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on June 6, 2009
You are in luck today.

This is a direct comparison review between the three most popular currently available twin window fans:

Bionaire BW2300 Twin Window Fan with Remote Control
Holmes HAWF2043 Twin Window Fan
Honeywell HW-628 Enviracaire Twin Window Fan

If you are interested in purchasing any of those window fans, read on...

I didn't intend to have to do this review because I didn't intend to purchase more than one of these fans. I can tell you now that all of these fans are super cheaply designed and built and none of these fans are perfect, but in my opinion, one is worse than the others.

Holmes HAWF2043 Twin Window Fan: my rating - 3 of 5 stars

I first purchased the Holmes HAWF2043 unit. It was lightweight and fit the window nicely although I had trouble with the extender which is located on the right side. The locks for the extender are located on the right side along the top and bottom edge of the fan, which is supremely stupid because as soon as you place the fan in your window frame and put weight on it, the bottom lock locks and you can not move the extender. What rocket scientist thought of this? So you have to unlock the locks before you place the unit in the window AND keep weight off the bottom lock until you have the extender adjusted to where you want it. This maneuver is not so easy, especially at first. Plus, the lock mechanisms can be difficult to move. At the time, I could not imagine anything worse, but I was wrong as I found out with the extenders on the Honeywell unit which I will go into in the next paragraph. This Holmes unit has the best placement of the power cord which is in the lower left corner... the location is high enough as not to interfere with the bottom of the window frame. This unit has two speeds, high and low. The controls are easy to operate. In fact, there is only one button and two switches. The button cycles through the high and low manual speed settings and then though the automatic temperature presets which are at 60, 65, 70, 75 & 80 degrees fahrenheit. If you set it at one of the temperature presets, the unit will turn off once the sensor reaches that temperature. It seemed to work although I did not have the opportunity to see how accurate that function is. The two switches set the direction of the fans to either intake or exhaust which can be done on each fan independently, so you could have one fan on intake and the other on exhaust for quickly exchanging room air with fresh air. This unit has 8.5 inch fans and they are relatively quiet at both speeds - naturally high is louder than low, but don't expect silence. I own a Kill-A-Watt P3 energy meter and this unit used 46 watts on low and 63 watts on high. I would have been happy with this unit except that two days into using it, the right fan started working intermittently. Of course, that is unacceptable. Returning. I give this fan 3 out of 5 stars because I feel that if you get a good one you'll be happy with it, but don't expect anything great. FYI: Holmes is a division of Sunbeam.

Honeywell HW-628 Enviracaire Twin Window Fan: my rating 2 of 5 stars

So with the right fan not working correctly on the Homes, I ordered the Honeywell HW-628. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I was not going to be happy with it. For one thing, the unit has 7 inch fans compared with 8.5 inch on the Holmes. So in order to move as much air, the fans would have to run much faster and the unit will be much louder. Time to install... I previously mentioned that the extenders on the Holmes were poorly designed, but the extenders on this Honeywell were MUCH worse. First of all, this unit has two shorter extenders on both the right and left sides instead of one longer extender like the Holmes has. Second, the four extender locks are, get this, located on the BACK of the unit, the side facing out the window! How are you supposed to set those? It was impossible for me. I ended up jamming the extenders into the window frame in order to keep them extended. Okay, so I finally get the unit in the window and turned it on. I found out immediately that my thoughts about the smaller fans, higher fan speed and noise were true. This thing is LOUD. Super loud. And buzzy. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it is downright unruly. There is no chance you would use this in a bedroom even on low speed. The controls were easy to use although not completely intuitive. There are three speeds available on each fan - low, high and super high. You have to set each fan separately, which I think is stupid. I cannot imagine a scenario where I would want one fan on high and another fan on low, etc. The temperature setting dial is also extremely stupid. There are no temperature markings. According to the manual, you are supposed to keep the unit on until the room reaches a temperature that you like and then turn the dial back until the unit cycles off. Seriously? Each fan has its own direction switch for either intake or exhaust. The power cord is located on the bottom center of the front of the unit and its mounted too low so that it interferes with the bottom of my window frame. Who is designing these things? The one feature it had that I liked was that the grilles were directional and could be rotated to direct air in a 360 degree arc. On the power consumption front, this unit used twice the power as the Holmes! - 97 watts on low, 109 watts on high and 120 watts on super high. My unit was defective in that the switches for the right fan are wired incorrectly such that low is high and high is low, but super high is still super high... odd. Returning. Due to the noise level, I would not recommend this unit. I cannot understand how it has 4 of 5 stars and as of today, 262 reviews. Incomprehensible.

