Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier Review – Real-World Test & Details To Know

Levoit Core 300 air purifier review featured image

Levoit produces some of the best air quality products around and it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. They’re well-made, have great buyer reviews, and deliver on the promises the company makes.

Now there’s a new purifier on the market! In my Levoit Core 300 air purifier review I’ll tell you the results of my hands-on testing. I’ll dig deep into the features and how it compares to other products, too.

Find out if it’s a good choice, the pros & cons to know before buying, and everything else in between.

Contents

Getting to know the Levoit Core 300 air purifier

Levoit Core 300 vs LV-H132 vs Vista 200 air purifier comparison image

The family of Levoit air purifiers includes the best-selling LV-H132 and 2 newer models: The Vista 200 and the Core 300. All feature low-noise operation, low height, and round design along with a true HEPA filter.

Following on the footsteps of one of the best-selling air purifiers of all time the LV-H132, the Core 300 features many similarities. The Core 300 is a “bigger brother” to the lower-budget design of the Vista 200.

The Levoit product family provides some common features and design style cues:

  • Circular build design and electronic touch controls
  • True HEPA filter with 99.97% efficiency for elements down to 0.3 millionths of a meter (0.3 microns)
  • Prefilter with activated charcoal for odor & volatile organic chemical (VOC) absorption
  • Low-noise operation that’s one of the quietest in any purifier available
  • White low-gloss finish

Additionally, it’s important to know a few differences between the two with regard to specific features as well as the prefilter section.

Like the LV-H132, it’s quite solid in the hand and has a substantial weight, making it unlikely to tip over. However, unlike the LV-H132 it gives up one feature but adds another.

I’ll cover those all in more detail later.

Unpacking & first impressions

Packaging

Image of unboxing of Levoit Core 300 air purifier

Finally, my Levoit Core 300 arrived. After removing it from the shipping box, inside was a great little product I’d soon enough come to love. It’s well-packaged and the owner’s manual is placed where it’s easy to find. There’s also a customer service phone number clearly placed where you’ll see it upon opening the box. Well done!

If you’ve been on my site a few times, you probably figured out by now that I’m no stranger to air purifiers.

Even so, getting a new Levoit air cleaner product got my curiosity up and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! There’s a good reason for that, too: Its predecessor, the Levoit LV-H132, is still a super-popular seller and a great example of what a good air purifier can be.

The Core 300 came well-packaged with soft closed cell foam inserts to hold it steady. Overall my first impressions were good as I’ve come to expect from the company.

Image of removing protective plastic from Levoit Core 300 purifier top

After unboxing the Core 300 purifier, you’ll need to remove the protective plastic cover from the touch control panel. However, if you’d prefer to leave it there the controls will still work fine.

After unboxing the purifier I began inspecting the quality, learning the controls & features, setting it up, and testing it.

To set up your new purifier you’ll need to remove the filter from its plastic bag before use.

Build quality and fit & finish

Close of Levoit Core 300 purifier body

The Core 300 features a matte white finish and looks nice – and well put-together. Parts are tight, aligned correctly, and altogether it looks well-made. It’s obviously another quality model just like the others before it.

After opening and unpacking it (which consisted of removing the corrugated cardboard inserts – styrofoam isn’t used with this one) I finally got to check it out and turn it on!

The Core 300 is made with an attractive matte white body that looks nice nearly anywhere. There’s a handsome gray trim ring near the lower half. A gloss black electronic touch control panel is in the top center and adds a classy touch to the top.

Overall impressions and manufacturing quality

I didn’t get any kind of impressions of it having any poor-quality construction or production-related flaws. It looks good and honestly, I’m very happy with it. The purifier feels solid and well-made in the hands, weighing several pounds.

It’s definitely not an “el-cheapo” product here – it’s the same great Levoit build quality I’ve experienced while testing the super-selling LV-H132.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that gaps and misaligned parts are a sign of build issues. I’m happy to report you won’t find that here – only a well-made purifier that looks great right from the get-go!

Checking out the controls

Closeup labeled image of Levoit Core 300 air purifier controls

Diagram showing the Levoit Core 300 touch control functions & features. While it might look like a lot at first, it’s super-easy to use the purifier: Select a fan speed or super-quiet Sleep mode, turn the illumination on/off, select an optional auto-off timer choice, or lock the touch controls if needed. It’s a snap to use.

Operating the Core 300 is very easy. In the picture above, you can see the touch controls, each with a symbol:

  • Fan speed button (low, med, and high)
  • Control panel lock on/off
  • Check filter indicator
  • Control lighting on/off button
  • Timer function/hour select (2, 4, 6, & 8 hours selectable)
  • Sleep mode
  • Power on/off

The controls are nice and work well – they’re not too sensitive, and don’t need a hard touch, either. I found them reliable, clear, and I got the impression the design work behind them is solid and well-planned.

Note that unlike the LV-H132, this unit doesn’t beep when buttons are touched. It’s silent.

Fan speeds & modes

The purifier’s fan speed is very straightforward: Just touch it to rotate through the various speeds. What I like about Levoit purifiers (and that you won’t find on many competitor models) is that they ramp up (or down) gracefully when changing speeds.

There’s no harsh, abrupt fan that “jumps” to a much faster setting, for example.

Sleep mode function

Levoit Core 300 sleep mode and auto off timer use examples

Sleep mode is a low-noise setting that can be entered or exited any time you like by touching the moon-shaped button. It puts the purifier in a whisper-quiet low fan mode to avoid disturbing you at night.

In fact, it’s so quiet you won’t be able to hear it! (See my sound measurements below)

The auto-off timer feature

One added feature I really like is the ability to choose an auto-off timer so the purifier will turn itself off automatically. Just touch the button to rotate through 4 settings: 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours of run time.

Many other purifiers, if they offer this at all, are limited to only 3 options.

Other features

Labeled example of the display lock button on Levoit Core 300 purifier

A feature unique to the Core 300, by pushing and holding the display lock button for 3 seconds all other controls cannot be changed or tampered with. The button will light to show the control lock is active. Push & hold it again to undo it.

There are a few more features worth noting:

  • Filter reminder: When lit (after around 6 months) it’s time to check your filters and replace if needed. You can reset the reminder by pushing and holding it for 3 seconds.
  • Control lights on/off: Switches off ALL control lighting completely (great for sleeping or light-sensitive people like me!)
  • Display (control) lock on/off: Push and hold to prevent controls from being changed accidentally – the touch panel will ignore push button use. Push & hold again for 3 seconds to return to normal.
  • Power on/off: Switches off the purifier completely.

During testing, however, I never found the display lock feature useful. For those of you with young children it could be helpful.

Note: The Core 300 replaces the night light button found on the LV-H132 & Vista 200 models with the control lock button. Be sure to consider this at purchase time if the night light feature is important to you.

Specifications & CADR ratings

Levoit Core 300 Specifications
  • Room size rating: 215 sq. ft (small or medium room)
  • 3-speed fan control
  • Whisper-quiet Sleep mode w/ air cleaning
  • True HEPA filter w/ activated carbon filter
  • Prefilter can be cleaned
  • CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) ratings: Dust (141), pollen (140), smoke (145)
  • AHAM Verified, Energy Star Verified, FCC certified, ETL listed, CA PROP 65 certified
  • Simple electronic touch controls
  • Control lighting on/off feature
  • Control lock option to prevent settings change
  • Memory feature retains last setting used
  • Filter replacement reminder (~6 mos.)
  • 1 year warranty (extended coverage available)
  • Replacement filters: Core 300-RF, Core 300-RF-PA, Core 300-RF-TX
  • Power use: 43.3W (max. fan speed)
  • Weight: 7.5 lb (3.4 kg)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Control location: Top
  • Size: 8.7 x 8.7 x 14.2 in (22 x 22 x 36 cm)

If you’re not already familiar with it, it’s helpful to understand more about the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) standard used by the industry. This is a voluntary lab-tested rating of an air purifier’s cleaning ability.

Levoit Core 300 air purifier CADR ratings label image

The Core 300’s CADR ratings are shown here.

The AHAM is an organization that verifies the testing results of home appliances & performs lab testing for appliance manufacturers although it’s not required by law.

In simple terms, it’s a rating used to help you know before buying an air purifier’s effectiveness. The rating numbers mean “higher is better” as they’re lab tested using a series of tests to find out their air cleaning effectiveness.

Basically, when shopping for a purifier it’s helpful to have an air cleaning performance rating to compare different models. In the case of the CADR rating, just remember that higher is better.

The Core 300’s is good for its size and you’ll find that many similarly priced models have a rating of around 100 or so, if it’s even provided at all.

Comparing Levoit compact purifier vs tower models

Image showing the height measurement of the Levoit Core 300 purifier

The purifier is fairly short unlike some popular competitors such as the GermGuardian AC4825 which is 22″ tall. Measuring slightly under 14 1/2″ tall, the Core 300 is compact in my opinion.

At only 14.2″ in height, it’s a pretty small model. While most “tower” air purifiers tend to be rather tall at 22″ to 28″ or so (such as the popular competitor the GermGuardian AC4825) which makes the Levoit model a nice change if space is a concern.

There’s another advantage there, too: It’s nearly impossible to tip it over by accident. In my experience, tall tower purifiers can be a bit easy to bump into and knock over accidentally.

Be sure to give it sufficient room for airflow (about 15″ from each side) as it needs space to circulate air efficiently. You don’t want to restrict airflow in your room as circulation is important for proper air cleaning.

Weight

At about 7.5 lbs (3.4 kgs) in weight, it’s definitely a very solid-feeling product. Unlike some cheaper competitors I’ve tested and found lacking, there’s a better feel in the hand.

On the other hand, you’ll need to be sure to place it on a solid surface to avoid problems because of it.

Carrying the purifier

However, one thing that’s lacking is a carrying handle. That’s not unique to the 300 as other Levoit models are similar in this regard.

Unlike competing models from Honeywell and GermGuardian, there isn’t a built-in carrying area to put your hand in. You’ll need to use 2 hands in this case.

Not a big deal by any means, but it’s something to be aware of.

Levoit Core 300 power use measurements

Levoit Core 300 power measurement wattage images

Pictured: I measured power use in Watts for 5 settings: 4 total speeds/modes plus the off state.  I recorded power meter readings both with and without control lighting in use and didn’t measure any measurable increase with the lighting on. It’s an efficient air purifier and you won’t have to worry about driving up your power bill – even if you let it run all day, every day!

How many watts does the Core 300 use?

Like many other products, while the owner’s manual does specify the largest power usage, it doesn’t provide it for the other modes & settings available.

Rather than guess, I measured power use in Watts for all speed settings with and without the control lighting switched on. Note that there’s so little power used in standby (off) mode my meter was not able to record it.

Levoit Core 300 power use measurement table

ModePower (Watts)
Off0-0.8
Sleep10.4
Low26.7
Med.30.3
High43.3

Overall, it doesn’t use much power at any setting and efficiency is about the same for all speeds (aside from Sleep mode). For medium & high speeds the fan is running faster and you’ll get faster air cleaning.

The drawback is that the highest speed is very noticeable in volume while all the others are very quiet.

For all power measurements recorded, I switched the control lighting off as well. The difference was so small it couldn’t be measured.

Sleep mode puts the unit in a super-quiet mode in which the fan continues to run but a greatly reduced rate. It’s a good option to keep the purifier running while sleeping but avoid bother noise (not that it would, as even low & medium are very quiet!)

Air cleaning ability & performance

Comparison of Levoit Core 300, LV-H132, and Vista 200 HEPA purifier filters

Comparing the Levoit true HEPA filters for 3 models including the Core 300. While the LV-H132 offers a better odor-capturing prefilter containing carbon pellets, its HEPA filter size is less than half that of that found in the Core 300. Right: The lower model, the Vista 200, has a very similar filter design but is smaller. 

The slightly older LV-H132 uses a very compact filter with real carbon pellets for trapping additional odor and volatile organic compounds (VCOs) in the air. Unlike that, the Core 300’s filter uses a standard prefilter coating containing the activated carbon elements.

While that may be a bit of a weakness when comparing the 2 models, one area where the Core 300’s HEPA filter really stands out is that the filter is more than twice the size of its predecessor.

Levoit Core 300 square feet coverage and room size

As it’s rated for up to 215 square feet by the manufacturer, it’s well suited for medium-sized rooms, although there’s absolutely no reason you can’t use it in small bedrooms.

215 sq ft is roughly a 10.75 x 20 ft room. Bear in mind that this is an approximate size used – it doesn’t have to be used in a room exactly that size.

The thing to remember is that air purifiers work by cycling air in a room and it takes time to cycle & filter the entire room’s air.

Filter ability

Levoit Core 300 true HEPA filter and prefilter close up views

The Core 300 HEPA filter section is made of a folded, dense fiber material. A second section, the pre-filter/activated carbon filter is responsible for trapping larger particles as well as odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. It’s capable of excellent filtering ability and works well. The filter can capture nearly 100% of all particulates in its airflow down to 0.3 microns in size!

The high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is pretty darn good for removing the most common air quality issues (especially those that cause allergies and even sickness!)

Here’s the basic list of air contaminants the Core 300 can remove:

  • Pet dander
  • Pet hair (thanks to the pre-filter)
  • Dust mite allergens
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Home construction particles
  • Smoke residue
  • Smoke odors
  • Chemical and organic odors
  • Chemical vapors

What is the 3-stage filter?

Levoit Core 300-RF true HEPA filter sectional diagram labeled

Essentially, it’s a 2-stage filter assembly made up of 2 major sections with 3 total stages: The pre-filter/activated carbon filter, an activated carbon filter coating, and finally the HEPA filter.

The pre-filter section is a less dense & thin section covering the active carbon filter. Its job is to first capture larger items in the air like pet hair, dust, and so on. The active carbon filter coating traps odors and other chemical substances in the air.

Finally, the HEPA filter captures a whopping 99.97% of particles passing through it down to 0.3 microns in size. That’s less than 1 millionth of a meter in size.

How effective is it?

In my testing I found the air cleaning ability to be very good, actually, as I had hoped. While I didn’t get the super-speed fan operation as some competing models have, it’s much more pleasant to use on an everyday basis because it’s so quiet.

I have a huge problem with dust where I live and the purifier started capturing a large amount immediately. It did well for light odors too.

My only real complaint is that a filter version with a more powerful odor control section with real carbon pellets (as the LV-H132 model provides) should be included. However, a more powerful odor & toxin absorption model is available as the Core 300-RF-TX replacement filter upgrade.

Does the Core 300 produce ozone?

As I explain more in this post, as it’s a filter-based air cleaning purifier it doesn’t produce byproducts in the air around you.

The Core 300 is perfectly safe and healthy as it does not produce any ozone. There’s no need to worry about that unlike some other products on the market today (no very high-quality air purifier should be producing noticeable ozone, anyway!)

Filter replacement indicators & maintenance costs

Replacement indicator lights

Core 300 air purifier filter check reminder example

Example image showing the filter replacement feature which lights after 6 months.

Approximately every 6 months the filter check reminder will light indicating it’s time to check it and replace as needed.

However, note that the company recommends you replace the filter sooner under especially heavy use – the filter reminder serves as a general guideline.

Additionally, a great feature is that you can brush or vacuum the prefilter to extend its life & cleaning efficiency. That’s especially great to see considering how not everyone will completely use up the HEPA filter for a long time.

Filter life, replacement options, and cost

Levoit Core 300-RF replacement HEPA filter options diagram

Unlike most products, the Core 300 purifier offers not just 1, not 2, but THREE options for replacing the original filter assembly. Shown: The original replacement filter (Core 300-RF), a pet allergen version (Core 300-RF-PA), and an enhanced odor and toxin version (Core 300-RF-TX).

The company recommends replacing the filter after about 6-8 months; however, this depends greatly on use.

For example, if you’re a smoker or have indoor pets you should expect to possibly need to replace the filter sooner. On the other hand, if you have much less demanding needs the filter will take longer to build up particulates, dust, and other nasty particles.

Getting the most life out of your filter

For lighter use, the life can be extended even further and you might be able to exceed 8 months, although I’d still recommend replacing it after 6 to 8 months of use. You’d be surprised how much nastiness the filter will trap and that will build up quickly!

Replacement filters cost around $20 for the original replacement which is actually very affordable for the quality of the purifier. Many other models sold today cost much more, in fact.

If you’d like to upgrade to one of the enhanced filters you’ll pay somewhere around an extra $10 or so over the original.

Core 300-RF replacement filter options

Currently, 3 filter options are available and I’m happy to see that. Your options are:

  1. Core 300-RF 3-stage original filter
  2. Core 300-RF-PA upgraded filter for pet allergens
  3. Core 300-RF-TX upgraded filter with enhanced odor and toxin absorption

That’s an unexpected benefit I didn’t think I’d see as very few companies offer more options you can buy. The 2 other models offer strengths more suited to the most common and difficult air quality needs.

Here’s how they’re different from the original filter option:

  • The pet allergen model (Core 300-RF-PA) uses a specialized filter material
  • The enhanced odor & toxin model (Core 300-RF-TX) uses a better activated carbon filter section (“Air Reborn Odor Removal Formula” and customized high-grade granular carbon) for stronger vapor & smell removal

How hard is it to replace the filter?

Core 300 air purifier filter removal steps illustrated

Removing & replacing the filter is super easy and one of the simplest I’ve seen yet. You’ll need to turn the purifier upside down, then simply unlock the cover by twisting it then pull the filter out by the handle.

Filter replacement is very easy and only takes a few seconds. Honestly, it’s one of the best designs I’ve seen yet, and I’ve used many few different purifiers.

Basically, it’s just a few simple steps:

  1. Turn the purifier upside down (carefully to avoid scratching it).
  2. Twist open the cover using the handle. The cover will unlock.
  3. Pull the filter out by its handle.

Replacement is the exact reverse and just as fast, too. Most air purifiers are not hard, but hands-down this is one of the best designs I’ve seen.

Unlike like others there’s a handle on the filter itself which eliminates any struggle you might have trying to get the old one out.

Owner’s manual quality

Levoit Core 300 owners manual example image

The owner’s manual is clear, easy to read, and full of helpful instructions anyone can understand. It’s an excellent example of a well-done instruction manual and one of the best I’ve come across. (Click to enlarge)

After unboxing my new purifier I reviewed the instructions and found the owner’s manual to be very clear, helpful, and it really helps you get started quickly.

In the owner’s manual you’ll find:

  • How to best use your purifier
  • The control panel operation
  • Filter maintenance and replacement information
  • Basic specifications and square feet coverage
  • Troubleshooting for various performance or functional problems that could arise

It’s very well-done and makes using the purifier an easy task, unlike some lesser brands & products I’ve tested. I’m pretty darn happy with it, honestly.

Noise levels during use

The company advertises it as having low noise operation and in my experience it’s definitely true!

  • Sleep mode is incredibly quiet – so much so you can’t tell the fan is running
  • Low speed (#1) is extremely quiet and not easily detectable to the human ear
  • Medium (#2) is very quiet and has a very low operational noise with a very pleasant light white noise tone
  • High (#3) has a fair amount of sound but is still easily covered by the sound of the radio, TV, or music in many cases

The high setting is especially helpful for the quickest cleaning of contaminated air. According to the owner’s manual when air quality is poor it’s ideal to run it at the high setting for a while then turn it back to the low or medium setting.

Just like its counterpart the LV-H132, it’s one of the quietest purifiers you can buy today. It’s not just that it’s quiet, but the fan sound, when it can be heard, is pleasant and not a “harsh” sound like many produce.

In other words, most of the time you can’t hear it running…but when you do, it sounds good!

Volume measurements

dB noise level meter measurement image

I measured volume levels using a nice digital decibel sound level meter at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifier.

MeasurementVolume (dB)
Off (room noise)40
Sleep40.3
Low43
Medium47.3
High57.1

Compared to other air purifiers I’ve tested it’s well below their noise levels even on the low setting. Needless to say, many competitors are very noisy on the highest fan speed and in fact can be downright annoying.

If you’re easily distracted, lose concentration, or just hate unpleasant sounds, you’re going to really like this one.

Night brightness

Image of Levoit Core 300 air purifier in a dark room

I checked the purifier’s brightness in a dark room and found it to be very good – not bright enough to cause sleep problems overnight. Even so, thanks to the built-in light off feature you can turn off all control lighting any time you like.

If you’re a light sleeper light me you’re always having to worry about not just sound but light, too, overnight.

Levoit LV-H132 vs Core 300

Levoit LV-H132 vs Core 300 comparison image

The Levoit LV-H132 (left) is an all-time best-selling purifier that’s been copied but never duplicated. It shares many similarities with the Core 300 but has a few differences you’ll want to know about when shopping. Don’t worry, though, as both are some of the best for your hard-earned dollar!

Before the Core 300 was introduced one very special model set the bar very high for home air purifiers: The LV-H132 true HEPA purifier with 3-stage air cleaning.

Although it shares many similarities in both design & performance with the Core 300 there are some details you’ll need to know before buying. Especially since both are in the same general price range.

Here’s a simple comparison chart to help:

Image
LEVOIT H13 True HEPA Filter Air Purifiers for Allergies and Pets, Smokers,...
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier, white
Model
LV-H132
Core 300
Night light
Sleep mode
Control beeps
Auto-off timer
Filter type
3-stage HEPA
3-stage HEPA
Prefilter
Real carbon pellet
Activated carbon coating
Room sq ft
129
215
Warranty
2 years
1 year
Current price
$87.40
Price not available
Image
LEVOIT H13 True HEPA Filter Air Purifiers for Allergies and Pets, Smokers,...
Model
LV-H132
Night light
Sleep mode
Control beeps
Auto-off timer
Filter type
3-stage HEPA
Prefilter
Real carbon pellet
Room sq ft
129
Warranty
2 years
Current price
$87.40
Image
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier, white
Model
Core 300
Night light
Sleep mode
Control beeps
Auto-off timer
Filter type
3-stage HEPA
Prefilter
Activated carbon coating
Room sq ft
215
Warranty
1 year
Current price
Price not available

To keep it simple, the biggest differences are:

  • The LV-H132 has a room size coverage of 129 sq feet vs the 215 sq ft you’ll get with the Core 300.
  • The LV-H132 offers a 2-level night light option. The Core 300 does not.
  • The LV-H132 provides a prefilter with real carbon pellets (better) for odor absorption while the Core 300 uses a standard activated carbon coating.
  • The Core 300 provides 3 fan speed + an ultra-quiet Sleep mode. No sleep mode is provided with the LV-H132
  • No auto-off timer on the LV-H132
  • Controls on the LV-H132 produce a beep while the Core 300’s controls are silent.
  • 2 yr warranty (LV-H132) vs a 1 yr warranty (Core 300) provided.
  • The Core 300 offers more effective air cleaning with both a larger true HEPA filter, higher CADR rating, and slightly better fan rate.

Ultimately, when comparing everything the Core 300 is a better buy and a more effective air purifier for the money.

Although you might find the LV-H132 for less money now that it’s older, and despite the real carbon pellet prefilter for better odor control, I recommend the Core 300 purifier.

You can always upgrade the filter in your Core 300 for better odor control (Core 300-RF-TX option) for a few dollars more, plus it’s simply a better purifier altogether.

Both are solid choices and won’t let you down, but the Core 300 is a newer, updated design that’s a better option when you look at the big picture.

Review summary

I have to say I had big expectations for the Core 300 air purifier – and I wasn’t disappointed! It’s super-quiet just like its older sibling the LV-H132, but offers even better air cleaning performance, room size coverage, and features.

Not only that, but I really like the updated styling. I do miss the night light feature offered by other models but that’s a minor complaint. The addition of the auto-off timer and the ability to upgrade the replacement filters affordably really convinced me it’s a winner.

Ready for a super-quiet, well-made air purifier that you’ll love? It’s here!

Levoit Core 300 review editors choice badge product imageHead over now to find out more and read fantasticbuyer reviews at Amazon.

Overall
9.3/10
9.3/10
  • Quality - 9.4/10
    9.4/10
  • Value - 9/10
    9/10
  • Ease of use - 9.6/10
    9.6/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 8.9/10
    8.9/10
  • Features - 9/10
    9/10
  • Noise levels - 9.9/10
    9.9/10

The Core 300 is a quality, well-designed air purifier and a smart choice for most air cleaning needs. Quiet, good-looking, and super easy to use.

Following in the footsteps of the best-selling LV-H132, the Core 300 offers an updated air purifier with not just more features but improved air cleaning, too. While the night light is gone (and missed) the addition of an auto-off timer is a welcome feature still not offered by many competitors.

Offering bigger room size coverage, a higher Clean Air Delivery Rate, an ultra-quiet sleep mode, and updated styling, it’s a well-rounded package and good value. While the prefilter lacks the odor effectiveness of the older model, upgraded filters are available for a little extra cost if that’s a concern. With very quiet operation and an on/off light feature it’s great for even the most sensitive buyers. Maintenance & operation are a breeze. A smart buy!

Pros

  • Good CADR rating vs competitors
  • Very quiet operation
  • Ultra-quiet sleep mode
  • Filter check reminder
  • Display lock feature
  • Fan speed adjust gracefully
  • Setting memory feature
  • Illumination on/off control
  • Auto-off timer w/ 4 settings
  • 215 sq ft room coverage
  • Very easy maintenance
  • Filter upgrades available
  • Great owner’s manual
  • Well-built, sleek design
  • Extended warranty option
  • Very reasonable maintenance costs
  • Prefilter can be cleaned
  • Low-profile design won’t tip over
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • Uses standard prefilter odor coating vs pellets
  • No night light offered
  • No additional color options
  • Carrying handle not provided
  • No auto-sensing features
  • Fan speed/air flow can’t match some others
  • Germ killing feature not included

Does An Air Purifier Remove Smells? Dealing With Common Odor Problems

Does an air purifier remove smells featured image

Sure – you can prevent some smells from getting into your home. But many are just a fact of life. Even without some of the most common problems (like pets, smoke, and cooking odors) smells just seem to find a way in.

Dealing with them can be a hassle, and air fresheners often only mask the problem. Additionally, some causes in particular (like smoke) come with even more side effects.

Does an air purifier remove smells? Should you buy one for your home? Read on to find out the answer.

Contents

Understanding smells

Home kitchen example image
Odors are everywhere! Unlike the outdoors, indoor odor sources don’t have much air circulation and can be even more noticeable. The addition of a well-designed, properly chosen air purifier can help relieve a variety of odor symptoms everywhere from rooms with pets to your kitchen.

In order to better understand what we’re dealing with and how air purifiers may help, it’s important to understand the problem.

What exactly is an odor or “smell”?

Odors are actually caused by volatile chemical compounds which basically means they’re the molecular composition of materials or chemicals that present in the air. When this occurs your nose’s olfactory nerves detect them as scents and you have a related reaction (good or bad, depending on the type).

Not only that, but the sense of smell varies from person to person. So while some odors may not bother you greatly, for others the effects can be much more unpleasant or even trigger problems.

Likewise, some smells don’t bother me as much as others – but some really get on my nerves!

Common types of odors

I’ve made a brief list here, along with added details, of some of the most common odor sources you may be dealing with. After that, I’ll show you how a purifier can help.

Cigarette smoke

Best air purifier to remove cigarette smoke featured image for post
Cigarette smoke is one of the most bothersome odor sources anywhere. Not only do the by-products of smoke find their way into the air, but they also cling to surfaces like your clothes and hair. A purifier is highly recommended when smokers are present.

This one has always bothered me a lot! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left my local sports bar while wearing nice clothes, that smelled absolutely terrible afterward. Even my hair smelled bad!

Even if you don’t smoke, you might live with a family member or roommate who does. Either way, tobacco smoke is capable of moving between rooms and distributing small particles that can irritate people with allergies, or even cause cancer as you may already know.

Smoke particles contain elements that are incredibly tiny in size – down to a fraction of other airborne contaminants like pet dander and dust, for example. That’s one of many reasons it’s harder to deal with.

Additionally, burning tobacco and paper releases gases into the air as well. You’ll need an effective solution to successfully get rid of those (and not just cover them up).

Pet odors

Wet dog smell odor infographicPet odors are caused by organic substances from microorganisms present on and released by animals. A great example is the “wet dog smell” everyone knows. Pets also produce a number of other odors that can stink up your home.

I love pets just as much as you do. But it seems like no matter how much we wash or bathe them, they always smell a bit. And pets always like to get into trouble, so they often end up bringing something smelly into the house.

We’ve all smelled the infamous “wet dog smell” I’m sure!

As much as pet hair and dander is a problem also, it’s the other sources of smells from them that need to be captured and removed from the air: organic sources like bacteria and their bodily functions in addition to the oils naturally secreted by their skin.

One more benefit of using a purifier is being able to capture allergy-causing dander as well as some of the hair they leave behind.

Food and cooking

Image of cooking at home on stove skillet

Cooking is especially notorious for releasing odors into the air. As a matter of fact, some dishes release substances that can cling to your kitchen’s interior and build up over time. Using an air purifier to remove airborne food-related substances is a great idea.

Some of the most common dishes like burgers or fried fish can leave a strong, lingering scent behind. Foods with spices and similar ingredients are especially bad at releasing organic compounds that cause very strong odors.

Sometimes it’s not just you that feels the effects, but your neighbors to, since odors can rise and permeate rooms and buildings.

Cooking appliances and food release particulate matter into the air when you cook which can spread throughout your home, leaving your entire house smelling like what you ate for dinner for a long time afterward.

To make matters worse, some foods, when cooked, distribute minute food particles in the air which can build up over time on your interior surfaces.

Garbage

Image of garbage cans at home
I’m certainly not perfect. Every once in a while I forget to take out the garbage. The problem is that leaving meat or old vegetables in the garbage can make the house smell even after I take out the trash.

Garbage has a variety of materials that tend to begin to decompose in a short amount of time, creating gases in the air which surface as very strong odors.

When bacteria begin to increase in numbers and start breaking down organic substances like old food or waste items it can become a big problem.

While the only true remedy is to remove the garbage from indoors, a purifier can help to reduce the problem while it’s in your home.

Household chemicals and construction materials

Image of household chemicals on a shelf
Other common substances like paint, cleaning chemicals, and even renovated rooms in a home emit harmful substances into the air by a process called “outgassing.”

Outgassing is a process in which everything from new carpet to household chemicals, paint, or building materials release molecules into the air as chemical vapor odors.

