Indoor humidity levels change throughout the year. During the early months (winter), there’s very little moisture in the atmosphere, resulting in rather dry conditions that create the risk of dry skin, cold/flu symptoms, and inflamed sinuses.
Then, as the weather warms up, the humidity levels rise slowly until the summer, when you may notice excess moisture indoors. Too much indoor humidity is just as bad as low humidity. It creates dampness that can damage books, furniture, and other paper and wood items. Excess moisture also makes the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.
Typically, you need a humidifier to add humidity to the home during the drier (colder) months and a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the home during the hotter months.
But, imagine if you could have both capabilities in one unit – an appliance that functions both as a humidifier during the cold weather and dehumidifier during the warm weather!
It would be great, right? Because you wouldn’t have to buy the humidifier and dehumidifier separately, thus reduced investment costs. Also, storage, maintenance, and repairs become slightly easier because you only need to deal with one appliance rather than two.
That’s precisely what you get with a humidifier-dehumidifier combo. Read on to learn how these appliances work, some wonderful options to consider, and tips to consider when shopping for a humidifier/dehumidifier combo.
What are the Best Humidifier Dehumidifier Combos on the Market?
There are hundreds of humidifier-dehumidifier combos to consider – some even doubling up as air purifiers. The following are some of the top models;
1. Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier/Dehumidifier
This unit from Crane is a 3-in-1 humidifier-dehumidifier-air purifier. The default setting is the humidification mode in which it uses ultrasonic technology to generate and distribute mist throughout the room. But, it also has a dehumidifier mode in which it extracts excess moisture from the room.
Key features of the unit include auto-shutoff when the tank runs empty. This helps protect the tank and also the people in the room. The fog spreads in a 360-degree fashion, so you don’t need to move the unit around.
You’ll also love that it’s a very portable model that you can carry from one room to the next without breaking a sweat. A 1-year warranty backs the combo.
- Compact, portable unit
- Reasonably priced
- Simple to fill and clean
- Automatic shutoff
- The motor tends to run out fast
2. Frigidaire Air Purifier & Dehumidifier for Large Rooms
This combo from Frigidaire is a 37-pound unit designed for large rooms between 1,500 and 3,000 square feet. Despite the large size, it’s a highly portable unit, featuring castor wheels for easy mobility. Additionally, it features a carry handle. The control panel is located at the top.
In the dehumidifier mode, it can remove up to 50 pints of moisture per day. It also removes the moisture pretty fast, leaving the room dry within minutes. A full-tank alert will let you know that you need to empty the unit. It has two fan speeds.
Another key feature of the Frigidaire is the “Continuous” mode in which the unit operates automatically, keeping indoor humidity levels at a predetermined range.
- Castor wheels for mobility
- Includes carry handles
- Ideal for large spaces
- Features continuous mode
- It’s one of the pricier models
3. Dreval D-850 Humidifier-Dehumidifier Combo
The Dreval D-850 is a medium-size humidifier-dehumidifier combo designed for rooms up to 430 square feet. It is a brilliant device integrated with a remote control so you can control indoor climate from the comfort of your room.
It’s also a high-efficiency device that has a HEPA filter attached, guaranteeing 99.97% purification. It removes all airborne particles larger than 0.01 micron. Additionally, it uses UV sterilizing light to eliminate bacteria while also releasing negative ions for the complete removal of pollutants.
Above all, the unit features an in-built humidifier that helps add moisture to the air during the drier months.
- High-efficiency HEPA filter
- UV sterilizing light
- Negative anion release
- 2-year warranty
- A bit pricey
4. Danby PHD (DHCC6020) Silhouette 3-in-1
The 3-in-1 Danby is an all-season humidifier, dehumidifier, and air purifier boasting a 60-pint capacity for the dehumidifier mode and 20-pint capacity in the humidifier mode. It’s ideal for large homes up to 1,500 square feet.
This unit, too, features a HEPA air filter that kills 99.97% of air pollutants. It also features a 2-speed fan system and is remote controlled. Even better, it features a humidistat that closely tracks moisture levels in the room and triggers the humidification or dehumidification process accordingly. The unit can be connected to a permanent drain hose.