Bionaire BW2300 Twin Window Fan with Remote Control: my rating 4 of 5 stars

So after the poor experience with the Honeywell (They put their name on that piece of junk? They are a defense contractor!), I purchased the Bionaire BW2300 hoping for better luck. The first thing I noticed was the similarity between this unit and the Holmes. That is because they are both made by the same company. Bionaire, like Holmes, is Sunbeam. It has the same right side extender locks as the Holmes, but after the experience with the unusable rear locks on the Honeywell, I was happy to see them! One unwelcome difference is that the power cord is located on the bottom center of the front like it is on the Honeywell, which itself is not a problem but its also too low like it is on the Honeywell. I mounted the unit in window fairly quickly and turned it on. Its got three speeds, low, medium and high. It uses 8.5 inch fans like the Holmes and it is relatively quiet, although I think it may be ever so slightly louder than the Holmes on high. The controls are all electronic and it has an electronic temperature readout and thermostat. It is very easy to use. Simply choose a fan speed and put the unit into intake, exhaust or one fan on intake and the other on exhaust (air exchange mode). You can use it either in manual mode where there is no temperature control or you can set a temperature for the unit to reach and then turn off (automatic mode). This is easy to do using the simple up and down buttons to the right of the large temperature readout or you can use the remote control. Once you set it, it will remember your settings if you turn it off as long as you don't unplug it. The remote control works well and it allows you to control all of the fan's features and functions remotely: on/off, fan speed, air direction, temperature and to toggle between automatic and manual mode. Finally, there is a button to change the brightness of the temperature readout, although you cannot completely turn it off. The power usage was similar to the Holmes. The Kill-A-Watt read 43 watts on low, 49 watts on medium and 64 watts on high. Unlike the most popular review for this unit, my temperature probe was located in its proper track and it seems to work well. I've been using it for three weeks now without issue and so this is the keeper. 4 of 5 stars for this. Its not perfect, but in my opinion, its the best of the three.

Just remember that with any window fan, one of the most important things is setting up a ventilation route.

In order for a window fan to be most effective, you have to have a second open window for either:

drawing in fresh air if you put the fan in exhaust mode.
or
exhausting room air if you put the fan in intake mode.

If you don't have a second open window for either mode, you'll either create a vacuum or pressure balloon, respectively - and either way, you'll not be moving much air which is what a fan is all about - in addition, you'll possibly be overheating and likely killing the fan's motors. The second open window can be in another room or on another floor or it could be a screen door, but you need an unobstructed, open source of fresh air with the fan on exhaust or an equally open window for air to exhaust through if you put the fan on intake mode.

Of course, you could use the fan on exchange mode where one fan pushes air in and the other exhausts, but this is not ideal as my observation is that this mode is not nearly as efficient the other two.

Also remember that the outside temperature rules everything. In my experience, in order for a fan to cool a room, the outside temperature needs to be at least ten degrees cooler than the inside temperature, and preferably falling, like it typically does at night. If the outside temperature is about the same as inside or warmer, then you'll not be cooled off by a fan. Humidity counts, too. High humidity = bad.

The window fan works well for me in the evenings/nights where the outside air temperature drops 10 or 15 degrees into the low 60s or 50s, but the inside air temperature would stay high, even with all the windows wide open as often happens without any significant wind or breeze. With the fan on and with the windows and doors set up correctly, the upstairs bedrooms stay within five or six degrees of the outside temp for me without having to turn the air conditioning on in the spring and fall. I find intake mode most effective for me. And again, remember that the effectiveness of any window fan will depend a lot on the outside temperature and humidity level.

As far as these fans are concerned, I would say either get the Holmes HAWF2043 or the Bionaire BW2300, but stay far away from the Honeywell HW-628. Good luck!

UPDATE - June 24th, 2014:

I've had the Bionaire BW2300 for just over five years now. It's holding up quite well. I use it all the time and it works as well today after five years of use as it did when it was brand new out of the box - no problems at all. The remote control and the full temperature controls are nice! I'm very happy with it. Its one of the best things I've ever purchased.

UPDATE - April 19, 2015:

Houston, we have a problem. The flux capacitor has failed! Well, not that but after almost six years of use, I noticed that one of the two fans kept shutting itself down because it was overheating. Overheating? Huh? It was becoming too hot and tripping a protection circuit which was shutting it down until it cooled again. Sooo, what to do, what to do... Take it apart and try to fix it! (Not for the mechanically deficient)...

