Meaco Arete One dehumidifier and air purifier (25l) full review
Dehumidifiers are not as common an appliance in the UK as you might imagine, especially given our damp, maritime climate. As the name suggests, a dehumidifier helps to remove moisture from the air in your home.
They’ve been growing in popularity since the start of the pandemic, as people stuck at home have become more conscious about indoor air quality.
Meaco was the most searched for dehumidifier brand in the UK in 2020. The Arete One is a completely new design for 2021 that's been in development for five years.
It currently comes in two sizes, the 20 litre and the 25 litre, although other, smaller models will become available later in the year. We're testing the 25 litre model, which is powerful and suitable for larger homes (up to five bedrooms) or very damp conditions, such as a garage or conservatory.
Arete One design & appearance
No one's ever going to say, "That's a handsome looking dehumidifier". They tend to be very generic looking appliances: white, squat and boxy.
The Arete One aims to be a little different. It was designed in London, in response to feedback from 2,000 customers on what they liked and disliked about their dehumidifiers. Meaco has taken time with the appliance and it's obviously thoughtfully put together.
The company is keen to point out that it's been designed specifically for use in the UK. Many dehumidifiers are built and used in Asia and they don't always work well with the limited space and lifestyle of UK homes, not to mention the cooler climate for which the Arete One is optimised. It will operate between 5° and 35°C.
Dehumidifiers are often designed to operate best in the middle of a room but the Arete One works perfectly when placed flush against a wall. That's so that UK users can stand them on a landing or a similar tight spot.
Plus, as people in the UK tend to leave their dehumidifiers out all year round, it’s designed to look more like a piece of furniture such as a cabinet than an appliance, with a curved body and its wheels concealed behind feet.
Aesthetically, it's not a Dyson-style revolution. The Arete doesn't look a million miles from a very upmarket recycling bin. But many of its best design features relate to ease of use, rather than appearance, and this is what makes it such a great appliance.
You can wheel the Arete One around but it also has a concealed carry handle so you can get it up the stairs if you need to. The 25 litre model measures 60cm x 35cm x 25 cm.
If you don't know much about dehumidifiers, the 25 litre capacity doesn't refer to the water tank size. It measures the appliance's extraction rate. The higher the capacity, the higher the extraction rate. The 25L Arete One can extract up to 25L per day at 30°C and 80% relative humidity, which is high performance.
The 20 and 25 litre models are suitable for use in any home between a one bedroom flat and a five bedroom house but if you have a smaller place or a less serious damp problem, you won't need the most high powered model.
The Arete One has a simple, easy-to-read control panel. Alongside the On/Off switch, there are settings for drying clothes, daily use, and night mode. There’s also a countdown timer.
It’s been designed so that you need to have as few interactions with it as possible: choose the setting, press a button, walk away. The fan speed will intelligently adjust to the moisture level in the air and you won’t need to tweak it at all. The automatic adjustment means that the appliance is energy conscious as well. If the humidity level drops, the compressor switches off.
You can opt to programme your own settings but the intelligent operation is good enough that you shouldn't have to.
In night mode, there are no lights or bleeps to disturb your sleep and the fan noise drops to a low, quiet mode of 40dB for the 20L model and 42 for the 25L. It also has a child lock, so the buttons are safe from little fingers.
This is almost half the volume of previous models and is very quiet indeed. If you are used to sleeping with a fan on, you could probably even run the Arete One in your bedroom.
Testing a dehumidifier isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially if you don’t have a problem with damp.
You might need a dehumidifier if you can smell or see damp or mould, if the air feels muggy inside or if your home seems to be very attractive to creepy crawlies, such as spiders, moths or silverfish.
It may also be a good purchase if you or a member of your household has ongoing or worsening respiratory problems, or persistent related allergies. It may also help people with asthma.
But a dehumidifier can also be useful if you dry your clothes on a rack indoors. Like many UK city dwellers, this is what I do and how I tested the appliance.
Running the dehumidifier while clothes were drying made a noticeable difference to the air quality in the room and to the drying speed of the garments. When the six-hour cycle was finished, the water tank was half full of moisture drawn from the air.
A dehumidifier works by drawing warm, damp air inside. Drier air is then released back out while the condensation is collected in a tank, which you then empty.
This means that any dehumidifier will need to be emptied regularly. The Arete One has a large, 4.8 litre water tank that’s designed to be easy to empty without spilling water all over the place.
The water tank is at the front of the appliance. There’s a viewing window, so you can easily see the water level, although a light on the control panel will illuminate when it needs to be emptied.
The water tank pops out easily and has a handle on the top so you can carry it comfortably to the sink.
The tank has been designed with two apertures, one on either side, for pouring out the water however you’re standing in relation to the sink. It’s a nice idea but it does mean that if you forget and you don’t angle it correctly, water comes out of both at once – in my case, one stream into the sink, the other onto the floor.
If you want to use the dehumidifier in a vacant property, garage or other area you won’t be visiting regularly, the Arete One comes with a hose adapter, for continuous water drainage.
You’ll need to supply your own hose (and you'll need a drain). A standard garden hose should fit it. Meaco used to ship its dehumidifiers with plastic hoses but stopped when customers told them they were rarely used and generally discarded.
This isn't just a money-saving exercise. Meaco is an environmentally aware company. It has removed all polystyrene from the packaging of all products under 8 kilos. If you buy an Arete One, you'll be able to recycle everything it's shipped in.
The Arete One can also function as an air purifier. It’s equipped with an optional medical grade H13 HEPA filter that’s 75% larger than the one on the Meaco Low Energy model. The filter sits behind a honeycomb patterned slide-away panel on the reverse of the appliance that's easy to access and change.
You can opt to switch off the dehumidifier function and run the Arete One solely in air purification mode.
Price & availability
Dehumidifers are not cheap and the Arete One is no exception. It's pricier than some other models on the market but not outrageously so. As a trade-off, it's less power hungry than many competitors. It comes with a five-year warranty.
The Meaco Arete One comes in a 20 and a 25 litre volume model. The Arete One 20L is priced at £259.99, while the 25 litre model is £299.99. Both are available to buy from Meaco now. Other, smaller, models in the series will be released later in the year.
It's worth saying that the 25 litre appliance is Meaco's top of the line Arete One model. It's very powerful and suitable for larger homes or households with a more serious damp problem.
If you are looking for a dehumidifier that'll do the hard work for you, the Arete One would be an excellent choice. You don't need to learn about extraction rates or figure out a complicated control panel. You literally just press a button and leave it to work.
It's easy to use, easy to move around, quiet and portable. Plus, you can use it as an air purifier. It's hard to think what more you could want in a dehumidifier.
Meaco Arete One dehumidifier and air purifier (25l): Specs
- Extraction rate up to 25L per day at 30°C and 80% relative humidity
- Medical grade H13 HEPA filter
- Size: 60cm x 35cm x 25cm
- 4.8 litre water tank
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