How much does a dehumidifier cost to run and can you use one to dry clothes?

Keen to know how much does a dehumidifier cost to run? We’ve crunched the numbers to find out

Woman cleaning out filter of dehumidifier that is located in a living room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Want to know how much does a dehumidifier cost to run and could it help you dry your clothes? These are important questions to ask now that drying laundry outdoors will become more challenging during the winter months.

Using a dehumidifier can help you to dry laundry faster indoors and are a great way to stop condensation on windows (opens in new tab), while reducing the risk of mould and damp in your home. But it’s a good idea to understand exactly how much running one could be adding to your electricity bill.

October's introduction of the Energy Price Guarantee (opens in new tab) means that energy bills won’t rise as much as originally anticipated this winter. October has also seen the roll out of a £400 energy rebate (opens in new tab) which will be paid to households in six instalments until March 2023. But even with this help, the price of energy remains high and households continue to be concerned about how much their energy bills will cost (opens in new tab)

William Hobbs at trades matching website Myjobquote.co.uk (opens in new tab) told us: “The running cost of electrical appliances including dehumidifiers, is important right now as even with the price cap freeze, consumers are paying up to £0.34 per kWh for electricity. Two years ago, the price cap was about half this rate, so it’s a massive increase for households.”

How much does a dehumidifier cost to run? 

It costs around 8.5p an hour to run a typical 250W dehumidifier. If you used your dehumidifier for 12 hours a day, that would cost you £1.02 per day or £20.40 per month, assuming you used it five times a week. If you ran your dehumidifier for five months of the year, your annual cost would be £102. 

The exact cost will depend on the model of dehumidifier, including how much moisture it can extract and whether it automatically turns off when the humidity levels reach the preferred setting. It will also depend on how much you use it and how much you pay for your energy. For our calculations, we’ve used the Energy Price Guarantee’s electricity unit price of 34p per kWh. 

Energy expert Paul Newman at review website housetastic.co.uk (opens in new tab) told us: “In order to calculate an estimated cost, you’ll need to know two things: the wattage of your dehumidifier, and the cost of your energy usage per pence/kWh of electricity. As of October, the energy price per pence/kWh rose from 28p to 34p - a drastic jump in cost. Portable dehumidifiers have an average wattage of 30-50 watts per hour, while full-home dehumidifiers use an average of 250 watts.”

Once you know this, you can divide the wattage by 1,000 to convert to kilowatt hours and multiply the answer by your electricity unit price (34p). 

The table below illustrates how much it costs to run different dehumidifiers with different wattages.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Cost per hourCost per day (12 hours)Cost per month (if used 5 times a week)Cost per year (if used for 5 months of the year)
50W dehumidifier1.7p20.4p£4.08£20.40
165W dehumidifier5.6p67.2p£13.44£67.20
250W dehumidifier8.5p£1.02£20.40£102
300W dehumidifier10.2p£1.22£24.40£122
350W dehumidifier11.9p£1.43£28.60£143

Can I use a dehumidifier to dry clothes and is it cheaper than a tumble dryer?  

A dehumidifier can help you to dry clothes as it absorbs the moisture in the air from your wet clothes and projects warm, dryer air that helps to dry your clothes over time. When it comes to the cheapest way to dry clothes (opens in new tab), the cost of running a dehumidifier is much lower compared to a tumble dryer too.

Energy expert Paul Newman says: “Dehumidifiers are an efficient way to remove the moisture from clothes, although the dry-time is estimated at around three to five hours compared to the average tumble dryer at 30-45 minutes. Although the dry-time is marginally higher, the costs are worth it.”

In terms of how much a tumble dryer costs to run (opens in new tab), an average 8kg tumble dryer will set you back between £91.80 and £198.90 a year, based on using it twice a week. That’s more expensive than running a dehumidifier all day five days a week (£20 to £143 a year).

Another, even cheaper solution is to use a heated clothes dryer. If you’re curious to know how much a heated clothes dryer costs to run (opens in new tab), it can be as little as £48 a year, based on using it eight hours a day and four days a week. 

Check out these other expert tips if you want to know how to dry clothes without a dryer (opens in new tab)

Household appliance running costs Oct 2022

(Image credit: Future)

If you want to know how much other appliances cost to run, you might also be interested in:

 What can I do to cut the cost of using a dehumidifier? 

The first step to cutting the cost of using a dehumidifier is to check the unit has a low wattage and high air flow rate. “This will ensure it’s cheap to run and works efficiently to dry your clothes,” explains William Hobbs from Myjobquote.co.uk.

“Make sure you are drying clothes outside as much as the weather allows. Then, transfer your clothes to indoor drying with your dehumidifier to finish it off. The dehumidifier method is best done in a smaller room to increase efficiency. Rotating your airer will also help clothes to dry evenly.”

Regularly vacuuming your dehumidifier’s filter will clear dust and particles and ensure it runs efficiently. You should also ensure that the unit’s vents aren’t blocked so that air flow is not restricted, and make sure all windows in the room are shut. 

A further benefit of using a dehumidifier is that you might be able to turn the thermostat down, reducing your heating bills. Joseph Seager (opens in new tab) of thriftychap.com told us: “A dehumidifier can actually help you keep your heating costs down. This is because it removes the moisture from the air that makes you feel cold. So you might not feel the need to put the thermostat on as high a temperature.” 

What energy saving features should I look for when buying a dehumidifier? 

 Look out for the following features when shopping for a dehumidifier:

Automatic timer

 An automatic timer will enable you to specify how long you want to leave your dehumidifier running - reducing the time will reduce your energy bills.  

Advanced humidistats

 Humidistats measure the humidity and detect when it rises and falls. It switches off the dehumidifier once the required level of humidity has been reached. Advanced humidistats work more efficiently and will check humidity levels intermittently rather than continuously.  

Variable speeds

Some dehumidifiers come with more than one speed which means you can have it on a lower setting when you don’t need to use it as much. 

Where can I buy a dehumidifier?

You can buy a dehumidifier from a variety of high street or online retailers. Prices vary so be sure to shop around. For example, a 250W, 12 litre dehumidifier costs £150 from Argos (opens in new tab), while a 350W 21 litre dehumidifier costs £309.99 from Screwfix (opens in new tab)

There are two different types of dehumidifier so you’ll need to consider which best suits you:

  •  Compression or refrigeration dehumidifiers: these work in a similar way to a fridge. They draw in air from the room and pass it over cool metal plates where the warmer air condenses before dropping into a collection tank below. They are best used in warmer rooms such as living rooms. 
  •  Desiccant dehumidifiers: these absorb water from the air using material that works like a sponge. They are better used in colder rooms such as conservatories.  

 Take a look at the following retailers to compare your options:  

Rachel is a freelance personal finance journalist who has been writing about everything from mortgages to car insurance for over a decade. Having previously worked at Shares Magazine, where she specialised in small-cap stocks, Rachel developed a passion for consumer finance and saving money when she moved to lovemoney.com (opens in new tab). She later spent more than 8 years as an editor at price comparison site MoneySuperMarket where she helped support the CRM programme, as well as the SEO and PR teams, often acting as spokesperson. Rachel went freelance in 2020, just as the pandemic hit, and has since written for numerous websites and national newspapers, including The Mail on Sunday, The Observer, The Sun and Forbes. She is passionate about helping consumers become more confident with their finances, giving them the tools they need to take control of their money and make savings. In her spare time, Rachel is a keen traveller and baker.