Ivation IVADM45 Review

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Quick Review Summary

The Ivation IVADM45 is a very quiet, highly portable, very easy to use thermo-electric dehumidifier. It is the most expensive thermo-electric unit we tested, normally retailing for around $100. Is this high price justified? The answer is both yes and no. The answer is yes if you’re set on buying a thermo-electric dehumidifier and need a unit that can dehumidify as quickly as possible – the IVADM45 and IVADM35 dehumidify more quickly than any other thermo-electric dehumidifier we tested. The answer is also no if you fall into two different categories which we’ll outline below.

The first category – If you need to dehumidify a space that should really be dehumidified by a more heavy duty compressor based dehumidifier then we do not recommend this unit. Even though it does dehumidify faster than most other thermo-electric dehumidifiers on the market, the IVADM45 still dehumidifies much much more slowly than even the lightest capacity compressor based dehumidifier. The 30 pint Frigididaire FFAD3033R1, for example, removes upwards of 480 ounces of moisture per day. The IVADM45, a “heavy duty” thermo-electric dehumidifier, removes only 25 ounces of moisture per day. This dehumidifier absolutely does NOT serve as a replacement for a compressor based unit.

The second category – if you’re simply looking for a light duty thermo-electric dehumidifier to dehumidify a very mildly humid very small space then we do not recommend this unit either. In this case you’d be better served with a less expensive option like the IVADM10, which is priced at a mere $40 (approx.).

The bottom line is that we only recommend this dehumidifier to those consumers who are absolutely set on buying a thermo-electric dehumidifier and need it to dehumidify as fast as possible. The IVADM45 is for those consumers with a slightly larger slightly more humid bathroom, laundry room, closet, etc. that cannot be dehumidified by less expensive options (such as the IVADM10) but also doesn’t require the workhorse like dehumidification of a compressor based unit.

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Performance Test Results

Noise Output

To measure noise output for the thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested we placed a sound meter a few inches above and a few inches forward from the dehumidifier – this constituted our “close range” noise output test. We attempted to measure noise output at longer range (in which we placed the sound meter 10 ft away from the dehumidifier) but we were unable to get a reading on any of the thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested. This was because the noise output of these very quiet dehumidifiers dropped off at a distance to a decibel level below that which could be read by our sound meter (which was limited to reading decibel levels between 40 and 130 dB). In other words, we were able to garner noise output test results at close range but not at long range since all of the thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested produced noise levels below 40 dB at a distance 10 ft away from the dehumidifier.

Thus, before we even start evaluating the IVADM45′s noise output at close range and compare its test results to the other thermo-electric units we tested, you should already be well aware that this dehumidifier (and all the other thermo-electric units we tested) is very quiet overall, especially when compared to compressor based units. At long range (10 ft) all of the compressor based dehumidifiers we tested were measured to produce about 50 dB of noise on average. The most quiet compressor based dehumidifier at long range, the Frigidaire FFAD3033R1, was measured at 46.1 dB of noise output on low fan speed. This is still at least 6 dB (a perceivable difference) louder than any of the thermo-electric units we tested (which were all measured to produce less than 40 dB of noise at long range), including the IVADM45.

Compared to the other thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested, the IVADM45 performed very well in our noise output test. It was measured to produce 48.9 dB of noise at close range. For comparison, the most quiet thermo-electric dehumidifier we tested, the Gurin DHMD-210, was measured at 44.5 db, while the loudest thermo-electric dehumidifier we tested, the SPT SD-350TI was measured at 63.2 dB. The average for all of the thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested was 53.2 db.

Compared to the other Ivation thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested the IVADM45 was slightly louder than the IVADM10 and slightly quieter than the IVADM35. The IVADM10 was measured at 47.2 dB while the IVADM35 was measured at 52.1 dB. The difference in noise output between the IVADM45 and IVADM10 (1.7 dB) is negligible and almost imperceptible to the human ear. The difference in noise output between the IVADM45 and IVADM35 (3.2 dB) is slightly more noticeable, but still not very much in terms of how it’s perceived by the human ear. In other words, you’ll have a hard time noticing the difference in noise output between any two of these three dehumidifiers.

Moisture Removal Rate

To test the moisture removal rate for the larger thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested (which includes the IVADM45) we placed each unit in a sealed 50 square foot room and raised the humidity in the same room past 80% relative humidity. We then measured how long it took each unit to lower the humidity in the room from 80% RH down to 70% RH. The reason for these limited parameters (as opposed to the 90% to 40% test we used for the compressor based dehumidifiers we tested) is time. It would take an inordinate amount of time for any thermo-electric dehumidifier to dehumidify even a small 50 sq ft room from a high humidity level of 80 to 90% down to comfortable levels (30 to 40%). Thus, we limited the test to a more reasonable range of 80 to 70%. This allowed us to conduct testing within a reasonable time frame of 10 to 30 minutes per trial as opposed to having to wait several hours (if not days) for the dehumidifier to lower humidity in the room from 90% down to 40% RH.

