Holmes Air Purifier Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

Holmes makes two basic air purifier types – those with a True HEPA filter, and those with a HEPA-like filter and a lower price tag.

This Holmes air purifier review and buying guide stars with the best Holmes air purifier models. It’s a list of our professionally chosen top pics in popular categories. The list allows you to quickly choose a Holmes model, purchase it and get on with your life.

If you prefer more details, they’re found below in our Holmes air purifier reviews.

Those reviews are followed by a complete Holmes Air Purifier Buying Guide with details about each of the brand’s two major lines of air cleaners.

What’s In This Guide?

If you’d like to compare Holmes to other top brands, see our Review and Buying Guides for Honeywell, Dyson, Winix, Levoit, Molekule, NatureFresh and other leading brands.

Best Holmes Air Purifiers – Top Picks

What is the best Holmes air purifier?

It depends on the room size it will serve. With that in mind, here are our pro picks for the best Holmes air purifier models based on air cleaning capacity.

      Image                    Product

Holmes 3-Speed HEPA-Type

  • Filters 99% of allergens and other pollutants
  • 3 cleaning speeds
  • Carbon filter for odors
  • Cleans 110 s.f.

Best for Small Rooms

Holmes True HEPA Air Purifier

  • Removes 99.97% of pollutants
  • 4 cleaning speeds
  • 16-Hr timer
  • Carbon filter for odors
  • Cleans 256 s.f.

Best for Medium Rooms

Holmes 4-Speed True HEPA

  • Removes 99.97% of pollutants
  • 4 cleaning speeds
  • Carbon filter for odors
  • Dirty filter light
  • Cleans 349 s.f.

Best for Large Rooms

Holmes Air Purifier Reviews

This section provides more information on the top picks.

It is designed to allow you to compare Holmes air purifier’s with other leading brands.

To make that possible, we have completed reviews for Honeywell, Dyson and other top air purifier brands.

What are Air Purifier CADR Scores?

Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) scores measure how much air an air purifier cleans per minute.

Three pollutants are measured: Smoke, Dust and Pollen. Holmes doesn’t always list all scores – often just the CADR rating for Smoke.

Here are Holmes air purifier reviews and ratings.

Best for Small Rooms

1. Holmes Small Room 3-Speed HEPA-Type Air Purifier with Optional Ionizer

This unit is also called the Holmes Aer1 Desktop Personal Air Purifier

It has a HEPA-type filter that filters particles as small as 2.0 microns. A carbon filter absorbs particles that cause odors.

Reason for the Choice: It has a small, compact design and can be placed horizontally or vertically on the floor or a table. It is sized for a small bedroom or office, bathroom, den and similar space.

Room Size: Up to 110 square feet (e.g. 11x10)

CADR Scores: Smoke 70

Features: 3 fan speeds, also known as cleaning levels. HEPA-like and carbon filters. Optional ionizer. An ionizer emits negative ions that bind with pollutants. This process forms larger particles that are more easily captured by the filters. Note: Ionizers emit ozone, which is known to cause irritation to breathing passages.

Features Rating: 3 – Very basic design plus the ionizer, which we’re hesitant to recommend due to the ozone issue.

Filter Rating: 4 The carbon filter helps with odors, but the main filter isn’t true HEPA.

Efficiency Rating: Unknown

Quality Rating: 3 Decent quality and backed by a 3-year warranty.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Best for Medium Rooms

2. Holmes True HEPA Allergen Remover Air Purifier with Digital Display for Medium Spaces

What do you want to remove from your home’s air? Dust? Pollen? Smoke? Pet dander? This unit tackles all those allergens and more with a True HEPA filter and carbon

Reason for the Choice: This air cleaner has true HEPA filtration and good features.

Room Size: Up to 256 square feet (e.g. 14x18)

CADR Scores: Smoke 193

Features: 4 cleaning speeds. 16-hour timer. Filter monitor. Can be placed vertically or horizontally to make best use of your space. Main filter is infused with baking soda to remove more odors.

