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Are you wondering if the Winix 5500-2 air purifier is the right one for your family? Well, I bought one a year ago for my family and I’m going to tell you all about the pros and cons of it and whether you should choose it for yours!
I bought a Winix 5500-2 air purifier a year ago after my allergist recommended I get a HEPA air purifier. He suggested that I get one for my bedroom to cut down on pollen and pet dander when I’m sleeping.
Since then, both my kids have been diagnosed with allergies as well and I wanted to add some more to our family. I bought two more Winix air purifiers for their bedrooms. After owning this one for a year, I have a few things to say about the pros and the cons of it.
Overall, what’s my review of the Winix 5500-2? The Winix 5500-2 air purifier is well-built, quiet, and reasonably priced. It offers true HEPA and advanced carbon filtration, which is rare to find in its price range. It also includes a remote and has convenient auto modes.
I would recommend the Winix 5500-2 air purifier. If you’re interested, check out the Winix 5500-2 air purifier on Amaxon.com now.
If you’re not sure if this is the right Winix model for your family, I also have a complete Winix model comparison that compares all the popular models. But first, let’s get into the details about the Winix 5500-2 air purifier!
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier: Stages of Filtration
Before we get into the details of the features of the air purifier I wanted to explain to you the four-stage air purification system that it has.
When I was first shopping around for air purifiers I was very confused by the idea that this one’s a two-stage or three-stage or five-stage. I didn’t understand what that meant. It just means it has different levels of filtration.
This particular air purifier has the following stages of filtration:
Air Filtration Stage 1: Pre-filter
The pre-filter is basically a screen that can catch larger particles like pieces of pet hair or large clumps of dust. Part of the purpose of this part is to just stop those larger particles from getting into the other filters.
This one you are expected to vacuum once every 14 days. I think this probably varies a lot based on the sort of things that are in your air.
If you have a dog that sheds constantly, you might want to vacuum it more often. If you don’t really have a very dirty environment, it probably isn’t necessary to vacuum it every 14 days. I’ll be honest. I did not vacuum ours really all that often!
Air Filtration State 2: Carbon
The next stage of filtration is a carbon filter. This particular model has what they call an “advanced carbon filter” that has granules of actual carbon in it.
Carbon filters are mostly for odors in the air. I have found that this one does an excellent job of taking odors out of the air. If anything is a little stinky, we turn it on high and it seems to clear it out very quickly.
Air Filtration State 3: True HEPA
The next stage of filtration is the HEPA filter. This air purifier does have what is considered a true HEPA filter, so it’s very high quality.
The HEPA filter is what is actually filtering out particles in the air and is the most important filtration stage if you have allergies. It’s going to filter out things like pet dander, pollen, dust, and mold in the air.
Air Filtration State 4: Plasmawave
The fourth stage is called Plasmawave on a Winix air purifier.
Plasmawave is their brand name for what is technically called hydroxyl radicals. What that means is there are free hydrogen ions and oxygen ions floating around and because they are unstable they connect with other compounds and break them apart and they can neutralize some odors and bacteria and other things in the air.
Some people confuse this technology with ozone air filtration. Ozone air filtration is where actual ozone is released. Ozone air filters used to be considered safe for use around humans and ozone filtration is now considered unsafe to use around humans.
Does Plasmawave produce Ozone?
Hydroxyl radicals could potentially produce some ozone. Ozone is an O3 compound, so when you have oxygen radicals floating around, it is possible some of them could form ozone compounds. Plasmawave doesn’t release ozone directly, though.
The safety testing for Winix air purifiers has found that Plasmawave does not produce an unsafe level of ozone but that is not a promise that it does not produce any ozone.
There have been some people who have been concerned about using these sorts of filters, particularly around birds because birds are very sensitive to ozone.
If the Plasmawave technology is something that you are not comfortable with using, there is a button that you could press to turn it off. It is nice that you have the option to turn it off as needed.
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier: Buttons & Functions
Let’s take a look at all the buttons on the front of the air purifier and what they do.
The first button is just the power button so that’s pretty obvious.
