The Ivation ERSDM18 is, at least in terms of moisture removal, a mid-size thermo-electric dehumidifier. Like all other thermo-electric dehumidifiers it utilizes Peltier technology to facilitate dehumidification. Unlike most other thermo-electric dehumidifiers it also comes equipped with “ERS Technology”. The manufacturer’s claim is that this new technology improves dehumidifier efficiency and thereby allows for improved moisture removal. Is this claim true? Does this technology really make a difference? Should you buy the ERSDM18 over similar units because of this unique technology that’s only found on the ERSDM18? We answer these questions and many others in our review below.
Note that we’ll be comparing the ERSDM18 to three other thermo-electric dehumidifiers throughout our review. Those three dehumidifiers are the Ivation IVADM10, IVADM35, and IVADM45. We chose to compare the ERSDM18 to these three units for two reasons. For one, by staying within the Ivation brand, we’re limiting the number of variables involved in our comparisons. We can focus on comparing moisture removal rate, energy efficiency, water tank size, etc. and keep warranty terms, brand reputation, etc. out of the equation, simplifying our comparisons. The second reason we chose these three units, specifically, is because we tested all three of them for review. We unfortunately didn’t get a chance to do any hand-on testing of the ERSDM18 for this review. Regardless, by combining our own experience with the three units we did test with the manufacturer specifications and general product information available for the ERSDM18, we’re able to give a fairly comprehensive and thorough review for this unit nonetheless. By the end of this review you’ll find our clear recommendation as to which of these four units we recommend and for what purposes.
Moisture Removal Rate
The manufacturer specified moisture removal rate for the ERSDM18 is 11.8 ounces per day. Compare this rate to 6.08 ounces per day for the IVADM10, 20.3 ounces per day for the IVADM35, and 25 ounces per day for the IVADM45. Note that in each case the manufacturer specified moisture removal rate is a maximum theoretical number. This number is garnered from running each unit continuously for 24 hours at conditions in which the dehumidifier is able to remove the most amount of moisture possible – at a high temperature and at a high (but not too high) humidity level. For each Ivation unit above, its maximum moisture removal rate was measured at 86° F and 80% RH (relative humidity). The take away here is that if you run any one of these units at a temperature lower or higher than 86° F or at a humidity level lower or higher than 80% RH, not one will remove as much moisture per 24 hours as is claimed by the manufacturer. In the ERSDM18′s case, expect this unit to remove closer to 8 to 10 ounces of moisture per day in less than ideal conditions.
As far as our own testing is concerned – while we didn’t test the ERSDM18, specifically, we can tell you that Ivation dehumidifiers, in general, tested better than other brands of thermo-electric dehumidifiers in our in-house moisture removal tests. Among the three mini thermo-electric units we tested, the Ivation IVADM10 outperformed both the Eva-Dry EDV-1100 and the Gurin DHMD-210. Among the five larger sized thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested, the Ivation IVADM35 and IVADM45 outperformed the Perfect Home EWDH4, SPT SD-350, and SPT SD-350TI.
The ERSDM18 draws only 27 watts of power. To compare the ERSDM18′s energy efficiency to that of its competition let’s look at the ratio between each unit’s power draw and moisture removal rate. To make things easier to understand, think of there being an energy “cost” for each ounce of moisture removal per 24 hours. The ERSDM18 draws 27 watts of power and removes 11.8 ounces of moisture per day. Thus its power draw to moisture removal rate ratio is 27/11.8 = 2.8. In other words, it “costs” 2.8 watts to remove 1 ounce of moisture per day. The lower this ratio, the less it “costs” (in energy) for the dehumidifier to remove 1 ounce of moisture per 24 hours. Thus, the lower the ratio, the greater the energy efficiency of the dehumidifier. We already know the ERSDM18′s ratio is 2.8. Let’s take a look at the competition.
The IVADM10 removes 6.08 ounces of moisture per day with a power draw of 13.5 watts. Thus, its power draw to moisture removal rate ratio is 13.5/6.08 = 2.2. The IVADM35 with a power draw of 72 watts has a ratio of 72/20.3 = 3.5. The IVADM45 has the same power draw as the IVADM35 but draws more moisture from the air per day. Its ratio is 72/25 = 2.9.
