Keystone KSTAD70B Review

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Pros

  • Best value in 70 pint size class
  • High % positive consumer feedback indicates unit is very reliable
  • Most energy efficient in size class (tied with 4 other units)
  • Most quiet in size class
  • Above average moisture removal rate
  • Defrost mode is included at low price point
  • Lightest in size class – very portable

Cons

  • Low quality LED display
  • Gravity drainage requires separate adapter to be installed

Included With Your Purchase

  • Dehumidifier
  • Instruction manual
  • Gravity drainage adapter
  • Set of 2 screws to install adapter
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Quick Review Summary

The Keystone KSTAD70B is an excellent low cost alternative to many of the more expensive 70 pint dehumidifiers on the market. This unit normally retails for under $200 making it the least expensive 70 pint unit we tested. To give you an idea of just how good of a deal this unit is, compare its price at approximately $195 to $258 which is the average price of the nine other 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested. You might be thinking that you’ll have to sacrifice some features and/or functionality when you buy the Keystone at its well below average price point. Think again, because the truth is that you won’t have to sacrifice any features or functionality when you purchase this dehumidifier. The KSTAD70B comes packed with features and has the same functionality as almost any other 70 pint dehumidifier on the market .

Incredibly, the KSTAD70B did remarkably well in all four of our real world simulated performance tests. Again and again it outperformed its more expensive, less affordable competition. This unit is super quiet, finishing in 1st place in all four of our noise output tests. Yes, the Keystone even at its low price point is the most quiet 70 pint dehumidifier we tested. It did equally well in our energy efficiency tests, finishing in a four-way tie for first place among the 70 pint units we tested. This dehumidifier is very energy efficient, thus you’ll be complementing its low initial cost with lower power bills to boot. The Keystone was slightly above average in our moisture removal tests, again surprisingly outperforming its more expensive competition.

We note here that we had our doubts regarding this unit’s durability. If anything, this was the one area in which we felt like the Keystone’s lower price affected its performance. It just didn’t appear to be constructed using as high of a quality of parts as some of the more expensive 70 pint units we tested. However, consumer feedback strongly contradicts our own observations. The KSTAD70B has thus far achieved a remarkable track record with consumers. Very rarely will you find a customer review complaining about this unit’s reliability. The truth is that this Keystone dehumidifier has one of the lowest negative review rates of any of the dehumidifiers we tested, even outperforming the highly rated Frigidaire FAD704DWD. Customers absolutely love this dehumidifier and who are we to disagree with them? We only tested these units for 30 days. Consumers have the benefit of having used and operated their dehumidifiers for weeks, months, even years and are much better equipped to comment on any particular dehumidifier’s reliability and overall longevity. With our concerns about its durability put to rest, the Keystone KSTAD70B is easily one of our most recommended buys in the 70 pint size class.

Note that our review below not only covers all of the KSTAD70B’s strengths but also its weaknesses. As you’ll see below we were quite critical of this unit in certain categories, including drainage and build quality. Please don’t be mislead into thinking that the Keystone is a poor choice because of its less than stellar performance in these categories. To the contrary, it is one of two units we recommend above all others in the 70 pint size class. As we note in our general buyer’s guide each unit we tested had its own set of faults and weaknesses. The Keystone KSTAD70B is no exception and does have its own set of weaknesses also. While we feel strongly that its strengths far outweigh these negatives we do feel like it’s appropriate for us to make you aware of the negatives nonetheless. With that being said, let’s get started with the review.

Note: We initially reviewed ten different 70 pint dehumidifiers. After some time we reviewed six more. This particular review was written during our initial review period, thus all comparisons within this review were made comparing this dehumidifier to the nine other 70 pint dehumidifiers we had reviewed at the time and the top rated 70 pint dehumidifier at the time, the Frigidaire FAD704DWD. All new reviews compare all sixteen 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested thus far and reference the current top rated 70 pint dehumidifier, the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1.