So the fan case comes apart with seven screws. Easy, right? But those extender locks make a repeat appearance as the design makes it virtually impossible to fully take the case apart without breaking at least one of the extender locks. Which I did. And I don't care since I don't use them. I didn't even bother reinstalling them when I was finished. But I'm getting ahead of myself... Anyway, I then removed the fan blades (single bolt) and then the motors themselves - which turn out to be made by General Electric. I first vacuumed out any dust from both sides of the motors. Then I applied a generous amount of a full synthetic 5w50 motor oil (yes, motor oil) to both sides of the motor shaft and the ball bearings. I worked it in by turning and sliding the play in the shafts and by using gravity to allow the oil to work in on both sides. I then reassembled the unit. Make sure that when you reinstall the fan blades that you key them correctly on the shaft and you may want to hand balance them a little. Also, the extender is a bit tricky to reinstall - make sure you get the end into the three grooves correctly, then extend the extender before you put the other side of the case shell on. You will need to put some support under the extended extender while doing this to keep it flat. And again, I didn't even bother reinstalling the extender locks on mine since I don't use them. So after the operation, the fan works like new again. No overheating. No shutdowns. In fact, the motor is staying very cool now. It just needed a little lube to keep the moving parts moving. You *may* be able to achieve a similar result without taking the whole fan apart by using a spray lube like WD40. But I find that WD40 is too light and it's effects are not long lasting unlike it's strong odor. The full synthetic 5w50 motor oil will work for years and there is no odor.

For me, this issue did not bother me one bit. After six years of heavy use, one should expect this sort of thing. In no way should this discourage you from buying the Bionaire BW2300. It's still one of the best purchases I ever made.

UPDATE - April 20, 2015:

After browsing some of the more recent reviews for the Bionaire BW2300, it seems that there *may* be a problem with the newer units. From what I understand, they added an inline fuse to the power cord and they may have also changed the electronics, but I'm not certain as I do not have one of the newer units. As of this date my fan is almost six years old, purchased in June, 2009, and it does not have an inline fuse on the power cord. My review reflects my experience with my fan and I do not know exactly what changes they may have made to the design since or how those changes may affect the newer units. That said, it is also possible that the spate of issues people are having recently *may* be due to user error. For instance, some of the people having issues may not be setting up an adequate ventilation route to an open window which would overheat the motors and cause shutdowns. But since I do not have one of the newer units, I cannot know what the situation is, one way or the other.
4444 comments|837 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 16, 2003
this fan is just so wonderful, it cools/exhausts my bedroom so quietly and efficiently. It's one more thing that I don't have to worry about. I love the thermostate setting feature, when i leave for work in the morning my room is usually cool enough so that the fan shuts off and will re-start automatically to exhaust the hot air from the room at noontime. If the room becomes too cool at night, the fan will shut itself off! It is so quiet and really gives a good breeze! I bought 2 and my son loves his too!
11 comment|115 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 22, 2003
I was actually impressed with the power. For an inexpensive fan, it does a good job. It's not exactly "whisper" quiet, but it sounds like it should - like a fan. Don't expect perfect silence. Very easy to set up and the one-touch temperature controls are very cool, although mine is always set on high since I'm really, really fat and I sweat all the time. OK, I'm really not fat, just sweaty. Anyway, in my opinion, this a good deal and I would recommend buying it. Gotta love Amazon.com.
22 comments|75 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 12, 2005
I recently bought two of these for my apartment. I lack air conditioning and don't really have the money for a decent window air conditioner, but I won't really need it now that I have a couple of these. I put one at one end of the apartment set to "intake" and one at the other set to "exhaust" and now there is a nice little breeze (not strong, but perceptible) through the whole apartment, keeping the air from getting stagnant and oppressively hot. I wouldn't recommend these as a replacement for air conditioning for larger apartments or houses, or for people who really can't stand heat and humidity at all (I grew up in the deep south and don't mind humidity), but if you're looking for something to keep the air in your home breezy and fresh, this will get the job done. The controls are easy to use and the set up is self explanatory and takes only a minute. They're also pretty lightweight and durable, which is a plus for me since I move fairly frequently. And at $30/each, they're a lot of bang for your buck. I am very pleased with my purchase.
0Comment|28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 12, 2013
I am a long-time Amazon customer and have never returned an item -- before now. I am a senior citizen on a limited income and must spend my money wisely on products that work well for me and work as advertised. I love to open all the windows in the spring and fall, all 2-3 weeks per year that we get in my area. I was hoping this product would circulate a little air through the space on "still" days. I also wanted to use this product as an exhaust after cooking items that leave a lingering odor.

I always read the reviews (not all 200+, in this case), but I read many of them including the 1-2 star comments. Some product problems are related to "user error" and I always take that into account when reviewing negative comments. But in the case of this product, HEED THE WARNINGS and move on to some other product.