Below is each unit’s model number with its ratio next to it in parentheses:
Clearly, the IVADM10 has the lowest ratio and is therefore the most energy efficient of the four Ivation dehumidifiers we’re comparing in the current review. The ERSDM18 is the second most energy efficient while the IVADM45 is third and the IVADM35 is fourth.
Note that despite the fact that there is a difference in each unit’s overall energy efficiency, the difference in energy cost in operating each unit continuously over the course of several weeks, even months is negligible at best – we’re talking a 1 or 2 dollar difference in your monthly power bill between operating the 13.5 watt IVADM10 continuously for a month vs operating the 72 watt IVADM45 continuously for a month. Thermo-electric dehumidifiers, in general, are not very power hungry appliances. The IVADM45 is the most “power hungry” thermo-electric dehumidifier we tested and it draws 25% less power than a 100 watt light bulb. The bottom line is that while assessing the energy efficiency of different thermo-electric units can be one of many thingsyou can compare in deciding which model is best overall, it shouldn’t be the only thing you compare and it shouldn’t make or break whether you buy one unit or another. We only got as in depth with the ERSDM18′s energy efficiency as we did because it ties in to a very important issue we’ll discuss in the next section on this unit’s extra features.
The ERSDM18, for the most part, has a very basic design, just like most other thermo-electric dehumidifiers on the market. To turn the unit on you simply hit a switch. There aren’t any settings to select and the unit doesn’t come equipped with a hydrostat for you to set a desired humidity level. After turning it on the dehumidifier runs continuously until its water collection tank is full. When the tank is full an auto-shut off switch will be activated and the “Full” LED will illuminate letting you know it’s time to empty the water tank and replace it. After you replace the tank the dehumidifier will resume normal operation and run continuously once again until its water tank fills up and the cycle continuous.
The ERSDM18 does have one unique feature not found on any other thermo-electric dehumidifier we’ve tested or reviewed. This feature is “ERS Technology”. Unfortunately, the product description for this unit isn’t very clear as to how ERS technology actually works. We know that Peltier based dehumidifiers such as the ERSDM18 work by very simple means. Inside the dehumidifier there’s a Peltier module that’s sandwiched between two metal heat sinks. When current is passed through it one side of the module gets hot while the opposite side gets cold. The hot side is in direct contact with one heat sink while the cold side is in direct contact with the other. The warm humid air that’s pulled into the dehumidifier condensates onto the cold side heat sink and is exhausted past the hot side heat sink. The condensate drips down from the cold side heat sink into the dehumidifier’s water tank.
The product description for the ERSDM18 states that “ERS technology uses the extra energy from the cold end to steady the hot end, thus converting much more moisture into water at the same power consumption.” This is the full extent of the manufacturer’s description of how ERS technology works. All we know is that it takes energy from the cold end of the Peltier module to “steady” the hot end and that this allows for increased dehumidification (moisture in the air being converted into water) at the same power consumption. In other words, ERS technology is supposed to improve the efficiency of the dehumidifier. Sure enough, in another part of the product description for this model we see the bullet point “New Energy Recycling System for Increased Dehumidifying Efficiency”. Is this claim true? Unfortunately, there’s really no simple answer to this question.
As we discussed in the Power Draw section above, the ERSDM18′s energy efficiency is good, but not much better than both the IVADM35 and IVADM45. It’s also worse than the IVADM10′s energy efficiency – the IVADM10 removes much less moisture than the ERSDM18 but does so much more efficiently. The IVADM10 is clearly the more energy efficient dehumidifier (from the same manufacturer no less) but unlike the ERSDM18 it does not come equipped with ERS technology. Does this make the manufacturer’s claim the ERS technology improves dehumidifier efficiency false? Well, not necessarily.
