Kenmore KM70 Review

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Pros
  • Features extra modes not available on other dehumidifiers – cycle timer
  • Very large water tank – 19.2 pints
  • Defrost mode

Cons

  • No defrost light to show when defrost mode is activated
  • Very poor performance in our moisture removal tests – does not remove moisture quickly or efficiently
  • Does not come equipped with a built-in hygrometer – this unit does not show the ambient air’s relative humidity, unlike every other 70 pint dehumidifier we’ve tested
  • Very expensive

Included With Your Purchase

  • Dehumidifier
  • Gravity Drainage Adapter
  • Instruction Manual
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Quick Review Summary

The Kenmore KM70 is a well designed reliable dehumidifier that unfortunately has some major flaws. On the positive side of things it’s more quiet and draws less power than most other 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested. It comes equipped with a ton of features and some features you won’t even find on other dehumidifiers on the market (we discuss these features later on in the review under the section discussing the dehumidifier’s adjustability). On the negative side, it was a very poor performer in both our moisture removal and hygrometer accuracy tests as we discuss in full detail later on in the review. It’s also very expensive without any features or functionality to really justify its high price tag (see our discussion on this unit’s value near the end of the review).

Performance Test Results

Energy Efficiency

The KM70 was an above average performer in our energy efficiency test in terms of its power draw. It was measured to draw 590 watts of power at 50% relative humidity. At 590 watts the Kenmore was among four other 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested which tied for second place in this particular test (four other units were also measured at 590 watts). Only the RCA RDH705 drew less power, drawing only 571 watts of power at the same humidity level. As we discuss in detail in our Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 review (LINK), both power draw and moisture removal rate are important in determining a particular dehumidifier’s overall energy efficiency. Unfortunately, even though this unit has lower power draw than much of its competition, the rate at which it removes moisture is much lower than average. Its overall energy efficiency suffers because of this.

Noise Output

The Kenmore was also an above average performer in most of our noise output tests. At close range on high and low fan speed it was the 3rd most quiet 70 pint dehumidifier we tested (out of 16). At long range (10 ft away from the dehumidifier) it was 5th most quiet on high fan speed and 7th most quiet on low fan speed. Unfortunately, out of all four tests its worst performance was in the most important. Low fan speed at long range is going to give you the most quiet noise output possible for the dehumidifier. The Kenmore placed 7th (out of 16) in this test which is somewhat disappointing. The takeaway here is that if you’re looking for a quiet dehumidifier there are better options available (six other options that are more quiet than the Kenmore on low fan speed at range from the dehumidifier).

Moisture Removal

The KM70′s performance in our moisture removal tests was well below average. To test and compare the moisture removal rates of the dehumidifiers we tested we placed them in a 50 square foot room and raised the humidity to over 90%. We then timed how long it took for each dehumidifier to lower the room humidity from 90% down to 40% relative humidity. The second test involved timing how long the unit would take to lower the room humidity from 80% down to 50% RH. Each unit was subjected to at least three trials from which we were able to determine how fast it could dehumidify the room at 82° F.

For the 90% to 40% test we weren’t able to get an average time for the Kenmore because it simply could not dehumidify the room below 40% relative humidity. In the first trial the room got down to 41% RH after 11 minutes and then started going back up to the high 40s (relative humidity, not temperature). In the second trial the room only got to 43% RH after 12 minutes and then humidity in the room started going back up until it reached 46% RH after 14 minutes. In the third and final trial the room got down to 41% RH again after 12 minutes, went back up to 46% RH after 18 minutes, and then got back down to 43% RH after 19 minutes. In each trial the room would get to 41 or 42% RH, go back up to around 46% RH, then back down to 41 or 42% RH, then back up, then back down, and so on and so forth.

For comparison, when we tested 14 of the 15 other 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested (one other 70 pint unit had the same issue as the Kenmore), the room humidity would drop well below 40% RH before we ended each trial as we didn’t end each trial exactly when the room would reach 40% RH. We gave each dehumidifier a rolling start before starting the timer (with room humidity above 90%) and a “rolling finish” so to speak before stopping the timer (with room humidity below 40%). We only measured the time it took each unit to lower room humidity from exactly 90% down to exactly 40%, however.

