WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 Air Purifier Review: 7-Years Later

This is a review of the WINIX PlasmaWave® 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier.  The Winix PlasmaWave 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier is what our family has used for the last 7 years (and counting). This review covers hands-on testing of the durability, price, and efficiency versus allergies, mold, dust, bacteria/viruses, and chemicals.

This post may contain affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases”.

WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 Review Background

My family has been using the Winix Plasmawave 5500-2 for many years (we bought it from Amazon in September 2017). That means we have gone through at least 5 filter changes and 16 cleanings, and we have cycled through 175,200 clean air exchanges (and counting)

UPDATE: 7 filter changes, 28 cleanings, 300,000+ air exchanges = zero issues to date.

This review will give you the most in-depth look at the longevity and performance of this Winix PlasmaWave 5500-2 true HEPA Air Purifier.

Is WINIX a good Brand? 

With my extensive research and product experience, my opinion is that WINIX is a good brand, and here is why.  WINIX is a company located in South Korea that was founded around 5 decades ago. (A long time to be in business!) WINIX is not just in the air purifying business. They have products in the humidifier/dehumidifier, and water cooler niches as well. 

All WINIX products are made and designed in South Korea and have sales offices in Asia, America, and Europe. 

Certifications

Various WINIX products hold certifications from many reputable companies and organizations around the world. Here is a list of certifications held by Winix:

  • ENERGY STAR
  • UL
  • Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM
  • California Air Resources Board (CARB)
  • European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF)
  • Conformitè Europëenne (CE)
  • Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
  • Technical Inspection Association – English/Technischer Überwachungsverein – German (TUV)
  • Allergy UK Seal of Approval

Awards

The WINIX company has earned awards from Red Dot Design, Good Design, IF Design, and the International Design Excellence Award. Home Air Guides awarded this purifier as the “Best Value Air Purifier”.

WINIX has been around for a long while delivering consumers quality and affordable products, they make sales globally, hold multiple reputable certifications, and have been awarded numerous awards. 

For these reasons, as well as my personal experience with their products, I have every reason to believe WINIX is a good company and brand. 

What is the WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier?

The WINIX PlasmaWave® 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier is a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifier.  This HEPA air filter is designed to remove 99.97% of smoke, pollen, dander, dust/dust mites, and other allergens from the air in your living space. 

Air Purification Stages

The WINIX 5500-2 has 4 stages to the air purification process: pre-filter, carbon filter, HEPA filter, and PlasmaWave.

Stage 1: Mesh Pre-Filter 

The washable mesh pre-filter grabs the big floating around, which extends the life of the HEPA filter. Since we have our windows open occasionally, and we have a dog, we have to clean our pre-filter about monthly. This keeps the seasonal allergens and pet dander under control.

Stage 2: Washable AOC™ Carbon Filter

WINIX AOC is Advanced Odor Control.  The Advanced Odor Control (AOC) Carbon filter contains carbon, which reduces Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paints, air fresheners, varnishes, etc.

In addition to VOCs, this middle filter layer removes odors floating around from cooking, smoke, pets, and humans.

dare I say… it filters/removes bodily function odors? (hey, it works) 

The more often you wash the carbon filter, the less efficient it becomes, but you can purchase replacements if you need to change it more than once a year. 

Stage 3: True HEPA Filter

The True HEPA  filter Captures 99.97% (particles as small as 0.3 microns) of the little things floating around that the other stages of filtration didn’t stop. 

The HEPA filter is where most of the magic happens,  as it filters out more of the smoke, pet dander, dust, pollen, mold spores, and other airborne allergens. Don’t wash this one! 

Stage 4: PlasmaWave Air Cleaning Technology 

The PlasmaWave technology works by generating both positive and negative ions, which combine with water vapor to form hydroxyl radicals. These hydroxyl radicals then react with and neutralize various airborne pollutants, including viruses, bacteria, chemical vapors, and odors. The process is intended to break down and eliminate these particles at a molecular level without producing harmful ozone.  You can easily disable this feature. 

Important Filtration Facts 

The most important stages of a good air purifier would be its HEPA efficiency and 2nd the carbon filter.  This air purifier has True HEPA which is more efficient than a regular HEPA as well as the carbon filter which isn’t offered by quite a few comparable air purifiers.

What is PlasmaWave Technology?

I didn’t want to mess this up, so here is what I grabbed from WINIX directly from their FAQ page.

PlasmaWave® Technology safely breaks apart odors, allergens, chemical vapors, and other pollutants at the molecular level, without causing harmful ozone. PlasmaWave® creates positive and negative ions that combine with natural water vapor to form hydroxyls, which cleans the indoor air. Winix Air Purifiers are tested and certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to be well within very safe emission levels. CARB EO reference numbers are available on request”

There is quite a bit of banter across the internet on whether this technology produces ozone.  WINIX states it does not produce ozone.