Performance Test Results

Energy Efficiency

The Keystone was one of four dehumidifiers that tied for most energy efficient 70 pint dehumidifier. It is one of the most energy efficient dehumidifiers we tested. The unit is rated at 720 watts but drew only 590 watts of power in our real world test at 50% RH. If your humidity problem is severe and the unit is going to be operating primarily above 60% RH then the manufacturer’s advertised wattage of 720 watts will more closely resemble the actual power usage of the dehumidifier.

If, on the other hand, you’re only going to be using the dehumidifier for mild humidity problems then our real world tested power draw of 590 watts will be closer to what you can expect for power usage.

Noise Output

The Keystone was the most quiet 70 pint dehumidifier we tested. Most of the units we tested exhausted through the top of the unit. Only the Keystone, the Whirlpool, and the SPT 70 pint units exhausted through the side of the unit. The exhaust noise is one of if not the most important factor in determining overall noise output. Because this unit (and the two others we mentioned above) exhausts through the side of the unit, it had a distinct advantage in our noise output tests as we discuss further here.

Nonetheless, it was still the most quiet 70 pint unit we tested and more importantly, the most quiet side exhaust unit we tested. Regardless of the advantage it had in our tests, the fact that the unit did so well in our sound tests lends itself to an important point. Because the unit exhausts through its side you can easily direct this noise away from you.

The only caveat here is that you will need to be more careful where you place this unit compared to the top exhausting units. Directing the exhaust into a corner of a room will result in less noise output but will also result in much less efficient operation than if you were to direct it to the center of the room. The dehumidifier exhausts warm dry air which acts as a magnet for moisture. By exhausting this warm dry air away from the center of the room you’ll be limiting the effectiveness of the dehumidifier’s operation.

Moisture Removal

The Keystone finished 4th out of ten units in our 70 pint 90-40% moisture removal test. Again, this is very impressive for a unit that is the most inexpensive of all the 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested. It fared more poorly in the 80-50% test, finishing seventh out of the ten 70 pint units we tested.

These test results indicate that the Keystone performs well in high humidity settings when very low humidity is desired (90-40%). If your goal is to achieve moderate humidity levels more quickly (80-50% test) it isn’t one of the better performing units we tested.

Hygrometer Accuracy

The Keystone had average hygrometer accuracy in its size class. It measured relative room humidity within 2 to 3% of the actual room humidity. Like eight other 70 pint units we tested, it reads humidity levels in 1% increments, allowing for more precise control compared to those units that only read in 5% increments (such as the Frigidaire and GE models we tested).

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

Durability (Build Quality)

Brace

The Keystone’s water tank does not have a brace and is therefore a bit more flimsy than those units that do. Many of the other 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested also didn’t have a brace but the Keystone’s water tank seemed more flimsy compared to those of similar “un-braced” units. The plastic mold for the tank was notably thinner than the plastic used for some of the more expensive units. We suggest that you carry the tank not only by the handle but with a hand under the tank when disposing of the condensate if you end up purchasing this Keystone dehumidifier.

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Weight

The KSTAD70B was one of the lightest 70 pint units we tested. While this is great for portability it does suggest the use of lighter (and what can possibly be inferred as less expensive in this case) parts in the construction of the dehumidifier. We’ve already discussed the thin plastic of the water tank. Other plastic pieces on the unit also appeared a bit less sturdy than equivalent parts found on more expensive units.

Consumer Feedback

We consider consumer feedback perhaps the greatest indication of how durable these units are. We only had the units we tested for 30 days and many of the units we tested weren’t being tested for more than a few hours at most. Consumers who’ve actually bought and used these dehumidifiers over the course of months and even years are a much greater resource than we are in assessing dehumidifier durability.

Unfortunately, this Keystone unit is one of the newer dehumidifiers on the market. And while it has great reviews so far (only 2 of 83 reviews are 1 or 2 stars as of the time of this writing), the first review was written July of 2013. It’s therefore impossible to know just how well this dehumidifier will perform over the course of several years of use. What we do know is that it has performed well so far (its first year on the market).

