Pair a dehumidifier with a drying rack and you can get your wet clothes dry for less
Most of us buy a dehumidifier to help get rid of moisture and prevent mould in the house, but they can also be a useful option for drying laundry when outdoor drying isn’t practical. Combine one of the best dehumidifiers with one of the best laundry racks and you’ve got a way to dry a decent amount of clothes within six to eight hours. Sure, a tumble dryer is faster, but it’s also expensive to run and can be unsuitable for a variety of garments – unless you don’t mind having your jeans and jumpers radically resized. Though you can dry clothes by hanging them on, or in front of, your radiators, this usually adds to the humidity in your home, so you might end up needing a dehumidifier anyway. At the same time, it also prevents those radiators from heating efficiently.
Dehumidifier manufacturers seem to have cottoned on to the fact that being able to dry laundry is a must-have feature and many have now added a specific laundry mode, though some dehumidifiers without this mode can still handle the job with ease.
In this guide, we’re going to pick out some of the best dehumidifiers for drying laundry and look at what they can do to help you keep on top of the washing. You can also check our guide to the best dehumidifiers if you’re looking for a good all-round model for your home.
Best dehumidifiers for drying clothes: At a glance
|Best compact dehumidifier for laundry
|De’Longhi Tascuigo AriaDry Multi 16l | £350
|Check price at Argos
|Best all-round dehumidifier
|Meaco Arete One 20l | £275
|Check price at Argos
|Best-value dehumidifier for laundry
|ProBreeze PB-08 | £180
|Check price at ProBreeze
|Best for quiet and efficient drying
|Meaco DD8L Zambezi | £240
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best dehumidifier for drying clothes for you
What should you look for in a dehumidifier for drying clothes?
As with any dehumidifier, the most important factors are the size and the extraction rate: this tells you how much water the dehumidifier can take out of the air in a single day. If your focus is on drying clothes rather than drying a large space, then even a 10- to 14-litre dehumidifier will do the job. Going for a 16- to 25-litre model will get your laundry dry faster, and will help you dry out larger spaces if you also need to use it more generally in your home.
The downside of getting a bigger, high-extraction rate model is that it’s going to be heavier and will need more space to work. It’s something worth considering if you want to dry clothes in a small bathroom or utility room. If you want a model you can carry to wherever it’s needed around the house, then only go for a heftier model if you’re confident in your lifting ability.
The extraction rate figure is quite separate from the water tank capacity, which simply tells you how much water the dehumidifier can extract before it pauses and you have to empty it. This is really just a question of convenience – a dehumidifier with a small 2- to 3-litre tank won’t be at risk of overflowing, as all the dehumidifiers we’ve tested have an automatic cut-out, but you’ll need to empty it more often, particularly if you’re drying laundry. Even then, you should still be able to get to the end of a cycle if you empty the tank every time.
We usually separate dehumidifiers into three different categories: compressor, peltier and desiccant. You can find explanations in our guide to the best dehumidifiers, but both compressor and desiccant models are perfectly capable of drying clothes. Compressor dehumidifiers have an advantage in that they tend to be cheaper to operate, but desiccant dehumidifiers tend to have faster-working laundry modes, which helps to even out the cost over repeated drying cycles.
Do you need a specific laundry mode?
Not necessarily. Some models do have specific laundry modes where the dehumidifier runs at full speed and full power for six to ten hours, or an intelligent laundry mode where the power and fan speed are automatically reduced as the washing dries. In some cases, the fans are also used to blow warm air over the garments to help them dry.
All the same, any dehumidifier will do the job so long as you can set the fan speed and power level to the maximum – automatic settings may take too long or may turn the humidifier off before your clothes are fully dry. That said, having an off-timer may also help since you can set it to switch off, rather than run indefinitely. Yes, laundry modes are easy and convenient, but they’re far from essential.
Is using a dehumidifier cheaper than using a tumble dryer?
Definitely. Depending on the load, the average tumble dryer uses between 4.7kWh and 5.4kWh per cycle. In 2023, electricity cost around 27p per kWh, which meant you would be looking at between £1.27 and £1.46 to run a load through your tumble dryer. With the energy price cap rising in 2024, you could be looking at even more. Newer heat pump models will be cheaper, using around 1.85kWh per cycle, but you’re still looking at around 50p per load.
