HANDS-ON Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier Review – How Does It Rate?

Honeywell 50250-S air purifier review featured image

Considering the Honeywell 50250-S? You’re potentially going to spend a bit more money than you would for a cheaper, weaker purifier.

Because of that you might be worried if you’ll get your money’s worth – and if it’s a good choice for cleaner air.

Don’t worry! I’ve done a hands-on review & test of the Honeywell true HEPA 50250-S air purifier. I’ll tell you the good, the bad, and if it’s a good buy.

I even measured the noise and power use, too! There’s a lot of great info here so let’s get started.

Contents

Basics first: Getting to know the Honeywell 50250-S purifier

Honeywell 50250-S vs HPA300 vs HPA200 comparison image

Honeywell’s 50250-S is a bit different from some of the company’s other air purifiers (also called air cleaners) sold today. As it’s a slightly older design, its works the same in many ways but it’s a bit different as far as features and details go.

Basically, the 50250-S is an air purifier that’s a no-frills “workhorse” designed for large rooms up to 390 square feet in size.

Priced between the smaller HPA200 and the more expensive (and more advanced) HPA300, it’s a very capable model. It’s also one of the most powerful I’ve ever tested.

Unlike fanciers models, you won’t get advanced convenience features like electronic touch controls, an auto-off timer, sleep mode, and so on. What you do get, however, are simple and reliable manual controls.

Features that count

Much like the company’s other products I’ve tested including several of the HPA family, it’s a competent air cleaner and provides the following air cleaning features:

  • True HEPA filter (easily replaceable, but rated for lifetime use)
  • Prefilter with odor-absorbing active carbon coating
  • Powerful rotary 3-speed fan with 360 degree airflow

In case you’re not familiar with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, here’s what you need to know: HEPA filters are very effective in their cleaning ability.

They’re a standardized way of guaranteeing the filter meets the HEPA standard, which requires that they can filter 99.97% of all microscopic (an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size; less than 1/100,000 of a meter!) in the air flowing through them.

Unlike other models, the 50250 has a LifeTime HEPA that you can clean and reuse. That’s a big money & time saver!

Special features

What makes the Honeywell 50250-S different is its high-power circular fan design and 360 degree airflow. Nearly all other purifiers, regardless of brand, draw air in from the rear and blow it out the front with far less speed & efficiency.

The 50250-S, however, uses a great rotary fan design to draw in dirty air from every side and force clean air out of the top with from every angle possible.

Unboxing & first impressions

Honeywell 50250-S air purifier unboxing images

Unboxing my purifier for testing. Inside it’s neatly packed and held in placed by molded styrofoam. Also included are instructions, the individually sealed pre-filter, a quick start guide, and a customer support insert. All-in-all, it’s well-done and shows good quality.

Finally I got my hands on my purifier! I’m no stranger to them after having tested more than I can remember. But the 50250-S is different. It really made me feel curious to find out why it’s such a popular model.

On the outside of the box is a ton of information! Not only are all the features and the filtering abilities listed, but the company has gone to great lengths to also list the room size and replacement filter part numbers.

It’s a great break from what you’ll find missing on lower-quality products.

Packaging quality and what you get inside

After opening it up here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • 50250-S purifier (with sealed HEPA filter inside
  • Sealed prefilter
  • Quick-start guide insert
  • Customer support contact details sheet

Honeywell 50255B and 50250S purifier package included manufacturer paperwork examples

Included in the box are 2 nice little touches: (Left) Convenient customer support contact information if you have questions, and (Right) a great little Quick Start guide to help you get your new purifier working right away.

I would have liked for recycled cardboard to be used inside the box (like with competing GermGuardian products) but that’s ok. The purifier was well-packaged and arrived safely inside the molded styrofoam top and bottom inserts.

My opinion so far? We’re off to a great start! The air purifier looks great and everything gives me a good impression just like other great products I’ve owned & reviewed.

Build quality and fit & finish

Honeywell 50250-S air purifier build quality & finish closeup images

As part of my review “habits” if you will (haha), after unboxing a new purifier I like to check the build quality and fit & finish. It gives me more insight into the quality put into both the design & manufacturing. The Honeywell 50250-S didn’t disappoint! It’s a good-looking and well-made air cleaner that may be simple but it very solid.

There’s no way around it – there’s simply no substitute to an up-close and hands-on inspection. As I always like to do, I had a very closeup look at the Honeywell to check for defects, build issues, and fit and finish.

The great news, I’m happy to report, is that it’s well-made and had no signs at all of any quality problems! In fact, just the opposite is true: it’s obviously well-designed and solid.

Body styling and quality

The 50250-S has a standard “office business machine” light grey satin color. It looks good as far as purifiers go and gives the impression that it’s “all business.” In other words, it’s not trying fancy or pretty – but rather it’s designed to clean your air well and that’s it!

Body panels line up well without gaps or assembly defects. There’s a bit of satin silver paint used around the control panel and the bottom of the purifier’s base as well. It’s a nice touch and looks classy.

All in all, the 50250 checks out very well and is very well made. I’ve had zero issues with loose parts and the bottom cover works great. (More about that and the alternative Honeywell 50255B, the black version, later)

Checking out the controls

Honeywell 50250-S air purifier control panel closeup image

Shown: The purifier’s control panel is simple and there’s ZERO complication! To use it, just select one of 3 fans speeds. Right: The purifier does feature an extremely convenient filter replacement reminder along with reminder reset buttons. Unlike some products I’ve owned, there’s absolutely no confusion about what the lights mean!

What can I say? The Honeywell was designed to be simple to use…and it is.

The control panel is one of the most simple – and clear – I’ve seen aside from products like the super-popular GermGuardian AC5000 which also features a manual rotary fan switch.

It’s really easy to use: just set the fan switch to one of 3 positions (low, medium, and high). Believe me when I say that “high” is a high-speed fan setting! When set to high, the powerful fan moves a lot of air quickly.

Note that Honeywell actually has named the high speed setting as “Turbo.”

Filter reminder lights & buttons

Included are 2 filter replacement reminder lights as you can see in the picture above. After several month of use the lights will turn on (not blinking) to show the following:

  • It’s time to check and clean the main HEPA filter
  • It’s time to check, and possibly replace, the prefilter (3 month reminder)

After cleaning the main Lifetime HEPA filter or replacing the prefilter, the reminders can be reset by pushing and holding the buttons for 10 seconds.

It’s really easy and makes it hassle-free unlike some other products I’ve tested.

Does it beep?

The controls are silent and don’t produce any beeping, so there’s nothing to be concerned with there if that’s an issue for you.

Specifications & CADR ratings

Honeywell 50250-S Specifications
  • Room size rating: 390 square feet (large room)
  • 3 speed fan control (low, medium, high [“Turbo”])
  • Lifetime true HEPA filter can be cleaned (24000 series filter)
  • Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) ratings: Dust (250), pollen (250), smoke (250)
  • 360 degree airflow design
  • Prefilter: activated carbon odor-reducing
  • Separately replaceable prefilter design
  • Filter cleaning & replacement reminders
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Replacement filter (HEPA): Honeywell 24000
  • Replacement prefilter: HRF-AP1 size “A”
  • Power use: 93W, 146W, 187W (low, med., high)
  • Carrying handle
  • Weight: ~ 20 lbs (44 kgs)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Control location: Top front
  • Size: 17.8 x 18 x 19 in. (45.2 x 46 x 48.2 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.

Honeywell 50250-S air cleaner CADR ratings AHAM label

The 50250-S’s CADR ratings are shown here.

The AHAM is an organization that verifies the testing results of home appliances & carry out lab testing for appliance manufacturers. This is voluntary and is not required by law.

In simple terms, the CADR ratings are numbers used to help you know an air cleaner’s performance before buying. The rating numbers are based on “higher is better.”

They’re lab tested using a series of air cleaning scenarios to find out how well they work.

For comparison purposes, consider this: most medium-sized room purifiers (that offer CADR ratings – not all do!) are around 100 or so on average. Therefore the Honeywell has a whopping 2.5 times more air cleaning ability than many purifiers that sell for nearly the same price!

That does come with a few relatively minor drawbacks, which I’ll cover later.

Thoughts on the 50250-S size & weight

Image of the Honeywell 50250-S air purifier height being measured by tape ruler

At about 17.5″ or so tall, it’s not tall enough to be called a “tower” purifier like others. Instead, it’s slightly shorter and wider, with a nice, firm feel on the floor. You can’t knock this one over accidentally!

