RCA RDH705 Review

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Pros
  • Lowest power draw of any of the 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested
  • One of the most quiet 70 pint dehumidifiers on the market
  • Reasonably accurate built-in hygrometer
  • Defrost mode

Cons

  • Could not dehumidify our test environment below 42% relative humidity
  • Very poor performance in our moisture removal tests – reduces unit’s energy efficiency
  • Observed build quality not very good

Included With Your Purchase

  • Dehumidifier
  • Gravity Drainage Adapter And Screws
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Quick Review Summary

The RCA RHD705 is a reasonably energy efficient and very quiet 70 pint dehumidifier. It’s a good value, retailing for around $200. It’s very light for this size class at just under 40 pounds. It’s also highly rated by consumers. Out of the over 50 consumer reviews that we sampled, only 4% rated the RHD705 below average (1 or 2 star). This is the best ratio of negative to positive reviews out of all of the 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested thus far. All of this considered, why then do we not consider this RCA dehumidifier to be the best 70 pint dehumidifier on the market?

The answer to this question is very simple. A dehumidifier first and foremost should dehumidify. And the RCA RHD705 was one of the worst performers in both of our moisture removal tests. Out of the sixteen 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested, it was one of only two units that could not dehumidify a 50 sq ft room from 90% down to 40% relative humidity. The best that it could do was 42%. This, in our opinion, is simply unacceptable for a large capacity 70 pint dehumidifier that retails for over $200 (approx.). For more specific details as to how it fared in our moisture removal tests, as well as its performance in our energy efficiency, noise output, and hygrometer accuracy tests, feel free to read through our complete review below.

Performance Test Results

Energy Efficiency

The RHD705 was the most energy efficient 70 pint dehumidifier we tested according to its power draw. It was tested to draw only 571 watts of power at 50% relative humidity. Note that at higher humidity levels you can expect this unit to draw closer to the manufacturer specified 720 watts while at humidity levels below 50% you can expect the unit to draw even less than the 571 watts of power draw we measured during our energy efficiency testing.

Comparing the RHD705 to other popular 70 pint units we tested, you’ll note that the difference between this unit’s power draw and the measured power draw for five other units rated in the top 10 for energy efficiency is only 19 watts. The Keystone, Delonghi, Whirlpool, Haier, and Kenmore 70 pint units all were measured to draw 590 watts of power at the same humidity level. The difference between the RCA’s power draw and some of the worst performing units is more pronounced. The worst performing Haier HM70EP, for example, draws 667 watts of power at 50% relative humidity, almost 100 watts more than the RCA.

The takeaway here is that if you’re debating between buying the RCA and any of the top 10 most energy efficient 70 pint dehumidifiers then the difference in power draw between the RCA and the competition probably isn’t substantial enough to justify buying the RCA over another top performing unit. However, should you be comparing the RCA to a unit that is badly rated for energy efficiency, then the difference in power draw between the RCA and the badly rated unit could be enough to justify buying the RCA over the badly rated unit. For example, if energy efficiency is important to you and you’re debating between the RCA and the Delonghi DD70PE (measured to draw 655 watts of power)we would definitely recommend the RCA over the Delonghi. However, if you’re debating between the RCA and the Keystone KSTAD70B (measured to draw 590 watts of power) there isn’t a big enough difference between the RCA and the Keystone for us to recommend the RCA over the Keystone if energy efficiency is important to you. Additionally, if you were to take the RCA’s poor moisture removal into account, the difference in energy efficiency is even less substantial, as the RCA will take much longer to dehumidify the same room using only slightly less power to do so (we discuss the relationship between moisture removal rate and energy efficiency in greater detail here).

Noise Output

The RCA matches its above average performance in our energy efficiency test with its stellar performance in our noise output tests. At closer range (noise measured right above the unit’s control panel) it was measured to be the second most quiet 70 pint dehumidifier we tested. At longer range (noise measured 10 feet away from the dehumidifier) it was measured to be the most quiet 70 pint dehumidifier we tested. Measured noise output at close range on high fan speed was only 58.8 dB. Compare this number to 67.2 dB which is the average noise output at this range and on this fan speed of the sixteen 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested. Measured noise output at long range on high fan speed was 49.7 dB compared to an average noise output of 53.5 dB among the sixteen 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested.

The bottomline? The RCA is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a quiet large capacity dehumidifier. Do note, however, that this dehumidifier exhausts out of its side, which does skew noise output test results in its favor as we discuss here.

