Choose the Right Dehumidifier for Your Home: Whole-Home Vs. Portable Dehumidifier

May 15, 2023by J & J Services


At J & J Heating & Air, we understand how important it is to maintain the right level of humidity in your home. Too much moisture can cause damage to furniture and other items, as well as create an environment that is uncomfortable for those living in the home. To help you combat excess humidity, there are two main types of dehumidifiers: whole-home dehumidifiers and portable dehumidifiers. In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between the two types of dehumidifiers and provide advice on which one is best for your home. We will also discuss the comfort impact of using a dehumidifier and compare the cost difference between them.

Overview of Whole-Home Dehumidifier

A whole-home dehumidifier is an HVAC system component that works in conjunction with the existing air conditioning and heating unit to extract excess moisture from indoor air. This type of dehumidifier is more expensive than a portable dehumidifier, but it provides better coverage for larger homes. It is typically installed by a professional HVAC technician.

How Does a Whole-Home Dehumidifier Work?

A whole-home dehumidifier extracts moisture from the air by cooling it down. This process removes the moisture from the air and collects it in a tray that can be emptied periodically. The cooled air is then re-circulated back into the home, resulting in lower humidity levels indoors. As an added bonus, this process also helps to cool down a home on hot days, making it more comfortable and energy efficient.

Benefits of Installing a Whole-Home Dehumidifier

Installing a whole-home dehumidifier offers several benefits to homeowners:

  • Reduces indoor humidity levels.
  • Helps reduce mold and mildew growth.
  • Improves indoor air quality.
  • Makes your home feel cooler during hot days.
  • Helps improve energy efficiency by reducing the need for other cooling systems.

Additionally, installing a whole-home dehumidifier can help to protect furniture and flooring from water damage due to high humidity levels. It can also help to prevent condensation on windows, which can lead to mold growth.

Drawbacks of Installing a Whole-Home Dehumidifier

The main drawback of installing a whole-home dehumidifier is its cost. Although they are more expensive than portable models, they offer better coverage for larger homes and require less maintenance over time. Additionally, since they are connected to an HVAC system, installation should only be done by a qualified professional in order to ensure proper operation and safety.

Main idea: Whole-Home Dehumidifiers reduce indoor humidity, improve air quality and energy efficiency while protecting furniture and flooring. Drawback is cost of installation.

Overview of Portable Dehumidifier

Portable dehumidifiers are a great option for those who need to reduce humidity in small spaces or homes without ducts. Unlike whole-home dehumidifiers, portable dehumidifiers do not require installation and are relatively inexpensive. They utilize a fan to pull in moist air, cool it down, and expel the dry air back into the room.

Design and Functionality

Portable dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes and designs, ranging from compact units to larger models with wheels for easy mobility. Most feature a tank that collects moisture, an exhaust hose for releasing hot air outdoors, and controls for adjusting humidity levels. Some models also come with built-in humidistats that allow users to set desired levels of humidity and automatically turn off when the desired level is reached.


The main advantage of portable dehumidifiers is their affordability and convenience; they can be easily moved from room to room as needed and require no installation. Additionally, they are well-suited for small spaces or homes without ducts where whole-home systems may not be practical or cost effective.


The primary disadvantage of portable dehumidifiers is their limited coverage area; they cannot cover large areas like whole-home systems can. Additionally, the tanks must be emptied regularly which can be inconvenient if the unit is placed in hard to reach areas such as attics or basements. Finally, some models may not be able to achieve desired levels of humidity due to their size or design limitations.

Pros and Cons of Both Types of Dehumidifiers

When it comes to dehumidifiers, there are a few pros and cons to consider when deciding which type is best for your home. Whole-home dehumidifiers offer greater coverage and more consistent humidity levels, while portable dehumidifiers are more affordable and suitable for smaller spaces or ductless homes.

Pros of Whole-Home Dehumidifier

Whole-home dehumidifiers are the best option for larger homes, as they provide better coverage than portable units. They also work in conjunction with an HVAC system to extract excess moisture from indoor air, which can help reduce allergy symptoms and improve overall air quality. Additionally, whole-home dehumidifiers can be set up to run on a timer so that you don’t have to manually adjust the settings each time you want the unit to kick in.

Cons of Whole-Home Dehumidifier

The primary downside of whole-home dehumidifiers is the cost—they’re much more expensive than portable units due to their size and complexity. Additionally, they require professional installation, which adds to the total cost of ownership. It’s also important to note that these units can be noisy when running, so if noise levels are a concern for you then this may not be the best option.

