Last edit: 10/02/15

Austin Air Healthmate Air Purifier Review

Low Maintenance Relationship

Austin Healthmate Air Purifier

Are you searching for reliable, economical air purifiers, without bells and whistles?

If you hate maintenance, would never clean the collector plates on an electrostatic air filtering system, would forget to change a smaller HEPA air filter or wash out the prefilter, the Austinair purifier is for you.

Turn the Austins on and ignore 'em, vacuum the outside, these best economy air purifiers do all the work.

Ain't love grand?

Universally regarded as economical, reliable, well built air filters, Austin air cleaners have been consistent top sellers for years.

You will find at least one Austin Air Healthmate in every allergy store, and at about 40,000 air purifier sites on the web.

I walked into a small allergy shop once, and found an inexperienced sales clerk hunched over a product manual open on a footstool.

Brushing past dust mite covers and beautiful best quality hypoallergenic quilts, I made my way back to where he sat. I asked,

"Where are the air purifiers?"

Eager to help, he searched high and low without success.

When we had circled back to his home base, he had found no product.

My hopes for a knowledgeable retailer interview were dashed.

As I thanked him and turned to go, he picked up his manual, which revealed his footstool, the ever-present Austin Air HealthMate.

Austin: Quality HEPA Aircleaner

The Healthmate HEPA air purifier is simple, without electronic extras, but it has a heart of gold: 15 pounds of activated carbon, with zeolite mix to adsorb over 3000 different VOC chemicals and odors.

Austin air purifiers are a perennial candidate for top HEPA purifiers and overall economy in air purifying. austin air healthmate

You would need to go about $400 higher, to the finest home air filters (found in IQAirs) to get better air purification.

Cartridge life is a projected at "5-years": if you changed Austin air filters every 3 years it would still be economical.

The reality is when airflow begins to feel restricted, or odors persist, you change the cartridge.

With moisture, pets, or smokers, it could be as little as 1 year.

Over 60 square feet of True Medical Grade HEPA filter material to accompanies all that activated carbon.

Austin Air claims its filter material meets HEPA filter standards (99.97% particle filtration at .3 micron size), and is 95% efficient in filtering airborne particulates 0.1 micron and smaller.

Field tests at Allergy Buyers Club and others give lower purifying efficiencies, in the upper 80's.

This is still above average efficiency.

Warning: Austin Warranty and Air Filter Life

Even Austin Air's filters are included in a prorated 5-year limited warranty.

There is a clause requiring normal home use, but very, very little expensive carbon or HEPA filter media is included in warranties elsewhere.

Again, if the home air is toxic, damp, has pets, fire damage, chemicals, mold, or was ever smoked in, the activated carbon could saturate sooner.

There are many reports of Austin air purifiers with Carbon/Zeolite filter material quickly ruined by improper use; mold overgrowth, fire damage, wet installations in pools, saunas, or flood damaged areas, and heavy toxic VOC vapor exposure.

Please don't join disappointed buyers who mistakenly expect miracles from air purifiers. bad day baby ad1

Air cleaners, Austinair or otherwise, cannot single-handedly solve those problems, source removal is required before installation.

For the first two years, Austin Air rebates 60% of the filter's retail cost, plus shipping.

In the third year, 40% of retail cost plus shipping.

If the filter material clogs in the last year of coverage, it's a 10% rebate.

The newer models have a pair of prefilters, an outer for larger particles, and inside that, a medium size particle prefilter.

Designed to be vacuumed with a brush attachment from the outside, without prefilter removal, the Austin Air HEPA filter requires no other maintenance between changes.

Austin has No Electronics or Air Filter Monitor

Every air purifier design will have flaws, and Austin Air's big-filter-long-life-means-value has a couple.

First is the combined HEPA/carbon filters.

In normal households this arrangement performs well, but if there is an extreme particle or chemical situation, half the filter will still be working when other half needs replacing.

Lack of a filter life monitor is a minor weakness.

Users must judge filter expiration by airflow and scent off-gassing, and make the decision to replace the one-piece filter subjectively.

But most competing filter minders are timers, which often encourage premature filter replacement.

Zeolite is a water magnet, so this activated carbon-zeolite filter cannot run in baths, saunas, or indoor pools.

Of course, high humidity is to be avoided for other air purifier's filters as well.

Electronic sensors and controls, and a remote, are absent from the Austins.

Many buyers think they are paying lots of money: Austin Airs are economy air purifiers, the low end of the premium product spectrum.

Austinairs must be installed and used properly to fulfill that promise.

NOISE is this machine's principal weakness.

Breathing air from all 4 sides, though little holes in the metal skin, and exhausting upward, the Austin air purifiers provide; 50 dB(A)@48 cfm on low,
55 dB(A)@180 cfm,
and 66 dB(a)@400 cfm on high.

Note that 50 dB(A)(decibels) on low is NOT the best for sleeping.

A call to Austin verifies this as the correct reading, despite better quality numbers floating around the web.

The main thing happening here is that Austinair is honest, many air purification vendors make spurious sound claims.

One way to test any vendor is to call customer service with a question or problem before you buy.

When I called Austin, American employees answered immediately.

Like every builder, Austin has toughened the Customer Service environment, many buyers are bitter about the hard sell they get when trying to assert a claim.

Throughput is 250 cu. ft. per minute on High Speed, 125 cfm on Medium. and 47 cfm on Low Speed.

That would yield an approximate CADR around 220.

For best air purification, I suggest a max room size for the Austin Air of much less than the manufacturer's rated size: 200 square feet.

Instead of venting around the perimeter, the Health Mate has one focused outlet near the top.

This may assist asthma sufferers who need purified air immediately, but to others it could be drafty.

Low Costs + Long Life = Best Air Purifying Value

With infrequent filter changes, the Austin Air is cheaper to own than almost every other heavy-carbon-HEPA air purifier on the market. falling water ad2

Cost of ownership for a typical lower quality air cleaner selling for around $200 will eventually exceed the Austin Air HealthMate Plus.

After several of an inferior air purifier's frequent filter changes, the Austinair air purifiers filters will still be in warranty.

But you could buy a cart full of small carbon granule covered mesh or polyester pre-filters and have less than 1 pound of activated carbon air filtering capacity.

Built with a steel housing 23 inches high and 14.5 inches square, the Austin's exterior is painted with a baked on non-toxic powder finish now available in four colors; sandstone, silver, black, and white.

At 45 pounds Healthmate NEEDS the 4 caster type wheels to get around, and may prove difficult for the elderly or infirm to move about the home, or upstairs.

Power consumption is 115 watts on high, and 56 watts on low, not as good as the best Energy Star qualifiers.

Austin is located in Buffalo, New York.

Austin is among the oldest air purifier manufacturers in the country.

Austin Air Healthmate is still assembled in the USA, but motors are now imported from China.

The Austin Air HM450+ is designed and built in the world's biggest purifier plant, with no contracted parts or sub-assemblies.

Austin Customer Service is not outsourced, and has an acceptable reputation.

A conservative design philosophy means filters will still be available for the life of the Austin Air.

Many Austin aircleaners manufactured in the last decade are still running with their first replacement filters.

Austin air purifier is investment grade, offering quality air purification with little price flexibility across the web.

There are look-alike units out there, which may be seconds, remanufactured, or knock-offs.

Be sure you’re getting the real thing, and inspect the product carefully upon receipt to verify it is actually new.

The Austins have been around for sooooooo long in the same square metal box, a certain percentage are being sold-and-returned repeatedly.

Austin Health Mate HM450+ Black at

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