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MeacoDry Arete One review: Big on dehumidifying power, low on noise

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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
260
inc VAT

A great, hassle-free dehumidifier that puts the squeeze on noise and power consumption

Pros 
Effective dehumidification
Low noise when it’s not at full tilt
Good energy efficiency
Very easy to use
Cons 
Laundry drying could be more effective
More expensive than some rivals
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What do you do if you already produce some of the quietest and most energy-efficiency dehumidifiers on the market? With Meaco's new MeacoDry Arete One, the answer is to go even lower with power consumption and even quieter – and with some higher capacity options, too.

Meaco’s existing 20L MeacoDry ABC dehumidifier produced a maximum 44dB(A) of noise at one metre and consumed roughly 244W. The Arete One is specified to top out at 40dB(A) and consume around 250W, although – as we’ll see later – measured consumption is actually much lower.

What’s more, the new model comes in a 25L variant for larger households, which isn’t an option with the ABC range. This makes it the most powerful unit in Meaco’s current range and significantly quieter than the outgoing Meaco 25L model, which could dish out up to 50dB(A).

Basically, if you have a larger house with large rooms and a damp problem, then this is the kind of dehumidifier you should look at if you want to deal with the issue. But is it up there the best?

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MeacoDry Arete One review: What do you get for the money?

The Arete One certainly looks good on paper. I reviewed the 20L version, which is designed to extract up to 20L per day at 30°C and 80% relative humidity or 12L per day at 27°C and 60% humidity. It incorporates both a dust filter and an optional HEPA filter for built-in air purification and has a 4.8L water tank.

It’s a sizable unit, standing 56cm tall, and heavy with it, at 15Kg without any water in the tank. However, there are casters on the base to help move it around, while a central section of the top lifts up to function as a handle, so you can (just about) heft it up and down the stairs if you need to.

Meaco has cleverly designed it so that it pulls air in from the back then out through the top, but with enough space behind that you can place the unit unobtrusively against a wall and it’ll still dehumidify effectively.

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MeacoDry Arete One review: What features does it have?

Ease of use and convenience might be the Arete One’s biggest strengths. You barely have to do anything; just turn it on, press the Smart Humidity mode button, and it’ll get to work bringing the humidity down to the default 55%rh target. Once it gets there, it’ll go into standby, checking every half an hour that the humidity hasn’t crept back up again. If it does, it’ll turn back on again and bring it down.

If you press the Smart Humidity mode button repeatedly, you can cycle between the available humidity targets, ranging from 40% to 70%rh, with a continuous option if you just want to keep dehumidifying, no matter what.

Hold the button and it’ll enter air purification mode, cutting out the dehumidification but still filtering your air. Meanwhile, a Smart Laundry mode switches the target down to 35%rh and ramps up the fan speed in an effort to dry a rack of clothes. This will run for six hours, although dehumidification will stop once the relative humidity hits 32%.

Finally, there’s a Night mode, which keeps the fan at low speed and turns all displays and indicators off, plus a child lock. The pressure-sensitive keys, clear indicators and digital display make it easy to switch between modes and keep an eye on the current humidity levels.

As mentioned, the water tank stores 4.8L and simply slides in and out of the body of the unit. On even the heaviest day of testing I didn’t have to empty it more than once, although I’ve generally been working at room temperatures of around 22°C with humidity levels starting at around 62-67%. If you’re dehumidifying a seriously damp space or one that’s been flooded, then you may have to empty more often. The unit also supports continuous drainage, although you’ll need your own hose and a nearby drain or sink.

READ NEXT: The best dehumidifiers

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MeacoDry Arete One review: How well does it work?

It’s certainly an effective dehumidifier. In a small bedroom with damp and mould issues, I saw the humidity fall from 67% to 52% within a couple of hours, and I had to force the target down to 45% to keep the purifier busy.

Normally, you wouldn’t do this – the ideal humidity is usually 40% to 60% and within a few degrees of 50% is fine. However, if you’re trying to deal with mildew, mould or damp patches, then you’ll want to keep it a little lower.

The Arete One is also unusual for a compressor-based dehumidifier (one that uses refrigeration to cool and condense water in the air), in that it will work at temperatures of below 10°C. In fact, it’s designed to work at any temperature between 5°C and 25°C.

I tested it overnight in an unheated, external utility room that’s horribly prone to condensation, and it did a solid job of keeping the drips at bay. If you’re looking for a dehumidifier for a conservatory or garden room, this one should be up to the job for most of the year, although I’d still recommend a desiccant dehumidifier for use in colder areas and colder months.

The advantage of the size, drying power and capacity is that the Arete One can dehumidify larger areas than your average 10-12L dehumidifier. I’ve had it working on an upstairs landing and a large downstairs hallway, and in both cases, it did a solid job of controlling humidity and drying out areas affected by damp or mould, although in these sorts of environments you need to leave it running for longer periods to make an impact.

But what about noise and energy efficiency? Well, when you first turn the unit on in the Smart Humidity mode it usually operates at full blast. This saw power consumption swing up from 0.2 to 0.5W in standby to around 202W and noise levels reach around 49dB. This wasn’t a horrendous racket by dehumidifier standards, but the hum of the fan was a little too loud for living room use, particularly while trying to watch TV. Once humidity levels start to stabilise, the Meaco switches down to the lower fan setting, at which point the sound levels drop to around 43dB and the power consumption can go as low as 28W. Once it reaches the target level, you’re back at 0.5 to 0.7W and ambient noise levels.

We should point out that I took these sound readings using a smartphone app inside a home with wooden floors, and that sound levels will vary depending on your carpet, curtains and furnishings. Meaco’s own noise measurements, taken in a sealed chamber using calibrated microphones at 1m from all four sides, measured noise levels at between 38dB and 40dB for the 20L model and 40 and 42dB for the 25L model.

In night mode I still found noise levels too high to sleep with it running in the same room, but it was fine running in a room downstairs or in another room, with only a barely perceptible low hum crossing walls or floors.

MeacoDry Arete One review: What could be improved?

The Arete One is at its noisiest in clothes drying mode, where you’re looking at sound levels of over 50dB and power consumption of over 208W. What’s more, it’s not the most effective dehumidifier I’ve seen for actually drying your clothes; even after six hours some garments were still slightly damp to the touch. In the past we found the Ebac 2650e worked a little better, albeit over a longer 8 hour boost cycle. However, different washing loads and humidity levels make like-for-like comparisons impossible, and the Arete One is still a decent option – you can always leave it on at a lower humidity target or turn on continuous operation if you want it to finish drying out your laundry.

The downside of the Arete One’s hassle-free approach is that you don’t have as much direct control over fan speeds, timers or noise levels that you get with some other dehumidifiers. As far as I’m concerned this isn’t really a problem, as the Smart controls work so well, but if you’d like to tweak things up and down yourself, then you might consider something else.

MeacoDry Arete One review: Should I buy it?

Yes – it’s an excellent dehumidifier, especially for larger spaces. I don’t have the MeacoDry ABC or Inventor EVA II Pro 20L to hand to make direct comparisons but the Arete One is right up there with them in terms of performance and is either competitive or slightly better on noise and power consumption.

Of course, it’s also quite expensive and for smaller rooms and spaces you can save some cash with a more compact 10-12L dehumidifier. But when you need serious drying power, you need a dehumidifier that’s up to the job – and here the Arete One has you covered.

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