Averaging the results from several trials the IVADM45 took approximately 12 minutes to dehumidify our 50 sq ft test environment from 80% down to 70% relative humidity. For comparison, the IVADM35 took exactly the same amount of time (12 minutes). The Perfect Home EWDH4, a dehumidifier which claims to remove more than twice as much moisture per day as the IVADM45, took 20 minutes to accomplish the same feat. Other competitors to the IVADM45, the SPT SD-350TI and SD-350 also took upwards of 20 minutes to lower room humidity from 80% down to 70% RH. Thus, both the IVADM35 and IVADM45 were top performers in our moisture removal rate testing.

Area of Coverage

Ivation claims that the IVADM45 is capable of dehumidifying spaces up to 2200 cubic feet. This claim is dishonest for several reasons. For one, giving an estimated area of coverage in cubic feet is dishonest in itself. It’s commonplace for realtors, contractors – pretty much anyone whose occupation involves home selling, buying, renovating, etc. – to give room size in terms of square feet, NOT cubic feet. Thus, most manufacturers of home air quality appliances give the area of coverage for those appliances in terms of square feet. The Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 (our top rated compressor based dehumidifier), for example, is rated by the manufacturer to be able to dehumidify spaces up to 2500 square feet.

The reason why thermo-electric dehumidifier manufacturers such as Ivation give area of coverage in terms of cubic feet is because it makes it sound like their appliances are comparable (in terms of area of coverage) to much larger, heavier duty, and more expensive compressor based dehumidifiers. 2200 cubic feet translates into approximately 220 square feet for a room with 10 ft high ceilings. Thus, the IVADM45′s area of coverage is less than 10% than that of a large capacity compressor based dehumidifier. If you were simply comparing the numbers 2200 to 2500 you might have thought otherwise at a glance.

The second reason why we feel the claim of 2200 cubic feet is dishonest is because we simply cannot see how this dehumidifier can dehumidify such a large space within any reasonable amount of time. Our recommendation for this and any other “heavier duty” thermo-electric dehumidifier is that you don’t use it in any space larger than about 100 square feet (which translates into approximately 1000 cubic feet for most rooms). This type of dehumidifier should be limited to being used in rooms no larger than this size for two reasons. For one, the fans on these dehumidifiers don’t have a sufficient amount of power and size to move the quantity of air that would need to be moved to dehumidify a room larger than what we recommend. Secondly, the thermo-electric technology by which these dehumidifiers dehumidify is in itself limiting. Peltier technology (read more about how it works here), at least in terms of how it’s applied on these dehumidifiers, only allows for dehumidification on a small scale. As soon as you try placing a thermo-electric dehumidifier in too large of a room, its impact becomes almost imperceptible. In other words, if you try using this type of dehumidifier in too large of a room, you’ll be hard pressed to notice any difference in humidity in the room, even over a longer period of time.

Manufacturer Specified Moisture Removal Rate

The IVADM45 is rated by the manufacturer to be able to remove up to 25 ounces of moisture per day in ideal conditions (at 86°F and 80% RH). For comparison, the IVADM35 is rated to remove up to 20.3 ounces per day and the IVADM10 is rated to remove up to 6.08 ounces per day under the same conditions. Thus, the IVADM45 is the most “heavy duty” of the three Ivation thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested, at least in terms of manufacturer specified moisture removal rate. As we discussed above, our own testing revealed that the difference in dehumidification rate between the IVADM35 and IVADM45 in a real world application is essentially nonexistent. These two units dehumidify at almost exactly the same rate of speed.

Included Features, Functionality, Build Quality, Warranties, and Value

Power Draw

The IVADM45 is rated to draw 72 watts of power. The IVADM35 has exactly the same rated power draw of 72 watts. The IVADM10 is the most energy efficient thermo-electric dehumidifier we tested. At 13.5 watts of power draw it removes 6.08 ounces of moisture per day. Thus, while it removes about a fourth of the amount of moisture per day as the IVADM45, it does so using one fifth of the electricity.

Keep in mind that thermo-electric dehumidifiers as a whole are much less energy efficient than their compressor based counterparts. The top rated Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 (a good example of a compressor based dehumidifier) draws a whopping 745 watts of power but it removes the equivalent of 1120 ounces of moisture per day. 1120/745 = 1.5 ounces of moisture removal per watt of power draw. The IVADM10 draws 13.5 watts of power and it removes 6.08 ounces of moisture per day. 6.08/13.5 = 0.45 ounces of moisture per watt of power draw.

Durability (Build Quality)

General Impressions

The IVADM45 was observed to be a solidly constructed, well-built dehumidifier. As we discuss in greater detail here, thermo-electric dehumidifiers, in general, are fairly durable reliable appliances. This is because of the nature of the technology that empowers them to dehumidify – Peltier technology. A Peltier module is at the heart of every thermo-electric dehumidifier. It’s simply designed (it lacks complexity) and thus it’s difficult to break. Surrounding the Peltier module are two heat sinks. These are simply metal plates with no moving parts – again, difficult to break. The final piece making up the core of the dehumidifier is the fan. Most fans used on thermo-electric units are generic computer style fans – not that difficult to break but very easy to replace. What remains are various buttons and switches – these are cheap Chinese manufactured parts but they’re once again very easy to fix and replace.

What you have in a thermo-electric dehumidifier (and this of course includes the IVADM45) is a very simply designed appliance that’s fairly reliable and extremely easy to fix. Most thermo-electric dehumidifiers are also much less expensive than their compressor based counterparts. Thus, should the dehumidifier break you’re facing much less of a loss than if a compressor based unit should break outside of warranty. This is especially true for the approximately $40 IVADM10 and somewhat less true for the IVADM35 (approx. $90) and the IVADM45 (approx. $100).

Extra Features

The Ivation IVADM45 and the Perfect Home EWDH4 were the only two thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested that came equipped with a built-in humidistat. All other units cannot be set to a desired humidity level – these units will run indefinitely until their water collection buckets fill up. A float inside the bucket hits a switch when the water collection bucket fills up – this shuts off the dehumidifier automatically. The IVADM45 and EWDH4 also shut off when their water collection buckets are full but they have the added functionality of being able to automatically shut off when a desired humidity level in the room you’re trying to dehumidify is reached. The IVADM45 can be set to as low as 20% humidity and as high as 80% humidity. For example, should you set the desired humidity level to 50%, the dehumidifier will automatically shut off when it senses that the room has reached 50% relative humidity. This is an added feature that we feel should be taken into consideration when comparing the price difference between the IVADM45 and IVADM35.

Ease of Use

Setup Difficulty

This dehumidifier is very simple to setup and use. Simply take it out of the box, plug it in, set your desired humidity level on the front of the dehumidifier, and it’s immediately ready to run and dehumidify.

Manual Quality

The manual for this unit overall is easy to read and understand but we did find one error that we want to mention here. The manual states that the IVADM45 can be set to a desired humidity level between 40% and 80%. As we discussed above (under the “Extra Features” section), the dehumidifier can in fact be set to as low as 20%. Whether it can actually achieve 20% humidity is another question but we did want to mention here that you can set it 20% on the control panel.

Water Tank Size

The IVADM45 has exactly the same size tank as the IVADM35 – it has a capacity of 68 ounces. This means that you’ll be able to dehumidify (in ideal conditions) for approximately two and a half days before needing to empty and replace this unit’s water tank (recall that it has a moisture removal rate of 25 ounces per day). Of course, should you set the desired humidity level in the room to a certain level and that level is reached before two and a half days then the dehumidifier will shut off before then and you won’t need to empty it as often. You’ll also need to empty the bucket less often if the room you’re dehumidifying is colder than 86° F – a colder ambient room temperature will result in a lower moisture removal rate. But, should the unit be operating continuously in ideal conditions it will fill up its water collection bucket once every two and a half days.

Portability

Like every other thermo-electric dehumidifier on the market, the IVADM45 is highly portable. It’s both smaller and lighter than even the smallest capacity compressor based units. Compared to the other Ivation dehumidifiers we tested it’s just about the same size as the IVADM35 (the IVADM45 measures 7 by 8.58 by 13.75 inches while the IVADM35 measures 6.8 by 8.5 by 14 inches) but much larger than the IVADM10 (which is only 8.7 inches tall). All three units can easily fit in most small bathrooms and laundry rooms but the IVADM10 is definitely more flexible in terms of fitting in smaller closet spaces, under sinks, etc.

Warranty (Manufacturer’s)

We were unable to find any warranty information for this or any other Ivation dehumidifier.

Value

The IVADM45 is the most expensive thermo-electric dehumidifier we tested. It retails for about $100 while the slightly less heavy duty IVADM35 retails for about $90. All of the other thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested, including the IVADM10, normally retail for between $40 and $60 (approx.).

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Final Thoughts

Is the IVADM45 worth $100 (approx.)? Well, that depends on who you are. This unit, along with the IVADM35, was the fastest at removing moisture in our 50 sq ft test environment. In other words, it, along with the IVADM35, are the two best options among the thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested if moisture removal rate is important to you. The IVADM45 (and IVADM35) is recommend if you need a bit more dehumidification than the smallest lightest capacity thermo-electric units can offer. While those units are designed for only the smallest, most mildly humid rooms and closets, the IVADM45 can handle slightly larger rooms and slightly more humid conditions. The IVADM45 is also recommended if you need to dehumidify a small mildly humid space at a higher rate but not quite at the rate that compressor based dehumidifiers can dehumidify. If you have the patience and your humidity problem isn’t too severe you can dehumidify the same space for $100 (approx.) with this dehumidifier that would be overkill for an approximately $180 small capacity compressor based dehumidifier to dehumidify.

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