Sorting through the many air-purifying options can be tough. There are so many options, and many purifiers seem exactly the same or wildly different. If you have done any looking at all, then you have likely come across the Winix 5500-2. Winix is a popular air purifier company, and the 5500-2 is a staple in many homes.
But does the Winix 5500-2 meet your specific needs? Is the 5500-2 durable enough to last? Will it scrub the air of smoke or pet odors?
We will discuss those very questions and more in this comprehensive review.
====>> IMPORTANT NOTE: The 5500-2 is currently unavailable but you can see its closest cousin, the HR900 at Amazon here.
Table of Contents
- 1 Overview
- 2 How Does the Winix 5500-2 Work?
- 3 How Do You Use the Winix 5500-2?
- 4 What Is the Cost of Filters, Where Do I Get Them, and How Often Do They Need to Be Changed?
- 5 What Is the Warranty?
- 6 How Does It Compare?
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 Where Can You Buy the Winix 5500-2 and How Much Does It Cost?
Winix is a company that makes a line of products for treating indoor air. They make humidifiers, de-humidifiers, and of course, air purifiers. Like most air purification companies, Winix is based in South Korea. If you have ever visited Seoul or any other large Asian city, you’ll understand it’s no wonder these products are made there.
The air in Seoul, Hong Kong, and other cities is so dirty and polluted that an entire industry exists to keep the air in your house clean. And if the Winix 5500-2 is good enough for a South Korean apartment, then it will be good enough for you.
The Winix 5500-2 filters air using a three-step process that uses two physical filters and the Winix plasmawave step.
This 5500-2 model is an evolution of the older 5500 model. The new 5500-2 uses an improved activated carbon layer, and a new overall look and design.
The 5500-2 also has a number of settings that most people will find useful. There are three timer settings, four fan speed settings, and various operation modes to make life easier.
This air purifier is rated to clean spaces of up to 360 square feet, about 19 by 19 feet. That is a pretty decent-sized room, and most people will find the Winix works well in their living room or bedroom.
You can, of course, use the Winix 5500-2 in larger spaces, but it will reduce its ability to effectively clean the air, and it may take longer to fully clean the whole space.
How Does the Winix 5500-2 Work?
The Winix 5500-2 uses a layer of activated carbon, a true HEPA filter, and then Winix’s plasmawave system. All three combined do a great job of filtering and purifying the air in your home.
First, the dirty air gets filtered by the advanced activated carbon layer which Winix calls “the AOC layer” (Advanced Odor Control). Most air purifiers use an activated carbon filter, but the one in the 5500-2 is much more advanced. Activated carbon is a well-known universal scrubber and is used in all kinds of commercial settings.
It’s especially well known for trapping odor-causing particles, which is why some shoe insole companies use it to eliminate stinky feet smells. But as with most things, the more you use, the better it works.
Most other brands use very thin and flexible carbon filters that are made using some kind of rough material like a dish scrubber. These filters work okay, but some people double up on them to do a better job of killing odors. The Winix 5500-2 uses an advanced carbon filter that performs much better than standard filters. The AOC in the Winix is a thick honeycomb filter sandwiched between two mesh sheets.
Trapped in those honeycombs are thousands of beads made from pure activated carbon. That means the AOC system in the Winix 5500-2 uses many times the amount of carbon as a standard filter.
The performance of this filter is easy to smell compared to most air purifiers.
After bad odors get whacked in the AOC carbon filter, the air then enters the HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. This is the layer that does most of the filtering and that traps all of your fine particles and bacteria.
The US Department of Energy tests these filters to make sure they trap 99.97% of particles larger than .3 microns wide. Pet dander, dust mites, and even most bacteria are larger than .3 microns. Goodbye, allergies!
The last filtration method is called plasmawave. This is a filtration method that I have only seen on Winix air purifiers. Plasmawave is, of course, just the fancy word that the company uses to name their technology. In reality, the plasmawave system just releases hydroxyls into the filtered air.
So what are hydroxyls, exactly?
Hydroxyls occur naturally in the outdoor air and help kill odors by attacking bacteria, viruses, and VOCs. The Winix 5500-2 replicates that process inside by releasing helpful hydroxyls into your home.
To see the Winix 5500-2 in action check out the video below.
How Do You Use the Winix 5500-2?
The Winix 5500-2 has four fan speeds; low, medium, high, and turbo. Luckily, it is pretty quiet on most fan speeds. You only notice the noise on the high and turbo fan speeds. The low and medium speeds are very quiet and great for watching movies, sleeping, or reading a book. The high and turbo speeds are ideal for quickly cleaning the room of the smell of burned chicken or of springtime pollen. The plasmawave technology can be turned off or on and can be used with any of the speeds, as well as auto mode and sleep mode.
Auto mode and sleep mode are handy features that really improve the overall usefulness of the 5500-2. The Winix 5500-2 has a built-in air quality sensor. Using this sensor, the 5500-2 can detect when the air is dirty and how dirty the air is, and can adjust the fan speed accordingly. Just flip it into auto mode and let the Winix 5500-2 purify the air as is needed. There is even an LED on the top that tells you the quality of the air based on the color of the light.
Red is the dirtiest air, yellow is medium, and blue is clean air. The air quality indicator reacts really quickly to surrounding air. If you run a vacuum near it or a dog walks past, the Winix 5500-2 will immediately turn yellow or red and begin cleaning.
One of my favorite features, besides its special carbon filter, is that the lights will auto-dim depending on the ambient light. I always hate when the lights are off in a room or you’re watching a movie and the light from the air purifier is shining right in your eye like a laser. The Winix 5500-2 solves this problem by using a light sensor to dim all of the lights on the device as needed. Very cool.
Some people have had an issue with their new 5500-2 models where the light will get stuck on blue or yellow. You can sometimes fix this by using a pen to push and hold down the reset button. If this doesn’t fix it, then you may need to get a replacement.
Another great feature is “sleep mode.” Sleep mode is for when you don’t want your air purifier to disturb you, but you still want it to run. Just put the Winix into sleep mode, and all the lights turn off and it runs virtually silently. This is perfect for use in the bedroom at night or when watching movies.
The Winix 5500-2 also has three timer settings. There are one-hour, four-hour, and eight-hour timers. You may find this useful if you only want it to run while you are away at work. Just turn it on medium or high and select the eight-hour timer.
Another thing I like about the 5500-2 is the design. While it isn’t especially pretty, I like how tall, wide, and flat it is. And I really like how it takes air in the front and shoots it out the top. This makes it easy to tuck it close to a wall and, I think, allows it to better circulate air in the room.
What Is the Cost of Filters, Where Do I Get Them, and How Often Do They Need to Be Changed?
Like most other air purifiers, the 5500-2 has a filter change indicator light. This light will come on when it’s time to change your filter. Be sure to clean off and vacuum your filters every month, or once every two weeks for the diligent.
The AOC advanced carbon filter is also washable and lasts much longer than most carbon filters on other air purifiers. With the Winix 5500-2, you should only need to change both the carbon and the HEPA filters once a year.
Replacement filters for the 5500-2 come in a package with a HEPA filter and the advanced carbon filter. This is great because you should be replacing them both at the same time.
The replacement filters have an MSRP of $80, but you can find them for less at Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, or other stores.
You can even sign up for a filter membership that automatically sends replacement filters every year. This is great for forgetful people like me.
What Is the Warranty?
There is a one-year warranty on the Winix 5500-2.
How Does It Compare?
Winix 5500-2 vs 5500
The Winix 5500 is the older version of the new 5500-2. They are similar in a lot of ways, including the floor space they can cover and many of their settings and features. Besides their looks, one of the major differences is the AOC advanced carbon filter.
The new 5500-2 uses an activated carbon layer that uses much more carbon and does a much better job of neutralizing odors. The new carbon filter also lasts much longer than the one on the old model.
Winix 5500-2 vs Winix 6300
The Winix 6300 is an older model and is no longer produced by the company. Keep that in mind if you are considering buying it. The 6300 has a few differences from the newer 5500-2 model, but the main difference is size.
The 6300 is a bit bigger and can handle larger rooms than the 5500-2 of about 450 square feet. The 6300 also doesn’t have the advanced carbon filter.
Winix 5500-2 vs 5300
The Winix 5500-2 and the 5300-2 are identical in almost every way. They have the same features, specs, CADR ratings. They have only one difference; the carbon filter. The 5300-2 uses the flexible and thin carbon filter that most purifiers use, while the 5500-2 model uses the advanced activated carbon layer.
The advanced carbon filter is going to do a much better job of killing odors from pets, smoke, and anything else. Replacement filters cost about the same for both units, but the initial purchase price of the 5300-2 is about $50 less than the 5500-2.
Winix 5500-2 vs Honeywell HPA300
The Honeywell and the Winix are very different models. Overall, the Winix is a more advanced air purifier, but the Honeywell has a number of advantages as well. A major advantage for the Honeywell is that it is rated to clean larger rooms of almost 500 square feet. That is great for people who only want one unit to serve a large open floor plan.
The Winix, however, has more advanced features. The Winix has the more robust and advanced activated carbon layer which does a better job of eliminating smells. It also has the plasma wave system that releases hydroxyls in the air. The Honeywell is very basic, with just a thin carbon layer and a HEPA filter.
Winix 5500-2 vs 9500
In many ways, the 9500 is like an even more advanced 5500-2. The Winix 9500 has five filtering and cleaning technologies, while the 5500-2 only has three. Both have a true HEPA filter, plasmawave, and an advanced carbon layer, but the 9500 also has a micromesh filter and an antibacterial layer.
These extra filtering steps further restrict the airflow and limit the space it can clean. So the 5500-2 can handle rooms of 360 square feet, the 9500 can only do 284 square feet. If you have severe allergies and only need to purify a small room, then the 9500 may be for you.
The Winix 5500-2 is a great air purifier with lots of advanced settings and features. The AOC advanced activated carbon layer helps do a better job of destroying odors than most air purifiers on the market. The automatic setting also makes this air purifier great for people who want to set it and forget it. Overall, I recommend the Winix 5500-2 for most situations.
Where Can You Buy the Winix 5500-2 and How Much Does It Cost?
The MSRP for the Winix 5500-2 is $250 but you can find it for less at many places online. Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, and other locations all carry it.