It’s 2020 — we know exactly how many calories are in our food and drinks, things like fitness trackers can tell us exactly how much exercise, sleep and recovery we need — we have a ton of information about what goes into our bodies and what it needs. But one thing we probably don’t give enough attention to is the air we breathe. Really though, do you know what you are breathing in right now? The best air quality monitors let you keep a close eye on indoor air quality, which can often be worse than the “fresh air” outdoors.
Sure, you can get air-quality reports from your local weather channel or from the app on your phone about the outside air quality, but what about your home or office? That’s where air quality monitors come in. The best home air quality monitors detect harmful chemicals, gases and fine particles that can negatively affect your respiratory system.
When you are looking for an indoor air quality monitor, you’ll see a handful of acronyms tossed around that pertain to what the monitors detect. Here’s what they mean:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – Gases emitted from certain solids or liquids that may have short to long-term negative effects on respiratory health
- Fine particles (also known as particulate matter) – Particles that are 10 micrometers or smaller that can be inhaled that may cause negative effects to the lungs and heart
- Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) – This is the total combination of all VOCs in the air.
- Co2 – a greenhouse gas that is harmless in small quantities (we breathe out Co2), but high levels of Co2 can negatively affect cognitive function and sleep. Left unchecked, Co2 leaks are deadly.
That all seems scary, but thankfully, home air quality monitor helps detect and inform you when any of the above get to levels that are harmful to your health. Keep in mind, air quality monitors only detect these particles and gases, they don’t eliminate them. You’ll want to pair an air quality monitor with an air purifier or find a smart air quality device that can connect to your smart home system to automatically take action when air quality reaches harmful levels. You can also check out the EPA’s guidelines on how to reduce exposure to harmful air particles at home.
You know virtually everything that goes into your body, now it’s time to take control over what you breathe in. Below you’ll find our recommendations for the best air quality monitors to put your mind at ease about the air you are breathing.
1. Awair Element Air Quality Monitor
When you don’t want an obtrusive, flashy air monitor attached to your wall, elect to go with the stylish Awair Element Air Quality Monitor, which blends nicely into your home decor. Although it blends in with your other smart home products, it still keeps a watchful eye over Co2 levels, humidity, temperature, VOCs and fine particles. These readings will stream to your phone with advice on how to adjust levels. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Home for complete smart home integration.
2. Kaiterra Laser Egg+
This home air quality monitor is not only easy to use, but it’s also extremely smart. When connected to your Wi-Fi, it scans the air in your home for unwanted particles, humidity, temperature and other poor air quality factors. It can also automatically tell your smart thermostat to kick on your AC or smart purifier to get levels back to normal through connection to Apple HomeKit. And the monitor is conveniently controlled entirely through a smartphone app. Pretty smart for an Egg, eh?
3. BREATHE Smart Personal Air Quality Monitor
BEST FOR FAMILIES
This simple, portable, compact air quality monitor is great for using around the house to reduce your family’s exposure to polluted air. It measures both AQI and PM 2.5 concentration so it’s great for use against dust or smoke if you live in an area with frequent wildfires. It can detect the air quality both indoors and outdoors so you can assess whether it’s safe to go outside, and you can view data up to 30 days after the fact so you can track pollution hot-spots. It’s built with laser air quality sensors so you know you’re getting the most accurate information.
4. Awair Glow C Air Quality Monitor + Smart Plug
Simply plug the Awair Glow C into your wall and start monitoring your air. It’s that simple. It’s not as comprehensive as other indoor air quality monitors since it only tracks VOCS, temperature and humidly. However, like the Airware Element, our top pick among the best air quality monitors, the Glow C still sends data to your phone via the Awair App, so you can stay on top of those readings. It also doubles as a nightlight with customizable colors. It’s essentially a smart plug that monitors the air. Oh, and it’s only $70, too.
5. Airthings Wave
EASY TO USE
Radon is a poisonous gas that can cause serious respiratory illness, and that’s what the Wave protects you and your family from. Wave is straightforward: wave your hand in front of the meter to get a reading. If the meter is green, you’re good. If its yellow, or more importantly, red, there is an unhealthy amount of radon in your home. You can also download the app to get the readings on your phone, but since it connects to your phone via Bluetooth, you’ll need to be in your home to get readings.
6. EG Air Pollution Meter
BEST FOR TRAVEL
For the person who’s always on the go, but would still like to monitor the air quality in hotels and AirBnBs, the EG Air Pollution meter can help detect volatile organic compounds that cause odor and can be harmful to your respiratory system. It can spot-check specific areas, or continuously run for two days to monitor the air you’re breathing. It’s small enough to slip into your travel bag or keep in your car. It’s a smart way to stay on top of your health while you’re on the go.
7. Biaoling Air Quality Monitor
BEST FOR OFFICE USE
Do you ever get to the office and all of a sudden your allergies go nuts? Bring the Biaoling Air Quality Monitor along and find out if the air in your office is the cause of your allergy fits. The screen displays smoke, fog, dust, particle matters as well as TVOC, carbon dioxide and monoxide levels. The battery will last 8-12 hours to even get you through the whole workday and can easily be recharged by plugging it into your USB port on your computer.
8. IQAir Smart Indoor & Outdoor Air Quality Monitor
Boasting smart IFTTT capabilities (if this, then that), you can set your home air quality monitor to take specific actions if particle or gas levels start to get unhealthy. For instance, if particle levels become unhealthy, you can have the monitor sound an alarm, or you can integrate it with your smart home and have it turn on your smart air purifier. The readings can easily be read on the display and even sent to your phone, which includes real-time updates as well as a historical log. While budget air quality devices can let you know if VOCs or radon levels are rising, only the best air quality monitors are capable of taking direct action to respond to changes in air quality.
9. Hei Liang Air Air Quality Monitor
BEST FOR ALLERGIES
This air quality monitor goes in-depth with its readings and detects all sorts of particulate matter in the air including airborne pollutants, fog, dust and ink among others. This unit is the only one you need to track everything you’re breathing in and the LED high-definition screen puts all the info you need right at your finger tips. If seasonal allergies are your nemesis or you’d rather not have to pop Benadryl constantly, this monitor is a great option for keeping airborne allergens at bay.