I have been involved with dehumidifiers since the late 1980s and therefore my knowledge of dehumidifiers is obviously greater than most other people who have more interesting things to worry about! The dehumidifier market is not very mature and therefore 80% of those buying dehumidifiers are doing so for the first time and have very little knowledge about what makes a good dehumidifier and by definition what makes a bad dehumidifier.
This encourages dehumidifier brands, factories and designers into being a bit lazy as they are not pushed to make dehumidifiers better and more refined. I know what makes a good dehumidifier and what makes a bad dehumidifier but customers tend not to and the bulk of the dehumidifiers that are sold in Europe would fall into the bad category, mediocre if we are being kind. The internet doesn’t help either because you cannot feel the thickness of the plastic and hear the dehumidifier working, two things that would give you a good clue as to a dehumidifiers quality.
A quality standard for Dehumidifiers.
Interestingly things are different in Hong Kong where they have a quality standard for dehumidifiers similar to the one that we have in Britain for white goods. Albeit instead of
rating the dehumidifiers from A to E they rate them 1 to 5, but the end result is the same in that consumers can see that one machine is better than another in terms of energy efficiency. In order to get a high score in the test the manufacturers need to use better quality components and these dehumidifiers are designed and made to a higher standard.
In general terms the dehumidifiers that get the highest scores in the Hong Kong tests are not available in Europe because European buyers look at price first and the best dehumidifiers are not the cheapest.
In Europe the only test available for dehumidifiers is based in Switzerland and is not even widely used in the Swiss market, so choices are limited in Europe.
A pan European standard for dehumidifiers?
At Meaco we would like to see a pan European standard for dehumidifiers to make it easy for a customer to see which machines are better. Ideally we would like to see it not concentrate solely on energy efficiency because although this is obviously very important we feel that factors like noise, weight, humidistats and air flow are also vital to the user experience. A very energy efficient dehumidifier that sounds like Concorde taking off is no use to anyone!
If necessary Meaco are prepared to do our own thing and I think that as we move into 2014 you will see Meaco start to lead the way on this and put together a standard that we can apply to our dehumidifiers and test ourselves to provide transparency to our customers about the quality of our dehumidifiers. It will be interesting to see if anyone cares to follow.