Moisture Removal

This is the first test in which we run into some major issues with the RHD705. First of all, we were not able to obtain test data for this unit to compare to the performance of the other fifteen 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested in our 90% to 40% moisture removal test. For this test, all tested dehumidifiers were set to their lowest humidity setting (normally 35% or 30%) and were timed taking a 50 sq ft room from 90% down to 40% relative humidity. The problem is that this RCA unit, even after being set to 35% RH, couldn’t get the test room down to 40% relative humidity. Thus we couldn’t time how long it took the unit to get the room down to 40% relative humidity.

In the first trial it got the room down to 43% RH after 12 minutes and then the room humidity started going back up to the high 40s. In the second trial the RCA again got the room down to 43% RH this time after 10 minutes but then room humidity again started going back up. Room humidity got back up to 49% after 15 minutes then back down to 43% after 17 minutes then back up to 50% after 20 minutes then back down to 42% after 24 minutes and so on and so forth. In the third trial it got the room humidity down to 42% RH after 12 minutes then room humidity started going back up hitting 50% after 16 min, and so on and so forth.

Fortunately, we were able to get data for this unit in our 80% to 50% moisture removal test as it was able to get the room below 50% relative humidity. It did so in 6 minutes and 2 seconds (on average after 3 trials) – not bad but also not very good. Compare this time taken to 4 minutes and 41 seconds for the top rated Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 and 7 minutes and 42 seconds for the worst performing 70 pint dehumidifier in this test, the Delonghi DD70PE.

What conclusions can we draw from these results? To put it bluntly, the RCA RHD705 just isn’t a very good dehumidifier in terms of a dehumidifier’s most important function – dehumidifying. Any 70 pint dehumidifier should at least be able to dehumidify a small room such as our test room (at 50 sq ft) down to 40% relative humidity. This is by no means an unreasonable requirement as almost all of the 70 pint dehumidifiers on the market can be set to as low as 35% RH while many can be set to as low as 30% RH. The RHD705 not being able to dehumidify such a small room down to 40% relative humidity when it is set to 35% RH is simply unacceptable.

Hygrometer Accuracy

The moisture removal test was the only performance test in which the RCA RHD705 had any major issues. Testing for hygrometer accuracy we found this unit’s hygrometer to be very accurate, reading the room humidity no worse than within 1 to 2% of the actual room humidity.

An inaccurate hygrometer would have explained why this unit wasn’t able to achieve room humidity below 40%. For example, if its hygrometer read the room humidity over 7% below what it actually was, it would read 35% room humidity at 42% actual room humidity. Thus, in the moisture removal tests we discuss above, it would have shut off at 42% actual room humidity when it was set at 35%, explaining why the room never reached a humidity level below 42%.

But, this unit does not have such an inaccurate hygrometer and therefore its lackluster performance in our moisture removal tests remains inexplicable and inexcusable.

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

Durability (Build Quality)

General Impressions

RCA is a very well known brand. Going into our review of this dehumidifier we were excited to see what RCA could do with such a unique appliance such as a dehumidifier. What we quickly learned, right after unboxing this dehumidifier, is that it wasn’t necessarily manufactured by RCA.

The RHD705 almost has the exact same plastic shell as the Keystone KSTAD70B and the SPT SD-72PE. The only difference is how the filter is accessed, the model number on the back of the unit, and the brand name on the front of the unit. The question then is “is this dehumidifier manufactured by Keystone, SPT, or RCA? Or is it manufactured by a Chinese third party that produces dehumidifiers for all three brands? Or is just the shell the same on all three units, ordered from the same factory in China?”

You might be asking, “why are we discussing this similarity between these three dehumidifiers?” The answer is that in assessing the RCA’s build quality, all we have to do is look toward our Keystone and SPT reviews in which we’ve already discussed manufacturer build quality. In our Keystone review we observed that the build quality for the unit was definitely lackluster, but an overwhelming number of positive reviews for it made us hesitate to infer that it’s below average build quality meant that it was an unreliable dehumidifier. Since we wrote that review, consumer reviews for the Keystone have remained consistently positive and so we must continue to believe that it is by most accounts a fairly reliable and durable dehumidifier. The SPT, on the other hand, has received less than stellar consumer reviews and therefore we rated the SPT’s durability below average. What do the RCA’s consumer reviews show?

