The catalogue of air purifiers in the Honeywell universe is pretty vast and at times, confusing. There are different ranges with different features, suitable for different people.

Are you wondering whether or not the Honeywell AirGenius 5 HDF320 is the one for you? Great, I’ve burrowed into all the pros, cons, secrets and abilities you need to know so you can make the right choice.

Does the AirGenius 5 HDF320 have an ionizer? How many cleaning settings does it have and what do they do? Is it loud? What about odor elimination? Are you expected to replace the filters or wash them, or both?

Let’s figure this out.

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What Interesting about the Honeywell Airgenius 5?

In case you haven’t seen the Honeywell AirGenius 5, it looks like a tall, black tower with a blue light along the bottom, (if you choose to use it). It has a control panel laid out on the top of the unit and grilles on the front. It’s an attractive-looking machine and doesn’t take up a lot of space, which is great for smaller rooms or offices.

But enough of the physical description. What’s interesting about this air purifier? Well, here’s what I found:

The purification settings:

This air purifier gives you the option of five cleaning settings. The settings are: “sleep”, “germs”, “general”, “allergen” and “max”. I like the fact that there are two health-related settings (“germs” and “allergen”) as it tells me that this air purifier has been crafted for more than just general fresh air.

I also appreciate the “sleep” option. Dead quiet at nighttime is a necessity for so many of us…that’s if it really is quiet, but we’ll find out soon.

The odor-reducing filter option:

Along with the ifD filter (that’s the main filter) there is a pre-filter. Or rather, a choice of pre-filters. You can opt for the washable mesh pre-filter, or an odor-reducing pre-filter. You get one of each of these pre-filters in the box, so you can try them out and see which one suits you best.

Is it good to reduce dust and mold?

There’s two ways to answer this question. One, going from what the company says. Two, going from what customer reviews say. Let’s look at both and see what we discover.

What the company says:  the information provided by Honeywell is quite focused on micron size and types of microns. It’s not so focused on the everyday effect a user will experience (i.e. less visible dust, reduced mold in wall corners etc.).

They provide a diagram which shows various household particles and their sizes, i.e. household dust = 0.5 – 10 microns. They also focus on the fact that the ifD filter captures 99.9% of airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger. So…basically all particles you can find in your home, including mold and dust.

What do the people say? Some people have found a reduction in mold spores (which they’ve judged by a reduction in mold smell and mold-allergy symptoms). Dust? Yup, lots of people have noticed that there is less visible dust in their home. However, don’t take this as the final verdict, as we will get deeper into customer reviews further below.

A note on mold: if you’ve got a mold issue, an air purifier won’t solve it. You have to treat the mold at the source. But, an air purifier like this one can remove the spores from the air, as well as that musty smell.

The verdict? According to Honeywell, this air purifier captures mold and dust particles to clear and freshen the air. According to (some) impartial customers, this is true.

Does it remove tobacco, pet or diaper odor?

Seeing as one of the pre-filter options is especially for reducing odors, you’d better hope it removes tobacco and pet smells. Going back to that “micron diagram”, it includes smoke (0.3 – 1 microns), odors and gasses. This tells us that smoke and general smells are, or should be, removed.

As usual, the handy review section comes to our aid to figure out if it really does. Some people have said that cigarette smoke and its accompanying odors have been successfully reduced. Pet and food odors have been mentioned as well.

The verdict? Yes, it seems that it does have pretty decent odor-reducing abilities.

Does it produce ozone?

I’ll get to the point. It does have an ionizer. You won’t see anything about this anywhere except the manual. Find the part where it says “how your air cleaner works” – yes, there it is; stage 3: electronic ionizer. So, since there’s an ionizer, we can assume that ozone is produced. It may only be a small amount (we don’t know the exact levels of ozone produced), but asthmatics beware.

I should add that some customers have specifically mentioned ozone in their negative reviews. A few people have said they can smell and feel ozone as it exacerbates their allergy symptoms. Oh dear.

What do other customers and reviews say?

On first sight, I frowned at the reasonably-low percentage in the 5-star section, 54%. However, the 4-star section takes up 20% of the overall votes. 19% belong to the 1 and 2-star areas. Let’s find out the reasons behind these highs and lows.

Negative

Dust blows back into the atmosphere: an interesting comment which I noticed from many people is that dust blows out of the grilles and back into the room. Along with this comment are complaints about cold air being blown out of the machine, bringing the overall room temperature down.

Gives off a bad smell: the most common negative comment is that a bad smell emits from the air purifier. Some people have said it smells like “ozone”, and others have described it as smelling it of plastic. Some people have said the smell dissipates after a while, but others have said it remains.

Defaults after a few months: sadly, many people have complained that their air purifier has simply stopped working after a few months, or even worse, weeks.

