Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Review
Although the South Korean brand Winix is a relative newcomer to the U.S. market, its air purifiers have earned high praise from experts and receive very positive reviews. The Winix PlasmaWave 5300 (starting at $168, Amazon) is a top performer -- the brand's best-selling model. This four-speed, Energy Star-certified unit with a true HEPA filter, as well as carbon pre-filter, uses patented PlasmaWave technology to break down air pollutants and odors. The company worked with researchers at Drexel University to develop this cutting-edge cleaning system. Yet despite the high-tech functionality of the Winix PlasmaWave 5300, the manufacturer created this unit with an eye toward keeping the price relatively low. Stripped of a few of the "extras" found in more recent models (most notably, a remote control), this one still delivers powerful performance that at least one tester claims is pretty much comparable to that of its updated, remote control-touting cousin, the Winix PlasmaWave 6300.
At 16.3 inches wide and 21.7 inches high, this relatively large air purifier is designed for big rooms up to 350 square feet. The unit's CADR ratings are in keeping with this coverage area: a solid 235 for smoke, 216 for dust, and 251 for pollen. It also features a sleep mode, an electronic display, and an automatic sensor that can cycle the unit through three stages of cleaning based on changes in room air quality.
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Reviews on Amazon, which number nearly 1,000, are very favorable toward this model. Across these reviews, the Winix PlasmaWave 5300 is noted as effective for relieving common allergy symptoms. Countless reviewers write of stuffy noses being cleared, trouble breathing lessened, and allergy symptoms alleviated. The Winix PlasmaWave 5300 has scored points for smoke removal, as well, with several reviews mentioning that it quickly clears out rooms well enough to calm smoke detectors. Several also note that the machine's odor-sensing abilities are extremely sensitive, and it kicks into the most powerful mode the minute it sniffs anything amiss. At the same time, some complain that the noise emitted at high power levels is slightly unpleasant.
It's also worth noting that, although the PlasmaWave technology is not supposed to produce any ozone byproducts, which can be harmful to health, there is still some debate as to whether it's completely ozone-free. While any emissions it may be producing are within government safety limits, and much lower than those released by ionizing air purifiers, consumers may choose not to use the "Wave" function on the machine and simply rely on the HEPA filter to do the trick. (A reviewer explains how to turn off this function without the benefit of a remote control.)
Finally, although consumers save on energy costs with this efficient model, it still requires periodic spending on filter replacements. The Winix PlasmaWave 5300 is equipped with a light to signal it's time for a change. A few users express dissatisfaction with models requiring more frequent filter changes than originally recommended by the manufacturer.