Sometimes, even a mid-range air purifier – like the Austin Air HealthMate – can offer high-end features.
At a somewhat chunky 45 lbs and a rectangular box-shape of 23 inches high by 14.5 inches square, it may not look like much. And, its boxy design limits where you can place the HealthMate. Corners work best. But this model is still relatively easy to move around, thanks to a set of four sturdy casters.
No matter where you place it, though, you’ll be happy with the performance. One reason for that is its unique filter system. The Austin Air HealthMate clears the usual suspects – dust, dander, pollen – but will also remove many VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and odors. If your interior air holds paint fumes, household cleaning product vapors, cat litter smell, and more, they’ll be gone after a few hours use at most.
That efficient air-cleansing operation is the result of a superb tri-filter system that combines activated carbon with Zeolite, and adds a HEPA filter, too. Some models offer very wimpy amounts of carbon in the filter. Here, that carbon is in ample supply, over 15 pounds. As a result, the Austin Air Healthmate will adsorb over 3,000 different VOCs and odors. Giving things a big assist, its True Medical-Grade HEPA filter houses over 60 square feet of material.
There is a small downside: you have to replace the combined HEPA/carbon/Zeolite filter as one unit. That might seem like replacing the entire cartridge in your ink-jet printer when only one color is dry. But the expected lifetime of these filters and their modest cost makes that a minor issue. Rated at 5 years, reviews by real users show that’s no exaggeration.
The Austin Air HealthMate air purifier draws air from 360 degrees around the case with intake vents at the bottom and an exhaust at the top, so it won’t just recycle its own output. Equally good, this unit draws a LOT of air. The HealthMate is rated to clear rooms as large as 1,500 square feet (that’s over 38 ft x 38 ft) in about 15 minutes. Here again, real-world buyers confirm that Austin Air is not exaggerating.
If the Healthmate has any serious flaw, it’s noise. During operation on low it produces 50 dB, on medium, 55 dB. On high, it generates a substantial 66 dB. That’s more than many, but still not so loud as to prevent hearing the TV if the unit is placed well away.
One other drawback is the limited number of indicators to let you know what’s going on. Most air purifiers show fan speed, ionizer activity, a filter replacement light, or other helpful signs. The HealthMate features only a simple dial for fan speed with no lights, graphs, or visual aids. Still, when it comes to the one indicator that counts – your sense of breathing clean air – it really delivers.