With a dehumidifier, it depends on the size, capacity and technology being used. We’ve seen models use nearly 700W when running at full tilt, meaning they could use 5.6kWh per eight-hour drying cycle, costing you £1.51 per load. However, modern dehumidifiers are often much more efficient, typically using 200W to 400W in operation. This takes the energy consumption down to 1.6 to 3.2kWh over an eight-hour cycle, and the costs down to 43p to 87p per load. With dehumidifiers that operate over a six-hour cycle, the cost drops to 33p and 66p – a significant saving, provided your washing is actually dry within that time.
Is there anything else worth looking out for?
Features such as a night mode or a quiet mode are definitely worth looking for if you need to run the dehumidifier overnight to dry your washing. But lower noise levels are worth having at any time of day, especially if you’re in a smaller home where it’s not practical to have the dehumidifier in a separate room.
How do you use a dehumidifier to dry your washing?
Ideally, find a room that won’t need to be used much for the next five to eight hours, such as a utility room or spare bedroom. The smaller the room, the better, as it’s easier for the dehumidifier to get the room’s humidity level down and start drying out your clothes.
Hang your clothes on a drying rack or from hangers, making sure you separate them as much as possible, and avoid having heavy garments sitting on top of lighter materials. Position the dehumidifier near the rack, but not so close that the clothes are at risk of touching it – most manufacturers recommend a distance of between 30 and 60cm.
When you’re ready, start the dehumidifier in either laundry mode or at the highest power setting with the highest fan speed. Then leave it until the laundry mode finishes or until the clothes feel dry to the touch, whichever is soonest. As a tip, rotating the clothes rack, or turning the clothes around part-way through, will help the load to dry faster.
How we test dehumidifiers
We test dehumidifiers between October and March in real-world conditions in a damp-prone, three-bed detached home. We set up the dehumidifier in the living room and run it for a period of two hours, using the built-in humidity meter and an air-quality monitor to take the humidity readings before switching on, after one hour and then again at two hours. We also measure noise levels using a smartphone sound meter app from a distance of one metre. We then retest the humidifiers in other areas of the house, including an upstairs landing and – with desiccant models – a free-standing concrete garage. We also check how easy it is to empty the water tank, and how easy it is to clean and store the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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The best dehumidifiers for drying clothes you can buy in 2024
1. De’Longhi Tascuigo AriaDry Multi 16l: Best compact dehumidifier for laundry
Price when reviewed: £350 | Check price at Argos
The AriaDry Multi is a stylish, compact dehumidifier that comes in a glossy midnight blue. It’s easy to use, with just three humidity settings targeting 40%, 50% and 60% levels, and a laundry function that runs flat out to dry your clothes in six to eight hours, depending on the load. The 2.1l water tank pulls out neatly from one side, but De’Longhi also provides you with an outlet and a 1m plastic hose for continuous draining, if that’s an option. The AriaDry Multi also incorporates an anti-dust and allergy filter, purifying the air as it works.
Don’t get too excited about any claims of silent running – we found that the AriaDry Multi puts out around 50dB on all of its three settings, so you won’t want to sit and watch the TV in the same room while it’s on. However, it’s a good performer, capable of reducing the humidity in a damp-prone living room by 9% in the first hour and by nearly 22% within two hours. The laundry function is quite effective, too, drying lightweight garments on a rack within five or six hours, and heavier clothes after another two or three hours. If you’re looking for something small and light you can pull out to dry your washing, this good-looking 9kg unit will be right up your street.
Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 2.1l; Extraction rate: 16 litres per day; Laundry mode (hours): Y (no fixed time); Power consumption: 290W; Dimensions: 50.8 x 33.2 x 22cm (HWD); Weight: 9kg; Warranty: 2 years
2. Meaco Arete One 20l: Best all-round dehumidifier
Price when reviewed: £275 | Check price at Argos
High-powered dehumidifiers tend to be noisy, power-hungry brutes, but Meaco’s Arete One range breaks all the rules. It’s designed to do more with less energy and at lower noise levels, with power consumption limited to around 200W and the accompanying racket topping out at 40dB in typical use. What’s more, this dehumidifier adjusts its power and fan speeds automatically, making it even quieter and more frugal as the humidity drops. In its laundry mode, it will run for around six hours, and it does a great job of speeding up the drying process so you have drawer-ready garments in that timeframe.
The Arete One also functions as an air purifier, with a HEPA filter to remove dust and pollutants from the air, whether you’re using it as a dehumidifier at the same time or not. And it has a night mode, which keeps it working quietly overnight without beeping or leaving any lights on. The touch-sensitive controls are easy to use, and the 4.8l tank has enough capacity for several soggy loads, along with a window to check how full it is. Cheap to run, efficient and easy on the eye, it’s the perfect dehumidifier for drying laundry.
Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 4.8l; Extraction rate: 20 litres per day; Laundry mode (hours): Y (6 hours); Power consumption: 200W; Dimensions: 56.2 x 37.6 x 23.2cm (HWD); Weight: 15kg; Warranty: 5 years
3. EcoAir DD1 Simple: Best dehumidifier for getting small loads dry at speed
Price when reviewed: £240 | Check price at Amazon
This desiccant dehumidifier can use a lot of power in operation but makes up for it through some efficient humidity regulation, and the fact that its laundry mode can dry a full rack of laundry in around four hours – less if you’re only drying lighter garments. It’s louder than compressor models, but more effective over shorter periods, especially if you’re using it in a colder space where a compressor dehumidifier might struggle.
The downside of its compact dimensions is that it only has a small 2l tank, though a 1m hose is provided for continuous draining if you have easy access to a suitable sink or drain. You also get a choice of quiet or turbo functions; the mix of buttons and a rotary control ensures that it’s easy to find all its features. It’s not the best dehumidifier to buy if you’re pushing through big batches of washing all day long, but if you want to get a smaller load dried quickly, it’s an absolute star.
Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Desiccant; Tank size: 2l; Extraction rate: 6 litres per day; Laundry mode (hours): Y (2-4 hours); Power consumption: 300-580W; Dimensions: 48.5 x 29 x 17.5cm (HWD); Weight: 6kg; Warranty: 2 years
4. ProBreeze PB-08: Best-value dehumidifier for laundry
Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at ProBreeze
This ProBreeze model is a great affordable option for general dehumidifying and drying laundry, with an extraction rate of 20l per day, a big 5.5l tank and a dedicated laundry mode. This runs at full tilt to dehumidify your clothes while blowing out air from the vent up top, and we found it worked wonders on a rack full of just-spun washing. It got all but the jeans and jogging bottoms dry within around six hours, with those thicker garments needing another two to get properly dry. As for dehumidifying, our test room went from 78% to 67% after an hour and fell further, to 63%, within another 60 minutes – quite an impressive result for a chilly winter’s day,
It’s not all good news, though. Producing 45 to 47dB with its two fan speeds means it fails to rival Meaco’s dehumidifiers for quiet running and, while we didn’t get near the stated 440W power consumption, peaks of 284W will make this model more expensive to run than the Arete One or the AriaDry Multi. Still, so long as you don’t plan to make it a mainstay through the colder seasons, the ProBreeze makes a brilliant value buy.
Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 5.5l; Extraction rate: 20 litres per day; Laundry mode (hours): Y (no fixed time); Power consumption: 440W; Dimensions: 60.8 x 35 x 20cm (HWD); Weight: 13kg; Warranty: 2 years
5. Meaco DD8L Zambezi: Best dehumidifier for quiet and efficient drying
Price when reviewed: £240 | Check price at Amazon
There’s a lot to like about the diminutive DD8L Zambezi, not least the cartoon elephant on the LCD screen. However, its biggest strength is that you can use it just about anywhere: at a mere 7.8kg, this desiccant dehumidifier is easier to carry around the house than most compressor models, and it tucks out of the way nicely. What’s more, it still works at temperatures as low as 1°C, and it has features that you might struggle to find elsewhere, such as a daily run timer and a built-in ioniser.
