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Winix 5500-2 Review

Derek Hales

Written By: Derek Hales

Published on:

High Performance HEPA Air Purifier

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Winix 5500-2

The Winix 5500-2 air purifier is a mid-size purifier that can clean the air in rooms up to 360 sf. It has 3 variable fan speeds, an Auto Mode, digital display, and remote control for improved usability. During our tests, the Winix removed over 98% of airborne particles and improved PM2.5 counts down to 0.1, which is fantastic.Check Price

Pros

  • Auto Mode can self-adjust fan speeds based on current air quality (with color-changing LED bar)
  • Great performance—removed over 98% of airborne particles during our tests
  • Remote control included for control from across the room
  • Optional air ionizer (aka Plasmawave technology)

Cons

  • Larger body takes up a larger footprint on the floor

Scoring

Value-Backed Purifier with Auto Mode & Remote
  • Design - 96%
    96%
  • Performance - 98%
    98%
  • Quality - 96%
    96%
  • Usability - 96%
    96%
  • Value - 96%
    96%
96%

Summary

Overall, I’m impressed with the design, quality, and performance of the Winix 5500-2 air purifier. Considering all of the features that this purifier comes with and combined with the relatively low price point, the value is just excellent. Some of the top features include Auto Mode, remote control, adjustable fan speeds, washable filters, and simple controls. In addition to traditional filtration methods, it also has Plasmawave technology which is basically an air ionizer. It performed fantastic in our tests reducing PM2.5 to 0.1 and AQI to 1.

Table of Contents

🧪 Performance

Jumping right in, let’s talk about performance. The performance of the Winix 5500-2 air purifier was excellent and it did a fantastic job of cleaning the air.

Winix 5500-2 air purifier
Winix 5500-2 air purifier

We put this purifier to the test in our testing lab and here is an overview of the results:

Starting Baseline

  • PM2.5: 6.1
  • PM10: 11.0
  • Particles: 1074
  • AQI: 25

After 1 Hour

  • PM2.5: 0.1
  • PM10: 0.2
  • Particles: 19
  • AQI: 1

Within 1 hour the Winix air purifier reduced PM2.5 down to 0.1 µg/m3 and reduced PM10 down to 0.2 µg/m3. From our experience, anything equal to or less than 0.3 is considered to be solid performance.

Winix HEPA filter
Winix HEPA filter

What is µg/m3? This unit stands for micrograms per cubic meter. It’s a more exact way to measure how much of a particle is present in the air.

The particulate count was reduced by 98.3% and the AQI went down to 1 (which is fantastic).

Our Testing Thoughts

During our performance tests, the purifier did great. However, more than just numbers show, the smell itself in the room was also notably improved. The carbon filter really does seem to have a strong impact on odors.

Which of course is what it’s designed to do, but I will say not all carbon filters are created equally. In the case of Winix, this purifier works and does so in a noticeable way.

How do we test?

When we test any air purifier, we use the same procedure to gather results. First, we use the Temtop LKC-1000S+ professional air quality detector to get a baseline reading for the existing air quality.

Air Quality Testing meter
Electronic testing meter we use to measure particulates and air quality

Then we let the purifier run for an hour and take new measurements.

The difference between the baseline and post-run data gives a solid picture of how well the air purifier is able to improve indoor air quality.

🧬 Design

The Winix 5500-2 air purifier has a fairly utilitarian design with a matte black body. On the front of the purifier is the air intake with controls located at the top.

Winix 5500-2 air purifier
Winix 5500-2 air purifier

By any standard, this looks, feels, and performs like any high-end HEPA air purifier. The build quality is solid. It’s mostly plastic parts, but they seem to be high-grade.

Winix filter stack (HEPA, carbon, pre-filter from left to right)
Winix filter stack (HEPA, carbon, pre-filter from left to right)

The display is clear, intuitive, and easy to use with controls that offer three fan speeds, auto mode, and a sleep timer.

In addition, you can turn on or off the PlasmaWave, which is just their branded term for an ionizer. 

