Membrane Solutions MSA3 Vs Winix 5500-2 – Which One Wins?

In this comparison, we will find out if the popular Membrane Solutions MSA3 air purifier can beat the Winix 5500-2.

The Winix 5500-2 is a large air purifier that covers rooms up to 360 sq. ft. (33 m²), while the Membrane Solutions MSA3 covers rooms up to 210 sq. ft. (19.5 m²).

The Winix uses a four-stage filtration technology and includes an ionizer (PlasmaWave) as the fourth stage. It’s CARB-certified, which means it doesn’t produce an unsafe amount of ozone. The Membrane Solutions, on the other hand, uses a three-stage filtration technology. It doesn’t have an ionizer and is 100% safe to use.

Regarding build quality, both models are well-made, and their construction is satisfactory. However, my only complaint is that the plastic on the Membrane Solutions unit stains quickly.

Additionally, the Winix has more advanced features, including an air quality sensor and auto mode, which I find incredibly useful.

Our Verdict

Membrane Solutions MSA3 Vs Winix 5500-2 - Hands-on comparison
Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

Frankly, the Winix 5500-2 is in a much higher class compared to the Membrane Solutions MSA3. It has a reputable name, high-quality filtration technology, and one of the best carbon filters on the market. It is also very affordable.

These virtues are why the Winix 5500-2 performed much better in all our tests and why it is our preferred buying option.

The Membrane Solutions MSA3 is an adequate air purifier, but to be clear, it can’t compete with a device such as the Winix. Additionally, there is an MSA3 smart version available, which is a bit more expensive, but I believe it has the same performance as the basic version.

If you have any questions about these two air purifiers, please leave a comment in the comment box below the article.

Specs: MembraneSolutions MSA3 Vs Winix 5500-2

Product ImageMembrane Solutions MSA3Winix 5500-2
ManufacturerMembrane SolutionsWinix
ModelMSA35500-2
Dimensions (inches / cm)7.7 x 13.1 x 21.5 inches (19.5 x 33.4 x 54.5 cm)15 x 8.2 x 23.6 inches (38.1 x 20.8 x 59.9 cm)
Weight (pounds / kg)10.8 lb (4.9 kg)15.4 lb (7 kg)
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)-Smoke 232, Dust 243, Pollen 246 (240.14 CFM)
Coverage (4.8 ACH) 210 sq. ft. (19.5 m²)360 sq. ft. (33 m²)
Performance Ratings
Filtration TechnologyPre-filter, True HEPA Filter, and Carbon FilterWashable Pre-filter, Washable AOC Carbon Filter, and True HEPA Filter
Filter Replacement IndicatorYesYes
Filter Life3-6 monthsup to 12 months
Power Consumption 44W70W
Operating Costs Ratings
Number of Fan Speeds3 – Speed 1, Speed 2, and Speed 35 – Sleep Mode, Speed 1, Speed 2, Speed 3, and Turbo Mode
Air Quality Sensor NoYes
Air Quality IndicatorNoYes
Auto Mode NoYes
Smart App NoNo
Voice Control NoNo
Other FeaturesDisplay OffDisplay LockTimerPlasmaWaveLight SensorRemoteTimer
Noise Level (low – high)43.1 – 54.3 dBA40.6 – 66.4 dBA
Noise Ratings
Best Suited For
Small Spaces
Quiet Operation
Pets
Living Rooms
Kitchens
Allergies
Smoke
Dust
Neutralizing VOCs
Warranty2-year2-year
In-Depth ReviewMembrane Solutions MSA3Winix 5500-2
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
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Particle Removal Test – Comparison

The first thing I want to compare before we move to the performance test results is these air purifiers’ coverage. The Membrane Solutions MSA3 has a much smaller CADR, which is why it covers rooms of up to 210 sq. ft. (19.5 m²). On the other hand, the Winix 5500-2 is a much more powerful device, with room coverage of up to 360 sq. ft. (33 m²). Both air purifiers will clean the air 4.8 times in one hour in the recommended room sizes.

Particle Removal Tests - Comparison

We placed the Membrane Solutions MSA3 and Winix 5500-2 in a 320 sq. ft. (30 m²) room and measured their performance using the Temtop laser particle meter.