A 2-year warranty backs the Danby. Also, the manufacturer provides charge-free servicing for at least a year.
- 3-in-1 humidifier/dehumidifier/air purifier
- 60/20-pint dehumidifier/dehumidifier capacity
- Ideal for up to 1,500 square feet
- 2-year warranty
- It’s a bit loud
5. The Venta Air Washer LW25
The Venta Air Washer treats rooms up to 400 square feet. It has no filter. Instead, the unit uses cold water evaporation to purify the air and treat respiratory issues, so you don’t need to worry about airborne particles.
It has a 2-gallon water tank, which is smaller than most other dehumidifier-humidifier combos. However, it’s still quite powerful and works very well, especially in medium-sized spaces. You can select humidity levels between 30% and 70%.
The absence of a filer means that maintenance requirements are generally lower. You don’t need to worry about cleaning or replacing filters every two weeks. It’s backed by a 2-year warranty.
- Ideal for up to 485 square feet
- Integrated hygrometer and hygrostat
- Energy-efficient, filter-free
- 2-year manufacturer warranty
- No remote control
- Small tank
6. Hanwell CCR30 Humidifier/Dehumidifier
The Hanwell CCR30 is a 2-in-1 humidifier-dehumidifier combo with the added benefit of a radio control system built into the unit. The radio control system is actuated by signals from Hanwell’s Pro T/RH telemetry units. This system allows for much more accurate control of relative humidity.
The unit’s hardware is guaranteed never to allow the humidifier and dehumidifier sections to work simultaneously. Other features of the combo include an open-electrode boiler system to sterilize water vapor and scale retention and a steam exit design that ensures minimum visibility and low temperatures.
The unit is made from powder-coated steel and primarily comes in white color. It relies on the home’s mains water supply and delivers 2 liters per hour of steam.
- Adjustable humidity
- Low-temperature steam
- A host of safety features
- Gravity drainage
- A bit bulky (at 70kg)
7. Ivation IVADM45
Finally, the Ivation IVADM45 is another worthy option when shopping for a humidifier-dehumidifier combo. It’s also a large-capacity unit with a tank that can store up to 2 liters of water. This way, you don’t need to empty the tank every few hours — an indicator light signals when it’s time to empty the unit.
The unit is automatic. It switches to dehumidifier mode when moisture levels rise beyond a certain point and reverts to the humidifier mode when the humidity levels drop too low. You can easily set your desired RH level that can soak up to 25 oz. of water.
The IVADM45 is recommended for spaces up to 2,200 square feet and ideal for basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms, closets, and other tiny space.
- Pelter module technology
- Low noise output (about 40dB)
- Can dehumidify up to 2,500 square feet
- Durable build
- No mention of warranty
How Humidifier-Dehumidifier Combos Work
A humidifier-dehumidifier combo is an electrical appliance that combines the functions of a humidifier and a dehumidifier.
As you likely already know, a humidifier adds moisture to the air to raise indoor humidity levels. They can generate moisture in four main ways. Impeller humidifiers generate moisture by flinging water droplets at a diffuser. Ultrasonic models use high-frequency sound vibrations to break down water droplets into fine mist particles, evaporative humidifiers force air through a wick filter soaked in water, and steam humidifiers involve boiling water to evaporation to generate steam.
Dehumidifiers, meanwhile, work by drawing warm air into its refrigerated coils via a fan. The warm air contracts as it travels through the coils, and condensation is left inside the dehumidifier. This condensation forms water droplets that fall into a storage tank attached to the humidifier. Cool air is then returned into your home via the other end of the humidifier.
A humidifier-dehumidifier combo combines the qualities of a humidifier and a dehumidifier. When indoor humidity levels are lower than the humidistat setting, they automatically switch to humidifier mode and begin adding moisture to your home. When the moisture levels are higher than the desired levels, it switches automatically to the dehumidifier mode and begins extracting excess humidity from your home. In most cases, the switching back and forth between humidifier and dehumidifier modes happens automatically without additional effort on your part.
Why Buy a Humidifier Dehumidifier Combo?