The Controls

From this top control panel you can:

  • Turn the purifier on / off
  • Change mode
  • Turn Plasmawave ionizer on / off
  • Adjust fan speed
  • Sleep mode
  • Set a timer (1 hr, 4 hr, or 8 hr)
  • Check filter indicator
  • Reset button
Controls on top of the Winix 5500-2 air purifier
Controls on top of the Winix 5500-2 air purifier

Another feature to note is the air quality indicator bar located directly below the center buttons (Mode, Plasmawave, and Fan Speed).

This LED bar is color-coded and changes color based on a scale of three levels of air quality.

What is Plasmawave?

The Plasmawave feature located in the middle of the display is just Winix’s branded name for their ionizer. You can choose to use this feature or skip it.

What does an air ionizer do?

When activated, this feature releases negatively charged particles that are then attracted and bond to the positively charged particles in the room.

how air ionizers work

When the particles are bonded, they all become too heavy to be airborne and sink to the ground.

Once on the ground, these particles can be vacuumed up. One negative result of the use of an air ionizer is the ozone byproduct that is created as a result of this process.

MORE: Are air ionizers safe?

This particular air purifier takes a slightly gentler approach and does not produce ozone, but instead creates hydroxyls to neutralize bacteria and viruses.

The Filters

In addition to the ionizer, the Winix also uses a more traditional 3-stage filtration system. Two of these stages use washable parts that are easy to clean for extended life.

The stages include:

  1. Washable fine mesh pre-filter
  2. Washable carbon filter
  3. True HEPA filter
Filters on the Winix 5500-2 air purifier
Filters on the Winix 5500-2 air purifier

Combined, these filters can treat rooms up to 360 square feet. As mentioned above, the fine mesh pre-filter and the carbon filter are both washable.

The HEPA filter works like any other traditional HEPA filter. It can block particles down to 0.3 microns.

CHECK PRICE: Click here to check the current price of replacement filters.

Size & Dimensions

The Winix 5500-2 is a medium-sized purifier, designed to sit on the floor of a room. It’s not excessively small or shockingly large.

Size of the Winix 5500-2
Size of the Medify MA 50 air purifier

Exact dimensions are:

  • Width: 18″
  • Depth: 8″
  • Height: 23.5″ tall
  • Weight: 15.4 lbs.

Where to place the Winix?

Per manufacturer guidelines, it’s best to place this air purifier at least 12-18″ away from any TVs, radios, or other electronics. Also, it’s important to place indoors away from direct sunlight.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s also good to leave it at least 4″ from the wall for better air flow.

Place the WInix 5500-2 air purifier on a flat surface, away from TVs, direct sunlight, or walls.
Place the WInix 5500-2 air purifier on a flat surface, away from TVs, direct sunlight, or walls.

Lastly, always use the Winix on a hard, flat surface. Uneven floor types can cause the performance to drop and could also result in abnormal noise and vibrations during use.

Accessories & Parts

The Winix 5500-2 comes with a simple set of parts and basic accessories.

Here’s what all you can expect to receive in the box:

  • Winix 5500-2 air purifier
  • Fine mesh pre-filter
  • Carbon filter
  • True HEPA filter
  • Remote Control
  • User Manual / Quick Start Guide
Air vent on the Winix 5500-2 air purifier

👍 Usability

Getting the Winix 5500-2 set up and ready to use is pretty simple. Out of the box, the setup is quick and only takes about five minutes before you’re ready to start purifying.

Here’s a complete step-by-step process:

  1. First, unbox the purifier and remove all excess packaging.
  2. Follow instructions to remove the front panel.
  3. Ensure that all filters are installed correctly and do not have any additional packaging on the filters.
  4. Reinstall the front panel.
  5. Plug it in and get to work.

Daily Use

There are a couple of perks of the Winix 5500-2 air purifier when it comes to usability during daily use.

