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GermGuardian AC5350B Review
Price: $180 List | $143.99 at Amazon
Pros: Good air cleaning performance, very quiet, simple to use
Cons: Somewhat expensive filters
Bottom line: A high performing purifier at a mid range price
If you're especially sensitive to noise, the GermGuardian AC5350B is the perfect air purifier for you. It manages to combine almost completely silent operation with effective air cleaning performance at a reasonable price. In fact, the GermGuardian AC5350B provided the best overall value per dollar in our testing, earning it a Best Buy Award. The only model we tested that bested the AC5350B was the Editors' Choice winning Coway AP-1511HH, which costs a full $50 more. However, the Coway and the GermGuardian AC5350B both end up costing about the same in the long run, so the Coway is a better choice if you're ok with a bit more of those costs being upfront. However, if you're looking for great performance at a reasonable list price, the GermGuardian AC5350B is the purifier for you.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The GermGuardian AC5350B provides high end performance at a price that certainly isn't cheap, but also is not overly expensive. It is perfect for those looking to get the most value per dollar out of their air purifier investment.
Due to its incredibly quiet operation and effective air cleaning performance, the GermGuardian AC5350B earned the second best overall score in our testing. Below we detail how well it did in all of the individual tests we ran in order to determine those overall scores.
Air Cleaning Performance
The GermGuardian AC5350B earned a 6 out of 10 in our air cleaning testing. This put it above average, but a bit short of the top performers.
This purifier was able to reduce the airborne particulates in our testing room by 91.5% after running for half an hour. That reduction raised to 99.5% after an hour. This put it just behind the top scoring Coway, which hit a reduction of 99.84% in the same time frame. While the Coway did clean the testing room a bit faster (it had reached a reduction of 99.32% at the half hour mark) it is incredibly unlikely that you'll be able to tell a difference between these two machines after they've been running for an hour.
The one area where the GermGuardian AC5350B does fall behind the Coway is its CADR (clean air delivery rate) spec. The GermGuardian AC5350B CADR rating is 125, meaning it can handle rooms of up to 188 square feet. This is plenty for most bedrooms, but if you were hoping to purify the air in your living room, it may be slightly underpowered. The Coway, on the other hand, has a rating of 240 and can thus handle rooms of up to 360 square feet. This extra power lends a bit more versatility to the Coway.
The GermGuardian AC5350B was one of the quietest models we tested, earning the top score of 9 out of 10 in this metric.
You can really only hear the GermGuardian AC5350B if it is on its highest setting, which emits a fairly low hum that easily blends into the background for most people. We had no trouble watching TV, listening to music, and even napping with the GermGuardian AC5350B right next to us and set on high. At lower settings the machine is virtually silent. This performance was, if anything, just slightly better than the Coway, which also scored a 9 out of 10 in this metric. The Coway was also virtually silent at lower settings. On high it produced the same volume as the GermGuardian AC5350B, but its pitch was just slightly higher, making it just slightly more noticeable, but still well short of annoying.
Ease of Use
The GermGuardian AC5350B shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our ease of use testing with the Coway and Levoit models we tested.
The GermGuardian AC5350B has a very simple and clean interface. The backlit buttons are easy to read, even in the dark, and an LCD display clearly indicates which settings are selected. This makes it easy to set fan speeds, turn the UV sanitizer on and off, and set an automatic sleep timer. It lacks a built-in air quality meter, a feature the Coway does have, but we didn't miss that feature while we were using the GermGuardian AC5350B.
At 11.25 pounds the GermGuardian AC5350B isn't light, but it is slightly lighter than the Coway, which tips the scales at 12.7. Both models have comfortable carrying handles, however, so moving them around isn't too much of a hassle.
The GermGuardian AC5350B earned an average score of 5 out of 10 in our operating cost testing.
The GermGuardian AC5350B uses filters that last 6 months and cost $34. It also uses 0.03kWh of electricity for every hour of operation, translating into about $16 of electricity per year. Adding all this up with the list price of $180 and you get an estimated lifetime cost of $542. This is surprisingly close to the $556 estimated lifetime cost of the top scoring Coway.
The GermGuardian AC5350B lists for $180 and has an estimated lifetime cost of $542. Its main competitor, the Coway, lists for $230 but has a very comparable estimated lifetime cost of $556. We feel that both of these models represent good values, though if you can afford a bit more upfront costs you do get better performance out of the Coway.
The GermGuardian AC5350B is a high quality air purifier that costs less than other high end models. However, in the long run its lifetime costs are about the same as the top performing Coway.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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