Table of Contents
- 1 Why You Need a Dehumidifier
- 2 Which Dehumidifier Should You Buy?
- 3 Best Dehumidifier for Caravan
- 4 Types of Dehumidifier
- 5 Does Dehumidifier Size Matter?
- 6 What is the Best Dehumidifier for Travel Trailer and Motorhome?
Home on wheels... Portable paradise... Your mobile mansion...
Whether you're a weekend camper or a full-time road warrior, your RV means something special to you, and you've likely made a sizable investment in your nomadic habitat of choice.
One of the easiest, most affordable ways to ensure your RV stays in shipshape for the long haul is to invest in a quality dehumidifier.
If you're in the market for a dehumidifier, in this article we share our top five picks for the best dehumidifier for travel trailer use.
Also, we'll know more about the best dehumidifier for motorhome use to make your shopping a little easier.
Why You Need a Dehumidifier
Just about everything you do in an RV creates moisture: running the shower, cooking, brewing coffee, and even the simple act of breathing.
The problem is, in such a small and enclosed space, if excess moisture has nowhere to go, it condenses on the walls, windows, and other surfaces, forming little droplets of water.
If water droplets are not removed, mold and mildew will grow, dust mites will move in, and the interior of your RV will start to deteriorate. Not good.
A good dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers are very simple appliances — they remove excess moisture from the air. As long as you choose a dehumidifier that matches your needs, all you have to do is plug it in. Then, adjust a few settings, and let it work.
Which Dehumidifier Should You Buy?
When you start shopping for a dehumidifier, you may be surprised to discover that there aren't any RV-specific dehumidifiers on the market.
There are some temporary moisture control products sold to RV owners that use moisture and odor absorbing crystals to control humidity.
These products are inexpensive and do in fact remove moisture from the air, but they require constant replacement, contain potentially harmful chemicals, and aren't ideal for long-term use.
For peace of mind and more reliable moisture control, a plug-in dehumidifier is a way to go. These units are intended for use in homes, basements, laundry rooms, and offices. Also, these can be used in travel trailers, motorhomes, caravans, and boats — and just about anywhere else.
Depending on the make, model, and size, plug-in dehumidifiers are relatively compact, space-efficient, and highly RV-compatible.
Best Dehumidifier for Caravan
Without further ado, let's get into our recommendations for the best dehumidifiers for travel trailers and motorhomes:
Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 Energy Star Dehumidifier
Frigidaire has been in the refrigeration business for a long, long time — since 1916 to be exact. The company's expertise in compressors, coils, and refrigerant really shines in the Frigidaire Energy Star Dehumidifier.
As you can imagine, this is a refrigerant dehumidifier and happens to be the very best there is.
Unlike other refrigerant dehumidifiers in this class, the Frigidaire has style. As in, it's not going to ugly up your beautiful motorhome. But don't buy it just because it's pretty. Let's take a look at a some of the Frigidaire Energy Star Dehumidifier's highlights and features to see what makes this the best motorhome dehumidifier.
● Energy Star Certified. The Frigidaire is one of the most energy efficient dehumidifiers on the market, typically using 15% less electricity to remove the same volume of moisture.
This unit will cost you less to operate, and more importantly, won't drain your batteries when your RV isn't hooked up.
● Digital humidity readout and easy-to-use controls. The control panel is located on top of the unit, keeping the front side — the part most visible — clean and aesthetically pleasing. The digital display shows the humidity level in the room, and a set of up-and-down buttons allow you to set the desired humidity level quickly.
● 24-hour timer. The timer lets you set the dehumidifier to run for a specified amount of time, say 5 hours, then shuts off on its own.
● Automatic shut-off. The unit will turn off automatically when the water collection tank is almost full to prevent any run-over.
● Front water level indicator and full tank alert. The circle on the front of the unit is a window that shows the water level in the collection tank. Plus, when the tank is full, the machine alerts you with a sound.
● Front-loading water collection tank. When the tank is full, simply pull out the water tank conveniently located on the front of the unit. The tank has a carry handle as well as a splash guard to reduce spills on your way to the drain.