Many people buy the two appliances – humidifier and dehumidifiers – separately. If you genuinely need both, buying a 2-in-1 combo unit makes even more sense, doesn’t it? It saves you from buying two separate units. The ripple benefits would include;
- Perfect indoor air conditions: You can maintain the right indoor humidity conditions regardless of the time of the year. Whether it’s winter or summer, you’re covered.
- Protect your furniture from mold and mildew: A humidifier-dehumidifier combo keeps your indoor air at optimal humidity levels.
- Protection from associated health issues: Too much or too little moisture in the air can cause health issues, including dry skin, allergies, etc.
- Eliminate foul odors: Too much indoor moisture can also cause odor issues. Why? Because damp conditions encourage rotting. A humidifier-dehumidifier combo solves the problem.
Tips for Buying the Best Humidifier Dehumidifier Combo
If you’ve studied the benefits of a humidifier-dehumidifier combo and decided to acquire one, getting the right one is the next challenge. The following considerations should help you pick out the right one;
1. Measure your space
The first thing you need to do when shopping for a humidifier-dehumidifier combo is to measure your room so that you can pick a unit that matches your room/space. Measure the room’s length and width and multiply the numbers to determine the area of the space. Then, shop for a combo unit capable of serving the area.
The good news is that the majority of humidifier-dehumidifier manufacturers indicate the recommended coverage area. For instance, you’ll find units rated at 500 square feet, 700 square feet, etc. Make sure to compare the recommended coverage with the area of your room. You want the two values to be very close.
2. Tank-size measurement
You need to consider the tank size for two main reasons. First, the tank size determines how much moisture a humidifier can put out in a single day. A larger tank can put out more moisture per day, meaning it can serve a bigger space.
Secondly, the tank size determines how much moisture a dehumidifier can extract from the room in a day. Here too, a larger tank means a higher capacity for water extraction. Thus a larger tank dehumidifier can serve a bigger space and is also more effective in more humid conditions.
3. Consider an energy-efficient unit
Energy efficiency is about how much electricity the humidifier-dehumidifier combo draws from the supply outlet over a specified period. How much power does it need to work? Steam humidifiers, for instance, aren’t very energy-efficient. They consume tons of electricity. Impeller units are considered some of the most efficient.
For dehumidifiers, larger-capacity units are much more efficient than smaller-capacity humidifiers. Although the smaller-tank models consume less electricity, they need to be operational for longer – which means more power usage in the end. In both cases, an Energy-Star rated unit would be an excellent acquisition.
4. Noise considerations
All humidifiers-dehumidifier combos make noise/sounds to a degree. In the humidifier mode, the process of breaking down water particles into mist produces a few noises, sometimes up to 50+ decibels. The dehumidification process also produces noises as air from the home is condensed to extract excess humidity.
What you want to do is to pick the quietest combo you can find within your budget and size requirements. Remember that the larger-capacity units are typically noisier. However, that doesn’t stop you from comparing the noise ratings to identify the quietest option.
4. Insist on a user-friendly humidifier-dehumidifier
A user-friendly humidifier-dehumidifier is one that’s easy to handle, clean, refill, and empty. Many come with handles so you can easily carry the unit around. Alternatively, choose a compact unit that can be carried around with ease, even without handles. Easy-to-clean humidifier-dehumidifier combos are easy to take apart. They are also designed such that every corner of the unit is easily accessible. Filling the humidifier tank and emptying the dehumidifier tank requires a large lid opening.
Another ease of use consideration is the accessibility of controls (buttons). Choose a unit whose controls are visible and easily accessible. Whether it is knob control or a touch panel, the control functions should be easy to learn and master.
6. Consider convenience and safety features
All great humidifier-dehumidifier combos are laden with convenience features. For instance, the unit must have a humidistat for automatic humidity tracking. You may also be interested in remote control, such that you can change the humidity settings without leaving the sofa. Some modern units are even smart enough to be controlled via voice systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Smart Home. Operating modes (Night Mode, Sleep Mode, Baby Mode, etc.) are also worth considering.