Some actually are harmful, like chemicals with vapors which can affect the central nervous system and internal tissues if inhaled.

That’s a definite source for headaches but potentially other health problems, too. You’re much safer with a means of capturing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and removing them from your breathing air.

How does an air purifier help with smells?

There 2 main ways in which a purifier can help relieve odors:

  1. Removing some airborne particles that carry odor-causing elements
  2. Absorbing and trapping odors substances from the air

Of these 2 factors, the most significant one is the ability to trap odors and remove them from the air. However, you’ll have to pick the right kind of product to do so.

Not to worry, though – I’ll cover that below as well.

How does an air purifier work?

Diagram showing how air purifier reduces odors

Air purifiers reduce odors by continuously cycling the air in a room and filtering out both solid and gaseous substances like odors and chemical vapors. There are 2 main filters (with 3 functions, often called a “3-in-1” purifier) that do so: a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter section and a pre-filter section with activated carbon inside or specialized chemical treatment. A good quality air purifier like the popular GermGuardian AC4825 will move a good amount of air quickly and will reduce odors in your home.

Air purifiers work by using a fan to cycle the air in a room and filter out unwanted particulates and odors too.

In order to do so, you’ll need to buy one that’s capable of moving a sufficient amount of air in the room it’s used in. Ratings like the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) or air flow rate specifications such as the Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) describe the effectiveness of a purifier.

However, I realize that can be a bit confusing and may feel a bit like a hassle to have to figure out. The good news is that the major purifier manufacturers specify the recommended room size in square feet.

For example, a 10 foot by 15 foot room has a size of 10 x 15 = 150 sq ft (square feet). Using the recommended room size you should be fine when buying.

How air purifiers remove odors

GermGuardian FLT11CB4 carbon filter diagramAir purifiers (specifically, filter-based products) use activated carbon (charcoal) to absorb and trap odors. Carbon is an industry-standard element used in many types of filters including for water. Once it’s used up the filter should be replaced.

Activated carbon is the essential element required for removing odors and terrible smells with an air purifier. I bring that up because in fact not all purifiers include this type of filter!

However, most high-quality and best-selling models do.

Activated carbon (which is a form of charcoal) is a granular, tiny element used as an ingredient in a special section of the air purifier’s 2 or 3 filters. The carbon is a porous and absorbent element that has the ability to trap odors and airborne chemicals present.

When the purifier’s internal fan draws air through the carbon filter, substances can be absorbed and removed from the air, removing odors and harmful chemical vapors.

The HEPA filter’s role

HEPA filters are a standardized filter section made of extremely dense fiber which can trap microscopic particle down to 0.3 microns in size (a micro is an amazing 1/1,000,000 of a meter!). They’re designed to capture solid particulate in the air, and not gases or vapors.

While that’s true, they can trap some nasty particles like hair and debris that can carry a bit of odor-causing molecules. Generally speaking, however, the carbon filter section is the most essential.

Carbon filters are typically separately replaceable from the HEPA filter section and tend to have a life of around 6 months or so, though this varies with use.

Air purifier types

2 air purifier types comparison image

Shown: (Left) Emitting air purifiers create a by-product that’s released into the air around you. (Right) Filter-based, or non-emitting purifiers, do not. The simply remove air contaminants as they pass through filters.

There are several different types of air purifiers sold today and it can definitely be confusing and in some cases – even misleading! And that’s a shame – unsuspecting buyers can get tricked into buying a poor-quality product that will do little, if anything, to improve their air quality.

Just to keep it simple, I’ll break down the most common types you’ll likely run across when shopping:

  1. HEPA (filter-based) purifiers
  2. Ionizers
  3. Ozone generators

Purifiers to avoid

Ionizer and ozone generator examples imageProducts like the Oion B-1000 ionic air purifier (left) and ozone generator (right) should be avoided. Ionic air purifiers do work to a degree, but they’re very weak and typically have extremely low airflow rates compared to HEPA-type purifiers. Ozone generators, however, are ineffective at safe ozone levels. At ozone production levels at which they become effective, they’re unsafe to be around. Most sold as “air purifiers” are a waste of your hard-earned money.

When shopping avoid the following two kinds which are often hyped-up with clever marketing and many technical phrases. They’re sold using misleading promises and a lack of actual performance data:

  • Ionizers (ionic purifiers)
  • Ozone generators

Ionizers do actually work, but in my experience, they’re extremely poor performers and simply are a terrible use of your money. For example, my GermGuardian AC4100 purifier is about the same price as the Oion B-1000 yet can run circles around it!

Good purifiers to buy for odor relief

Winix 5500-2 air purifier review featured image

To effectively combat odors, I recommend a quality air purifier with good airflow rate. This means it can cycle and clean the air in the room relatively quickly. Note: it’s critical to buy the appropriately sized purifier for your room size! While there are other very popular products available, one of the best I’ve owned and tested is the top-rated Winix 5500-2 model with a real carbon pellet odor capturing filter.

Whichever product you decide to try, be sure to buy one with the following criteria:

  • A quality purifier with proven buyer reviews
  • An activated carbon filter section
  • Adequate airflow rate / recommended room size meets your room

While the things I’ve mentioned here are of great importance, remember the following: no purifier can prevent odors 100%. You should treat the problem at its source.

In other words, don’t expect any purifier to work miracles. They’re very helpful and can definitely reduce odors, but they’re a way of dealing with the symptoms of the odor source.

Bad smells often require treating the source, depending upon the type of problem.

The most effective type of prefilter

Closeup of Winix 5500-2 activated carbon prefilter

Closeup of the activated carbon filter from a Winix 5500-2 air purifier, containing real pellets (rather than the standard coating most use). This is a more effective odor control option.

If possible, for the best odor control pick an air filter with a prefilter that uses real carbon pellets. They’re more powerful for odor control than the standard coating type used by most on the market.

They also have a greater life expectancy and use capacity as well, as they contain much more activated carbon.

Additionally, some can be rinsed off (like those in the Winix 5500-2) for maintenance.

Summary – Does an air purifier remove smells?

So does an air purifier remove smells? Let’s break it down.

  • In short, yes! A good-quality air purifier with an activated carbon filter can reduce odors and airborne chemical vapors
  • Not all HEPA purifiers include this type of filter – be careful and shop wisely
  • Ionizers and ozone generators may give the impression of fresh air, but they’re generally either 1) very weak and ineffective, or 2) can produce irritating or harmful ozone. They should be avoided.

Now that I’ve cleared that up, perhaps you’re wondering what kind I’d recommend?

I’m a proud owner of one of the most popular purifiers sold today, the GermGuardian AC4825. It’s one of the most popular & highest-reviewed products of all time at Amazon.

You can find a great buyer’s guide to help with some of the best purifiers for odors here.

HEPA Type VS True HEPA Filters Explained

HEPA type vs true HEPA purifier examples image

Air purifiers are wonderful and can definitely improve your quality of life. Unfortunately, a lot of the ones sold today can be hard to figure out.

You might find some labeled “true” HEPA filters while some others are advertised as “HEPA type.”

To make matters worse, as a new buyer it’s easy to be misled into buying a product that’s misrepresented and pretends to be as good as better-quality products. 

In this post, I’ll explain the difference between HEPA type vs HEPA filters in great detail.

Contents

True HEPA and HEPA type air purifiers

HEPA type vs true HEPA purifier examples imageShown: 2 very common air purifiers, which don’t seem very different from the outside. Left: A Holmes HAP242-NUC air purifier which includes a HEPA-type filter and marketed similarly to a true HEPA filter. Right: GermGuardian AC4825 air purifier. It includes a genuine HEPA filter that meets the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) standard.

The problem with air purifiers sold today (as pictured above, for example) is that it’s very easy to think they’re all the same. Because of clever marketing, you may think a HEPA-type is just as effective as a true HEPA product.

The problem lies in the details and how filters are rated.

What is a true HEPA filter?

Diagram showing HEPA filter efficiency
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter describes a type of filter designed to meet efficiency and air purification quality levels set by the United States Department of Energy. These filters are made of a very dense fiber-like material.

To meet the standard a filter must be able to remove 99.97% of airborne particles that enter it down to 0.3 microns in size.

A micron, or micrometer (uM), is 1/1,000,000 of a meter. It’s a common unit of measurement for microscopic elements.

A filter’s efficiency refers to how many particles it can trap and remove from the airflow that passes through it. At 99.97%, for every 10,000 particles flowing into it only about 3 escape.

HEPA filters are very effective at cleaning the air!

The good news is that thanks to the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) standard exist it’s much easier to know what you’re getting for your money.

HEPA-type vs. true HEPA explained

HEPA filter efficiency graph

This graph shows how air filters like HEPA filters perform when used in an air purifier.

A HEPA filter’s efficiency actually begins to fall for particles near the size of 0.3uM, which is why they’re rated to “99.97% of particles down to 0.3uM.” Filters actually work even better above that size (as seen in the graph, like 5uM for example).

Following the red line on the graph, you can see that the efficiency (the number of particles it can capture) drops a bit near a certain size range.

The interesting thing to know is that filters actually trap more particles below that size range, but it’s misleading to sell a filter based on that.

Minimum particle size is what matters

The smallest particle size a filter can remove from the air is the most important thing to know. In the case of a genuine (true) HEPA filter, you can be sure that’s 0.3uM (less than 1 millionth of a meter).

“HEPA-type” filters are those that look like true HEPA filters but don’t meet the same requirements. They’re not standardized and can have any range of efficiency and minimum particle size rating.

HEPA-type purifiers are sold to give a buyer the impression they’re getting the same performance when in fact who knows? Unless the specs are specifically made clear, it’s anybody’s guess.

There’s no mandatory requirement for companies selling those to have proof of their product’s performance.

Industry standard ratings

Honeywell HPA160 CADR ratings label image

An example Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) label from the Honeywell HPA160 medium-large room air purifier. CADR ratings are lab-verified cleaning efficiency ratings based on measuring how effective an air purifier is for 3 major types of air contaminants.

The industry standard Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is a standardized test carried out by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

The AHAM is an independent (non-government) voluntary industry association that was established to better rate and standardize the ratings of many appliances you buy.

Air purifiers have unique requirements as well so a method of testing their cleaning effectiveness was developed. Using the CADR you can better shop by comparison for those models which include the rating in their specifications.

Understanding CADR ratings

The CADR rating is a cleaning effectiveness rating. It’s a score based on standard lab tests by the AHAM where a purifier is used in a room with a measured amount of air contaminants.

The air purifier is then observed and measured based on how well and fast it can clean the 3 types of contaminants (smoke, dust, and pollen) in a given amount of time.

Air purifiers with a higher airflow rate (larger purifiers with more fan speed) will nearly always rate higher.

That’s expected. Therefore when shopping and reading CADR ratings you should compare purifiers of a similar recommended room size.

(For example, a small room purifier will have a lower CADR rating than a large room one, so comparing them as equals doesn’t make sense).

HEPA-type marketing to watch out for

HEPA type filter marketing gimmicYou might find products advertised as having “99.9% efficiency” or something like that. But the most important thing is what’s the minimum particle size they can filter at that level? What is it? How does it really perform?

Unless it’s specifically made clear, you have no idea how well it’s actually going to work. More than likely it’s not close to the performance of a true HEPA filter and is a bad choice.

In some cases, HEPA-type filters can allow allergens, dust mite particles, and more to escape! That’s because some of the most common airborne particles that give people problems are smaller than they can capture.

HEPA type vs true HEPA visual comparison image

Image showing the filters from the previously shown examples. A HEPA-type filter (Holmes air purifier, left) and a true HEPA filter (GermGuardian, right) look extremely similar. In most cases, you can’t tell the difference just by looking. You’ll need to be very careful and look for specifications that tell you their performance. However, in my opinion, “HEPA-type” filters are best avoided and you should simply get the real thing.

Avoid unknown HEPA-type filters. Don’t waste your money.

Are HEPA type purifiers bad? Are there exceptions?

Holmes HAP242-NUC hepa type descriptionAs I mentioned earlier, it’s generally best to avoid HEPA-type purifiers. But there are exceptions to the rule.

The Holmes desktop air purifier I showed earlier is an example I can use. It’s more of a budget model. However, in this case, Holmes does specify it can trap contaminants down to 2 microns (2uM) in size.

HEPA type filters aren’t “bad” – just a different performance level

While that’s poor in comparison to a real HEPA filter, it’s still ok for some purposes. For example, for larger particles like dust mites, household dust, hair, and so forth it can work just fine.

In that case, you’ll need to be well-educated about what size particles your air problems include. I definitely wouldn’t recommend a HEPA-type filter for smoke, airborne microbes, and other issues.

Smoke particles have been shown to measure well below 1 micron in size, for example.

Honestly, this kind of information isn’t for the average person and leaves too much room for making a bad buying decision in my opinion.

If you’re on a tight budget and your air problems aren’t demanding it’s an option to consider.

However, you can buy a better purifier with a real HEPA and carbon filter for around $50 and up these days.

Summary

As they look very similar to each other, you can’t rely on your eyes alone. As I mentioned earlier, because of clever marketing you could be misled into thinking HEPA-type purifiers are just as good as the real thing.

They aren’t.

To recap, here are the most critical points to keep in mind when comparing HEPA type vs true HEPA purifiers:

  • “HEPA-type” filters are not standardized and can’t match the performance of true HEPA purifiers. Often they don’t show the smallest particle size they can trap. This means they’re not a good choice usually but in some cases they’re ok to use.
  • True HEPA purifiers are verified to meet a standard level performance. They’re standardized and must meet the 99.97% efficiency / 0.3uM particle size quality standard.

In my opinion, it’s worth spending a bit more money for a product with better air cleaning ability and that has demonstrated effectiveness.

Additional reading

Speaking of money – got a budget? I’ve got a great list of some of the best air purifiers under $100 here.

One of the best (and that I own) is the super-popular GermGuardian AC4825 I reviewed in great detail here.

Honeywell HPA 300 Review – Check It Out!

Honeywell HPA 300 review featured image

Not unlike the GermGuardian line of air purifier products, Honeywell also produces a large range of popular air purifiers. The HPA family of purifiers includes several models with similar styling and controls.

In my detailed Honeywell HPA 300 review I’ll share with you what you need to know before buying.

There are lots of details I’ve got for you before my final review score and summary so let’s get started!

Contents

Getting to know the Honeywell HPA300

Honeywell HPA series family image

Honeywell makes a number of similar products in the HPA series of air purifiers. Shown are 3 very popular models and the suggested room sizes they can clean well.

The HPA300 is actually the larger member of a family of similar products from Honeywell. All of which are reputable models with overall excellent buyer reviews. They’re very popular sellers, too.

The HPA300 and its smaller siblings use 2 types of filters: true HEPA and a separate pre-filter. Both are replaceable. The purifier works by drawing air through a “true” HEPA filter that is very efficient at permanently removing particulates in the air around you.

The front grill draws in air which is filtered and then forced out through the top vent section next to the control panel.

Standing at a large 22.3″ (56.6 cm) tall, it’s a big one.

Unpacking the HPA300 – First impressions

Packaging

Honeywell HPA300 in box

When picking up my HPA300 I had a good impression right from the start. Much like GermGuardian products I’ve reviewed, I got an impression of quality right away. The box displays a large amount of benefits the purifier provides and also the type of replacement filters you need. I can’t say the same for all products I’ve tried. I was eager to try it out.