Pros of Portable Dehumidifier

Portable dehumidifiers are ideal for smaller homes or areas where ductwork isn’t available. They use a fan to pull in moist air and cool it down before releasing it back into the room. This type of unit is also relatively quiet when running, making them ideal for bedrooms or other areas where low noise levels are desired. Additionally, they’re much more affordable than whole-home units and don’t require professional installation.

Cons of Portable Dehumidifier

The biggest downside of portable dehumidifiers is that they don’t provide as much coverage as whole-home units do—they can only effectively cover one room at a time. Additionally, they need to be manually adjusted each time you want them to kick in, which can be inconvenient if you forget or don’t have time to adjust them regularly. Finally, these units tend to be less energy efficient than whole-home models due to their smaller size.

Overall, both types of dehumidifiers have their own unique pros and cons that should be taken into consideration before making a purchase decision. If you need help deciding which type is right for your home or would like professional installation services for your whole-home unit, we offers expert advice and services tailored specifically for your needs.

Type of Dehumidifier
Better coverage, works with HVAC system, can be set to run on a timer
Expensive, requires professional installation, can be noisy when running
Affordable, suitable for smaller spaces or ductless homes, quiet when running
Limited coverage, manual adjustments needed, less energy efficient

Comfort Impact of Dehumidifiers

Humidity can have a major impact on the comfort level in your home. High levels of humidity can cause discomfort, as well as potential health risks such as mold and mildew growth. A dehumidifier is an effective way to reduce the humidity in your home and improve the overall comfort level. Both whole-home and portable dehumidifiers can help reduce indoor humidity, though they do so in different ways.

Whole-Home Dehumidifiers

Whole-home dehumidifiers are designed to work with an existing HVAC system to extract moisture from the air. This type of dehumidifier is ideal for larger homes or areas where there is a lot of moisture in the air, such as basements or attics. The advantage of a whole-home dehumidifier is that it can effectively reduce humidity throughout the entire house, rather than just in one room or area.

Portable Dehumidifiers

Portable dehumidifiers are smaller units that use a fan to draw in moist air and cool it down. These types of dehumidifiers are more affordable than whole-home units and are suitable for smaller spaces or ductless homes. Portable dehumidifiers can be moved from room to room, allowing you to target specific areas with high humidity levels. However, they may not be as effective at reducing humidity levels throughout an entire house as a whole-home unit would be.

No matter which type of dehumidifier you choose, you should notice an immediate improvement in the comfort level of your home once it has been installed and running for some time. Lower humidity levels will make your home feel cooler and less stuffy, while also reducing any musty odors that may have been present due to excess moisture in the air. In addition, lower humidity levels a dehumidifier will also help reduce dust mites and other allergens that thrive in damp environments, improving air quality and helping those with allergies breathe easier.

Cost Comparison of Dehumidifiers

When it comes to cost, whole-home dehumidifiers are more expensive than portable dehumidifiers. Whole-home units typically range from $500 to $1,000, depending on the size and features needed for the home. Installation costs can add up quickly as well, with professional installation services ranging from $250 to $1,000 or more. Portable dehumidifiers are much more affordable and usually cost between $50 and $200. However, these units often require frequent emptying of the collection tank and may not be suitable for larger homes or areas with high humidity levels.

In addition to purchase and installation costs, homeowners should consider energy efficiency when choosing a dehumidifier. Whole-home units tend to be more energy efficient than portable models because they are designed to operate in conjunction with an existing HVAC system. Portable units require electricity to operate the fan and compressor, which can increase monthly energy costs.

Finally, homeowners should consider any additional costs associated with maintaining their dehumidifier over time. Whole-home systems typically require regular maintenance such as filter changes and air duct cleaning, while portable units may need periodic cleaning of the collection tank or replacement of worn parts such as fans or filters. These costs should be factored into the overall cost of ownership when deciding which type of dehumidifier is best for your home.

Main Idea: Whole-home dehumidifiers are more expensive than portable dehumidifiers, but may be more energy efficient. Consider purchase, installation and maintenance costs when choosing.


At J & J Heating & Air, we understand the importance of having a comfortable home environment. We offer professional installation of whole-home dehumidifiers as well as advice for reducing humidity at home. Whether you need a whole-home dehumidifier or a portable one, our experienced technicians can help you make the best decision for your needs and budget. Contact us today to learn more about our services!

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