Dehumidifier vs Fan: The Key Difference, and When to Use Each

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Last updated: August 15, 2023
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The dehumidifier and the fan are great for moisture removal and air circulation in an indoor environment. While the fan may not have significant power on the control of humidity, it pushes in drier air from the outside and ensures great air circulation, preventing humid air and moisture from lodging in dampness-prone parts of the room such as the walls and niches.

Dehumidifiers have the double task of air circulation and removal of excess humidity. However, each works differently. In this dehumidifier vs fan comparison article, we’ll see how both devices work, the various types, and which one will be suitable for you.

How does a dehumidifier work?

Dehumidifier vs Fan: The Key Difference, and When to Use Each

The air dehumidifier is an electrical device or chemical device intended to reduce the humidity level in a room, building, construction site, factory, office, etc.

Dehumidifiers Trusted Source Dehumidifier - Wikipedia A dehumidifier is an air conditioning device which reduces and maintains the level of humidity in the air. draw excess moisture from the air to fight condensation, prevent mold growth and reduce humidity on walls. Some of these appliances can be effective in the whole house.

The basic principle of operation of a dehumidifier with condensation drying is very simple.

The water condenses on the cold surface of the evaporator and trickles into a tank where it is transported directly to the drainage system.

Desiccant dehumidifiers work by attracting humidity and absorbing it into the desiccant material.

When do you need one?

You need a dehumidifier when the humidity in your home goes below 60 percent. If not controlled, humidity can damage your walls, ceilings, furniture, equipment, and food items.

Types of dehumidifiers

There are three main types of dehumidifiers:

  • The refrigerant dehumidifiers: The refrigerant or compressor dehumidifier devices are the most efficient models of dehumidifiers. They suck air through a filter to pass it through a cold coil. The water condenses on the coil and then flows into the built-in tank (or out through a drainpipe, when your dehumidifier has such a mechanism). These are usually noisy but you can still find quiet refrigerant dehumidifiers.

Overall, the average refrigerant dehumidifier will perform best in medium to high temperatures and when the humidity is high (over 65%). One of the most recommended compressor devices is the hOmeLabs 1,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier. It is ideal for medium to large rooms and removes around 22 pints of moisture per day.

  • Desiccant dehumidifiers: These devices use an absorbent material to extract water from the air. This material is then heated to extract moisture which will flow into the built-in tank or out through a drain pipe. Desiccant dehumidifiers are designed to continue operating at full throttle even when the temperature drops to 5 ° C or even 1 ° C. We, therefore, recommend them for people who wish to dehumidify a garage, cellar, basement, veranda, or rooms with little or no heating. Generally, a desiccant dryer dehumidifier will tend to use more energy than a compression or refrigerant dehumidifier because they use heat to heat the dehumidifier material.
  • The chemical dehumidifier: This is a device that captures moisture from the air using absorbent crystals. With a limited absorption capacity compared to electric dehumidifiers, the chemical dehumidifier will preferably be used in a closet or cupboard, in the car, in a small bathroom, etc. The chemical dehumidifier works without energy and makes (almost) no noise, unlike an electric dehumidifier which generally exceeds 32 decibels.

How does a fan work?

Dehumidifier vs Fan: The Key Difference, and When to Use Each

A fan is an electrical or mechanical ventilator that is used for moving air, typically a gas such as oxygen. It is used for cooling people or machinery. The conventional fan consists of a series of rotating blades that act on the air and disperse them in a provided medium.

Generally, the blades or fins, fundamental in fans, are contained within some type of structure or box. This allows you to direct the airflow in the desired direction. It also makes it safer, as it prevents objects from coming into contact with the blades, which commonly move with enough force and speed that we can consider them dangerous.

Most modern fans are driven by electric motors, but combustion engines and even hydraulic motors can also be used, depending on the possibilities, the aims of each person, and of course, the money one is willing to spend.

Fans produce high-volume, low-pressure airflows, unlike compressors, which produce high pressures at comparatively low volumes. The blades of a fan will generally rotate when exposed to a current of air and devices that take advantage of this phenomenon, such as anemometers and air turbines, which are generally designed similar to a fan.

When do you need one?

The most typical uses for a fan include climate control, machine cooling, personal comfort, fume extraction, cleaning (usually in combination with a vacuum cleaner). Fans are much more used in industrial settings as there are various types for every application.

Types of fans

Fans are more diversified than dehumidifiers. Some of the most common are:

  • Ceiling fans: These fans require a bit more complex installation than the standing ones, as they must be fixed to the ceiling. Being on top, it achieves greater air circulation throughout the room space and is usually installed in small places that do not have space to place another type of ventilation.
  • Standing fan: They can be standard power or high power (turbo models). They are usually silent, as well as portable, and some models have a remote control to operate them from a distance. Some standing fans with water tanks for dispersing vapor or mist work like humidifiers.
  • Floor fan: This is not installed on the ceiling, but it does not have a “foot” type structure. However, its structure functions as a pedestal and can stand upright when resting on the ground. Within these types of fans are those of small size and high power, called turbo.
  • Wall-mounted: These fans are fixed to the wall. They allow greater circulation in small places, where the use of fans of another type would be cumbersome due to the size or layout of the room. They can also be used in conjunction with other fans, providing greater air circulation.
  • Tabletop fans: These are low-power axial fans used especially in offices or in environments where they need little ventilation. Sometimes there are also centrifuges. One of the best examples of a desktop fan is the Honeywell TurboForce Power Air Circulator. This small fan has 90 degrees pivoting head and a 3-speed setting.
  • Pedestal fans: Similar to a table fan, these rest on the ground by means of a pedestal, and their height can also be adjusted. They are used a lot in bedrooms, especially in hot climates.

Dehumidifier vs fan: Side-by-side comparison

Dehumidifiers and fans work differently. And this comparison table proves that!

Dehumidifier Fan
Functions and uses Humidity removal

For proper air circulation


Air circulation

Pushes drier air inside

Versatility Fans are more versatile in use Not as versatile as fans
Durability Fans can last for around 8 to 10 years Dehumidifiers can last for around 5 to 10 years
Running cost Around $153 annually for everyday use Around $60 per year
Price Basic models cost $1,140 to $1,250 $60 to $650 for large bedrooms

Final thoughts

The major difference between a dehumidifier and a fan is how they work. Dehumidifiers work in a complex way whereby it draws air and condenses it over cold coils, removing the humidity from the air. Dried aid is pushed back to space after treating the air. However, a fan pushes in dry air directly into the room. However, its work has little effect on the existing humidity in a room. But, like a dehumidifier, an effective fan can help circulate the air in a room, helping to control dampness in the room.

However, as we have seen in this fan vs dehumidifier comparison, fans can be more inexpensive to purchase and run. Also, they are more versatile. However, both appliances have different functions, which is why many people opt to have both appliances at home for better fresh, dry air circulation and dehumidification.


Dehumidifier - Wikipedia
A dehumidifier is an air conditioning device which reduces and maintains the level of humidity in the air.

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