What The Numbers On A Dehumidifier Mean

Dehumidifiers typically have one or more displays that show information about both the dehumidifier itself and the surrounding air.

The numbers on a dehumidifier can mean several things depending on where they’re located on the appliance.

From the dehumidifier’s capacity to the desired home humidity level, the meaning of these numbers is key to setting up a comfortable home environment.

The main numbers on a dehumidifier typically show the current humidity for that space in the home, as a percentage. Some displays on a dehumidifier may also show the target humidity or the current temperature of the room.

The most important numbers on a dehumidifier show the percentage of humidity you want in your space, and its current level.

The relative humidity of a room or space can be controlled by setting the humidity percentage on the dehumidifier dashboard.

On some dehumidifiers, more than just one set of numbers can be displayed.

For example, our dehumidifier always displays both the current humidity and the current temperature of the room. Depending on the mode it has been set to, these numbers will either appear on the front or on the top of the unit.

Dehumidifier Front Display
The current humidity shown on the front display of our dehumidifier
Dehumidifier Top Display
The current temperature (in Celsius) displayed on the top of our dehumidifier

Read on to learn more about what the numbers on a dehumidifier mean.

What Do The Numbers On A Dehumidifier Mean?

Dehumidifier numbers on the display vary by manufacturer.

For the most part, current models follow a similar strategy in terms of what categories are displayed:

  • Settings are presented as number percentages.
  • Older models, however, may have settings based upon a text setting such as “More Humidity” or “Less Humidity”.

In recent versions, if the model has its own room humidity detection, this may also be displayed as a percentage.

You may also see labels on the display discussing pint capacities. These numbers refer to the amount of moisture that is removed from the room or space over the course of one day.

The information plate on our dehumidifier

Room Humidity Level Numbers

Many dehumidifiers now come with built-in hygrometers that measure the amount of moisture in the air, allowing you to see what the relative humidity is in your home at any time.

Our dehumidifier displaying current humidity levels

The humidity in a room will depend on several factors including room location and local climate. In warmer climates, the humidity is typically higher than it is in cooler climates.

Of the rooms in your home, ones in the basement, or the basement as a whole, tend to be the most humid.

Ideally, the best range for a room’s relative humidity is between 30% and 50%.

Anything higher than 50% relative humidity encourages the growth of mold and mildew. Again, this is dependent upon climate, in areas with higher temperatures, 50% relative humidity may still encourage mold growth.

Dehumidifier Setting Numbers

The most important numbers on the dehumidifier are the settings. These allow you to tailor the humidity level in your home or in particular rooms in your house.

Recent dehumidifier models allow you to set the desired humidity level in percentages, with a suggested range between 30% and 50%.

The number at which you set your dehumidifier will be determined by several factors, including climate, room location, and health issues.

Setting the dehumidifier over 50% can lead to the growth of molds and mildews, aggravating individuals with allergies or asthma. For bedrooms, however, 50% is often recommended to minimize dust mites and other allergens.

Having numbered settings allows the owner to set the humidity levels in the home with precision.

For example, we can set the target humidity on our dehumidifier anywhere between 35% and 80% (in 5% increments).

The lowest target humidity

We usually set our dehumidifier to 50% target relative humidity.

Our preferred target humidity

Once we’ve set the target humidity as shown on the display, the display will go back to showing the current room humidity after a couple of seconds.

Current humidity

Setting these dehumidifier numbers correctly leads to not only a more comfortable and healthy home for us but also helps to extend the lives of your furnishings and home.

Keeping levels in the prime range means that high relative humidity will not take a toll on your furnishings, woodwork, paint, or fabrics.

Dehumidifier Capacity Numbers

The pint number on your dehumidifier indicates its capacity.

Generally, dehumidifiers are sold in sizes that range from 30 pint dehumidifiers to 70 pint ones for residential use.

Commercial dehumidifiers start in the 100 pint range and may be too large for most residential homes.