I measured the height at about 17.5″ tall or so, which is shorter than many medium room purifiers I test and own personally. Instead, it’s wider and by design – especially due to the fact that it uses a circular fan which makes up a huge portion of the body shell.

In my opinion, the size and height aren’t an issue as long as you know in advance, and if you don’t somehow expect it to fit into a cramped space.

This is a purifier designed for some serious air movement and it needs a bit more space than others. I like it, though!

(Note that Honeywell recommends having about 3 ft (~1 meter) of unobstructed space around it for air flow).

Carrying the purifier

Honeywell 50250-S air purifier carrying handle closeup example

One thing I really like is being able to carry it easily from place to place at home using the built-in carrying handle. Right on top is a convenient and strong carry handle made of very solid painted plastic.

As the purifier is definitely not a light one (at around 20 lbs in weight), it isn’t the easiest to move if you’re not strong. So be sure to bear that in mind as you may need help when doing so.

For me, however, it wasn’t an issue.

I picked the purifier up several times during testing and use. The handle feels solid, strong, and works great in my opinion.

50250-S power use measurements (Watts)

Image of the Honeywell 50250-S power measurements

Pictured: I measured power use (in Watts) for all 4 switch positions: Off, low, medium, and high (“Turbo”).

Unfortunately I couldn’t find power use specs from the company anywhere. Rather than guess, I measured power use in Watts for all speed settings. Here’s what I found.

Mode/SpeedPower Use (Watts)
Off0
Low93.1
Medium146
Turbo (high)187

Basically it uses a least twice as much power as an average medium room air purifier (they use around 55 watts or so, depending on the model & features), but that’s to be expected.

As it uses a very powerful motor the power requirements simply have to be higher. Regardless, it’s still relatively low use as when used on the low setting it’s about the same as a 100W incandescent light bulb.

Air cleaning ability and air flow design

Honeywell 50250-S air flow fan diagram illustrationShown: The air purifier’s airflow design. Unlike most products on the market, it’s not limited to a rear-in and front-out airflow pattern. Instead, the device draws in dirty air with a 360-degree circular range from the sides and blows it out at the top with the same circular pattern. It’s a very cool, and effective, design.

One of the most interesting things with the design is how it moves air into and out of the filters. While most air purifiers draw air in from the rear and out of the front, this one’s different.

Dirty air is drawn in from all sides (360 degrees) and forced out of the top likewise. Putting your hand over the top lets you feel a rush of clean, purified air being blown out with a lot of force.

Image showing hand over top of Honeywell 50250-S blowing air

With my hand over the top of the purified air exhaust vent, it was easy to feel how powerful the fan is! You can immediately tell the airflow is very strong – especially on the highest of 3 settings.

Let me be clear about one thing: it has a very powerful fan! This thing can really move some air quickly.

While the low setting is pretty normal when compared to other products, it’s still more effective in that it’s circulating air from every angle.

On the highest of the 3 fan settings it’s fairly noisy but really moves air quickly – no weak fan motors here!

Note: The manufacturer recommends leaving about 3 (~1 meter) of space between the purifier and any wall or furniture. That’s to make sure there’s plenty of unobstructed space for air to move freely.

Air cleaning performance

During testing, the Honeywell worked well for both odors and airborne debris. In my particular case, dust is a huge problem at home.

It’s an incredibly annoying problem so I depend a lot on having a good air cleaner to get relief.

Image of Honeywell 50250-S dirty filter after use

After testing & some use, my purifier got a lot of nasty things out of the room’s air as you can see. Later I vacuumed the HEPA filter (as you can do with this model – a great feature!) and replaced the prefilter as well as it was past its use of 3 months.

As you can see from the image above, it did quite well at getting nasty dusty, dander, and more out of the air.

The prefilter and true HEPA work well together. I’m very happy to say they do a great job cleaning both solid particles and odors or volatile substances from the air.

Odor removal performance

I tested the unit with several odor sources and it worked well! I noticed it only took a little while before odors trapped indoors were gone or really much less noticeable than before.

The activated carbon filter (charcoal, it’s also called) works well for most odors, volatile organic compounds (VOCs, which are airborne chemical substances).

As it has a very large prefilter that you’ll get much more odor relief than smaller models – so that’s another benefit you’ll get for your money.

Filter ability

50250-S/50255B filter sections assembled & disassembled illustrated

The 50250-S & 50255B use a prefilter section that wraps around the lifetime HEPA filter. The HEPA section is made up of a folded, dense fiber material with a protective mesh material around it. The pre-filter/activated carbon filter, is responsible for trapping larger particles as well as odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.

The high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is fantastic for removing the most common air quality issues (especially those that cause allergies!).

Here’s a basic list of air contaminants the 50250-S 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
  • Sickness-causing microbes from pets & humans

Essentially, this is an air cleaning system as the filter process is made of 2 main parts: the pre-filter/activated carbon filter and 2nd section, the HEPA filter.

What is the prefilter?

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. It’s a type of rough-feeling mesh material with a coating on it.

The active carbon filter traps odors and other chemical substances in the air (like those that household chemicals release).

As I mentioned in the beginning, the HEPA filter captures an amazing 99.97% of particles passing through it down to 0.3 microns in size. (That’s less that 1/1,000,000 of a meter, microscopic in size)

Room Size and square feet coverage

Labeled diagram of Honeywell 50250 room size square feet recommendation

When it comes to buying an air cleaner like this one, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s room size recommendation. This is because an air purifier with too little air flow capability can’t cycle the air in a large room well.

That means a weaker, less-capable purifier designed for small rooms shouldn’t be used in a much large room – it simply won’t be able to move enough air to clean the air well.

Having said that, the 50250 is best for large and very large rooms up to around 390 square feet in size. That’s room size of about 17 x 22 ft (5.2 x 6.7 meters).

Image of Honeywell 50250 box showing recommended room size for use

The 50250’s box (and instructions) recommend a maximum room size of 390 sq. ft. That’s approximate, however, so don’t worry if yours is not exactly the same. It’s ideal to be sure to use it in a room about the same size or smaller.

When used in the recommended room size I mentioned above you’ll get not 1, not 3, but 5 air cleaning cycles in the room per hour! That means in 1 hour, in a room size of 390 sq. ft, the purifier will have circulated and filtered the air 5 times.

For smaller rooms, you’ll get even more air cleaning performance:

  • Medium rooms up to 149 sq. ft: 12 air cleanings per hour
  • Small room up to 80 sq. ft: 23 air cleanings per hour

When I said it’s a powerful air cleaner I wasn’t kidding!

Image of Honeywell 50250 box showing manufacturer room size examples

As I mentioned above, you don’t have to use the purifier in only larger rooms – you can use it in smaller rooms as well. You’ll get faster air cleaning in that case, as shown on the box.

Does the 50250 produce ozone?

Image of Honeywell 50250-S ozone safety box information

As I explained in this post, standard purifiers that use filters (and not electronic air cleaning methods) don’t normally add anything unhealthy to the air. They don’t produce emissions, gases, or by-products.

The 50250 and 50255 models do NOT produce ozone so there’s nothing to worry about. In fact there’s a notice about this printed on the box.

Filter indicators, parts, and maintenance costs

Labeled diagram showing Honeywell 50250-S purifier filter reminder features

The 50250/50255 models provide convenient and very clear filter reminders to let you know when it’s time to check and possibly replace or clean the filters. The reminders are reset by pushing and holding the buttons shown.

For both the true HEPA filter and the prefilter section a check/clean/replace reminder is provided. When the light turns on steady, you’ll want to open & check each.

Reminders are triggered every 3 months. Ideally you’ll replace the prefilter then, but honestly in my opinion unless it’s been exposed to heavy odors, chemical vapors, and etc, you can get a bit more life out of it.

As instructed in the owner’s manual, when the HEPA filter is dirty you can remove it and carefully vacuum away dirt and particles before putting it back into use.

Replacement filters & maintenance costs

Honeywell 50200 series purifier replacement filter examples

While most purifiers need periodic replacement of both filters, for the 50200 series models you’ll ordinarily only need to replace the prefilter. As mention earlier here, Honeywell’s HEPA filter is can be cleaned (vacuumed) for continuous use even when it seems dirty.

If for some reason, however, you need to replacement, they can be found for $50 and up if you shop carefully.

The odor reducing prefilter is actually very affordable despite its large size! The type A filter (model HRF-AP1) can be found for about $12-$15 at retailers like Amazon.