Brand Reputation

Keystone is a completely unknown brand. Googling Keystone dehumidifier yields no results for the actual brand’s website. The user manual for this unit does mention “Midea consumer services”. Googling Midea we found that they are in fact a known appliance manufacturer. Upon further investigation we found that their dehumidifiers were included in a massive recall that also included GE dehumidifiers sold in Walmart stores in 2010. We can only surmise that they may have given these newly released Keystone dehumidifiers a new brand name in light of the negative reputation they received from the 2010 model recalls. Still, we don’t know for sure if these Keystone units are actually manufactured by Midea. We can only infer as much from the manual.

Overall Category Score

Even though the unit’s water tank doesn’t have a brace and the dehumidifier generally feels like it’s a bit more cheaply made than its competitors, we cannot assume that it’s not going to be a durable unit. Only time will tell how well these units hold up over the next few years. With the limited information that we do have we have to give the Keystone an above average 4/5 for durability. The higher score is only because we feel very strongly about consumer feedback and the Keystone’s high positive review rate so far does indicate that it has a chance to be one of the more durable units on the market. We took off a point for the more cheaply made plastic parts and the questionable brand reputation.

Adjustability

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Humidistat

The desired humidity level can be adjusted in 5% increments, standard for the vast majority of dehumidifiers we tested (the only exception is the Haier DE65EM – 2% increments).

Timer

Because the LED display only has room for two digits the timer can be adjusted in half hour increments only up to 10 hours. Past 10 hours you’ll only be able to set the timer in 1 hour increments.

A more unique feature of the KSTAD70B (although not necessarily very helpful) is the fact that you can set a delayed start and a delayed stop at the same time. Perhaps you want to set the dehumidifier to a delayed stop and then have it start again a particular number of hours from when it stops. Only the Keystone and the SPT dehumidifiers (of all the units we tested) will allow you to set a delayed start and stop simultaneously. All other units only allow you to set one or the other. So if you want to set a delayed start you will have to manually turn the dehumidifier off. Similarly, if you want to set the unit to a delayed stop you’ll have to manually turn it back on again.

Number of Fan Speeds

The Keystone has 2 fan speeds like the majority of 70 pint units we tested. However, (perhaps in a deliberate attempt to differentiate it at least in some way from the competition) the fan speeds are not marked “high” and “low”. The “high” fan speed is marked by the “turbo” indicator light being illuminated on the unit. The “low” fan speed is simply what the manufacturer calls “normal” fan speed in the user manual and is marked by the “turbo” indicator light not being illuminated on the Keystone’s control panel.

We do note here that we noticed less of a difference between the high and low fan speed on the Keystone than most of the other 70 pint units we tested. Normally, the high fan speed is much louder than the low fan speed. This difference in fan speed and noise output wasn’t nearly as pronounced on the Keystone.

Extra Modes

The Keystone does have a continuous mode. It does not have an auto mode. Read more about how each of these modes might be beneficial to you here.

Overall Category Score

The Keystone has industry standard humidistat and timer adjustability. Although the fact that both a delayed start and stop can be set simultaneously is a unique feature, we don’t really consider it a major positive since most consumers will rarely if ever require this type of functionality. We do consider the lack of a distinct pronounced difference in fan speeds a negative since being able to set either a distinctly high or distinctly low fan speed can be very helpful depending on the situation. Like the majority of 70 pint units we tested the Keystone offers a continuous mode but lacks an auto mode. Overall, we give the Keystone an average 3.5/5 in this category. The lower score is mostly because of the lack of distinct fan speeds.

Versatility

Set Humidity Range

The Keystone can be set to a desired humidity level as low as 35% and as high as 85%. Most dehumidifiers in the 70 pint class have a similar range.

Operating Temperature Range

The KSTAD70B has a standard operating temperature range of 41° to 95° Fahrenheit. Most of the dehumidifiers we tested operate in a similar range. Only the Whirlpool AD70GUSB can be used in lower temperatures (38° F) according to manufacturer recommendations.

Gravity Drainage

Drainage is perhaps the Keystone’s weakest category. All of the dehumidifiers we tested except the Keystone and SPT dehumidifiers have either an attachment to connect a standard garden hose, or an included hose for gravity drainage.