How’s the build quality?

HPA300 front image
Build quality is good and it’s a great looking product. The body is made of ABS plastic, but it’s well put-together and I didn’t find any gaps or poor assembly. The finish is a satin black. Both the front and rear are styled similar (note: air is drawn in on the front side only).

After unpacking and removing the top quick start label, I examined the purifier for any noticeable quality control problems. The construction is good, and while like the other purifiers sold today, it’s made of plastic. However, it feels good to the hand and not flimsy. No complaints here.

Looking it over I found no issues with the fit & finish. Gaps between parts were nice and tight and consistent. The purifier doesn’t have any rattling or loose parts, either.

It’s by no means a small product (after all, it is a large/extra-large room purifier!) but I found it easy to remove from the box as well and move around.

New user label

HPA300 quick start label image
One of the things I enjoyed finding was the “new user” label attached to the stop after unpacking. It’s a great way for new buyers (especially those unfamiliar with air purifies or Honeywell products) to get going.

It’s clear and well-written. I’m kind of glad it’s there because otherwise I might have assumed the filters were ready to use and would have turned it on right away. The label instructs you to open the front cover, remove the HEPA filters from their plastic bags, and replace the front grill.

Additionally, it covers basic operation so you can get going without needing the owner’s manual (which I cover below as well).

In my opinion, it’s a great idea. Simply peel it off before using it, as it blocks the fresh air output vent.

Built-in quick reference guide

HPA300 quick reference guide

A handy quick reference guide is built into the body, near the controls. There’s a small tab located at the top of the purifier which when pulled reveals a nice guide to help you.

A nice little surprise was the quick reference guide built-in to the purifier. Located above the touch control panel is a tab sticking out of the body slightly. Pulling it reveals a simple list of helpful instructions as well as the company’s customer support phone number.

It’s an excellent idea and lends a good impression to me about both the design and the company. This is a small but nice feature I haven’t seen in competing products.

Checking out the HPA300’s controls

HPA300 touch control panel image

The Honeywell HPA300 shares a similar control panel with the smaller HPA200 and HPA100 models.

It features touch-sensitive controls that allow you to change cleaning modes, engage the Turbo speed feature, set the auto-off timer, and dim the control illumination.

How do the controls work?

It’s easy to operate in my experience, and I found it a pleasure to use. People who are accustomed to traditional push buttons or rotating switches (as many GermGuardian products use) may find them odd at first. But because the design is so convenient and works so well I can’t find any real faults with it.

The touch controls work smoothly, although on rare occasions I did see it miss my touch or it didn’t register that I was switching cleaning modes. In that case I had to touch it again.

That’s not unheard of for touch-sensitive devices, however, so don’t let it deter you at all. It didn’t happen very often and really wasn’t a concern for me.

Changing cleaning and other modes

3 basic modes of operation are provided:

  1. Germ
  2. General
  3. Allergen

Touching the Power (center) section of the panel rotates the current mode. The modes follow this pattern: Off -> Germ -> General -> Allergen -> Off.

The dimmer also rotates the brightness level of the blue indicator lights used to display current modes. Touching the dimmer control moves though: Full -> Medium -> Low -> Off -> Full and so on.

Similarly, the auto-off timer is initially off and can be rotated through the 3 time options available: Off -> 2 hours -> 4 hours -> 8 hours -> Off.

I found the controls very intuitive to use. I’m pretty confident that nearly anyone would agree. Additionally, you’re off and running after unpacking it in only seconds, because it’s so easy!

I’m not quite sure why Honeywell has named these three modes the way they have, as I noticed when testing it that they’re more similar to low, medium, and high. Perhaps it’s due to the amount of airflow, but unfortunately, the owner’s manual doesn’t go into detail about these modes.

Specifications

Honeywell HPA300 Specifications
  • Room size rating: 465 sq. ft (large/extra-large room)
  • 3-mode/speed fan control: Germ, General, Allergen
  • Turbo high-speed fan mode for rapid cleaning
  • True HEPA filters (uses 3 Honeywell Type R filters)
  • Smoke CADR rating: 300
  • Dust CADR rating: 320+
  • Pollen CADR rating: 300
  • Touch control panel
  • Quick start guide built into body
  • 2, 4, and 8 hour auto-off timer feature
  • HEPA filter replacement reminder
  • Pre-filter replacement reminder
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Replacement HEPA filter: HRF-R3 (3 filters)
  • Replacement pre-filter: HRF-AP1
  • Weight: 21 lbs (9.5 kgs)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Control location: top
  • Size: 20.08 x 10.83 x 22.32″ (51 x 27.5 x 56.7 cm)

CADR ratings

The HPA300 is a larger purifier with a significantly more powerful fan so it’s not surprising to see that its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is much higher. It’s advertised as being able to cycle and clean the air in a large room in 5 hours and I believe it.

Honeywell HPA300 CADR ratings

The HPA300 has passed an independent 3rd party’s verification test to determine its air cleaning effectiveness. Seen here are the actual ratings.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) testing for CADR ratings provides a way for home appliance manufacturers to demonstrate the effectiveness of their products. Air purifiers in particular are rated according to dust, smoke, and pollen cleaning efficiency, where a higher number is better.

For typical products for small to medium-sized rooms, the CADR from quality air purifier manufacturers tends to be around 100 or so. As you can see here, the HPA300 has an outstanding 300+ CADR for cleaning the most common air quality problems!

That’s fantastic. Most importantly though, you should be spending your money on a product with proven air cleaning performance. The HPA300 meets this & more.

Carrying & moving the purifier

Honeywell HPA300 side carrying handle image

While I’ll admit it looks very big and maybe a little bit intimidating, when actually testing it I found the HPA300 to be fairly easy to move around.

Both sides, near the top, have a place to put your fingers to allow easy moving of the purifier from place to place. It’s a great feature and I didn’t fully appreciate it until I tried it. Really nice!

At 21 lbs in weight (about 9.5 kgs) and 22.3″ (56.7 cm) tall in size, at first glance, you’d think it’s going to be a pain to move to the best spot in your room to use it.

The truth is, it wasn’t at all. I found it pretty easy to move and not at all a problem to deal with.

Air cleaning ability & performance

As it’s rated for up to 465 square feet by the manufacturer, it’s a great choice for extra-large rooms. However, you can definitely use it for large rooms as well. It will simply cycle air and clean them more rapidly than a larger room.

I tested the HPA300 over a series of days and let it run all day while I was out of the house. It’s a great way to come back home and feel the “fresh air” difference that a good air purifier can make.

Additionally, I have a bit of a dust problem so I’m always able to tell what’s working and what isn’t.

Consistently, the HPA300 was very good at removing airborne particles (especially dust, in my case) and left fresh, healthy air for me to come home to.

The Turbo mode is especially helpful if you’re bothered by an air quality issue and need the fastest possible relief.

Other products including the GermGuardian AC5000E don’t provide that special feature.

What kind of filters does it use?

Honeywell HPA300 new filter view image

Right out of the package, the HPA300 comes with all the filter you need, but unlike other brands they’re sealed in plastic bags. Per the instructions (included) you’ll have to open the bags and install the filters. It’s very easy, though. Note that the HPA300 and other similar models use the same filters – just a different quantity.

The Honeywell HPA family of purifiers uses High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters as well as an odor-reducing pre-filter for large elements and odors.

HEPA filters are made of very dense material and are very efficient for cleaning air. They can remove 99.97% of nasty elements in your air down to an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size. (A micron, or micrometer, is 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size).

HPA300 HEPA filters open package
Opening one of the Type R HEPA filters before installing it and using the purifier. The included filters are made of a soft but dense material that filters out an incredible amount of unwanted particles in the air. These particles cause allergies, sneezing & sniffling, and much more.

Installing the filters

HPA300 HEPA filters installed new
Installing the new HEPA filters before inserting the pre-filter. Note the easy pull-tabs on the filters. When replacing, this makes removing the dirty filters very easy to do!

Included are 3 Type R true HEPA filters which you’ll need to remove from their plastic bags and insert into the front of the purifier. It’s really easy to do and only took me a few moments.

Honeywell HPA300 pre-filter installation
Installing the odor reducing pre-filter, which is simply placed over the HEPA filters and then covered with the front grill snapped into place.

The odor reducing pre-filter that’s included is basically a large square section of a filter material without a rigid frame attached as some competitors do. It’s simply a matter of placing it in front of the HEPA filters and then attaching the front grill.

Here’s the basic list of air contaminants the HPA300 can remove:

  • Pet dander
  • Pet hair (thanks to the pre-filter)
  • Dust mite allergens
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Home construction particles
  • Smoke residue
  • Smoke odors
  • Chemical and organic odors

The pre-filter section is a less dense & thin section covering the active carbon filter. It’s job it so first capture larger items in the air like pet hair, dust, and so on. The active carbon filter traps odors and other chemical substances in the air.

Together, they work well. As I’ve mentioned in my other posts, I have a problem with dust and HEPA purifiers have really helped a lot.

For odors, though, you need to understand that the Honeywell purifier will help, but it isn’t an instantaneous solution. It takes time for it to cycle the air and remove odors…but it definitely helps!

Opening the front cover/grill

Honeywell HPA300 how to open front grill illustration
In order to replace filters or to initially get your purifier set up, you’ll need to remove the front grill.

On the HPA300 this is done by slightly pressing marked points on both the left and right sides as indicated. These are snap-click retainers which hold tabs on the grill in place. The grill has 2 tabs on the bottom which hook into slots before the grill is moved upward and snapped into place.

In doing so, I discovered that it’s very easy to do. However, if you move the purifier and even lightly touch the grill near the top it has a tendency to become loose and the grill needs to be re-seated.

This is a minor complaint, but something to be aware of.

Filter life and costs

Honeywell HPA300 replacement filters imageHoneywell recommend replacing the HEPA filters every 12 months or so and the pre-filter every 3 months.

This is because using the pre-filters both extends the life of the more expensive HEPA filters but also pre-filters have a limited life for absorbing odors and other chemical substances in the air.

This is in contrast to others which average 6 to 8 months before recommended replacement, so that’s actually very good.

Replacing all 3 HEPA filters will cost around $57 dollars or so for a 3-pack made by Honeywell. The pre-filter averages somewhere close to $6, so it’s really a good deal in that case.

While $57 or so may sound like a lot, it’s actually about average as most others cost close to $30 for 6 months or so replacement. Therefore it works out about the same.

Filter replacement reminders

What sets the HPA300 apart from other purifiers is that it features separate replacement reminders for the HEPA and pre-filter elements. It’s a unique feature that few products have.

After a replacement reminder comes on you can check the filter and clear the reminder by pressing the lighted button and hold it for about 2 seconds. It will clear and the reminder will be reset.

Note: you can also replace filters before the reminder occurs and reset the reminder ahead of time, according to the manual. With the unit turned off, press and hold each button separately for 5 seconds. The indicator light will illuminate. Then press and hold that indicator light until it goes off. After this the particular reminder will be reset to its “clean” initial state.

Is it safe? Can the Honeywell HPA300 cause headaches?

As I’ve discovered that many people search for answer to this question, I wanted to cover this topic in my review as well. As I explain more in this post, an air purifier based on filtering the air doesn’t produce any emissions.

The HPA300 simply filters the air – it doesn’t add anything to it or produce harmful or irritating by-products. It will not cause headaches. It is perfectly safe and there are NO health concern to worry about

Using the auto-off timer feature

HPA300 auto off timer feature

The auto-timer shuts off the purifier after 2, 4, or 8 hours have passed. I have to say it’s one of the easiest features like it I’ve ever used! Works great, and the purifier shuts itself off just as expected automatically.

In order to use it, simply touch the clock symbol to rotate through 2, 4, or 8 hour options. Doing so a 3rd time will turn it off again.

I like it – what a great option to have before bedtime. No need to worry about having to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off.

The owner’s manual

Honeywell HPA300 owners manual image

The owner’s manual is only about 8 pages in length for the English section, but it’s very straightforward and clear. Well-written and concise, it covers the most important basic information you need to use and maintain your purifier.

Additionally, one of the best things is that it makes it easy to find the customer service telephone number if you need it!

If you’d like to read more before buying, you can view or download the HPA300 owners manual here.

Noise levels during use

For such a big purifier, noise levels seemed to be very reasonable for Germ, General, and Allergen modes! Germ mode was especially quiet and in fact as low as some of the small or medium room purifiers I’ve tested!

After trying the purifier, it seemed as if those 3 operational modes corresponded to low, medium, and high respectively.

Turbo mode is much louder and of course, isn’t suitable for sleep time. But it’s a great feature to have when you can run it full-speed if the noise won’t be too much for you.

Volume measurements

I used a great little sound level meter to measure volume levels. I tested the volume levels at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifier.

Measurement/ModeVolume (dB)
Off (Room noise)39.3
Germ mode43
General mode49.5
Allergen mode55
Turbo mode61

Turbo is definitely a bit loud and is not suitable for times when you’re close to it. As far as the others are concerned, it’s almost the exact same (relatively low) as smaller purifiers I’ve reviewed before.

I was impressed with that, as originally I thought the 3 main modes would be much worse in terms of noise. It’s a pleasant surprise to use it and not even notice it’s running!

Brightness levels in a dark room

Honeywell HPA300 brightness in a dark room image

I’m very particular about the brightness of my air purifiers during testing, as normally I’m very sensitive to both light and sound when sleeping. The HPA300 does have blue LED backlighting for the controls, however it wasn’t too bright. I was able to sleep without any problem and never actually had to use the dimmer feature.

What’s interesting about this particular model is that despite the fact that I’m normally sensitive to light when I sleep, I never had to use the dimmer feature. Honeywell has built-in a nice little dimmer control (accessed by simply touching the Dimmer button area) for 3 levels of control illumination: Medium, Low, and Off.

However, while doing my “overnight” testing I never had a problem. The HPA300 isn’t very bright at all, unlike the GermGuardian AC4825 for example.

You should have no concerns whatsoever about it keeping you awake at night even in the same room.

Review score & summary

After owning and using the Honeywell HPA300 for some time, I have to say overall I’m impressed! It’s a great purifier and it’s really easy to use.

It does what it’s supposed to and does it well – cleaning the air in large or extra-large rooms. With well-designed features, it’ll be a great choice for your home, too.

Image of HPA300 with Editors Choice badge for review score summaryDefinitely head over to find out for yourself why it's one of the top-rated purifiers sold today at Amazon.

Overall
8.9/10
8.9/10
  • Value - 8.7/10
    8.7/10
  • Ease of use - 9.7/10
    9.7/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 9/10
    9/10
  • Features - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Noise levels - 8.6/10
    8.6/10

Good quality, great features, and Turbo speed air cleaning ability make it a smart choice for clean, fresh air in bigger rooms.

Testing the HPA300 was a joy. Although it’s large at 21 lbs and 22″, it’s surprisingly easy to move from one spot to another. Filter replacement is simple and uses readily available/affordable Honeywell modular replacements. Features like Turbo mode and separately removable pre-filters are especially nice. The touch-sensitive controls are a breeze to use and nearly anyone will get accustomed right away. It’s also surprisingly quiet during normal operation. A great buy for your money for larger rooms. It’s a pleasure to own and you’ll love it just as much as I have.

Pros

  • High-speed Turbo mode for faster cleaning
  • High CADR rating – great purification efficiency
  • HEPA filters last approx. 12 months
  • Odor-reducing pre-filter is inexpensive ($6 or so)
  • Pre-filter can be replaced separately
  • Carrying handles on both sides
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Height is about the same as lower-capacity competitors (22″)
  • Touch controls work well and are easy to learn
  • Built-in quick start guide
  • Customer support is good
  • Good owner’s manual
  • Auto-off timer shuts off automatically
  • Low noise levels except for Turbo mode
  • Filter replacement is simple to do
  • Indicator lamp brightness is low for night use
  • Good build quality, fit and finish are nice
  • Filter performance is good, fresh air quicker

Cons

  • Auto-off timer only adjustable in 2, 4 or 8 hours
  • Manual doesn’t clarify the 3 main operational modes (Low, med., high?)
  • No auto-sensing feature at this price level
  • Germ-killing feature not available
  • Pre-filter doesn’t feature activated carbon like competitors

Ionic Air Purifiers Vs. HEPA Purifiers – What’s The Difference?

Ionic air purifier vs HEPA featured image

Are you trying to understand the difference between an ionic air purifier vs. a HEPA purifier? I’ll be honest and admit a long time ago I was confused too. One reason is because of misleading product descriptions I had to research and verify.

It seems like there are so many products sold today as air purifiers. And many are falsely described – which makes it even more confusing! My main goal is to answer your questions about both the differences between an ionizer purifier vs. HEPA purifier.

Before spending any money it’s well worth taking a few minutes to find out more what you really need. I want you to get the best for your money and the best product for your needs.

Contents

Infographic – Ionic air purifier vs. HEPA

Ionic air purifier vs. HEPA infographic diagram/image

What does an ionic purifier do?

ionizer purifier examples

Examples of two popular and commonly sold ionic (ionizer) air purifiers. Left: O-ion B-1000 purifier and (right) the No products found. Both use charged plates to attract particles from the air which collect in a filter or on plates for later removal. Both also use a fan to move air through the ionizer section of the purifier. Both also have a UV-C light feature to kill germs.

Air ionizers work by processing air moved by a fan using electrically charged plates to charge air molecules. These ions – or charged air molecules – are attracted to plates or electrodes very much like how static electricity works.

How ionizers work

Ionic air purifier how it works diagramShown: one of many ionizer designs. In this example (of a design used by better ionizer air purifiers) air is moved by a fan through the first filter. Following this, particles in the air are charged (ionized) and then attracted to metal plates of an opposite charge where they’re captured. A final filter removes some more particles in the air. Note that not all ionizer air purifiers have filters.

Ionizers come in different designs. Not all work the same.

For example, better models have a fan to circulate air in a room and others don’t. In order to purify the air in a room, a product absolutely must actually move the air through it and process it to remove contaminants.

Generally speaking, however, ionic air purifiers use a fan to move air through a series of electrodes and plates. The first plates use an electrical charge to ionize (change the electrical charge of) the airborne particles.

The 2nd stage features other electrodes or plates which have an opposite charge. When the newly charged particles move close to them, they’re attracted to them and bond to them, removing them from the air.

It’s very much like static electricity. For example, think about how pieces of paper, hair, or styrofoam are attracted to your body and clothes when you build up a charge on your carpet.

These contaminants collect on plates or similar type of filter where they’re cleaned off later. Some models feature standard filters as well.

Sometimes ionizers are a feature built into HEPA type purifiers as an added benefit.

One major strength of an ionizer is its ability to destroy airborne illnesses by killing microbes in the air.

Ionizers vs ozone generators

Image of ozone generatorUnlike ionizers, ozone generators produce a lot of ozone molecules in the air and don’t internally collect contaminant particles. The idea is for ozone to bond with airborne particulates which then fall from the air. They’re not very effective at safe ozone levels and at levels where they are effective, the ozone is potentially harmful to humans.

It’s important to cover this topic as unfortunately ionizers are often confused with ozone generators. Companies selling ozone-generating “purifiers” often mislabel them and it simply adds to the confusion.

By nature, ionizers do generate a very small amount of ozone but don’t generally do so at an unsafe or harmful level.

Ozone generators are different from ionizers in that they primarily generate ozone (O3 molecules) by using a high-voltage corona effect to split oxygen molecules in the air which form with other oxygen atoms.

They usually use a fan to blow these molecules into the room, but a lot of them don’t contain internal filters for trapping contaminants. Instead, particles fall to the floor around it.

Why ozone generators are a poor choice

I recommend you avoid these and decide between an ionic purifier and a filter-based (HEPA) purifier. Ozone generators aren’t effective and even if not harmful can irritate your respiratory system.

They’re also a bad choice for people with health issues related to emphysema and other conditions.

What does a HEPA purifier do?

Image of Levoit LV-H132 air purifier in bedroom

Commonly sold HEPA filter air purifiers like the Levoit LV-H132 are placed in rooms where air quality issues are present. Some of the most common locations are bedrooms and living rooms. They circulate air using fans, moving the air through different filters that trap unwanted elements. You’ll need to replace the filters with new ones once they’re saturated with contaminants.

HEPA air purifiers are designed to circulate air in the room and remove contaminants, dust, allergens, and more by trapping them in filters. Unlike ionic purifiers, HEPA purifiers always use a fan – it’s not possible for a product to work without one. Also, they generally do not affect air molecules using any type of electrostatic charge as ionizers do.

(Note that there are some exceptions which I’ll cover later)

A High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter refers to a particular type of filter designed to meet certain efficiency and air purification quality levels. These filters are made of a very dense fiber-like material.

The HEPA name describes a standard that mandates a filter can remove airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in size. A micron, or micrometer, is 1/1,000,000 of a meter. The efficiency of this type of filter is 99.97%, meaning that for every 10,000 particles flowing into it only about 3 escape.

They’re very effective at cleaning air.

How HEPA purifiers work

How air purifiers reduce dust diagram

HEPA filter-based purifiers don’t produce anything in the air or cause any type of electrostatic charge, unlike ionizers. They work off of a simple principle: using a fan or fans to circulate the air in a room and move it through filters. These filters trap both larger and microscopic particles, odors, chemical vapors, and many common household irritants.

HEPA filter purifiers are pretty simple in principle although many variations with more features exist.

They all share a similar design: A fan (or fans) is used to draw in air and force it through filters that trap odors and contaminants to blow out fresh air. They continue to do so in a circulation pattern to clean the air in a home or room within several hours.

Unlike ionizers, they depend on the fast movement of air and a filter. While ionizers use an electrostatic charge to remove particulates in the air you breathe, these rely on mechanical means.

In other words, instead of “attracting” particles in the air, they block and trap them in filters.

Some add more features

It’s worth noting that some filter-based purifiers may include unique features like an ultraviolet light (UV) germ killing option. Some may even include an ionizer feature themselves! However they still heavily rely primarily on filters to work effectively.

For convenience, some also offer more advanced features like an air quality sensor or auto-off timer. Others today allow smartphone control features.

Filters used in HEPA purifiers

It’s actually rare that a modern air purifier like this has only a HEPA filter. Today, most products include some variation of a “3-in-1” design:

  1. Pre-filter section
  2. Activated carbon (charcoal) section
  3. HEPA filter

The pre-filter is normally attached to an activated carbon filter section. It’s a thin material that traps larger matter like hair and dust. The activated carbon filter is the section that absorbs vapors and odors.

Ionic air purifier vs HEPA purifier comparison

By now you should understand more about how ionic and HEPA purifiers work. You really shouldn’t spend money until considering the pros and cons of each.

In order to make it a bit simpler, I’ve put together a comparison table that highlights the differences between the two along with a few notes. (Some characteristics are often different on a brand & product basis and are not true in all cases).

Ionic vs HEPA comparison table

TOPICIONIC PURIFIER (IONIZER)HEPA PURIFIER
Air cleaning process Charges air particles which are collected on plates or filter. Fan moves air through the purifier. Cleans air by circulating air. Air is forced through HEPA/pre-/carbon filters, trapping particulates
Ozone production Very small (< 0.05ppm typical) None
Germ killing ability Low to good, depending on product None to fair (some products feature germ killing ability)
Air flow rate Low-fair (fan speed often not selectable) Good-high (adjustable fan speed)
Dust cleaning Poor Good
Cigarette smoke cleaning Fair-good (particles to 0.01uM in some cases) Good (limited to particle size to 0.3uM and above)
Odor reduction Poor/moderate Good (models with carbon filter)
Pet dander cleaning Fair-good Good
Pet hair cleaning Poor Good
Allergy relief Fair Good
Filter maintenance Clean plates/wash filter (reusable) Replace complete or separate filters, depending on model (ave. 6-8 months life)
Average cost $50-$65+ $50-$100+

Which one should you choose?

Confused man in suit
Ionic purifiers do have a distinct advantage over HEPA type purifiers: their ability to sanitize the air and greatly reduce airborne germs which cause illnesses. Filter-type purifiers don’t normally have this ability although some like GermGuardian products do have a feature that uses UV-C technology to do so.

Some ionizers like the O-Ion B-1000 in the image above also have this feature, too.

However, when comparing the pros and cons of each, I recommend a quality HEPA-type purifier. They offer a higher rate of airflow for better clean air delivery, they’re good for dust and hair problems, and models with a carbon filter can absorb odors and chemicals in the air.

Another reason is that ionizers are not held to the same standards of performance and demonstrated air cleaning that filter models are.

For example, the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is laboratory tested and proven testing. It’s a standardized way of demonstrating an air purifier’s cleaning effectiveness. You won’t see that on ionic air purifiers.

When are ionizers a good idea or helpful?

Ionizers are good for light-duty cleaning like needing to freshen a room as well as other less demanding applications.

For pet dander, allergies, bad smoke problems, and others HEPA purifiers are the way to go. Additionally, the faster fan speeds mean air cleaning is more rapid and you have more control over it.

The major downside of HEPA purifiers is needing to buy replacement filters, which on average is about 6-8 months depending on the model. (Note that in some cases carbon filter can be replaced separately, extending the use of the main HEPA filter section).

Hybrid models

Holmes HAP116Z-U

Some models use both filters and an ionizer to clean the air. Note that purification effectiveness can vary greatly, so it’s very important to always buy a proven, effective product.

To (unfortunately!) make things more complicated, there are some hybrid models on the market which feature both a filter and a built-in ionizer section as an extra feature.

Primarily, however, you should always shop for a purifier on the basis of proven performance, great reviews, and cleaning ability for your room size. Don’t let marketing tactics mislead you into spending money on something that’s less effective.

Summary – Ionic vs. HEPA air purifiers

In summary here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Ionic (ionizer) air purifiers work by moving air. Airborne particles are charged and attracted to plates where they collect on plates or a filter. Ionizers are more effective at sanitizing air.
  • High-Efficiency Air Particulate (HEPA) purifiers move air through filters to trap particles, odors, and more. They don’t introduce anything into the air itself.
  • Ozone generators may be misleadingly sold as “ionizers’ but aren’t a good use of money, and aren’t effective. Ozone can irritate internal tissues. At high levels, ozone molecules can become harmful.

Be sure to do your reading before spending money!

One of the best HEPA purifiers sold today is the GermGuardian AC4825. It’s an effective purifier with good performance – and I own one! You can read my detailed review here.

If you’d like to see a good ionizer that’s moderately priced, check out the O-Ion B-1000 here as well.

Honeywell HPA 160 Review – A Great Medium/Large Room Purifier

Honeywell HPA 160 review image

Honeywell produces some of the best air purifiers today. As I’ve owned and review several others, I was intrigued by the HPA160 and wanted to see how it stacks up against the competition.

In my Honeywell HPA 160 review I’ll go into detail and tell you if it’s a good choice for your money (Hint: I really like it!)

Competing with popular and high-quality brands like Levoit and GermGuardian, the HPA 160 definitely has to be top-notch in order to succeed.

Read on if you’d like to find out all the details!

Contents

Getting to know the Honeywell HPA160

Honeywell HPA060 vs HPA160 vs HPA200 comparison imageThe HPA 160 is part of Honeywell’s HPA series of air purifiers. They all share similar styling and us modular HEPA filters, meaning they use 1 or more of the same filters sold by Honeywell for similar purifiers. They’re also very similar in how they function control-wise, too.

The HPA160 is a “tower” purifier, meaning it has a bit of a lean design and stands tall. At almost 26″ (10 cm) in height, it’s a good looking unit and has a sleek, stylish design with contrasting silver controls within a glossy black panel.

It’s actually one of the many models produced by Honeywell in the HPA series of air purifiers. As the “big brother” to the HPA060 which is designed for small rooms, the HPA160 is designed for medium to large rooms about 170 square feet in size.

Of course, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t use it in smaller rooms, and it will clean the air in them even faster.

The HPA160 and other similar models in the product line use a true HEPA filter and a separate pre-filter to clean the air and permanently remove particulates that cause allergies, odors, and much, much more.

The HEPA filter difference

It works by using a “true” HEPA filter that’s highly efficient at removing nasty particulates in the air. Some of these are incredibly small – microscopic in size! The pre-filter complements the main HEPA filter by capturing odors and larger elements like hair and dust.

The HPA160 is very similar in design to the competing GermGuardian AC4825 in that it draws in dirty air from the rear using fans. This air is drawn through the filters then blown out of the front, producing clean, fresh air into the room.

It works by continuously cycling this process in order to purify a room’s air in a few hours.

The HPA160 uses simple controls (one of which is a touch control – I’ll go into more detail later) and has a black satin plastic body. The controls are accentuated by a nice satin silver trim around the gloss black and satin silver control section.

Unboxing the HPA160 and first impressions

Packaging

Honeywell HPA 160 unboxing packaging image
Unfortunately because of some distractions I had to delay opening my HPA160 after picking up. Finally, I got my hands on it! Upon opening it I found the same level of quality I experienced with the larger HPA200, it’s bigger brother for large rooms. The packaging was both of good quality and appeared to be environment-friendly as it was made from recycled cardboard material.

How’s the build quality?

Honeywell HPA 160 close up image
This is a well-made and solid air purifier. The body is made of an ABS plastic with a satin (low-gloss) finish. The fit & finish were good and panels lined up nicely and with no noticeable problems. The assembly was tight and well put-together. It looks good and feels good to the touch!

As I always like to do I opened up the box to get an initial impression of the level of quality I’m getting. The Honeywell packaging was good and I was happy with how it appeared. The box is very nice also, as it not only features the benefits of the purifier but also clearly indicates which filters you need to buy for replacement.

As I have experience with both the Honeywell HPA200 and the HPA300 models, I wanted to see if it met the same expectations those set for me. It did! The HPA160 is well-made and looks great, I have to say.

You can easily tell that someone did their homework when designing this model, as it looks very well designed and isn’t a copycat of other similar products on the market.

Although it’s a bit tall at around 26″ (about 10 cm) in height and weighs about 10 lbs (4.5 kgs) it’s actually pretty easy to move around.

There’s a handy carrying handle built into the rear which makes it easy to move. There are rubber pads on the base to keep it from scratching your floor as well.

Getting started

Honeywell HPA160 getting started image

After removing it and unwrapping the plastic, you’ll find a notice label on top of the purifier, near the controls. You’ll have to remove the filters from their bags and re-insert them into it.

While it can seem like a bit of an annoyance (especially considering that other brands don’t do this) I can appreciate that Honeywell keeps filters 100% fresh and undisturbed in these bags.