Note that dehumidifier efficiency is not synonymous with dehumidifier energy efficiency. The IVADM10 is clearly the more energy efficient dehumidifier. But is it the more efficient dehumidifier in terms of the surface area of its heat sinks vs how much humidity it can remove? Is it the more efficient dehumidifier in terms of the size and speed of its fan? A dehumidifier with a smaller lower CFM fan is more efficient than another dehumidifier that removes the same amount of moisture at the same rate but that uses a larger higher CFM fan.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to look at either model’s internal parts so we can’t speak to the overall efficiency of either unit. The ERSDM18 may be using a smaller lower CFM fan than the IVADM10. It may be using smaller, lighter heat sinks. It may also be using a less heavy duty Peltier module than the IVADM10. If any one or more than one of these things are true then the ERSDM18′s ERS technology is in fact improving dehumidifier efficiency and the ERSDM18 may very well be the more efficient dehumidifier overall compared to the IVADM10 and most other thermo-electric dehumidifiers on the market.
The bottom line here is that, best case scenario, ERS technology does improve dehumidifier efficiency and allows for this unit to use a lower CFM fan (making it quieter), smaller heat sinks (making it lighter), and a less heavy duty Peltier module (lowering power draw) than a similar unit that removes exactly the same amount of moisture per 24 hours but that needs to use a higher CFM fan, larger heat sinks, and a more heavy duty Peltier module to do so. The worst case scenario is that ERS technology really doesn’t do much to effect dehumidifier efficiency which means that the ERSDM18 works just as efficiently as all other thermo-electric dehumidifiers on the market. The only way in which this could affect you negatively is if the dehumidifier’s price was inflated because of this technology. We’ll evaluate whether this is the case or not later on in this review.
Durability (Build Quality)
Thermo-electric dehumidifiers, in general, are fairly reliable appliances. We discuss why in our general buyer’s guide. We have no reason to think that the ERSDM18 would deviate from the norm.
Water Tank Size
The ERSDM18 has a 20 ounce water tank. With a moisture removal rate of approximately 10 ounces per 24 hours you’ll need to empty and replace its tank at least once every 2 days. Similar models have tanks that need to be emptied and replaced with similar frequency. The IVADM10′s 17 ounce tank and 6 oz/day moisture removal rate will require that you empty and replace its tank once every 2 to 3 days. The IVADM35′s 68 ounce tank and 20 oz/day moisture removal rate will require that you empty and replace its tank once every 3 to 4 days. Finally, the IVADM45′s 68 ounce tank and 25 oz/day moisture removal rate will require that you empty and replace its tank once every 2 to 3 days.
The ERSDM18 has a much more modern aesthetic than its competitors. The design of its air vents in addition to its white color and cube shape allows it to fit in well with modern decor (at least when compared to most other thermo-electric dehumidifiers on the market).
Thermo-electric dehumidifiers, in general, are highly portable appliances. Of the 14 thermo-electric dehumidifiers we’ve reviewed, not one weighs more than 5 or 6 pounds. Most units are under 15 inches tall and no more than 8 or 9 inches wide and deep. The ERSDM18 is lighter and smaller in size than average. If you want to put the dehumidifier you end up buying up on some shelving or in any place with limited space, the ERSDM18 is a great option. This unit weighs only 2 or so pounds and is less than 6 inches tall. It measures about 7 inches wide and 7 inches deep.
Warranty information for this model in unknown.
The ERSDM18 retails for about $60 which is, in our opinion, just about where it should be priced at. Most dehumidifiers are priced according to their moisture removal rate. 30 pint compressor based dehumidifiers are less expensive than 50 pint units which are on average less expensive than 70 pint units. The same concept is true for thermo-electric dehumidifiers. The smallest least heavy duty units, including the IVADM10, are priced around $40. The largest most heavy duty units, including the IVADM35 and IVADM45, are priced between approximately $80 and $100. The ERSDM18 is neither a “light duty” nor a “heavy duty” thermo-electric dehumidifier. Thus its price should fall (in our opinion) somewhere between about $40 and $80, as it does at about $60.
The ERSDM18 (12 oz/day) gets our recommendation if you’re looking for a thermo-electric dehumidifier that’s slightly more heavy duty than the IVADM10 (6 oz/day) but you don’t need and/or you don’t want to pay for the higher moisture removal rate of the IVADM35 (20 oz/day) or IVADM45 (25 oz/day).