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Holmes Air Purifiers - Holmes Air Purifiers: Inexpensive, but do they even work?

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The Holmes brand of air purifiers represents the lower spectrum of air filtration technology. Rarely purchased, they are not even carried by many leading air purifier vendors. Though half as expensive as efficient budget filters, frequent filter replacements add to the long term cost of such a device.

Product reviews for Holmes Air Purifiers are rare; Epinions offers at most 4 reviews for any Holmes air purifier product. While these consumer reviews appear favorable, professional air purification reviewers like Air Purifier Power and That Air Guy explain these products’ inefficiency in no uncertain terms.

Air purification is a subject of great interest to consumer science, and the standards to which these devices are held are very high. For most buyers, an air purifier is a purchase made for health reasons, which is why websites like Allergy Buyers Club and Air Purifiers America test, stress, disassemble, and rate air filters down to the size of the largest particle which can slip past the filter. This history is keeping with the scientific basis of HEPA—high efficiency particulate air, a technology designed for military rather than health reasons.

Amid these many standards for comparison, Holmes Air Purifiers are found wanting. Their “HEPA-Type Purifiers” run from $35-$70 and are roughly as effective as pointing a fan out the window. Their 99.97% HEPA purifiers offer a little more, with prices ranging from $80-$140 and filters which meet the base standard for efficiency to which most air purifiers are held. Yet, even a Holmes HEPA air purifier is considered by most to be a bad value.

For simple filtration of a 100 square foot room, Allergy Buyers Club recommends the Plasmawave 5300, a $200 device with a $90 replacement filter. The $80 HAP8615-U from Holmes claims to be suitable for such tasks, but its filter fits so loosely that many particles will simply move around the gaps between the filter and the unit. Its “enhanced filter” is only enhanced with Arm and Hammer baking soda which, though an effective way to remove odors from the air, is not a particularly innovative way to increase air filtration. Indeed, a box of Arm and Hammer is far cheaper than purchasing a $22 Holmes enhanced filter.

One advantage to Holmes air purifiers is that their filters are universal among their units. Every device uses the same size and style of filters, meaning that product support is easy and that a home with multiple units could stockpile a single style of filter. Yet, this also comes with a downside, as each filter brings with it a new series of gaps through which unfiltered air can escape. Larger models feature as many as four filters, each of which must be replaced more often than their more durable competitors. When a full replacement package costs $88 and must be purchased twice as often (to keep the baking soda fresh), the apparent gain of using an inexpensive air filter is lost.

Barring use as a deodorizer or a superficial nod to air filtration, the Holmes lines of air purifiers are not the best value. As some of the cheapest in the market, they fail to operate at the standards to which other purifiers are held.

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