Quick Review Summary
The Ivation IVADM35 is marketed as being a “powerful” thermo-electric dehumidifier. The truth is that while it’s one of the more powerful thermo-electric dehumidifiers on the market it’s, unfortunately, far from powerful when compared to dehumidifiers in general. It’s far less powerful than even the smallest capacity compressor based dehumidifier. The IVADM35 removes only 20 ounces of moisture per day while the top rated Frigidaire FFAD3033R1 (a small capacity compressor based unit), for example, removes close to 500 ounces of moisture per day. That’s not to say that the IVADM35 doesn’t have its uses. As we’ll discuss below (and summarize at the end of this review), this dehumidifier is a great option for the right application. It’s great for anyone looking to dehumidify inexpensively on a small scale. It can’t dehumidify large rooms and it can’t dehumidify spaces with perpetual severe humidity. But, if you have a musty humid closet or an uncomfortably humid laundry room, for instance, the IVADM35 is certainly a viable recommended option.
Note that we’ll compare the Ivation IVADM35 to the similarly priced IVADM45 and the less expensive IVADM10 throughout this review. The IVADM45 and the IVADM10 are the other two Ivation dehumidifiers we tested for review. Where appropriate we’ll also compare the IVADM35 to the other five thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested (we tested eight total units) in addition to the small capacity compressor based dehumidifiers we tested.
Performance Test Results
The IVADM35 was the least quiet Ivation thermo-electric dehumidifier we tested (again, we tested 3 total). At close range (sound meter placed above and slightly in front of the dehumidifier) it was measured to produce 52.1 dB of noise. The lighter duty IVADM10 was measured at 47.2 dB while the slightly heavier duty IVADM45 was measured at 48.9 dB of noise output.
Compared to the seven other thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested, the IVADM35′s noise output test results were average. The quietest thermo-electric unit we tested, the Gurin DHMD-210 was measured at 44.5 dB while the loudest, the SPT SD-350TI, was measured at 63.2 dB. The average for all eight thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested was 53.2 dB. The IVADM35′s measured 52.1 dB of noise output falls very close to this average.
In summary, if you’re looking to buy an Ivation thermo-electric dehumidifier and noise output is a concern for you then the IVADM10 or even the IVADM45 is a better option. If you’re simply looking to buy any brand thermo-electric dehumidifier and noise output is a concern for you, the quietest thermo-electric dehumidifier we tested, the Gurin DHMD-210, is the best option.
Moisture Removal Rate
To determine the moisture removal rate of the eight thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested, we had to adjust our methods from what we did to determine the moisture removal rate of the compressor based dehumidifiers we tested. Previously, in our compressor based dehumidifier testing, we turned up the humidity in a small 50 sq ft test environment well past 90%. We then measured how long it would take the dehumidifier to dehumidify the space from 90% relative humidity down to 40% relative humidity. The time taken was reasonable – it took large capacity 70 pint units anywhere from nine to fourteen minutes to do so while the smallest capacity compressor based units we tested – the 30 pint units – took between 20 and 50 minutes.
Because of the extremely low moisture removal rate (as compared to compressor based units) of thermo-electric dehumidifiers we had to adjust our test parameters. It would take an unreasonably long period of time for any thermo-electric dehumidifier to dehumidify the test space from 90 to 40% RH – it would take several hours, if not days. Instead, we measured how long it took the larger capacity thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested to dehumidify the space from 80% down to 70% relative humidity. For the smaller capacity units, we tested how long it took them to dehumidify the space from 80% down to only 75% relative humidity.
The IVADM35 was tested taking the room humidity from 80% down to 70% RH. It took this unit 12 minutes to do so. Compare this result to the 12 minutes it took the IVADM45 to achieve the same humidity level and the 20 minutes it took the SPT SD-350TI, SPT SD-350, and Perfect Home EWDH4 (the four other large capacity thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested). Thus, the IVADM35 took just as long as the slightly more expensive IVADM45 and was almost twice as fast as the less expensive SPT and Perfect Home units.
Area of Coverage
The IVADM35 is rated by the manufacturer to be able to dehumidify spaces up to 2200 cubic feet in volume. In two dimensions, this translates into approximately 220 square feet in a room with 10 ft high ceilings. Our own experience inclines us to advise against using this dehumidifier in such a large space. We would instead suggest that you don’t use this dehumidifier in any space larger than about 100 square feet.
Large compressor based dehumidifiers are rated to be able to dehumidify spaces upwards of even several thousand square feet. This estimation is based on the ability of the dehumidifier to dehumidify all of the air within such a large space AND also on the ability of the dehumidifier’s fans to move air at a sufficient RATE to accommodate such a large space. Fan speed is measured in CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute – i.e. how many cubic feet of air the fan can move per minute. Large compressor based dehumidifiers have very high CFM fans which allow them to move the air within a large space to such an extent that the dehumidifier is able to dehumidify all of the air within the same large space.
