I tried Swan’s new dehumidifier, and it dried an entire wash load in two hours

With running costs of just 7p per hour, this machine is a game-changer for drying clothes inside.

Swan dehumidifier with a white border around the image and two pink branches on each corner
(Image credit: Swan)
Woman & Home Verdict

The Swan dehumidifier is a game-changer for drying laundry. It’s simple to use, dries clothes quickly, and is incredibly cheap to run. Certain settings are noisier than I would like, and the purchase price isn’t cheap, but for how much easier it makes my life at this time of year - and will do for years to come - it’s an investment I’m happy to make.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Cheap to run

  • +

    Sleek and compact design

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Great moisture extraction

  • +

    Effective when drying clothes

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Expensive to buy

  • -

    Noisier than other models

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We are well and truly in the middle of the damp season, when temperatures drop and energy bills soar high. So what better time to put Swan's new dehumidifier to the test? 

Winter has arrived, and with it the age-old dilemma of trying to dry clothes inside. Like many people, I am trying to keep energy prices down and always looking for low-cost ways to keep the cold and damp at bay, hence why I've been looking at list after list of the best dehumidifiers, and keeping track of the best dehumidifier deals

So when I saw the appliance experts at Swan had released a new model, I had to try it out. This is what I thought.

Swan 20L Activair dehumidifier: was £249.99 now £191.99 | Robert Dyas 

Swan 20L Activair dehumidifier: was £249.99 now £191.99 | Robert Dyas 

With the capacity to remove 20 litres of water from the air in one 24-hour sitting, this dehumidifier from Swan is a great investment for the dampest of homes. And with this 23% off, you really cannot go wrong! 

Swan Activair Specifications

Swan 20L Activair

(Image credit: Swan)
  • RRP: £249.00 
  • Tank Capacity: 4 litres 
  • Maximum extraction potential: 20 litres per day
  • Size: 34.2 cm x 25.1 cm x 56.1 cm
  • Weight: 15KG

First impressions

The first thing I noticed about this dehumidifier was how easy it was to use. Upon opening the box I saw the machine had its four wheels already fitted, had an easy-to-remove plastic covering, and even came with the optional drainage pipe - something we’ve not seen from other dehumidifiers. It's worth noting the machine, when delivered, is heavy, and requires two people to safely unpack it. 

It’s a little larger than some other dehumidifiers I’ve seen, such as the Meacodry Arete One (around 10cm shorter and 5 kg lighter), but the design is sleek and its wheels make it easy to move around the house. It also comes with a continuous draining function, allowing you to leave it extracting without worrying about overflow. 

Set up is as simple as removing all the protective plastic and plugging in. Once switched on, using it was clear from the user-friendly manual. There aren't many buttons and settings on the soft-touch control panel, so it's not confusing and only took around 10-minutes and a read-through of the manual to know everything about the machine. The buttons themselves are large and easy to read, with a large bright LED display screen showing the numbers. 

Picture of the front and back of the dehumidifier

Pictures of the front (L) and the back (R) of the dehumidifier with its fan fin open on top. 

(Image credit: Emily Smith)

How I tested it

The second I received this dehumidifier, I put it in our living room, which doubles as our spare room. I use my kitchen diner as a hosting room, so the living room is often used to store laundry and is often filled with clothes drying on multiple airers. The room is around 11-square feet and has very high ceilings. 

Usually, in that room there are around two to three loads of washing, from the four adults I share the house with, drying at one time which means it gets damp quickly. Before the dehumidifier graced our home, the washing would take upwards of two days to dry and even after that would still hold dampness to the touch. However, as soon as I installed the machine, the drying time went from 48 hours to 5 hours. I made sure to test it against even the most stubborn of fabrics, but even bedding, denim and towels were completely dry within 6 hours. 

After trying out different timer lengths, I found that setting it on for 6 hours in the morning around 8 am, central in the room with airers meant I could come home from work and the clothes would be dry and ready to fold away. 

How well does the Swan Activair 20L Dehumidifier perform?


Overall, this is an impressive dehumidifier, however I found it to be noisier than I would have liked. When the fan mode is on high, the dehumidifier makes a whirring noise at around 45dB, which, for context, is slightly quieter than the noise of a dishwasher. But on a low setting is much more subtle. Either way, it would It be distracting if you’re in the same room, especially if trying to work or sleep. 


The capacity of this machine is one of its main selling points, with the potential to extract 20 litres of water in one 24-hour sitting. The water tank can only hold four litres before it needs emptying, but the machine comes with a pipe which can be fitted to allow for continuous drainage. However the pipe is only 30cm long, so won't stretch far. 

the water tank being removed from the back

(Image credit: Emily Smith)


One of the Swan dehumidifier's features is its 24-hour timer function. When running out of the door to work, or hanging washing on the airer on an evening, having a machine that has a timer provides peace of mind you need. This dehumidifier is a refrigerant model, which means there is a metal plate within the machine that is cooled, the moisture from the air condenses on this plate and as it builds up the water drips into the water tank. With this model specifically, should the water tank become full during any unattended hours then the machine is designed to automatically switch off, so there's no chance of rooms flooding.

Unique features

The auto-shut-off with the Swan dehumidifier is greatly appreciated in my household. As a busy professional, I have forgotten on occasion to empty the tank, which with a lot of other models would mean puddles in our living room. However, because of the Swan’s auto-shut-off mode, as soon as the tank is full, the machine stops and won’t start again until it is emptied. 

Energy use

Running at an impressive 7p per hour, the Swan dehumidifier is powerful and efficient, so much so you don’t have to panic about running up your energy bills when using it (unlike tumble dryers). So if you're looking for how to save money this winter, a cost-effective dehumidifier like this one may be a good solution. 

One of the reasons for this efficiency is its smart settings. You can choose the optimal humidity for a room, and the dehumidifier will keep extracting until this level is reached and then cease, so will not stay on longer than needed. Keeping the fan speed setting on low when not drying clothes is another helpful way of keeping costs down and the damp away.


This machine comes with a two-year warranty, and whilst it’s not as long as some other models we’ve reviewed, it is still a respectable length of time. The Swan website does offer the option to extend its warranty should you want peace of mind for a little longer. 

the top of the dehumidifiers control console with all its functions

(Image credit: Emily Smith)

Who is the Swan Activair right for?

One of the surprising drawbacks of this model is its room size suitability. Despite being a large machine with a powerful motor, for best use it should be in rooms no larger than 16-square-feet. 

With its operational temperature range at 5-35 degrees Celsius, it may not fare well in any less-insulated areas during the winter months. Although it does have an auto-defrost feature, should it reach especially cold temperatures around the 5℃ mark, it won’t freeze up. 

I can confidently say this dehumidifier is for anyone who has a lot of washing, or struggles to get laundry dry in winter. With numerous adults in my house, it can be difficult to stay on top of all the damp washing, but this dehumidifier has meant my drying times are cut in half and I no longer need to fight over airers. 

Is it storage friendly?

Although the dehumidifier is quite heavy, the wheels make it effortless to move around and store if needed. There is also a handle on each side of the machine which makes lifting simpler too, although it is around 15kg so I'd recommend getting an extra hand if you’re lifting it anywhere particularly far. Due to its sleek design and minimalist aesthetic, the dehumidifier can be wheeled into the corner of a room without disrupting your furnishings too much, your Japandi interior aesthetic will stay intact. 

mans hand demonstrating the handles on the dehumidifier

(Image credit: Swan)

Should you buy the Swan Activair dehumidifier?

I’d tried several solutions to prevent condensation on windows and dry clothes indoors, and after checking what I wish I'd known before I bought a dehumidifier, I was sold on buying one. But should you buy the Swan Activair?

Despite the louder-than-average fan and short power cord, I can highly recommend this dehumidifier. With its impressive 20-litre water extraction limit and 24-hour timer setting, this machine has made a massive difference to my home's laundry routine, so much so I couldn't live without now. Knowing it will turn off either once the water tank is full or after the timer is done, is an invaluable convenience to me. 

It's expensive to buy, but a worthwhile investment when you take into consideration how much drying power it has at running costs of just 7p per hour. It makes a world of difference to drying clothes, and is a cheaper way to do so than a tumble dryer. 

There are more budget-friendly options available, such as the Russell Hobbs Compact 2-In-1 dehumidifier and air purifier, which has a limited maximum extraction, but is still great for smaller spaces. 

If you're still not sure whether this device is right for you, Amy Cutmore has shared what you need to know before buying a dehumidifier

Emily Smith
Digital lifestyle writer

Emily joined woman&home as a staff writer after finishing her MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2023. After writing various health and news content, she now specialises in lifestyle and home writing where she covers all things cleaning, interiors and homeowning.