Thus far, we’ve tested eight different thermo-electric dehumidifiers for review. We’ve also reviewed six additional units without testing them. We didn’t test these six additional dehumidifiers to avoid redundancy in our experiments – these six other units had very similar (in many cases the exact same) manufacturer specifications as those units we did the test. Below we’ve ranked the 14 total thermo-electric dehumidifiers we reviewed within three different categories. Clicking on the model name for each unit will take you to our editorial review for each particular model. Below these rankings, you’ll find a quick explanation of how thermo-electric dehumidifiers work. We round out our buyer’s guide by listing the advantages and disadvantages thermo-electric dehumidifiers have over compressor based and desiccant dehumidifiers.
How A Thermo-Electric Dehumidifier Works
Thermo-electric dehumidifiers (sometimes called Peltier or Peltier effect dehumidifiers) use the thermoelectric effect (more specifically the Peltier effect) to convert electricity into a temperature difference across a Peltier module. This created temperature difference is what facilitates dehumidification. Before we look at the parts and processes involved in the operation of thermo-electric dehumidifiers, let’s first discuss the science behind how they work. That science is the thermoelectric effect.
The Thermoelectric Effect
The thermoelectric effect is simply a physical phenomenon that relates electricity to temperature change. It states that temperature differences can be converted into electricity and conversely, that electricity can be converted into temperature differences. In the 1800s a physicist by the name of Thomas Johann See beck observed temperature differences across two different metals creating electricity – this phenomenon was aptly named the See beck effect.
Also in the 1800s, another physicist named Jean Charles Athanase Peltier observed the opposite phenomenon – he observed that when he applied a voltage across two different metals it created a temperature difference – this phenomenon is known today as the Peltier effect.
Note that the term thermoelectric effect encompasses both of these phenomena – the See beck effect and the Peltier effect. However, when it comes to thermo-electric dehumidifiers, only the Peltier effect is involved. Electricity is run through the Peltier module inside of the dehumidifier. This electricity creates a temperature difference within the module. One side of the module heats up, while the other side of the module cools down. This temperature difference facilitates dehumidification. We explain how below.
Thermo-Electric Dehumidifier Parts
A thermo-electric dehumidifier is made using very few parts. It consists of
1. The Peltier module
2. Two heat sinks – a smaller cold side heat sink and a larger (about twice as large as the cold side) hot side heat sink
3. A fan – on most thermo-electric dehumidifiers under $100 this is nothing more than a small 12V computer style fan
4. Various switches and buttons