Honeywell HCM-350 Review
Pros: Easy to clean, self-regulating evaporative humidifying
Cons: Requires replacement filters, filter can get moldy if left unattended for too long
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Honeywell HCM-350 provides good all-around performance in a package that is very easy to clean. However, it requires replacement filters that push its lifetime cost above that of some of the premium models we tested.
The Honeywell HCM-350 did quite well in our testing, occupying third place in terms of overall score (as you can see in the table above). Read on to see how the Honeywell HCM-350 performed in all of our individual tests.
The Honeywell HCM-350 earned a 6 out of 10 in our humidifying testing, putting it squarely in the middle of the score sheet. It brought our 150 square foot testing room to 45% humidity in just 34 minutes, almost twice as fast as the TaoTronics. It also reached a maximum humidity of 58.9%, just slightly higher than that of the Taotronics. Neither of these machines have self-regulating humidistats, but the Honeywell HCM-350 has the advantage of being evaporative rather than sonic. This means it essentially uses a fan to blow air over a wet sponge. Water will naturally stop evaporating from the sponge once the humidity gets too high, so you really don't have to worry about over humidification. You do, however, need to replace that wet sponge 'filter' every 6 months.
Perhaps the more apt comparison is the Honeywell HCM-350 to the Levoit LV600HH. Though the Levoit costs much more up front, it is actually less expensive in the long run. It reached 45% humidity in just 30 minutes, and has a very accurate self-regulating humidistat. If you can justify spending more money now instead of later, you'll get much better performance.
Ease of Cleaning
This is where the Honeywell HCM-350 really shines, taking the top spot with a 9 out of 10. The water tank has a large 3.5" opening that makes for easy scrubbing access, and many of the components are dishwasher safe. It is the only model we've encountered that allows you to wash some of the harder to clean bits in the dishwasher. The manual suggests a 15 minute soak in in a vinegar solution. It took us a standard 15 minutes to get everything clean, not including the soak. The only reason it didn't earn a perfect score is the filter/wick it uses for evaporative humidifying. If you're not diligent with cleaning and completely drying out the humidifier when it won't be in use, the wick can easily get moldy. If that happens you just have to buy a new wick for $8, as it's nearly impossible to clean.
The Honeywell HCM-350 felt fairly intuitive and simple, and earned an above average score of 7 out of 10 in our user friendliness testing. Its interface is a single knob that adjusts the speed of the fan that blows air over the wick. The water tank is quite large so you probably won't be able to fill it directly from the sink, but the large 3.5" opening makes refilling mess free. The tank also has a nice handle and easily removes from the machine.
The Honeywell HCM-350 didn't get a higher user friendliness score because of a few oddities related to its evaporative humidifying method. First off it makes more noise than any of the other models we tested. It's not loud and just sounds like a small fan, but if you're looking for something quiet this isn't the machine for you. We also found that it made a weird clicking noise when set on its highest setting, which was a bit annoying.
This is the bane of the Honeywell HCM-350. It's fairly low list price saved it from getting a terrible score, but those $8 replacement filters every 6 months add up. It also uses a fan instead of a sonic agitator, which uses more electricity than many models (0.02kWh per hour, to be exact). This led to an estimated lifetime cost of $203. This is higher than the estimated lifetime cost of the top performing Levoit LV600HH ($159) and the similarly performing TatTronics (just $89).
The Honeywell HCM-350 lists for just $75, making it quite a good value in the short term. However, its replacement filter costs do add up over time, making it less economical in the long run than some much higher performing models, namely the Levoit LV600HH.
The Honeywell HCM-350 is a good humidifier that can handle medium to large sized bedrooms, and has the advantage of evaporative humidifying that naturally adjusts based on the humidity of the room. However, that evaporative style also requires replacement filters, making this model cost more than average in the long term.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata