LAST UPDATED: August 15, 2019
Best Dehumidifiers for RVs: Prevent Musty Odors and Control Humidity Levels
Get rid of excess moisture and improve the air quality in your RV with these highly efficient and quiet RV dehumidifiers
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON August 15, 2019
Think about the living conditions in your RV. You shower, sleep, eat, cook, shower, and engage in many other activities inside. Because it’s a small, confined space, there’s bound to be a lot of humidity in the air. Cracking a window may make it less stuffy, but that’s hard to do when it’s raining or freezing outside. A dehumidifier can suck up all the water vapor from your RV and make it more comfortable. Here’s a rundown of some of the best RV dehumidifiers on the market.
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Benefits of a Dehumidifier for RV
- Prevent respiratory diseases. If you suffer from sinus problems, allergies, asthma, and frequent sore throats, then spending a lot of time in a humid RV will only make your condition worse. It may get unbearable and ruin your camping trip. However, having a dehumidifier in your corner will clear all the excess moisture from the RV and make it more comfortable.
- Prevent mold, bacteria, and pests. High humidity levels provide a good atmosphere for mold, mildew, bacteria, and other unhealthy microorganisms to thrive. It’s also made for a conducive breeding ground for termites and other pests. Use a dehumidifier to prevent pests from ruining the upholstery and clothes in your RV.
- Maintain healthy skin. Too much humidity affects your skin the same way as too much sunlight can hurt it. High humidity triggers your skin pores to open up, and it becomes more susceptible to dirt, bacteria, and other allergens that could lead to adverse skin conditions. You should keep the humidity at the optimal level to prevent acne, rashes, eczema, and other allergic reactions.
- Enjoy fresher air. On top of removing moisture from the atmosphere, a dehumidifier can absorb moisture from spilled drinks, sweaty clothes, damp furniture, and wet pet fur. Moreover, a dehumidifier promotes the circulation of the air in the RV to remove musty odors and maintain a fresh environment.
Types of Dehumidifiers for RVs
Desiccant models are rechargeable and are ideal for enclosed spaces such as closets. They help reduce mold problems. They typically have low noise levels, a lightweight profile, and work just as efficiently when temperatures drop below 33 degrees Fahrenheit. They also keep the RV warm by blowing out warm air. However, you may need more than one desiccant model to solve the humidity problem in your RV, and they are expensive.
Refrigerant or compressor units are cheaper than desiccant models, have lower power consumption, and have a high extraction rate. You only need one refrigerant model to keep your entire RV humidity- and mold-free. However, they aren’t efficient when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and are noisier than desiccant models.
Frigidaire is a famous dehumidifier manufacturer. It was originally founded as the Guardian Refrigerator Company, but it was rebranded in 1919 when General Motors took over ownership of the company. General Motors had a 60-year run with Frigidaire and later sold it to its current owner, Electrolux. The company introduced the first-ever air conditioner and the first self-contained refrigerator. It currently develops 70-, 50-, and 30-pint dehumidifiers. One of its best dehumidifiers for campers is the Frigidaire Dehumidifier.
Pro-Breeze is a renowned manufacturer of high-quality and safe air treatment products, including purifiers, fans, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers. The company is headquartered in London and has operating centers in the United States and Canada. Pro-Breeze products are affordable, and for that reason has a legion of loyal consumers. Its best-selling motorhome dehumidifier is the Pro Breeze Electric Mini Dehumidifier.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., Eva-Dry manufactures some of the best dehumidifier systems that meet North American consumer standards. It sells its products online and through a chain of retail outlets. It also has a wide consumer base due to its affordable prices and commendable customer service. One of Eva-Dry’s best mini dehumidifiers suitable for enclosed spaces is the Eva-Dry Renewable Mini Dehumidifier.
Dehumidifier for RV Pricing
- Under $50: Most dehumidifiers within this price range are small and ideal for small travel trailers and enclosed spaces such as closets. However, they may not come with extra features like wheels or handles for transportation, and they have a low extraction capacity.
- Over $50: Budget this much if you need a larger dehumidifier with an extraction capacity than can cover a large RV. Anything smaller isn’t worth purchasing unless it’s energy-efficient and you don’t mind buying two.
The capacity of a humidifier or its ability to remove water in a given range is measured in “pints of moisture”. A unit with a 30-pint extraction rate can remove moisture within a range of 300 square feet. A 50-pint dehumidifier has an operating range of about 700 square feet, and a 70-pint dehumidifier has a high operating range of up to 1500 square feet.
Do you plan to have the dehumidifier as a permanent accessory in your RV or would you prefer to move it into your house and back? A unit under 20 pounds with wheels and a handle is easy to carry around from your basement to the RV. However, portability isn’t an issue if you want the dehumidifier in your RV all year to keep it from getting dump when you aren’t around.
Humidistat & Timer
A humidistat regularly measures the level of humidity in the RV and automatically shuts off the dehumidifier when the air attains an optimal water vapor level. A timer comes in handy when you are away. You could set the unit to extract the vapor at a predetermined amount of time to reduce power consumption but keep the air humidity free.
- Noise Level: Dehumidifier noise levels are generally unnoticeable, but if you are sensitive to this feature then select a desiccant dehumidifier. It’s quieter than a refrigerant model.