1 prefilter is included in each box unless you’re purchasing a multi-filter package.

Filter removal and setup

Diagram showing Honeywell 50250-S filter removal how to

Shown: How to remove the HEPA filter for initial setup. You’ll need to turn the unit upside-down to access the filter housing cover. Then unscrew the retaining fastener. After this you can simply remove the cover and pull out the HEPA filter before adding the prefilter and re-installing the setup.

As it’s a bigger purifier (as should be very obvious by now!) it’s a bit more work to do maintenance than smaller models.

While it was a bit more work for me to do, it wasn’t very hard. To setup your purifier’s filters you’ll need to this first:

  1. Turn the unit upside-down (I recommend placing it on a soft towel to avoid scratches)
  2. Unscrew the retaining knob
  3. Remove the cover and pull out the HEPA filter

After doing so, it’s time to remove both filters from their plastic bags as they’re sealed from the factory to avoid being used up before you receive them.

Putting the prefilter on the HEPA filter

Diagram showing steps to install a prefilter for the Honeywell 50250-S air purifier

It’s a bit more work than most purifiers but believe it or not, despite the awesome cleaning ability, it can be cheaper to maintain than lower-performance competitors. To install the first (or replacement) prefilter, 4 basic steps are involved. Basically it boils down to trimming the existing prefilter to the right size then keeping it in place.

Ok, I’ll admit it: this was a bit more work than I expected. But it’s the only real (minor) complaint I have about the 50250’s design.

The difference between the 50250 and other models, including others from Honeywell, is that the prefilter is made to work with several different models and has to be cut to fit when used.

To install the HRF-AP1 prefilter you’ll do the following:

  1. Remove from sealed protective bag
  2. Cut to size for fitting the model 24000 HEPA filter in the purifier (instructions provided)
  3. Wrap the prefilter around the main HEPA section
  4. Secure using Velcro-type attachments provided

It took me around 15-20 mins to do this my first time, so you can expect about the same. However, from there on it’s easy to do once you’re used to it. In fact I switched steps #3 & 2, but it really doesn’t matter.

To secure the prefilter in place, you’ll just attached the 2 rectangular sections of a Velcro-like material that are included while holding the prefilter in place with one hand. It’s not hard so don’t worry.

One thing I don’t like

One thing that did annoy me, however, was that while removing the old prefilter and installing the new one I saw some dust (debris particles) had fallen on the floor. Apparently they came from both the old prefilter and the new one.

Image of Honeywell air purifier prefilter debris particles on floor

When installing (and later replacing) my prefilter some debris had fallen on the floor and accumulated. I had to sweep it up when finished. Kind of annoying, but not a big deal (I recommend doing the work in an area where you can sweep it up easily).

For that reason, my advice is to do the filter work where there’s no harm in it falling on a floor and where you can vacuum it up or sweep it up easily.

You’re done! Let’s get fresh air!

Once the prefilter is fitted to the main filter and secured, you’re ready! Just gently slide the assembly back into the body, close it, tighten the retainer, and flip over again.

Owner’s manual quality

Honeywell 50250 owner's manual page example snapshot

Shown: Example page from the 50250-S’s owner’s manual showing maintenance instructions.

While it may sound silly at first, it’s very important: I always make sure to check out the owner’s manual to see if it’s good for buyers. I don’t want you to be frustrated with poor instructions or a lack of customer support information should you have problems.

I’m very happy to say that the owner’s manual is clear, easy to read, and has all the information you’ll need both to use and keep up your new purifier.

Customer support information is easy to find inside, too. It’s a quality manual, just like I’ve found with other Honeywell models I’ve tested.

Noise levels during use (measured)

dB noise level meter measurement image

I prefer to personally measure, record, and verify noise levels of the products I test. I used my sound level meter get a consistent measurement you’ll find in typical real-world use. After doing many air cleaning product tests it’s a great way to have numbers to compare with.

I measured volume levels using a nice digital decibel sound level meter at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifier. Here’s what I found:

Measurement/SpeedVolume (dB)
Off (room noise)39.3
Low54.5
Medium62.5
High/Turbo70

I have to be honest, it’s a bit noisy, and when set to medium or high it’s fairly loud. This is not designed to be good for sleeping areas or study rooms.

Don’t get me wrong, however! The noise level is perfectly fine when you understand ahead of time that it’s designed to clean a lot of air quickly. Powerful fans do make noise, after all.

As I said earlier, it’s a “workhorse” of a purifier and does its job well – but it’s better suited in your home or office in a place where it can do its job without disturbing you.

If you need similar air cleaning power but with quieter operation, consider the Honeywell HPA300 you can see here.

Night brightness

Honeywell 50255B in dark room night brightness example

Night view of the 50250-S’s fan switch illumination. No complaints here, as it’s fine – not very bright, so there’s no need to worry about super-bright, annoying LED lights.

I’ve learned that different things matter to different people, so part of my test procedure is to check the brightness of products in a darkened room.

I’m happy to report the purifier’s fan switch lighting is very soft and not at all annoying. It’s enough to see across the room if you like, at night, but far from annoying.

The color is a soft bluish-white effect. No complaints here!

Honeywell 50250 vs 50255

Honeywell 50250 vs 50255 comparison image

Wondering what the differences are between the 50250 and the 50255? The great news is that there really aren’t any!

The Honeywell 50255 (50255B model number) is functionally identical to the 50250-S with only cosmetic differences:

  • Satin black finish (instead of gray)
  • The built-in handle has slightly different appearance

The handle on the 50255B has a slightly different style with several lines across the surface. Otherwise, there’s nothing else to mention.

It features exactly the same design, filters, and cleaning performance.

50250 vs HPA300 comparison & detailsHoneywell 50250 vs HPA300 comparison image

The HPA300 and 50250/50255 models have some big differences to be aware of depending on your needs & preferences. In both cases they’re great air cleaning purifiers!

As you can see by now the 50250/50255 models are very powerful & basic products that extremely simple to use but don’t offer any special features.

As I explained in my detailed review of the Honeywell HPA300, it offers similar cleaning performance with the benefit of some great convenience options and enhanced controls.

HPA300 touch control panel image

The HPA300 model offers electronic touch controls along with several special features the 50250 & 50255 don’t. It’s a great unit and I enjoyed owning & testing.

Here are the most significant features and differences of the HPA300:

  • Electronic touch control panel
  • Modular HEPA type “R” replacement filters are simple to reach & replace
  • Prefilter is located in grill/filter cover
  • Front air grill uses snap-release fasteners for ease of use
  • Illumination dimmer for the indicator lights
  • 2, 4, & 8 hour auto-off timers
  • 3 main cleaning modes + an additional high-speed Turbo mode
  • Lower noise levels

Additionally, the HPA300 is a good choice if you’d like to keep the purifier running at night in your living room or bedroom while sleeping. That’s because it offers quieter operation.

You’ll still get the benefit of excellent air cleaning speed when using the Turbo option. However, like other purifiers, it doesn’t offer the 360 degree airflow like the 50250 design.

Honeywell HPA300 new filter view image

The HPA300 uses a standardized filter design: products in the HPA purifier family use the same type R filter, just different quantities. The prefilter is located in the front grill (front cover) and is very easy to replace.

As it’s modular by design, the HPA300 makes filter maintenance much easier than that of the 50250. There’s no need to cut the prefilter to fit like you have to do for the 50000 series models.

The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) for the HPA300 is also higher, meaning it’s a bit more effective for cleaning air, and >300 for each test. Room size coverage is also larger at about 465 sq. ft.

The 50250, by comparison, has a respectable CADR of 250 for each the 3 standard smoke, dust, and pollen tests. It’s also a few inches taller than the 50250 & 50255B with a slimmer body design.

Which should you buy?

  • You’ll get higher performance, more features, easier maintenance, and more convenience with the HPA300. However, you’ll pay more (under $300).
  • If you’re fine with basic features but still want a very powerful and great-performing purifier for less money (often around $200 these days) the 50250 is the better choice.

You can see the HPA300's great buyer reviews & price over at Amazon.

Review summary & final score

After owning and testing it for some time I can honestly say it’s a great choice. While the noise level is higher than some more expensive models from Honeywell, I’ve quickly grown fond of the ease of use and how well it works.

Featured product image for Honeywell 50250-S true HEPA purifier and boxDon’t wait – enjoy fresh air soon! Head over and see why thousands of happy buyers made it one of the best-rated purifiers at Amazon.