Thermo-electric dehumidifiers, on the other hand, have much smaller much lower CFM fans. These fans are simply incapable of moving a sufficient quantity of air at a sufficient speed to accommodate the dehumidification of a large space. Additionally, the thermo-electric technology that allows for dehumidification is also not “heavy duty” enough to facilitate the dehumidification of a large quantity of humid air within a reasonable time frame.
The bottom line here is that we advise that you use the IVADM35, and any other thermo-electric dehumidifier for that matter, solely in smaller sized spaces – small bathrooms, small laundry rooms, etc. We suggest that you measure the length and width of the space you want to dehumidify and multiply those two dimensions to find the square footage of the room. If the square footage exceeds 100 or so square feet then our suggestion would be for you to not buy a thermo-electric dehumidifier but invest in a small capacity compressor based dehumidifier instead. Click here for our 30 pint (small capacity) dehumidifier buyer’s guide.
Manufacturer Specified Moisture Removal Rate
The IVADM35 is rated by the manufacturer to remove up to 20.3 ounces of moisture per day. Compare this manufacturer specified moisture removal rate to the 25 ounces per day the IVADM45 is rated for and the 6.08 ounces per day the smaller less expensive IVADM10 is rated for. Thus, the IVADM35 removes approximately 20% less moisture per day than the approximately 10% more expensive IVADM45 and more than three times as much moisture per day than the half as expensive IVADM10.
In terms of how this moisture removal rate compares to even the smallest capacity compressor based dehumidifier, consider the fact that the 30 pint Frigidaire FFAD3033R1 removes an equivalent 480 ounces of moisture per day. Yes, it is twice as expensive as the IVADM35 but it does remove almost FIFTY times more moisture per day.
Included Features, Functionality, Build Quality, Warranties, and Value
Advertised wattage for the IVADM35 is 72 watts. The IVADM45 has the exact same rated power draw of 72 watts. The IVADM10 only draws 13.5 watts of power. Thus, both the IVADM35 and IVADM45 remove approximately three to four times as much moisture per day as the IVADM10 but draw over five times as much power to do so. The IVADM10 is far and away the most energy efficient option among the three Ivation units we tested. Keep in mind, however, that even 72 watts of power draw really won’t have much of an impact on your power bill to begin with. For comparison, the average light bulb draws 40 to 60 watts of power. You’re looking at an increase of between $1 to $2 in your monthly power bill should you run any one of these three Ivation dehumidifiers continuously for a full month. So, yes, the IVADM10 is the more energy efficient option, but, at the same time, it’s increased energy efficiency is only going to make a difference of a few cents, maybe a dollar on your monthly power bill.
Durability (Build Quality)
Like every other thermo-electric dehumidifier on the market, the Ivation IVADM35 is simply designed, and thus is a fairly reliable appliance. What do we mean by this? The IVADM35 (and every other thermo-electric dehumidifier on the market) has itself a very simple design. It consists of a plastic outer shell, an inexpensive Peltier module sandwiched between two inexpensive heat sinks, and a small brushless fan that pulls air through the dehumidifier – that’s it (outside of a few buttons and switches). Each one of these components are also simply designed. The Peltier module is perhaps the most complex and it only consists of two wires going into a block of two different types of metals (for more information on how Peltier technology works click here). The heat sinks are simple metal plates and the fan is just a regular computer style fan (the type of fan you see inside your average personal computer). Thus, the overall design of the dehumidifier is very simple and the design of each of the components that make up this design are simple in themselves – this results in an appliance that’s about as reliable as it can be, outside of the fan or one of the electrical components on the dehumidifier failing (in which case they can be easily and cheaply replaced).
When it comes to assessing consumer reviews left for any thermo-electric dehumidifier we have to be very careful. Negative reviews for compressor based dehumidifiers are usually left by consumers who experienced some type of reliability issue in operating their dehumidifier. Thus, we can assess the rate of negative consumer reviews left for this type of dehumidifier to get a better understanding of how reliable it is.
We cannot do the same when it comes to thermo-electric units. Many negative reviews (if not most) are left because the dehumidifier simply doesn’t meet the consumer’s expectations, NOT because of reliability issues. Many consumers buy a thermo-electric dehumidifier expecting it to perform just as well as a more expensive compressor based unit. As we made clear in discussing this unit’s moisture removal rate above, this simply isn’t the case. Compressor based dehumidifiers can dehumidify at a much greater rate of speed and can also dehumidify much larger spaces. Thus, in our assessment of consumer reviews, we have to eliminate all negative reviews left for a thermo-electric dehumidifier that reflect this disappointment. When we do so, we find that the IVADM35 has received a fairly high rate of positive reviews and compares favorably, in terms of review percentage, to the other thermo-electric dehumidifiers we tested. The bottom line – this is a reliable, durable thermo-electric dehumidifier that rarely disappoints consumers who use it properly – for small spaces and mild humidity problems.
