Re(al)view: Essick Air 5D6-700 Mini-Console Humidifier

Re(al)view: Essick Air 5D6-700 Mini-Console Humidifier

Gregory Han
Dec 16, 2008

I've been sitting here for the last half hour trying to report on something I realize doesn't need all too much explaining. A humidifier either works or doesn't, and from the few weeks using the Essick Air 5D6-700 Mini-Console Humidifier it would be easiest to say that the system does indeed work as promised, especially when aiding in easing allergy symptoms. But there are some notable features of the unit and setbacks to consider before deciding whether the 5D6-700 is for you...

First off, the Essick Air 5D6-700 Mini-Console Humidifier is not really a "mini" in any way. It's more like a "medium" and takes enough space to be noticeable and works best on the floor of on surface with plenty of room around it to avoid accidentally knocking it over. The industrial designers who put this machine together must have put their creativity into cruise control, as the unit won't be winning any Red Dot design awards by any extent. But neither is it necessarily ugly...just very utilitarian. Unlike active humidifying units, the 5D6-700 uses an evaporative system (basically an upward facing fan) that can provide humidity in areas up to 1,100 sq ft. Compared to active cool steam humidifiers we've used before, the 5D6-700 is superior in overall comfort while in extended use, as it doesn't convert an interior space into a damp-muggy environment. Our apartment is about half the size advertised and the system did provide a noticeable and comfortable amount of humidity, especially while operating in the evening. Like the three bears of Goldilocks fame, our humidity was neither too damp nor too dry, making our interior feel "just right". During colder temperature weather it's easy for sinuses to get congested and dry, but with the unit on during the evening, our respiratory passages felt noticeably less parched upon waking.

Operating the unit is a no-brainer. Just insert two evaporative wicks, which look similar to air filters, into left and right center slots. Pour up to 3 gallons of water on the sides facing outward from these wicks, allowing the water to filter through the particle removing material (guaranteeing better water quality), close the unit by placing the fan section ontop and set the 4 speed motor to whichever comfortable setting you prefer. The unit itself is very quiet when set to 1 or 2, but we cannot recommend operating it at "3" speed unless you're in another room, and "4" sounds like a turbine that could propel the Queen Mary out of the harbor. An automatic shutoff system monitors humidity level and a refill light turns on to warn when it's time to refill.

As we stated from the start, the Essick Air 5D6-700 works, and works fairly well. It just won't wow you over with it's design or a plethora of features. But when it comes to humidifying a space, maybe good is good enough, and it is indeed good at what it advertises itself to be. The Essick Air 5D6-700 is available at Sylvane with free shipping for $79.95.

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