Essentially, getting first set up is very easy:

  1. Remove the rear cover (see below, where I go into more detail)
  2. Remove the pre-filter, in the rear cover, from its holding tabs
  3. Remove it from its plastic bag and re-insert it into the tabs
  4. Remove the 2 HEPA filters and remove them from their bags
  5. Hooking the filters on the bottom slots in the body, insert them into the snap tab
  6. Re-install the rear cover

It only took me a minute or two to do this, and once you’ve done it for the first time it’s not really an issue any more.

I did notice that the bottom filter was a bit harder to get into the purifier for some reason. Perhaps it was because this was my first time doing so, but it didn’t go in as quickly as I had hoped. But, it still wasn’t a real issue for me and I was on my way fairly quickly.

Built-in quick reference guide

HPA160 quick start guide image
Just above the rear cover’s release tab there’s a clear plastic loop. Pulling it up reveals a great little quick start guide. It’s a nice touch and very handy – you can’t lose it! It also features Honeywell’s customer support phone number. I really like this extra feature.

When getting started with your purifier for the first time, you might appreciate a special little added bonus this model has. There’s a quick-start guide on a printed plastic sheet that is built-into the body. It’s located on the rear just above the cover’s release tab.

Pulling the small clear plastic loop reveals some basic instructions for using the purifier as well as the company’s customer service line and website should you have questions.

I think it’s great and it’s reflective of the Honeywell quality. Several other models in the HPA family feature this a swell. For people who lose manuals easily or new users, it’s a great way to never have to worry about instructions.

Checking out the HPA160’s controls

Honeywell HPA160 controls
The HPA160 is sort of unique in that it features a touch control for the operational mode and fan speed (like the larger HPA200 but push buttons for other features. It’s a bit of a cross between the two types. It looks great and is easy to operate. I like how it looks: satin silver finish on the trim, brushed metal buttons, and a gloss black inset between them. Very classy.

The HPA160 borrows one feature from the larger HPA200 & HPA300 models: the fan mode is a touch control. However, unlike them, the Turbo and auto-off controls are not activated and use push buttons.

Two filter replacement reminders are provided, which is rather unique for an air purifier in this price range. It’s a great feature considering you don’t have to replace both filters at the same time as that’s more expensive.

Rather you can replace the pre-filter separately and later the HEPA filters as well.

How do the controls work?

By lightly touching the main fan speed button the purifier rotates through one of 3 operational modes.

Pushing the button with the clock symbol turns on the 2 hr auto-off timer. Pushing it again moves the selection to the 4 hr option, and so on.

When the Turbo button is pushed the purifier operates at maximum speed. Touching it again restores the previous fan mode in use.

Changing cleaning and other modes

3 basic modes of operation are provided:

  1. Germ
  2. General
  3. Allergen

These modes are really easy to control and you simply push the button again to rotate through the various settings.

Cleaning mode: Off -> Germ -> General -> Allergen -> Off.

Likewise, the auto-off timer is initially off and can be rotated through the 3 time options available: Off -> 2 hours -> 4 hours -> 8 hours -> Off.

In my opinion, the controls are incredibly easy to use and great for first-time owners.

I’m a bit confused, however, why Honeywell has named the 3 fan (cleaning) modes Germ, General, and Allergen. After using it, it seems as if they’re just low, medium, and high fan speed modes. Unfortunately the manual doesn’t differentiate these in detail.

Specifications

Honeywell HPA160 Specifications
  • Room size rating: 170 sq. ft (med.-large room)
  • 3-mode/speed fan control: Germ, General, Allergen
  • Turbo high-speed fan mode for rapid cleaning
  • True HEPA filters (uses 2 Honeywell Type H filters)
  • Smoke CADR rating: 110
  • Dust CADR rating: 120
  • Pollen CADR rating: 130
  • Touch control panel for fan mode
  • Quick start guide built into body
  • 2, 4, and 8 hour auto-off timer feature
  • HEPA filter replacement reminder
  • Pre-filter replacement reminder
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Replacement HEPA filter: HRF-H2 (2 filters)
  • Replacement pre-filter: HRF-B2
  • Weight: 10.1 lbs (4.58 kgs)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Control location: top
  • Size: 8.11 x 11.08 x 25.59″ (20.6 x 28.1 x 65 cm)

CADR ratings

The HPA160 has pretty good fan speed which gives it a good Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) rating. The CADR is a documented test that determines how quickly an air purifier can clean the air in a room – the higher the score, the better.

Honeywell HPA160 CADR ratings label image
The HPA160’s AHAM ratings label. Unlike some of the other products sold today, Honeywell has had an industry standard performance evaluation performed. It’s a great way to know you’re getting an effective purifier with proven results.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) provides home air quality testing for air purifier manufacturers. Air purifiers in particular are rated according to dust, smoke, and pollen cleaning efficiency. The higher the number the better.

It’s basically a rating you can use to evaluate 2 similar models when shopping. The rating is also based on the amount of air cleaning due to the rate at which a purifier can move air. Naturally, bigger air purifiers therefore have high ratings.

The HPA160 of course cannot match the larger and more expensive HPA200 and HPA300 models with larger fans, but it can definitely provide efficient air cleaning.

Carrying & moving the purifier

Honeywell HPA160 side view handle

The HPA160 has a built-in carrying handle on the rear near the top.It’s easy to move it around as needed by placing your fingers inside with 2 hands. Very handy!

Although it’s rather tall at almost 26″ in height it’s actually easy to move to different locations in your room. I measured the weight at about 10 lbs (4.5 kg). I didn’t have any issues or find it clumsy to move about.

Honeywell has added a nice feature to make it portable – there’s a carry handle area on the top rear. That’s a nice touch which is also shared by some of the GermGuardian products too.

Air cleaning ability & performance

I’m especially enthusiastic about home air quality and wanted to see how well the HPA160 performed.

I’ve had problems with dust in my home for a considerable time. After seeing how much relief the GermGuardian AC4825 gave I wanted to compare this one as well The end result? It works very well!

The Turbo mode is a special feature unique to the Honeywell product line. It maximizes the fan speed in order to more quickly purify your room’s air when you don’t mind the additional noise volume. After a using it for some time I began to appreciate it more and more.

While there are other products with somewhat similar cleaning ability like the GermGuardian AC5000E the others don’t have a Turbo high-speed feature.

What kind of filters does it use?

Honeywell HPA160 filter images
The HPA160 uses 2 standardized Type H Honeywell filters (white) also used by some other models as well. The Type B pre-filter (black) is separate and is held in the rear cover as shown.

The High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are used in conjunction with a pre-filter (fitted into the rear cover) which catches larger elements like hair and larger dust. It can additionally trap odors over time as well.

HEPA filters are made of very dense material and are very efficient for cleaning air. They can remove 99.97% of nasty elements in your air down to an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size. (A micron, or micrometer, is 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size).

The design allows Honeywell to share a standard size filter in different quantities for use by several different models in the product line. The HEPA filters sell for close to $20 for a 2-pack and the pre-filters for about $9 for a 2-pack as well.

As an example, the HPA060 uses 1 Type H HEPA filter. The instructions are very clear and it makes things easier and less confusing when it comes time to buy a replacement filter.

Installing the filters

Honeywell HPA160 filters image
After removing the purifier from the packaging, you’ll need to open the rear cover, remove the filters from their bags, and re-install them. It’s not hard to do, although for some reason the bottom one was a bit trickier to insert my first time.

The purifier is shipped with 2 Type H true HEPA filters which you’ll need to remove from their plastic bags and insert into their openings. Similarly, the pre-filter must be removed from the plastic bag and inserted into the filter cover/grill as shown earlier.

The HEPA filters weren’t hard to install, with the exception of the bottom one a small bit. They’re inserted bottom-first at an angle into a small slot on each side. They’re then angled upward and click into place in a retaining tab at the top.

Overall I found it easy to do, however, the bottom one was a bit resistant to going in on my first try.

The odor reducing pre-filter that’s included is basically a rectangular section of filter material. It’s held in by tabs on the cover.

Here’s a list of some of the most common elements the HPA160 can remove:

  • Pet dander
  • Pet hair (thanks to the pre-filter)
  • Dust mite allergens
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Home construction particles
  • Smoke residue
  • Smoke odors
  • Chemical and organic odors

The pre-filter

This is a less dense, thin section that traps larger particles like hair, fuzz, and so forth before they reach the HEPA filters. It’s also treated in order to reduce odors and trap substances like that in the air.

When combined, these 2 types of filters form an effective way to clean the air. The pre-filter also reduces the need to replace the filters – which Honeywell recommends is every 12 months. 3-6 months for the pre-filter, or as needed if heavy use has occurred.

In the case of odors you need to understand that the Honeywell purifier will help, but it isn’t an instantaneous solution. It takes time for it to cycle the air and remove odors. It’s great to have, however!

Opening the rear cover

Honeywell HPA160 open cover diagram
Opening the rear cover is simple. Just 1) push down on the release tab with your thumb and 2) swing the cover down, then pull it out. There are 2 tabs at the bottom which fit into slots which are used when reinstalling it.

Do these in reverse order after replacing filters. The release tab will snap at the top indicating it’s locked into place.

It’s very simple and I don’t have any complaints. It’s also how the rival GermGuardian AC5000E is designed as well.

Filter life and costs

Honeywell HPA160 replacement filters
Honeywell recommends replacing the HEPA filters every 12 months or so and the pre-filter every 3 months.

This is because using the pre-filters both extends the life of the more expensive HEPA filters but also pre-filters have a limited life for absorbing odors and other chemical substances in the air.

This is in contrast to others which average 6 to 8 months before recommended replacement, so that’s actually very good.

Replacing both HEPA filters will cost around $29 dollars or so for a 2-pack made by Honeywell. The pre-filter averages somewhere close to $6, so it’s really a good deal in that case.

While $29 or so may sound like a bit of money, it’s actually not bad at all as many other products cost close to $30 for each 6 or 8 month replacement period.

Filter replacement reminders

Honeywell HPA160 filter reminders image
The replacement reminders are illuminated based on the amount of time the purifier has been used for. They can be reset as needed. It’s unique in that they’re separate rather than there only being one (as many competitors do).

What sets the HP160 apart from other purifiers is that it features separate replacement reminders for the HEPA and pre-filter elements. Honeywell’s design is different and many, if not most competitors don’t feature this.

When one or both are illuminated you may check the filters. The reminders are cleared by pressing a button and holding it for about 2 seconds. The light will turn off clear and the reminder will be reset.

Note: Of course, you can also replace filters before the reminder occurs according to the manual. Purifier switched off, press and hold each button separately for 5 seconds. The indicator lights will illuminate. Then again press and hold that indicator light until it goes off. After doing so a reminder is returned to its reset state.

Is it safe? Does this purifier produce ozone? What about headaches?

There’s no ozone produced.

The subject of headaches and air purifiers is actually a highly researched question on the internet. As I explain more in this post, an air purifier that only filters the air doesn’t produce any emissions.

The most important thing to know is that the HPA160 simply filters the air. It cannot add anything to air, give off gases, or produce any irritants by itself. It will not cause headaches. This model is perfectly safe and there are NO health concerns to worry about.

Using the auto-off timer feature

Honeywell HPA160 auto-off timer diagram
This is one of my favorite features and one that surprisingly much of the competition doesn’t have.

The auto-timer will switch off the purifier after 2, 4, or 8 hours have passed. It’s really easy to use. Just push the button marked with the clock symbol to set it to one of the 3 hour settings (2, 4, or 8 hours). After the time elapses it will turn itself off automatically.

Each time you push the button the indicator light for a selection will rotate through 2, 4, or 8 hours. Doing so a 3rd time will turn it off again. It’s so simple but so handy!

That’s a great way to leave it running when you’re gone during the day but won’t have to worry about running your electrical bill up.

The owner’s manual

Honeywell HPA160 HPA060 owners manual
The owner’s manual English section is only about a few pages in length. However it’s very clear and helpful. It covers the most important basic information you need to use and maintain your purifier.

What’s great is that it makes it easy to find the customer service telephone number if you need it.

In case you’re curious, here’s a download link for the HPA160 owner’s manual.

Noise levels during use

You might be thinking it could be a loud one. In fact not only is it very quiet – it’s one of the better sounding one’s I’ve tested so far!

Compared to the GermGuardian AC5000E or AC4825, for example, the noise had much less of a motor “whirr” and seemed more pleasing to me.

Three operational modes are provided: Germ, General, and Allergen. As I was testing it, it seemed as if those 3 operational modes corresponded to low, medium, and high respectively.

Turbo mode is definitely not low volume and isn’t suitable for sleep time. But it’s a great feature to have during times when you won’t mind it.

Volume measurements

Using this great little sound level meter to measure volume, I recorded the volume levels at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifier.

Measurement/ModeVolume (dB)
Off (Room noise)39.3
Germ mode42.5
General mode47
Allergen mode53.2
Turbo mode57

In fact, it’s quieter than many smaller purifiers! That’s what surprised me a bit. And I’m very pleased with it, I have to say.

While turbo has a very noticeable volume level and “whoosh” sound, the other settings are very similar – and lower – than many other products on the market

It’s honestly very easy to forget it’s running when the high-speed Turbo is off because it’s so quiet.

Brightness levels in a dark room

Honeywell HP160 in dark room brightness
I’m fairly sensitive to light and sound when sleeping or relaxing at night. And I know I’m not the only one, so I make sure to check brightness levels in the dark. Blue LEDs like those used on this model are often too bright. This one was fine.

As one of my tests I used the model in a darkened room just like I’d use at night when sleeping. Overall, I found the indicator lights are not too bright.

However, just like any product with light emitting diode (LED) indicators, a little bit goes a long way. I could still a bit of light in the room and on the ceiling. If you’re sensitive to light like I am I’d recommend covering it up.

Unfortunately, this model doesn’t offer an illumination dimmer like the larger HPA200 does. That’s a shame because I’ve found it to be a great feature to have.

Final thoughts

So…after testing and owning the HPA 160, here are my thoughts. Overall, I really like it! It’s a great purifier that offers some very nice features and sounds so quiet and pleasing when in use.

I do have a few minor complaints. There’s no UV-C germ killing feature offered like in the AC4825 I reviewed here, for example.

Additionally, the lack of an illumination dimmer is a shame. However, it’s not a deal breaker and certainly isn’t enough of a concern to change my mind. Again, it’s a minor gripe.

If you’re looking for an excellent medium or large size air purifier that covers a recommended 170 square feet, it’s a great choice.

Don’t hesitate. It’s a great one, so head over to check the current price at Amazon.

Overall
9/10
9/10
  • Quality - 9.2/10
    9.2/10
  • Value - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Ease of use - 9.7/10
    9.7/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 9/10
    9/10
  • Features - 8.6/10
    8.6/10
  • Noise levels - 9/10
    9/10

A very quiet, and very capable choice for medium or large rooms to 170 sq. feet. Well-made and a great performing model.

The HPA160 is a great choice! Simply put, it’s one of the nicer products I’ve tested and I enjoyed doing so. Well-made with good assembly and construction. Filters are easy to replace and readily available. Separate filter reminders are provided. Turbo mode is a bonus way to speed up air cleaning. I love the auto-off timer as well. It’s pleasing to the ear when running on standard speeds. I’d recommend it first to anyone not needing a germ killing feature.