This product is as many of the 1-3 star ratings indicate. It moves little air and leaves a huge gap at the top and bottom of the built-in expander panel -- I refuse to use tape to seal that 1/4" to 3/8" opening at top and bottom of the expander to keep out the multi-legged critters. My 10+ year old, 10 inch, oscillating table-top fan for which I paid approximately $10, moves much more air than this 2 fan model. I know on most computer fans, the number of cubic feet of air movement is usually disclosed; why is that not true for household fans and other "air movement products" for the home? As for the description at the top of the page, one of the bullet points says "Designed to fit most double hung and slider windows". That should be changed to "Designed to fit some windows IF YOU DON'T MIND SEALING THE GAPS WITH TAPE".

The manual link at the top of "Product Details" says:
------------------
For casement windows:
For a safe fit you will need a specially designed mounting bracket. This, and the
needed hardware, can be provided to you free of charge. Installation instructions
are included with the bracket. Please call the Consumer Service number located at
the end of this manual.
------------------
-I called Holmes (owned by Jarden) and was told that the bracket is no longer available.
-The customer service number is not at the end of the manual; you must search on Holmes' site.

Amazon should correct or omit the item about "Designed to fit..." and make clear that the mounting bracket mentioned in the linked manual is no longer available. If they don't, they are misleading customers. Did someone at Amazon not test this product, are they simply taking the word of the manufacturer/supplier, just as the FDA these days does not test medications and does not know that a medication is unsafe until patients start dying?

I have contacted Amazon and they have issued a RMA and contacted UPS to retrieve the package for return to Amazon tomorrow. Since I have never returned an item to Amazon, I hope that the return and credit to my account goes smoothly.

A smidgen of faith lost in products and product descriptions at Amazon, but hopefully not a deal breaker for me in the long run.
33 comments|54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 18, 2015
I really like these fans. I have 2 now and will probably be buying a few more before this hot summer is over. I find that they move a lot more air through then just a box fan in the window. It's also really convenient that you can change the direction they are blowing air with the flip of a switch on the front. Each fan has it's on switch so you can have it blowing in, out or one in each direction to flush hot air out. They come with a piece that extends out to make it fit your window space and an extra extension piece that is about 5 inches wide if you need to cover a bit more space. You can choose between high and low fan speeds and it has 5 temperature settings you can select so that it will lower the speed when it reaches that temp or increase it if it goes above that temp.
review image review image review image
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on October 5, 2013
This fan is atrocious. It is the WORST fan I've ever used.

It provides almost no air movement.
It is remarkably ugly (even by the low standards of the window fan market).
It is VERY cheaply-constructed and I don't imagine it will last a season.
It provides almost no air movement.

Read that again. This fan does not work as a fan!
I put it in a room and turned it on full and found that it barely moved the air at all-- and that, in fact, a fan in a different part of the house was doing more work in the SAME ROOM than this one was!

Do not buy this. There are certainly better fans out there. This is an embarassment. I could move more air by flapping a paper fan!
I returned mine within hours.
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 22, 2014
That's a good window fan. I have 2 of this model. They are simple and work well. Basically put it up when it's colder outside and let it working for hours.
The settings are:
temperature in 5F increments (I think 60 65 70 75) (or always on)
speed high/low
switch to select the fans rotating direction: inside or outside (independently). So if you have it vertical, you can put top to blow out, bottom to blow in to exchange the air in a room. Or put the window fans to exhaust on the 2nd floor and open some window on the first floor to evacuate heat faster.
Note that the fans are not super powerful, they are made to run for long times, not to be super fast to make a room cold.

the parts I do not like:
- something is always plugged in, and the thermostat /led area is very hot on mine, even when the switch is on off. (but when the fan is plugged-in). This makes me worried that there's a risk of fire with that, so I unplug it when not in use.
- like all window fans, the width is not enough for my windows, and while the "hard" extension piece could obviously be bought separately and attaching to the existing one, I've never found that separate piece to buy. Same for other brands.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 19, 2004
Nice lightweight fan, with easy-to-understand controls and instructions. Fairly quiet operation. Small quibble: unlike other dual fans I've had, you can't turn each side off individually (altho you can operate one side as a fan while the other side exhausts) Bonus: you can disassemble this fan for cleaning. Good value for the price.
11 comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 25, 2005
I live in Southern California, in a Two Story home, where temperatures can reach upwards to 85 degrees inside. When the sun goes down, temperatures can be as low as 55 degrees, but without a breeze, you can't get that breeze in your home. With this fan, I can now bring in that cold air, and cool down my second floor in no time. I bought three, to use in all my rooms, to cool the whole floor, and now can limit the use of my air conditioner and lower those high electric bills. As for the comments about noise being a problem, I don't hear it. If anything, it is a constant frequency which will drown out other unwanted noises, like that of white noise from a water fountain.
0Comment|18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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