Dehumidifier Vs Air Conditioner: Which Is Right for Your Home?

air conditioner vs dehumidifier

As most summer days become longer and hotter, the chances of turning your home into an uncomfortable and unsafe haven are higher.

Aside from sweating profusely, excessive moisture will make your home an ideal environment for mold and pests.

This undesirable scenario leaves you no choice but to invest in a dehumidifier or an air conditioner. The dehumidifier vs. air conditioner dilemma is not a matter of right and wrong.

Instead, it’s a rational decision influenced by the preferred dryness and humidity levels and dryness within your home.

If you are confused between these two options, don’t fear.

This blog will be your guide. We’ll dive deep into this comparison to unravel their detailed differences. So, stay tuned!

Dehumidifier vs Air Conditioner: A Quick Overview 

There are some similarities in the operating process and internal parts of humidifiers and air conditioners. But the eventual results are way different.

An air conditioner provides your indoors with cool air, while a dehumidifier will remove moisture.

An air conditioner can partially reduce high humidity levels in your home, but not at a satisfying level.

This is when a dehumidifier can step in. It can decrease the humidity in the air. This allows the interior atmosphere to cool down on its own without producing any cold air.

What is a Dehumidifier?

types of dehumidifiers

In humid areas, the indoor air can make you feel like trapped inside a sticky sauna. It can even increase your feeling of hot air.

Such situations let the dehumidifier work its magic. It acts as a humidity sponge that absorbs excess moisture from the atmosphere.

This device draws in the damp air to condense it. Afterward, the condensed air turns into tiny droplets of water.

The water remains trapped inside the humidifier’s tank. Then, the device releases dry air into your indoor environment.

What is an Air Conditioner?

types of air conditioners

Air conditioners’ main function is to cool the indoor air. They orchestrate the cooling process by absorbing the warm air.

The air reaches cold coils that separate the heat from the air. Heat is pumped out and removed from the building. Then, the AC releases the cold air into the room.

Once considered a luxury, air conditioners have now become essential home appliances due to the intense summer heat.

The powers of air conditioners go beyond cooling the indoors. Modern air conditioners purify the air. They eliminate some bacteria, dust mites, and pollen particles.

Moreover, the integrated plasma technology banishes unpleasant odors. This way, an AC gives you a cool and refreshing breeze that maximizes your indoor comfort.

Dehumidifier vs Air Conditioner: The Comparison

In general, an AC and a dehumidifier serve different purposes. The former provides you with superior cooling indoors, while the latter affects the air moisture.

Now that you have an overview of the two reliable climate control gadgets, it’s time to delve deeper into the dehumidifier vs air conditioner differences.

1.  Geographical Location

Your location plays a crucial role in this purchase decision. This location affects the climate pattern and your climate control needs.

For instance, if you live in a tropical, subtropical, or coastal region, humidity would be your daily nemesis.

In this case, a dehumidifier can resolve all humidity-associated issues, such as excessive sweating, mold growth, and pest breeding.

However, if you live in a dry-climate region, like a desert area, a dehumidifier won’t be useful. Instead, you will want a device to defeat scorching heat.

Thus, an air conditioner will be a practical choice in this case.

In some areas, extreme humidity and high temperatures join forces.

These regions include parts of the Southern United States, Central America, and Southeast Asia. In such areas, combining both devices is necessary.

Therefore, you can opt for both. Or you can weigh the other factors to decide which option suits your home best.

2.  Portability

Dehumidifiers have more compact designs and lighter weights compared to air conditioners.

This way, they offer increased portability and suitability for limited spaces. Portable units will be a better fit if you are a renter or live in a small place.

You can even find dehumidifier models with wheels to facilitate moving these gadgets as needed.

Air conditioners, on the other hand, are bulkier and heavier. They won’t suit crawl spaces, as they require sufficient installation space.

3.  Purchase Cost

The differences in size and operating techniques between a dehumidifier and an air conditioner affect their prices.

In general, dehumidifiers are cheaper than air conditioners. The price gap results from the more functions and features offered by an air conditioner.

