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Winix 5500-2 Review

High quality air cleaning performance from a quiet and convenient appliance
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $250 List | $160 at Amazon
Pros:  Exceptional air cleaning performance, very quiet operation, simple user experience
Cons:  Can be expensive when not on sale
Manufacturer:   Winix
By Max Mutter and Michelle Powell  ⋅  Jun 25, 2020
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 14
  • Air Cleaning Performance - 40% 8
  • Noise - 25% 9
  • Ease of Use - 25% 9
  • Operating Cost - 10% 5

Our Verdict

This purifier turned in an almost unbeatable performance in our air cleaning tests, eliminating 99.99% of measured airborne particulates in the 150 square foot testing room over the course of an hour. It backs up this stellar cleaning performance with super quiet operation, an easy to use interface, and reasonable operating costs. Its list price is higher than that of many competing models, but we've consistently seen it selling online for significantly less than the list price, and in many cases for much less than its nearest competition. If you can find this unit on sale, it is both relatively budget friendly and high performing. Even if you can't find it on sale, we think its stellar performance warrants the high list price.

Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison



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 is one of the most impressive air cleaners that we've tested.
The Winix 5500-2 is one of the most impressive air cleaners that we've tested.

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.

Noise


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 simple and intuitive controls make selecting your desired settings easy.
The simple and intuitive controls make selecting your desired settings easy.

Operating Cost


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.


Value


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.

Despite being heavier than some models  the Winix 5500-2 is relatively easy to carry thanks to the recessed handle.
Despite being heavier than some models, the Winix 5500-2 is relatively easy to carry thanks to the recessed handle.

Conclusion


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