The controls take a little getting used to – you need to step through the different options with the left and right cursor keys, then select between them with the up and down keys. Still, it’s not hard to switch to the laundry mode or set a timer, and it’s a real plus to be able to set the dehumidifier to turn on and off at the same time each day.
Crucially, it’s thorough and efficient, both as a general dehumidifier and as a laundry dryer. It took the humidity levels in our test room from 69% to 48% within an hour and to 44% by the end of the second hour. At 39 to 44dB, it’s not too loud, and the Laundry+ mode did a fantastic job of drying a rack full of washing in six hours. Although consumption peaks at over 600W, clever internal tech moderates power and fan speeds according to humidity levels, so you use much less power as the humidity level drops or as your washing dries, coming down to around 40 to 50W towards the end. Simply switch on Laundry+ and let this little beauty go to work.
Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Desiccant; Tank size: 3l; Extraction rate: 7.5 litres per day; Laundry mode (hours): Y (6 hours); Power consumption: 650W; Dimensions: 54.8 x 35.8 x 20cm (HWD); Weight: 7.8kg; Warranty: 2 years
6. Swan ActivAir 20l Low Energy Dehumidifier: Best dehumidifier for easy, no-fuss drying
Price when reviewed: £220 | Check price at Swan
The Swan ActivAir keeps things simple. There are no fancy modes: you just set the desired humidity level, pick one of the two fan speeds and let it go to work. Beyond that, you get a one- to 24-hour shutdown timer and a “swing” function to make the air output oscillate upwards and downwards, but that’s about it. It’s a set-and-forget kind of appliance.
The design is just as minimalist, in a two-tone matte white and gloss black plastic casing, with the touch controls and a digital display on the top. Standing just over 56cm high, it’s fairly compact for a 20l dehumidifier, though we would have liked to see a larger tank as this has a capacity of just 4l. It could need emptying once or twice a day during the colder months – but otherwise, it just works.
In terms of noise levels, it’s not going to challenge the likes of Meaco’s models as it puts out between 45 and 49dB while in use. However, to balance that, it’s powerful and was capable of reducing the humidity levels in our test room from 81% to 72% within an hour and reaching 63% in two hours. And while there’s no dedicated laundry function, we found it did a fine job of drying clothes – vests and T-shirts hanging on a rack were good to go within around six hours, while jeans and sweatshirts dried in roughly eight.
Rival dehumidifiers may have more features and more drying power, but this is a very solid alternative at a more than reasonable price.
Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 4l; Extraction rate: 20 litres per day; Laundry mode (hours): N; Power consumption: 310W; Dimensions: 56.1 x 39.5 x 29.5cm (HWD); Weight: 13.25kg; Warranty: 2 years
7. Princess 368120 Smart Dehumidifier: Best app-enabled dehumidifier for drying laundry
Price when reviewed: £230 | Check price at B&Q
Princess has been making a name for itself through its app-enabled smart appliances, and this Smart Dehumidifier allows you to control its operations and schedule it to turn on and off through the Princess Home smartphone app. If you’re not too bothered about controlling it remotely or checking humidity levels while you’re still at work, it’s still easy to operate through the touch controls on the top panel.
This model doesn’t seem to have a dedicated laundry function, even though the spec sheet claimed it does; however, we found the combination of dehumidifying at maximum speed and a louvre that swings upwards and downwards does the job within six or seven hours, especially if you turn your drying rack around halfway through. Meanwhile, the 3.7l tank is good for both drying clothes and more general dehumidifying duties, making the Princess a close match for the Swan and ProBreeze models. Generating noise at 46 to 51dB, it’s nobody’s idea of silent but, with its smart features and effective drying, it’s a neat, affordable way to dry your clothes.
Key specs – Dehumidifier type: Compressor; Tank size: 3.7l; Extraction rate: 20 litres per day; Laundry mode (hours): N; Power consumption: 325W; Dimensions: 57.2 x 34.4 x 25cm (HWD); Weight: 17.8kg; Warranty: 2 years