In addition to cooling and some dehumidification capacity, many AC models can function as fans and heating devices.

Dehumidifiers only reduce the moisture in the atmosphere. Even the most powerful devices won’t provide other functions.

This explains the price range of small and medium-sized dehumidifiers that don’t exceed $500.

In contrast, ductless split air conditioners can cost anywhere between $1000 and $5000.

This wide gap reflects the difference in brands, models, features, capacity, and energy efficiency.

You can weigh the initial cost against your available budget and requirements and expectations.

4.  Installation Cost

Due to their compact size and portability, most portable dehumidifiers can save you on installation costs.

Dehumidifiers equipped with wheels or casters require little to no installation. Meanwhile, window or split AC units require professional installation.

Ductless, or not, these larger units require a complex setup and electrical connections.

In general, the upfront costs of buying an HVAC system are considered one of the biggest cons of air conditioners.

5.  Running Cost

When you consider this factor, take into consideration the run time, unit size, and energy.

These factors represent the ongoing cost associated with the run time of the gadget. In that sense, a small-sized dehumidifier would be more energy efficient than a medium or large AC unit.

However, the climate of your region plays a role in determining the run time of each device.

For example, in a desert region, you will run your AC for extended hours to combat intense heat. In a dry area, you will need prolonged operation of a dehumidifier.

Theoretically, a dehumidifier has lower operation costs.

But in practice, it varies from one household to another due to individual needs and climate conditions.

When comparing the running costs of a dehumidifier and an air conditioner, don’t overlook the maintenance expenses.

Both devices need proper maintenance, including filter changes and evaporator coil cleaning.

However, AC maintenance requires more complex procedures, such as the condenser, compressor checks, and liquid refrigerant refills.

Therefore, the maintenance cost of an AC will be higher in the long run. Most of these maintenance tasks require the intervention of professional HVAC services.

6. Covered Space

This factor is often disregarded despite its significance.

If you want to lose humidity in a small space, then a dehumidifier will be the right fit. Larger spaces, on the other hand, can use the better coverage of air conditioners.

7.  Noise Levels

Air conditioners don’t typically fall into the category of noisy home appliances.

However, you may find larger units emitting some undesirable noise. This noise results from their powerful compressors and fans.

Dehumidifiers, on the other hand, are smaller in size.

Moreover, they have less powerful compressors. This makes them notably quieter than air conditioners.

In terms of noise levels, you can expect the average dehumidifier to produce between 40 and 50 db.

On the other hand, air conditioners provide a noise level ranging between 50 and 65 dB.

This factor can be crucial if you are sensitive to noise and looking for a more peaceful indoor environment.

8.  Personal Preferences

This final point contributes to your choice between a dehumidifier and an air conditioner.

The spectrum of personal preference involves your humidity tolerance, sensitivity to noise, and appearance considerations.

You might be intolerant of humidity, not just because of its stickiness and smothering.

You may not be able to stay in a humid atmosphere due to allergies or asthma.

In this case, a dehumidifier can drop the humidity, which is responsible for mold growth and triggering respiratory problems.

In other instances, you might be in search of a sleek climate control unit in your living room that has an eye-catching appearance.

In this case, a dehumidifier won’t be a good fit. They have minimal and traditional designs.

For other homeowners, a compact dehumidifier that saves space and can be tucked into a crawl space is a savior.

So, it is really a subjective matter that depends on your own taste and preferences.


Dehumidifier vs Air Conditioner: Which One is The Best?

Now that we’ve explored all the differences between a dehumidifier and an air conditioner, you can make an informed decision.

It is recommended to keep your personal preferences, budget, and geographical area in mind when you go shopping.

If you find yourself battling some respiratory issues or looking for increased indoor quietness, a dehumidifier is a perfect match.

However, if you can’t take intense heat anymore and want a modern addition to your home, an air conditioner will fit right in.

Make a life-changing decision today and improve your poor indoor air quality with either or both gadgets. If you want to know more about the potential problems of each gadget, take a look at our relevant blogs.

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