Winix 5500-2 Review
Pros: Exceptional air cleaning performance, very quiet operation, simple user experience
Cons: Can be expensive when not on sale
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Winix 5500-2 offers top-tier air cleaning performance, making it perfect for anyone that wants to wield a powerful weapon against allergens and other airborne lung irritants.
Air Cleaning Performance
The Winix 5500-2 is one of the most powerful purifiers we've ever tested. It consistently displayed impressive air cleaning performance in all of our tests.
When we put the Winix 5500-2 into our smoke-filled, 150 square foot testing room, it removed 99.5% of the measured airborne particulates in just 30 minutes. After a full hour, that mark had increased to a whopping 99.99%. For context, most models struggled to ever get beyond the 99.5% mark even after a full hour. The Winix 5500-2 achieved that in half the time and then went well above and beyond.
The Winix 5500-2 also managed to remove more odors than most models on the market. We've yet to find a consumer air purifier that can completely eliminate odors, but the Winix 5500-2 did a respectable job. We could still clearly smell smoke when it was done cleaning our testing room, but it was substantially less pungent.
The Winix 5500-2 boasts a certified clean air delivery rate of 246 cubic feet per minute, meaning it had enough power for rooms of up to 363 square feet.
This purifier also has a built-in air quality meter. This allows you to set the purifier on its 'auto' mode and it will turn itself on and off based on the reading of its air quality meter. While this meter doesn't provide a precise readout --it only displays a blue, yellow, or red light for good, medium, and bad air quality-- we found the auto mode to be quite reactive to changes in air quality as measured by our calibrated air quality meter.
The Winix 5500-2 was one of the quietest air purifiers we tested. On its low setting the noise it emits is barely perceptible. It remains fairly quiet even when ramped up to its highest setting. It is certainly noticeable when running on the high setting, but the low-pitched hum doesn't feel annoying. We had no trouble watching Netflix at a reasonable volume with this purifier running right next to us.
Ease of Use
The Winix 5500-2 presents very few challenges to even those that don't like dealing with appliances. This earned it one of our top user friendliness scores.
The unit itself has dedicated buttons for setting the fan speed, setting an off timer, and selecting a specific mode. It also includes a remote control that makes it easy to do the same things without getting out of bed or off the couch. The off timer can be set for 1, 4, or 8 hours. At 15.4 pounds it is at the heavier end of the spectrum, but a convenient carrying handle makes it relatively easy to move it from room to room.
The Winix 5500-2 uses very little electricity and incurs relatively low annual filter costs of $79. However, its list price of $250 is a bit steep, putting its expected lifetime cost at an above-average $660. Luckily this model is often available online for significantly less than its list price, which pushes its estimated lifetime cost down into the average range.
If you find it on sale, the Winix 5500-2 offers exceptional performance at a middle-of-the-road price, making it a great value. Even if you have to purchase it at its list price, we believe the Winix 5500-2's stellar performance makes that higher price worthwhile.
The Winix 5500-2 is one of the best overall air purifiers we've tested, offering top-notch air cleaning performance, quiet operation, and a set of useful features.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell