Dehumidifier or conditioner? Here’s which one to choose!

Dehumidifier or conditioner - Which one to choose?

We bought or rented a new home, and the search for the ideal temperature immediately became a priority. In the summer, the heat in the city is often unbearable, and a cold or damp house in cold seasons is certainly not healthy.

Let’s see two of the most common tools to combat the heat inside our homes, and which one to choose: dehumidifier or air conditioner?

How do they work?

Let’s start by saying that humid heat and dry heat are perceived very differently by our body, therefore the dehumidifier – a device that literally dries the air from the humidity present in the home – is a very useful tool to improve the livability of a room in the season hot, even if technically it does not cool.

The dehumidifier is also useful in winter, as a drier air makes even low temperatures more tolerable, and has excellent functionality as regards the prevention of mold and allergens. In fact, the air is sucked in by the instrument, filtered and returned – dry and free of particulates – to the surrounding environment.

The air conditioner is a completely dissimilar tool: the relief from the heat occurs through the introduction of cold air directly into the environment. By cooling the air, the air conditioner changes the room temperature, cools the air unlike the dehumidifier which only affects the humidity rate.

Generally both instruments have a specific function for the winter: as the dehumidifier can improve the livability of the rooms by drying the humidity even in winter, so the air conditioner can be used to heat simply by adjusting a higher temperature.

The differences between dehumidifier and air conditioner

We have seen the first big difference between dehumidifier and air conditioner, the one given by the respective operation: if the first one works on the humidity level, making the humid heat dry, the second one affects the temperature of the house by introducing cold air.

Let’s briefly analyze the other features that differentiate the two tools:

  • The consumption: the dehumidifier in general has much lower electricity consumption, compared to an air conditioner or air conditioner, which perform a much more complex mechanical work.
  • The impact on health: it is known that air conditioning can cause, if we are exposed to it frequently, colds, muscle pain and other problems related to temperature changes, which can also be sudden. The relief given by an immediate cooling of the air counteracts a well-known disadvantage: air conditioning can hurt.
  • The functionalities: while the air conditioner can have the dry function, and therefore also function as a dehumidifier, the reverse is not possible;
  • The cost: since it is a more complex machine, the air conditioner generally has a much higher average price than a dehumidifier; it consumes more and also often includes a system that can involve the walls and electrical systems of the home, which further affects the price;

Better dehumidifier or conditioner, then? Let’s see what, in addition to the differences, are the characteristics to consider for a careful choice suited to our needs.

The characteristics of the house are fundamental

In every choice that concerns the home, there are characteristics to be taken into account when you have to choose an appliance or a functional component to the home.

Even in the case of air conditioning, specific aspects will be considered, which can help us choose the most suitable appliance for our home:

  • humidity rate;
  • quality of fixtures and insulation;
  • maximum temperatures reached in summer, and minimum in winter;
  • space available.

If our house is particularly humid, both in summer and in winter, or has poorly insulating fixtures like other problems related to thermal insulation, a dehumidifier could improve air quality and livability in an incisive way.

On the other hand, if our house or some rooms reach very high temperatures in summer, and very cold in winter, it will be better to go to work on the temperature, having undoubtedly prefer an air conditioner (which also emits hot air, to the need).

There is a portable version of both appliances on the market, yet it should be noted that in general, an air conditioner is more cumbersome, in terms of plant design and size. In a particularly small house, a portable dehumidifier may be more suitable; in any case, if we wanted to opt for an air conditioner or air conditioner, portable or wall mounted, we would have to be very careful to choose one with the right power, which should be commensurate with the size of the rooms.


A separate chapter, in the characteristics that can guide us in the choice, is in the economic factor. Dehumidifier or conditioner? It also depends on the pockets.

In general, buying and maintaining an air conditioner at home is much more expensive; in addition to being generally cheaper in the purchase phase, it must be said that the air conditioner requires annual maintenance that cannot be done on its own.

While to keep a dehumidifier in perfect condition, a thorough cleaning of filters and collection tank (the one in which the humidity captured by the air is collected) is sufficient, an air conditioner will need the intervention of a technician at least once a year.

Most air conditioners operate through a refrigerant gas, which can become very dangerous to health if not kept under close control, as regards pressure and chemical composition.

The greater expense, we have seen, will be even more evident from the electricity bill: an air conditioner or air conditioner – in particular a combined dry which is also a dehumidifier – consumes much more than a dehumidifier.

Which one to choose?

We have seen how dehumidifier and air conditioner work respectively, analyzed the differences between the two and compiled a list of features to keep in mind when choosing which one to buy for our home.

But which one to choose? There are a variety of products on the market, from air conditioners that dehumidify, heat and cool the air, to more traditional dehumidifiers that deal with filtering home air and have no other function.

Lately we tend to prefer the dehumidifier, in particular for the difference in impact on health: it prevents allergies, filtering the air, and certainly does not cause all the ailments related to the uncontrolled exposure to air conditioning, which is known, it can hurt.

It is true that in rooms that are not used at all hours, and that perhaps need to reach certain temperatures quickly, a dehumidifier will probably be unsatisfactory. In such cases, despite the cost and complexity of maintenance, an air conditioner will have to be chosen. It is good to remember that to date most air conditioners also emit hot air, therefore it is an instrument that can find excellent use even in the cold season.