Consumer Feedback

As is true for the Keystone, consumer reviews for the RCA are very positive. This dehumidifier has the lowest negative review rate (percentage of 1 and 2 star reviews compared to the overall number of reviews) of any of the 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested. It has a remarkably low 4% negative review rate with only 2% of consumers leaving a 1 star review and only 2% of consumers leaving a 2 star review. These results would be inconclusive with a small sample size, but over 50 reviews have been left thus far, making this unit’s low negative review rate even more impressive.

Overall Category Score

As was true for the KSTAD70B, the RHD705′s below average build quality is disconcerting. However, its remarkably low negative review rate for all intents and purposes cancels out these observations and compels us to give this unit an above average 4/5 for durability.

Adjustability

Humidistat

This unit’s humidistat can be set in 5% increments, standard for all of the compressor based dehumidifiers we’ve tested.

Timer

The RHD705′s timer can be set in half hour increments up to 10 hours and 1 hour increments from 11 hours to up to 24 hours for a delayed start or a delayed stop.

Number of Fan Speeds

This unit can be set to either high or low fan speed. Dehumidifiers in this size class can also have a medium fan speed or an auto fan speed. This unit only has the two fan speeds, high and low.

Extra Modes

Continuous mode is activated by pressing the “Cont” button on the control panel. In this mode the dehumidifier will run continuously despite the ambient air’s humidity. Normally, if a desired humidity level is set the dehumidifier’s compressor will turn off once it senses the desired humidity level has been reached. Should you want the dehumidifier to run continuously without turning off under any conditions, you can set it to continuous mode.

Dehumidifiers in this size class can also have an auto mode which automatically sets the dehumidifier to a certain desired humidity level and fan speed. The RCA does not come equipped with an auto mode.

Overall Category Score

The RHD705 features slightly above average timer adjustability, an average number of fan speeds, and an average number of extra modes. We give it an average 3.5/5 for adjustability.

Versatility

Set Humidity Range

The RHD705 can be set to as high as 85% relative humidity and as low as 35% RH, at least according to the manufacturer specifications. However, we note here that during our moisture removal tests the unit was set to 35% RH and wasn’t able to even dehumidify a small room (50 sq ft) below 42% RH. Thus, this unit’s actual set humidity range is closer to 42% to 85% RH.

Operating Temperature Range

This unit’s operating temperature range is 41 to 95° F which is fairly standard for its size class. At the lower end of the range frost will definitely build up on the unit’s evaporator coils. However, this unit does come equipped with a defrost mode to deice the coils for continued operation even at lower temperatures.

Gravity Drainage

Like the Keystone KSTAD70B you will need to screw an adapter onto the back of the dehumidifier to employ gravity drainage. The adapter and two screws are included with your purchase of the dehumidifier. In our Keystone review we discuss at length why we dislike this required setup for gravity drainage.

Built-in Pump

This dehumidifier does not come equipped with a built-in pump.

Overall Category Score

While the set humidity range for this dehumidifier is average for this size class according to manufacturer specifications, our real world tests show that you’ll be able to achieve relative humidity in the low 40s at best with this dehumidifier, which is well below average for the 70 pint dehumidifier size class. The operating temperature for this unit is average for the size class while its gravity drainage functionality is well below average. It also doesn’t come equipped with a built-in pump, though we do not weigh this function’s absence in the overall category score. We still give the RHD705 a well below average 2.5/5 for versatility.

Extra Features

Temperature Reading

This dehumidifier does not read or display the ambient air’s temperature.

Defrost

The RHD705 does feature an auto defrost mode. When frost builds up on the unit’s evaporator coils the dehumidifier’s compressor will automatically cycle off while still allowing its fan to run to melt the frost. The inclusion of this mode makes the RHD705 a viable option for low temperature operation.

Check Filter

This unit also comes equipped with a check filter light to alert you to check/clean the air filter.

Overall Category Score

While this unit doesn’t feature a temperature display, it does feature a defrost mode which weighs heavily in this category. Much less importantly it also has a check filter light. We give the RHD705 an above average 4/5 for these two extra features.

Ease of Use

LED Display Clarity

This unit has the exact same control panel as the Keystone KSTAD70B and the SPT SD-72PE. You can read our comments regarding the quality of its display in each respective review here and here.

Setup Difficulty

Please note that below we are nitpicking some of the design choices made for the unit’s control panel. but these nitpicks will not factor heavily into the dehumidifier’s overall score for ease of use.

The unit’s control panel is made unnecessarily confusing by the fact that the timer button is sandwiched between the only plus and minus buttons on the control panel. When first using the dehumidifier you might be inclined to think that these buttons are only used to set the timer because they’re right next to the timer button. Only after you realize there aren’t any other plus or minus buttons on the control panel will you realize that these same two buttons are used to set the timer and the desired humidity level.

Also confusing is the fact that there isn’t a fan speed button with high fan speed and low fan speed LEDs like almost every other large capacity dehumidifier we’ve tested. Instead, there’s a “Fan” button and pressing it will illuminate the unnecessarily ambiguous “Turbo” LED. We were able to hear the fan going from high to low to high, etc. fan speed when pressing this button repeatedly, otherwise we might have never known that “turbo” means “high” fan speed without consulting the manual first.

Filter Removal Difficulty

The RHD705 features a bottom slide-out filter. We want to note here that while filter removal was fairly easy, reinserting the filter on this dehumidifier was much more difficult than it was on most other 70 pint dehumidifiers we tested. There are slots on each side of the inside of the dehumidifier behind the front grille through which you have to carefully slide the air filter to reinsert it. We had more difficulty fitting this dehumidifier’s air filter through those slots for reinsertion than we had on other 70 pint units we tested.

Manual Clarity

There was no manual included with the unit we purchased. Fortunately, a quick search online got us a digital manual that was fairly easy to read and understand.

Water Tank Size

The RHD705 has a manufacturer specified tank size of 16.8 pints. This is larger than the top rated Frigidaire (13.1 pints) and many other 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested.

Overall Category Score

The RHD705′s control panel layout leaves much to be desired as far as ease of use is concerned. It also has to be scored below average in filter removal difficulty (difficult to reinsert) and manual clarity (a manual simply wasn’t included with our purchase). It does have an above average sized water tank, which is the most heavily weighed in this category. Thus we give the RHD705 an average 3.5/5 for ease of use.

Aesthetics

We’ve already discussed the fact that this unit has the exact same outer shell (and therefore the exact same appearance) as other 70 pint dehumidifiers we’ve tested. See the “Durability” section above for more comments on this dehumidifiers aesthetics.

Portability

Weight

Not surprisingly, the RHD705 has just about the same weight as the Keystone KSTAD70B. The Keystone is specified to weigh 40 pounds while the RHD705 is specified to weigh 39.7 pounds. The fact that its 0.3 pounds lighter than the Keystone makes it the lightest 70 pint dehumidifier that we’ve tested thus far. It’s a full 7 pounds lighter than the top rated Frigidaire (46 lb).

Handles

This unit doesn’t come equipped with a top handle but it does have two side pocket handles.

Cord Storage

Again not surprisingly, cord storage is exactly the same on this dehumidifier as it is on the Keystone. There’s a plastic strap on the back of the dehumidifier to hold the power cord. While this setup isn’t as good as the plastic molded hooks of other units we’ve tested, it is something, which is more than nothing which is what most 70 pint dehumidifiers come equipped with.

Overall Category Score

The RHD705 is the lightest 70 pint dehumidifier we’ve tested thus far. It doesn’t come with a top handle but the side pocket handles do enough to get the job done. Cord storage is slightly above average. Mostly due to its light weight we give the RHD705 a well above average 4.5/5 for portability.

Warranty (Manufacturer’s)

The RHD705 comes a full 1 year warranty and an additional 4 year warranty on the unit’s sealed system. This type of warranty is standard for this size class.

Value

The RHD705 is one of the more inexpensive 70 pint dehumidifiers on the market. Retailing for around $205 it’s about $45 cheaper than the top rated Frigidaire (approx. $250) and about $15 more expensive than the very similarly designed Keystone (approx. $190). If value is of utmost concern to you then our recommendation would definitely be the Keystone over the RCA. Both are inexpensive but the Keystone is even more inexpensive and it also doesn’t have the moisture removal problems that the RCA has (discussed under moisture removal test results near the beginning of the review).
 
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Final Thoughts

Moisture removal – it’s the reason you’re buying a dehumidifier in the first place. Energy efficiency is important. Whether the dehumidifier is loud or quiet is important. Hygrometer accuracy is also very important. But nothing is more important than moisture removal. And the RHD705 was quite simply a terrible performer in our moisture removal tests. For this reason alone we cannot recommend it as viable option if you’re looking to purchase a 70 pint dehumidifier. For a much better option see our Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 review.

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