● Continuous drain feature. If you want to skip the water tank altogether, you can hook up a hose to the dehumidifier so that the collected water flows through the hose instead of into the water tank.
You do have to direct the hose into a suitable drain, but many RV owners have discovered that you can place the entire unit in the shower and have the hose directed down the shower drain. Of course, this is only possible when the shower is not in use.
● Washable air filter. The air filter is removable and can be washed in the sink for easy maintenance and cleaner air.
● Portable design. There is a top handle that rests flush with the top of the unit and caster wheels make it easier to move the dehumidifier around your travel trailer or motorhome. The unit weighs 34 pounds, so while it's not the lightest dehumidifier on the market, the average person should be able to maneuver it without too much struggle.
● Energy efficient and Energy Star certified.
● Easy-to-use controls.
● Slightly heavy — weighs 34 pounds.
● 41-degree minimum operating temperature, not ideal for freezing climates.
EdgeStar 30 Pint Portable Dehumidifier
The EdgeStar 30-pint portable dehumidifier is an excellent option if you're looking for a nice compact unit. It is comparable to the Frigidaire in functionality, but is arguably less attractive in appearance and doesn't have quite the same level of brand recognition.
That said, it has a great set of features, loads of rave reviews from satisfied customers, and would be an excellent choice for anyone looking for a dehumidifier for their travel trailer, motorhome, or caravan.
● Energy Star certified. Just like the Frigidaire, the EdgeStar is very energy efficient.
● Compact and portable design. The EdgeStar is one of the most space-efficient 30-pint dehumidifiers available. It also has heavy-duty caster wheels and built-in side handles to make moving the unit easier.
● Lightweight. This model is one of the lighter options in this class of dehumidifiers, weighing only 29 pounds.
● Automatic de-icer. In freezing temperatures, the internal components of a dehumidifier can freeze up rendering the unit inoperable.
The EdgeStar has an automatic de-icer that thaws the elements for use in cold conditions. Still, the unit can only operate in temperatures as low as 41 degrees.
● Auto restart. If you're using the EdgeStar and you lose power in your RV, the unit will turn back on the moment power is restored.
● Automatic shut off. The unit will turn off once it reaches the desired level of humidity or when the water collection tank is full.
● Continuous drain feature. Instead of using the water collection tank, you can hook up a standard garden hose to drain the unit into a sink, shower, or another drain.
● Energy efficient -- Energy Star certified.
● Relatively lightweight -- weighs 29 pounds.
● Automatic de-icer
● Minimum operating temperature of 41 degrees.
EcoSeb DD322EA-SIMPLE Desiccant Dehumidifier 21 Pint
The EcoSeb Desiccant Dehumidifier is unlike the other dehumidifiers on this list for two reasons: 1.) it's a desiccant dehumidifier, 2.) it only has a 21-pint capacity. But, it deserves mention because it's the best desiccant dehumidifier for RVs. It's likely to be the perfect unit for someone, especially those with smaller travel trailers or caravans.
● Ideal for cold temperature use. Due to the nature of desiccant dehumidifiers, the EcoSeb can operate at much lower temperatures than its refrigerant counterparts, down to 34 degrees.
● Auto-shutoff. The EcoSeb will automatically shut off when the water tank is full or if the unit tips over.
● Auto restart. If the power goes out in your travel trailer, the EcoSeb will automatically reset as soon as the power comes back on.
● Has a silent operation. Desiccant dehydrators operate much quieter than refrigerant models because they don't have a compressor. All you hear is the sound of the fan.
● Continuous drain option. Like the other dehumidifiers, the EcoSeb has the option to attach a standard garden hose to bypass the water collection tank for continuous operation.
● Laundry mode with a turbo. The EcoSeb has a special high-powered mode for use in extra-high humidity situations, like when you have laundry hang drying in the bathroom of your motorhome.
● Low-temperature operation.
● High-powered laundry mode.
● Lightweight — 18.7 pounds.
