Austin Air builds great air purifiers. And, they do so right here in the United States (or down in the US if you’re reading this from Canada). Their Healthmate Jr. line is a great option for anyone who prioritizes performance and build quality over looks or gizmos. It’s boxy case isn’t as sleek as pricier competitors, but its performance will not disappoint.
It’s also priced very competitively considering how much purification power you get for the money. In our opinion this unit checks all the boxes when it comes to actually improving the air you breathe. And that’s why we had to sit down and write a austin air purifier review that focuses on one of their most popular purifiers; the Healthmate Jr.
The Healthmate Jr. line comprises just a few models each with a slight variation from the other. The Healthmate Jr. is the entry level model, and will serve as the basis of this review. Moving up in price you’ll find the Baby’s Breath and Allergy Machine Jr. options. And, finally positioned at the top of the Jr. range you’ll find the Healthmate Jr. + model. We’ll get in to the differences below, but for now lets review the standard model and get a good baseline to work from.
Austin Air Purifier Review – Healthmate Jr.
If you’re looking at budget purifiers this particular model may seem a little on the expensive side. It is not. At least when you compare performance and results. We like to think of the Healthmate Jr. as the entry level option in the high performance purification niche. There are no purifiers that match it’s quality and performance for fewer dollars.
Are there good options for less money? There are, but none match the filtration that Austin Air provides. In fact, the filters are Austin Air’s focus. There’s no smartphone app… no timers… no smart sensors. And, there are definitely no gimmicks or window dressing on these purifiers. They’re basically a stout little box with a fan, a three speed dial, and a huuuuge filter. If we were to compare it to a car; it would be a bulldozer. It’s built to do one thing – trap as many contaminants as possible. No frills, no comfort, no nonsense.
Austin Air Purifier Filters
These filters are enormous. The four sided true HEPA filter (HEGA on some models) dwarfs most competitors. And when it comes to odor absorbing activated carbon a single Austin Air filter could provide enough carbon for dozens of filters used in even higher priced purifiers. The larger standard model has the most we’ve ever seen in a purifier, about 15 pounds of activated carbon and Zeolite. The Jr. models have about 6.5 to 7 pounds of granulated carbon which is still a pretty crazy amount. Austin Air definitely leads the way in the odor eliminator machine segment.
The filters also outlast most purifiers you’ll come across. They’ll last about 5 years if their used in an average home, obviously a bit less if you live on a busy dirt road or own a pack of heavy shedding dogs. Either way a purifier filter that lasts years (instead of months) really helps with the cost of these replacement filters.
A HEPA filters biggest weakness is that they are so fine the mesh could be clogged quickly if a prefilter is not used. Most purifiers these days have some sort of pre filter, and Austin Air’s machines are no different. The first stage of filtration will trap the really big stuff, like dog hair and dust bunnies.
To extend the life of your prefilter just vacuum the machine’s grate about once every week or two. No need to remove it and rinse like some other machines.
2. Medium Particle Prefilter
Austin Air uses a second prefilter. Which is pretty rare, but that’s probably why the HEPA filter lasts for up to 5 years. Their medium particle prefilter traps things like pollen and dust… further protecting the giant medical grade HEPA filter.
3. Activated Carbon and Zeolite Filter
The next filtration stage removes odor, gas, and VOCs from the air in your home. Packed with about six and a half to seven pounds of activated carbon and Zeolite they adsorb things that would pass through the HEPA filter (like smoke odor or paint fumes).
The carbon stage is actually where you will find differences in the models that comprise the Healtmate Jr. line. The plus model adds Potassium Iodide to boost the filter for chemical and VOC removal. The allergy machine and baby’s breath move the smaller military grade (HEGA) carbon filter from stage three to stage four.
Bottom line; if you’re focus is on removing odor (or fumes) Austin Air’s Healthmate or Healthmate plus should top your list of purifiers to consider.
4. HEPA Filtration
The final and most important stage is the 30 square feet of medical grade true HEPA filtration (Healthmate and “+” models). It’s one of the largest and longest lasting on the market. So don’t be put off by the cost of replacement filters; lower quality may be cheaper to purchase but over five years you’ll probably spend more money.
Intelligent Sensors WiFi & Alexa Compatibility
This purifier has absolutely no smart features. You have the option of off, low, medium, or high speed… selected on a three speed dial. That’s it. If you’re looking for something similar that is really smart you should look into the AirMega 300S.
It costs a bit more but give you the ability to turn control the purifier from your phone or through Amazon’s Alexa devices. Which may not seem like it’s worth the bump in price, but trust us… it’s pretty useful in day to day operation. The 300S is also way better looking, and moves more air. The areas where the Healthmate trumps the AirMega are activated carbon content and price.
Is it Quiet?
It’s easy to be dazzled by performance numbers, but when you’re running a purifier in your home noise becomes important. And, that’s probably Austin Air’s greatest weakness. They’re kind of loud. But, a powerful fan, a mesh 360 degree intake, and a very efficient filter setup will do that to a machine.
The full size models are pretty loud. More than 50 dB on low. These are a little quieter… but not by much. If you want quiet you’ll need to look at something like a BioGS from Rabbit Air… or pretty much any other purifier. Even our best budget purifier the Honeywell 50250-S comes in lower than the Austin Air.
|Specifications & Features||(Healthmate Jr.)|
|Coverage||400-700 Square Feet|
|Footprint||11" x 11"|
|Noise (Low)||~50 dB|
|Energy Consumption||80 Watts on High|
|Intake Style||360 Degrees|
|Clean Air Outlet||Top|
|Filter Life||Up to 5 Years|
Like we said earlier… there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on this purifier. You can choose a few colors, or if you opt for the Baby’s Breath or Allergy you get a slightly different filter. That’s about it. And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, there are less things to break.
If you have a smaller space, bad allergies, or need a little help with odor (like smoke or litter box smells) this is a good option. It’s better than most cheaper air purifiers, but there are a good number of higher priced models that we’d rather have.
For a lower priced option that doesn’t have the activated carbon content, but still works check out the Honeywell 50250-S. For something that performs well, with more features and way less noise, check out the Coway AP-1512HH or Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0. If you want higher end options that are as good or better, check out models from IQAir, Blue Air, or AirMega.
Healthmate Jr. Variations
Austin Air’s Healthmate comes in a few variations. Most exist on the Jr and the larger Standard models. The only exception is the Baby’s Breath. It only comes in the Jr. size.
Baby’s Breath & Allergy Machine
The Baby’s Breath and Allergy Machine share the same filters. They have less activated carbon than the Healthmate and Healthmate + and the stages of filtration are moved around a bit. These models aren’t as effective at soaking up odor, but they do flow a bit better. You also get two custom color choices on the Baby’s breath; pink or baby blue. The Allergy Machine is available in the standard size, while the Baby’s breath is only available as a smaller purifier (the Jr.).
Healthmate Jr Plus
The Healthmate Jr Plus is the same purifier as the Healthmate, with one exception. Austin Air adds Potassium Iodide to the Activated Carbon and Zeolite filter element. Potassium Iodide is more commonly used in medicine, but in a purifier it does help get rid of VOCs and other nasty gasses.
Value and Performance Ratings
It isn’t hard to compare price alone, or just performance specs. But, weighing actual value provided is more complicated. Here is our breakdown of how we feel the Healthmate Jr. pays you back for the cash you invested.