Dehumidifiers vs. Air Conditioners (AC) – 2020 Comparison Review

| Last Updated: January 5, 2021

Are you someone who is a bit confused when it comes to the differences and similarities between dehumidifiers and air conditioners? Can AC's work as dehumidifiers?

Well, we have the answers to such questions and more!

Not only that, we will share with you our well-researched Dehumidifier and Air Conditioner Review lists so you can make an informed Dehumidifier or AC purchasing decision.

Let’s begin!

What is a Dehumidifier?

As the name states, a dehumidifier is just that, a device which is able to dehumidify the air. Such a unit absorbs moisture from the air and reduces the overall humidity in a surrounding. Some of you might not know this, but humidity can cause a lot of damage. The moisture in the air can damage woodwork, carpets, mats, and more. Humidity also gives rise to an environment that mold spores prefer to grow in.

Danby Energy Star 70-Pint Dehumidifier

Furthermore, humid air as particulates which can trigger allergies and asthma attacks. So, by using a reliable dehumidifier, you can reduce the moisture as well as fungus. It will help provide your household with clean air to breathe.

What is an Air Conditioner (AC)?

An air conditioner or an AC is a device which helps remove hot air while releasing cold bursts of air in a space. An AC is a great way to help keep your home ventilated. It is great to have around during the hot summer months. Having cool air circulating around the house will help keep certain allergies and irritants at bay. An AC provides you with a comfortable indoor environment which has a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.

Some AC units have filters which remove pet hair, dust, and dander from the air to make an area cleaner for you to breathe in.

Dehumidifiers vs. Air Conditioners - Similarities and Differences

Wondering about the similarities and differences between Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners is valid. We are going to offer out help with all of this. Below we have broken down the differences as well as the similarities between such electronic equipment. We hope the information we have shared offers you the answers you are looking for.


Let’s begin with the differences between a Dehumidifier and an AC.

Mode of Operation

The way Dehumidifiers and AC's work is different. In a dehumidifier, the air travels across a series of cooling coils (they can also be evaporators), and then immediately over a set of heating coils (or the condenser). After such a journey, the air is then released into the outside area as drier air (with reduced moisture).

A diagram of how dehumidifier works. (Source)

As for an air conditioner, the air travels over just the cooling coils and then released into the room. Furthermore, the heated Freon passes through a tube (which is outside the house) and into the heating coils. The outside air passes over it before release.

Dealing with Moisture

Dehumidifiers and AC’s handle moisture a bit differently. Of course, both condense moisture on the cooling coils present in them. However, an AC pools the condensate in a space (pan, tank, etc.) which drains outside, normally through a drainage tube.

Dehumidifiers, on the other hand, after pulling the water or moisture from the air, store it in a water reservoir. A hose attachment is ordinarily present for drainage. Such units also tend to have auto-off features to prevent spillage.

Changing Temperature

Temperature control is another difference between an air conditioner and a dehumidifier. AC’s are used for controlling the overall temperature of a space. AC’s have been created to expel hot air out of a space while throwing cool air in a space.

Dehumidifiers aren't used for temperature control. They are more concerned with the humidity levels of a certain space and will help extract moisture from an area.


Of course, there are certain similarities between a dehumidifier and an air conditioner. We are going to cover some of these similarities to help you understand more about these devices.

Cleaner Air

Both, the dehumidifier and an air conditioner can be used to ensure the flow of cleaner air indoors. These devices have filters in them which are able to trap certain particulates in the air. The filters can trap pet dander, hair, and dust. This allows for the space to have cleaner air for everyone to breathe.

HEPA Filter (Source)


Another similarity between an AC and a dehumidifier has to do with ventilation. Both devices are able to offer comfortable ventilation in an indoor space. You can easily operate them in bedrooms, living rooms or even the basement for ventilation purposes.

Health Issues

AC's and Dehumidifiers are also similar when it comes to ensuring prevention from specific health-related issues. Due to both devices offering you a certain amount of control over humidity and temperature, the cleaner air they produce can help keep specific allergic reactions at bay. Both devices, due to the use of filters, can also get rid of certain air particulates which may cause skin irritation.


Depending on the model you go for, dehumidifiers and air conditioners also offer a certain extent of portability (with wheels, smaller size, etc.). This level of portability makes it easier for you to move these units from room to room depending on what is required in terms of humidity or temperature control.

Water Storage

Both units extract moisture from the air. This means both devices need to store as well as expel water. That is why these electronics have a drainage system.

Top Pick Between Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners

Now that we are almost nearing the end of this article, we can't let you go without sharing our thoughts regarding the top pick between dehumidifiers and air conditioners.

As mentioned in our review lists, all of the selections have something to offer. Certain models are the best for the money, giving you excellent features against a reasonable price tag. Other models are our top picks, and that is what we are going to talk about.

If we were to choose, we would go for the Danby Energy Star 70-Pint Dehumidifier and the Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner. We say this because these units are some of the most reliable offerings currently in the market. The Danby Energy Star dehumidifier is perfect for quickly reducing humidity from a space.

The Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner allows you to set it up in any room without hassle. Of course, both devices play a crucial role in providing your household with cleaner air. Pairing an air conditioner with a dehumidifier will increase overall effectiveness.


We hope we were able to offer you valuable information about dehumidifiers and air conditioners. As you can tell, both devices have similarities as well as differences. The good news is you can use these units to control the humidity and temperature of your house for comfortable living.

So, if you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier or an air conditioner, make sure to go through our review lists for an informed buying decision that will make your life more comfortable in the long run.

My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.