- Additional Features: A unit with adjustable louvers allows you to direct the airflow of the vents. An anti-slip base prevents the dehumidifier from falling when the RV is in motion. A laundry setting can help dry clothes faster. However, it’s not a deal-breaker if the unit doesn’t have all of these features.
Best Dehumidifier for RV Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Frigidaire dehumidifier is a 70-pint dehumidifier that runs on electricity and offers an instant solution to excess moisture, mold, mildew, and bacteria in your recreational vehicle or travel trailer. It’s engineered with a SpaceWise portable design, including a top handle, side handles, and caster wheels for portability. It has a 24-hour timer but can run continuously when positioned next to a drain.
The unit features an Effortless Humidity Control setting that lets you filter out a certain percentage of humidity from the air. Inside the collection tank, there are visible built-in clear glass rings that let you keep track of the water level. It also has electronic controls that display the humidity readings and are readable in the dark. This unit works well in low temperatures and uses a standard 115-volt electrical outlet.
The condenser isn’t protected from rust, and rusty water may start to collect in its water reservoir after a few months. It’s also not designed to be long-lasting. It may start to show “FO” error codes after only a year, and if that happens you may have to unplug the unit and plug it back in; the buttons don’t function when there’s an error. It’s also not energy efficient due to its high moisture extraction rate.
The Eva-Dry Mini Dehumidifier doesn’t require long power cables or batteries as it uses silica gel technology to suck moisture out of the air. It has a working perimeter of 333 cubic feet and a capacity of 6 ounces. The unit can last for at least 20 days before renewal and will give you at least 10 years of service life. It has a small, lightweight design that can be directly plugged into a wall socket.
The dehumidifier has no buttons but has crystal beads (silica gel) that change color from orange to green, depending on the amount of vapor in the air. The crystals turn green when it’s at capacity, and it needs to be plugged in (renewed) for about eight hours until the crystals turn orange. That’s when you can unplug it and return it to the place where it was absorbing moisture. The silica gel is odorless, non-toxic, and safe. The dehumidifier leaves the room humid and mold-free.
A downside of this dehumidifier is that eight hours is too long to wait for the beads to dry. It may take longer for the beads to change color as the unit gets older. The air will be full of humidity by the time you get to use it, and you may have to buy an extra model for alternating use. Moreover, the device may heat up when charging, and you have to use a cloth to unplug it.
The Pro Breeze Electric Mini dehumidifier is a small and lightweight humidity-control device featuring a 16-ounce water tank. An LED light turns on when the water tank is full, and the unit automatically shuts off until the tank is drained. It filters out about 9 ounces of moisture a day and has an operating range of 150 square feet.
The air intake compartment is located at the front and features built-in ThermoElectric Cooling Technology for quiet operation. This dehumidifier works within temperatures of 59 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It only weighs 2.4 pounds and is portable enough to be used in RVs, bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages, and bedrooms.
However, this Pro Breeze model may start to break down after only six months of use. In less than a year, it may run louder and heat up, which is unsafe when used in an enclosed space like an RV. It’s not recommended to leave it plugged in when you plan to be away for a long time. Moreover, it filters out moisture much slower than high-end humidifiers. It also won’t work well at temperatures below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep your dehumidifier clean by wiping it with a dry cloth every two weeks. Use a soft brush to clean the dust off the vents. Wash the water reservoir at least once a month to keep it from smelling musty.
- Store the dehumidifier in an upright position and in a well-ventilated place. Do not leave it plugged in if you plan to be away from your RV for a long time. It could be a fire hazard. Also, get rid of a dehumidifier that overheats to the point you can’t hold it with your bare hands. It could be faulty.
- Too much moisture in your RV can lead to a stuffy nose, sore throats, and an uncomfortable environment. However too little or no humidity could give you a dry throat and skin. The optimal humidity level in the RV ranges from 40 to 50RH, depending on the season.
- On top of having a dehumidifier, don’t forget to ventilate your RV properly. Open the window and doors when it’s sunny outside, and install vents in the RV if it doesn’t have any. Also, invest in an air conditioning unit to keep the air clean and fresh.
Q: Will a dehumidifier drain my RV’s battery?
A: This can occur if you leave it plugged in for a long time after you turn off your RV. But it largely depends on the model and brand you choose. Some have energy-saving technology and barely draw enough power to affect the RV’s battery. However, some are power guzzlers that can leave you battery flat after a few hours of charging.
Q: Is a dehumidifier’s extraction rate similar to its capacity?
A: They are interchangeable terms as both refer to the total amount of moisture that a dehumidifier can remove from the air in a day. Extraction rates fluctuate according to the room temperature, but the distance covered by the dehumidifying equipment is always constant. Some manufacturers use the capacity to denote how many pints of moisture the equipment can remove in a given range.
Q: Can I use a dehumidifier in a shower?
A: Yes. The excess moisture won’t damage the dehumidifier as long as it’s high quality. The shower is a major source of moisture in an RV, and if you can get a large dehumidifier in there to control the problem at its roots, that’s great. However, if you use a mini dehumidifier, the tank may fill up fast and you’ll have to recharge or drain it more frequently.
Our top pick is the Frigidaire Dehumidifier. It’s portable, has a large water holding capacity, and extracts water at a higher rate than most ordinary and mini dehumidifiers.
Our value pick is the Eva-Dry Renewable Mini Dehumidifier. It’s an affordable, small, and compact unit ideal for small RVs and small spaces.