In my opinion, there is enough credible information out there to prove to me that this does not produce harmful ozone and we use it consistently.  If the PlasmaWave technology is something that you don’t want to mess with, you can simply shut it off.

Effectiveness of the WINIX 5500-2

The WINIX 5500-2 is a True HEPA filter, meaning it is capable of filtering out 99.97% of particles larger than 0.3 microns. 

For maximum efficiency and airflow, WINIX recommends that the air purifier unit be placed 12 – 18 inches from the wall.  There are HEPA imposters out there that claim to be “HEPA-like”, and “Removes over 95%”; these are not true HEPA filters. 

The WINIX 5500-2 Utilizes a True HEPA Filter  

With the use of an actual HEPA filter, we have noticed that our allergy symptoms have improved, and there is less dust gathering on items, and in the air.  You know when the sun hits just right and you see all the dust floating around? With this air purifier, there is barely anything floating around!

WINIX 5500-2 Features Review

There are many features on this HEPA filter, including quiet operation, sleek looks, and extremely easy to use. Here is a review of all the features equipped on the 5500-2 model.

5500-2 Noise Levels 

When set to auto, we rarely hear the machine.  If there is something really stinky going on we might manually turn it to turbo mode, then you can hear it operate. 

The air purifier does play a little tune when you turn on or shut off the device, as well as makes a beep when you change a setting.  The sounds you are not able to shut off might be off-putting for some.  Through normal daily operations, we don’t hear it. 

4 Fan Speeds (Quiet, Medium, High, Turbo) 

There are four different fan speeds which you can set manually, or set to “auto” and you won’t have to think about it. Here is a breakdown of each mode:

  • Quiet: Truly quiet, and you cannot hear it unless you are right next to it 
  • Medium: You can hear the fan, not intrusive in any way 
  • High: You notice that the purifier is on and has a night white noise 
  • Turbo: Maximum filtration is happening, and you can for sure hear it. But it’s in Turbo mode…you know it’s doing some heavy air purifying.

Looks

Winix brand 5500-2 air purifier in the living room near a green wall.

We like the look of our purifier. We have lived in a few houses over the years and we have found it fits into its surroundings no matter where it is. We like that it is versatile with blending into its environment. 

Durability

winix 500-2 plasmawave air purifier front view

This thing is a (sleek) tank!  It has been through kids pushing it over onto the ground, us moving it all around the house into different rooms, as well as multiple house moves with some not-so-great moving companies.

As you can see in the image, our air purifier has some scuffs and scratches but still runs strong.  Our WINIX 5500-2  has survived it all and still runs like a champ.

Ease of Use

The Winix 5500-2 is very easy to use, and it’s straightforward with its design and instructions. There is nothing complicated about this HEPA filter, and that is a good thing! 

Remote Controlled

There is a remote control for this device and you can control:

  • Power on/off
  • Turbo on/off
  • Auto mode on/off
  • Fan speed up/down  

The remote does not allow you to turn on/off the PlasmaWave or put the air purifier into sleep mode.  Honestly, we don’t use the remote control and rarely know where it is. (the protective plastic is still on ours many years later) 

We have our purifier near the living room and kitchen so we can walk up to it and change any settings we want.  Most of the time it’s on auto mode and we don’t worry about it at all. 

Air Quality Indicators 

winix air quality indicator levels

The front of the device is equipped with an Air Quality Indicator. This indicator tells you what the air quality status is currently in your room. 

  • Good Air – Blue
  • Fair Air – Orange
  • Poor Air – Red

I like to say there is a 4th indicator that I call “Disco”.

When you first turn on the filter it flashes all the colors for a few seconds, like a disco party. “Disco” is just essentially booting up/calibrating. 

Sensors That Smell

winix 5500-2 air purifier sensors

This air purifier is equipped with a sensor, to “sense” air quality. 

The sensor is “smelling” the air and adjusts the fan speed (and the air quality indicator) when it senses there is something bad in the air.  This all happens automatically which is great.

You can override auto mode and have the purifier running on any of its modes if you prefer as well. 

Sleep Mode: Silent, But Still Working

The WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier has a sleep mode. When the room gets dark it goes into sleep mode.

During sleep mode, the filter is on its quietest setting (still running), and the Air Quality Indicator lights shut off.  Don’t you hate devices that are too bright when you turn out the lights? this is not one of them and goes to sleep when you do.  

When the room gets bright, the purifier “wakes up” and goes back to auto mode and your indicator lights turn back on. 

We love sleep mode. 

You Can Set A Timer 

There may be a time when you only want the filter to be running for a bit and then shut off.  There is a timer button that allows you to set a 1, 2, or 8-hour timer. 