Button lights are irritating: this one is a matter of preference, but it sure does bug a lot of people. The lights which illuminate the buttons cannot switch off. This has proven to be a huge annoyance for many people, especially if they prefer to have their air purifier in their bedroom at night.

Positive

Reduces allergy symptoms: fortunately, there are lots of positive reviews lauding the allergy-reducing abilities of the AirGenius 5. People with allergies to pets and dust, as well as asthmatics have confirmed a huge improvement. Puffy eyes, breathing difficulties, sneezing and runny noses are all mentioned among the reduced/eradicated symptoms.

Easy to clean: a popular comment in the positive review section refers to how easy the filters are to maintain. Users seem to really love the fact that there are no replacements necessary (except when using the odor-reducing filters).

Quiet: contrary to certain negative reviews complaining of noisiness, many consumers have actually been really happy with the quietness of this machine. They do specify that the quiet settings are “1 – sleep” and 2 “2 – germs”, while levels 3, 4 and 5 are louder.

What are the technical specifications?

General

Recommended room area:  250 square feet
Clean air delivery rate tobacco smoke – 161, pollen – 170, dust – 160
Special features/settings Auto-off timer: this is the button with the little clock symbol. Press this button to select your desired cleaning time. You have a choice of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours. The machine will simply shut off after the selected amount of time.

Purification level button: this is the button with the little leaf symbol. Press it to select your desired setting.

The five settings and their functions are:

Level 1, sleep: designed to be extra-quiet for nighttime filtration in bedrooms and quiet homes

Level 2, germs: this setting uses slower air movement so bacterial and viral germ particles can be more effectively kept in the filter without being circulated back into the air. Designed for use during cold and flu seasons or when there are sick people in the house.

Level 3, general: your stock-standard, everyday cleaning setting for household dust, smoke, cooking smells and pet odors. The go-to setting if you don’t require extra quiet, or allergen/germ reduction.

Level 4, allergen: this setting switches the cleaning function to the optimum allergen-catching rate. This ensures more pollen and pet dander are removed from the air during allergy season. This is a good setting to use 24/7 if you have pets in the home.

Level 5, max: this level really kicks-up the air circulation for a super-charged clean. It’s best for when you have a particularly dusty room (after dusting/cleaning sessions), a heavy-shedding pet traipsing through the house, or a bout of strong odors (burnt toast, thick cooking smells, musty rooms). This setting is much louder than the others, but it’s really just for shorter, more intense bouts of cleaning.

Oscillation button: this is the button with the arrows turning in opposite directions. This button turns on the oscillation feature. The fans will turn from side to side to circulate more air. Some people find that this does create an annoying rattling sound.

Accent light button: the button with the little lightbulb and “high”, “low” lights above it controls the accent light. The accent light is located along the base of the unit and gives off a blue light. You can use this as a nightlight or simply for aesthetics. You can also choose to have it turned off altogether if extra lights bug you.

Filter reset button/filter status: the symbol labelled “filter status” will light up when you need to check and clean/replace your filters. Once you have dealt with the filters, press the “OK” button to turn the filter light off and reset.

Filter type ifD filter and a choice of two pre-filters (washable pre-filter or odor-reducing pre-filter)
Energy usage the AirGenius 5 HDF320 is Energy Star qualified. Honeywell says it uses about the same amount of energy as a standard lightbulb, which I’m happy with.
Colour black with a blue accent light
Noise level levels 1 and 2 are very quiet (for most people’s standards), levels 3, 4 and 5 are gently audible but too loud for some

Dimensions and weight

Size  12.2 x 12.2 x 29.9 inches
Weight 20 pounds

How do you use it?

Apart from selecting your desired cleaning setting and maintaining the filters, there’s not a lot of work required on your part. Here’s how to set it all up when it first arrives:

  • Removed any plastic surrounding the filters and slot them into place
  • Choose a good spot for it with a power outlet close-by
  • Make sure there are no objects within a clear 3-foot space on all sides (this ensures the best airflow and cleaning performance)
  • Plug it in and get to know the control panel
  • Choose a setting and have a play around to see which level suits you in terms of noise
  • Leave to do its thing
  • Keep an eye on the filter lights
  • Check, clean or change the filters when the light comes on, or when you suspect they’re full

How do you clean it? Is it easy to clean?

The cleaning duties required are very simple.

For the outer unit, use a dry microfibre cloth or a damp cloth to wipe down the casing and grilles. The brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner is also handy to get dust out of the grilles. Done.

