water in warmer environments. The 9kg weight is also lighter than most refrigerant models - although it's heavier than desiccant dehumidifiers.

As you would expect from a premium dehumidifier, the Delonghi has a humidistat that allows you to select from 40%, 50%, and 60% target humidity. There's also a laundry mode, a built-in filter to remove allergens, and a carry handle. We also think it's relatively quiet for such a powerful model.

Most importantly, it can rapidly reduce the humidity in your home. We think the Delonghi is one of the best around for moisture extraction in heated homes. 

One downside of this dehumidifier is that it only has a 2.1 litre water tank. You'll need to empty it more often than most alternatives in this price range, although the smaller tank helps to keep the weight down. There's also the option of running it on continuous drainage mode, but you'll need to purchase a separate hose and have a floor-level drain.

Despite this minor drawback, we think the Delonghi DEX214F Tasciugo is an excellent dehumidifier. It's quick to remove moisture from warm rooms, making it great option for most homes. It's also energy efficient, relatively portable, and quiet for a refrigerant model.   

Note: If you're looking for a less expensive model, then the EcoAir DC12 could be an option to consider. This is cheaper than the Delonghi but still provides excellent humidity removal. It has a lower maximum extraction capacity, however, making it better suited to small homes or flats.

Pros

  • Quiet operation and easy to use
  • Excellent water extraction (at room temperature or above)
  • Three settings and a laundry mode

Cons

  • At the higher end of the dehumidifier price range
  • Water tank is smaller than we would have liked

Specification

  • Type: Refrigerant
  • Noise: 40dB
  • Tank: 2.1 litres
  • Input Power: 305W
  • Max Extraction: 14 litres/day
  • Price: £££ - Premium

Summary

Refrigerant dehumidifiers are the most popular type in the UK. While they are often heavier than desiccant models and less effective in cooler conditions, they excel in the typical UK home environment. There are also more refrigerant models on the market, making it easier to find one that meets your requirements.

Our top pick for a refrigerant dehumidifier is the Meaco Low Energy 20L. It's a powerful model that can save money on energy bills over the course of a year. The large capacity and big water tank also mean it's great for dehumidifying your entire home.

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