Meaco 20L Low Energy Dehumidifier review – Great with a few niggles

Meaco 20L Platinum RunningWe have gone through several dehumidifiers over the years, many of which either failed or got too noisy.  This time I carried out extensive research, including reading many reviews and use feedback.  Based on various user reviews such as on Amazon, most report the Meaco Platinum series as quiet running and energy efficient.  Meaco is also one of the few manufacturers that state realistic extraction figures, i.e. 20°C @ 60% RH.  Most other manufacturers only report 30°C @ 80% RH or higher – Sure, if you want to dehumidify a greenhouse!

I purchased this machine through Amazon and had no issue with the shipment.  I already tried a desiccant dehumidifier, but found it far too power hungry.  While it can function as an economical space heater, this heat is of no benefit during the summer.   Our house also rarely dips below 18°C.

Our previous dehumidifier, a German made Trotec 75s served as well for about 4 years.  However, it had several drawbacks including continuously running its fan, short cycle runtimes and droning excessively.  In the final year, the droning noise got excessive to the point that I ran it on a timer.  Finally, I decided to sell it as it simply got too noisy to operate with anyone home.

First impressions

When I switched the Meaco dehumidifier on for the first time, I waited for the familiar compressor hum.  To my surprise, it was already running, but barely audible through the fan noise.  For the first few weeks, it gave off a plastic odour, like a new car smell.  It also gave off a brief swamp-like smell during the first few minutes each time it came on.  Both smells have since ceased.

The machine came with a HEPA filter that fits snug in the rear air intake.  After the first few days of operation, I noticed the dehumidifier did not collect as much water as the Trotec 75s for the equivalent runtime.  However, when I removed the HEPA filter to check its impact, the water collection rate improved dramatically.

This Meaco Platinum 20 litre dehumidifier is larger than our previous Trotec 75s 24 litre dehumidifier.  Personally, I would prefer it in black as the white finish clearly stands out wherever it is placed.   I’m sure a black finish would make a good selling feature as most dehumidifiers are only available in white.

Running operation

This is the quietest dehumidifier I have used to date, particularly on its low fan setting.  After several months of use, it now makes a light droning hum each time it switches on.  This fades after a few minutes, leaving a sound like a fan heater or column fan.  Personally, I find this unobtrusive during the day and leave it set to high fan speed.  Like most refrigerant dehumidifiers, it makes a noticeable thud sound when its compressor cuts in and out.

Its humidity readout reads 5-10% higher than several hygrometers I have.  The higher the room temperature, the more it seems to drift.  I mainly keep it set at 60%, which brings the humidity level to around 55% during the winter and 50% during the warmer summer days.  This lower humidity level reduces the stickiness feel on warm humid days.

When it reaches 3% below the target humidity level, its compressor cuts out.  The fan continues running for about 10 minutes and switches off.  After about 30 minutes its fan starts up again to sample the air.  If the humidity level is over 3% above the set level after 30 seconds, it starts the compressor.  If the humidity level is low enough, the fan only runs for about a minute.  This process repeats roughly every 30-minute interval.

Meaco 20L Platinum HEPA installedFor overnight operation, I run it in air purification mode.  I insert the HEPA filter at the back, set the mode to ‘AP’ and the fan speed to low.  In the morning, I remove the HEPA filter and set the mode back to 60.   The daytime dehumidification operation is sufficient for keeping the humidity under control.  Removing the HEPA improves the collection rate and energy efficiency as discussed below.

Extraction and energy usage

Meaco 20L WattsAs with other compressor dehumidifiers, the collection rate varies depending on the room temperature and humidity level.  At around 22°C 50%, it collects about 300ml per hour on its high fan setting.  At around 20°C 65% while drying laundry, the collection rate climbs to about 400ml per hour.  These rates are based on short continuous test runs of 1-2 hours with the readings from a room hygrometer.   After several tests with and without the HEPA filter, the HEPA filter drops the collection rate by roughly a third.

Meaco 20L Power FactorWith a watt meter, the power consumption varies between 230 and 250 watts.  This is about 25% less than the Trotec 75s despite similar extraction rates.   It is also about 1/3 the consumption of a desiccant dehumidifier for the equivalent extraction in heated rooms.  The dehumidifier appears to have power factor correction, great for those with solar panels or running off grid.  In fan only operation such as Air Purification mode, it consumes about 20 watts.