Now for the filters. To clean the washable filters (the ifD filter and the washable pre-filter), rinse them with water until the water runs clean. Leave to dry completely (an airing cupboard is a good drying spot) before putting back into the machine. For a more thorough clean, mix a bit of dish soap with warm water. Place the washable filter/s into the solution and leave to soak for a few minutes. Rinse out with plain water, leave to dry, and put back into the filter.

How Does It Compare to other models?

Honeywell Airgenius 5 (HFD320) vs Airgenius 4 (HFD310)

The AirGenius 4 HFD310 is very similar to the AirGenius 5, but with a couple of missing features. The AirGenius 4 doesn’t have the “germ” setting, but it has “sleep”, “general”, “allergen” and “max”. The AirGenius 4 does have the auto-off timer feature, but it only has 2, 4 and 8-hour options. The buttons on the AirGenius 4 are regular buttons and not the touch-screen style of the AirGenius 5.

Honeywell Airgenius 5 vs Airgenius 3

The AirGenius 3 is the more basic AirGenius model. Here’s how it differs to the AirGenius 5:

It only has 3 cleaning settings (AG 5 has 5 settings). It doesn’t have the auto-off timer feature. It doesn’t have the accent light. It caters to a smaller room area (225 square feet as opposed to the AG 5’s 250 square feet). It doesn’t have the touch screen buttons. It is white as opposed to black.

Honeywell Airgenius 5 vs Honeywell HPA200

The Honeywell HPA200 has a true HEPA (not an ifD filter like the AirGenius line). It has a pre-filter but it does not have the option of an odor-reducing pre-filter.  The key thing to note here is that the filters are not washable for the HPA200, they must be replaced. The HPA200 has 4 cleaning settings (turbo, general, germ and allergen).

The HPA200 is wider than the AirGenius range, and it has a different control button set-up.

Honeywell Airgenius 5 vs GermGuardian AC4825

The GermGuardian AC4825 is a very different air purifier. Firstly, the filtration: true HEPA, a UV-C light to kill bacteria, and a pre-filter with a charcoal layer for reducing odors.  The filters are not washable and must be replaced.

The AirGenius 5 has a much more complex and versatile list of settings. The GermGuardian only has a choice of 3 fan speeds, but no timer, oscillation, or special purification settings.

These machines do have a similar construction and shape: tower-style with a slim body.

What is the cost of replacement filters and where to get them?

The Honeywell website sells the odor-reducing K pre-filters for $15.95 for a 2-pack on special, (the regular price is 29.95).  You can also find them at Best Buy: a 2-pack costs $14.00 on special, or $20.99 as the regular price. Home Depot sells them for $24.99 (for a 2-pack).

How often do filters need to be changed and can’t they just be cleaned?

Trick question. You can clean 2 of the filters, but not the other. The main filter (the ifD filter) is washable and permanent. It should be washed every 3 months for the best cleaning results. The washable pre-filter is, you guessed it, washable, and permanent too. However, the odor-reducing pre-filter is not washable and it must be replaced every 3 months.

Are there other replacement parts, where do I buy them?

The only parts available to buy are the filters. Although, judging by the angry reviews about faults and breakdowns, sounds like there should be more parts available.

An Amazon search for “Honeywell AirGenius 5 replacement parts” usually brings back a few results. Best Buy sells the K pre-filters (those are the odor-reducing pre-filters). Home Depot sells them as well.

How loud is it?

Excellent question. It’s safe to say that settings 1 and 2 (“sleep” and “germs”) are very quiet and are suitable for most people to have in the bedroom at night. Settings 3, 4 and 5 are louder but are tolerable in rooms with a bit of existing background noise (i.e. an office or a living room).

What’s the warranty?

Honeywell provides a 5-year warranty.

Can I find it at other retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot, Kohl’s or Target?

  • Best buy sells the AirGenius 5 HFdD320.
  • Home Depot sells the AirGenius HFD320.
  • Kohl’s sells the AirGenius HFD320.
  • Target sells the AirGenius HFD320.

What’s The Best Price For The Honeywell Airgenius 5 and where can I buy it?

From my research Target currently offers the best price for the AirGenius HFD320. The next best is Home Depot. Note that these are sale prices, which could change. My first choice is usually Amazon, that’s where I usually find the best deals throughout the year.

Verdict: Is This air purifier For You?

It depends what you want your air purifier for, and what your personal pet-peeves are. If you need it for general air cleaning and fresh air, you could get away with a simpler model.  For an entirely different aesthetic (and brand), a smaller price tag and a simpler control panel, you could even take a look at the Levoit LV-H132. 

However, if you need extra help during allergy and cold/flu season, the Honeywell AirGenius 5 could be ideal.

However, do beware of the issues other customers have encountered. If you cannot bear having lights on your appliances, you should find a model with the option to have zero illumination.

Click Here to See the Honeywell AirGenius 5 on Amazon