Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Air Purifier Review – WAC5300


When we decided to write this air purifier review, we searched for the best performing air cleaner under $180, that is suitable for medium sized and small sized rooms. We found the Winix WAC5300 air purifier, which we found has a very good CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) rating of 235, which means it’s good for rooms up to 350 square feet. It has the largest feature set of any air purifier under $200, including an air quality sensor and indicator with automatic fan speed control, and PlasmaWave technology.

Filter Type

The Winix WAC5300 air purifier uses three stage air cleaning. The first stage is an activated carbon prefilter. The second stage is the HEPA filter. The third stage is Winix’s PlasmaWave technology. Air enters in the front of the unit, goes through the activated carbon prefilter, then the HEPA filter, then through blower, then the PlasmaWave generator, and exits the top.
First Stage: Activated Carbon Prefilter
Activated carbon or charcoal is a form of carbon that has been processed so that it becomes porous or full of holes. The holes are microscopic, and huge in number. This makes the surface area of the carbon huge compared to its size. Just a single gram of activated carbon has over 5000 sq ft. This is about three times more than the area of the average American home. This huge surface area gives carbon the ability to absorb gasses, particles and odors in the air. As air passes through the activated carbon prefilter of the Winix WAC5300, the larger particles such as hair, large pieces of dust and odors are removed. This preserves the HEPA filter for the most difficult particles to remove – the smallest particles such as pollen and smoke.

Second Stage: HEPA filter

The next stage, and the most important stage, is the HEPA filter. HEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Arresting” or “High Efficiency Particular Air”. HEPA is actually a standard of efficiency set by the US Department of Energy. A filter must meet the standard of removing 99.97% of particles from the air that are 0.3 microns in size or larger. What is a micron? A micron is a very small unit of measurement. It is a millionth of a meter, which is why a micron is also called a micrometer. A micron is also a thousandth (.001) of a millimeter.
How big is 0.3 microns? This is the size of smoke particles. Bacteria are larger at about 0.4 microns. The width of a human hair is ginormous at 100 microns, as is the thickness of typical copier paper. A human red blood cell is 5 microns, or 16.7 times larger than 0.3 microns. Mold is about 1 micron. Allergy causing pollen is 7 to 10 microns.
Now what about that “99.97%” – if a filter can remove 99.00% of particles, is that good enough? Maybe for some, but it is not good enough to be called a HEPA filter. Some companies make filters they call “near-HEPA” or “HEPA-type”. These are 99% filters, but not true HEPA filters. A 99% filter will allow about 100 out of 10,000 particles through. It blocks 9,900 particles or 99% of the particles. By contrast, with a HEPA filter, only 3 (THREE) out of 10,000 may get through. This is what it means to block 99.97% of the particles. So the difference between 99% and 99.97% is 100 vs 3. Now you can see why HEPA is way better.

Winix PlasmaWave Technology and Video

This is a Winix’s name for a process the WAC5300 uses to break down chemicals in the air. It’s pretty technical, but this video makes it simple to understand:

Some have expressed concern about the ozone the WAC5300 can generate. However, the amount of ozone it generates is below the EPA mandated limits for safety, so it’s safe. One thing to remember with the WAC5300, it that it should not be used continuously in a small, closed room, without airing out the room, as ozone can still accumulate. Still, if you are concerned, you can always shut off the PlasmaWave feature.

Performance

The Winix WAC5300 is extremely easy to setup, and maintain. It works extremely well on cigarette smoke, cooking odors, cat odors, and dog odors. It performs extremely well in an apartment with three single men living together as roommates. In the long term performance (after many months), this air cleaner still performs great. Its super quiet at the medium to low settings. Pet owners with four dogs report that this machine helped a lot with allergies. As you can imagine, having four dogs around the house can generate a LOT of hair, dust, pet dander. A mother reported that her infant as well as herself would get congested every night until she bought this air cleaner and started using it. This unit is universally reported to have very quiet operation. It is excellent for people who want to run it while sleeping. It was found to be quieter than the competing GermGuardian units (which are also reported to be fairly quiet).

Capacity

The Winix WAC5300 air purifier has the following Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR):
238 Dust
235 Smoke
251 Pollen
Using the lowest CADR above of 235 calculates to a room size rating of 350 sq ft. This is room that measures 18.7 ft x 18.7 ft, or 15 ft x 23.3 ft. This is considered a fairly large room. Most homes 1800 sq ft and larger may have a living room or family room + kitchen this large.

Accessories

Comes with 1 activated Carbon pre-filter, 3 replacement activated carbon filters, and 1 True HEPA filter
A reusable, washable long-life HEPA filter option is available as well. Most other air purifiers do not have any kind of washable, reusable HEPA filter available. Please note that this filter can be washed and re-used up to 6 times, but this will save money in the long run.

Energy Consumption

Low 6 watts
Turbo 90 watts
The Winix PlasmaWave WAC5300 is Energy Star Qualified, which means it meets the EPA guidelines for energy efficiency and is 40% (or better) more energy-efficient than standard models of air purifiers. The EPA guidelines say that an air purifier must meed a minimum standard of 50 CADR for dust (the WAC5300 has a CADR of 238), and must meet a minimum performance requirement of 2.0 CADR/Watt for dust. The WAC5300 is at 2.64 CADR/watt, which means it exceeds the standard by 32%.

