Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 – The Top-notch Comparison

Today’s comparison will be a true battle between the two great yet very different air purifiers. You might get caught in the constant switch of pros and cons among the Alen FLEX and the Winix 5500-2. At first, you’ll see Alen and think, “Oh, so elegant,” but then you’ll notice the features of Winix and think, “Oh, wow.”

At the very first touch, I realized that the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX has a better plastic quality. In addition, you can select one of six different lid shades; espresso, graphite, oak, brushed stainless, weathered grey, or white. That way, you can easily adjust it to any interior style.

Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 Air Purifiers - Comparison

At the same time, the Winix 5500-2 comes only in black color, with a bit poorer plastic quality and with not that elegant design.

Both appliances do have an almost identical CADR, which resulted in similar air cleaning performances.

Do me a favor and please don’t rush on your decision, and stay true to your curious mind while continuing to read.

Specifications

Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
Manufacturer Alen Winix
Model BreatheSmart FLEX 5500-2
Dimensions 8.5 x 15 x 25 inches 15 x 8.2 x 23.6 inches
Weight 15 lb 14.7 lb
CADR 245 CFM Smoke 232 / Dust 243 / Pollen 246
Coverage 700 sq. ft. 360 sq. ft.
Filters Pre-filter, True HEPA Filter and Activated Carbon Filter Washable Pre-filter, Washable AOC Carbon filter and True HEPA Filter
Filter Replacement Indicator
Filter Longevity 9-12 months up to 12 months
Power Consumption 50W 70W
Remote Controller
Smart Sensor
Auto Mode
Ionizer
Air Quality Indicator
Warranty Lifetime 2-year
In-Depth Review Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Winix 5500-2
Price View Price on Amazon View Price on Amazon

Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 Features

Some basic options like a Timer are common for both of the appliances.

With the Alen FLEX, you can set the timer to 2hrs, 4hrs, or 12hrs, while the Winix 5500-2 allows setting a timer to 1hrs, 4hrs, or 8hrs. So, this feature will provide you with the possibility to set the time for which the air purifier will shut down.

Considering the price of the Alen FLEX, I expected it to be equipped with more advanced options. But that’s not a big deal.

Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 - Control Buttons
Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 – Control Buttons

On the other hand, Winix turned out to be quite a surprise. An Air Quality Sensor, Remote Controller, and Auto Mode are just some of the many features Winix has.

Smart Sensor and Air Quality Indicator

OK, this is something I was talking about in the previous section. I’m a bit disappointed with the fact that the Alen FLEX doesn’t have Smart Sensor and Air Quality Indicator features.

When it comes to Winix 5500-2, its sensor can only detect odors. You can spot it at the right corner, below the Smart Sensor indicator.

The Air Quality Indicator is immediately below the PlasmaWave indicator, and as long as the light is blue, your air is good. Keep an eye on it before it turns out red if you want your face muscles free from grimaces.

Yet another helpful feature is Auto Mode, which controls the speed of your air purifier depending on the current air quality.

Despite the fact that the Smart Sensor can’t detect dust particles, I honestly think it makes Winix very competitive.

Filter Reset Indicator

If you took a look at the comparison table at the beginning of the article, I’m sure you have noticed that both these air purifiers have a Filter Reset Indicator.

This feature will inform you when it’s time to replace your air purifier’s dirty filter.

With Alen FLEX, you get something like traffic lights. As long as the Filter Reset Indicator light is green, you’re good to go. As soon as it turns yellow, you’ve been warned that the time of replacement is soon to come. The red light of the indicator means you should STOP and replace the filter ASAP.

Winix does it in a far less complicated way. The minute the indicator lights up, the filter is ready to be replaced.

Now I wonder which one would you prefer!?

PlasmaWave

In the Air Quality Indicator section, I mentioned that Winix 5500-2 has something called PlasmaWave.

It is actually the fourth stage of filtration or so-called Ionizer, which Alen FLEX doesn’t happen to have.

It is a good option to have, but the one thing that bothers me is that the PlasmaWave is turned ON by default the minute you start your purifier. Of course, you can always press the button and turn it OFF, but I really think, as an extra feature, it should be left optional to the user whether to use it or not.

Luckily, the Winix is CARB certified air purifier, which assures it won’t be producing illicit amounts of ozone.

Lock

Here’s an interesting feature that you can use on your Alen FLEX purifier, that Winix is missing.

Almost like a child-lock on your laundry machine, you get to lock all the other buttons on your appliance. You have to press and hold your finger for 5 seconds on the “Lock” button, and it will immediately do its job, enabling your air purifier to work fluidly without the possibility of something or someone interfering.

Airflow

Since both units are rectangular, it is not surprising that their filters are set in the front.

They both draw in the air through the openings on the front, which is then filtered and exit through the grilles on the top of devices.

Warranty

Let’s talk about what type of coverage you get for purchasing one of these appliances.

I was surprised to find out that the Alen FLEX offers you a lifetime warranty. What you need to do, to comply with the lifetime warranty is to register on the Alen website and subscribe to a regular filter replacement. Keep in mind that if you at least register your purchased product on the Alen website, you will get a 5-year warranty.