The bottom line as far as the Kenmore is concerned is that we couldn’t obtain relevant data for our 90 to 40% test for us to be able to compare its moisture removal rate under these conditions to the other fifteen 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested. More important, however, for this review, is the fact that the Kenmore was only able to dehumidify the room down to 41% RH. It simply was not able to dehumidify the room to 40% and it definitely wasn’t able to dehumidify the room to 35%, which is what we set it to and which the manual for this unit claims it can dehumidify down to. Keep in mind also that test conditions were not by any means exceptional. The test environment was a mere 50 square feet, which is much smaller than even the average bedroom.

For the 80 to 50% test we were able to obtain relevant data and the Kenmore’s performance was average compared to other 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested. It took the KM70 6 minutes and 27 seconds to dehumidify the test environment from 80% down to 50% relative humidity. Compare this result with the 4 minutes and 41 seconds it took the top rated Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 and the 7 minutes and 42 seconds it took the worst performer in this test, the Delonghi DD70PE.

Hygrometer Accuracy

Incredibly, the Kenmore KM70 does not show the ambient air’s relative humidity. The control panel only shows the desired set humidity. Thus, we weren’t able to compare the humidity it reads with the actual room humidity to determine the unit’s hygrometer accuracy.

The KM70 not displaying the ambient air’s humidity is beyond unacceptable for a 70 pint dehumidifier that retails for $300. For comparison, every other 70 pint dehumidifier we’ve tested (and we’ve tested 15 others), every 50 pint dehumidifier we’ve tested (we’ve tested 8), and most of the 30 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested do show the ambient air’s humidity. The only other time we’ve seen a compressor based dehumidifier that doesn’t show room humidity is on dehumidifier’s without an LED display.

What makes this even more unacceptable is the fact that the dehumidifier does have a built-in hygrometer that measures ambient air humidity, otherwise it wouldn’t be able to determine when to cycle on/off depending on what you input as the desired set humidity. Its hygrometer’s reading is simply not displayed on the control panel. This was a conscious decision by the manufacturer.

But why is this important? For one, most consumers who buy a dehumidifier do not have a separate hygrometer that they can use to read the ambient air’s humidity. They rely on the dehumidifier they’ve bought to show them what the room humidity is. You may be comfortable at 50% relative humidity or you may be comfortable at 40% relative humidity. You’re not going to know whether the actual room humidity is 50 or 40% if the dehumidifier doesn’t show you what the actual room humidity is. What humidity level you’re comfortable at will dictate what you set the desired humidity level to on the dehumidifier. For example, you may be comfortable at 50% relative humidity so you can set your dehumidifier to 50% RH and rest assured that the dehumidifier will cycle off when the room reaches 50% RH. Room humidity may increase and then the dehumidifier will cycle back on, only dehumidifying back down to 50% RH. If you don’t know the difference between 50% RH and 35% RH because the dehumidifier’s control panel doesn’t show you the room humidity (such as the case on the Kenmore) you may set the desired humidity level to 35% RH because you want humidity to be as low as possible and you don’t really know that you’re comfortable at 50% because the dehumidifier doesn’t show you when the room is at 50%. Now the dehumidifier is dehumidifying to keep the room at 35% RH. For a sizable room the dehumidifier will stay cycled on much longer and more frequently which results in much higher energy costs. For this reason alone, why does this dehumidifier not show the ambient air’s humidity like almost every other dehumidifier we tested? It has a built-in hygrometer that determines when the unit cycles on or off. Why not show its reading?