To deeply compare these two devices’ air cleaning efficiency, we placed them both in a 320 sq. ft. (30 m²) room and measured how well they improved the air quality in 60 minutes while working at max speed. The tests were conducted separately.

The Winix 5500-2 achieved a much better result with an air quality improvement of 96%. In contrast, the Membrane Solutions MSA3 improved the air quality by just 89%, which is almost 10% lower.

Furthermore, the Winix 5500-2 wasn’t only a better performer in this test; it also performed much better in odor neutralization tests, which I believe is due to its superior activated carbon filter.

All in all, the Winix 5500-2 is a much more efficient device that performed better in all tests than the Membrane Solutions MSA3.

Smoke Box Test – Comparison

Besides the particle removal test, we also performed our unique test in a smoke box. We placed both air purifiers in two separate tests, where we filled the glass box with smoke and then measured how much time was needed for each purifier to remove all the smoke.

Membrane Solutions MSA3 Vs Winix 5500-2 - Smoke Test
The smoke test comparison between the Membrane Solutions MSA3 and Winix 5500-2. Photo (GIF): Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

They both worked at their maximum speeds throughout the tests.

Frankly, I expected the Winix 5500-2 to clean the smoke much faster; it needed only 20 seconds. However, I was really surprised that the Membrane Solutions MSA3 needed just 30 seconds to remove all the smoke, which, considering its CADR and filter quality, is a very good score.

Noise Level Test – Comparison

The noise level test is another area where the Winix 5500-2 demonstrated its superiority over the Membrane Solutions MSA3. It has more fan speed options and is also quieter at every fan speed (except the maximum speed) compared to the Membrane Solutions MSA3.

Noise Levels - Comparison

Comparison of noise levels at all fan speeds between the Membrane Solutions MSA3 and Winix 5500-2 air purifiers.

For example, the Winix 5500-2 produces a sound of just 40.6 dBA at its lowest speed, while the Membrane Solutions MSA3 produces a sound of 43.1 dBA at its lowest speed. To be honest, 2.5 decibels makes a difference, especially at low speeds.

However, at the maximum speeds, the situation is a bit different; the Winix is louder, which is expected due to the much larger airflow it offers at max speed. It produces a sound of 66.4 dBA, while its opponent produces 54.3 dBA. Refer to the table below for a comparison of noise levels at other speeds.

Fan Speed Winix 5500-2 (dBA)Membrane Solutions MSA3 (dBA)
Sleep Mode40.6 dBA-
Speed 1 (Low)42.7 dBA43.1 dBA
Speed 2 (Medium)44.9 dBA47.4 dBA
Speed 3 (High)50.3 dBA54.3 dBA
Speed 4 (Turbo)66.4 dBA-

All in all, even though the Winix is a bit louder at maximum speed, it’s still my first option regarding noise level.

Operating Costs – Comparison

One of the things I don’t like about the Winix 5500-2 is its motor, which consumes a significant 70W. I believe Winix could have done more to optimize the motor.

Monthly Power Consumption Cost Comparison

Comparison of monthly power consumption costs for the Membrane Solutions MSA3 and Winix 5500-2 air purifiers at all fan speeds.

However, although Membrane Solutions uses a motor that consumes only 44W, Winix has still proven to be better optimized at all speeds except maximum speed. These data are best seen in the chart below.

For example, if you were to use these two devices at maximum speed, 24 hours a day, for a month, your electricity bill would increase by about $5.08 for the Winix and about $3.44 for the Membrane Solutions MSA3. However, at other speeds, the Winix is much more economical.

Fan Speed Winix 5500-2 (W + $/month)Membrane Solutions MSA3 (W + $/month)
Standby1.2W ($0.11)0.2W ($0.02)
Sleep Mode3.7W ($0.32)-
Speed 1 (Low)6.4W ($0.56)27W ($2.37)
Speed 2 (Medium)8.8W ($0.77)30.6W ($2.68)
Speed 3 (High)13.2W ($1.16)39.2W ($3.44)
Speed 4 (Turbo)57.9W ($5.08)-

If we add the cost of replacement filters, which are cheaper but last much shorter in the case of Membrane Solutions, we can say that the Winix 5500-2 is somewhat more affordable to maintain.

You Can Also Watch Our Video Reviews:

Membrane Solutions MSA3 – Video Review

Winix 5500-2 – Video Review

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