Overall
8.7/10
8.7/10
  • Quality - 9.2/10
    9.2/10
  • Value - 9.4/10
    9.4/10
  • Ease of use - 10/10
    10/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 9.4/10
    9.4/10
  • Features - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Noise levels - 6.5/10
    6.5/10

Not fancy, but a powerful air purifier that delivers what really counts: Quality, good value, and fresh, clean air.

If you’re looking for advanced features and quiet operation, this isn’t the right choice. HOWEVER, if you want a great air purifier that’s well-made, affordable, and has some of the most powerful air cleaning you’ll find, look no further. In my hands-on testing, the 50250-S has some of the best airflow I’ve seen for under $250.

The lifetime HEPA filter saves money on maintenance costs and is an excellent feature I don’t see often: just vacuum it and reuse! It’s a good basic workhorse purifier that’s also a good value. If an ultra-quiet purifier is critical for you, this isn’t what you need. However, noise is moderate and the excellent airflow & great design outweigh its noise level.

Get one for yourself and you’ll understand why I’ve quickly come to love it!

Pros

  • 390 sq. ft. coverage (large/ext. large rooms)
  • Great air filtering & odor removal
  • CADR ratings: 250 (very good)
  • AHAM verified performance ratings
  • Powerful rotary fan design
  • 360 degree air flow works great
  • Carry handle
  • Lifetime reuseable true HEPA filter
  • Inexpensive prefilter
  • Filter reminders
  • Very good built quality
  • Available in 50255B black model
  • Suitable for dark rooms
  • Simple 3 speed control
  • Short body won’t tip over
  • Filters are easy to find
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Helpful owner’s manual and documents
  • Excellent buyer satisfaction ratings

Cons

  • No electronic controls
  • 3 speeds only
  • A bit heavy (~20 lbs)
  • Filter replacement requires trimming
  • Some dust from prefilter when installing
  • Powerful fan design produces higher noise
  • Must turn upside down to access filters
  • Needs 3 ft clearance for best results
  • 3 month estimated prefilter life

Honeywell HPA060 Review – Is It A Good Buy?

Honeywell HPA060 review featured image

There are quite a few small room air purifiers on the market. But which ones are worth buying, and what do you need to know? In my Honeywell HPA060 review I’ll share with you much more about this interesting little model.

In case you weren’t aware, the company has a whole series of similarly styled air purifiers with high quality and good performance. But like anything else, there are always things to know before you spend your hard-earned money.

As I’ve owned and tested it, here’s my chance to help you by giving you my hands-on testing experience. 

Contents

Getting to know the Honeywell HPA060

Honeywell HPA060 vs HPA160 vs HPA200 comparison imageThe HPA060 is one of several models in Honeywell’s HPA series of air purifiers. As you can see, they’re quite similar in styling, but it goes beyond that. They use a modular filter design to share the same filters between different models.

The HPA060 is actually a shorter version of the HPA160 “tower” purifier. This means it’s rather slender and taller than it is wide. Like the other models, it’s a good-looking unit and features a nice satin silver finish on the controls with a gloss black inset panel.

It’s actually one of the many models produced by Honeywell in the HPA series of air purifiers. As the “little brother to the HPA160 (medium to large rooms) and the HPA200 (large rooms), it’s designed for small rooms about 70 square feet in size.

Just like the other models, it uses a true HEPA filter and a separate pre-filter to clean the air and permanently remove nasty things like allergens, dust, pet dander, and even odors.

The HEPA filter difference

The model works by moving your room’s air through a “true” HEPA filter that’s highly efficient at removing nasty particulates in the air.

Many air quality problems are caused by particulates that are microscopic in size. The pre-filter works alongside the main HEPA filter by capturing odors and larger elements like hair and dust.

This particular model is somewhat similar to the competing GermGuardian AC4100 in that it pulls in air from the rear and blows it out the front. Room air moves through the filters then blown out to produce clean, fresh air in the room.

Controls are extremely simple – there’s a 3-position rotating switch on top. A blue indicator illuminates for the current switch position & fan mode.

Unboxing the HPA060 and first impressions

Packaging

Honeywell HPA060 removing form the box
I finally got the HPA060 in my hands after a little bit of a delay, but in time for the weekend! Upon opening it I saw the same level of quality as in other models. For example, the the larger HPA160, it’s bigger brother for medium or large rooms. The packaging was well-done and appeared to be from recycled cardboard material. A nice customer support phone number note was included on top.

How’s the build quality?

Honeywell HPA060 front image
It looks great and it’s well put-together. I didn’t find any issues with the build quality. Panels are lined up well with no large gaps. It feels solid to the hands and not “hollow” like a few other products I’ve tried. Nice!

As is standard practice for me, I unpacked it and got to work checking out the build quality. I’m happy to say, after owning and reviewing several of the company’s products, that quality is consistent.

The box is great as well, and clearly indicates the features, room size, and replacement filters you need. I don’t understand why more companies don’t do the same.

Just like with the other models I’ve reviewed, I can tell that someone put effort into the design and quality control during production. The styling is especially good, as it looks classy and modern, not cheap like some other products I’ve seen.

It’s clearly not a copycat of other products on the market, but an original, good design.

At a measured 6.6 lbs (2.99 kg) and about 15″ (38.5 cm) tall, it’s especially easy to move to different spots. Just like the other HPA models a handy carry handle is built into the rear top section.

Getting started

Image of Honeywell HPA060 new with rear cover opened
Following removing it from the box and removing the plastic bag it’s time to open it up. There’s a notice label on top of the purifier near the controls instructing you to remove the filters from their bags before use.

Some people might see this as an annoyance (as some other brands don’t do this) however I can appreciate that Honeywell keeps the filters 100% fresh and undisturbed this way.

Setting it up for the first time is 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 didn’t take long at all – just a few minutes and I was done.

You’ll need to insert the pre-filter into the rear cover where its held by inserting into the tabs. It’s very easy, honestly.

Built-in quick reference guide

Unfortunately, unlike other HPA models I’ve reviewed, there’s no built-in quick start guide. Perhaps it’s because there’s limited space due to the size of the purifier.

However, it’s disappointing to see other models feature this except for this model. I’m somewhat certain that because it’s not needed due to the simple controls, but it would have been nice.

Additionally, the quick start guide on other models that can be accessed by pulling on a tab in the body contains the customer service phone number.

Checking out the HPA060’s controls

Image of Honeywell HPA060 controls
The HPA060 has a simplified control panel with a rotary fan speed control and filter replacement reminders. This is in contrast to larger models like the HPA160 which have touch and push button features. For those you’ll have to pay more. Despite this, it’s super easy to use and it looks great.

Like some of its competitors, this model uses a rotary control for fan speed. However, unlike many, the switch positions are illuminated when switched on.

There are two filter replacement reminder indicators, which is rather unique for an air purifier in this price range. It’s a great feature and you need not worry about having to spend a lot of money to replace both filters when only one needs replacement.

How do the controls work?

As you can probably guess, it’s super easy to operate. Simply rotate the fan speed control to one of 3 positions.

Changing modes

3 basic modes of operation are provided:

  1. Germ (low fan)
  2. General (medium fan)
  3. Allergen (high fan)

(Well, that’s what the company calls them, anyhow).

I don’t quite understand why, why Honeywell has named the 3 fan (cleaning) modes Germ, General, and Allergen. It seems to me, after using it, that it’s really just low, medium, and high fan speed settings.

I checked the owner’s manual but it doesn’t clarify this.

Specifications

Honeywell HPA060 Specifications
  • Room size rating: 75 sq. ft (small room)
  • 3-mode/speed fan control: Germ, General, Allergen
  • Turbo high-speed fan mode for rapid cleaning
  • True HEPA filter (uses 1 Honeywell Type H filter)
  • Smoke CADR rating: 48
  • Dust CADR rating: 62
  • Pollen CADR rating: 75
  • HEPA filter replacement reminder
  • Pre-filter replacement reminder
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Replacement HEPA filter: HRF-H1 (1 filter)
  • Replacement pre-filter: HRF-B1 (1 filter)
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs (2.99 kgs)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Control location: top
  • Size: 7.72 x 10.69 x 15.16″ (19.7 x 27.2 x 38.5 cm)

CADR ratings

The HPA060 is small and has a limited ability to move air, so not surprisingly the Clean Air Deliver Rate (CADR) is lower than for larger models. The CADR is a laboratory proven way of demonstrating how quickly an air purifier can clean the air in a room – the higher the score, the better.