● All analog controls. Unlike the other dehumidifiers on this list, the EcoSeb has a rotary dial to select the desired temperature, which is not as accurate as digital controls.
● Higher energy consumption.
● More expensive than refrigerant dehumidifiers.
● Lower capacity — only 21 pints.
Danby Premiere Dehumidifier 30 Pint
The Danby Premiere Dehumidifier is another reliable option for a travel trailer or motorhome use. It has similar features to both the Frigidaire and the EdgeStar but is slightly less exciting. That is, if you're looking for a unit that won't draw attention to itself and won't distract from your motorhome's decor.
The Danby has a very low-key appearance that will blend right in and go unnoticed as it quietly pulls excess moisture out of the room.
● Energy Star certified. Like the other refrigerant dehumidifiers that made the list, the Danby is very energy efficient.
● Direct drain system. Also like the others, you can hook up a standard garden hose to the Danby to bypass the water collection tank.
● Auto-restart. If the power goes out, the Danby will automatically restart as soon as the power is restored.
● Portable design. The Danby is relatively compact and has built-in side handles and caster wheels to make moving the unit easier.
● Removable washable filter. The filter is removable and can be used with soap and water.
● Automatic de-icing system. When the unit gets too cold, it will automatically defrost the coils to run.
● Energy saving mode. In power saving mode, the unit will maintain 50% humidity and run very quietly.
● Energy Star certified.
● Clean aesthetic.
● Electronic controls.
● Slightly heavy — 33.5 pounds.
● No reported auto shutoff.
Black+Decker 30 Pint Portable Dehumidifier
The Black and Decker 30-pint portable dehumidifier is a top contender for the first place spot as the best dehumidifier for travel trailer use. It looks great; it has most of the same features as the Frigidaire.
However, at the time of this writing, it hasn't been on the market long enough to collect a significant number of users reviews. But, those users who have left reviews only have good things to say about the Black and Decker. For that reason, it deserves a spot on the list.
● Large water collection container. At 8.5 pints, the Black and Decker has the largest water collection container of any on the list.
● LED digital humidity display and with electronic controls. The controls are straightforward and easy to use, and the LED digital display is a nice modern touch.
● 4 preset humidity settings. Instead of manually choosing your desired level of humidity, you can just select one of the preset options for bedrooms, living areas, basements, or continuous use.
● Auto-off. The unit will automatically turn off when the water tank is full.
● Auto-restart. Like the other dehumidifiers, if the power goes out, the Black and Decker will turn back on as soon as power is restored.
● Continuous drain option. You can hook up a hose to the Black and Decker for continuous operation and skip the water tank.
● Removable washable filter. A "clean filter reminder" alerts you when it's time to wash the removable filter.
● Portable design. The Black and Decker dehumidifier is one of the lighter-weight options on the list at 30 pounds. Plus, it has a hideaway handle on top and caster wheels for easy maneuvering.
● Simple, clean design.
●Relatively lightweight — 30 pounds.
● Four preset humidity settings.
● Not Energy Star-certified. However, the Black and Decker has very similar specifications as the Frigidaire, EdgeStar, and Danby dehumidifiers which do have Energy Star certification. It's likely that the Black and Decker is similar regarding energy efficiency.
Types of Dehumidifier
After showing you our recommendations for the best dehumidifier for travel trailers and the best dehumidifier for motorhomes, let's go over the three top types of dehumidifiers available. There's the refrigerant, desiccant, and thermoelectric.
This style of dehumidifier uses similar technology found in refrigerators.
- A fan draws moist air into the unit where it comes into contact with coils containing refrigerant.
- As soon as the air touches the coils, the moisture within the air condenses onto the coils (just like it does on your RV's windows and walls).
- Then, it drips into a collection container. The air, now moisture-free, passes through a heater to be reheated before exiting the unit.
These are the most common type of dehumidifier available and are made by many different manufacturers, giving you plenty of buying options. Refrigerant dehumidifiers also come in a wide range of sizes, accommodating spaces from the scale of a closet to 3,000-square-feet or more.
These are less expensive than the other styles of dehumidifiers. However, many users find refrigerant dehumidifiers to be the most reliable, energy efficient, and all-around most effective type of dehumidifier for travel trailers and motorhomes.
This type of dehumidifier functions just like the temporary moisture removing products previously mentioned. However, plug-in desiccant dehumidifiers are much larger, reusable, and better suited for long-term use.
Very small rechargeable desiccant dehumidifiers are available but for our purposes, we're talking about the larger units that have similar capacities to the refrigerant dehumidifiers.
Desiccant dehumidifiers are a bit more complicated regarding how they remove moisture from air, but here are the basics:
- A small fan draws moist air into the unit where it passes through desiccant material typically made of silica gel.
- The desiccant material absorbs the moisture in the air, at which point heat is used to release the moisture from the gel into a collection container.
- The air exits the unit much drier and warmer than it entered.
Desiccant dehumidifiers can operate in cold temperatures, as low as 33 degrees, whereas a refrigerant dehumidifier can only operate down to around 40 degrees. If you regularly travel in cold climates, a desiccant dehumidifier may be a better option.
A desiccant dehumidifier also gives off warm air, which is nice if you're trying to heat your motorhome nonetheless. However, it may be less than ideal if you're in a hot environment and trying to keep your space fresh.
A downside to desiccant dehumidifiers is that they use more energy than refrigerant dehumidifiers. They also cost more to purchase than refrigerant units, making them more expensive overall.
This is the least common type of dehumidifier, and least popular among RV users. Thermoelectric dehumidifiers use what is known as "Peltier" technology, or the "thermoelectric effect." This removes moisture from the air through a series of heat sinks.
The technology is sound in its own right and is used successfully in many industrial applications, but most consumer-grade thermoelectric dehumidifiers use cheap components that are prone to failure.
For this reason, we did not include thermoelectric dehumidifiers in our list of recommendations.
Does Dehumidifier Size Matter?
Size — namely, capacity — is perhaps the most important factor to consider when purchasing a dehumidifier for your travel trailer or motorhome. Dehumidifier capacity is a measurement of the volume of moisture it can remove from the air in 24 hours. Consumer-grade dehumidifiers come in a wide range of sizes, from as small as a few ounces to over 70 pints.
The capacity of dehumidifier you choose should be based on the scale of the space in which you plan to use it, and the amount of moisture you need to remove. A general rule of thumb is the smaller and drier the space, the smaller the dehumidifier needed. The larger and damper the space, the larger the dehumidifier needed.
What Size Dehumidifier Should You Buy for Your Travel Trailer or Motorhome?
Based on a comparison of several manufacturer's dehumidifier capacity ratings, a 30-pint dehumidifier will accommodate a 400-square-foot space.
Given that most states in the U.S. legally require all RVs to be under 450 square feet, a 30-pint dehumidifier should be adequate for all but the very largest motor coaches.
For that reason, four out of the five dehumidifiers we've recommended are 30-pint units. However, if you feel you need a smaller or larger size, most models come in 20, 40, 50, and 70-pint versions.
What is the Best Dehumidifier for Travel Trailer and Motorhome?
The Frigidaire Energy Star 30 Pint Dehumidifier is the best dehumidifier for travel trailer use and the best dehumidifier for motorhome use. The other dehumidifiers are all great choices as well and would do a great job.
However, concerning the features, appearance, and brand recognition, the Frigidaire is just slightly ahead of the pack.
On a side note, if you frequently travel in colder climates, or if you need a very lightweight and portable option, the EcoSeb Desiccant Dehumidifier may be a better choice for you. Its smaller size would also make a great caravan dehumidifier where space is at more of a premium.
Buying a dehumidifier is a proactive step that will help protect the interior of your RV from moisture damage, mold, and mildew. Not only that, but it will also create a more comfortable and safe environment to help you enjoy your time on the road even more.
We hope that our picks for the best dehumidifier for travel trailer and motorhome use help you make a more informed decision when it comes time to invest in a dehumidifier.