Once the time has been reached the filter will play its little notification noise and the unit will power off.

Power Cord Storage

winix 5500-2 cord storage

The WINIX 5500-2 has your standard power cord, which is plenty long. You are also able to wrap any excess cord around the base of the purifier so it is out of the way. 

Specifications of the WINIX 5500-2 Air Purifier

WINIX does have some similar models, so check their website for the most up-to-date specifics. Here are the specifications for the Winix 5500-2:

  • Model Name: 5500-2
  • Power Voltage:  AC 120 V / 60 Hz
  • Power Rate: 70 W
  • Verified Room Size: 360 sq. ft.
  • Dimensions: 15 in (Width) × 8.2 in (Depth) × 23.6 in (Height) or 38.1 cm (Width) x 20.8 cm (Depth) x 59.9 cm (Height)
  • Weight: 14.7 lbs or 2.13 kg
  • Replacement Filter Type: Type “H”/SKU: 116130

What Size Room is the WINIX 5500-2 Rated For?

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has certified the Winix PlasmaWave 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier to work best in a room that is 360 Sq ft/medium to large rooms.  

AHAM measures the air cleaning rate by using the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). They test with tobacco smoke, fine dust, and paper mulberry pollen (small, medium, and large particles) measuring typically in cubic feet per minute, how fast the air in the room will be cleaned. 

The higher the CADR numbers, the faster the air cleaner will clean that room. Keep in mind there is no max number when using the CADR. The best way to compare the air purifiers’ performance is to compare the CADR numbers. 

WINIX vs Honeywell CDAR Comparison

CDAR Comparison Example winix vs honeywell

As you can see the WINIX has higher numbers in all categories meaning it will clean the air faster than the Honeywell. If the room you are looking to purify is around 360 sq feet, the WINIX 5500-2 is certified effective for your needs. 

Warranty/Returns/Exchanges

The WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 comes with a 2-year limited warranty. WINIX will fix or replace the unit if any part is found to be defective.  WINIX does have specific criteria that will need to be met to honor the warranty, as well as a list of actions that will void that warranty.

I recommend you read the full terms and conditions page on their website for details. 

Returns

WINIX America does take returns within 30 days of purchase from their website. If you bought the air purifier from a third party (Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, etc.) you would simply start the return through that retailer. 

Exchanges

WINIX’s exchange policy is you send them the item to be returned ( start the return process) and once you are reimbursed you can order a new product. Not really an “exchange” if you ask me, but they do have “exchanges”.

WINIX 5500-2 Operation Costs

The initial purchase price of the WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier varies between retailers, currently, the price from Amazon is around $149. 

The HEPA filter is good for up to 1 year of use, and its efficacy life depends on proper pre-filter cleanings, how long you run the filter, the concentration of airborne contaminants, and where you are operating the unit. 

Using the filter for 1 year, it would cost $79.99  from WINIX to replace it every 12 months (your first-year filter is included)

Electricity Usage

ENERGY STAR has rated the annual energy use at 296.58 kWh per year, and the average US cost per kWh is around 13 cents.

At these rates, the WINIX air purifier costs about $38 a year to operate.

Replacement Filters

It is recommended that you buy genuine WINIX replacement filters, as WINIX honors their warranty on their products, and using a third-party filter would void your warranty.

If you don’t care about that or you are over the warranty timeline, you can use the third-party filters which have worked great for us and can save you money

WINIX recommends you follow these steps to replace your HEPA filter at least annually, and this specific model (5500-2) uses the type “H” filter.

UPDATE: You can now buy genuine WINXI Type “H” filters on Amazon! These are the real deal from WINIX, and usually, these are at a cheaper price compared to the WINIX website.

Do I Recommend the WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier?

old-new-HEPA-filter

Yes, I recommend this air filter. As you can see from this image, the WINIX 5500-2 works!!

I get excited about filter changes so I can see these comparisons and get the satisfaction of knowing I reduced the dust, mold, bacteria/viruses, dander, and violent organic compounds for my family.

Cost aside…Being able to relieve your symptoms, breathing fresh air, and the good potential that this device can keep you from getting sick… Priceless  Based on my 4+ years of using this product with no issues and relief in allergy symptoms for my whole family…

Where to Buy

The Winix 5500-2 Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology is found at many major retailers. I recommend you buy your WINIX air purifier directly from WNIX, or through Amazon. 

Final Thoughts 

Once you own a True HEPA filter, you will not want to go back to life without one.  Reducing illness, asthma, and seasonal allergy symptoms while promoting a healthy indoor environment for yourself and your loved ones, makes it all worth it.

I understand that this specific unit may not be the one for you, so find one that fits your needs and price point.  If this WINIX 5500-2 checked all your boxes, get it, you will not be disappointed

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