Honeywell HPA060 CADR ratings label
The HPA060’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is typical for small-room air purifiers. It’s not suitable for rooms above the recommended size (75 square feet) and does have less effectiveness for smoke. One reason is not just because of its size but smaller purifiers simply can’t move air well.

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.

This is a rating used to evaluate 2 similar models when shopping. It’s based on the amount of air cleaning it can perform depending on how quickly it can move air. Naturally, bigger air purifiers therefore have high ratings.

Smaller air purifiers like this one and those from GermGuardian have lower CADR ratings typically. They can’t move air well due to their size – that’s a tradeoff made when using a smaller, less expensive model. For small rooms, however, they’re still an option.

Carrying & moving the purifier

Rear view of Honeywell HPA060 purifier handle
There’s a very convenient carrying handle built into the rear of the body. It’s a great little feature that some products in a similar size don’t offer.

I measured the weight at about 6.6 lbs (about 3 kg). There weren’t any problems whatsoever moving it from spot to spot.

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 as well, but not for their comparable AC4100 model.

Air cleaning ability & performance

For cigarette smoke, unless it’s in a sealed room, I wouldn’t recommend this model but instead the HPA160, with a much higher CADR rating for that particular problem. That being said, it will still work to remove smoke odors and elements in the air.

On the other hand, it worked well for my dust and other air quality problems. Honeywell notes that when used in the suggested room size it will purify the entire room in 5 hours.

It works well and I’m happy with it considering its size limitations. The pre-filter caught a lot of dust as I seem to have a constant supply of it in my home. It’s an effective purifier, it’s just that you must use it in the correct size room.

Don’t buy a smaller model that’s not recommended for larger rooms and expect the same performance! (Unfortunately I see complaints about purifiers on the internet, and this is exactly what some people do at times)

What kind of filters does it use?

Honeywell HPA060 image of filters used
The HPA060 uses a standardized Type H Honeywell filter (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. One of each is needed during replacement, although 12 months is the recommended replacement time for the H filter.

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is used with the pre-filter which catches larger elements like hair and larger dust. It can additionally trap odors over time as well as it has a chemical treatment.

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).

Modular filters are designed so that Honeywell can share a standard size filter in different quantities between several different models in the product line.

Installing the filters

Inserting new HEPA filter Honeywell HPA060
Before using it, you’ll need to remove the filters from their bags. Here you can see how the bottom of this one is inserted and then it is leaned into place. At the top is a retention tab that clicks into place and holds it securely.

The purifier is shipped with a Type H true HEPA filter you must remove from its plastic bag and insert into their opening. Similarly, the pre-filter must be removed from the plastic bag and inserted into the filter cover/grill as I mentioned above.

I found the process easy and it took only a very short time.

The odor reducing pre-filter that’s included is basically a rectangular section of filter material. Tabs in the rear cover hold it in place.

The HPA060 can remove some of the most common air pollutants like these:

  • 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 somewhat thin, black rectangular section of material that traps larger particles like hair and dust before reaching the HEPA filter. It’s also treated in order to reduce odors and airborne chemical vapors.

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.

When it comes to odors, you need to understand that the Honeywell purifier will help, but it isn’t an instantaneous solution. It takes time for the purifier to cycle the air and remove odors.

Opening the rear cover

Diagram showing how to open rear cover on the Honeywell HPA060
Opening the rear cover is very easy. 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.

Repeat this in reverse after replacing filters. The release tab will snap at the top indicating it has locked back into place.

Filter life and costs

Replacement filters for the Honeywell HPA060
Honeywell recommend replacing the HEPA filter every 12 months or so and the pre-filter every 3 months.

By using a pre-filter the main and more expensive filter’s useful life is extended. However, pre-filter are often replaced every 3 to 6 months or so depending on use. They have a limited time during which they remain effective for absorbing odors.

In this case, expect to pay a bit less than $20 for the H filter (see here) and around $9 for the B (pre-filter) one.

In this regards the Honeywell comes out ahead, as many competitor’s products require replacing both at one time as they’re built together.

Filter replacement reminders

Honeywell HPA060 filter reminders
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 I really like is that it has separate replacement reminders for the HEPA and pre-filter elements. Honeywell’s design is different and many, if not most competitors don’t have the same.

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

Note: 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?

It doesn’t produce any ozone.

The topic 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 can’t produce any emissions that might trigger them.

Primarily it’s important to understand that the HPA060 simply filters the air. It can’t add anything to air, give off gases, or create any irritants by itself. It won’t cause headaches. This model is perfectly safe and there aren’t any health concerns to worry about.

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 I find nice about it is that it makes finding customer service telephone number easy.

In case you’re curious, here’s a download link for the HPA060 owner’s manual.

Noise levels during use

Volume measurements

Using this 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 mode43
General mode52
Allergen mode55.5

Overall, it’s pretty quiet and I think it does well. However, similar to its rival GermGuardian AC4100, there’s a distinct whirring sound coming from the motor. In other words, it’s not “whisper quiet” but it definitely isn’t loud or disturbing.

In my opinion overall it’s good and is pretty quiet. For those of you who are like me and have super-sensitive hearing, you may want to relocate it if possible before sleeping.

Otherwise, it sounds as you’d expect for a smaller purifier.

Brightness levels in a dark room

Image of Honeywell HPA060 in a dark room
As I’m fairly sensitive to light and sound when sleeping, I make sure to check brightness levels in the dark. Blue LEDs like those used on this model are often too bright. This wasn’t too bright but did add light to the room.

In one of my tests I used in a darkened room just as I’d do at night when sleeping. Overall, I found the indicator lights aren’t too bright.

However, with light emitting diode (LED) indicators, especially blue ones, a small amount 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.

Sadly, there’s no illumination dimmer like the larger HPA200 has. It’s a shame but given the price range perhaps I can understand.

Review summary & score

All in all, I like it. The HPA060 is a solid, well-made purifier that’s a great choice for small rooms.

Here are a few gripes I have, however:

  • No quick start guide built in like on other models
  • No germ killing feature like the GermGuardian AC4100 offers
  • No illumination dimmer

Just understand that for small air purifiers in its price range compromises must be made. There are trade-offs between it and more expensive products.

Despite these things, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone except those who need a germ killing feature.

I think you’ll like it as much as I did. You can read more and find a good price over at Amazon.

Overall
8.3/10
8.3/10
  • Quality - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 7.2/10
    7.2/10
  • Ease of use - 9.8/10
    9.8/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 7.8/10
    7.8/10
  • Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Noise levels - 7.8/10
    7.8/10

A well made and good quality air purifier for small rooms. Fair value but slightly outranked by the competition.

The Honeywell line of HPA air purifiers are stylish and well-made; this one’s no different. Filters are easy to install and readily available. Cleaning performance is good (for its limited size) when used in 75 sq. feet rooms. Operation is extremely easy and the illuminated dial is a nice touch.

No auto-off or touch controls are offered like its siblings, so you’ll have to pay more for that. While not as effective for cigarette smoke as its larger siblings, I recommend it for people who need clean air in a small space. For the best value, however, be sure to check out the rival GermGuardian AC4100.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • HEPA filters last approx. 12 months
  • Odor-reducing pre-filter is inexpensive
  • Pre-filter can be replaced separately
  • Carrying handle
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Extremely simple operation
  • Customer support is good
  • Helpful owner’s manual
  • 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

  • Less effective for cigarette smoke (CADR low)
  • 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
  • No touch controls like HPA160
  • Whirring sound from fan when in use

Honeywell AirGenius 5 Vs True HEPA Purifiers – Review And Comparison

Honeywell AirGenius 5 vs true HEPA featured image

In my comparison and review of the Honeywell AirGenius 5 vs true HEPA purifiers I’ll show you how it stacks up against the competition. Although described as an “air cleaner” and an “odor reducer”, it’s actually extremely similar in many ways to other products you’ll find when shopping.

There are a lot of details to cover as it’s one of the best air cleaning products I’ve ever owned and reviewed. Read on and I’ll share with you everything you need to know before buying.

I’ll also tell you why it’s one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning.

Contents

Getting to know the AirGenius 5

AirGenius family air cleaners imageThe AirGenius 5 is one of 3 models in the AirGenius line from Honeywell and offers the most features of them all. If you’re budget-minded, the offering almost the same air cleaning performance for less money.

The AirGenius 5 (model number HFD320) is the top-level air cleaner in a family of 3. All 3 share the same physical size and same basic design (including oscillation). However, the HDF320 offers the most options including the highest fan speed available.

