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The Difference Between Desiccant and Compressor Dehumidifiers

Desiccant vs Compressor Dehumidifiers

A dehumidifier can help to solve problems associated with damp indoor air, such as mould, dust mites, and condensation that can stain or ruin paintwork and woodwork.

Dehumidifiers reduce the level of humidity in the air. They do this generally by removing moisture from the air and condensing it to collect it in its liquid form for disposal. There are different types of dehumidifier technology, and choosing the right one is important to ensure you get the best results.

Read the Dehumidifier Buying Guide for an introduction to the different types of dehumidifiers and their pros and cons.


What is the difference between a compressor and a desiccant dehumidifier?


Dehumidifier Comparison



Desiccant Dehumidifiers

  • Maintains high performance even in low temperatures (1~15°C)
  • Portable and lightweight (5~9kg)
  • Minimal noise
  • May include heater. Higher wattage.
  • Increases room temperature by about 3~5°C

Compressor Dehumidifiers

  • Only works well in higher temperatures
  • Bulkier and heavier (over 10kg)
  • Noisier
  • Less power consumption
  • Increases room temperature by about 1~2°C

  *note: The rise in temperature will also depend on the room size and operation of the machine  

Compressors, also known as refrigerant type dehumidifiers, is the most common type of dehumidifier on the market. They work by drawing moisture over a refrigerated coil with a small fan, then condensing the water before reheating the air using a hot coil.

They work better in higher ambient temperatures with a high dew point temperature. In cold temperatures, this process is less effective. Compressor types are most effective at over 45% RH, higher if the air is cold.

Desiccant dehumidifiers  work according to the adsorption principle, making them especially suited for high humidity levels at low temperatures.

They are often used in various sectors in the industry because they can achieve humidity levels below 35%. Desiccant dehumidifiers use a slowly rotating disc or belt of material that absorbs moisture from the air.

The damp section then moves through a drying process (typically a heating element) that evaporates the water and collects it in the tank.

Because they don't use cooling to extract the moisture, desiccant rotor models can be much more effective than refrigerative models in cold climates.

In fact, desiccant dehumidifiers' performance are largely unaffected by the temperature of the air.

As you can see in the graph below, their rate of dehumidification remains stable in low and high temperatures, making them suitable for all seasons.

Compressors, on the other hand, work better in summer when temperatures are higher, but not so much in cooler temperature. Dehumidification Graph   Another thing about desiccant dehumidifiers is that they don't use any refrigerants and therefore are very low in maintenance.

With a high extraction rate at all temperatures, portable and lightweight design, and quiet operation, desiccant dehumidifiers are fast becoming the top choice among buyers.

Check out the latest CHOICE dehumidifier review, where they tested and reviewed our very own Ionmax ION632 dehumidifier!

Our new desiccant dehumidifiers, the Ionmax ION612 and Ionmax  ION632 are both excellent for all seasons and come with a range of features including laundry mode, automatic louvres, timers, built-in heater, built-in ioniser and various safety functions.  

View our full range of dehumidifiers.

For more information on these products or to find out which one would suit your needs best, just contact us on 1300 800 200 to speak to one of our experts.  


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