The Holmes HAP242 and HAP600-U are two of the most popular desktop purifiers available. They’re pretty affordable and the HAP600 isn’t bad looking. That is if you’re into modern spaceship egg looking designs. Are they the best desktop air purifiers? Not really. We’d opt for a Blueair 411 or Levoit over either of the Holmes units. But, those will cost you about twice as much as the budget friendly HAP242. And, that’s why we decided to assemble a Holmes HAP242 review and then compare it against their second most popular unit.
The Holmes HAP242 is affordable, but looks a little dated. But for the price it’s tough to complain. The HAP600-U is significantly better looking, but it’s also significantly more expensive. Now before we dive into the details, you should really check out the Levoit LV-H132 if you’re considering either of the Holmes units we’re about to discuss. The price jump isn’t huge, and it seems to be a much better unit. So if you can save up some cash… you should.
With that out of the way… lets get on to the Holmes desktop units.
Holmes HAP242 Review
The Holmes HAP242 comes with a HEPA “type” filter. That’s not a good thing, but considering how cheap the purifier is… it’s understandable. This is mainly a filter suited to capturing huge contaminants like pollen and dust. It is not something to consider if you’re looking to really clean the air you breathe. We tend to tell shoppers to skip anything that is not a true HEPA filter. But, in this case the price is so low we’d say give it a try, but temper your expectations.
Design and Construction
The Holmes HAP242 measures 14.8 x 11.4 x 7.2 inches. That makes it more low profile than small footprint. So depending on the space situation on your desk or counter… you may want to consider other shapes. Its 6.7 pounds does give you a bit of reassurance, if it were lighter the purifier would scream “I’m cheap!” But, it doesn’t. It does however casually mention it with its fairly dated design. The machine is made from a fairly durable plastic but would look at home in an office next to a fax machine or a dot matrix printer.
The best thing about the dated enclosure is the microban protection. Which minimizes bacterial and microbe growth (like mold and mildew).
HEPA “Type” Filter
HEPA type filters are different from true HEPA filters. It’s kind of a loophole or workaround since true HEPA is claim that is regulated by the US Government. Air purifiers with “HEPA type” or “HEPA style” filters will not capture as many airborne contaminants. Especially those smaller than 1 micron. Nonetheless, HEPA-type air purifiers are more affordable and well-suited as a starter unit. On a positive note… they’ll take longer to clog since more stuff can pass through without being trapped in the filter media.
This little purifier is sized to cover an area measuring 109 square feet. But, that matters less if you’re using it on a desk at work… since you’ll be sitting very close to it. If you just got a promotion, however, splurge on a better machine for that new corner office. Dollar for dollar you’ll get way more value out of a Coway or even a much more “expensive” Airmega.
The HAP242 provides an optional ionizer feature. Ionizers aren’t a substitute for a great filter, but they do help in some ways. We have a pretty comprehensive ionizer article that explains how they work. The good news is that the HAP242 clears the ultra-strict California Air Resource Board ozone certification standards. If an ionizer purifier isn’t on that list you should probably look into how much ozone it produces. Ozone is pretty nasty stuff.
- 3 Fan Settings
- Filter change light
- Durable and reliable
- Fairly Quiet
- Low price
- Covers a small area
- No Activated Carbon
- Has a “HEPA type” filter instead of a True HEPA filter
The HAP242 isn’t bad for the price. But, if you compare what you get for each dollar you spend you’ll get a lot more purification for more money up front. It’s an okay purifier if you have seasonal allergies and spend your days in a cubicle. It should help there, just don’t expect too much of this tiny budget friendly machine.
What would we use it for? Well, it might be a good purifier to place near an ashtray to catch a little cigar smoke. We’d pair it with a more powerful unit for an indoor herf or solo smoke. But, other than that and a bit of pollen capturing… we’d opt for a nicer unit.
If Holmes is still on your radar and you just need to find something cheap… keep reading. We’ll cover the much better HAP600-U next.
Holmes HAP600-U Review
The Holmes HAP600-U sports much more stylish design. Its smooth egg-shaped housing measures 9.5 x 9.5 x 10.8 inches. Which we feel is a better size than the HAP242 for the majority of desktop users. It weighs 5 pounds, so it’s not as hefty as its cheaper sibling.
Again with the “HEPA-Type” Filter
We know that this keeps costs down, but to be honest we’d prefer a true HEPA filter duct taped to a cheap fan. At least if our goal was to purify the air. However, if you’re just looking for general filtering this style works about as well as a good quality furnace filter you’d buy at a big box hardware store. Perhaps not a high MERV rating filter, but the run-of-the-mill option.
The HAP600-U is sized for rooms with an area of about 120 square feet. A little larger than the HAP242, but still pretty low compared to slightly more expensive units. It will work fairly well on a desk if you’re sitting close by, but don’t expect big results in a mid size room. It’s just not up to the task.
Like the smaller 242 this model also comes with an ionizer that you can turn on or off as you please. This is actually pretty common in lower end purifiers. It’s probably a cheap way to add a feature. Though we’d spend that cash on upgrading the filter. Either way… we’d gladly take a ionizer over a UV-C light bulb. Plus, the 600-U is cleared by the state of California, so at least you know you’re not breathing in a ton of Ozone while you filter pollen and dust from the air you breathe.
- Better looking than the Holmes HAP242
- More coverage than the 242
- Pretty Quiet
- Fairly affordable
- Small coverage
- Not as good of a value as more expensive purifiers
- HEPA Type filters are not HEPA filters
The HAP600-U is slightly better looking… and slightly better performing than the lower-end HAP242. If you’re shopping on a really tight budget either of these will be worth a quick look. But, to be honest we think you should save some cash and buy something that works better.