Pros

  • High-speed Turbo mode for faster cleaning
  • High CADR rating – great purification efficiency
  • HEPA filters last approx. 12 months
  • Odor-reducing pre-filter is inexpensive
  • Pre-filter can be replaced separately
  • Carrying handle
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Touch controls works well; buttons too
  • Built-in quick start guide
  • Customer support is good
  • Helpful owner’s manual
  • Auto-off timer shuts off automatically
  • One of the most quiet purifiers
  • Filter replacement is easy
  • Indicator lamp brightness is fairly low
  • Good build quality, fit and finish are nice
  • Filter performance is good, fresh air quicker

Cons

  • Auto-off timer only adjustable in 2, 4 or 8 hours
  • Manual doesn’t clarify the 3 main operational modes
  • No auto-sensing feature
  • Germ-killing feature not available like competitors
  • No illumination dimmer like the HPA200/300

Honeywell HPA 200 Review – How Does It Rate?

Honeywell HPA 200 review featured image

Looking for a good purifier? I’ve been there myself. In my honest and real Honeywell HPA 200 review I’ll go into a lot of detail and specs that you need to know.

There are so many choices out there today that it can seem hard to sort them all out. I’ve recently begun finding out more about the Honeywell line of air purifiers and why they’re so popular.

Read on to see what I found and learn more!

Contents

Getting to know the Honeywell HPA200

Honeywell HPA series family image

The HPA 200 is part of a family of 3 very popular models from Honeywell. They share a similar design and are available in different room size ratings. I like the consistency between them.

The HPA200 is one of the “middle siblings” in a family of similar products from Honeywell. It’s suggested room coverage size is about 310 square feet (which is a room about 16 x 19 ft in size). It’s considered a large room air purifier, although there’s no harm in using it in smaller rooms as well.

The HPA200 and other HPA models use 2 types of filters: true HEPA filters and a single separate pre-filter. Both are replaceable and the filters are shared between them – which is kind of unique – they use 1-3 of the same filters depending on the model.

The air cleaning process works using a “true” HEPA filter which is highly efficient at removing nasty allergens, dust, and smoke particles down to microscopic sizes. The pre-filter captures odors and larger elements like hair and bigger dust.

A single (and powerful) fans draws in air which is filtered and then blows outward back into the room at the top. It has a single vent directly next to the control panel.

It’s a big purifier at about 18.9″ (47.9 cm) but it’s actually shorter than come competitors like the GermGuardian AC5000E.

Unboxing the HPA200 – First impressions

Packaging

Honeywell HPA 200 unboxing
I picked up my HPA200 and got to unboxing. I was pleased to see the same consistent quality I saw with
the larger HPA300, its bigger brother for extra-large rooms. The box is nicely designed and features the purifier’s features and benefits, along with the model of replacement filters needed.

How’s the build quality?

Honeywell HPA200 close up front image
The unit looks good and is well put together. The body is made of ABS plastic satin (low-gloss) finish. Unlike some other products on the market, I didn’t get an impression of cheapness or it being flimsy. Just as expected, quality is consistent throughout the Honeywell HPA series. No unusual gaps or assembly problems were found, either.

I removed the good packaging (recyclable cardboard material) and started checking out the assembly and construction quality. It’s a step I always take to understand better the “big picture” when it comes to evaluating an air quality product.

You can tell a lot from how something feels in your hands and just like with car, how well it’s put together.

I looked it over well and found no issues with it. Quality and appearance are good. No noticeable gaps where panels fit together and line up. Also, the control panel looks good, with a nice brushed metal silver finish and well printed labeling.

The HPA 200 isn’t exactly small at almost 19″ tall and about 20 lbs (9 kg) in weight, but it’s surprisingly easy to move around. Changing locations for use in your room won’t be an issue.

New user label

HPA300 quick start label image
After removing it and unwrapping, the first thing you’ll find is a “new user” label on top, immediately above the controls.

It’s a nice touch, and clearly explains getting the purifier ready for use and also basic control operation. I don’t recall seeing this on other brands before and I definitely like it.

One important thing to know is that the filters must be removed from their plastic bags and re-installed before using the purifier. This is noted on the label as well.

Built-in quick reference guide

HPA200 quick start guide image
Near the controls there’s a small rounded tab sticking out. Pulling it up reveals a great little quick start guide. It’s a nice touch and very handy – you can’t lose it! It also features Honeywell’s customer support phone number.

One little surprise I didn’t expect to find was the guick start guide that’s built into the purifier’s top section. Located above the control panel (on top, near the outer edge) is a small tab which can be pulled.

Doing so reveals a small plastic sheet with basic operation information and the company’s customer support helpline.

I think it’s great and it’s reflective of both the HPA200 and the rest of the Honeywell air purifier line. For people who lose manuals easily or new users, it’s a great way to never have to worry about instructions.

Checking out the HPA200’s controls

Honeywell HPA 200 touch control panel image

The HPA200 shares a similar control panel with the smaller HPA300 and HPA100 models

It uses touch-sensitive controls that allow changing cleaning modes, activate the Turbo speed feature, set the auto-off timer, and dim the control illumination.

I did notice on occasion that the panel might not have detected that I touched it, but ordinarily it wasn’t an issue. Perhaps it’s due to the (light) force I used when using it, but overall it’s not a real issue. In my opinion it’s not a bother.

How do the controls work?

By lightly touching the control panel near the labels for various functions the operation state for each feature rotates through the available functions.

For example, touching the clock symbol area turns on the 2 hr auto-off timer. Touching it again moves the selection to the 4 hr option, and so on. When Turbo mode is turned on, touching it again restores the previous fan mode in use

Changing cleaning and other modes

3 basic modes of operation are provided:

  1. Germ
  2. General
  3. Allergen

The various modes are really easy to control and you simply repeat touching the panel to rotate through the various settings.

Cleaning mode: Off -> Germ -> General -> Allergen -> Off.

The dimmer also rotates the brightness level of the blue indicator lights used to display current modes. Touching the dimmer control moves though: Full -> Medium -> Low -> Off -> Ful.

Similarly, the auto-off timer is initially off and can be rotated through the 3 time options available: Off -> 2 hours -> 4 hours -> 8 hours -> Off.

In my opinion, the controls are very easy to use. For people who are normally are more comfortable with switches or push buttons, it may seem odd at first, but it’s incredibly easy to get accustomed to. I’m sure you’ll like it!

However, I don’t understand why Honeywell has named the 3 fan (cleaning) modes as Germ, General, and Allergen. After using it, it seems they’re essentially just low, medium, and high fan speed modes. Unfortunately, the manual doesn’t differentiate these in detail.

Specifications

Honeywell HPA200 Specifications
  • Room size rating: 310 sq. ft (large room)
  • 3-mode/speed fan control: Germ, General, Allergen
  • Turbo high-speed fan mode for rapid cleaning
  • True HEPA filters (uses 2 Honeywell Type R filters)
  • Smoke CADR rating: 200
  • Dust CADR rating: 190
  • Pollen CADR rating: 180
  • Touch control panel
  • Quick start guide built into body
  • 2, 4, and 8 hour auto-off timer feature
  • HEPA filter replacement reminder
  • Pre-filter replacement reminder
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Replacement HEPA filter: HRF-R2 (2 filters)
  • Replacement pre-filter: HRF-AP1
  • Weight: 20 lbs (9 kgs)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Control location: top
  • Size: 17.72 x 10.05 x 18.86″ (45 x 25.5 x 47.9 cm)

CADR ratings

The HPA200 is a larger purifier with a powerful fan so it’s not surprising to see that its Clean Air Deliver Rate (CADR) is higher than some of the competition. The CADR is a labratory-proven way of demonstrating how quickly an air purifier can clean the air in a room – the higher the score, the better.

Honeywell HPA200 CADR ratings
The HPA200’s AHAM ratings label. Unlike some of the other products sold today, Honeywell has had actual demonstrated testing performed to rate it. It’s a great way to know you’re getting an effective purifier with proven results.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) provides home air quality testing for air purifier manufacturers. Air purifiers in particular are rated according to dust, smoke, and pollen cleaning efficiency. A higher number is better.

In general, 300 and above is excellent while 100 is ok. Below 100 is poor. As you can see, the HPA200 does well for its size at close to 200 for each of the 3 major filtering criteria used for testing.

You’ll be getting a good purifier that cleans large rooms well and small rooms even better!

Carrying & moving the purifier

Honeywell HPA200 side view carry handle image

The HPA200 features a carrying handle area on both sides near the top. Using these, it’s easy to move it around as needed by placing your fingers inside with 2 hands. Just pick it up and move it around – very convenient!

Despite the HPA200 being rather big in size, it’s actually very easy to move around. Don’t let the weight or size intimidate you at all.

Both sides, near the top, have a place to put your fingers to allow easily moving the purifier from place to place. It’s a great feature and I didn’t fully appreciate it until I tried it. A nice touch that is shared by some of the GermGuardian products as well.

At first glance I to myself, “Oh boy, this one’s pretty big and will a pain to deal with” but I was completely wrong. I’m happy to report that despite the size and how it seems really big in your mind, it’s actually quite easy to deal with.

Air cleaning ability & performance

Honeywell HPA200 dust collection image HEPA filters

The HPA200 does great at removing problem-causing airborne particulates. For me personally, dust is an issue. When testing the purifier I was able to greatly reduce the dust in my room and home. Pictured: (Left) Fresh, new HEPA filters and (right) used filters after many months of cleaning the air. It works well and I was very happy to have tried it!

Air purification in my home is especially important to me as if you’ve read my About Me page you know how much I love clean air. I firmly believe we’re all entitled to it.

Dust has kind of been a thorn in my side for some time, but after trying the GermGuardian AC4825 I saw how much of a fantastic impact a good air purifier could have. I’m very happy to say that the HPA200 does great here as well!

The Turbo mode is a bonus that lets you accelerate how quickly your room gets cleaned. I didn’t really understand how good it was at first, but let me tell you that after a few hours of using it, I appreciated it more and more.

While there are other products with somewhat similar cleaning ability like the GermGuardian AC5000E almost none of them have a high-speed Turbo feature like the Honeywell offers.

What kind of filters does it use?

Honeywell HPA200 filters new start up preparation image

Right out of the box, the HPA200 needs to be set up with the filters by removing them from their plastic protective bags. Left: the pre-filter (Honeywell HRF-AP1 model). Right: behind the pre-filter, the HPA200 has 2 Type R filters (sold as a package called HRF-R2). Unlike other brands, these are not made as a 1-piece filter assembly. You’ll need to remove them from their bags before using the purifier.

The Honeywell HPA purifiers use High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters as well as an odor reducing pre-filter for large elements and odors. They’re commonly available and the purifiers are designed to use the same filters but in different quantities.

HEPA filters are made of very dense material and are very efficient for cleaning the air. They can remove 99.97% of nasty elements in your air down to an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size. (A micron, or micrometer, is 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size).

For example, the HPA200 uses 2 Type R HEPA filters, the HPA300 uses 3, and the HPA100 uses 1. All three share the same HRF-AP1 pre-filter. It makes filter replacement less confusing and easier to deal with.

HPA300 HEPA filters open package
Opening one of the Type R HEPA filters before installing it and using the purifier. The included filters are made of a soft but dense material that filters out an amazing 99.97% of unwanted particles in the air. These particles cause allergies, sneezing & sniffling, and much more.

Installing the filters

Honeywell HPA200 HEPA filter installation image
After unboxing your new purifier and removing the filters from their sealed plastic bags, you’ll need to re-install them in the purifier. With the front grill removed (see above for how to do that) it’s simply a matter of pushing them back into place.

The purifier is shipped with 2 Type R true HEPA filters which you’ll need to remove from their plastic bags and insert into the front of the purifier. It’s really easy to do and only took me a few moments.

Honeywell HPA300 pre-filter installation
Installing the odor reducing pre-filter, which is simply placed over the HEPA filters and into tabs on both sides in front of them. It’s very quick and painless. After placing it into place, you insert the front grill (insert the grill’s tabs into slots at the base) and then snap-click the retaining tabs into place at the top.

The odor reducing pre-filter that’s included is basically a large square section of a filter material without a rigid frame attached. It’s very easy to insert for the first time or to replace: just place it in front of the HEPA filters and insert the edges into tabs on both sides. Then close the grill over it.

Here’s the basic list of air contaminants the HPA200 can remove:

  • Pet dander
  • Pet hair (thanks to the pre-filter)
  • Dust mite allergens
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Home construction particles
  • Smoke residue
  • Smoke odors
  • Chemical and organic odors

The pre-filter section is a less dense & thin section covering the active carbon filter. It’s job it so first capture larger items in the air like pet hair, dust, and so on. The active carbon filter traps odors and other chemical substances in the air.

Together, they work well. As I’ve mentioned in my other posts, I have a problem with dust and HEPA purifiers have really helped a lot.

For odors, though, you need to understand that the Honeywell purifier will help, but it isn’t an instantaneous solution. It takes time for it to cycle the air and remove odors…but it definitely helps!

Opening the front cover/grill

Honeywell HPA200 grill front cover opening diagram
In order to replace filters or to initially get your purifier set up, you’ll need to remove the front grill.

On the HPA3\200 this is done by slightly pressing marked points on both the left and right sides as indicated. These are snap-click retainers that hold tabs on the grill in place. The grill has 2 tabs on the bottom which hook into slots before the grill is moved upward and snapped into place.

What I found out is that it’s very easy to do. However, if you move the purifier and even lightly touch the grill near the top it has a tendency to become loose and the grill needs to be re-seated.

This is a pretty small annoyance, but it’s something to bear in mind.

Filter life and costs

Honeywell HPA300 replacement filters imageHoneywell recommends replacing the HEPA filters every 12 months or so and the pre-filter every 3 months.

This is because using the pre-filters both extends the life of the more expensive HEPA filters but also pre-filters have a limited life for absorbing odors and other chemical substances in the air.

This is in contrast to others which average 6 to 8 months before recommended replacement, so that’s actually very good.

Replacing both HEPA filters will cost around $27 dollars or so for a 2-pack made by Honeywell. The pre-filter averages somewhere close to $6, so it’s really a good deal in that case.

While $27 or so may sound like a bit of money, it’s actually not bad at all as many other products cost close to $30 for 6 months or so replacement.

Filter replacement reminders

What sets the HP200 apart from other purifiers is that it features separate replacement reminders for the HEPA and pre-filter elements. It’s a unique feature that few products have.

After a replacement reminder comes on you can check the filter and clear the reminder by pressing the lighted button and hold it for about 2 seconds. It will clear and the reminder will be reset.

Note: you can also replace filters before the reminder occurs and reset the reminder ahead of time, according to the manual. With the unit turned off, press and hold each button separately for 5 seconds. The indicator light will illuminate. Then press and hold that indicator light until it goes off. After this, the particular reminder will be reset to its “clean” initial state.

Is it safe? Can the Honeywell HPA200 cause headaches?

As I’ve discovered that many people search for an answer to this question, I wanted to cover this topic in my review as well. As I explain more in this post, an air purifier based on filtering the air doesn’t produce any emissions.

The HPA200 simply filters the air – it doesn’t add anything to it or produce harmful or irritating by-products. It will not cause headaches. It’s perfectly safe and there are NO health concerns to worry about.

