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Pure Ultrasonic ReviewPrice: $50 List | $39.99 at Amazon
Cons: Not much humidifying power, somewhat difficult to clean, somewhat clunky interface
Bottom line: Reasonable performance all around, but can’t compete with other more functional budget options
The Pure Ultrasonic is inexpensive, but that is really the only positive thing we can say about it. It was one of the weakest models we tested, provides some challenges in terms of general cleaning, and isn't particularly easy to use. If you're looking for a budget option we would definitely recommend the Honeywell HUL520B instead. It offers slightly better humidifying performance, is much easier to clean, and actually costs less.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Pure Ultrasonic lacks some power and isn't particularly easy to clean, which makes it inferior to other models in the same price range.
The Pure Ultrasonic landed towards the bottom of our overall scoresheet, as you can see in the table above. We used a number of different tests to determine those overall scores, and we discuss the Pure Ultrasonic's performance in all of those tests below.
The Pure Ultrasonic was one of the weakest models we tested, sharing the bottom score of 4 out of 10 in our humidifying testing. It took a full 2.5 hours of running on high to get our 150 square foot testing room to the ideal 45% humidity. By comparison, the Honeywell HUL520B achieved this in 2 hours, and costs less. The TaoTronics, which is often available at online retailers for less than the Pure Ultrasonic, was able to do the same in just one hour. If you want to spend less than $50 you're not not going to get the sub half hours times of the top shelf models, but you can do significantly better than the Pure Ultrasonic.
One up side is that the Pure Ultrasonic plateaued at 47.5% in our testing. This means if you use it in an average sized bedroom it will most likely plateau at a good humidity level (eventually), and you don't really run the risk of over humidification if you forget to turn it off. However, you'll need to remember to turn it on well before bed if you want a pleasant humidity when your head hits the pillow.
Ease of Cleaning
The Pure Ultrasonic was just about average in our ease of cleaning testing, picking up a score of 5 out of 10. The biggest issue is that the opening to the water tank is only 1.5", so you'll need a long brush or some other tool if you need to scrub something off the inside of the tank. It does come with a cleaning brush, but it's not long enough to get all the nooks and crannies of the tank. The cord does unplug from the base unit, which is convenient for cleaning. The manual has step by step directions for completing a vinegar soak to get everything nice and clean. It took us about 15 minutes to do a thorough clean, not including the soak. This was pretty standard compared to other models.
The other two models in the Pure Ultrasonic's price range, the TaoTronics and the Honeywell HUL520B are both a bit easier to clean. The Honeywell in particular has a very wide opening that makes scrubbing a breeze. This is a big knock against the Pure Ultrasonic, since cleaning is both a necessary and common chore associated with humidifiers.
The Pure Ultrasonic has a fairly frustrating user interface. Accordingly, it earned a low score of 4 out of 10 in our user friendliness testing. It has a single button that lets you scroll through its four settings (high and low, both with and without a night light on). However, there is no indicator to let you know what setting you're in, so you just have to memorize them. It is fairly clear by the sound of the machine whether you're on low or high, but it would be nice if the machine confirmed it visually.
The tank is fairly high, so it is difficult to fill it directly from standard sinks. The opening is also fairly small at 1.75", which can be a deceptively small target when you're pouring water. The Honeywell HUL520B has a huge 3.5" opening, which makes refilling much easier.
The Pure Ultrasonic is quite inexpensive. It earned a 9 out of 10 in our operating cost testing, behind only the perfect score of the Honeywell HUL520B. It lists for $50 and uses just 0.005kWh of electricity per hour, the least of any of the models we tested. This resulted in an estimated lifetime cost of just $63. Though the Honeywell uses a bit more electricity, it also costs less up front, leading to an estimated lifetime cost of $56.
The Pure Ultrasonic isn't a great performer, but lists for only $50. On the other hand, the Honeywell HUL520B performs a bit better all around and lists for only $30. No matter how you slice it, the **Honeywell is a much better value in this price range.
The Pure Ultrasonic is a decent low price humidifier, but it just can't match the budget performance of the Honeywell HUL520B.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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