Side view of the Winix 5500-2 air purifier
Side view of the Winix 5500-2 air purifier

Some of the top features of this purifier include:

  1. Auto Mode
  2. Real-Time Air Quality Detection
  3. Remote Control
  4. Washable Filters

#1. Auto Mode

If you’re not sure which fan speed is right for your space, you can easily set this purifier on Auto Mode. When on Auto, the Winix will use on-board sensors to detect which fan speed is best for your current air quality and adjust as needed.

Motor on the Winix 5500-2 air purifier

#2. Real-Time Air Quality Detection

The same sensors that work with Auto Mode are also used to communicate this air quality on the front of the purifier in a way you can easily see whenever it’s running.

This LED color-changing bar is clear, simple, and uses three colors to effectively rate the indoor air quality.

#3. Remote Control

Not found with all air purifiers, it’s nice that the Winix has a remote control. This remote is compact but provides all of the most common features you’d likely be adjusting most.

Remote control for the Winix 5500-2 air purifier
Remote control for the Winix 5500-2 air purifier

Using the remote control, you can:

  • Turn the purifier on / off: turns the purifier on or off
  • Adjust fan speed: choose from three different fan speeds
  • Turn on Turbo Mode: runs the fan at maximum speed for quick results
  • Turn on Auto Mode: automatically adjusts fan speed based on current air quality conditions

#4. Washable Filters

As I’ve mentioned above, the Winix has three physical filters in this machine and of those three, two of them are washable. The washable filters include:

  1. Fine mesh pre-filter
  2. Carbon filter
Close up of the Carbon filter on the WInix purifier

You can wash both of these filters with cool water and allow them to air dry for 24 hours before reinstalling. Washing filters is a great way to extend the life of the filters.

How to replace the filter?

When it’s time to replace the filter, you can pull a simple latch to unlock the front panel of the purifier and set it aside. At that point, the filters pivot outwards and can be uninstalled and cleaned (or replaced).

Installing filters on the Winix 5500-2 air purifier

🔰 How Does It Compare?

So we’ve hit most of the highlights of the Winix 5500-2. Wondering how this model compares to other purifiers on the market?

We did too.

So we put together a 3-way comparison between Winix and two top competitors we’ve tested.

Here’s what we found out.

Winix 5500-2 vs. Levoit Vital 100 vs. Coway AP 1512HH

Winix 5500-2 air purifier

Winix 5500-2

Levoit Vital 100 air purifier

Levoit Vital 100

Coway air purifier review

Coway AP 1512HH

FeatureWinix 5500-2Levoit Vital 100Coway AP 1512HH
Check Price$$$$$
CoverageUp to 360 sf.Up to 500 sf.Up to 360 sf.
Dimensions18″W x 8″D x 23.5″H12.8″W x 6.4″D x 16.1″H16.8″W x 9.6″D x 18.3H
Weight15.4 lbs10.25 lbs12.79 lbs
Auto ModeYesNoYes
IonizerYesNoYes
PM2.5Down to 0.1Down to 0.3Down to 0.3
ReviewThis pageRead ReviewRead Review

In summary, we found the Winix to be the largest and heaviest of these three models, but also to have the best performance.

If you want to save some cash, the Levoit Vital 100 has a larger coverage area (for a lower price), but you give up the Auto Mode feature.

If you want to keep the Auto Mode and need about the same coverage, the Coway offers just that and with a smaller footprint (but a higher price tag).

📰 Specifications

Specifications 
ManufacturerWinix
Model5500-2
Width18"
Depth8"
Height23.5"
Weight15.4 pounds
Wifi CompatibleNo
Room Coverage~360 sq. ft.
ReturnsVaries by retailer
Warranty1-Year limited
PriceCheck Price

🥇Summary

I would recommend the Winix if you’re looking for an air purifier with the following features:

  • Great performance: The Winix 5500-2 air purifier did a fantastic job of cleaning the air in our testing room. It improved particle count by over 98% and reduced PM2.5 to 0.1.
  • Odor control: This purifier comes with a washable carbon filter, which noticeably improved the air quality in the space. Not all carbon filters are created equal, but I was really happy with the way this one performed.
  • Auto Mode: In addition to having three manually adjusting fan speeds, the Winix also has a nice Auto Mode which automatically adjusts fan speeds based on current air quality. There is also an LED color-changing bar on the front of the display which illuminated different colors based on current indoor air quality.
  • Remote control: If you’re looking for an air purifier you can control from across the room, the Winix certainly fits the bill. It has an intuitive remote control that is easy to use and is very responsive. All in all, great experience with this product.

For more information or to buy the Winix air purifier, click here.

ChangeLog

  • May 5, 2021 – Initial version of the page was published.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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6 Comments on “Winix 5500-2 Review”

  1. Thanks that video got me to your site! It’s great. Short to the point. I would recommend adding CFM vs Sq ft. Cause manufacturers play a game with Sq ft and CFM is an objective fact. Also, recommend if it has a blackout option. It’s no mentioned in the video.
    I’ll try out another few…
    I wonder if the homedics is not doing the job, or I’m just spoiled from have the winix tried first.
    Interestingly I didn’t see any of the reviewing sites having an objective review on it..

    Reply
    • Yeah, the whole CFM vs. coverage (square feet) is a weird one. In retrospect, I should have included CFM in that video, but didn’t since I didn’t have the data point for all of the units.

      Homedics as a brand just isn’t as popular as Winix and others, that’s why we haven’t tested it yet. Probably true for other review sites also.

      But it’s on our list now.

  2. I found this info about the unit.

    “What are the cadr ratings for this unit?
    AHAM Verified Room Size
    360 sq. ft.
    CFM (Sleep / Low / Med / High / Turbo)
    35.31 / 70.63 / 91.82 / 123.60 / 240.14
    CADR (Dust / Pollen / Smoke)
    243 / 246 / 232”

    The CADR is probably for the highest fan setting which is technically impossible to leave it on.

    I think this is so misleading, as everyone raves about the unit getting a 250 cfm machine for such a good price…. Well technically it’s a 90 to 124 max CFM, cause turbo is impossible to leave it on.

    It all boils down to CFM per watt and the filter type. Having said that I still don’t understand why a high CFM unit would not do a better job for bigger rooms. Even a smaller room can benefit as the higher CFM machines example 400, can be set at lower setting in which will actually get 250 CFM of benefits.

    I got the winix but will have to return it cause you can’t set it for total darkness only on night mode which sets the fan to the lowest technically tooooo low to filter in my opinion…

    What am I missing or do you have any suggestions.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I think all the points you make here are valid. But it’s sort of the same issue for every air purifier. They all showcase their CFM / airflow / coverage when on the maximum setting. For many users they aren’t going to want to have it on at that speed all the time.

      In general, more CFM should mean better purification, since it’s purifying more air per hour. But there’s definitely a point of diminishing returns (if the coverage level exceeds the room size), in my view.

      Given the total darkness mode issue, I think it’s clear the Winix isn’t right for you. But whatever you decide to go with I would suggest looking for a purifier that has the filters and usability features you want, with a coverage level that is suitable for your home / room. Finding a higher coverage level can be better in some cases, as it means you can keep it at a lower speed and still cover your area. So that’s something you should consider as well.

    • Thanks Derek for your help.

      I got the Homedics, has total darkness. Interestingly, the air was different and better with the winix. Can’t explain why, cause it’s also a 250 CMF has same 3 layer filters but there is a clear difference.
      I wonder why…

      Looking at the Coway as a possible option do you know if that has total darkness?

      Any other unit that maybe a option?
      No need any fancy nonsense add-ons, wifi, remote, by me it’s a set it forget it. I’m OK with fan speed 3,up to 60db as long as it’s a smooth noise.
      Just need it to be low watt usage, high cfm, darkness, and quality air.

    • The lights aren’t very bright on Coway, but I don’t think it has total darkness mode.

      The filters on the Winix, but especially the carbon filter, are high quality. I too noticed the improvement in smell / odor from Winix purified air. It’s definitely a cut above many others.

      Have our watched our video here yet? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAwxq5ALTvk It may help you to find the right model.