While both the HFD310 and the HDF320 provide a recommended 250 square feet of room coverage, the HFD300 is slightly lower at 225 sq. ft. Additionally, the AirGenius 4 is extremely similar to the top model, although without touch controls, fewer auto-off hour selections, and no germ reduction fan speed setting.

If money is tight but you’d love to have one of these air cleaners, consider the AirGenius 3. Its air cleaning performance is identical (aside from being limited in fan speeds). The trade-off is having fewer features, no accent light on the base, and no touch controls also.

Basic design operation

Honeywell AirGenius 5 3-stage cleaning diagram

The AirGenius 5 uses a 3-stage air cleaning process to purify the air. Unlike true HEPA air purifiers sold today, it also adds an ionizer field stage to capture additional air contaminants.

AirGenius purifiers are a bit different from competing products sold today in both the air cleaning methods they use and the ability to wash the filters for reuse.

Three stages are used:

  1. Washable basic (or odor-reducing) pre-filter section
  2. Permanent washable main filter stage
  3. Electronic ionizer stage

While stages 1 and 2 are standard in today’s products, what makes this air cleaner design different is that the filters are washable and can be reused. Unless an odor-capturing pre-filter is used (these can’t be washed – they must be replaced).

Both the pre-filter and main filter (called an “ifD” type by Honeywell) can be washed and re-used.

That’s a feature that’s very rare in today’s products, and offers the possibility of saving a substantial amount of maintenance costs over time. I’ll go into more detail about the filters later.

High air flow – just like a fan!

Because of the main air filter’s low-restriction design, high airflow is produced – it blows and circulates air much like a fan! That’s very unusual for an air cleaning product as most use HEPA filters which severely restrict air flow.

Additionally, the AirGenius cleaners have an oscillation option which allows circulating the room air even more rapidly.

At almost 27″ (68 cm) in height, it’s definitely not a small product.

Unboxing the AirGenius 5 and first impressions

Packaging

Honeywell AirGenius 5 unboxing

Much like the other Honeywell purifiers I’ve owned and have tested, mine was solidly packaged and once again showed good quality from the get-go.

I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on one of these ever since hearing about them, and it was fun opening it up!

The HFD320 ships with recyclable cardboard packaging and is securely held in place. It’s just a little tough to get it out of the box (as the bottom portion was very snug inside) but only took a moment or two. I had to pull it out while holding the bottom of the box.

After opening the box up I removed the plastic outer bag (you must turn the air cleaner upside to untie the wrapping) and moved on to check out the build quality.

The unit looked great, with no quality issues fresh from the factory. My first impressions were that of a well-made air cleaner that will work well just like the Honeywell HPA series I’ve owned. Good-looking and well-made products are what I’ve come to enjoy from the company.

And certainly I couldn’t wait to power it up and try it out!

How’s the build quality?

Honeywell AirGenius 5 up close image for quality

Build quality and fit and finish are good. The air cleaner has a nice-looking matter silver trim around the top. Mine was well-assembled and had no quality control issues.

My first impressions were right. I checked out the AirGenius 5 and verified build quality as I like to do when evaluating and testing air purifier products.

There weren’t any issues to mention. Gaps and seams aligned as expected (tightly) with no large spaces or loose body panels. The control panel (on top of the unit) aligns just as it should and looks great.

Note that the air cleaner arrives with a thin plastic protective cover you’re instructed to remove by the included label. However, you can leave it in place if you want to protect the surface. The touch controls work fine with it still on.

The body is a nice satin black color and looks good. The design style is similar to the HPA series of Honeywell air purifiers which feature similar trim, too.

Overall, I’m impressed with the build quality – it gives a good sense of being a well-made product.

Setting up the AirGenius 5 and first use

Honeywell AirGenius 5 box and included items image

After removing the air cleaner you’ll need to remove the packaging. Aside from that, it’s ready to go! Included is an additional pre-filter that’s optional and is used for odor and volatile organic chemical (VOC) removal. Unlike the pre-installed pre-filter, it can’t be washed and reused.

Actually, unlike some other brands and models, once unboxed and the packaging has been removed you’re ready to go.

Unlike some other purifiers including the Honeywell HPA series, you won’t need to remove filters from their bags before using the cleaner. The AirGenius ships from the factory with the ifD main filter and the ifD pre-filter (both washable) already installed and ready to use.

Optionally at this point, you can install the included type K filter (covered in more detail later) if you need odor and airborne chemical trapping ability. That’s an easy task, however: just remove the pre-filter from its bag and swap it with the pre-installed one.

Once the packaging is cleared away, simply pushing the power button brings the air cleaner to an on state. The air cleaner will begin running in mode 3 called “General Cleaning.”

Note that upon initial power-up and first use, a moderate smell will be present for some time due to the fresh filters. My unit took a few hours but it went away fairly quickly. That’s normal not just for this air cleaner, but I’ve seen it with other brands as well.

Note: A short-term odor is both normal and expected for many air cleaning products you buy. Much of this has to do with “outgassing” – the process by which materials release molecules into the air for a short time when new. Often this appears as some sort of mild chemical smell.

After a number of hours you’ll find it’s not very noticeable anymore and it will fade soon.

Specifications

Honeywell AirGenius 5 (HFD320) specifications
  • Room size rating: 250 sq. ft (large rooms)
  • 5-speed fan control
  • Oscillating feature
  • Low-noise sleep mode
  • Main filter: Permanent washable high-flow ifD type
  • Pre-filter: Washable general purpose (installed) or K-type odor/VOC reducing (included)
  • CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate): Smoke: 161, Pollen: > 160, Dust: > 170
  • Dual high-speed blower fans
  • Auto-off timer: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 hrs selectable
  • Electronic touch controls
  • Bottom accent light with 2 levels
  • Filter cleaning reminder
  • Replacement filter (pre-filter): type K (HRF-K2)
  • Power used: 65W (max.)
  • Carrying handle
  • Built-in operating reference card
  • Weight: 13 lbs (5.9 kgs)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Size: 9.97 x 9.92 x 26.81″ (25.3 x 25.2 x 68 cm)
  • Warranty: 5 year limited

As you can see from above its one of the more feature-packed air cleaners sold today. It’s rather unusual to have an auto-off timer feature with so many hour selections (6 selections). Most competitors offer about 4 or 5 at the most.

Additionally, a large range of fan speeds is nice.

Carrying and moving the air cleaner

Image of AirGenius 5 carry handle

Although the air cleaner is rather large and a bit heavy at 13 lbs, the built-in carry handle on the top rear is great. It makes moving it from place to place much easier. It’s a good feature to have.

Fortunately, despite its large size and somewhat heavy weight there’s a convenient feature Honeywell has provided. Just like many of their other air cleaning products, there’s a carrying handle located on the top rear portion of the body.

Note that other manufacturers like GermGuardian provide the same feature on their most popular air purifiers as well.

Air cleaning ability and performance vs true HEPA filters

CADR ratings

Honeywell AirGenius 5 CADR ratings label
The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) rating label for the AirGenius 5. This is a lab-tested and proven rating of cleaning effectiveness, where a higher rating is better. The HFD320 scored well in all 3 standard tests!

As this is a rather different type of air cleaning product, I can’t stress enough how important it is that the company can back up their air cleaning claims. I say this because as the AirGenius 5 uses a high-flow permanent and washable main air filter, it’s not a High Efficiency Air Particulate (HEPA) filter as most purifiers use.

Fortunately, the company offers lab-proven air cleaning data provided by the industry standard Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) ratings. The CADR rates air cleaning products on 3 types of common air quality problems: tobacco smoke, dust, and pollen.

Essentially, products are tested in a lab environment of a fixed size and the amount of air particulates removed in a given amount of time is measured. This gives a CADR rating where higher is better.

The AirGenius 5 does quite well in all 3 tests! (For reference, some of the most popular air purifiers have CADR ratings of about 100, so that shows you how effective it is!)

AirGenius 5 vs true HEPA filter performance

The AirGenius 5 is rated to provide a reduction of 99.9% of airborne elements down to a microscopic 0.3 microns in size – which is nearly identical to HEPA filter performance. (Note that 1 micron, or 1 micrometer, is 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size).

Originally I was concerned about the company’s claims that while it’s not actually a HEPA filter it’s basically just as effective. However, the data backs it up as well as my own experiences.