Mode Button: Auto & Night
The next button is the mode button. The mode button will switch it from auto mode to night mode. If this light is off, it’s showing you that it is in manual mode.
Auto mode is where it’ll stay on the low fan setting unless it detects that there’s some kind of odor in the air. Then it’ll automatically bump up the fan and the light on the front will change from:
- Blue: clean air and it runs on speed 1
- Orange: dirty air and it runs on speed 2
- Red: very dirty air and it runs on speed 3
It will automatically switch into night mode if it detects that there is no light in the room. It’ll then switch from from auto mode to night mode.
The next button on the front of it is the Plasmawave button and as I mentioned you can just press that to turn off the Plasmawave feature.
Fan Speed Button
The next button is the fan speed. You just press it if you want to turn the fan up or down. If you press that button it does turn off the auto mode.
Next is the timer button. You can press this to turn on for:
- 1 hour
- 4 hours
- 8 hours
This is the nice feature if you wanted to turn it on high for a short time and then just it will turn off completely off when that is done.
One thing that bothers me about the time mode is that once the timer is up, it will play a loud little song. It plays the same song as if you turn it off. If you wanted to turn it on just for an hour before bedtime, I think that would be pretty annoying.
Check Filter Indicator
The next thing on the front is the check filter indicator.
Note: This is not actually checking whether the filter is dirty or not. It’s just letting you know that it’s been a year since the last time you changed the filter.
When you replace the filter, you can press the reset button. It took me a while to figure out that the reset is actually recessed inside the machine. You have to put a pin or a paper clip in it and hold it down to reset the filter button.
Light & Odor Sensors
Next are the light sensor and the odor sensor. The light sensor just helps it know when to switch from auto to night mode.
The odor sensor is how it knows when to turn up the fan when it’s in auto mode because there is an odor in the air.
Winix 5500-2 Remote
I’m not a big fan of the remote because it conflicts with my TV remote. If I press the power button on my Toshiba TV remote, it turns the filter on to turbo mode. Why? I don’t know, but it’s really annoying!
I don’t really feel that I need a remote for an air purifier, but since this model has the remote sensor in it, I can’t avoid the problem with my TV remote.
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier Review: Sounds and Noise
The auto mode on low is very quiet. You can hear a tiny bit of air moving through it but it is a very quiet mode.
The night mode is even quieter than the auto mode. It is truly silent in the night mode. I actually didn’t think any air was going through it when it’s on the night mode, but when I put my hand on it I could feel that the air is moving. It’s kind of amazing how quiet it is!
It is definitely NOT quiet when it is in its fastest mode: the turbo mode. It is very loud in turbo mode, but it also moves A LOT of air quickly in this mode, which can be fantastic when you want to clear dust or odors out of the air quickly.
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier Review: Cost
Looking at the cost of this filter, it’s an excellent value compared to other similar air purifiers. It’s the least expensive one on the market with this type of advanced carbon filter. It also has a lot of great features for the price. To see the current price, check out the Winix 5500-2 air purifier on Amaxon.com now.
When considering the cost of an air purifier, you also have to consider the on-going cost of replacement filters. You are supposed to replace both the HEPA filter and the carbon filter once per year.
The replacement filter package comes together with a HEPA filter and the advanced carbon filter. To see the current price, check out the Winix 5500-2 replacement filers on Amaxon.com now.
Because this air purifier is so popular, there are a number of third-party off-branded filters that fit the Winix 5500-2 air purifier. If you wanted to save a little bit by buying a third-party filter, that is an option.
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier Review: Pros and Cons
Overall, here the pros and cons I see to this air purifier:
Winix 5500-2 Pros:
- Well built and solid
- Excellent filtration, especially for the price
- The granulated carbon filter is hard to find in this price range
- Easy to use
- Convenient auto mode and night mode
Winix 5500-2 Cons:
- Loud sounds
- Bright lights
- Remote conflicts with TV remotes
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier Review: Summary
Overall though I think the Winix 5500-2 is a fantastic filter, especially for such a reasonable price!
I have but a couple of different models of Winix filters for my family. I have another post coming soon comparing all the similar models to this one. I explain why you might want to buy one model over the other depending on your family’s needs.