The Keystone (and SPT dehumidifiers) require you to attach an adapter to be able to employ gravity drainage. You will have to attach the adapter using an included set of screws and a screwdriver. Only after you’ve installed the adapter will you be able to use gravity drainage.

For us, having to install a separate adapter to use gravity drainage is a major negative for anyone that’s going to actually employ this functionality. First of all, the adapter is easy to lose and so are the included screws. Secondly, the way in which the adapter attaches to the dehumidifier lends itself to potential leaks (see pictures below). Finally, we feel that having to install an adapter in the first place is a design flaw and a clear oversight by the manufacturer. At its core, a dehumidifier is a very basic appliance and designing a unit with easy attachment for gravity drainage is not a difficult task for any engineer involved in the design and manufacturing of one of these units (you can easily see why this is true when assessing drainage on other dehumidifiers).

The need for a separate adapter and how it is attached can perhaps be attributed to the low cost of the dehumidifier. This is perhaps the best example of a design choice that was made to limit costs to produce a more low cost dehumidifier.

Built-in Pump

With its budget pricing it comes as no surprise that the Keystone KSTAD70B does not have a built-in pump. You will need to purchase a condensate pump separately if you need to drain the unit to a location at a higher elevation than the location of the dehumidifier.

Overall Category Score

The Keystone has an industry standard set humidity range and operating temperature range. As we mentioned above, the need for a separate adapter for gravity drainage is a major design flaw and negatively impacts the unit’s score in this category. Not surprisingly, the Keystone earns a well below average 2/5 in this category.

Extra Features

We just saw the Keystone’s weakest category. Now let’s take a strongest look at what is perhaps its strongest category.

Temperature Display

This unit does not feature a separate temperature display. The LED display only shows the ambient air’s relative humidity.

Defrost

The Keystone does have a defrost mode, quite surprising at its price point. When this mode is activated (at lower temperatures), the unit’s compressor will shut off and only the fans will continue to run to melt any frost that may have accumulated on the unit’s evaporator coils. This unit also has a defrost light that will illuminate when the defrost mode is activated.

Check Filter Light

The Keystone also features a check filter light and a filter light reset button. Again, this is quite surprising at its low price point.

Overall Category Score

This is one of the KSTAD70B’s stronger categories. It doesn’t offer a temperature display which is a very helpful feature and will have a slightly negative impact on its score here, but the fact that this unit offers both a check filter light and especially a defrost mode at its low price point are very strong positives. The Keystone earns a strong 4.5/5 for its myriad of extra features.

Ease of Use

LED Display Clarity

The Keystone has a small and very basic two digit LED display that can best be described as “budget microwave” quality. Again, the manufacturer had to make certain design choices in trying to produce a more inexpensive 70 pint dehumidifier and it definitely shows through when you look at the unit’s LED display.

Setup Difficulty

The simplicity of the display lends itself to simple use. It’s very easy and simple to input settings on this unit. The only confusing part of the display might be the fact that the timer label is found between the arrow buttons used to set the humidity level.

Filter Removal Difficulty

Another surprising positive for the Keystone – the unit features a top slide-out filter for easy removal and cleaning. Even though you won’t be cleaning the filter often, it’s still a positive that you won’t need to remove the water tank and get in under the unit to remove the filter like most other units in this size class.

Manual Clarity

Another strong negative for the Keystone – the unit’s user manual is riddled with spelling errors. “Opertation” and “indecator” are some examples.

Water Tank Size

The Keystone has a very small water tank. It’s only 1.3 gallons or 10.4 pints. Compare this capacity to 16.3 pints for the Frigidaire. The smaller tank size means that you’ll have to empty the tank much more frequently than you would need to for units with larger water tanks. Of course, if you’re going to use gravity drainage this isn’t an issue. Unfortunately, the Keystone is a terrible option if you are going to use gravity drainage as we highlight in the drainage section above.