Features Rating: 4 – The unit has good performance features and is easy to use. We’d give it a 5, but it is pretty loud on the highest speed. In fact, Holmes recommends using the highest speed “for powerful air cleaning while you’re out.” (Emphasis added)

Filter Rating: 5 – True HEPA plus a carbon pre-filter.

Efficiency Rating: Unknown

Quality Rating: 3 – Good, but not great. The warranty is 3 years.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Best for Large Rooms

3. Holmes Large Room 4-Speed True HEPA Air Purifier

This is Holmes’s best all-around air cleaner. It has solid performance and excellent air filtration.

Reason for the Choice: True HEPA filtration and multiple speeds. We recommend high speed for quick odor removal or for a more thorough cleaning of the air while you’re out of the house (it’s loud!).

Room Size: Up to 349 square feet.

CADR Scores: Smoke 225

Features: Three-stage cleaning (see filter rating) and 4 fan speeds to do the job at the rate you prefer. Washable pre-filter cuts down on replacement costs. LED dirty filter notification.

Features Rating: 4 – Good features, but runs pretty loud on fan speeds 3 & 4 (70dB – like a central AC outdoor unit).

Filter Rating: 5 – It has 3 filters – carbon, standard pre-filter and HEPA filter. Baking soda is used in the main filter to absorb odors.

Efficiency Rating: Unknown

Quality Rating: 4 – This is a well-built air purifier covered by Holmes’s best 5-year warranty.

Overall Rating: 4.33 out of 5

Guide Section

This guide is designed to do two things. First, it sorts out the Holmes air purifiers, so you can select the right model for your needs.

Secondly, the Holmes Air Purifier Buying Guide allows you to quickly compare this brand with other top brands like Honeywell that we’ve produced guides for.

Overview

Holmes makes two lines of air purifier: True HEPA and HEPA-like air purifiers.

Here’s a detailed look at features, pros, cons and more from both series starting with a table for quick comparison.

Series

Filter Types

Room Sizes

CADR

Cost

Filtration

Warranty

True HEPA

HEPA & Carbon

85-349 s.f.

70-225

$37 - $160

99.97%

3 or 5 Years

HEPA-like

Non-HEPA

110-180 s.f.

Unknown

$40 - $90

99%

3 years

* CADR is Clean Air Deliver Rate. We list the CADR for Smoke removal.

Cost covers all models in the series, from lowest to highest room size rating.

Holmes Allergy Remover True HEPA Air Purifiers

Holmes makes Basic and Better grades of air purifier.

These are the Better grade. True HEPA filtration is the difference. To meet HEPA standards, the unit must filter out of the air 99.97% of pollutants including dust, pollen and pet dander.

Models and Room Size Rating: It is difficult to say how many HEPA models Holmes makes because they’re not listed all in one place.

Some are sold on the Holmes website and/or on Amazon. Others are available exclusively from Target or other retailers and don’t appear on the Holmes site. Square footage ratings are 85 to 349 square feet.

Filtration: All have genuine HEPA filters. Some have a washable pre-filter, which is permanent. Others have an activated carbon pre-filter.

Features: The features vary a little by model, but this is what you’ll find among them:

You’ll get good air purification with a Holmes air purifier with a True HEPA filter. with the Holmes (or any brand) air purifiers with a HEPA-type filter. They are a waste of money.
  • Electronic push-button controls
  • Notification light for dirty filter
  • 3 or 4 cleaning levels – fans speeds
  • A few have timers
  • A few have ionizers

Ionizers are controversial.

The technology works, but the cure for bad air might be worse than the problem. We don’t recommend them.

Ionizing Technology: When the ionizer is on, negative ions are emitted. They help air purification by attaching themselves to very small airborne particles in the room.

These particles take on a negative charge and join with positively charged particles such as dust, pollen, smoke, and pet dander to form larger particles. These larger particles are then more easily captured by the filter system. 

The Problem with Ionizers: They emit ozone. Here’s what the US Environmental Protection Agency says: “Ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen. The third oxygen atom can detach from the ozone molecule, and re-attach to molecules of other substances, thereby altering their chemical composition.”

