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Are you trying to decide which Winix air purifier is the right one for your family? There are so many models out there and so many features. It can be really confusing to decide which one to choose.
I’m going to give you the pros and cons of all the popular models so you can choose the right one for you.
Do you want the short answer? Which Winix air purifier should you choose? For most situations, the Winix 5500-2 is the best Winix model to choose. It has the same excellent HEPA filtration as all of the Winix models plus advanced carbon filtration that can’t be beat for the price. The replacement filters for the Winix 5500-2 are also widely available at many retailers.
You can find the Winix 5500-2 at Amazon.com.
I also wanted to compare the Winix models exclusive to Costco. The c535 was discontinued in late 2019 but was very popular at Costco. It does not seem to be available anymore. NOTE: The C535 has recently re-appeared at Costco (fall 2020) and now has a pre-filter and comes with 2 years of filters. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve spotted it!
The c545 is the newer less expensive model at Costco. And then there’s the c555 which is the more expensive model currently available at Costco.
Here’s a quick table comparing the features of the Winix air purifier models:
Where to Buy
So first let’s talk about the filter similarities and differences between all of these models.
One thing they all have in common is all of these filters have true HEPA filtration. HEPA filtration is the most important kind of filtration if you have allergies. It is the type of filter that’s going to remove those small particles in the air like pollen, dust, and pet dander that are the chief causes of allergies.
No matter which of these models you go with you’re gonna have that good HEPA filtration.
All of these models also have Winix’s plasmawave technology. This technology uses particles in the air to neutralize some of the things in the air.
Plasmawave technology is a little bit controversial. Some people are not comfortable with this type of filtration. If this is the case for you, all of these models let you turn the plasmawave off if you’d like.
One thing to be aware of, though, is that Plasmawave is on by default so every time you turn on the air purifier, you will have to click the button to turn the Plasmawave off if that’s something you don’t want to use.
Now let’s look at some of the differences in filtration.
The discontinued Costco model the c535 was the only one of these I wanted to talk about that was a three-stage filter, not a four or five-stage filter. It did not include the pre-filter.
The pre-filter is on all of the other models, except the C535. It is essentially just a screen that stops the big particles from getting into the other filters.
Winix HEPA Filtration
Next, they all have very similar HEPA filters except the Costco model C555. This model has an antimicrobial coating on the HEPA filter and that’s why that one is called a five-stage filter. From what I understand, the antimicrobial coating on the HEPA filter is really unnecessary and not something that you need to worry about.
Winix Advanced Carbon Filtration vs Basic Carbon Filtration
Another difference in the filters is the carbon filtration. All of the models have some form of carbon filtration. However, the lower models usually have the sponge type carbon filter as opposed to the higher models that have a granular type carbon filter.
The sponge type filters are disposable and you’re supposed to replace them every three months. The granular filter is meant to be permanent. It can be washed but then it is supposed to be replaced every 12 months when you replacing the HEPA filter.
One of the things that appealed to me about the 5500-2 as opposed to the 5300-2 was this better carbon filter. The higher-level carbon filter does do a better job of removing odors from the air. I’ve seen it myself since I have both kinds of models in my house.
I have experienced that the 5500 does seem to do a better job of pulling odors out of the air. For me, I also like the fact that I didn’t have to worry about replacing it every three months and it was only something I needed to do every twelve months. That’s one less thing in the landfill. I always appreciate it when we can have a little bit less waste in our house but it was also one less thing I had to do.
Winix Air Purifiers: Other Differences Between Models
Another difference when you’re looking at the features of all these various models is that two of them come with a remote. The 5500-2 and the c555 from Costco both come with a remote if that’s something you want. That might be a nice feature.
Be aware of the fact that some people have a problem with the air purification remote conflicting with their TV remote. Unfortunately, I have had this problem. My air filter, the 5500-2, has been in my bedroom and there’s also a Toshiba TV.
If the air purifier is on and I hit the power button on my TV remote, the air purifier changes into turbo mode. This gets very loud and you cannot watch TV with the purifier on turbo mode. I don’t know why this happens but it’s really annoying.
Another feature that is different between some of these models is Wi-Fi. The only model of the ones I listed that includes Wi-Fi is Costco’s newer, less expensive model, the C545. It includes Wi-Fi and connectivity to their app and you can also use it with things like an echo device.
The app allows you to set up automated schedules so you could tell it to come on high for a little while and then go low. I really thought this sounded like a nice feature and I was tempted to buy that model until I started to read some of the reviews. The reviews were saying that the Wi-Fi connectivity was terrible and it would never stay connected
This feature just seemed to cause all kinds of headaches for people. So even though it seems like a nice feature it does not seem to be very well implemented. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that model for that particular reason.
Another thing we should compare when we’re looking at these air purifiers is of course their cost. There is not a huge difference between the initial costs in these models. The higher level Costco model is a little bit more expensive.
The lower Costco models – the discontinued c535 and the current c545 are both reasonably priced and often go on sale. The c535 used to come with two years of filters at Costco which made it a really great value but unfortunately that model is no longer available. The c555 is much more than expensive than the 5300-2 and 5500-2.
When you’re looking at cost you also have to look at the long-term cost. What is it gonna cost to replace the filters every year?
All the lower-level models, the 5300-2 and Costco’s C535 and C545, are the cheapest options. Those are all the ones that use the lower level carbon filter. When you buy the replacement pack it’ll come with one HEPA filter and four carbon filters.
When you buy the replacement filters for the higher-level models, the 5500-2 and the c555, it comes with one HEPA filter and one carbon filter because the higher-level carbon filter is meant to last 12 months along with the HEPA filter. However, the cost for the 5500-2 replacement filters is a bit more expensive than the 5300.
Unfortunately, so far Costco does not seem to carry the filters for the c555. The only place I could find them was directly through Winix. These were the highest priced filters and the only difference is the additional antimicrobial coating.
Possibly in the future, Costco will start carrying those replacement filters and maybe they’ll be a little bit lower cost. But at least for the moment, the replacement filters for the c555 are quite expensive.
Other things to consider
Another thing to be aware of is the availability of the filters. The c545 and the c555 from Costco take a slightly different size filter than all the other models of Winix air purifiers. So the c545 filters are only available through Costco or Winix directly and as I mentioned the c555 are only available through Winix.
The 5300-2 and the 5500-2 are extremely popular air purifiers and their replacement filters are widely available. Those filters are available at a variety of retailers including Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart.
Because the 5300-2 and 5500-2 are so popular they also have third-party replaceable filters available. You can save a little bit of money by buying a third-party filter as opposed to a Winix branded filter.
Which Winix Air Purifier Should You Choose?
That’s a lot of information about all the different Winix air purifier models! So what do I recommend that you buy?
Because of the lack of availability of replacement filters, I definitely recommend not buying the Costco specific models. The 5300-2 (see at Amazon.com) and the 5500-2 (see at Amazon.com) are widely available. They’re usually a great price on Amazon and the filters are also widely available.
The only difference between the 5300-2 and 5500-2 is their level of carbon filtration and the availability of a remote.
You just need to decide which is important to you. Does the odor reduction of the extra carbon filter matter to you? As well as the convenience of a remote? If it does I would go with the 5500-2.
If you don’t care about those features, you could save a little bit of money and go with the 5300-2. That’s actually what we’ve done in our family. We own one of the 5500-2 in my bedroom and I have the 5300 – 2 in my kid’s bedroom mostly because I wanted to save a little bit of money.
I hope you found this review helpful!