Reviews on Honeywell Electrostatic Air Purifiers

Honeywell Electrostatic Air Purifier Reviews

Honeywell is a brand many Americans are familiar with since they have quite a wide range of different home appliances. However, in the case of air purifiers, the Honeywell electrostatic air purifiers are actually owned by Kaz Incorporated, which a few years ago bought the indoor comfort division of Honeywell.

There are currently several different models of Honeywell electrostatic air purifiers, but they work similarly.

Honeywell Electrostatic Air Purifier Reviews

1. How Honeywell Electronic Air Purifiers Work.

The Honeywell electronic air purifiers work by sending charged ions out of the machine and then charging the air particles with negative electrical charges. Those charged particles are then drawn into the machine using fans and then collected into a washable collection plate called IFD plate.

Honeywell’s IFD plates are different from the usual metal collection plates commonly used in electrostatic precipitators, since IFD plates have been proven to deliver stronger charge and can stand being dirty without resulting in crackling noise or electrical break.

With the ordinary electrostatic precipitator plate, when the plates get dirty, machine efficiency decreases dramatically and the machine itself produces crackling noise. This is not the case with the electrostatic precipitators with IFD plates.

Therefore, if you own an electrostatic air purifier with IFD plate, you don’t have to wash the plate that often. Still remember though, that even with the IFD plates you are still required to clean the plates from time to time. Without regular maintenance, you defeat the purpose of the air purifiers because it will not be able to do the job it’s meant to do.

Many customers are okay with the washing and cleaning, especially if that bit of sweat equity means saving money over filters. Yet other customers who think that cleaning equals to tapping the dirt from the filter to the dust bin, complain that it’s hard to really clean the plates because the honeycomb column structure inside the plates makes the core of the filter impossible to clean.

Yup, to clean the IFD plate properly, you have to wash it. So before buying this, take the washing factor into the equation. If you really only want to tap the filter to the trash can like you would do with dryer’s lint, then this is not the air purifier for you.

All Honeywell electronic air purifiers except two series, also have washable prefilter. So in essence, Honeywell ionic air purifiers utilize both mechanical and electronic filtration.

One of the Honeywell ionic air purifiers, HFD-135, has UV light inside it for more germicidal power. Is it worth it, though, especially since photocatalytic reaction with UV light tends to produce ozone and often causes an increase in product price ?

To answer this question, let’s have a look at the Honeywell air purifier’s casing. Customers have commented that Honeywell electrostatic air purifiers don’t have a tight seal around the IFD plates. So air bypass is very likely. Further, customers have also found dust near the exhaust, which mean that these air purifiers do bypass a fraction of the dust. See our reviews of the best dust air purifiers here.

With this kind of air purifiers, the presence of UV light can be justified. It will ensure that if the first mechanism of cleaning (i.e. electrostatic collection) fails, the germs are destroyed by the second cleaning stage, which is UV light exposure. Still, customers should not be under the illusion that UV light will effectively destroy all the germs since the effectiveness of the UV light depends on the UV dosage and exposure time.

2. Do Honeywell Ionic Air Purifiers Work ?

Although all Honeywell electrostatic air cleaners work the same way, their power and efficiencies are different. To answer the question whether air purifiers work, and specifically the Honeywell electrostatic air purifier, we really should take a look at each one of Honeywell electrostatic air purifier in the market today and comment on that.

Currently, there are several Honeywell electronic air cleaners in the market. Most have HFD prefix on the name which may stand from Honeywell IFD, except the Honeywell 60000 and 60001:

  • Honeywell 60000 and Honeywell 60001.
    These two air purifiers are tower air purifiers and have similar power (CADR 100 or low 100s). Both retail around $200, but many vendors have discounted and sell them cheaper than that. With weak CADR numbers, these air purifiers are only suitable for small rooms, around 140 sq. feet. Negative reviews are abound because first, many customers don’t feel the benefit, and second, they found that the IFD plates stay clean. This means that instead being drawn into the machine, charged particles actually settle to the area surrounding the machine. We would not be surprised if, after using Honeywell 60000 or 60001for a while, customers observe the black wall effect, which shows the settling of those charged particles on walls and surfaces surrounding the air purifier. Based on that, we think Honeywell 60000 and 60001 are not a good buy.

  • Honeywell HFD 120-Q QUiet Clean air cleaner and Honeywell HFD-130 air cleaner.
    These two electrostatic tower air cleaner are ones of the rare ionic air purifiers which perform better, because they combine mechanical and electronic filtration. First, air passes the washable prefilter, and then, after being charged, the charged air sticks to the IFD plates.

    We tested both Honeywell HFD 120-Q and Honeywell HFD-130, and found 70% and 55% efficiency, respectively, in capturing particles 0.3 micron and above. Honeywell itself claim that HFD 120 can clean 99% particles sized 2 microns or above. So they are pretty good electrostatic air purifiers. In addition, most customers have also expressed satisfaction with both Honeywell HFD 120-Q and Honeywell HFD-130 in the customer review sites. CADR and power for both remains low, at 110 for Honeywell HFD 120-Q and 100 for Honeywell HFD-130. So both Honeywell HFD-120Q and HFD-130 are only good for room sized around 140-150 sq. feet, if you want to have a decent number (five to six) of air change per hour.

    For the price ($150), Honeywell HFD-120Q is quite a good buy, especially if you take into account its good efficiency. We can’t endorse HFD-130 though because at $191 it has a small power with only 55% efficiency. Granted, when Honeywell first launched and priced HFD-130 at $191, it received a higher CADR rating so that it was suitable for area up to 200 sq. feet. But then in January 2007, its rating was downgraded to 100, so we think that $191 is too expensive for a machine of this capability. We encourage potential buyers to look at Enviracaire 50250, also by Honeywell, because for the same price, it has better efficiency (77%) and bigger power, so it can be used in a bigger room (375 sq.feet).

  • Honeywell HFD-135 UV air cleaner.
    Honeywell HFD-135 UV air cleaner works like Honeywell HFD 120-Q and HFD-130, but it has UV light as an added mechanism to kill germs. Most customers express satisfaction, but there is no third party data on the actual efficiency. However, judging from its similarity in CADR with HFD-130 (HFD-135 has CADR number 98) , our guess is that it might not be much different from HFD-130 in terms of efficiency. Also, since the CADR is low (98), it’s only suitable for small room (around 130 sq feet). As the price is close to $200, we don’t think that it’s a good buy, especially because it’s difficult to assert whether the presence of UV light deserves a hike in price. Here we think that customers will be better off ordering the Honeywell Enviracaire 50250 or 50150 as suggested above.

3. The Positive Features of Honeywell Electrostatic Air Purifiers

  • The Honeywell electronic air purifiers are lightweight and pretty small. Being designed as tower air purifiers, Honeywell electrostatic air purifiers are stylish.
  • All have programmable timers.
  • Quieter than HEPA air purifiers, but not silent.
  • No additional cost for filter replacement. All filters and plates are washable.
  • With exception of Honeywell HFD-135 which has a UV lamp, all are designed to save energy.
  • Five year warranty.
  • Timer to let you know when it’s time to wash the filter.

4. The Drawbacks of Honeywell Electrostatic Air Purifiers

  • Although Honeywell electronic air purifiers need no replacement filters, it requires you to wash the filters and plates. Some customers complain about the difficulties of cleaning them properly. Therefore, Honeywell electrostatic air purifiers are especially unsuitable for those who have neither the time nor inclination to pull out the electrostatic plates regularly for cleaning.

  • Noise. Although Honeywell electrostatic air purifiers are quieter than most HEPA air purifiers, they are definitely not silent nor have whispering sound. So noise is a common complaint among buyers of Honeywell air purifier products, so much so that the product has been known to be junked or returned for a refund.

  • Questionable efficiency as outlined in the above section (does Honeywell ionic air purifier work ?) as a result of using subpar filtration technologies and leakage on the system which enables air to bypass the filter. Further, there has been complaints on the fact that the IFD plates remain clean, which show that dust is not being collected. One customer also complained of the black wall phenomenon surrounding the air purifier, which shows that the electrostatic air purifier does not draw enough charged air particles inside the machine, so the charged air particles settle on the surface of walls, carpets, or whatever surface surrounding the air purifiers.

  • All emit ozone, a lung and soft tissue irritant. Granted, they are all within the EPA’s safety limit, but customers have reported ozone smell which can be annoying. Therefore, sensitive customers should not buy these air purifiers.

Whom Are These Air Purifiers Suitable For?

All Honeywell electronic air purifiers work best for particles that are bigger than 2 microns and do not work as well for smaller allergens. As such, these air purifiers are best for all around cleaning purposes and people with serious respiratory illnesses and moderate to several allergies are better advised to purchase the higher end air purifiers which can sweep the indoor air free from smaller size particles which are trigger factors for conditions like asthma, sinus, allergies, and other chronic respiratory ailments.

Of all Honeywell electrostatic air purifiers, we can only endorse the Honeywell HFD 120-Q because the price is right for the efficiency and power it has. With 70% efficiency for particles up to 0.3 micron in size, Honeywell HFD 120-Q is good enough in capturing the most common allergen and can be used by those who have mild allergies or who want to get rid of pet danders. This electronic air purifier is also good for all around cleaning.

Two caveats though. It does not have gas trapping ability, so don’t count on it to get rid of smoke and odor-causing gases. Secondly, it produces ozone, albeit small amount. If you want an air purifier which is completely safe and ozone free and within the ability and price range of this air purifier, try Honeywell Enviracaire 50250 or 50150 instead.

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