Its energy efficiency clearly stands out during intermittent operation.  Let’s say the humidity level remains low enough to not require any dehumidification.  This dehumidifier will run its fan twice a hour for a minute, totalling 48 minutes for a 24-hour day. This gives a power consumption of under 0.02kWh.  The Trotec 75s runs its fan non-stop consuming 30 watts, giving a 24-hour power consumption of 0.72kWh.  That power consumption is the equivalent to the Meaco machine dehumidifying for 3 hours.

I have yet to experience how well it performs in cold rooms.

Emptying, cleaning and ease of use

Once its water container is full, it shuts off and makes 5 loud beeps.  Unfortunately, there is no option to disable the beeper, one reason I run it as an air purifier overnight.  The water container holds 5.9 litres based on measuring the water after it flashes the bucket full light.

Meaco 20L Platinum BucketThe container has a slopped base, however, it does not spill when gently setting it down. It is the easiest I’ve come across to remove with a recessed grip on the left and right.  The container has a handle on the top that lifts.  As shown on the right, it has a cover to reduce splashing and has a slot to pour the water out.  Once empty, it slides into the dehumidifier as easily as closing a drawer.

The air filter is very easy to clean as the mesh is integrated in the rear panel.  This lets me vacuum the dust off the back panel without having to remove it.  The panel easily lifts off to access the HEPA filter.   With the panel off, the HEPA filter slots in at the back of the dehumidifier.  I periodically vacuum the HEPA filter to help prolong its life.

Meaco 20L Platinum HandleIt has four castors and the machine swivels reasonably well even on carpet.  The top louvre automatically lifts upon powering up.  It can swivel back and forth by about 45 degrees with the automatic louvre button.  It closes the louvre when the machine it put into standby.  There is a large carry handle that lifts on top to reposition the machine.

Timer operation and power cuts

The dehumidifier has a timer feature that counts in 1-hour increments.  This can be useful for unattended use such as drying laundry.  Once the timer reaches zero, the machine goes into standby and remains off.

Unlike manual dehumidifiers such as our previous Trotec 75s, this machine loses its settings when it loses power.  Once it receives power again, it remains off in standby mode, ruling out the ability to use an external timer.  Similarly, after a power cut, the user needs to switch it on, set the fan speed and target humidity level.

A few niggles

This dehumidifier performs very well at its main job – Maintains the humidity without periodic adjustments to conserve energy usage.  However, I have come across a few minor niggles I think Meaco could fix or improve upon with their next revision.

Beeper – The machine makes a loud beep with each key press and beeps 5 times when it is full.  It would be great if I could switch this off in the evening.

Meaco 20L Platinum IdleDisplay – When the dehumidifier is idle, it reads meaningless high levels from inside the machine as shown on the right.  I would prefer it held readout from its last operation.  For example, if it read 61% during the last air sample operation, it should continue showing 61% until the next time it spins the fan.

Louvre – The dehumidifier only closes its louvre in standby mode.  It remains open while idle with the fan off as shown above.  It even leaves it open when its bucket is full.  For aesthetic reasons and to keep the dust out, I would prefer it shut when the fan is not running.

Children – While the dehumidifier has childlock to protect the buttons, the main issue I had with children is that they close the louvre.  Unlike the desiccant dehumidifier I had, this dehumidifier does not automatically reopen the louvre.  However, there is a small gap around the louvre to let some air through while shut.

HEPA filter – As mentioned above, the HEPA filter cuts the collection rate by about a third.  One improvement would be to offer a third higher speed to compensate for the air flow reduction.  For example, if the machine is drying laundry in a closed room, the added noise will unlikely be an issue.

Other thoughts

This dehumidifier has a few other oddities and features that I thought I’ll mention.

Fan speed – When the dehumidifier shuts its compressor off, it disables the fan speed button.  To change the fan speed, I need to change the mode to Air Purification mode temporarily.  Alternatively, if I put the machine into and out of standby mode, I can change the fan speed.

Air flow – With the louvre facing up, the air flows out towards the right.  For example, if I stand directly on the right of the machine, the air flows towards my face.  With the louvre oscillating, the airflow varies between straight up and forward about 30 degrees, again biased towards the right.

Meaco 20L Platinum Water LevelFill level – There is a transparent strip on the water container that shows the water level, as shown on the right.  It needs to collect about 2 litres before the water level reaches the bottom of the strip.  The machine cuts out when the level reaches the upper tip.

