In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Honeywell HCM-350 Review

Basic evaporation humidifier with lots of fan noise
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Price:   $70 List | $53 at Amazon
Pros:  Dishwasher cleaning, no mineral/moisture accumulation on surfaces
Cons:  Fan noise, larger, regular filter replacement required
Manufacturer:   Honeywell
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and Bob Wofford  ⋅  Sep 16, 2018
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Ease of Cleaning - 40% 9
  • Effectiveness - 30% 3
  • Noise - 20% 2
  • Ease of Use - 10% 6

The Skinny

The Honeywell HCM-350 is the only evaporation humidifier in this review. While once all the rage, these loud fan-operated products have largely been replaced by ultrasonic products that provide quieter operation and a higher level of effectiveness. This humidification uses an evaporative wicking filter that draws water up and a fan pulls the moisture from the filter to add humidity to the surrounding air. The wicking filter means it is unlikely to create white dust and there is less moisture accumulation on surrounding surfaces. We like the 350 for its dishwasher capable cleaning but the fan is noisy and it doesn't have some of the features of the ultrasonic humidifier contenders. However, if you don't mind fan white noise, it could be a contender for smaller spaces depending on your needs.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Like Vicks, the Honeywell company is owned by the Helen of Troy company. Honeywell is well-known for their fans, personal heaters, air filters, and humidifiers among other household products that make life more comfortable. However, the company also has ties to the aerospace industry and oil and gas. Their Honeywell Home branch is the one most familiar to consumers. Honeywell is a Fortune 500 company with an annual revenue that exceeds $40.5 billion in sales each year.

The Honeywell HCM-350 is the only evaporation humidifier we tested for this review and the fan operation is loud compared to the ultrasonic products.
The Honeywell HCM-350 is the only evaporation humidifier we tested for this review and the fan operation is loud compared to the ultrasonic products.

Performance Comparison


The Honeywell HCM struggled to keep up with the more effective ultrasonic competition, but the evaporative product is the easiest to clean and provides white noise some people find soothing.


Depending on your needs or goals, an evaporation humidifier could suit your family better than an ultrasonic option with less white dust and moisture accumulation.

The 350's fan assembly is the only part that can't go on the top rack in your dishwasher during cleaning.
The 350's fan assembly is the only part that can't go on the top rack in your dishwasher during cleaning.

Ease of Cleaning


With a score of 9 of 10 for cleaning, the 350 is the only option with machine washable parts. This unit is top rack dishwasher safe which makes routine cleaning a breeze and extremely low maintenance. You still need to periodically refill the water tank and wipe the base clean, but there isn't much else to worry about on a day-to-day basis.

The 350 wicking filter needs regular replacement to keep it clean and working properly. The plastic filter holder can be cleaned in your dishwasher on the top rack.
The 350 wicking filter needs regular replacement to keep it clean and working properly. The plastic filter holder can be cleaned in your dishwasher on the top rack.

This Honeywell doesn't have any difficult-to-reach areas and small spaces that most of the ultrasonic humidifiers have, and you can easily fit your entire hand into the water tank to clean it by hand. This unit is truly no muss no fuss and the only option for parents worried about keeping their humidifier clean and free of bacteria, mold, or mineral buildup.

The Honeywell 350 produces invisible moisture because it doesn't have an ultrasonic plate creating visible mist.
The Honeywell 350 produces invisible moisture because it doesn't have an ultrasonic plate creating visible mist.

Effectiveness


The Honeywell earns only 3 of 10 for effectiveness as the evaporation technology can't compete with the ultrasonic competition for efficiency or humidity output levels. The housing has a sticker reminding users that mist will not be visible during use but you can feel the moisture if you leave your hand over the opening for a few minutes. The lack of visible moisture translates to less moisture accumulation on the surrounding furniture which could be a blessing or must have for families with nice wood surfaces they don't want to be damaged. Plus, the filter technology means no white dust and mineral droplets in the air. So while it isn't the most effective option, it does have benefits that could be more in line with what you need or want. At an hour of operation, this Honeywell has an output of only about 2/3 the rest of the competition. While this is significantly less, it could be enough for smaller areas. However, it will never have the output or efficiency of the ultrasonic options and is a poor choice for parents who want visible or virtually instant results.

As expected  the fan on the Honeywell 350 evaporative humidifier produced more noise than the ultrasonic humidifiers in our testing bunch.
As expected, the fan on the Honeywell 350 evaporative humidifier produced more noise than the ultrasonic humidifiers in our testing bunch.

Noise


By virtue of its fan operation, something not found on the ultrasonic units, the 350 creates significantly more noise earning it only 2 of 10 for noise. The fan pushes moisture into the air as it crosses the wicking filter which results in white noise that increases as the fan speed increases. If your goal is a silent humidifier, this one is sure to disappoint. If you enjoy the white noise and find the sound of a constant fan soothing, then it may not be a problem. During in-home testing, we find the Honeywell's fan noise soothing on the lowest setting and feel some parents and babies will appreciate the benefits of added "white noise". However, on the medium and high settings, the noise made it somewhat harder to sleep and wasn't as soothing to most testers. Some babies may find the sound mimics the noise of mother's womb, and it is sure to drown out any competing household noises that could keep little ones from drifting off.

The tank opening on the 350 is large enough for easy filling and most hands to fit inside.
The tank opening on the 350 is large enough for easy filling and most hands to fit inside.

Ease of Use


This Honeywell redeems itself somewhat with an average ease of use score of 6 of 10. It has one rotating dial that has 3 fan settings for various degrees of humidity output. While the dial is easy enough to use, the lack of programmability may leave some parents wanting more. Also, we had some difficulty getting the casing over the wicking filter when it is fully saturated. The unit won't work properly if the filter is squished.

The 350 is large and requires additional open space around the unit for air intake. This larger requirement may not work in smaller nurseries.
The 350 is large and requires additional open space around the unit for air intake. This larger requirement may not work in smaller nurseries.

The 350 also has the largest footprint in our tests and requires more space around the unit so the intake area isn't blocked. If nursery space is at a premium in your house, this could cause a location problem. This unit would work best on a counter with plenty of extra space or a hard floor (below left).

The Honeywell 350's air intake vents surround the entire unit and require extra open space for proper operation.
The Honeywell 350 water tank can stand on its own during refilling.


Finally, the UV light feature designed to reduce bacteria and viruses is non-essential in our opinion. It claims to kill up to 99.9% of certain bacteria, mold, fungi, and viruses in water after 2 continuous hours of operation, but we are skeptical. Most tap water is already treated to eliminate bugs, and the location of the light only treats water coming out of the tank. Although all of the water from the tank will pass under the UV light once, we are more concerned about the possibility of water sitting in the base for days after the UV light treatment before being soaked up by the filter. The mouth of the tank is wide and easy to fill and the tank shape sits by itself in the sink without tipping even when full (above right).

Manufacturer Video




Juliet Spurrier, MD and Bob Wofford