Honeywell is a name long associated with air purifiers for consumers at a good value. We wanted to find the best air purifier available under $300 and we found it in the Honeywell HA300BHD air purifier.
We unbox HA300BHD in this video.
Ahh, winter! As I write this, it’s the dead of winter and there is snow on the ground in my area. You would think that at this time of the year it’s not “allergy season”, and there is no need for an air purifier, right?
Well that’s what we thought too until our furnace started to run. Our furnace runs on natural gas and is a forced air type. The vents are installed in our floors downstairs and upstairs. Even though we cleaned the filters, and the ducts, just the fact that air blows out of the vents is enough to kick dust into the air throughout the house, and set off my allergies. My nose plugs up faster than I can write this sentence. Instead of treating symptoms like a stuffed up or a runny nose, sore throat or sinus headaches with drugs or “allergy medications”, wouldn’t it be better to fix the root cause of the problem, namely, dust, dander, and other nasty stuff in the air? Fortunately, there is a gadget that can “scrub” the air in our homes. It’s an air purifier!
We have several large rooms in our house and smaller air purifiers just don’t have enough scrubbing power to clean all of that air. In the past, we have reviewed small air purifiers that work great for smaller rooms. Today, we went looking for large air purifiers that didn’t break the bank, yet still had the power to clean bigger rooms. Today, we are reviewing the Honeywell HA300BHD. It’s also called the HPA300 and HA300 depending on where you buy it, but it’s all the same machine.
Honeywell is the number one Allergist recommended brand. They have been making air purifiers for many years and have a long-lived, well-earned reputation among consumers.
The Honeywell HA300BHD air purifier uses a well proven, time-tested two-stage mechanical filtering process. This means it does not generate any harmful ozone into your home. It comes with all of the filters in the box and nicely wrapped in plastic to protect them. The first stage is an activated carbon pre-filter, which not only captures the large things like dust bunnies, hair, and other large airborne particles, it also reduces odors by absorbing them. This pre-filter is a large pore filtering element that is made of “activated” carbon or “activated” charcoal filters. Activated means that the carbon or charcoal has been treated to increase its porosity. More pores or holes mean the carbon absorbs more foul odors and gasses. In addition, this filter has large holes between fibers to screen out large things like bugs, hair, dust bunnies, and other large debris. A carbon pre-filter keeps your HEPA filter from being clogged too early by large things. This is a great feature and all air purifiers should have this because the carbon pre-filter is very inexpensive, and it helps the more expensive HEPA filter last longer. The manufacturer recommends replacing the carbon pre-filter every three months. This is figured into our calculations in the section below on running costs.
After the carbon pre-filter stage, the Honeywell HA300BHD uses a “True HEPA” filter as the second and final stage. True HEPA means that it filters out 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger. Beware of “HEPA-type”, “HEPA-style”, “99% HEPA” and other similar non-true HEPA air purifiers. Folks, 99.00% is NOT good enough when it comes to air purification! A HEPA air purifier can filter out smoke and bacteria. A “99%” filter cannot! It’s that simple.
Here is some information you may not see in other reviews of this air purifier. It shares filters with the smaller Honeywell models in the same line. The HA300BHD use three filters. The smaller models, such as the HPA 200 use TWO filters. The HPA100 and HPA090 use a single filter. This means two important things to buyers of these machines. One, you can buy filter packs in 1, 2 or 3 packs of these filters. The 3 packs are cheaper on a per-filter basis (buying in bulk). Two, you can mix and match the differently sized models to your home. You might put the HPA300 in your largest room, like your great room, or kitchen/family room. You could then put the HA200 in your bedroom, and the HPA100 into your kids rooms. Since all of these machines use the same filter, you only need to remember to buy one replacement type. If instead, you bought several completely different machines (either a different product line by Honeywell or a different brand), you would have to try to remember which machine takes which filter type each time you replace them.
What makes this machine special and head-and-shoulders above the others is its combination of performance and price. This is simply the BEST performance air purifier under $250 at the time of this writing. Even if you compare it to the higher priced competition, it still beats other air purifiers. You would have to pay nearly $500 to beat it. It has a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rating) of 300 for tobacco smoke, 320 for dust and 300 for pollen. A higher CADR is better, and 450 is the maximum possible rating. 300 to 320 is a fairly high rating and is the highest rating for any air purifier under $450. Using the AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturer’s) formula of CADR (tobacco smoke) x 1.55, we calculated this air purifier is good for rooms up to 465 sq ft.
