Austin Air Air Purifiers
Austin Air manufacturers two different series of air purifiers: a Standard (full size) series and a Junior series.
The Standard Series
The standard series of Austin air purifiers includes 5 different models
- Pet Machine
- Bedroom Machine
- HealthMate Plus
- Allergy Machine
All five models look identical from the outside with a hard metal housing and a single knob that allows the user to cycle between three fan speeds. There are no auto settings, there is no timer, no air quality sensor, and no control panel lights.
All five models house a very large and heavy cylindrical combination filter.
The combination filter on all five units features a medium particle pre-filter on the outside and a HEPA filter towards the inside.
The Bedroom Machine and Allergy Machine add a HEGA carbon cloth as the last filter. HEGA stands for High Efficiency Gas Arrestance, while HEPA of course stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air.
Four of the models feature a substantial mixture of compounds for gas filtration. For example, the HealthMate features an activated carbon and zeolite mixture while the HealthMate Plus features potassium iodide impregnated carbon and zeolite.
The Allergy Machine is the only model that does not feature any extensive gas filtration media other than a thin HEGA carbon cloth.
Finally, all five units also feature a separate large particle pre-filter. This is a fabric like filter that wraps around the inside of the unit, behind the grille. It’s there to capture larger particles and keep the combination filter from saturating as fast.
Austin Air units excel in two areas
- durability and
- gas filtration
Austin Air air purifiers are the most durable units we’ve tested. There’s very little plastic on these units – the outer housing is made almost entirely of metal. The minimalist approach to the control panel means there’s not much to break when it comes to the controls for these units. Not to mention the fact that they are also made in the USA while most other air purifiers are made in China.
Austin Air air purifiers are not cheap. Standard series units retail for anywhere between $500 and $800 or so.
If particle filtration is your primary concern – i.e. allergens, pollen, mold, etc. – then you can get away with a much less expensive air purifier. Something like the Winix 5500-2, for example, is going to offer just as good, if not better particle filtration than any Austin air purifier.
However, if gas filtration (and by that we’re referring to removing unwanted gases like odors and VOCs) is your primary concern then Austin air purifiers are simply the best air purifiers on the market and well worth their purchase price for their terrific gas filtration.
Our recommendation among all Standard series units is the HealthMate.
The HealthMate is the best combination of gas filtration performance (its combination filter contains 15 lb. of activated carbon and zeolite for exceptional gas filtration) and price among the five available Austin Air Standard series models.
That being said, you really cannot go wrong with any of the five units except for the Allergy Machine.
As we mentioned earlier it’s the only model that does not feature any extensive gas filtration media. As its name suggests it’s intended for allergens and those are particles – not gases; however, there are simply better options out there if allergens and other particles are your primary concern. Again, a top rated 250 CFM unit like the Winix 5500-2 is recommended instead. It offers similar particle filtration at a much lower price.
The Junior Series
Junior series units are physically smaller and lighter with smaller filters. They also have half the output of Standard series units.
However, their overall design and the media that makes up their filters is identical to their full size counterparts. For example, the Allergy Machine Junior is simply a smaller and lighter Allergy Machine with half the output.
Both units have a single knob for three fan speeds and the exact same, albeit a different quantity, of filter media. For example, the Allergy Machine Junior’s filter has 30 sq. ft. of HEPA filter media while the full size machine has 60 sq. ft. of the same HEPA filter media.
We generally do not recommend Junior series units because they simply are not a very good value. Full size Standard series units tend to be about 50% more expensive but with double the amount of filter media and overall output.
You’re essentially paying only 50% more for 100% more performance with a Standard series unit compared to an equivalent Junior series unit, making the Standard series units a much better value.
Standard series units also have what we would consider the minimum amount of output for most applications. Junior series units have much lower output and simply won’t work for many applications.
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