Portable Dehumidifier Vs Whole-House Dehumidifiers

Portable Dehumidifier Vs Whole-House Dehumidifiers

We all know that higher relative humidity of more than 50% can cause many problems, especially in indoor environments. When there is high air moisture, there is a very high likely hood that mold growth will sprout. This is because the spores of mold propagation are usually airborne, and they grow vigorously in humid environments. Apart from that, there will be dust mites and allergies that result from their infestations in our homes.

It is for this reason that installing a dehumidifier in a home is essential. However, the big question is, which one should you go for between a portable dehumidifier and a whole-house dehumidifier?

Portable Dehumidifiers


  • Their initial cost is low.
  • Can control humidity in a single large space/room.
  • Ease to change position and move it around.
  • You can quickly install it yourself, and you may not need an expert.
  • Recent models have digital controls which makes them more accurate in their operations.


  • Some produce noticeable noise.
  • Can only regulate humidity one room at a time.
  • They are less efficient in energy conservation.
  • Require regular maintenance, more so emptying the condensate drainage tanks.

Whole House Dehumidifiers


  • They are much quieter while running.
  • Have high energy efficiency, some up to 4 times that of a portable dehumidifier.
  • Require minimal labor once it has been installed and is operational.
  • They are more durable since most of their components are made of steel.


  • High initial costs.
  • They are complex, and you may need to hire the services of an expert to install them.
  • They are non-portable. Cannot be used to remove moisture at a particular spot.
  • Learning how to operate the dehumidifier may take time.
  • It heats the rooms.

Differences between A Portable and Whole House Dehumidifier


The primary difference between these two types of dehumidifiers is their capacity. A whole-house dehumidifier should have a higher capacity. That is because it simultaneously removes moisture from all rooms at once. However, an interesting fact to note is that there are some portable dehumidifiers whose capacities are higher than whole-house systems. In this case, these portable devices usually complete their work in a short period of time.

Size and Appearance

Portable dehumidifiers are just that, portable. Often they are knee-high, though those used in basement restoration are quite larger. Apart from that, their clamshell is usually made of plastic, with a bucket where the condensate drains.

On the other hand, whole-house dehumidifiers are large, with bigger physical dimensions, some weighing as much as 180lbs. Therefore, you cannot move them from one room to another, but place them in one location and connect the ducts to remove air from the other room.

CFM (Air Movement)

CFM is a measure of the amount of air that can be effectively drawn into the system. It is measured in cubic feet per minute. Since portable dehumidifiers work in single rooms, meaning the volume of air is quite low, they have a lower CFM rating.

Contrarily, whole-house dehumidifiers have a higher CFM rating, as they draw air simultaneously from several rooms.

However, it is worth noting that CFM is only a measure of the amount of air drawn and moved through the system. Having a large CFM does not necessarily mean that the system is more efficient. It could be drawing large volumes, but only remove a small fraction of the moisture.

Operating Temperature

With a decrease in temperature, there is a corresponding decrease in the rate at which any dehumidifier can extract moisture from a given air mass. There are some claims which suggest that a whole-house dehumidifier can still work efficiently at lower temperatures as compared to a portable dehumidifier.

However, the postulate is highly debatable. The question you can ask yourself is, where does the difference in efficiency comes from if both systems use the same working mechanisms?

The Bottom Line

Evidently, there are many differences between a whole house and a portable dehumidifier. However, a direct comparison between the two may not give an accurate reflection of each appliance, and why you should consider one over another.

It boils down to the purpose of the device. If you want to extract moisture from a specific room, or basement alone, then you should go for a portable dehumidifier. On the other hand, if your intention of acquiring a dehumidifier is to regulate moisture in the entire house, then a whole-house dehumidifier would be a better choice. You can choose your favorite type of dehumidifier from www.alorair.com. Alorair is a manufacturer of dehumidifiers. They provide dehumidifiers of various capacities, and you will find the model you are satisfied with.


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