Crawl Space Dehumidifiers vs Portable Dehumidifiers

When you compare the prices of crawl space dehumidifiers and portable dehumidifiers, you may be a little surprised how wide of a range there is between units. With prices from $250 to $2500, it can be confusing to know what the best dehumidifier option for you is. Do you really need a crawl space dehumidifier or can you spend less on a single room portable dehumidifier?

Believe it or not, investing in a crawl space dehumidifier, is worth the extra money. While many of the features may look similar between low and high end crawl space dehumidifiers, a product page doesn't tell the whole story. Here are a couple of reasons to think twice before simply opting for the cheaper model of dehumidifier.


Portable dehumidifiers (not to be confused with smaller crawl space dehumidifiers) often range between 35-75 pints per day with some larger models even stretching to 95 pints. Those numbers sounds quite similar to a crawl space dehumidifier that will cover between 55 and 90 pints per day. This can be deceptive, however, if the ratings level aren’t specified. It is standard for crawl space dehumidifiers to list their capacity at AHAM standards (80°F, 60% relative humidity) but, often single room dehumidifiers use the saturation rating. The saturation rating is what the dehumidifier can remove at 100% saturation, regardless of the temperature. This is more of an unrealistic situation, although it does illustrate the maximum pints per day a dehumidifier (whether it is a crawl space dehumidifier or a portable dehumidifier) can remove. For instance, a WatchDog 550 is rated to remove 55 pints per day at AHAM, however, at saturation it can remove 130 pints per day. Both ratings can give you useful insight into your dehumidifier, just be sure that when comparing two separate units, you are comparing them on the same scale.

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CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)

Another common difference between single room dehumidifiers and crawl space dehumidifiers is the cubic feet per minute (CFM). CFM describes the amount of air your dehumidifier draws in and pulls across the coils of the dehumidifier. Ideally, you want a higher CFM, so more air can be run through the machine and dehumidified. Cubic feet per minute will vary depending on how powerful the fan and compressor are in the dehumidifier. The typical 70 pint portable dehumidifier will have about 200 CFM on high speed. By comparison, the Watchdog 550 has a lower capacity (55 pints) but still has a higher CFM at 250.

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Warranty is also an important factor to consider when choosing your dehumidifier. No matter how reliable a machine is, different environments and situations can cause random problems to occur. If your display board suddenly goes out or a condenser stops working, you’re going to want a good warranty to cover the problem. The average warranty for a portable dehumidifier is only one year, while crawl space dehumidifiers typically have a warranty that’s multiple years. Seaira Global offers a one year warranty on all parts plus a 5 year warranty on the refrigeration circuit (condenser, evaporator, coils). Our full dehumidifier warranty is available online here for you to read.

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Technical Support

Similar to having a thorough warranty, it’s very helpful to have a technical support team you can count on. The small, portable dehumidifier is an item that is often bought right off the shelf in a big box store with little support or insight offered by the manufacturer. On the other hand, when purchasing a crawl space dehumidifier, there is usually more support behind the product. Seaira Global has a knowledgeable technical support team that can assist you with any questions or concerns about your dehumidifier. For example, say you’re installing a new dehumidifiers but, are having trouble getting the gravity drain set up, technical support can help you with that. Or if the condensate pump suddenly stops functioning, technical support can walk you through the testing procedure to see what the issue might be.

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Treating the Problem

The portable dehumidifiers are normally designed to be used in a single room. If one room in your house is too humid, simply set the dehumidifier in the room and you’re good to go. Will it lower the humidity in the room? Probably. But will it treat the entire home, in addition, to the harmful side effects of high humidity? Probably not.

Typically, the humidity problems will start underneath your home in the crawl space where it is damp and humid. These conditions could be caused by a number of factors ranging from dripping pipes to standing water. Although the crawl space is out of sight, that doesn't mean the humid, damp air stays there. Due to a phenomenon called the Stack Effect, the excessively humid air is spread throughout your entire home.

Too much humidity does more than make your home seem uncomfortable, it can also cause serious health issues for you and your family. This is especially true, if the high humidity leads to mold. High humidity could also affect the integrity of your home as problems like sagging floors or wood rot arise. Not to mention, moist, humid environments are very attractive to pests and as you can imagine, a pest infestation is not good for your home.

The best way to alleviate these problems is to invest in a good quality crawl space dehumidifier. Once installed, your crawl space dehumidifier can solve high humidity right at the source. By installing a crawl space dehumidifiers, you can maintain the air quality in your crawl space and therefore, the air that spreads throughout your home.

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