We both know your RV is a treasure. And you don’t want that treasure infected with mold and mildew. So you’re probably looking for the best dehumidifier for RV guides. This is what you’ve been looking for.
Walk through our Top 4 Dehumidifiers for an RV to see which one fits your space, style, and budget.
Best Dehumidifiers For RV Reviews
This is a desiccant style dehumidifier. See the definition below for what desiccant means. It is very small and very portable. Perfect for a bathroom or closet that you want to keep dry, especially if that space is prone to mold.
This probably isn’t the solution if you need a whole-RV dehumidifier. These are not designed to handle that large of space. These are for small spaces you don’t want to think about often.
How Does It Work?
Since it’s a desiccant style that doesn’t use electricity, you can simply set the device anywhere in a room you want to dehumidify. There is an indicator light on the device that lets you know when it’s full to capacity and cannot absorb anymore water.
When it gets full, you need to plug it into any normal outlet. This will heat up the desiccant material and it will dispose the moisture (aka recharge). Be aware that it just lets the moisture go, so don’t plug it in near the space you want to dehumidify. If at all possible, plug it in outside.
Pros of the Eva-Dry:
- Extremely small and portable
- Very low cost
- Can work at nearly any temperature (cold or warm)
- Does not need electricity to dehumidify (but does need it to recharge)
Cons of the Eva-Dry:
- Very slow absorption rate (6-8oz water in 3-8 weeks)
- Cannot recharge in same room as removing humidity
- Can be less effective than other dehumidifiers
Where Can I Find It?
You can find these Eva-Dry dehumidifiers at any local hardware store or here on Amazon.
This would be considered a refrigerant model dehumidifier. See the definition below for what a refrigerant style is. It is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon with over 800 positive reviews It is also Energy Star certified so you know it uses the least amount of energy possible for it’s size.
This can definitely be a whole RV solution if you have a modest size motor home. The over-sized units might need a more powerful dehumidifier, but for most instances, this Frigidaire will work great.
How Does It Work?
Since it is a refrigerant style, it has a compressor inside that cools the air as it enters. Electricity is required for this unit. The fans runs fairly often whether to pull in air. The fan will run without the compressor running because that is how the unit tests the air. The fan will pull in air to test humidity against the set point you desire.
If the air is above the set point, the compressor will kick on and start dehumidifying. Thankfully, the fan will stop after the unit reaches the desired humidity. The fan won’t turn on again for a few minutes and then it will test the air. That’s what helps makes the unit Energy Star Certified.
Pros of the FrigidAire:
- High dehumidification amount (rated 70 pints/day)
- Compact design
- Removable water disposal tank
- Option to connect to hose for continuos draining
- Can set preferred humidity level
Cons of the FrigidAire:
- Higher cost
- Needs tube connection below unit for continuos operation
- More mechanical parts that could fail
- Not light (47lbs)
- Noisier than desiccant
Where Can I Find It?
You can find this FrigidAire dehumidifier at any local store or here on Amazon.
Pictek Portable 1.5L Dehumidifier
The Pictek dehumidifier is perfect for smaller spaces that need a little more power than a desiccant dehumidifier. It is considered a Peltier style dehumidifier. See the definition of Peltier styles below.
This Pickek model is rated very well and can probably handle most of your RV. If you live in a very humid environment, this probably isn’t the solution for you. But if it’s just a little more humid than you’d like and you enjoy super quiet operation, this dehumidifier should work well for you.
How Does It Work?
The unit uses electricity for two reasons. First is to operate the fan that pulls air into the unit, and second is to charge the Peltier metal so it creates a temperature difference. The fan pulls air into the unit and it immediately flows across the cold side of the Peltier metal. This is where the moisture droplets form.
The cold metals decreases the air temperature and forces the water vapor to condensate on the metal and form those droplets. The droplets then fall into the catch pan at the bottom.
The air then passes over the hot side of the Peltier metal to bring the air temperature back to normal levels. Lastly, the air is pushed out the top of the unit and into your space. The entire process is very low power consuming.
Pros of the Pictek:
- Extremely quiet operation
- Stable and reliable
- Auto-stop when water catch bucket is full
- Very lightweight and portable
Cons of the Pictek:
- Less moisture removal than refigerant
- Slower removal rate
- No hose connection for continuous operation (so you have to dump it)
- Doesn’t do well in high humid environments
Where Can I Find It?
You can find this Pictek dehumidifier at a local store or here on Amazon.
EdgeStar 30-Pint Dehumidifer
This EdgeStar dehumidifier is probably the dark horse choice for best value on our list. It has a good price point, good capacity, is very portable, and has fancy features. It will auto-stop if the humidity set point is reached or if the bucket is full.
With a rating removal of 30 pints/day, this will definitely get the job done in most environments depending on where you live. It is also Energy Star rated so you know it won’t waste electricity.
How Does It Work?
It works exactly the same as the FrigidAire model above. With a compressor that cools the air as it enters, water droplets form and fall in the catch bucket. The air then passes a heating coil to bring it back to normal temperatures.
Pros of the EdgeStar:
- Better price than FrigidAire
- Auto-off feature
- Auto-restart after power outage
- Good moisture removal rate (30 pint/day)
- Can be hose connected for continous operation
- Energy Star rated
Cons of the EdgeStar:
- Less removal than FrigidAire
- Somewhat noisy
- Might be too small for large RVs
Where Can I Find It?
You can find it at a local store or here on Amazon.
Why Use A Dehumidifier In An RV?
Dehumidifiers serve a very important function in closed spaces (specifically RVs). They keep spaces dry from excess humidity which can be bad in the long run. You’ve probably felt high humidity before inside your RV or outside with the weather.
High humidity is not a fun element.