Puzzled as we were when we first noticed this omission, we quickly realized why Kenmore might have decided to not show the unit’s hygrometer’s reading after conducting our moisture removal tests. As we discuss in the section about moisture removal rate above, this unit was never able to lower room humidity to a measured value below 41% RH. One reason (and a probable reason) why we might have seen this result is the fact that the unit’s built-in hygrometer may be highly inaccurate. We’ve seen built-in hygrometers on other dehumidifiers read the ambient air’s humidity as much as 7% below the actual room humidity. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to deduce that the Kenmore’s built-in hygrometer is just as inaccurate and is the reason why the unit couldn’t dehumidify the test environment below 41% RH.

For example, if the unit’s built-in hygrometer reads the room humidity to be 7% below what it actually is then it would read an actual room humidity of 41% as 34% and would cycle off at 34% if the desired humidity level was set to 35% RH. This was most likely the scenario when the dehumidifier cycled off at 41% actual room humidity in our moisture removal test.

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

Durability (Build Quality)

General Impressions

We observed the KM70 to be very well built. The plastics and other materials used to construct this dehumidifier were of a higher quality than most other 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested. This wasn’t surprising to us as Kenmore is a well known brand with a good reputation for manufacturing high quality appliances.

Consumer Feedback

The model we tested is brand new on the market and as such hasn’t received many consumer reviews. The previous model, model # 54570, has received only 50 consumer reviews that are for the most part very positive. The Kenmore 54570 has a negative review rate (percentage of reviews that are 1 or 2 star) of 14%. For comparison, the negative review rate for the top rated Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is only 5%. The Frigidaire’s exceptionally low rate isn’t standard for this size class, however. The majority of 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested have a rate between 10 and 20%, which makes the 54570′s rate of 14% average for the category.

Overall Category Score

We observed the KM70 to be well built with high quality durable materials. Unfortunately, we do not have any consumer reviews for this unit yet to analyze to determine whether our own observations coincide with the opinion of most consumers. For now, we can only go on our own observations to give this unit an above average 4/5 for durability.

Adjustability

Humidistat

This unit’s humidistat can be set in 5% increments which is standard for all compressor based dehumidifiers we’ve tested thus far.

Timer

The KM70′s timer can be set in 1 hour increments up to 12 hours and it can only be set to a delayed start, not a delayed stop. Most other 70 pint units on the market can be set up to 24 hours and many can be set in half hour increments up to 10 hours and 1 hour increments up to past 10 hours up to 24 hours. Most other 70 pint dehumidifiers can also be set to a delayed stop in addition to a delayed start.

Number of Fan Speeds

This unit features three fan speeds – high, low, and auto. Auto fan speed will set the fan speed automatically depending on the difference between the set humidity and the actual humidity in the room. If the difference is substantial then the fan speed will automatically be set to high. Conversely, if the difference is very little then the fan speed will automatically be set to low. For example, if the set room humidity is 40% and the actual room humidity is 90% then the fans speed will most likely be automatically set to high. If the set room humidity is 80% at the same 90% actual room humidity then the fan speed will most likely automatically be set to low.

Extra Modes

The KM70 features both a continuous mode and an auto mode. Pressing the down arrow beyond the lowest possible set humidity level of 35% will activate the dehumidifier’s continuous mode, displayed as “Lo” on the unit’s LED display. Pressing the “Settings” button until the “Auto” LED illuminates will set the dehumidifier to auto mode which simply sets the desired humidity level to 50% and sets the fan speed to auto. Note that the fan speed can be set to auto even on manual mode in which the desired humidity level is set manually.

In addition to continuous mode and auto mode the Kenmore KM70 has an additional extra setting that is only found on this and other Kenmore dehumidifiers. No other brand of dehumidifier that we’ve tested or reviewed thus far comes equipped with this setting. The setting we’re talking about is the cycle timer setting. Pressing the “Settings” button until the “Cycle Timer” LED illuminates will allow you to set the cycle timer to 3, 6, or 12 hours. If set to 3 hours, the dehumidifier will run for 3 hours then cycle off for 3 hours then cycle back on for 3 hours and so on and so forth. If set to 6 hours, the unit will run for 6 hours then cycle off for 6 hours, then cycle back on for 6 hours, etc.

Overall Category Score

The KM70 features below average timer settings as it can only be set for a delayed start which can only be set to a maximum of a 12 hour delay (compared to a maximum 24 hour delay for most units in this size class). However, it features an above average number of fan speeds (auto in addition to high and low) and an above average number of extra modes (continuous and auto modes) as well as a unique mode (cycle timer) that isn’t even available on the other 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested. We give the KM70 an above average 4.5/5 for adjustability.

Versatility

Set Humidity Range

The KM70 can be set to as low as 35% relative humidity and as high as 70% RH, which is a smaller range than most other 70 pint dehumidifiers on the market with many that can be set to as low as 30% (helpful) and most that can be set to at least as high as 80% (not very helpful).

Note that while it can be set to as low as 35% we could not get this dehumidifier to dehumidify even a small room (50 sq ft) below 41% RH. So, in practice this unit only has a set humidity range of 41% to 70%.

Operating Temperature Range

The KM70 has the largest manufacturer specified operating temperature range of any of the 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested. The manual specifies that the dehumidifier can be operated in temperatures ranging from 36° F to 99° F. Compare this range to the standard range of this size class of about 41° F up to about 90° F. Does this mean that the Kenmore is one of the better options in the 70 pint size class for low temperature operation? The answer is yes, and no.

The answer is yes because the unit does come equipped with a defrost mode which is highly recommended for consumers looking to operate their dehumidifiers in lower temperatures. The answer is also no because the manual explicitly states that for maximum efficiency the dehumidifier should be run in temperatures above 65° F. Yes, 65° F. So, while it’s possible to run the dehumidifier at temperatures below 40° F, be aware that this dehumidifier’s manual explicitly states that the manufacturer recommends that the unit be run in temperatures exceeding 65° F.

Gravity Drainage

The KM70, like many other dehumidifiers we’ve tested, requires an external adapter that must be installed on the unit’s drain outlet before you will be able to connect a standard garden hose to employ gravity drainage. The adapter is threaded and is simply screwed onto the drain outlet on the back of the dehumidifier. No tools are required for installation.

When we first unboxed the dehumidifier we noticed that unlike other dehumidifiers that simply include the adapter loose in the box, the Kenmore has a special indentation in the top brace of the unit’s water tank that holds the drainage adapter and gives you a place to store it. At first glance it appeared to be a nice touch. However, once we started testing the dehumidifier and emptying the water tank, we couldn’t store the adapter in the indentation as it would fall out every time we emptied the tank. Including a place to store the adapter was a good idea, but it ended up not working very well in practice.

Built-in Pump

The KM70 does not feature a built-in pump which is only disappointing due to its price point. At $300 we would like to see an included built-in pump as an included feature for a 70 pint dehumidifier.

Overall Category Score

The KM70 has a below average set humidity range. Many 70 pint units we’ve tested can be set and achieve 30% room humidity. The lowest we could achieve on the Kenmore was 41%. While the Kenmore has the largest manufacturer specified operating temperature range of all of the dehumidifiers we’ve reviewed, it also has the highest recommended efficient temperature we’ve seen at 65° F. It does feature gravity drainage but an external adapter is required. It does not feature a built-in pump which is disappointing at its price point. We give the KM70 a below average 3/5 for versatility.

Extra Features

Temperature Reading

Not surprisingly, in addition to not displaying the ambient air’s humidity, this unit also doesn’t display the ambient air’s temperature. Only the set humidity level is displayed on the control panel.

Defrost

The KM70 comes with built-in defrost control that will automatically kick in to turn off the compressor while continuing to run the fan if frost builds up on the unit’s evaporator coils. Note that there is no defrost light that illuminates to let you know when the defrost control is activated.

Check Filter

There is also no check filter light that illuminates to alert you when to clean and replace the unit’s air filter.

Overall Category Score

The KM70 doesn’t show ambient air temperature and it also doesn’t have a check filter light, but it does come equipped with a defrost mode. We would, however, really have liked to see a defrost light to go along with its defrost mode. The Kenmore gets only an average 3.5/5 for extra features.

