The Meaco DD8L Zambezi astounded us. It is the latest in a very impressive line of desiccant dehumidifiers made by UK company Meaco. It features a myriad of minor improvements which, when combined, really result in something quite special. All of these features are focused around energy efficiency and helping make this device one of the most intuitive and easy to use we’ve ever seen.
We think you’ll be impressed by the Zambezi, as we were. And, after only a few uses when you begin to see how its ‘smart’ technology helps not only makes this unit stand apart from the competition, but also, just how useful it is!
Zambezi – Overview
The Zambezi is a product of innovation. Meaco have listened, and responded to, the needs of their users. That’s why the DD8L Zambezi has been in secret development for 2 years as these user described improvements have been developed. The end result is that Meaco have managed to create a unit which removes virtually all of the hassles which come with using a dehumidifier – all based on consumer feedback.
The Zambezi is a powerhouse of unit and, as such, is not the smallest dehumidifier available. It measures 35.8cm wide by 20cm deep by 54.8cm high and weighs a very light 7.8 kilograms. When you combine this with its high quality, folding carry handle it literally feels like carrying a bag of shopping – it is so easy to carry!
This reviewer found it no problem at all to not only pick up, but move up and down flights of stairs – making this device incredibly portable. This is worth mentioning because some other units, such as those made by Ebac, are very difficult to carry and are incredibly heavy and at some point you will need to move the unit across your home.
A Quick Story About The Zambezi’s Name
But before we move onto the features of this dehumidifier we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a little bit about how the Zambezi got its name. The name Zambezi refers to an Elephant orphan who was rescued in 2011 after being discovered, stranded in a swimming pool. Since then Zambezi has been cared for by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation in Zambia. To help this foundation protect more animals from the dangers presented by Man, Meaco have pledged to donate £2 from every sale of the Zambezi to this foundation.
In fact, when opening the Zambezi, you will notice the units namesake’s distinctive image both on the LCD display and on top of the dehumidifier – easily identifiable by his distinctive tuft of hair on the top of his head! Whilst this has no bearing on the performance of the dehumidifier it is still a nice story with a happy ending and it is great to see a company doing something responsible by helping to protect our planets endangered species.
Using The DD8L Zambesi – Controls
Mounted on top of the unit you’ll find the Zambezi’s controls. A simple ‘d-pad’ consisting of up, down, left and right buttons with a central power button is all you need to configure the unit.
Once the unit is powered-on (simply by pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds) it’s small LCD display springs into life and glows a bright blue colour – making it easy to read in any light.
Although the screen may appear initially confusing, with its myriad of icons, after a few button presses it becomes plainly obvious what each setting is and the machine is remarkably easy to configure. In fact we did it in less than minute – even without referring to the manual.
The left and right arrows move you through each setting and pressing the up or down arrow adjusts the selected setting respectively. Then, when you’ve finished tweaking, you can simply wait ten seconds for the display to leave edit mode or press the power button once.
You can adjust everything from setting the humidity level (in very handy 5% increments which give complete control over the relative humidity in your home), adjusting the swing of the louvre to activating the ionizer or setting the child lock (to prevent small fingers from tinkering with the settings!) The Zambezi comes with an impressive selection of settings to suit virtually everyones needs.
Lets take a quick look as some of the more prominent features:
Laundry+ Energy Saving System
For anyone who has owned a dehumidifier for any length of time, you will know that your dehumidifier is really helpful at removing the excess moisture creating by drying washing indoors. This speeds up the drying time of your clothes and helps prevent nasty condensation and mould.
To accommodate this common requirement the Zambezi includes a ‘laundry dry’ setting to dry your washing when it cannot be hung outside. But this setting really packs a punch thanks to its smart energy saving features and powerful louvre which blasts your clothes with warm, dry air. The louvre can be adjusted to rotate automatically at virtually any angle or on a wide spread and it is incredibly effective. We tested this on heavier items of clothing such as thick sweaters and sweatshirts and found that it literally dried our clothes in half the time of our previous dehumidifier and, because of the air flow produced, made them smell much fresher.
But this is not a dumb feature either. The Zambezi knows when it should be using its dehumidifier or not and switches it on an off accordingly to save power. We were impressed to see this in action and could see on the LCD panel when this was taking place. Not only did this device dry our washing faster but Meaco claims it can use up to 600 watts less electricity doing it too!