Using the auto-off timer feature

Honeywell HPA200 auto off timer image

The auto-timer shuts off the purifier after 2, 4, or 8 hours have passed. It’s very easy to use. Just touch the control and set it to one of the 3 hour settings (2, 4, or 8 hours) and it will turn itself off automatically.

In order to use it, simply touch the clock symbol to rotate through 2, 4, or 8 hour options. Doing so a 3rd time will turn it off again. I tested this when going to sleep and it worked well.

I like it – what a great option to have before bedtime. No need to worry about having to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off!

The owner’s manual

Honeywell HPA300 owners manual image

The owner’s manual is only about 8 pages in length for the english section, but it’s very straightforward and clear. Well-written and concise, it covers the most important basic information you need to use and maintain your purifier.

Additionally, one of the best things is that it makes it easy to find the customer service telephone number if you need it!

If you’d like to read more before buying, you can view or download the HPA200 owners manual here.

Noise levels during use

For such a big purifier, noise levels seemed to be very reasonable for Germ, General, and Allergen modes! Germ mode was especially quiet and in fact as low as some of the small or medium room purifiers I’ve tested!

After trying the purifier, it seemed as if those 3 operational modes corresponded to low, medium, and high respectively.

Turbo mode is much louder and of course isn’t suitable for sleep time. But it’s a great feature to have when you can run it full-speed if the noise won’t be too much for you.

Volume measurements

I used a great little sound level meter to measure volume levels. I tested the volume levels at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifier.

Measurement/ModeVolume (dB)
Off (Room noise)39.3
Germ mode46
General mode50.3
Allergen mode55
Turbo mode59

Turbo speed mode is definitely a bit loud and is not suitable for times when you’re close to it. As far as the others are concerned, it’s almost the exact same (relatively low) as smaller purifiers I’ve reviewed before.

Honestly, the noise level in General mode was almost unnoticeable with music or YouTube videos playing. I completely forgot I had turned it on!

Originally I thought the 3 main modes would be much worse in terms of noise. It’s a pleasant surprise to use it and not even notice it’s running!

Brightness levels in a dark room

Honeywell HPA200 dark room illumination brightness

I’m very concerned about how bright the illumination of air purifies are. I’m very sensitive to both light and sound when sleeping. The HPA200 does have blue LED backlighting for the controls, however, it wasn’t terrible. In a completely darkened room the backlighting did light up the room a bit, but I able to eliminate this thanks to the Off mode.

Honeywell has built-in a nice little dimmer control (accessed by simply touching the Dimmer button area) for 3 levels of control illumination: Medium, Low, and Off. Although the backlighting is not bright in my opinion, in a darkened room it was a different story. The illumination was still a bit much for a smaller room.

The Off setting on the dimmer fixed this right away – it was a great feature to have.

You should have no concerns whatsoever about it keeping you awake at night even in the same room. If you’re sensitive to light like I am you can simply switch it to the Off setting. Very nice!

Review summary

After getting my hands on the HPA200 and getting a chance to really dig in, I have to say I’m pleased. It’s a high-quality air purifier with good performance that works well.

It’s not a “small” air purifier, but it does what it is supposed to: it cleans the air in large rooms well.

While I do have minor complaints, they’re negligible and are nothing that would keep me from recommending it to others. The filters are bit unique in that it uses 2 smaller HEPA filters rather than one larger one as other brands do, but it’s a minor detail that doesn’t affect anything.

Unlike the GermGuardian product line, Honeywell doesn’t offer a UV-C germ killing feature to use for reducing airborne microbes. I do consider that a disadvantage, as it seems like it would not be a large matter to add to the design.

I do wish the owner’s manual explained in more detail about the various cleaning modes, as to me they appear to be simply low, medium, and high in practice.

Again, these are all minor gripes compared to how great the performance and quality is. The HPA200 is easy to use and I enjoyed using it. It’s a great choice for anyone wanting a good purifier for their money.

Want to learn more? Then head over to find out why it's so popular and check the current price at Amazon.

Honeywell HPA200 in white (HPA204)

Note: you can also find it in white, sold as the identical HPA204 model here.

Overall
9/10
9/10
  • Quality - 9.2/10
    9.2/10
  • Value - 8.7/10
    8.7/10
  • Ease of use - 9.7/10
    9.7/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 9/10
    9/10
  • Features - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Noise levels - 8.8/10
    8.8/10

Well made and effective, the HPA200 is a great choice for large rooms up to 310 sq. feet. It's very easy to use and one of the best for your money.

The Honeywell HPA200 may seem a bit large and bulky, but it’s actually easy to move from place to place. The air cleaning ability is very good and works well in my testing. The touch-sensitive controls are intuitive and simple. Instructions are clear and easy to follow. Standardized replacement filters make maintenance very easy. Surprisingly quiet despite being powerful, in my tests it’s a very nice buy and well worth what you pay.

Pros

  • High-speed Turbo mode for faster cleaning
  • High CADR rating – great purification efficiency
  • HEPA filters last approx. 12 months
  • Odor-reducing pre-filter is inexpensive ($6 or so)
  • Pre-filter can be replaced separately
  • Carrying handles on both sides
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Height is about the same as lower-capacity competitors (20″)
  • Touch controls work well and are easy to learn
  • Built-in quick start guide
  • Customer support is good
  • Good owner’s manual
  • Auto-off timer shuts off automatically
  • Low noise levels except for Turbo mode
  • Filter replacement is simple to do
  • Indicator lamp brightness is low for night use
  • Good build quality, fit and finish are nice
  • Filter performance is good, fresh air quicker

Cons

  • Auto-off timer only adjustable in 2, 4 or 8 hours
  • Manual doesn’t clarify the 3 main operational modes (Low, med., high?)
  • No auto-sensing feature at this price level
  • Germ-killing feature not available

What Are Air Purifiers Used For? What They Do And How They Help

What are air purifiers used for featured image

Maybe you know someone who mentioned their air purifier. Or perhaps you’ve got an air quality problem you need help with. Are you wondering “What are air purifiers used for?” If so, you’ve come to the right place.

As it turns out, there are some great benefits they offer and they can improve your quality of life. I own several and I speak from personal experience.

In addition, it’s important to know a few facts ahead of time to avoid buying low-quality and ineffective products.

Read on and I’ll do my best to share the details you need.

Contents

Infographic – Air purifier uses and benefits

Air purifier uses and benefits infographic

What are air purifiers used for?

Air purifiers have a fundamental purpose: they circulate the air in a room and clean it by removing particulates and airborne chemical substances permanently.

Essentially, they remove bothersome particles, odors, vapors, hair, and more to produce clean, healthy air. They also help sickness and allergy symptoms since they eliminate many causes that trigger both.

While there’s a long list of air quality issues they treat, they’re most often used to treat several common problems found in many homes. They’re used not only in living rooms but bedrooms, work offices, kitchens, or any area where the effects of air quality problems are felt.

Removing odors

Image of garbage cans at home

Odors are the result of substances releasing their molecules into the air which enter your nose. Many are just bothersome and offensive (like garbage) but others like building materials and chemicals are potentially harmful, too.

Have you ever avoided making one of your favorite meals because you didn’t want your home to smell like it for days afterwards?

Sometimes the most delicious foods, like fried fish or burgers, can leave strong smells behind long after we finishing eating them. Spicy foods are especially known to do this.

This is because cooking releases the molecular organic compounds in those foods into the air. Likewise, chemical sources like cleaning products or solvents which release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can cause very strong and potentially harmful odors.

Garbage, pets, and musty areas can also release a number of organic substances that we sense as odors. Some materials like the new carpet you’ve had installed or construction materials have “outgassing” properties, which means for a period of time they release elements into the air with a strong odor.

The activated carbon filter in many purifiers is a type of filter section that can absorb and trap these odors and vapors, leaving fresh air behind.

Of course, there’s no substitute for treating the problem at its source, but they’re a great way to freshen the air around you.

Relieving allergies

Image note about pet allergies

One of the most popular reasons for buying an air purifier is allergy symptom relief. Allergens come from a variety of sources: everything from pet dander to pollen. To make matters worse, dust mites feed off of pet dander and human skin waste, creating even more allergens! The ideal solution is to remove them from the air.

Allergens are one of the most common problems faced by people. There are so many sources of allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchiness, asthma, and more, that it can sometimes seem overwhelming

These symptoms are caused by allergens that move in the air around you and on to your skin and air passageways. Additionally, those that settle on surfaces can be disturbed and get into the air over and over to cause relentless problems.

When allergens enter our breathing passageways or contact skin they act as irritants our body reacts to.

Air purifiers help with this particular problem by using the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter section to catch allergen particles. Most allergens are a few micrometers in size and above (for reference, a micrometer or “micron” is 1/1,000,000 of a meter).

Some of the most common allergy sources they’re proven to relieve are:

  • Dust mite allergens
  • Pet dander
  • Plant pollen
  • Allergy-causing dust
  • Chemical allergens
  • Perfumes and cologne
  • Foods and other organic sources

HEPA filters trap the allergens in their dense fibers where they can’t escape. Fresh air escapes the other side and back into the room. They’re a safe and effective way to get relief. In the cases of odors (like perfumes or chemicals), these get absorbed by the carbon filter section (if provided).

Dealing with smoke

Image of a cigarette smoke particle under microscope

Smoke has an amazing amount of unhealthy elements and gases with chemical compounds. They get everywhere, and cling to surfaces! This image shows an aluminum silicate particle that’s microscopic in size – a by-product of cigarette smoke.

Smoke is a unique problem in that it’s a terrible combination of problems:

  • Bad odors
  • Chemicals released into the air
  • Particles that cling to and dirty surfaces
  • Health hazards when inhaled second-hand
  • Discoloration of surfaces if left untreated

Air purifiers are able to greatly help. Models with both a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter can trap a large portion of these, both when someone is presently smoking or from the remnants of smoke.

It’s important to understand that because smoke has so many incredibly small particles, it’s never a good idea to have smoke directly in your home. But if you can’t avoid it, or are simply dealing with the side effects, it’s great to leave the purifier running and you’ll feel a significant reduction in the problems.

Your health is very important. Did you know that second-hand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals? It’s terribly bad for your health over the long term!

Be sure to stay healthy and safe – I recommend a good quality purifier with a well-rated reputation for alleviating smoke problems.

Reducing and removing dust

Dirty air purifier filter that has collected dust

Dust is another bothersome problem that I have personally dealt with. In the image above, my GermGuardian AC4825 purifier captured a lot of dust in the pre-filter. I had no idea how bad my dust problem was! It’s great to have an easy solution that keeps it under control.

Dust comes from a variety and sources – fabrics, home materials, the ventilation system, and many more. Tiny particles enter your home or break from many surfaces, materials, or get carried in when your central heating or cooling system operates.

For me personally it has always been a problem.

Dust control results

Purifiers work very well for dust as they’re good for cycling the air in a room and filtering out dust particles (which are generally larger in size than many other air contaminants).

Often the pre-filter, a more coarse section that serves as a “first stage” for debris, traps them. In many cases after a large build-up, you can vacuum off the dust and re-insert the filter for more use.

I’ve seen a good amount of success keeping dust under control and my home doesn’t need nearly as much cleaning as it once did! Additionally, I’ve noticed I don’t sneeze as much as I used to since using my purifier.

Treating pet odors and dander

Woman petting white dog image

Pets are wonderful, but bring a few things we have to deal with when they’re indoors. Pets generate a lot of by-products like hair, dander, and odors. They can also bring in substances from outdoors.

Pets bring with them a number of issues – not just allergens:

  • Dander
  • Odors
  • Hair
  • Outdoor particles
  • Skin oils (often odor causing)

As I mentioned earlier, pet dander can trigger allergy symptoms inside your home and can cause a number of problems. However, additional nuisances like “wet dog smell” are caused by micro bacteria that are activated when dog hair becomes saturated with water.

Pet hair can be difficult to deal with as well. A purifier can’t remove all pet hair from indoors (once settled on surfaces) but airborne hair can be trapped.

Pet odors are often caused by the natural organic compounds the product and release into the air. The same happens also with the natural oils on their skin and body.

Adding an air purifier is definitely a great idea. As many pet owners have discovered, it’s a good way to reduce the stinky smells and mess at home.

Note that it’s recommended you still bathe your pet fairly often as again it’s important to treat the problem at its source.

How does an air purifier work?

How air purifiers reduce dust diagram

An air purifier is generally a pretty simple – but effective – device. They work by cycling air in a room and continuously trapping the elements (like dust, for example) that cause air quality problems. Shown is one of the most popular, the GermGuardian AC4825. I’ve owned and enjoyed mine for some time now.

Air purifiers actually generally aren’t very complicated at all, although the designs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some have more advanced features like timers, sensors, and more, but work using the same basic principles.

Purifiers cycle the air in a room and filter out unwanted contaminants using replaceable filter cartridges.

As you can see in the image above, it’s like running a fan in a room – except that as it moves the air more and more contaminants (or odors, and so on) are trapped. They’re removed permanently.

The HEPA filter I mentioned earlier is a type of very dense and efficient filtering standard. It defines this type of filter as being able to eliminate 99.97% of all particulates that enter it down to 0.3 microns in size.

That means for every 10,000 particles that flow through it, only about 3 can escape!

GermGuardian FLT11CB4 carbon filter diagram

Activated carbon is found in many types of filters, including for drinking water. Because of its properties, it’s good at removing chemicals and odors from the air. Good purifiers include carbon or some type of odor-removal treatment in their filter design.

Activated carbon, often built alongside the more coarse “pre-filter” section, is responsible for eliminating odors, volatile chemical compounds, and similar nasty airborne substances we hate and shouldn’t breathe in.

Carbon (also called charcoal) is treated to give it the ability to absorb and trap these unwanted substances passing through the filter.

It’s necessary as the HEPA filter can only trap solid particles – not gaseous ones. When used together they form an effective way to treat your air.

Nearly all filter-based (HEPA) purifiers aren’t harmful and don’t produce any unsafe by-products to worry about. They simply remove particulates and substances from the air.

Good reasons to own an air purifier

While it’s great to buy one to get relief for a particular air quality problem, there are other reasons they’re a great idea:

  • They can help prevent sickness
  • Promote better sleep and overall better health
  • Reduce distractions due to air quality annoyances
  • Are great for children and babies (who are more sensitive to air)
  • They’re helpful for dealing with home upgrade dust and odors

GermGuardian AC4825 side view UV-C feature glowing

Some products also provide a germ-killing feature like the one pictured above. They use an ultraviolet light (UV) bulb design to destroy airborne microbes and bacteria.

Ionizers are also particularly effective at sanitizing air to prevent sickness.

However, they’re not very effective for the other purposes I’ve listed in this post, so I can’t recommend them for most buyers. I’ve been disappointed with the ones I’ve tested.

Summary

Hopefully I’ve helped you better understand what an air purifier can do for you. After trying various kinds (I own and have tested many!) I can honestly say they improved my quality of life.

To recap:

  • Air purifiers are used to help with common air quality problems
  • They work by cycling the air in a room and filtering out contaminants, odors, and more
  • Good products include both a true HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter section
  • Filter-based purifiers are safe and don’t generate harmful by-products

Considering buying one? I’ve got a great list and a buying guide with some of the best purifiers under $100 here.

Personally, I highly recommend the one I own – the GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1.