Welcome to Vacuum Wars and to our new series called Air Purifier Wars! In this article we’re comparing the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH and the Winix 5500-2. We put both of these best-selling air purifiers to an all-new series of tests and the results were pretty interesting.
About the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH
The Coway Airmega AP-1512HH is an air purifier designed to efficiently clear particles from your air. It is equipped with two types of filtration, a HEPA filter and a carbon filter.
The HEPA filter is rated to capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, ensuring efficient removal of allergens, dust, and other airborne contaminants.
The carbon filter in the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH uses a mesh-type design treated with activated carbon. This helps reduce odors, gases, and VOCs, though its performance may be slightly lower compared to other carbon filters.
About the Winix 5500-2
The Winix 5500-2 is an air purifier designed to provide superior filtration for odors, gas, smoke, and other airborne particles. Like the Coway Airmega, it also has a HEPA filter and a carbon filter.
This air purifier’s HEPA filter effectively captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, offering similar performance to the Coway Airmega in terms of particulate filtration.
The Winix 5500-2 features a high-quality carbon filter that uses a large amount of genuine charcoal pieces. This advanced design results in improved performance for capturing gases, odors, and volatile organic compounds compared to the Coway Airmega’s carbon filter.
RELATED: See our Coway Airmega 400 vs Nuwave OxyPure review and comparison.
Coway Airmega AP-1512HH vs Winix 5500-2
Both of these air purifiers are very similar. For example, they are in a similar price range. They both have similar official room size ratings.
As we briefly covered above, they both use similar methods for purifying air – that is, they both use a HEPA filter for particulate filtration in combination with a carbon filter for eliminating smells, gasses, and VOCs. They also both have ionization capability, which can help reduce molecular size contaminants, which can be turned on or off with both units.
Air purifier shopping? Check out another recent comparison which puts an industry heavyweight up against a talented upstart: IQAir HealthPro Plus vs Greentech pureAir Active HEPA+ Pro.
Starting off with the features category, these are things that might not help with air purification but can improve your experience. For example, they both have one of our favorite features, which is a built-in particle sensor.
A particle sensor means that these two air purifiers can detect how dirty your air is at any given time. This makes other useful features possible like visual air quality indicator lights that change color depending on how dirty the air is – a feature that they both have.
The particle sensors also allow for an auto mode on both units, where they will automatically adjust the fan speed based on how dirty the air is.
They both have timers, but only the Winix has a sleep mode, which uses a lower fan speed at night. The Winix is also the only one with a remote control. We also include their size in the features category, and they are very similar in size in terms of cubic inches, though the Winix is a bit taller. So, though the feature score was very close, the Winix leads the Coway after one round.
The next round is filter quality. Here, they have the same size HEPA filters – about 200 cubic inches on the Winix to 195 on the Coway, and they’re rated about the same at 0.3 microns. They both had carbon filters; these are the filters that catch gasses, odors, and volatile organic compounds.
Although the size of the carbon filters were about the same, the quality of the carbon filter was much better on the Winix, which used a large amount of genuine charcoal pieces compared to the Coway, which used a mesh type carbon filter that simply has been treated with activated carbon. This does make a difference, as we will see in the VOC test later on.
So, the Winix also wins this round because of that higher quality carbon filter.
Next, we have the bench tests, where we measure their airflow and noise levels. Here, the most interesting thing was the massive difference in airflow, where the Coway processed air much faster at 108 CFM on max power. That number is impressive as it is almost as good as the IQAir HealthPro Plus model, which is an air purifier almost six times the price of the Coway. It’s also more than double the air being moved by the Winix at only 41 CFM.
Since these two have very similar motor sizes, the difference in their airflow is probably explained by the Winix having to pull the air through that much denser carbon filter, which no doubt slows it down some.
Noise level is very important for air purifiers. Though they were both relatively quiet, the Coway had more airflow per decibel than the Winix, and by a pretty good amount. For example, when they were both on the setting that we would most likely use at our house, which in this case is their 49-decibel setting, the Coway is putting out 37 CFM to the Winix only putting out 21 CFM. So, the Coway wins the bench test round and by a pretty good margin.
Testing HEPA filtration
Moving on to the filtration tests, in the fog test where we release 12 seconds of fog into a ventless room and run the air purifier on max power, it took the Coway Airmega 39 minutes to clear the fog back to the baseline compared to 52 minutes on the Winix. We expected this speed difference given the airflow scores from earlier. If you’re wondering, it takes about 150 minutes to return to the baseline in this room if there is no air purifier running.
Also, in the fog particles reduced per minute test where we measure the speed of reduction of particles from peak to baseline, the Coway was also significantly faster. However, with a total volatile organic compound test, where we burn incense in the same ventless room and measure TVOC particles reduced per minute from peak to trough, as well as an overall baseline to baseline reduction speed test, the Winix was the winner in both cases.
We think it’s safe to say that the reason the Winix won in these tests is because of its superior carbon filter.
Nevertheless, the Coway ended up winning the filtration test category overall, despite not being as good as the Winix at VOC reduction, because of the Coway’s amazing speed with particle reduction.
Value and filter replacement costs
We also consider their filter replacement costs, which were really similar and fairly low-priced on both units.
Winner: Coway Airmega AP-1512HH
So, after adding all these scores up, the winner is the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH, which just barely beat out the Winix 5500-2, 75-71. But we really do think it comes down to what you need. If you’re wanting to mostly clear particles from your air and you want to do that fast and efficiently, you probably can’t do much better than the Coway for the price.
Coway Airmega AP-1512HH
But, if you’re wanting this more for odors, gas, smoke, and such, then the Winix is probably what you would want, and it’s also very reasonably priced for what you get.
The specifications below are sourced from the manufacturer (their website and product manuals) and provided to aid in comparing the two air purifiers.
|361 sq. ft.
|1,740 sq. ft.
|Washable Pre Filter, True HEPA filter, Activated Carbon Filter, Ionizer (optional)
|Washable Pre Filter, Washable AOC Carbon Filter, True HEPA Filter, Ionizer (optional)
|CADR – Dust
|CADR – Pollen
|CADR – Smoke
|16.8” x 18.3” x 9.6”
|15” x 8.2” x 23.6”
|White or Black
|3 years *
|2 years *
|Where to Buy
* Always check with the manufacturer for up-to-date warranty coverage.