Honeywell Enviracaire 50250 Air Purifier Review by Garth Wernsman
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The Honeywell 50250 99.97% Pure HEPA Round Air Purifier does a fine job at a modest price. It’s far from a top of the line model, and it has its pros and cons, but it also sells at far from the top of the line price.
Construction – 360 Degree Airflow
The Honeywell 50250 is a bit of an odd duck in the home air purifier market, due to its round case. That has advantages and disadvantages.
It makes it a little tough to find a good spot to place the unit. Corners are the natural home, limiting your options. At 19 inches high and 18 inches in diameter, it’s a fairly hefty unit. Its 21 lbs weight lends support to that view. On the upside, it provides a 360 degree airflow, which really helps take in and pump out the air.
Appearance is subjective, but it lacks the high-tech look of most contemporary units. The controls and indicators are somewhat limited, making it look even plainer.
An indicator light on newer models is also bright blue, so you probably don’t want to put this in the bedroom unless you like the glow.
Performance – Very Respectable CADR/$ Ratio
The Honeywell Enviracaire 50250 does a good job where it counts, for sure; it cleans a lot of air very well. The HEPA filter is one reason, of course. It captures at minimum 99.97% of particles above 0.3 microns in size.
The numbers show you how much of that gunk you can expect to clear how quickly. The model number in this Honeywell line specifies the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate, a measure of how many cubic feet per minute of clean air are introduced to the room). So the CADR number is 250 for smoke, 250 for dust and 250 for pollen.
Those are very respectable ratings, particularly when you calculate the CADR/$ ratio, which is decidedly – and happily – on the high end of things, i.e. you get a lot of clearance for the money. And it’s especially nice that it does that for all three major home pollutants. Many other models have a good number for one and a weaker number for another.
The Honeywell 50250 also purifies out of the air mold spores, dust mites, cat dander, and other allergy-inciting nasties. Unlike high-end units, it’s not really geared to clear gases and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that well, so plan accordingly.
Run this air purifier overnight in the den and you’ll see that even the normal dust you’d find on your TV screen simply isn’t there. That layer of dust you find on your coffee table – if, like me, you’re too busy to wipe it properly every day – is absent. Nice.
Noise Level – Noisy!
The drawback comes when you look at (or test) the noise levels. For a 3-speed fan it gives a surprisingly poor showing here, even at the slowest speed. You probably won’t want to stay in the room when it’s running at the highest speed, since it produces 57db. The middle setting produces 45db. Even the lowest speed generates 35db.
That’s noisy for a high-quality home air cleaner, even one in the modest price range. Working on a computer with the unit running full blast requires good concentration.
In conjunction with the noise, there is a bit of unusual vibration. Unusual, at least, for a truly well-made home air purifier. Some lemons in otherwise good models will have a slightly off-center fan. That produces vibrations similar to car tires that need balancing.
That’s not the problem here. The Honeywell 50250 can build up air in front of the HEPA filter. That causes the case to wobble a bit. That will be especially problematic on a hardwood floor or a table top if you place your purifier there. Not a happy situation.
50250-N = 50250 with Lifetime HEPA Filter
The 50250-N is an unofficial model number that is used for referring to the new version of the Honeywell 50250 which features a lifetime HEPA filter.
Note that the new model number is actually not labeled on the packaging. So apparently if you want to know what model you have, you need to look for “permanent HEPA filter” on the packaging while the original 50250 will make no reference to this.
Also the older unit has red/black packaging while the newer model is mostly white/light in color.
Maintenance and Operation Costs
The Intelli-Check electronic filter monitor sports a red light to alert you when the HEPA filter is dirty or the pre-filter needs to be replaced and that’s a nice feature to have.
Luckily, it’s not like the “Check Engine” light on your car, which is meaningless. It’s sensor – not ‘mileage’ – driven. Keen. Even better, the indicators give you a warning, showing a sequence of lights as the filter gets closer to needing replacement. When the light stays on permanently, it’s time for a change.
The carbon pre-filter can be vacuumed multiple times before needing to be replaced. The cost of the Honeywell 38002 Enviracare Universal Replacement Pre-Filter is currently around $20 (not taking into account any savings you can find at Amazon for example).
The HEPA filter can be cleaned many times as well, especially if you purchase the 50250-N, which features a lifetime HEPA filter.
Beware that term “Lifetime” however! It’s as much a marketing term as a technical one. Long use and multiple cleanings will degrade the filtration ability of even these high-end True HEPA filters. Eventually, they do need to be replaced. How often will vary quite a bit depending on your room environment and how carefully you clean the filter.
The plain 50250 model uses a HEPA filter rated to be replaced every 1-3 years, which is still pretty good. You’ve 2 options here…
- The Honeywell HRF-14 Pure HEPA Permanent Replacement Filter fits all current and past large sized Honeywell rounds including the 50250. Note that you need 3 of these stacking filters. The cost is about $80 for a 3-pack (not taking into account any savings you can find at Amazon for example).
- Another (slightly more expensive) option is to buy the one piece Honeywell 24000 Replacement HEPA Filter. It does fit the 50250 model, even though the online specs don’t say so. The cost here is about $90 (not taking into account any savings you can find at Amazon for example).
Replacing that filter is supremely easy in any case, and doing so will show you how well made this unit is. Gently place the air cleaner on its side and unscrew the locking mechanism located under the base assembly to get access to the filter chamber. Inside, you can observe how well sealed things are. You can observe the absence of unwanted air bypass – which would show up as scattered dirt particles around the unit where they don’t belong – by noting the absence of dirt everywhere but the filter.
You won’t be terribly happy with the increase in your electric bill. The Honeywell 50250 consumes 50 watts on the lowest speed (high-end units less than 10), and the medium speed consumes 120 watts. The highest speed a whopping 170 watts.
Does it include a Warranty?
Yes, the Honeywell 50250 includes a 5 year warranty.
What Others Are Saying?
Despite the disadvantages the Honeywell Enviracaire 50250 still gets very good marks from the overwhelming majority of real buyers on Amazon – almost 200 4-5 star ratings and only a two dozen 1-2 stars. Below I put some of the comments to date. Read the full reviews here.
- “Loud on high, but works well”
- “No more cat allergens”
- “Effective, economical HEPA filter”
- “Fantastic product & value at an affordable price”
- “Great for allergies, and dust control”
- “Large, but solid, easy, and effective”
- “Glad I listened to the good reviews”
- “Works great, but loud and bright”
- “FABULOUS – Working perfectly after 3 years”
- “Best Value Purifier”
The Honeywell 50250 home air purifier does the job and does it well for what you pay for it. It lacks some of the nicer bells and whistles of higher-end units and is a bit noisy. If you’re looking for an air cleaner for a bedroom and hoping to sleep with the unit on this is probably not the right model for you. Still, if you’re less sensitive to background noise than others, be guided by your personal taste here.