Annual and Monthly Running Costs

(energy costs plus replacement Parts costs)

The first table shows the electricity costs (power consumption) of the unit, at various power level settings. The Winix WAC5300 air purifier normally runs in the “auto” setting, and using its sensor, it will automatically adjust fan speed according to air quality. As it senses more particles in the air (dust, mold, smoke), it increases the fan speed. The table below shows the average for the auto setting. The other settings can be manually set.

Electric Energy Costs - Winix WAC5300 Air Purifier Review

SettingWattsDailyMonthlyAnnual
Auto, Low5$0.01$0.30$3.65
Medium15$0.04$1.22$14.60
High38$0.11$3.35$40.15
"Turbo"77$0.22$6.69$80.30
Assumptions:
1) Energy costs = 12 cents/kilowatt (average USA price)
Data (C) 2016 ArtleyHome.com

The following table shows the costs of electricity plus the cost of filters. In the case of the Winix WAC5300, the HEPA filter comes with four activated carbon filters, which you change every three months. The HEPA filter is replaced annually. The calculations in the table below assume buying the filter set annually, and add that to the power consumption costs.

Energy and Filter Change (Total) Costs - Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Air Purifier Review

SettingWattsDailyMonthlyAnnual
Auto, Low5$0.18$5.62$67.39
Medium15$0.21$6.53$78.34
High38$0.28$8.66$103.89
"Turbo"77$0.39$12.00$144.04
Assumptions:
1) Energy costs = 12 cents/kilowatt (average USA price)
2) Activated Carbon Pre-filter changed every 3 months
3) HEPA filter changed annually
Data (C) 2016 ArtleyHome.com

Also note that there is a Winix replacement filter that is reusable (washable) up to 6 times before it needs replacing. Though the filter costs about 70% more than the single use filter, being able to wash and reuse it up to 6 times means saving the cost of the single use filter 5 times. This means filter costs would be nonexistent for a total of 6 years.

Controls

The panel has only 2 buttons: a power button and a dual function, Speed/Mode button. The rest of the control panel shows you what the current fan speed setting is (1, 2, 3 and Turbo), the current mode setting (Sleep or Auto), the replace filter indictor light, and the air quality indicator. When the Replace Filter light comes on, it’s time to replace the HEPA filter. There is no indicator light for replacing the carbon pre-filter, which should be done every 3 months, according to the manufacturer. You can turn off the PlasmaWave feature if you want, but simply holding the power button.

Other features

Automatic indicator to let you know when it’s time to replace the HEPA filter.
Ultra quiet fan setting.
Sleep Mode
PlasmaWave ™ technology

Air Quality Sensor and Indicator

The Winix WAC5300 monitors air quality. If it senses a lot of particles in the air, it will automatically increase the fan speed setting. The Air Quality Sensor has a small grill at the front, just under the power button. It actually samples the air and measures the amount of contamination, dust, or pollution in the air. There is a bar graph that changes from green to orange to red, depending on your air quality. When placed in Auto mode (as opposed to sleep mode), the Winix WAC5300 will automatically adjust the fan speed settings. The poorer the quality of air it senses, the higher the fan speed. There are four available fan speeds.

Sleep Mode: Unlike other electronics or your computer, this is not to place the device in standby or “sleep” mode. Instead, placing the unit in sleep mode means that the panel lights will dim, and the fan speed will not go above the lowest setting, so that you can use the WAC5300 while you are sleeping.

The Winix WAC5300 has a brushless DC motor. That might not mean much to most people. Basically it means that its more efficient than regular motors and that it will last longer as there are no brushes to wear out. Cheaper motors use a component called a “motor brush” internally that are essential to how they operate. Brushless motors replace the brushes with high speed electronics. This means that they generate less ozone than motors with brushes because there is no electric arcing like in standard, brushed motors. Standard brushed motors are cheaper, which is why they are sometimes used. Brushless motors need electronic speed controllers to work, so they tend to be more expensive.

Dimensions

16.3 inches wide x 8.5 inches deep x 21.7 inches tall
15 lbs.

Pros

Inexpensive to buy
Comes with a year’s worth of filters: one HEPA and four carbon pre filters
Lots of advanced features for the price, such as the air quality sensor and indicator that adjusts fan speed automatically for the air quality it senses.
Automatic indicator to let you know when it’s time to replace the HEPA filter.
Optional washable filter available. Though expensive to buy, it’s cheaper in the long run as it can be washed up to 6 times before it needs replacing.
Replacement filter costs are very inexpensive, if you buy online.

Cons

Filters not stocked at big box retailers like Walmart, Home Depot or Lowes. You can order them through these stores, and pick them up in the store, have it shipped to you, or order via Amazon and have it shipped.
Must be placed no closer than 2 feet from the wall or furniture.
Must be placed no closer than 7 feet away from electronic equipment such as Televisions, stereos, and computers.

Consumer Ratings

Extremely highly rated and vetted by consumers with over 960 reviews, and 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Lots of power compared to other units purchased/tried out.
Works extremely well getting rid of cigarette smoke, cat litter box smell, dog smell.
With just the right sunlight so you can see dust in the air, when the WAC5300 is turned on, you can see the dust head towards the air purifier. After running it an hour, the air in the room was noticeably less stuffy. It was like going from a stuffy room to suddenly being outdoors.

Warranty

1 year limited warranty

Price

Video

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