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Hands-on Gear Review
Hamilton Beach TrueAir ReviewPrice: $80 List | $59.99 at Amazon
Pros: Not terribly loud
Cons: Poor air cleaning performance, high operating costs for a machine of its size
Bottom line: A compact model with relatively poor performance and no redeeming attributes to make that up
In our battle of compact purifiers the Hamilton Beach TrueAir was at the back of the pack, held back by a poor air cleaning performance, flimsy controls, and expensive filters. If you're looking for a compact purifier for a small room we would recommend the GermGuardian AC4100. It is more effective in cleaning the air and costs significantly less in the long run.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Hamilton Beach TrueAir is a poor performer and cost more in the long run than other compact models, making it a poor choice for most users.
As you can see in the table above, the Hamilton Beach TrueAir was the worst overall performer in our testing. For more details on why it scored so low read the sections below. There we detail how well it performed in all of our individual tests.
Air Cleaning Performance
The Hamilton Beach TrueAir was one of the worst performers in our air cleaning testing, sharing the bottom of the barrel with one other model. We put it in our smoke filled testing room for one hour and it reduced the airborne particulate concentration by 89.49%. For comparison, the top performing compact (GermGuardian AC4100) model achieved a 95.32% reduction, and most of the full sized models were able to break 99%. So the TrueAir can make air cleaner, but there are other comparable models that can do a much better job of it. Also, it is the only model we tested that doesn't specify a CADR (clean air delivery rate), but we guess that it would be around 60 or 70, meaning it is powerful enough for rooms smaller than 100 square feet.
The noise produced by the TrueAir in our testing was relatively mild, earning it an above average score of 7 out of 10. On high it emits a low hum that would likely blend into the background after a few minutes of running, but is still slightly more noticeable than the Coway. On medium that hum gets quieter but is still noticeable. On low the hum is very quiet and barely detectable, plenty quiet for reading or meditating.
Ease of Use
The Hamilton Beach TrueAir's score of 4 out of 10 was the lowest in our ease of use testing. It only has three fan speeds and no off timer, which limits its adjustability and makes it more likely that you'll accidentally leave it on all day while you're at the office. Also, the single dial it uses for its control panel feels cheap and flimsy, like it might break off if you're not gentle with it. In the plus column it weighs only 4.9 pounds, so it is very easy to move around.
Despite a very low initial cost of $80 to purchase the unit, the Hamilton Beach TrueAir is surprisingly expensive in the long run. Its estimated lifetime cost came out to $573, which is higher than that of the Coway and the GermGuardian AC4825, both of which are much more powerful and capable machines. This high cost largely comes from its short lived filters, which run $22 and must be replaced every 90 days. That cost quickly adds up if you use the TrueAir frequently. It also uses electricity at an above average rate, accumulating an estimated annual electricity cost of $10.51.
The Hamilton Beach TrueAir's list price of $80 is on the high end for a compact purifier. Then when you factor in its operating costs it becomes more expensive than some of the top performing full sized models. At that point buying a full sized model would be a much better value. If you'd rather a compact model, the GermGuardian AC4100 is a much better value.
The Hamilton Beach TrueAir provides low end performance yet costs as much to operate as much better machines. Because of that, we would not recommend it.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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