Meaco already produce a host of purifying products so it comes as not surprise that they have produced a top-end dehumidifier such as the 20L. It faces some stiff competition from other well established names in the home dehumidifier market such as EcoAir and Ebac, and for its higher price tag compared to standard dehumidifiers we’re expecting great things from this unit.
Meaco 20L – Overview
The Meaco 20L derives its name from its powerful ability to suck up to 20 litres of water from your home each day, and positions itself nicely in the upper spectrum of dehumidifiers. It measures 26cm deep by 56cm tall by 35cm wide, but don’t be dissuaded by its larger proportions, it is a well thought out, powerful machine that is very popular – for good reason.
Featuring only a blue stripe around the edges of the machine to break up the white plastic it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing of machines we’ve seen. But its is the performance that counts – an area the 20L does not lack in.
Just like the device itself the collection tank is also on the large side and can hold 3.5 litres of water before it needs emptying. This is about as large as they come and is getting on for double the capacity of most units. The advantage here is that you will need to empty the tank less often. This is a real plus when you first use the unit and need to get a damp under control because this is the time when the most water is collected. The tank slides out of the back of the unit using a well proportioned grip and also features an anti-spill lid on the top to make sure you don’t spill any water on your way to empty it.
There is also a water collection window on the tank. The frustrating thing is that it is located on the back of the unit. This means (as we nearly always have dehumidifiers tucked away in corners) you need to spin the unit around or lean over the back to see it. Mounting it on the side or front as most other manufacturers do would have been a bit more convenient. But the castors on the base make this much less of an issue (more on those later).
Around the rear of the unit is a removable anti-bacterial air filter that kills germs on contact as damp air is pulled through the machine. As with most dehumidifiers the filter will need cleaning periodically which can be done easily with a vacuum cleaner. It is worth pointing out that you can’t use water on these filters because it degrades the germicidal effect.
Meaco 20L – Controls
For a top end dehumidifier the 20L does not disappoint when it comes to controls and features we’d expect to see. The control panel consists of 4 push buttons located on a convenient top mounted bezel. We’ll take a quick look at each button and what it does so you can get a very good idea of what you can expect from the 20L.
The first button on the panel controls dehumidifying options. Pressing the button toggles the machine through 4 settings allowing you to reach 40%, 60% and 80% relative humidity (RH) levels respectively before inbuilt humidistat causes the machine to switch itself off. The fourth setting is not controlled by the humidistat and aims to reach 35% RH. This mode (denoted by two shirts) is often referred to as ‘laundry mode’ and used help dry washing indoors, tackling excessive damp patches quickly or even for drying your bathroom after showering. Although this setting does aim for a low relative humidity it will not over dry the air to the point where it becomes uncomfortable.
The remaining 3 settings are what you would most often choose on regular day-to-day use. Meaco recommend using the 60% setting as the most adequate to keep your home comfortably dry and is enough to keep damp, mould and condensation at bay. Although during colder periods, when the outside temperature is below 5°C the 40% setting (shown as three water drops) is the most effective. Finally there is a low power option at 80% RH (denoted by a single water drop) although this outside of the ideal relative humidity for UK homes of around 50% and is powerful enough to prevent mould growth or condensation forming – we recommend not using this option because you probably won’t get the results you are hoping for.
The settings above are managed by what Meaco calls a ‘control logic operating system’. This simple but ingenious piece of software controls the operation of the unit permitting it to run only when it is needed – making this device a great money saver. When the desired humidity level has been reached this device will switch itself. After 30 minutes have elapsed it will switch on the fan to briefly sample the ambient air. If the humidity level has crossed the desired threshold the device will power up again to reduce it. If not it will simply go to sleep for another 30 minutes before sampling the air again.
The second button along the panel is the timer button. You have 4 options: allowing you to run the machine for 1,2,4 and 8 hours. Most commonly the timer is used along with the ‘laundry’ mode to provide a convenient way of switching off the device after an allotted time has passed to help keep running costs low. Although we wouldn’t recommend using this with the other drying mode settings because the humidistat is already turning the machine on and off when required.
The third button gives you two options to control the fan speed – high and low. This is a great feature to see and will allow you some control over the noise produced by the unit. The lower speed is fine for most daily applications and keeps the unit to a much quieter hum. Although I would recommend the higher speed to help with drying washing and quickly dealing with problem damp areas.
Finally we reach the power button which is surrounded by a small bank of 3 lights. Each light shows you what the machine is doing and if it needs attention. The bottom most light is the ‘tank full’ light. Not only does this illuminate but it also issues a beep that will sound for about 5 seconds when the tank is full. We particularly liked this feature because it is very easy to not notice when a dehumidifier stops. You cannot always hear the hum or you might become accustomed to it and not notice when it ceases. A short and sharp few beeps is a good reminder to empty the tank – especially handy if you need it to dry your washing.
The next two lights indicate the operational state of the unit. The first, marked with a single drop, lets you know the unit is drying the air. The second ties into a very impressive auto defrost function that allows the unit to operate into relatively low temperatures for a compressor dehumidifier – which are sometimes be prone to freezing up. To prevent this Meaco have introduced a feature that periodically stops the unit for 7 minutes every 25 minutes in lower temperatures to allow the unit time to defrost. This keeps its efficiency high and it another way this machine stays economical.
Weighing in at 11.8Kg the 20L isn’t the lightest device on the market (however most of this type are still around the 10Kg-11kg mark) but for unit as powerful as this it comes as no surprise. To help with portability Meaco have mounted sturdy folding carry handle on the top to give a good hold when lifting it. It also comes complete with some castors on the base of the unit that are discretely hidden behind a low level skirt to make moving even easier should you need to move it between rooms on the same floor. The weight of the unit can be attributed, in the most part, to its powerful compressor unit making this device effective enough to work in homes of up to 5 bedrooms and extract up to 20 litres of water per day – it is one of the most impressive water extraction rates we’ve seen.
If you’ve read any of our other reviews you will have seen us mention the major pitfall of compressor dehumidifiers: they are noisy to run. The 20L is no exception to this it runs at a rather noisy 46dB – so you won’t want to use it a room you spend a lot of time in. It is better placed in your hallway or landing where the hum will be a lot less noticeable. But this is normal for most units of this power. With a downside there is usually an upside and in this case it is running cost. A compressor device such as this will only cost around 2-3p an hour to run (depending upon your electrical tariff) and its humidity sensor will ensure it will not run 24/7 – making this device very cost effective. And because it lowers the humidity in your home you should also find it becomes easier to heat because it takes more energy to heat damp air. These two factors alone should allow you to see a reduction in your heating bill over the winter months.
What We Think
Powerful performance, low running costs and inbuilt ‘smart’ settings make this dehumidifier on par with its biggest rival the EcoAir DC202. And, its ability to deal with damp issues in anything from small to slightly larger houses definitely puts this unit on the top of our list as one of the best we’ve reviewed.
Next Review: Ebac 3850e