Overall Category Score

The Keystone is simple to use and its filter is easy to remove. These are the few positives it has going for it in this category. Unfortunately, the negatives far outweigh the positives. The LED display is below average at best, the manual is unprofessional and negatively reflects on the manufacturer. Most importantly, the unit’s water tank is very small which will result in the unit turning off much more frequently as the water tank will fill up much more frequently than comparable units. We give the Keystone a disappointing 2/5 for ease of use.

Aesthetics

The Keystone features a more square design. It has a white glossy finish which is much more susceptible to dirt and dust than those units with a matte finish that we tested (the Frigidaire, for example). We also can’t imagine that the unit will stay white for long as it truly is a pure white finish. The unit isn’t an off white color like some of the other “white” units that we tested.

That being said, the unit generally looks good and its basic square shape is aesthetically pleasing. We give this unit a respectable 4/5 for aesthetics. Note that this score isn’t weighted in the overall score as aesthetics is purely subjective, although we’ve highlighted some of the more practical parts of the unit’s aesthetics above.

Portability

Weight

The Keystone KSTAD70B weighs in at 40 lb. It, along with the SPT SD-72PE (also weighing 40 lb) are the two lightest 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested. The unit’s light weight makes it easy to carry around although (as we’ll discuss below) its lack of a top extendable handle hurts its portability more than its low weight helps its portability. Still, the Keystone is easy to move around on its casters and we did note a distinct difference in how much easier it was to move this unit around compared to some of the heavier units we tested (45+ lb). The unit’s lower shipping weight may also lower the quoted shipping cost compared to some of the more heavy large capacity units we tested.

Handles

As previously mentioned, the Keystone does not have a top extendable handle like its often compared to slightly more expensive competitor, the Frigidaire FAD704DWD. The lighter weight of the Keystone does make up for this a bit, but we would have still liked to see a top handle on the unit to make carrying it around a bit easier. Of course, if you’re not going to be moving the dehumidifier around much, the lack of a top handle shouldn’t be much of a concern for you.

The Keystone does include side handles if you have to carry it instead of moving it around on its casters. However, as we’ve made clear above, we really prefer a top extendable handle on any unit that’s going to be carried and/or moved around frequently.

Cord Storage

For cord storage we see another example of what can be interpreted as a reason to call the Keystone a “budget” model compared to some of the more expensive units we tested, especially the Frigidaire. The unit has a plastic strap to hold the power cord when moving or storing the dehumidifier. The strap is cheaply made and with enough use will likely eventually tear off of the unit. The strap was clearly an afterthought by the manufacturer. Still, it does serve its purpose and you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. The majority of the dehumidifiers we tested don’t have any cord storage at all so having anything at all, even if it’s cheaply made, gives the Keystone above average marks in this subcategory.

Caster Quality

We did notice that some of the units we tested had some trouble with caster quality. We encountered some resistance when moving these units around on their casters. We didn’t observe this problem with the Keystone – the unit’s casters were of good quality and worked well.

Overall Category Score

The Keystone is super light compared to some of the other 70 pint units we tested. While its light weight is a strong positive, the fact that it doesn’t have a top extendable handle and the flimsy strap used to store the power cord definitely at least appear to be negatives at first glance. We still give the Keystone an above average 4/5 for portability mostly because of its light weight but also because we can’t really take off points for its cord storage for the reasons we mentioned above.

Warranty (Manufacturer’s)

The Keystone has a standard 1 year warranty on the unit and 2 to 5 year warranty on the sealed system (the compressor, condenser, etc.). Be aware that Keystone is a Chinese company and their honoring of their warranty is still something to be proven as this model has only been on the market for about a year as of the time of this writing.

Value

For many consumers, this will be the most important factor pushing them in the direction of a Keystone dehumidifier purchase. The KSTAD70B is the most inexpensive 70 pint dehumidifier we tested with a street price of about $190. The next less expensive unit is the HAIER DE65EM at $200 which is not a recommended unit. Chances are you’re comparing the Keystone to the Frigidaire FAD704DWD, priced at about $225. The two units thus have a price difference of about $35.

Final Thoughts

The question then becomes, is the Frigidaire worth the extra 35 or so dollars? You can read our in-depth comparison of the Frigidaire and Keystone units here.
 
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