Which Dehumidifier do I choose – Dessicant portable or Refrigerant portable

Customers often wonder which type of Dehumidifier is right for them – Desiccant (i.e Adsorption) or Refrigerant (i.e Compressor). This short article attempts to provide you insights to understand the key differences between these two technologies and make the right technology choice

Advantages of Dessiscant are quick drying, lightweight and easy installation
Advantages of Refrigerant are lower running cost and ubiquitous know how (most airconditioning mechanics or engineers can inspect or repair these)

Indian Scenario

Portable Dehumidifiers were available in India since 1990’s, but gained more visibility and prominence in the past decade or so. Earlier, A customer had to choose from Large Industrial Desiccant  or  Compact refrigerant dehumidifiers

However, the current innovation involves using the same Desiccant rotor technology in portable dehumidifiers use similar rotor technology as found in Industrial units but with the convenience and Compact form factor of a Portable Dehumidifier (eg. Meaco DD8L Zambezi)


One would find it difficult to differentiate between a Compressor or Desiccant portable dehumidifier by seeing the unit externally. DD8L Zambezi has been consistently won awards for innovation, design and technology.

Another innovative product available under Dessciant is a Wall mounted  desiccant under Ecor-Pro. The products offer a smaller Form factor than most comparable units, working just like a large industrial desiccant dehumidifier – but covering smaller room volumes with flexible ducting

Common queries between Dessicant vs Refrigerant in Q&A format

  • What’s the main difference between Refrigerant & Desiccant
  • Refrigerant uses a compressor along with heat exchanger coils to create cooling on one side, which results in the moist air condensing on the surface which is collected underneath onto a tray, and into a water container. Dessicant uses an Adsorption Rotor which is made up of Zeolites ( Simply put, a more advanced form of silica gel) that acts like a moisture magnet and holds onto the moisture passing over it. Moisture removal is continuously done over a small portion of the rotor, and the water extracted is allowed to collect into a tank
  • Is Refrigerant better or Desiccant better?

In most cases, Refrigerant Dehumidifier is more energy efficient if you used for home or commercial if used in regular air-conditioned rooms. However, the rate of moisture removal in a refrigerant unit will depend on the actual temperature and humidity conditions present in a room. Also, one must ensure strict room conditions to avoid excessive ingress of moisture as that can increase the load on the compressors

  1. Desiccant units, however, have a linear drying curve and does not vary so much with the external temperature and humidity conditions. While the efficiency of refrigerant units drop at lower temperatures (See above graph)
  • Is it more expensive to buy or run Desiccant Dehumidifiers?

The Purchase (CAPEX) cost is comparable for Refrigerant & Desiccant type Dehumidifiers. At the same time, the operating cost (OPEX) at peak load of Desiccant dehumidifier is higher as compared to Refrigerant dehumidifier as they tend to employ heating elements to desorb the rotor

However, one must be kept in mind that certain products may require quick drying cycles and in such a case find Dessicant to be more useful by way of increased productivity

It is important to select the right size and type of Dehumidifier based on Target RH, Usage pattern, Fresh air parameters, etc

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