Skip to Content

Is an Air Conditioner the Same as a Dehumidifier?

This is a commonly asked question among many people. Since both machines perform the same function of reducing the humidity level of a given area, people tend to confuse the two. 

An air conditioner is not the same as a dehumidifier. The main difference is that the dehumidifier decreases the humidity level by drying the air and making it warmer, while the air conditioner removes humidity by cooling the air. 

This article will explain the differences between the two machines in terms of energy use, power consumption, cold and warm air movement, and humidity. It also covers how they both work so you can understand how they differ and which one is most preferred during different times and places. 

Is an Air Conditioner the Same as a Dehumidifier?

How does an air conditioner work?

An air conditioner’s main aim is to cool your home during hot summer days. It mainly converts the gas to liquid and repeats the same process. The air conditioner has three main parts: the condenser, the compressors, and the evaporator. The condenser and compressor are located outside while the evaporator is inside.

The cooling fluid reaches the compressor in the form of gas, which is squeezed, making the molecules to pack together. These fluids exit the compressor at high pressure as it becomes more relaxed. 

The fluid then goes to the evaporator through a small hole, and when the pressure drops, the liquid evaporates into a cold gas.

How do dehumidifiers work?

Most times, we tend to ignore the air in our households since it is invisible. A dehumidifier functions just like a vacuum cleaner as it sucks the air out of your home and takes the moisture out of it.

Is an Air Conditioner the Same as a Dehumidifier?

It then returns the air wholly changed as it removes the amount of water. The condensed humidity will dip into a collection tank that you have to empty regularly. It works in two steps: refrigeration, which includes cooling the air, and removing the moisture inside and absorption where moisture is used and absorbed into a drying material. 

What are the differences between an air conditioner and a dehumidifier?

Energy Use 

If you keep your air conditioner on for 24/7, then you will definitely get a higher power bill. Since there are a lot of types of both the machines, it is quite difficult to determine which one would be energy efficient. Both the air conditioner and the dehumidifier use a compressor, and they work the same way, so they will use about the same amount of electricity to operate. It is up to you to decide whether to use either of them.

While it is up to you to decide which one you want to choose, you have to consider some factors. Let’s say, for example, you live in a desert area. Buying a dehumidifier will be pointless since the air is already dry. Your best choice is to get an air conditioner which will save on energy and at the same, cool the air.

Power Consumption

If power consumption is considered, the dehumidifier is known for lower power consumption than the air conditioner. Power consumption depends on the type of machine being used. Most machines that use the latest technology are energy efficient, so you have to buy the latest one to have low power consumption.

You should get a dehumidifier that has a sensor of optimal fan speed and duration of the defrost cycle since it lowers your power consumption because of the inbuilt power-saving feature. Moreover, getting an air-conditioner inverter can also cut down your power bill.

Cold and Warm Air Movement

Air conditioners have a fan system that will assist you in circulating the room temperature air by cooling coils and pumping out the chilly air so that you can enjoy yourself during summer. 

Is an Air Conditioner the Same as a Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers, on the other hand, rarely care about the outside heat; this is because they have a fan that pulls the humid air and removes dry air afterward. They allow the hot air to get in during hot days making the room really uncomfortable. Air conditioners move the warm air outside while dehumidifiers bring warm air inside.


Both air conditioners and dehumidifiers help you solve your humidity problem, but they do it differently. They both condense moisture on their cooling coils. However, air conditioners, condensate moisture in a pan that will get out from the compressor and through a drainage tube or drip edge.

Dehumidifiers pull the water out of the air and place it to the reservoir with a hose attachment port for drainage. Most of them have automatic shut offs that prevent spillage that may happen if you forget to turn the machine off.

Can an air conditioner be used as a dehumidifier?

Air conditioners can dehumidify, but it is not their main job. The moisture gets sucked out of the air as a side effect of the cooling process. To be able to get how an air conditioner can be a dehumidifier, you need to know about the AC. The air conditioner works by using a chemical refrigerant that flows through the evaporator coils and cools the air. As it does so, it absorbs heat across your home.

A central air conditioner is more like a heat remover than an air cooler, although it gives the same end results. The refrigerant flows to the compressor and the condenser, which are located outside. As the refrigerant is compressed, it removes all the excess heat into the air outside before flowing back indoors to continue the cycle. 

Do you need a dehumidifier or an air conditioner?

This question is mostly asked during summer when the air in your home gets more humid and warm. First of all, it is important to understand the difference between the two, as discussed above. Your objective will determine which you should buy.  

A dehumidifier will remove excess humidity without causing the temperature to drop while an air conditioner will reduce humidity and also lower the temperature significantly. This means that dehumidifiers are greatly used in areas or periods where humidity is an issue and where cooling is not needed.

Is an Air Conditioner the Same as a Dehumidifier?

An air conditioner is best used when the main aim is for cooling, although it also acts as a dehumidifier. Many good portable air conditioners have a feature where you can separate the cooling and dehumidifying functions. This is actually a great feature as it saves you money and energy. You can also use the portable air conditioner as a dehumidifier during winter to keep you warm then switch to an air conditioner during summer to keep you cool.   


Even though these machines work differently during the general process of operation, people still think that they provide the same end result. They, however, have a similarity, which is, they help you remove excess moisture out of your home.

The AC unit helps you cool your home while the dehumidifier circles the same air without affecting the temperature. If you, therefore, want a cooling effect, you should go for the air conditioner. While winter starts, you can begin using the dehumidifier. It will be pointless to use the two machines at the same time as they both work against each other. 

To save on energy, money, and time, you can get yourself the portable air conditioners as it has both cooling and humidifying features.


  • Nicole Sutton

    Nicole Sutton is an enthusiastic writer and knowledgeable contributor to She offers a plethora of knowledge to the platform, with a background in environmental science and a profound curiosity with all things connected to temperature regulation. Nicole's interesting and informative writings assist readers in making informed decisions about home heating, cooling, and climate control.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We may also earn commissions if you purchase products from other retailers after clicking on a link from our site.