OK. That’s what makes them effective. The third oxygen molecule attaches to a pollutant, making it larger and heavier, and it can be more easily filtered out.

But that third molecule can also attach itself to the lining of your breathing passages and lungs.

The EPA report goes on to say, “When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation. Ozone may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections.”

In fact, if you have asthma, COPD or other breathing issue, you should not use an ionizer – even though the technology might make your air cleaner.

Pros: Genuine HEPA filtration. Good smoke CADR. Range of air purifier sizes to fit small to large rooms and zones of a house, apartment or office suite. Affordable cost compared with many other brands.

Cons: Most units are noisy on Medium and High settings. That’s partly the downside of buying an inexpensive air purifier, and Holmes are among the lowest in cost. Other common complaints are cheap plastic cabinets and filter doors that don’t fit securely.

Best Use: The true HEPA models are best for those with breathing issues. But avoid Ionizer models or simply don’t use that mode. Also, if you want a low-cost model and don’t mind the extra noise, a Holmes true HEPA is a good choice.

Holmes HEPA-type Air Purifiers

When you read that an air purifier has a HEPA filter, you know exactly what that means – a filter tested to remove 99.97% of airborne particles down to .3 microns.

There is NO industry standard for HEPA-type filters, though most filter about 99% of pollutants. That’s true for Holmes, Honeywell and other top brands.

Holmes HEPA-type air purifiers are Basic in quality, durability and air purifying performance.

Models and Room Size Rating: You’ll find 4-6 Holmes HEPA-Type air purifiers depending on where you shop. Most are designed for small rooms of about 110 square feet. The largest is a medium room air purifier with capacity for 180 square feet. Models in this range are either small, compact styles for mini-tower/tower style.

Filtration: Most of the main filters are rated to remove 99% of airborne particles. Size rating on most is 2 microns. Compare that with the .3 microns of true HEPA filters, and you can see that a lot of particles of dust, pollen, mold spores and other pollutants are getting through.

Some of the filters are infused with baking soda to help with odor reduction. This is the AER1 filter.

Features: The features are very basic.

Push-button controls

Knob adjustments

Several of the units have ionizers. The technology is effective, but it could also pose a health risk to you, your household and/or pets.

For details, see the section on ionizers in the review immediately above on Holmes True HEPA Air Purifiers.

Pros: Affordable cost and decent air filtration. That is the selling point for these models. The baking soda infused filters is a little gimmicky, but they might help remove odors from cooking, smoke and pets. Good durability in some of the models like the Holmes Small Room 3-Speed HEPA-Type Air Purifier that made our list of top Holmes models.

Cons: Many users complain of noise, poor filtration or both. Quality and durability of the materials is a concern, and quite a few fail mechanically. There aren’t any models for large and extra-large rooms. You’ll find good alternatives for rooms that size in the Honeywell Air Purifier Review and Guide.

Best Use: For basic air filtering, these units do an OK job. If you want to try an affordable air purifier to see what they’re about, a HEPA-type Holmes air purifier is an affordable option.  

Comparing Holmes Air Purifiers to Other Top Brands

Holmes products do very well in the Affordable/Cheap category. They do the job at the lowest possible cost. That’s not a bad thing if the budget is tight or you plan to move shortly. But that’s the way it is.

Here’s how to choose a Holmes air purifier:

If you don’t have any significant breathing issues (asthma, allergies, etc.) but want to clean up the air, then the Holmes air purifiers with HEPA-type filters will do the job.

For better air purification at an affordable cost, choose a Holmes with True HEPA.

The Bottom Line

Holmes has created a niche in the cheap/affordable appliance niche. 

But while Holmes isn’t known for the quality or features of top brands, HEPA is HEPA.

Don’t bother

Here are some other air purifier posts you may like:

  • Best Air Purifier - Ultimate Guide
  • Best Air Purifier For Mold
  • Best Air Purifier For Dust
  • Best Air Purifier For Pets
  • Best Air Purifier For Smoke
  • Best Air Purifier For Allergies
  • Best HEPA Air Purifier

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