You Hadta Say "Cheap Air Purifier"

Holmes HAP242 Review

So you need a cheap air purifier?

Have I got a deal for you!

Have you heard the gag about the shoebox air purifier vs. the once-bestselling Ionic Breeze?

Naive Breeze buyers often marveled at all the dust that built up on the collector blades.

Just set an empty shoe box in the middle of the room and notice all the dust that builds up inside!

It's quieter, and cheaper.

I know it isn't funny to have health problems and lack funds to deal with them.

I continuously harp about the virtues of high quality air purifiers.

At $350 to $1000, "cheap" does not describe them. cheap purifier

But this website exists to help everyone with health problems, like asthma and allergy, regardless of income.

Even partially purified air can relieve symptoms caused by larger allergens, especially pollen and mold spores.

So here is one pick for purifier cheapie of the year: Holmes HAP242. Cheap, cheaper, and cheapest.

Right off, this is an air cleaner for those who are not afraid to disassemble and repair a Chinese made air purifier.

Air purification product assembly is booming in China.

First generation off the farm factory workers are eager to work for low wages there, but quality control is often weak.

Cheap Air Cleaner Specs

242 is a HEPA-type air purifier, offering "99% filtration."

Without a specified particle size, this is meaningless marketing jargon.

HEPA-type filters are NOT HEPA.

Holmes has submitted its air purifying products to AHAM for clean air delivery rate certification (CADR).

HAP242-UC's CADR spec is; dust 55, smoke 70, and pollen 65, room size to 109 square feet.

For those unfamiliar with CADR's, this is very weak, in the bottom third of air purifiers tested.

AHAM's room size is almost always too big, being based on full throttle operation. The little Holmes is loud enough on high that this is unlikely.

This air cleaner is for a small bedroom, or backup application.

I have two of these gadgets in my living room, running on inaudible low days and high at night.

They collect a lot of coarse dust, complimenting my Honeywell 50250 HEPA.

Along with 3 speed settings, mechanical slider switches control an independently switched 4-pin ionizer.

But this is a cheapo high ozone emitting add-on gimmick.

I would run the air ionizer function when out of the house for extended periods.

Compact and portable at 13 by 9-1/4 by 5-1/2 inches the Holmes air purifiers carry a 3-year warranty.

There are no electronic circuits, I consider this cleaner 100% user serviceable.

Why don't we take one apart!

air purifier internals

With the housing removed, here is an exhaust port.

The red arrow points to accumulated dust the 242 has bypassed over the years.

This bypassing would disqualify most larger or more expensive air cleaners.

The blue arrow calls attention to the 4 ionizing pins.

Also visible is the squirrel cage fan. In the user reviews listed below, there are complaints of rattling noises from new units.

These soft plastic fans sit in the factory in big bins and are sometimes bent out of shape.

Often a defective air purifier can be salvaged simply by bending the fan back to a circular shape.

Next photo shows the little hepa type air filter, removed from the case, showing pleated paper folds and soft plastic seals around the edges.

Here are a number of user comments collected from the web:

1. Like many others who have reviewed this air "purifier" & I use that term loosely.

I should have done my homework before purchase....

I don't see much difference in the air quality in the rooms these are placed in.

I leave them running 24/7....I have dogs and these filters need replaced at least once a month.

I'm tossing them out and springing for a decent one with a removable and reusable filter

Suggested fix: You can lower filter costs by replacing the too-small factory prefilter with a piece of 3/8 inch thick urethane foam, - $2 for a big bundle, air cleaning aisle at Wally-World.

The Holmes prefilters do not cover the entire frontal area and have big gaps around the edges.

If I didn't know they were real good guys, I'd suspect they intentionally left this gap to increase pricey HEPA filter sales.

I remove the decorative plastic grill and jam the gaps with this prefilter material.

A double thickness is taped around the edges to prevent bypassing. hepa type filter

I wash these every couple months, (with dogs & ect do it monthly), and never replace the hepa type filters.

I just don't subscribe to the replacement-filters-cost-more-than-initial-purchase plan.

The filter must slide into the aperture at about a 45 degree angle and then rotate into position.

The assembly line is kept moving too fast for an insertion error to be corrected before the next unit arrives at station.

To America it goes.

Also, the piece of foam that is supposed to seal the bottom edge is often glued too far from it, allowing a loose fit.

Carefully, gently, very carefully and gently, remove the filter and inspect the alignment, foam strip location, and fragile latex seals on the filter.

broken seals

A common problem concerns breakage of filter seals as the filter is twisted to insert.

In the photo above, the arrows show a latex seal broken in two spots. I repaired it with scotch tape, vacuumed the filter without ever letting the vac nozzle touch the paper, and carefully replaced the filter.

4. The first unit we bought was a Holmes HEPA Air purifier Model # HAP240 which we purchased from Wal-Mart for only $29.84.

We took it home, put it in our son’s room and turned it on. BINGO!

It was super quiet, and dirt-cheap.

Obviously, we thought we’d found the model we’d be getting for our room.

A few days later, we bought another Holmes model# HAP240 and put it in our room.

As soon as we turned it on, I knew it was going back to the store.

There was an obvious grinding sound that could be heard coming from the fan motor.

It sounded like a bad bearing or something.

Anyhow, we returned it to Wal-Mart and brought home another one just like it. DANG! Same stupid sound.

I guess with an inexpensive unit like that, you may get lucky and get a good one (like in our son’s room) or you get a bad one. It’s a gamble.

Suggested fix: Probably an out of round squirrel cage scraping the housing, see explanation and photo above.


This little machine is the essence of inexpensive air purifier, cheap, cheap.

Recommended only for those who are financially desperate and mechanically inclined.

But please don't make the mistake of believing your health problem has been solved with a $40 purchase.

I urge you to read this site, especially sections dealing with toxic chemicals and the need for systematic evaluation of home air quality.

You can find the

Holmes HEPA-Type HAP242-UC at

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