Ease of Use

LED Display Clarity

This unit does feature a really nice high quality control panel. The LED display is clear and of a good quality.

Setup Difficulty

Fan speed settings are easy enough to select (simply press the “Fan Speed” button to set the unit to high, low, or auto fan speed), however other settings are more difficult to understand and input. To set the humidity manually, for instance, you’ll need to press the “Settings” button until the “Humidity” LED illuminates. You’ll then be able to press the up and down arrow buttons to set the desired humidity level. Labeling a function that allows you to manually set humidity as “Humidity” is needlessly ambiguous.

Filter Removal Difficulty

The Kenmore features a bottom slide-out filter which is fairly standard for the 70 pint size class. There are other large capacity dehumidifiers that have more easily accessible air filters, but you won’t be removing and replacing the air filter often, so the bottom slide-out setup for air filter removal works just fine in our experience.

Manual Clarity

The manual for the KM70 is above average quality. It’s very clear and to the point with an above average number of troubleshooting issues and solutions and an above average number of diagrams to describe care, maintenance, and general operation of the dehumidifier.

Water Tank Size

The KM70 has a massive 19.2 pint water tank, which is the largest water tank of any 70 pint dehumidifier we’ve tested. The next largest tank is on the GE ADEL70LR which has a 17.5 pint tank.

Overall Category Score

We have to give the KM70 an almost perfect score for ease of use, if only because of its gargantuan water tank. As you’ll read in our other reviews, water tank size is the most heavily weighed subcategory as we evaluate a dehumidifier’s ease of use. Yes, we do have a few nitpick issues with setup difficulty on this dehumidifier, and filter removal difficulty is only average, but its enormous water tank dominates the category and earns it a well above average 4.5/5 for ease of use.

Aesthetics

The Kenmore KM70 is a very modern looking appliance. The control panel has a very modern design. The overall look and feel of the dehumidifier is very modern. We have no criticism of its aesthetics.

Portability

Weight

The KM70 weighs 43.6 lb which is about average for its size class. A few units such as the Keystone KSTAD70B and RCA RDH705 are lighter (at 40 and 39.7 lb, respectively) but not by a large margin.

Handles

This unit only comes equipped with side pocket handles.

Cord Storage

Cord storage on the KM70 is above average for its size class. There are two plastic hooks inside a shallow compartment on the back of the dehumidifier to simplify cord storage.

Overall Category Score

The KM70 isn’t the best option if you’re looking for a more portable 70 pint dehumidifier but it’s also not the worst. It earns an average 3.5/5 for portability.

Warranty (Manufacturer’s)

The KM70 comes with a standard 1 year warranty but, unlike every other 70 pint dehumidifier we’ve reviewed thus far, the warranty does not mention an additional 4 year warranty on the unit’s sealed system. This means that if the unit’s compressor, condenser, evaporator tubing, etc. breaks after 1 year of ownership, you will not be covered under a warranty should you purchase this dehumidifier. Like its performance in our moisture removal and hygrometer accuracy tests, the lack of an additional warranty on the dehumidifier’s sealed system is completely unacceptable for a dehumidifier in this size class.

Value

The KM70 retails for a whopping $300. The Keystone KSTAD70B, at $190, is over $100 less expensive with many of the same features and much better performance in our moisture removal tests. There is nothing about the KM70 that justifies the fact that its priced as highly as it is. The Delonghi DD70PE is just as expensive (also retailing for around $300) but it comes equipped with a built-in pump which at least somewhat justifies its high price. We can’t give the KM70 anything but a well below average 2/5 for value.
 
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Final Thoughts

The KM70 is simply not a good buy. It’s much more expensive than it needs to be and it’s a poor performer in some of our most important performance tests, namely our moisture removal and hygrometer accuracy tests. It also comes with an unacceptable warranty. We cannot and do not recommend this dehumidifier for even the most enthusiastic Kenmore brand loyalist. For a much better option take a look at our FFAD7033R1 review.

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