Coil colour – The rear evaporator coil on my machine is a brass colour.  The condenser coil I can see through the top fan vent has a blue colour.  In online video reviews of this dehumidifier, these colours were the other way around.  I asked Meaco for curiosity as I thought it may be a defect.  They came back stating that the rear condenser coil can be blue, silver or golden colour.

Conclusion

The Meaco Platinum 20 litre performs the main task of controlling the humidity level very well and certainly is the most energy efficient dehumidifier I’ve owned.  Its noise is no more obtrusive than a fan heater or column fan and lacks the loud droning noise of some compressor dehumidifiers.  It appears to be well built, a lot easier to empty and clean than any of my previous dehumidifiers.

The HEPA filter is a nice bonus, however, it knocks about a third off the dehumidification performance.  As a work around, I recommend running it in air purification mode overnight with the HEPA filter, then remove it during the day to run in dehumidification mode.  Unlike some air purifiers, the replacement HEPA filters have a reasonable price.

I also recommend watching this review on YouTube, carried out by a roofing trader.  This person shows a tour around the machine, including noise and air flow demonstrations.  This video was one factor that led to me purchasing this dehumidifier as most video reviews do not include any real world tests.

21 thoughts on “Meaco 20L Low Energy Dehumidifier review – Great with a few niggles”

    1. The Trotec 110 HEPA has about twice the dehumidification capacity rating (35L/day) of this Meaco (20L/day). If you have a large house (e.g. 4+ bedroom) or plan using it to dry laundry, I suggest going for the Trotec 110. The Meaco on the other hand is a more compact, lighter and likely quieter running.

      Similarly for the HEPA feature, I would suggest going for the Trotec. The Meaco switches off the fan when not dehumidifying to save electricity, but with the side effect of no air purification until the humidity level rises. While it does have an air purification mode to run the fan continuously, it does not dehumidify in that mode. The Trotec 110 on the other hand runs the fan continuously, in turn continuously purifying the air through the HEPA filter and dehumidifying as required.

      So far I have yet to experience a return process with Meaco. I have returned a faulty Trotec 75S several years ago and the found the aftersales to be very good. Within two e-mails, they e-mailed me a prepaid UPS label and had it collected back to Germany and the replacement came a few weeks later. That replacement worked well for 4 years. Although it never gave a problem dehumidifying, I sold it after the 4th year as it gradually got noisy, vibrating excessively.

      1. Thank you for such quick response.

        Meaco have a 2 year warranty, where as Trotec is only 1 year. Power consumption as well is high for Trotec, nearly double of Meaco. Should that matter? Are they reliable?

        1. The warranty on Trotec is 2 years for new products for products purchased through their website, https://www.trotec24.co.uk/info/gtcb2c.html Just make sure it’s not a used product (what they class Class 1 or 2.)

          The power consumption of compressor dehumidifiers is generally proportional to the extraction rate. While the Trotec has about twice the wattage rating of the Meaco, it will take about half the time to extract the equivalent amount of water. This means that the overall power consumption will be similar as it will operate the compressor less often than the Meaco. On the other hand, the Trotec’s idle power consumption will be higher as its fan runs continuously to purify the air, which is how most dedicated air purifiers operate.

          It’s hard to tell about the reliability of the Trotec 110. Their product reliability seems vary across the range, with the higher end models faring better (i.e. less negative reviews on Amazon). With Meaco, there are just a handful of negative reviews about it failing. I was unlucky with a Delonghi DES-16E dehumidifier that failed just after the 2 year warranty and it was quite an expensive purchase (€260 from what I recall around 2010).

      2. You are very thorough with your advice and certainly have expertise with dehumidifier. Thank you… Will go either for Trotec ttk 71 or 110 Hepa, price difference is double, will keep you updated.. thank you.

        1. Hi, recently got a Trotec 110 HEPA. Loaned it to a friend who have construction work at their home and needed to dry the walls and floor to go ahead with wooden floor works. Upon return I noticed that the HEPA filter has turned very gray probably due to dust from all the works. Can I wash the filter or does it need replacement? Please advise.

          1. Unfortunately most HEPA filters are not washable, much like paper. What you can try is vacuum off as much dust as you can, such as with its dusting/brush tool. If the air flow seems weaker than before or gives off a steady dusty odour, I recommend replacing the HEPA filter. As the HEPA filter collects much finer dust than the regular dust filter, there should be minimal build-up inside the machine. So the dehumidifier itself should be completely fine.

            Generally, industrial dehumidifiers designed for such work use bare cooling coils that can be easily washed after a job. Domestic dehumidifiers have aluminium fins that help improve extraction rates in a smaller size machine, but in turn require filtration to prevent the fins getting clogged with dust.

          2. Hi Sean,

            Hope you had good Christmas. How can I check if the dehumidifier is damaged? Think HEPA filter needs replacing. I have cleaned as much dust as possible, still think there is some dust on fan blower blades.. as it is still under warranty, thinking of bringing back to shop for check up.. please advise.

          3. You can try running the dehumidifier without the HEPA filter, as long as the regular dust filter is in place. Most dehumidifiers without HEPA filters tend to get dust build-up within the machine after a year or two, so as long as it appears to functioning fine and collects water, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. As the HEPA filter is a consumable item (as with dedicated air purifiers), the warranty unlikely covers it.

            Air purifier HEPA filters typically cost around €20-€30, so it will probably cost around that for the proper replacement. It would be worth explaining this situation with your friend to see if they could cover the cost as they probably would have spent a lot more if they hired an industrial dehumidifier.

  1. Hi. I’ve really appreciated stumbling across your site here and how thorough you’ve been in talking about dehumdifiers. Have you any experience with the Woods brand for dehumidifiers and hygrometers? I read that there’s a some kind of salt test that can be done to determine how far off (+/-) a person’s digital hygrometer is. But I am not sure if that test is, in itself, accurate. Any advice/thoughts? Thanks a bunch!

    1. Unfortunately, Wood’s don’t seem to supply to the Irish or UK markets. I have not heard about them until you mentioned, so had a quick look through their website product information.

      Going by their product descriptions and specs, the Wood’s MRD20 would be their nearest equivalent to the Meaco dehumidifier I reviewed above. It has roughly the same capacity rating, very good energy efficiency rating, louvre for laundry drying and similar dimensions and weight. If you need air purification, their AD20 Hybrid has similar features plus a HEPA filter and 5 fan speeds. It is a little larger and heavier than the MRD20.

      To check the accuracy of a hygrometer with salt: Wet some salt in a bottle cap or similar item. Place it along with the hygrometer in a small clear sealed container, such as a plastic food container. Then place it in a cupboard or drawer overnight. The hygrometer should show 75% if it’s accurate. This YouTube video shows an example, testing multiple cheap hygrometers bought from China off eBay. Indeed I bought five of these along with 10 LR44 batteries (2 per hygrometer) as it meant I could cherry pick the best of the bunch. It turned out that all 5 I bought were spot on, great for placing around the house. 😉

      1. Thanks so much for such a fast reply. We thought about the Woods AD20 Hybrid but decided against it because we read that ionization isn’t as good as various manufacturers tout it to be. In the end, we chose a Woods DS28F which is supposed to be designed to last a long time. We wanted a machine with a mold filter (it’s not HEPA, but they say it captures mold spores, which I’m allergic to) and the 6-year warranty instead of just the standard 1-2 year warranty. Here in Scandinavia, Woods seems to be a very popular brand. We’ll see how it goes. I did that salt test with the Woods hygrometer we bought. It was a little funny because it did gradually make its way up to 75% over the course of some hours. I was busy with a reno project and kept forgetting to take it out of the container for a couple of days. So on the 2nd day, it was reading 76% and then 77% on the 3rd day. I guess I should consider it as being 2% higher then, right?

        1. A 6-year warranty is the longest I’ve heard of on a dehumidifier, a good sign for their build quality. That model also has a huge water container. With the Meaco brand, they charge about 1/4 the dehumidifier price to extend to five years and indeed many other dehumidifiers around here only provide the standard 1-2 year warranty.

          For the salt test, I would go with the 75% or 76% (1% above) reading. Generally hygrometers show the proper temperature and humidity reading after a few hours. As wet salt starts to crystalise and go lumpy after a while, I wonder if this was affecting the reading after the 2nd day.

  2. Hi Sean, thank you for this excellent review! I’m considering buying this one or the 12L, do you have any review of that one or experience with it? What are the main advantages of the 20l in your opinion? I need it basically only for a 20m2 bedroom and to dry laundry. Kind regards, Annemarie

    1. So far I have not used their smaller 12 litre model, but reckon it should perform similar apart from the lower extraction rate. When comparing the two specifications, the smaller one does not have a lower fan speed or a water level indicator, but is is lighter to carry.