When you have damp and mould in your home bacteria and spores in the air is a real concern. It can irritate asthma sufferers and is generally not healthy to inhale. To combat this the Zambezi features an ionizer technology usually reserved for use in hospitals. This technology is effective it can neutralize dust, dust mites, bacteria, spores, mould germs and odours over a whopping 10m radius. No other dehumidifier can match anywhere near this level of performance. The secret lies in a ceramic, high voltage ionizer which releases hydrogen and oxygen ions into the air to create a cleaner, healthier environment in your home.
Energy Saving Features – Meaco 20+ Control Logic
Not everyone knows what setting to configure their dehumidifier at for optimum results and we generally want the unit to get the job done without it running up a big energy bill. So, it is possible you may set too low a fan speed to deal with humidity. To combat this Meaco have introduced their 20+ logic system. This smart feature detects if the relative humidity has risen 20% above your desired threshold and then temporarily boosts the fan speed to bring the humidity under control before automatically reducing its speed to your desired setting.
We’ve seen this in action and it is very impressive because it means you don’t need to babysit your dehumidifier to make sure it’s getting the job done. You can literally set it and forget it – because it knows what to do!
We absolutely loved how smart the Zamebezi was when it came to feedback – thanks in-part to its impressive LCD display.
Even the ‘tank full’ indicator features a subtly smart system – which you’re sure to appreciate. In most dehumidifiers when the tank is full the system stops and alerts you that it needs emptying. The problem with this is that quite often the machine is still draining the water it has collected from the air into the water tank. Then, when you remove the tank, water flows out of the machine in a steady dribble which you have to mop up. This is NOT the case with the Zambesi. When the ample, 3 litre collection tank is full the Zambezi will ensure all of the water has finished draining from the machine before alerting you that the tank needs emptying. This prevents any small leaks or spills from occurring.
The unit will beep and the tank full icon will show on the LCD display. The tank is then simply slid out of the bottom of the unit and can be easily emptied. Our only gripe here is that it would have been nice if the tank had some kind of carry handle to make carrying it to the sink a little easier. However, there is even an anti-mould coating on the water tank to help keep it clean which is a very nice touch. You can also bypass the tank altogether using the supplied hose for continuous drainage should you not wish to empty it at all.
In addition to the tank alert system the Zambezi also features a nice monitoring system which keeps a check on the humidity whilst the machine is on standby mode. If the relative humidity climbs above 70% the screen will show the word ‘Hi’ to alert you that you need to power on the device to reduce the humidity levels to help prevent mould and damp patches.
As the name suggests the DD8L can extract up to 8 litres of water from your home every day. We placed the Zambezi in one of our problems rooms – the kitchen. We allowed two days worth of cooking and general use to occur without ventilation (which is common in the winter) or using any other kind of dehumidifier. Needless to say we had condensation on the windows, the odd patch of condensation on the walls and the air had a ‘clammy’ feel to it because of the humidity.
After placing the Zambezi on its medium fan speed setting and setting it to bring the humidity down to an incredibly low 40% (to really put it through its paces) we were shocked to see that it had not only dealt with every last bit of condensation it had also managed to collect full tank of water in only a few hours. This knocked our socks off! Especially since we used to have our previous dehumidifier running for full days at a time and it was still unable to get the condensation off the windows. The Zambezi took this in its stride and comfortably dealt with it in no time. In fact, with only occasional use over the past few days the condensation on the windows has completely gone – this is usually a permanent feature in the winter months.
What We Think About The Meaco DD8L Zambezi:
We could go on about the Zambezi for sometime because it is packed with useful features which are so intuitive you barely notice them (as it should be) but will certainly appreciate the results they deliver. The truth is, as with any industry, manufacturers get lazy and keep churning out the same old products again and again. Meaco have really tried to shake up the market here by introducing something different and in-tune with their users needs, and we think they have achieved this with the Zambezi.
We trialled this unit, as we mentioned, in a deliberately tough environment and the Zambezi excelled. Sure this device isn’t the cheapest around but it is well worth its price tag and, at the time of this review, we believe you’ll be hard pressed to find a better, more intuitive, dehumidifier for your home.