Above all, a great humidifier-dehumidifier combo is safe for use at all times. So, consider safety standards such as ETL. Also, anti-tip-over shutoff, low-water and empty tank alerts, and cool-to-touch surfaces should be prioritized.
7. The best humidifier-dehumidifier combos are easy to maintain
Maintenance covers everything from cleaning to repairs and through to timely replacement of parts and the entire unit. It’s advisable to rinse the humidifier-dehumidifier combo tank at least once every 2/3 days. Never let the water settle for more than three days. Besides regular rinsing, you consider deep-cleaning the entire unit once a week with vinegar and bleaching agent.
Timely repairs mean you need regular inspections. Whenever you notice a malfunction, make sure to fix the issue right away. Replacements should be done per the manufacturer’s guidelines. If the manufacturer says you need to replace the filter every two weeks, heed that advice. Finally, don’t forget to replace the humidifier-dehumidifier combo once it has outlived its useful life.
Humidifier-Dehumidifier Combo FAQs
Can you use a humidifier as a dehumidifier?
Unfortunately, you can’t. The two devices are designed for completely different functions. The humidifier is designed to add moisture to the home while the dehumidifier extracts moisture from a room. Since the processes involved in generating and adding moisture to the home are very different from those involved in extracting moisture, you can use the appliances interchangeably.
What is the best placement for a humidifier-dehumidifier combo?
The best location for a humidifier-dehumidifier combo in the home will depend on several factors. For instance, perhaps you’re buying the unit specifically for the bedroom, or maybe the kitchen. The ideal placement location in each of these rooms would vary. In general, however, place the unit away from the wall and electric power outlets. Also, consider raising it to prevent damp floors/floor damage.
Do you need a humidifier-dehumidifier combo if you have central air conditioning?
It depends on the indoor climatic conditions. An air conditioner removes excess moisture while also substantially lowering indoor temperatures. Dehumidifiers, meanwhile, extract moisture without affecting indoor temperatures. Therefore, AC units are better during the cooling season when you also desire reduced indoor temperatures. Dehumidifiers, on the other hand, are best during the cold/heating season.
At what humidity should you humidify or dehumidify your indoor air?
A good humidity level for the average home is between 35% and 45%. Keeping your home within this range ensures ultimate comfort and a healthy indoor environment. You should consider humidifying the home if the humidity levels drop below 35% and dehumidifying whenever the moisture levels rise above 45%. The good news is that most humidifier-dehumidifier combos automatically switch between the two settings to ensure optimal comfort.
Can a humidifier-dehumidifier combo clean the air?
The short answer is – YES. In the dehumidifier mode, these combos help reduce the odors that result from the growth of mold and mildew in the home. Dehumidifiers also help to minimize dust in the home. However, that’s as far as dehumidifiers can go with regard to cleaning the air. They don’t filter indoor air. If you feel you could do with improved indoor air quality, consider investing in an air purifier.
Is it bad to leave a humidifier dehumidifier combo running at night?
No. You can leave the humidifier-dehumidifier running overnight. You can even bring one to the bedroom and let it run the entire night. There are two vital considerations here, though. First, leaving the humidifier-dehumidifier running overnight creates an inherent safety risk. So, make sure that the unit is safe enough for overnight use. Secondly, remember that running the unit overnight comes with increased energy bills. Are you prepared for higher bills?
Is it cheaper to run a humidifier-dehumidifier combo than an air conditioner?
In general, yes. A humidifier-dehumidifier with a sensor for optimal fan speeds and the defrost cycle duration can significantly lower your energy bills. However, don’t forget that many other factors come into play when speaking about energy efficiency. The model and age of the unit, for instance, significantly impact efficiency. An older humidifier-dehumidifier combo is unlikely to be more energy-efficient than a more modern air conditioner.
A humidifier-dehumidifier combo unit could be a wise investment. These appliances can add moisture to the home in the Humidifier Mode and remove excess moisture in the Dehumidifier Mode, allowing you to enjoy the perfect indoor climate. The best part – the two functions are performed by the same device, thus eliminating the need to buy two separate appliances.
If you decide to buy one, though, make sure it’s of the right size (tank-wise). Also, choose a safe unit that’s easy to use.