      If it’s mainly for keeping the bedroom dry rather than the whole house, the small one should be adequate even if you just run it during the day. However, if you intend drying large loads of laundry (e.g. 4+ family or a large load once a week), the 20 litre model would be much quicker at this task. For example, with our 20L model, a 5kg load takes around 6-8 hours to dry, with jeans taking a little longer. The 12L model would probably take around 10-12 hours, such as overnight drying.

  3. Hi Sean, just a quick comment to say thanks for your in depth review of the Meaco 20L Low Energy. I’d read several reviews then came across yours which told me all I needed to know in ‘real’ terms. Regarding your thoughts on children and the output louvre, within hours of setting ours up our 18 month old was investigating and you guessed it, pressing buttons and closing the louvre which was to be expected.

    The child lock feature of pressing the two buttons works well and I found that putting the louvre on ‘sway’ setting before you child lock the buttons helps, because our toddler would still come along and press buttons (with no effect to the operation) and then he’s push the louvre down, but then it would just carry on with it’s ‘swaying’ motion. He’d try flattening it a few times but soon got bored and in fact almost always ignores the unit now he’s used to it. So the trick is to put the louvre in motion before you child lock it to ensure normal operation of your unit.

    As for the performance, the Meaco 20L is without a doubt a beast at sucking water out of ‘thin air’… the amount it collects from our home is incredible and has brought down our condensation issues to virtually nothing, at the same time wiping out the black mould problems we were experiencing in some room corners and on window frames. Knowing the air we breath is being cleaned by the HEPA filter is a welcome bonus, it may be placebo effect, but I’m sure I feel the air quality in the house is better and not so stuffy.

    Thank you once again for your review, it meant I spent my money in the right place and got the results I was looking for.

  4. Hi Sean, thanks for your review it’s one of best I could find online and since we both live in Ireland it was most informative for me.

    I’m facing purchase of my first dehumidifier and I’m confused with options for my two bed apt. Have three to choose from. Meaco 12L Low, EcoairMK5Clasic, Meaco DD8L Portable.

    Did you had a chance to test your Meaco in cold room temperatures. I’m wonder how well it extracts water from air in winter when temperatures go below 18 or even 15 degrees? I red that in those condition defrost option kicks in making Meaco much less energy efficient and water extract is poor. Do you have any experience of that?

    1. With my unit, it goes in defrost mode below about 21C. I suspect it may be a fault developing with mine as I don’t recall it defrosting even when the room was around 18C after I bought it. The extraction rate does drop significantly once it performs periodic defrost cycles. Although it’s been a while since I measured what it extracts, I reckon it’s around 150ml per hour below about 20C 60% RH and this rate will of course drop the colder it gets.

      Even in defrost mode, the energy efficiency is still good, however, as desiccant dehumidifiers can maintain the extraction rate at low temperatures, they do indeed extract a lot better than regulator dehumidifiers at low temperatures. For example, going by Meaco’s technical info, the Meaco 12L removes 1.44 litres per day max at 15C 60% RH, which works out at just 60ml per hour, using 125W of power. The Meaco DD8L removes 7.5 litres per day max at 20C 60% RH and likely maintains that 15C due to being a desiccant machine. That works out at 312ml per hour, using 650W of power. This means the Meaco 12L would need to run for 5.2 hours to extract what the DD8L can remove in 1 hour. So the although the DD8L consumes a lot more power, the power consumption per litre works out about the same at that temperature, i.e. 5.2 hours x 125W = 650Wh, the same as running the Meaco DD8L for 1 hour.

      If you use an electric heater when it gets cool, go for the Ecoair MK5 classic or the Meaco DD8L. On their high setting, these emit heat similar to a 1kW heater and provide background heat on their lower setting. You will probably save on heating cost by not having to run an electric heater or boost the central heating.

      1. Thanks Sean, I decided to go for DD8L Zambezi. Mainly because it has good water extraction at around 20C and branded ionizer built in for purifying air. I’ll be using it in temperatures not more than 16 to 21C. That’s recommended room temperature for my little one who is arriving soon. Zambezi has opinion of powerful machine but for sure is not a leader when it comes to energy saving. Well, I hope with the heat it can produce it will contribute to lower my winter heating bill. I shall see soon how it performs. Thanks again for your tips, very helpful indeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *