Are Holmes HEPA Air Purifiers Any Good?

Our Honest Holmes HEPA Air Purifier Reviews

Holmes air purifier products has been around since 1982, and is the sister brand of Bionaire air purifiers. Even though they have been around for over 25 years, the Holmes HEPA air purifiers line consists of only 5 HEPA models: the Holmes HAP 756U, the Holmes HAP 726 U, and the Holmes HAP 706 U, Holmes 716-U and Holmes HAP 8516-U.

1. How Holmes HEPA Air Purifiers Work

At present, this model is not rank high among HEPA air purifiers, and one reason for this is the relatively low CADR rating it gets. For instance, the certified ratings for the strongest HEPA air purifier in the series, Holmes HAP 756U is as follows: 230 for pollen, 270 for smoke, and 275 for dust.

The company claims that it can improve the air quality in a 400 square feet room , but with this kind of CADR rating, it would seem that the size is overestimated and might work better in a room half that size.

However, the predecessor of Holmes HAP 756U, the discontinued Holmes HAP750, managed to get the 8th rank among the sales leader in 2005 Consumer Report Magazine. We suspect it’s more because it’s priced cheaply for the amount of work done by that particular air purifier, which makes it a good value.

Yup, as far as cheap air purifiers go, the Holmes HAP series are one of the lowest priced air purifier on the market.

But does this equal poor quality?

In the case of the Holmes HEPA air purifiers, the claim of being able to purify the indoor air up to 99.97% of allergens sized 0.3 micron or above in the air is a little questionable, even with ones with the true HEPA filter. While the theoretical efficiency for HEPA filter to capture particles 0.3 micron or above is 99.97%, unless an air purifier machine is designed tightly, air bypass is possible.

You see, a filter will only work well if it does not have areas where unclean air can pass. Many Holmes air purifier reviewers talk about unclean air being able to pass through the filtering system. This can happen because of cracks or opening along the sides of the filters. Also, it is more likely to happen when the filters are arranged in modular fashion which means that the filters are arranged side by side instead of sequentially.

The strongest Holmes HEPA air purifiers, Holmes HAP 756-U, has the HEPA filter arranged in modular fashion, so it is very likely that the actual efficiency of the machine is well below 99.97% for particles up to 0.3 micron. In fact, with that kind of arrangement, they are lucky to even get 70% of the air which comes into the unit filtered down to 0.3 microns.

Many suspect that the modular arrangement is part of the tactics that Holmes use to increase the sales of filters since customers will need a few pieces of filters every time they replace the filters. Just in case you’re wondering, it is common in air purifier industry to price the air purifier low, but make up the loss by making profits from filter replacement.

Holmes® True HEPA 360° Air Purifier

What does it mean for consumers?

It means that for people with serious respiratory ailments like asthma, sinus, and allergies, the Holmes HAP will not be suitable. However, Holmes air purifiers are good enough for all around cleaning and to control annoying odors such as cooking odors.

So how does this air purifier actually work?

Basically, incoming air passes through the carbon filter to remove any odor (like smoke or cooking smells) and coarse material from the air. Then it goes to the HEPA filter before being released back into the room.

Carbon filters must be replaced ahead of the HEPA filters. Generally, the carbon filters should be changed every 6 months, or less if the air is considerably more polluted than normal because of pets, tobacco smoke, or the environmental pollutants in the air. The HAP odor reducing 4 pack carbon filters can be bought for only $14.99 or less, while the HEPA replacement filters are sold for $29.99 all the way up to $ 69.99, depending on the model you are using.

One thing to bear in mind is that some models require multiple filters per change, so while individual filter unit seems cheap, it gets pretty expensive if you add the number of filters which you need to have every time you change the filters.

finally, make sure you lock the HEPA filters in the machine well when changing them. If you lock the HEPA filters in the machine well, and cover the gaps (if you find any) with tape, you can minimize the bypassing and therefore increases the efficiency of the machine to capture pollutant.

2. The Positive Features of the Holmes HEPA Air Purifier

  • If you are looking for an inexpensive air purifier for general air cleaning, and are not very particular about the tiniest of particles, then this brand of HEPA air purifiers will serve you well.
  • Cheap.
  • Portable, compact and easy to maintain. They are also stylish.
  • Holmes HEPA air cleaner has a HEPA filter equipped with Arm and Hammer Baking Soda which can rid the air of funny smells and annoying odors.
  • It has a convenient digital display, 4 speed control that can continuously work for 16 hours straight automatically.
  • Filter monitoring system is available.

3. The Drawbacks of the Holmes HEPA Air Purifier

  • The layout of the pre filters and filters require frequent multiple filter replacement at one go which might be an expense that you do not appreciate in the long run.
  • The individual quality of Holmes air purifiers are reportedly very unreliable. It has become a matter of hit or miss, as many buyers have reported. In other words, you never know what you will get until you turn it on, and then you will find out if the unit you bought works or not. While it isn’t fair to generalize about products made in China, it has become accepted by many that quantity, not quality is the rule with products made in China.
  • The ionizer feature should be turned on only when you are out of the room only because it releases ozone, albeit in a level which is within the EPA ozone emission threshold.
  • Comes with a limited warranty which requires you to register your product to find out all the details of your warranty.

4. What Kind of Particles Are Trapped With The Holmes HEPA Air Purifier and Who Needs This Air Purifier The Most?

Since Holmes design makes it possible for the air to by pass the filter at greater degree, Holmes HEPA air purifier is likely does not operate as good as the theoretical value of its true HEPA filter which is 99.97% for pollutants up to 0.3 micron.

So, for general indoor air cleaning, the Holmes HEPA air purifier might fit the bill. But if you really want to alleviate any of your health symptoms, or get rid of continuous smoking or pet odors, then this is not the air purifier you would want to buy.

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