The Honeywell HA300BHD is extremely effective at removing air particles like mold, smoke, pollen and dust. It works especially well as compared to the competition, at the highest fan settings, though it can be noisy. But, it’s less noisy than other makes and models of air purifiers.
Honeywell designed the HA300BHD air purifier to achieve a very high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate). CADR is a rating used for air purifiers from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). The higher the number the better. The HDA300 has the following ratings:
CADR Tobacco Smoke: 300
CADR Dust: 320
CADR Pollen: 300
The maximum CADR number ANY air purifier can get is 450. Air purifiers with a CADR at 300 or higher are hard to find and usually cost $450 to over $1000. The HA300BHD has the highest CADR rating of any currently available air purifier on the market for under $250. With a CADR of 300, this means the HA300BHD is rated for rooms up to 465 square feet. This would be an almost square room 22 feet x 21 feet. Our own house has a combination family room and kitchen that measures 12 feet wide by 38 feet long, which is 456 square feet. This is the perfect size for this air purifier. The Honeywell HPA300 also carries an ACH (air changes per hour) of 5. This means it filters all of the air in a room 5 times per hour. ACH is another way to express how much air the purifier can move through the internal filters.
The Honeywell HPA300 is very simple and has two filters to change. There are no UV-C lamps or other parts or accessories that you need to worry about. It comes with a full set of filters in the box, so there is no need to buy anything additional when you first buy this machine. The manufacturer recommends that you replace the activated carbon prefilter every 3 months (4 times per year). The carbon pre-filter is very inexpensive and the HEPA filters come with carbon filters as well, just remember that you need to replace the inexpensive carbon filter more often than the HEPA filters. The basic carbon prefilter is fine for most people: Odor reducing pre-filter model HRF-AP1 (under $10).
There is a second version of the pre-filter as well. It is an upgrade over the less expensive one, and claims to remove household gas: Household Gas & Odor Reducing pre-filter model HRF-APP1 (under $20)
The next and last accessory that needs periodic replacement is just the HEPA filter the manufacturer recommends replacing once per year. The HA300BHD uses three individual filters, mounted vertically in the machine. Each filter is installed in its own matching slot, but they are all the same, so it does not matter which goes into which slot. They are not stacked sandwich style. You can buy the filters individually, but since this machine uses three at once, you are better off buying the three pack as that is the least expensive way (on a per-filter basis) to buy them. The three pack HRF-R3 is around $54 at the time of this writing. The HRF-R2 (2 pack filter plus the carbon pre-filter) is under $30. The true-HEPA filter model HRF-R1 (single pack filter) is under $20.
This air purifier shares the same filters with the smaller Honeywell HPA200 which uses two filters, and the Honeywell HPA100 or Honeywell HPA090 each of which uses one filter. This is convenient and a benefit because if you purchased more than one air purifier so that you could match the rated capacity of the air purifier to the room you are placing it in, there are big advantages to buying machines that all share the same filter. The first is that there would be cost savings as you can buy filters in bulk. Using the same filter for everything would simplify remembering which filter to buy and simplify keeping filters on hand.
The Honeywell HA300BHD uses less electricity than the prior large room Honeywell 50250 air purifier. It is Energy Start Qualified and Rated. Here are the measured energy consumption levels at the various machine settings:
1. “Germ” setting: 40 watts
2. “General Clean” setting: 71 watts
3. “Allergen” setting: 95 watts
4. “Turbo” setting: 129 watts
Annual and Monthly Running Costs
(energy costs plus replacement parts costs)
We then calculated the running costs for this air purifier and factored in the cost of replacement filters. We used the manufacturer’s recommended replacement schedule for the filters. If you have a lot of sources of dust and other particles in your home’s air (smokers, lots of pets, lots of people, live near a source of air pollution), you may need to replace the filters more often. We used 12 cents per kilowatt, which is the average cost of electricity across the USA.
In the tables below, the “General Clean” setting is in bold. We felt that this setting is the one most people will use when running this machine continuously.
Electric Energy Costs - Honeywell HA300BHD air purifier
1) Energy costs = 12 cents/kilowatt (average USA price)
Data (C) 2016 ArtleyHome.com
In this next table, we look at the TOTAL costs, which include the energy costs from the table above, and the filter costs.
Energy and Filter Change (Total) Costs - HA300BHD Air Purifier Review
1) Energy costs = 12 cents/kilowatt (average USA price)
2) Activated Carbon Pre-filter changed monthly
3) HEPA filter changed annually
Data (C) 2016 ArtleyHome.com
The HA300BHD has and indicator panel with lights to show current settings. The panel is touch sensitive, kind of like a smartphone but you touch metal instead of glass. There are controls to change the fan speed settings. There are four speed settings as well as a dimmer button for the indicator panel lights, so you can turn down the brightness for nighttime use. This machine can be run continuously, and is designed for this type of use.
This air purifier has a few other features as well.
- It can be placed up against the wall. Many other air purifiers need to be placed away from the wall or any furniture because they intake air all around the machine. Not the HA300BHD! It takes air in the front, filters it and ejects it straight up out of the top of the machine.
- Turbo fan setting – This is the highest fan setting. It can be noisy, but is the fastest way to filter your air. You may want to use this the first time you run the machine in a room that has never had an air purifier, or times when the air outside is really bad (nearby forest fires, bad smog days in your city, and so on)
- Timer option (automatic shut off – 2, 4, & 8 hour settings)
- LED Indicator light Dimmer (brightness setting)
- Electronic Filter Change reminder. A light comes on to let you know its time to change the HEPA filter.
Dimensions & Weight
The Honeywell HA300BHD weighs approximately 16.5 lbs. It is 22.3 inches high, and 20 inches wide and 22 inches deep at the base, which is a little larger in footprint than most of the upper part of the machine, as the base flares out about an inch past the front and sides of the machine.
- Can be placed in the corner of a room, up against the wall, or up against furniture (see the section on Other Features above)
- Made for large rooms, up to 465 square feet. Smaller versions available for smaller rooms.
- Consumer Reports lab and instrument tests and comparisons with other air purifiers found the HA300BHD to be superior, and the highest rated air purifier, in removing particles from the air all the way down to the smallest particles such as smoke, when compared to the other manufacturers and models.
- Effective at removing dust, smoke, and pollen at its lowest speed, which matters if you’ll run the unit in your bedroom at night.
- Especially effective at removing dust, smoke, and pollen at its highest speed, important for quickly cleaning the air in the room.
- Replacement filters available locally at Walmart, Home Depot, and online at Amazon and other places. When buying any air purifier, it’s important to make sure you can get replacement filters a year, or several years from now.
- You can mix and match multiple Honeywell HA series air purifiers in different rooms throughout your house because they all use the same filter. They only differ in the number of filter elements they use. The HA300 uses three filters, HA200 uses two filters, and HA100 or HA090 use one filter.
- Runs quietly on its lowest speed.
- When on its highest speed it is not especially quiet, but compared to other air purifiers, it is one fo the quietest.
- Easy to operate its controls, carry it, and clean or replace its filter(s).
- Has a filter indicator, which lets you know when it’s time to change/clean the main filter.
- Energy Star qualified, meaning it’s relatively energy-efficient compared with non-qualified models.
- Has carrying handles molded into the top sides of the unit. According to our scales, the unit only weighs 16.5 lbs making it easy to move around the house.
- Has a programmable timer.
- Has high annual costs, which includes routine filter replacement and annual operating costs. But, roughly the same operating costs (filter plus electricity) as air purifiers from other manufacturers that have roughly equivalent performance and roughly the same operating costs as the highly rated, but older, less expensive but noisier Honeywell 50250 that has a CADR of 250 which is lower performance.
- Relatively high filter costs. See section on accessories above, and the section on monthly and annual running costs, but in-line with filter costs with the competition.
- Relatively high operating costs. (see section above on monthly and annual running costs)
- Be careful of the front grill locking tabs. They are very easy to break off. If broken, you can use tape to secure the grill, or contact the manufacturer for a replacement grill.
Consumers rated this air purifier very high on Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Consumer Reports and other places. It has a Very fast and easy setup. It takes no more than two minutes to open the box, unbag the filters and install them and turn it on. People with allergies report that since using the HA300BHD, they no longer wake up with sore throats due to adopting cats. Others report coughing and snoring reduced and that its easier to sleep now. Some say it can be noisy at higher speed settings, and to be careful of the tabs that hold the grill in place on the front. It’s very easy to break off these tabs and some have resorted to using black tape to hold the grill on. Consumer reports tested many air purifiers and this one is the highest rated for performance. It also works better at low speeds than other units tried.