Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier Review


Overview


The Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier is a 70 pint unit and the most expensive in the Sears Kenmore range of dehumidifiers. It differs from the Kenmore 70 Pint Dehumidifier in having an internal condensate pump. Like most 70 Pint Portable Dehumidifiers this unit will be of greatest interest to those who are looking for a basement dehumidifier and it is with this application in mind that we have reviewed this appliance.


The capacity of the Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier is adequate for small to medium sized basements. The Elite is Energy Star® certified and includes all the features required of a dehumidifier.


These features include an adjustable humidistat to maintain humidity at your preferred level, and an "auto mode" whereby the dehumidifier selects and maintains a comfortable humidity, auto-restart to switch the unit back on after a power outage, a quick-connect double sealed drain hose to prevent leaks, two fan speed settings, plus the auto mode setting, and electronic controls.


The Elite also includes auto-defrost to protect the unit from damage in cooler temperatures although this does not mean that this dehumidifier is an ideal choice for use in consistently cooler areas, below 60°F.




The Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier also incorporates an internal condensate pump to force the condensate to a greater height or distance than the gravity fed, continuous drainage capability of most dehumidifiers. This feature may be appreciated by users who do not have a convenient floor drain available and prefer not to purchase a separate condensate pump.


On paper the Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier has everything needed of a basement dehumidifier. Dehumidifier Reviews of this unit by consumers are, however, not universally favorable and there are some questions to be asked about some aspects of this dehumidifier's performance. For this reason we do not recommend this unit in preference to some other 70 pint dehumidifiers in which we have greater confidence.


Features


The Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier has a water extraction rate of up to 70 pints per day. This rate was independently tested in compliance with the standard test conditions specified by AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) which are 80°F and 60% relative humidity. As water extraction rates vary with changes in temperature and relative humidity this standard allows fair comparisons to be made between dehumidifiers from different manufacturers.


In cooler or less humid conditions the amount of water collected will be significantly lower. Once your dehumidifier has reduced relative humidity to the level you chose it will remove much less moisture to maintain that level.


A 70 pint dehumidifier is the most powerful portable dehumidifier in the range of any manufacturer. If the area where you are using a dehumidifier is larger than a 70 pint unit can comfortably manage it would be advisable to consider a whole house dehumidifier or a basement dehumidifier. In almost all cases it will be less expensive to operate one of these purpose-built, high capacity machines than two or more portable dehumidifiers.

Like all room dehumidifiers the Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier collects the water in a bucket. If you are happy with this arrangement you will find it necessary to empty the bucket once or twice per day. With a capacity of 15 pints the bucket is smaller than those found in some other 70 pint dehumidifiers.


A smaller bucket allows a dehumidifier to be smaller in size which can be an advantage. If emptying the bucket is inconvenient there are two other drainage options available.


The first of these options is a gravity fed, continuous drainage facility, common to almost all portable dehumidifiers. A hose may be attached to an outlet port in the dehumidifier casing and run to a nearby floor drain. A
quick-connect, double seal drain hose is included in the box which is designed to make setting up this drainage option easy, and to eliminate leaks.


If a convenient floor drain is not available a second option is to make use of the built-in dehumidifier pump, known as a condensate pump, which will force the water over a greater distance or to a higher level. Naturally this feature adds to the price of the dehumidifier and is only worth paying for if gravity fed, continuous drainage is not possible in your situation.


Operation of the dehumidifier is controlled by a humidistat which senses the level of relative humidity in the room and switches the compressor on and off as required to maintain the selected level programmed into the dehumidifier. If you wish to prevent condensation, mold growth and to reduce the dust mite population we recommend a level of 50% relative humidity, or a tad lower.


The humidistat will ensure that the chosen level is maintained at the minimum cost in energy. It is only fair to say that the sensors installed in portable dehumidifiers are usually subject to an error of +/-5% and that a separate hygrometer of reasonable quality may be needed to ensure that the level of relative humidity you choose is maintained.


The Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier is quite powerful enough to be used in an average sized basement but it would not be the ideal unit if that basement is cooler than 60°F for significant periods. The unit will operate without being damaged at much lower temperatures, just a few degrees above freezing. This is due to its auto-defrost system which detects the formation of ice on the evaporator coils and turns off the compressor until the ice has melted. Unfortunately as the ambient temperature falls the dehumidifier spends so much time in "defrost mode" that it extracts very little water. This is true for almost all portable dehumidifiers and for cooler basements we recommend a "basement dehumidifier", designed and built for the purpose.


One disadvantage of the internal dehumidifier pump is that the size and weight of the Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier is greater than that of some other 70 pint units, including the Kenmore 70 Pint dehumidifier. While neither weight nor size is excessive this disadvantage underscores the point that this dehumidifier is not the best choice for those with no need for an internal pump.


We have been unable to find any authorized source which states the noise output of this unit when in operation. Dehumidifier reviews are a poor second choice for this sort of information as users' noise tolerance levels vary widely. It would be misleading, however, not to point out that complaints from users about the noise made by this dehumidifier are very common in dehumidifier reviews.


On a more positive note the electronic controls of the Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier are generally well thought of. The unit also includes an auto-restart function, to restart the dehumidifier following a power outage. This latter feature is not included in all large capacity portable dehumidifiers and may be important for some users. This dehumidifier also include an on-off timer



PRODUCT SPECIFICATION

Brand Kenmore (Sears)
Model Kenmore Elite 70 Pint Dehumidifier
Application(s) Residential
Suitable for Medium to large areas
Portable Yes
Carrying handle(s) Yes
Wheels/casters Yes
Weight (lb) 49.0
Dimensions, inches (WxDxH) 13.5 x 15.25 x 25.5
Dehumidification process Refrigerant
Water extraction (80°F 60%RH) 70 pints per 24 hrs
Water container capacity (pints) 15
Container full indicator Yes
Auto-power cut off when full Yes
Continuous drainage option Yes (built-in condensate pump)
Operating temperature range Not given
Air Flow Volume 198 CFM
Anti-frost Yes
Electronic controls Yes
Humidistat Yes
Variable fan speed settings Yes (2) plus auto-mode
Noise level Not given
Power input 115v/6.9amps/760 watts


Consumer Reactions


Dehumidifier reviews of the Kenmore Elite Dehumidifier are mixed and the number of negtive reviews is at least equal to, if not greater than, positive reviews.


Those that support this dehumidifier praise its appearance, decribe it as effective, enjoy the ease of operation, appreciate the internal dehumidifier pump and consider this dehumidifier to offer good value for money.


At least as many dehumidifier reviews describe this unit as ineffective and claim it cannot reduce relative humidity to 50%, speak of units in which the pump did not work or was ineffective, complain about inaccurate readings of humidity (up to 15% error) and about noise.


Our Recommendation


The reactions of consumers who have written dehumidifier reviews give cause for concern. The pattern of those for and against is not typical of reviews for many other dehumidifier models so we must assume that this indicates a significant difference in the satisfaction levels among users of the Kenmore Elite.

The wide variations in user experience suggest that when this dehumidifier works well it is everthing it should be but that a very high number of these units do not function as they should. The implication is that quality standards are very variable between one unit and another, or one batch of units and another batch. We acknowledge that this conclusion is based on inference and stand ready to be corrected if the inference is unfounded.


Regardless of the finer points of interpretation we cannot recommend the Kenmore Elite dehumidifier to our visitors. Other models are available with comparable features, or with a lower price tag, about which users have been far more positive in dehumidifier reviews. For this reason alone we would suggest to our visitors that there are other units they may consider which all the evidence suggests will both meet their requirements and offer superior performance at a comparable price.


To take a look at the units we do recommend please visit our five top choices page.



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