The biggest difference is that while more particulates may pass through on the first pass, the AirGenius 5’s airflow rate is so much higher that it makes up for the difference. In my testing so far I’ve been very happy with the results.

Ultimately, for the majority of most air quality problems the ifD filter essentially meets the same standards as a true HEPA filter but allows air to circulate faster (hence the higher CADR ratings).

HEPA filters are very dense in construction and restrict airflow quite a bit. In order to have faster airflow, air purifiers using them require even faster and noisier electric fan assemblies.

What kind of filters does it use?

AirGenius 5 included filters image

The AirGenius 5 ships with 2 filters pre-installed and ready for use: 1) the washable ifD filter and 2) the general-purpose washable pre-filter. Included in a sealed bag (not shown here) is an optional pre-filter for odor control and capturing VOCs.

From the factory, a general-purpose pre-filter (washable and reusable) is installed as well as the main ifD permanent filter.

The type K filter, should you need odor and airborne chemical vapor control, is included in a sealed bag. The pre-filter is easy to remove and swap. It’s just a matter of opening the rear cover, pulling it out gently, and inserting one back underneath the plastic tabs.

Main filter comparison: AirGenius 5 vs true HEPA filters

AirGenius 5 vs true HEPA filter comparison image

The AirGenius 5 (and other models in the same family) use a ifD filter (top) which allows high airflow unlike true HEPA filters (bottom). The ifD filter serves as the main filter and resembles a honeycomb or car radiator in design. True HEPA filters like the one here shown from a popular GermGuardian AC4825 purifier use a very dense fibrous material which restricts airflow.

The main filter is called an “ifD” filter by Honeywell. It’s best described as a “honeycomb” type of design: open passageways through which light can be seen. It’s made of dense fibrous material.

HEPA filters, however, use filter material densely packed with incredibly small fibers that is folded and held in a rigid plastic frame that snaps into the body.

In the case of the HFD320 (and the other similar models), it’s an effective filtering solution that allows the cleaner to circulate air in the room much faster than most products can. Additionally, it meets the basic requirement of the HEPA standard: capturing elements down to 0.3 microns in size.

At 99.9% efficiency, it’s not quite as good a performer as a HEPA filter (99.97% cleaning efficiency), but that’s extremely close!

Washing and re-using the permanent filter

Honeywell provides an estimated life span for the permanent ifD filter of about 5 years, with 4 washes and reuses per year.

It’s pretty simple to clean: remove it from the unit (when turned off) and wash gently in warm soapy water for 2-3 minutes maximum. Remove and allow to dry fully before reuse.

I found it easy to clean. Having a reusable filter is a nice surprise as so few air cleaners offer that. It’s rare.

Pre-filters

Honeywell AirGenius 5 pre-filter image closeup

The factory-installed general-purpose pre-filter viewed up close. It’s a mesh-like material that’s essentially similar to open-cell foam or sponge material. It’s good for dust, pet hair, and so on, but can’t absorb odors and volatile airborne chemicals. However, unlike other brands, this one can be washed in warm soapy water and reused. 

From the factory, the AirGenius 5 comes ready to use with the general-purpose pre-filter section already inserted in the rear cover. It’s mainly good for common air quality nuisances like pet hair and dust (which is a problem where I live, I might add!).

A huge benefit this is its ability to be re-used, as that’s not common for most air cleaning devices sold today in case you weren’t aware. Ordinarily most require buying replacement filters periodically.

Cleaning for re-use is easy: periodically remove it and shake it, vacuum it, or you can rinse it under warm water. Let it dry fully before installing it back in the unit.

AirGenius 5 pre-filter type K image

Included in the package is a type K pre-filter which can be swapped out with the factory-installed pre-filter. Type K filters are used for trapping odors and other airborne chemical substances but must be replaced periodically. They can’t be washed and reused.

Included with the air cleaner is a sealed bag containing a type K (replacement model HRF-K2) filter. If you need odor and airborne chemical vapor absorption for your home, you’ll need to install it in the place of the original one.

The K filters use potassium permanganate calcite to trap some odors and gases and fumes.

Of course, it’s just as good for dust, pet hair, and similar debris as the original but it’s also treated with odor-absorbing materials with a limited life span.

Honeywell recommends replacing this filter about every 3 months if used.

The ionizer section

Ionizers use an electrical charge to cause airborne particles to be pulled from the outgoing airflow. As a side benefit, they’re also effective against airborne germs and have been documented to reduce sickness-causing viruses and other microbes.

Unlike other products sold as “air purifiers” that use only an ionizer, the AirGenius uses it as an additional cleaning feature – not the primary one. That’s the job of the first two stages. And accordingly, there are no metal collection plates to clean.

It does, however, produce a tiny amount of ozone which I’ll cover below.

Removing filters for cleaning

AirGenius 5 filter removal diagram

Filter removal for maintenance is actually really very simple. You’ll only need to do the following:

  1. Push on the rear cover release
  2. Pull the rear cover backwards at an angle
  3. Remove the permanent filter using the tab shown in #3 above

The pre-filter is really easy to remove from the cover/grill: it’s very soft so just gently pull out one edge from the retaining tabs.

Removing the permanent filter isn’t hard either. Much like the grill, it “hooks” using tabs on the bottom of the filter frame. Pull from the top finger/removal tab and move it out in a downward motion.

Note! The plastic rear cover has a central tab that could be broken if you’re too forceful. Be sure to “swing” the cover out gently when opening the air cleaner.

Filter reminder feature

The built-in filter reminder will indicate when the (estimated) time for cleaning your filters has elapsed. It’s easy to reset as well once you’ve cleaned and replaced the filters.

With the power off, just hold the filter replacement button for about 3 seconds; the indicator will illuminate, indicating it has been reset.

Filter life and costs – a big advantage!

One thing that struck me was the amount of money you can save thanks to its design. For example, most HEPA purifiers recommend a filter replacement every 6-8 months or so depending upon use.

Here’s an estimate of how much money you can save with the AirGenius 5 (assumes a permanent filter life of 5 years, and using the basic pre-filter). I’ll calculate this based on a reasonable average filter replacement cost for most purifiers. Let’s use $27 as a reasonable number:

5 years x 2 replacements per year x $27 = $270.

That’s quite a bit of money – and amazing considering it’s more than you paid for the air cleaner itself! Of course, if you need odor control or chemical vapor control you’ll need to use the replaceable type K pre-filters.

Those sell in packs of 2 for near $15 or so, which is roughly $75 in maintenance costs for 5 years. That’s excellent!

Does the AirGenius 5 produce ozone?

The short answer? Yes. However, no need to worry! It’s a tiny amount and unlike other products I’ve tested, I can’t even detect it. Ozone, when present in sufficient amounts, is usually easy to smell and recognize.

Ionizers work by using high voltage to charge unwanted airborne particulates and draw them out of the air. This, by nature, creates a very small amount of ozone as a by-product. Don’t confuse this with ozone generators which produce heavy amounts of ozone that are bad for you.

According to Honeywell: “This product complies with the maximum allowable concentration of ozone of 0.050 parts per million by volume in a 24 hour period.”

Basically, the AirGenius does not produce unsafe or unpleasant levels of ozone – it’s well below the safe and undetectable threshold for people.

The owner’s manual and reference guide

Owner’s manual quality

Honeywell AirGenius 5 owners manual image

I found the owner’s manual to be well done, covering the HFD300 series of air cleaners with pretty good detail. It covers basic operation, safety information, maintenance, and provides a telephone number should you have questions.

Overall it’s clear and well-done, just as I’ve come to expect from other Honeywell purifiers I’ve owned and reviewed.

Built-in reference guide

AirGenius 5 Quick Reference Guide image

A nifty little feature, the built-in reference guide is provided to help with basic operations and  consumer help contact information. It’s located near the carry handle area and simply pulls right out. Pretty neat! I like this little touch.

One cool little addition I found on the AirGenius is the built-in Quick Reference Guide. When looking down while above the control panel, a small plastic tab can be seen near the top rear of the unit.

Pulling it out reveals a laminated plastic card with basic instructions, a consumer telephone line, and an email address for getting assistance. I’ve seen this on other Honeywell air cleaning products but not on most competitor’s products.

Controls and fan speeds

AirGenius 5 control panel image

The HFD320 features touch controls and many options including 5 fan speeds. I found it very easy to use and a pleasure to own and enjoy every day. It also features more auto-off hour settings than others. However, there’s no memory feature, so upon powering it off and on you’ll have to set it back to your last selections.

The AirGenius 5 features a very sleek-looking and well-designed touch control panel. Note that several others in the same product family don’t offer touch controls. The AirGenius 4, for example, doesn’t and also doesn’t have as many timer options as the AirGenius 5.

Operating the air cleaner

Using the air cleaner is really simple: just push the power on/off button and it will enter General Cleaning mode with medium fan speed. By default, the oscillation feature is switched off.

Touching any button on the panel rotates through the settings easily. For example:

Purification level (fan speed): Sleep > Germs > General > Allergen > Max. > Sleep

The accent light, located at the base of the unit, is set to high brightness by default. However, it’s not too bright and you may not need to change it. There are 2 brightness levels (as well as off) available.

One complaint I have is that unlike some other models I’ve tested, there’s no brightness dimmer for the controls themselves. I don’t understand why.

Additionally, there’s no memory feature to retain your last operational settings after it’s turned off and then back on again.

Note that the unit doesn’t beep when operated unlike some the nice Honeywell HPA200 and the popular Levoit LV-H132 air purifiers I’ve both owned and reviewed.

Fan speeds and airflow

While Honeywell describes the various operational modes as being correct for particular air quality issues (like germs and allergens) they don’t go into detail about them. I would have liked to know more.

As I mentioned earlier, unique to the AirGenius line is the high airflow rate. I can feel the air blowing from across the room. When oscillating is switched on quite a bit of air is moving.

When set to Max, it’s as if you’re using a small fan in the room. It’s an interesting experience and I have to say I like it. I realize, however, that not everyone wants a large amount of air blowing towards them.

In that case, you can simply leave the oscillation setting off, although using it helps circulate and clean air more quickly and effectively.

Oscillation

I’ve owned oscillating air fans in the past, so I’m not unaccustomed to having one in the room. However, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about having an air cleaner behave similarly.

After some time, however, it has really grown on me. Having the air circulate and become fresher by the moment is great. Here’s a short video clip I took demonstrating its operation.

Honeywell AirGenius 5 oscillating video

Noise levels during use

I used a great little sound level meter I found at Amazon to measure volume. My measurements were made at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifier.

Measurement/ModeVolume (dB)
Off (Room noise)39.3
Sleep/Quiet mode41
Germ Reduction mode42.7
General Cleaning mode45.5
Allergen Reduction mode48.4
Max. Cleaning mode50.6

By comparison, competing products are near 55dB or so when on maximum. The AirGenius 5 is nearly 6 decibels quieter which is a fair amount of difference. Even some of the smallest air purifiers are well above 44dB on their lowest setting!

All in all, despite its large size and high airflow rates, it’s one of the quietest air cleaning products I’ve tested.

I’ve been testing the unit in my room where I sleep with it set to Sleep mode. Although I’m sensitive to both light and sound levels, I slept comfortably with it – it’s very quiet!

Accent lighting and brightness levels

AirGenius 5 night brightness images and comparison

A lovely accent lighting feature on the base of the unit is built-in (top) and adds a soft glow around it. I found brightness levels to be good and not TOO bright for my tastes, despite being a sensitive sleeper. The control panel illumination (bottom) is a bit brighter than I would have liked. Sadly, there’s no way to adjust that.

The HFD320 has a great little feature I haven’t seen in other products: there’s a classy accent light at the base of the unit. When switched on, it provides a nice, soft blue glow around the base of it.

2 brightness levels can be selected. Somewhat like the night light provided by the best-selling Levoit LV-H132 it provides a way to find your way to the bathroom late at night.

As part of my standard testing process, I used the air cleaner during my normal sleep sessions to judge both sound levels and brightness in a darkened room. I’m a light sleeper and as such, I notice the glow of just about any electronic device. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

The controls are moderately bright. It wasn’t enough to keep me from being able to sleep well, but definitely brighter than I would like.

Oddly enough, other air cleaning products by Honeywell offer a dimmer for the controls – but not this one. That’s unfortunate, but not a big deal when compared to the overall value and quality of the unit.

Honeywell vs GermGuardian products

Honeywell vs GermGuardian comparison image

A general comparison of the AirGenius 5 (left) next to 2 of the best-selling competing products on the market. (Center) the GermGuardian AC4825 medium room purifier and (right) the AC5000 large room purifier. Both GermGuardian products use true HEPA filters.

As you’re likely to run across GermGuardian products as an option when shopping, I’d like to provide some additional helpful information. Comparing the two brands is much harder unless you’ve owned and tested them.

Having owned many models from both brands, I can tell you that the quality of both is comparable. Pricing and value are a bit more difficult to compare, however, because room coverage isn’t exactly the same between competing similar models from the two brands.

Comparing the two brands, in general

Basically, GermGuardian uses true HEPA filters and they’re some of the best affordable air purifiers sold today. With the exception of a few models, they are, however, a bit more “basic” in design: most use simpler controls and have fewer features.

Honeywell, on the other hand, offers models with electronic controls, auto-off timers, and so forth. The HPA series of air purifiers are a good example.

In the case of the AirGenius 5 it’s hard to compare it to current GermGuardian products although the AC5350B with electronic controls and 193 square feet of coverage is one of the closest.

The most significant differences to be aware of between the 2 brands are:

  • GermGuardian products offer a UV-C germ killing feature; Honeywell does not
  • Advanced features like oscillation and touch controls are available on Honeywell products
  • GermGuardian purifiers use true HEPA filters with a slight advantage in air cleaning
  • Better warranty length for Honeywell (depends on the model)

Final thoughts and review score

All in all, the AirGenius 5 (model HFD320) is one of the nicest air cleaning products I’ve had the pleasure to own and test. Build quality is great and a nice assortment of features really make it a true winner. It’s also one of the quietest I’ve tested and measured, despite moving so much air.

Having an air cleaner with air flow similar to a fan may not be for everyone, but it’s one reason why the HFD320 has some of the best lab-proven clean air delivery rates and 250 sq. ft. of coverage. It holds its own when compared to true HEPA-based air purifiers, too, with almost the same air cleaning efficiency.

Having washable air filters is a rare and nice money-saving feature, too. However, its cleaning ability, while pretty good, still can’t match that of a true HEPA purifier. 

If you’re dealing with pets, smoke, or other very bothersome air quality problems I’d recommend a good quality HEPA purifier.

However, for average homes, it’s a very nice little air cleaner that’s well worth your money. While it’s a bit expensive in stores locally, you can find the great buyer reviews and a much lower price over at Amazon.

Overall
9.3/10
9.3/10
  • Quality - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Value - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Ease of use - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 7.9/10
    7.9/10
  • Features - 9.8/10
    9.8/10
  • Noise levels - 9.8/10
    9.8/10

Great features, good air purification, and a unique take on air cleaning. One of the nicest products I've tested.

The Honeywell AirGenius 5 provides near-HEPA air cleaning ability with great features and performance. It’s also one of the most quiet air cleaning products I’ve owned and reviewed. Using an original design, both the main and pre-filters can be washed and reused, saving a good bit of money in maintenance costs. However, it’s not as effective for heavy smoke and allergens as some of the top competitors, but it’s great for average homes.

The oscillation feature combined with the high airflow rate circulates and cleans air in a room quickly and pleasantly. CADR rates are very high; with 255 sq. ft. of coverage it’s great for just about anyone. Build quality and documentation are both highly satisfactory as well. Well worth your time and money!

Pros

  • 99.9%, 0.3 micron air filtering quality
  • Washable/reusable filters
  • Includes odor/VOC absorbing pre-filter
  • 5 speed/cleaning levels
  • High air flow
  • Great CADR ratings (160+)
  • 255 sq. ft. room coverage
  • Low (quiet) sleep mode
  • Near-HEPA cleaning efficiency
  • Below-average noise levels
  • Good build quality
  • Touch controls
  • Accent lighting w/ 2 levels
  • Auto-off timer with 6 hour settings
  • Oscillation feature
  • Filter reminder
  • Easy to use
  • Carrying handle built-in
  • Good owner’s manual
  • Built-in ionizer in 3rd stage
  • Filters are easy to remove and install
  • Pull-out reference card
  • 5 year limited warranty

Cons

  • Washable pre-filter can’t capture odors/fumes
  • No memory feature
  • No dimmer or off for control backlighting
  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Not currently available in other colors
  • Slightly less efficient than true HEPA cleaning
  • High air flow fan output not suitable for some
  • Tower size design not suitable for all locations
  • Controls will be a bit bright for some at night
  • No germ killing feature offered