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You have likely equipped your home with a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, but what about a radon detector? Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Up until recently, the only way to detect radon in your home was to schedule professional testing. But thanks to advances in home tech, you can now buy a compact radon detector.
What Is Radon?
As explained by the EPA, radon is a “radioactive gas … that comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils.” Radon is an odorless and colorless gas that enters homes by moving up from the ground and into dwellings through cracks in the foundation. Once radon has entered the home, it can become trapped and begin to build up.
The EPA, which estimates that one out of every 15 homes in the US has dangerous radon levels, recommends all homeowners test for radon, even if their home was built recently and is well sealed. If a radon test detects a level of 4 pCi/L or higher, homeowners should call a government-approved radon specialist in their state to conduct further testing. If you detect high levels, don’t panic. Fixing radon issues in the home is relatively affordable, easy and quick.
What to Consider Before Buying a Radon Detector
Digital detectors constantly monitor the air in your home and generate real-time reports of radon levels. A digital monitor can let you can know exactly if and when you need to take action. Another option is a testing kit, which is an economical way to buy peace of mind and check your home’s safety. You simply order these kits, send them back and wait for lab results. And since pretty much everyone lives on their phones, there are smart models that have compatible apps to notify you of your home’s radon levels.
Whatever type of test you decide to use, the testing environment and steps should be largely the same. The EPA recommends placing tests in the lowest level of the home in a room that is frequently used, but not a kitchen or bathroom. Tests should be placed at least 20” above the floor and away from drafty areas and exterior walls. For short-term tests, windows and doors should be closed and remain closed for 12 hours before the test is conducted.
How We Chose the Best Radon Detectors
These products work in multiple ways, and you can choose the detector that best fits your needs. Some include data on a built-in display screen. Others connect to an app, so you can monitor this information from anywhere and know when you need to act. There are also one-time kits. We included all these kinds of options, so you can pick the one that meets your budget and preferences.
To help you navigate your options, we’ve rounded up some of the best radon detectors available online.
1. Corentium Home Radon Detector
Arthings’ Corentium radon detector is battery-operated and delivers on-screen results. The bold display screen shows short-term and long-term readings, allowing users to generate reports at any time. Once you start using this product, you’ll receive your first readings within 24 hours. This detector has an estimated lifespan of 10 years.
Pros: This radon detector is lightweight and doesn’t require an outlet, so you can place it anywhere in your house. The product is designed for accuracy.
Cons: This product won’t alert you if the radon levels are too high, so you’ll need to know what to look for.
2. Airthings Wave Radon Detector
The second-generation detector by Airthings monitors radon levels, temperature and humidity to give you a full picture of your home’s air quality. This product connects to your phone or smart home devices via Bluetooth. A modern display shows green, yellow or red light to indicate air quality. This detector is battery-operated and provides continuous monitoring.
Pros: This product won’t look clunky on your wall. The color-coded alert system is easy to monitor.
Cons: The detector connects to your devices with Bluetooth instead of WiFi, so you have to be within a close range to monitor the readings.
3. First Alert Radon Gas Test Kit, RD1
Installing a permanent radon detector in your home isn’t the only option. First Alert’s economical test kit is a great option for buying peace of mind. First Alert is one of the leading brands for domestic gas detection. You simply order the kit, set it up yourself, leave it for a few days, and then send it back. There is no lab fee in most states. The kit is made in the US.
Pros: Economical kit. Easy setup. Lab fee included in 49 states.
Cons: One-time use, so not ideal for consistent monitoring.
4. Airthings 2960 View Plus
For the ultimate in air quality detection, there’s the Airthings 2960 View Plus. A step up from the Airthings Wave Radon Detector, the View Plus also tests radon, temperature, and humidity, as well as VOCs, CO2, pressure, and particulate matter. These additional tests can help alert customers to issues in their air quality, which if left untreated can lead to headaches, joint pain, and other issues that could negatively affect preexisting health conditions. Unlike the Wave Radon Detector, the View Plus displays readings directly on the unit in addition to the Airthings app and can be connected via WiFi. Customers can fully customize the display on their View Plus and use the wave function to quickly see whether the air in their home is rated Good, Fair, or Poor. The Airthings app can graph changes in air quality, provide live and local pollen levels, send customized notifications, and more.
Pros: In addition to testing for radon, the View Plus provides a full picture of the air quality in a home and can help customers address air quality issues that could be negatively impacting their health.
Cons: The View Plus comes with a big price tag.
5. SafetySiren Pro4 Series
The Pro4 is SafetySiren’s fourth-generation offering of their radon detectors. It’s designed to be easy to set up as well. It’s a simple plug-in model that continuously monitors the radon level in your home. It has a two-line digital display with backlighting for easy legibility — you can see both short-term and long-term averages. Plus, it runs self-tests every 24 hours, and it will display an error message in the result of a failure. There are audible alerts in the event of dangerous radon levels. This monitoring device is manufactured in the US.
Pros: Runs error tests every 24 hours. Audible alerts in the result of dangerous radon levels. Made in the US.
Cons: No wall-mounting options. The power cord is somewhat short.
6. Radon Eye RD200 Ecosense Detector
This radon detector is easy to set up and starts working within 10 minutes. You can monitor the readings on your smartphone, and the data updates six times per hour. This detector also stores up to a year’s worth of data, so you can keep track of long-term trends. The device sounds an alarm if radon levels exceed 4pCi/L.
Pros: The data storage capabilities are great for tracking radon levels over time. You can use the app to turn off the alarm.
Cons: The exported data doesn’t include timestamps.