The IVADM35 has no humidistat – i.e. you cannot set a desired humidity level on this dehumidifier. It will continue to run until you manually turn it off or until its condensate collection bucket is full. For about $10 more, the IVADM45 comes equipped with a built-in humidistat which allows you to set a desired humidity level for the room you’re dehumidifying. The dehumidifier will automatically turn off when the room reaches the desired humidity level.
Ease of Use
Because there’s no humidistat or extra features such as the continuous mode and auto modes you often see on compressor based units, the IVADM35 cannot be easier to operate. Simply turn the dehumidifier on and it’s ready to go – there aren’t any options/modes to set or select.
The manual for this unit is direct and to the point. It’s written well and serves its purpose well – it gives clear directions as to how to operate and maintain the dehumidifier.
Water Tank Size
The IVADM35 has a 68 ounce water tank. With an ideal moisture removal rate of approximately 20 ounces per day, this means that you only need to empty its tank once every 3 to 4 days. Note that the smaller less expensive IVADM10, despite its lower moisture removal rate, will have to be emptied more frequently due to its much smaller tank. With a moisture removal rate of 6.08 ounces per day and a 17 ounce tank, it will need to be emptied once every 2 to 3 days. The IVADM45 has exactly the same sized tank as the IVADM35 (68 ounces) but removes moisture faster (approx. 25 ounces per day) thus it will need to be emptied once every 2 to 3 days also.
The take away here is that if you’re looking to “set and forget” your dehumidifier while still having it dehumidify for as long as possible (remember, it automatically shuts off when the water tank is full), then the IVADM35 is the best option among the three Ivation dehumidifiers we tested. Its tank only needs to be emptied once every 3 to 4 days while the IVADM10 and IVADM45′s tanks need to be emptied once every 2 to 3 days.
In general, thermo-electric dehumidifiers are much lighter and more portable than compressor based dehumidifiers and the IVADM35 is no exception to this rule. It weighs approximately 5 pounds which is less than a sixth of the weight of the lightest 30 pint (small capacity) compressor based dehumidifier we tested (weighing approx. 30 pounds). The IVADM10 is even lighter at approximately 2 pounds. We recommend any thermo-electric dehumidifier, including the IVADM35, to anyone that needs a highly portable dehumidifier and who only needs it to dehumidify a small mildly humid space.
We were unable to find any warranty information on the IVADM35 or any other Ivation dehumidifier.
The IVADM35 normally retails for between approximately $85 and $90. It’s about $10 to $15 less expensive than the IVADM45 (approx. $100) and about $30 to $50 more expensive than the other less heavy duty thermo-electric Ivation dehumidifiers on the market (the IVADM10 retails for about $40, the IVAGDM20 for about $50, etc.).
The IVADM35 finds itself in an interesting niche in the market. It’s more than double the price of the least expensive thermo-electric dehumidifiers on the market while being about half the price of the least expensive small capacity compressor dehumidifiers on the market (the top rated Frigidaire FFAD3033R1 retails for about $180) at the same time. Two questions arise: One, should you buy this dehumidifier or buy a less expensive thermo-electric unit? Two, should you buy this dehumidifier or spend almost twice as much and buy a compressor based unit? The answer depends on what you need and how much you can spend.
The IVADM10 and similar units (those thermo-electric units retailing for around $50) should only be used in the smallest bathrooms, the smallest laundry rooms, the smallest closets, and so on and so forth – i.e. no room larger than 50 square feet. Those units should also only be used if the humidity problem is mild AND if it does not need to be resolved quickly.
The IVADM35 and similar units (those thermo-electric units priced around $100) can be used for slightly larger bathrooms, larger laundry rooms, and larger closets – note that we said larger and not large. Those rooms that you need to dehumidify should still be small – under 100 square feet. Thermo-electric dehumidifiers in this price range will dehumidify at a faster rate than smaller units but remember, now you’re dehumidifying a larger space. Thus, these units should still only be used if your humidity problem is mild AND if you’re patient enough to allow it to dehumidify over several days and weeks.
Finally, our recommendation is that a compressor based unit should be used for any space larger than 100 square feet. You also want to save a bit more money and rather purchase a compressor based dehumidifier if your humidity problem is even borderline severe and/or if you need it to be resolved quickly and/or perpetually. If the low price of thermo-electric dehumidifiers appeals to you but you really need a compressor based dehumidifier we suggest that you purchase a small capacity 30 pint compressor based unit. These units are less expensive than their larger capacity counterparts but still pack a sizable punch and can easily dehumidify even large rooms within a reasonable time frame. Click here for our review of the top rated Frigidaire FFAD3033R1.