Even though I’m not a fan of a buyer being conditioned in any kind, I do think this is the way to ensure the long-lasting of your appliance.

Although Winix does not ask you to register the product or to buy replacement filters regularly, it does come with a significantly shorter, 2-year warranty.

Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 Video Comparison

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Filtration

If you’ve read carefully, then you are familiar with an extra filtration stage that Winix 5500-2 has, and that is the PlasmaWave.

This extra feature is what differs the two devices, since both of them have the same prior three stages, such as pre-filter, True HEPA filter, and an Activated Carbon filter. The pre-filter and the activated carbon filter are washable in the case of Winix 5500-2.

Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 - Filters Comparison
Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 – Filters Comparison

A bit smaller yet 0.7 inches thicker filter is the point where Alen FLEX is different from Winix. Also, you get to buy 3 different versions of carbon filters, whereas they come in various weights. The heaviest carbon filter contains over 2 lbs of carbon which is great because, the more carbon it has, the more odors it can absorb.

The fact that these air purifiers use carbon pellets makes them so efficient, both in practical usage and in testing results.

How To Replace Filter On Both These Devices? 

This is the part where you get to be your own handyman. If you want your purifier to last long, you will need to check up on filters as instructed. As you can see, filter life is approximately the same for both Alex FLEX and Winix 5500-2, which is about 9 to 12 months.

I would recommend cleaning the pre-filters regularly, at least once per month. By keeping it clean you not only prolong the longevity of other filters but also keep the level of filtration at its highest.

How to replace Alen BreatheSmart FLEX filters? How to replace Winix 5500-2 filters? Filter replacement

Noise

Here is another extra feature that Winix 5500-2 has, aside from the regular 4 levels of a fan speed. A Sleep Mode, which produces about 40.6 dBA, and is very good, in my opinion.

Still, you might be unpleasantly surprised by the noisiness that Winix creates at higher speeds. It turns out that the Winix’s engine is far louder than the Alen FLEXes while working at the maximum speed.

Product Noise Range (dBA)
Alen BreatheSmart FLEX 41.2 – 53.7 dBA
Winix 5500-2 40.6 – 66.4 dBA

Yet, even though Alen doesn’t have Sleep Mode, it is SleepScore certified, which means you can easily leave it in your bedroom while sleeping. It will be working smoothly like a cat purring, and that is why it’s been rated as a Pink Noise air purifier.

Performance

At the beginning of this section I would like to point out that, even though these purifiers are designed for completely different room sizes, both of them have hit the skies with total performance.

Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 - Comparison
Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2 – Performances Comparison

Just a slight advantage goes in favor of Alen FLEX due to a bit better gas filtration (possibly thanks to a better carbon filter).

While Winix is designed for spaces up to 360 sq. ft. Alen FLEX is meant to cover almost twice the size, up to 700 sq. ft. This is the reason why I decided to test them separately in different-sized rooms.

320 sq. ft. Room Test

In this test, I put the Winix in the 320 sq. ft. room.

The size of the room is not that smaller than the maximum that Winix 5500-2 can cover. Still, I left the purifier working for a full hour at peak speed, and the end result turned out to be 96% cleaner air.

# Starting Baseline After 60min
PM 2.5 108.5 3.8
PM 10 151.9 5.4
Particles 157413 5625
AQI 141 5

560 sq. ft. Room Test

Testing Alen FLEX in a 700 sq. ft. space would be a bit too demanding for me, so I decided to shrink it up a bit.

I performed the test in a 560 sq. ft. room. As it turns out, 94% cleaner air felt like a piece of cake for this air purifier.

# Starting Baseline After 60min
PM 2.5 96.3 5.7
PM 10 134.8 8.1
Particles 139680 8399
AQI 126 8

Operating Costs

Given the general performance of both Alen FLEX and Winix 5500-2, I was wondering about the costs they create.

Alen BreathSmart FLEX uses a 50W engine, and if you decide to use it continuously for a whole month 24/7, it will cost you only 2.1$.

On the other hand, the Winix 5500-2 uses an engine of 70W, which will leave you with a total cost of 5$ if you use the full capacity in the same amount of time as with Alen.

Product Wattage Range (W)
Alen BreatheSmart FLEX 0.4 – 24.3W
Winix 5500-2 1.2 – 57.9W

Considering that the prices of filters are pretty much the same, it turns out that Alen FLEX is far cheaper to use than Winix.

Which One Does It Better?

I must admit I was expecting a clash of the titans when I first started testing these purifiers.

Somehow, the Winix 5500-2 kept convincing me it had a lot more to offer than Alen FLEX. Thigs such as plenty of features, air quality sensor, washable pre-filter, washable AOC carbon filter, auto mode, outstanding performances are what really had me convinced that Winix 5500-2 is a better buying option.

On the other hand, the Alen FLEX has some things to offer such as a lifetime warranty, a silent engine, great performance, and low maintenance costs. All this brings that Alen is not a that bad option, and I think you won’t regret whichever of these two you choose.

Update Log

October 12, 2021 – I embedded the video review of the Alen FLEX Vs Winix 5500-2.

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