Customer Review

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4.0 out of 5 stars Triple Comparison Review - Bionaire BW2300 - Holmes HAWF2043 - Honeywell HW-628, June 6, 2009
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This review is from: Bionaire BW2300 Twin Window Fan with Remote Control (Kitchen)
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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 widow 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.
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.
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Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 28, 2009 1:25:51 PM PDT
IC says:
This is the exactly the comparison review I was looking for (between the Holmes & the Bionaire). Thanks!

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 10:46:21 AM PDT
Wonderbird says:
Thanks so much for the DETAILED review of multiple options. I also picked up a kill-a-watt a few months ago and really like to see what the power draw of devices is BEFORE I buy them. Unfortunately it seems most fan manufacturers think they don't need to list them. Thanks for helping fill in the gap(s)... I will try to help do the same on other reviews.

Posted on Jul 16, 2011 4:31:35 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 16, 2011 6:15:05 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 16, 2011 4:31:37 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 16, 2011 4:31:49 AM PDT]

Posted on Aug 7, 2011 1:42:14 PM PDT
D says:
Thanks for the reviews. You seem very knowledgeable about these products. Do you know if they make a dual window fan with the weather guard you can put down to protect the fan when not in use (so you don't have to take it out of the window)? I see the larger one fan units (i.e. Lasko) have this feature. Ideally I'd like to find a unit with remote I can put in the upper part of a tall window and leave there. Don't know if this is possible.

Posted on May 2, 2012 3:40:01 PM PDT
sharon says:
Can you turn 1 fan off at a time. Can I have just 1 fan on at a time???

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2012 3:32:33 PM PDT
detroit_fan says:
no sharon, both run together, but one can be pulling out and one pulling in. no independent fan control

Posted on Jul 1, 2012 4:39:56 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 1, 2012 11:17:26 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 7:25:01 PM PDT
J. A. H. says:
Super informative review!!! Thanks for the in depth comparison.

Posted on Jul 17, 2012 7:15:01 PM PDT
This is a superlative review. You inspire me to be more dedicated when it comes to providing honest, objective and thorough reviews for items I've purchased. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and you have labored for the betterment of society. Thank you!
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