Published on January 3rd, 2011 | by Greg0
Cleaner Air Quickly With Holmes
We’ve recently had some air quality issues in our building- a mix of kitchen smoke, fumes from our test labs, and likely some mildew or mold has taken root during our regular travel. Those who smoke cigarettes, have allergies, or just have pets know what we’re talking about- issues breathing and odor problems. We needed an air filter, before the holidays set in and upset friends and family.
The Holmes HAP756-U doesn’t look like much. It’s almost all ventilation, with a tiny and slightly-hard to use control panel. Normally, that might be a problem, but when the purpose of a unit is to suck and filter air, we’re happy to see a smaller machine not waste any space. The list of features intrigued us, not least the claim of offering true HEPA filtration, with 99.7% of allergens removed. It also can cover a very large room, up to 400 square feet, which should be enough for all but larger apartments.
A timer mode allows you to set the unit running for up to 16 hours, and the Arm & Hammer-enhanced filter is a bit of a gimmick- but did seem to do a pretty good job on odors. A five year warranty backs up the construction, which seemed pretty solid- our unit was heavier and denser than expected at 25 pounds, and wasn’t easy to find a natural spot for. But once situated, it operated fairly quietly, and it was easy to feel the difference quickly.
The downside of the any of these units is the need to buy additional filters, and this model requires two different ones- a carbon filter as sort of a pre-filter, and two true HEPA screens. At over $20 each, the latter should last around a year (carbon ones are much cheaper at under $4 but need replacing more often, every three to six months). One note: the HAP756-U will let you know when you need to replace your HEPA filter and your carbon filter with separate lights- don’t replace both at the same time unnecessarily, as it’s easy to make that mistake.
There are four speed settings, from Sleep to High, and they offered enough granularity to work well in different situations. We rarely used the highest setting, opting for a consistent run on Medium, which seemed to provide the best results. We didn’t love the semi-industrial look of the unit, and it seemed a bit difficult to find a place for- but it ran smoothly, and offered excellent results both immediately and over time. And at about half the price of our recently-reviewed contender, the Holmes HAP-7560U is a bargain at $145 or so available online.