  • The capacity is determined by the size of the room or space in square feet.
  • Additionally, the relative humidity of the space and the climate should be taken into consideration.

Generally, the smaller the space in which you will be using the dehumidifier, the lower the pint capacity number. A 30 pint capacity can service up to 500 square feet successfully.

For a full basement, a 50 pint dehumidifier or larger may be necessary.

Currently, a 70 pint dehumidifier can handle 3500 plus square feet with high humidity. If the relative humidity of your large home is normal to slightly humid, a 50 pint humidifier should be able to handle the job.

As with many technologies, recent dehumidifiers tend to be more efficient than their predecessors. It may make more sense to your floor plan and ventilation to have two smaller dehumidifiers in different areas of the house.

However, the capacity of our own dehumidifier is displayed in liters.

Based on the maximum moisture extraction rate of 10l/day, it can take 16 hours for the water tank on our dehumidifier to become full.

The tank full indicator light

See our other articles on how quickly a dehumidifier fills up and how much water a dehumidifier should collect in a day for more information.

The Meaning Of Dehumidifier Numbers Related To Types Of Space

Different rooms within your home are likely to have different relative humidity levels.

The number displayed in a room connected to a regularly used bathroom may be higher than a bedroom further down the hallway. 

  • Basements are another area of the house that are most likely to have high humidity levels and thus are hot spots for mold growth.
  • Keep in mind that you need to purchase a dehumidifier that has enough capacity to handle the size of your basement.

Controlling the relative humidity in the basement goes a long way toward keeping your home and family healthy. Too much moisture can encourage mold growth.

Dehumidifier Number Settings For Living Spaces

In general, for living spaces, the dehumidifier number should be set between 30% and 50%.

For bedrooms, opt for the higher end of the setting, unless the room(s) are already normally humid.

The comfort level helps keep pet dander and dust mite’s particles low and assists with easier breathing, especially for those who are susceptible to dust, dander, mold, and mildew.

In the winter, the humidity gauge on the humidifier may show that your relative humidity is already within the desirable range.

If that is the case, you may not need to run your humidifier until those numbers begin to creep above 60% again. Running the dehumidifier at too high a level during the cold months can make the air within the house too dry, leading to irritated nasal passages.

Dehumidifier Number Settings For Basements

Due to the number of factors that contribute to moist conditions in the basement, including the presence of piping and foundation cracks, humidity tends to be higher in a basement.

The dehumidifier is going to work harder to bring the humidity level down to a comfortable one.

While 50% is a comfortable level for a bedroom, in a basement with conditions ripe for high humidity, it may be too high and continue to promote the growth of mold and mildew.

Conversely, if you set the basement dehumidifier to 30% or lower, your dehumidifier is going to work overtime trying to bring the relative humidity to that level. Since many basements tend to be large, open spaces, pay attention to the best capacity dehumidifier.

Recommendations for the correct dehumidifier pint capacity based upon the square footage of the room are easy to find in most hardware stores or through a quick Google image search.


There are many important meanings you may need to know when looking at or shopping for a dehumidifier.

The capacity, often listed in pints, is key initially because it gives you a guide to the size of room the dehumidifier can service. Normal household use dehumidifiers generally range in size from a 30 pint capacity to 70 pints. Larger capacities are available, but they are commercial units of 100 pints capacity or more.

The numbers that have the most meaning on your dehumidifier for daily usage are the current relative humidity level and the desired humidity setting. Both of these are displayed as percentages

For best results, the dehumidifier should be set between 30% and 50%. Splitting the difference and setting the dehumidifier to 40% should increase comfort for those who live in the house while discouraging the growth of harmful mold and mildew.

Further Reading

What Should I Set My Dehumidifier At?

When Should I Turn Off My Dehumidifier?

What Are The Settings On A Dehumidifier?

The Best Time Of The Day To Use A Dehumidifier