It can lead to fogged up glass, uncomfortable living space, and even mold and mildew. Yes, mold.
Dehumidifiers help eliminate that excess humidity and moisture in the air which can not only protect your RV, it can make you more comfortable inside.
No one likes seeing the little droplets of water forming on the inside of a window. But I’m sure no RV owner enjoys opening the cabinet to find a chunk of mold forming around the floor.
How Does Moisture Form Inside My RV?
Well there are several things that can cause moisture and humidity inside an RV.
First is weather. It can be very humid outside and that will naturally spill into your RV over time.
Second is activities inside the RV. When you breath, you are exhaling water vapor, which is moisture. So if there are multiple people in the RV, that drastically increases the moisture inside the area.
Cooking and showering are probably the two biggest factors in moisture inside an RV (which leads to high humidity). If the mirror fogs up when you shower, eventually that moisture is going to drift other places in the RV. As you cook, you probably see steam coming out of the pan or oven, that’s moisture leading to high humidity.
How Does Mold Form In My RV?
Mold is caused by high humidity sitting in dark places for too long. If you’ve got a closed closet or cabinet that contains the air fairly well, you can bet that mold will easily form there if it’s humid.
Mold can be dangerous to some people and you should always use caution when it’s around. For some people, mold can cause respiratory infections and heavy coughing. Especially if the person is already sick or has any asthma symptoms. Just check out what the CDC says about mold here.
Which Type of Dehumidifier Should I Use For My RV?
When it comes to finding the best dehumidifier for RV, there’s really three types to consider: Refrigerant, Peltier and Desiccant.
Desiccant dehumidifiers can run either with electricity or without. But refrigerant and Peltier styles will need electricity.
A desiccant dehumidifier operates by pulling the air over a desiccant material (usually silica) which absorbs the moisture in the air. Desiccant materials are naturally great at absorbing moisture so they are great for small spaces that have no outlets. Some operate with electricity and have a fan pulling air in faster. Some don’t use any electricity and just let the natural air movement bring them moisture.
- Less noisy
- Wide variety of sizes and moisture removal
- Work equally as well in warm and cold environments
- Limited moisture removal capacity
- Smaller sizes = less moisture removal = more emptying
- Larger models use more energy than comparable refrigerant models
- More expensive for comparable moisture removal
A refrigerant style dehumidifier works by pulling air across very cold coils (the coils are cold because of the refrigerant). This lowers the temperature of the air making it easier for the water vapor to condensate. The vapor will turn to droplets on the coils and fall into a pan. That pan will either need to be emptied by you, or connected to a hose that you leave outside.
After the air passes through the cold coils, it is reheated by a hot coil to bring the air back to normal temperatures when it enters the RV.
- Higher moisture removal rate and capacity
- Better efficiency in hot weather
- Less electric consumption
- Heavier and less portable
- Do not work well in cold environments
A Peltier dehumidifier is also known as a thermo-electric dehumidifier. The name comes from a physicist back in the 1800s who discovered that putting voltage across two metals actually creates a temperature difference. It’s this temperature difference that dehumidifies air in these dehumidifiers.
So inside these dehumidifiers is a specific Peltier style metal with two sides (one that gets hot and one that gets cold). A fan pulls air into the front of the dehumidifier and it passes over the cold side first. This removes the humidity as the cold metal connects with the air and forms water droplets (basically removing moisture in the air). The water falls into the catch pan.
The air then flows across the warm metal to heat back up to normal temperatures and is pushed out the top of the unit. It is very similar to refrigerant style except for how the temperature difference is created.
- Very quiet
- Few moving parts that could fail
- Extremely reliable
- Good price point
- Not very efficient
- Low removal rate compared to refrigerant
- Minimal capacity to hold moisture
Where Should I Put/Store It In The RV?
This largely depends on which type you choose. If you choose a desiccant style that doesn’t need electricity, put it near the areas that are super moist (like the bathroom and cooking stove). Or maybe even in a closet.
If you pick a style that needs electricity, well you’ll have to keep it near an outlet. No way around that.
If you choose a refrigerant style, we highly recommend one that can be kept or mounted outside. As mentioned earlier, they can be noisy. If putting it outside isn’t an option, get an extension cord and put that beast in a closet where you can minimize the sound.
Remember to always keep the dehumidifier away from pets and children!
Storing dehumidifers is fairly straight forward. Desiccant models will continue to dehumidify regardless (the non-electric ones) so it really doesn’t matter where you put it.
The refrigerant models can be stored in a safe place that won’t rattle much. Remember there are mechanical parts on the refrigerant model that can get damaged if not properly secured before driving.
Can I Let It Run All The Time?
For the electric refrigerant models, you honestly can let them run as much as you need given your power requirements. Remember that these will constantly be drawing from your power supply so as long as you plan for that, let that baby run.
In fact, refrigerant models run better when they can just keep chugging along (assuming you do proper maintenance). It’s the start-stop-start-stop-start-stop that really kills the compressors and shortens the life cycle of refrigerant style dehumidifiers.
For desiccant models, you really don’t have much of a choice. Desiccant material absorbs moisture. Period. So it will continue doing that until it’s full. Once it’s full, the desiccant will basically stop working.
However, be warned that desiccant materials can sometimes absorb smells as well as moisture. If you smoke or have stinky pets, a desiccant silica can pick up that odor and hold it for long periods of time.
Wrap This Up
Remember there are really two main reasons to find the best dehumidifier for RV. One is for comfort so you can feel great sitting inside your motor home. Second is for protection against mold.
Mold is insanely expensive to remove and can still reduce the RV value even after being treated. Don’t let that happen to you when a simple dehumidifier can save you. Pick the model and style that fits your needs and budget. And have fun out there!