Best Air Quality Monitor List & Reviews 2020
The best air quality monitor can help us keep our families safe by knowing and understanding the pollutants that are present in our homes. Here are a few statements from some trustworthy and knowledgeable organizations that should get your attention as it relates to indoor air quality, and why we should monitor it…
“4.3 million people a year die from the exposure to household air pollution” – World Health Organization
“long-term exposure to fine particles in air pollution leads to higher rates of hospitalization for pneumonia, heart attack, stroke, & diabetes” – Harvard Health
“Poor indoor air quality can bother your eyes, nose, and throat. It can also lead to chronic heart & lung problems & cancer” – CDC
By monitoring the air for things like VOCs (chemicals), PM (particle matter), and CO2 (carbon dioxide), we’ll better understand the indoor air quality (IAQ). In addition, certain temperature and humidity levels promote mold and bacteria growth, along with other contaminants. It’s the knowledge of these levels that will allow us to make adjustments to mitigate the likelihood of their presence.
Indoor Air Quality Monitor Reviews
You’ll find our list of the top IAQ monitors below. These are all great choices and just because we don’t list one of them as the “best air quality monitor”, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. Each of these options has different features and benefits for a specific needs. Our air quality monitor reviews offer the good and bad of each model and point you in the right direction as well as cover products in different price ranges. This should help you get the most bang for your buck so you don’t waste your hard-earned cash on junk!
Best Air Quality Monitor 2020
Awair Review: Accuracy is a large reason we selected Awair as the #1 best air quality monitor. While it’s not technically the most accurate air quality monitor on the market, it’s the most accurate viable option for this price-point, without spending lab-quality money. It is also a great product as it measures dust (particles), VOC, CO2, humidity, and temperature. It also gives an overall air quality score along with actionable insights and recommendations for remedying the problem. We found this to be a nice touch. In addition, you’re able to see patterns by tracking and monitoring progressions over time.
Awair connects with devices like nest, Amazon Echo, IFTTT, and more.
Glow does have the ability to automate the management of your air quality also. You can plug non-smart devices into its smart plug and have it turn things on at preset levels. For instance, if the VOC level gets too high, you could have an air purifier plugged into turn on at a preset level.
It also doubles as an expensive night light!
Best PM 2.5 Monitor (Tiny Dust Particles) 2019
AirVisual Pro Review: The IQAir AirVisual Pro was chosen as the best PM 2.5 detector on our list. These tiny particles can be extra dangerous for our health due to their size. They can easily find their way into our lungs or bloodstream, wreaking havoc on respiratory system! In addition to dust particles, the IQAir AirVisual Pro also detects CO2, temperature, and humidity, but not VOCs. It also reports the outdoor air quality from the nearest official monitoring station to you.
“AirVisual” is a well-placed name for this indoor air quality monitor. Most of the indicators and alerts are very visual in nature. No only do the indicators, and graphs show what they mean, but even the color of them tell you something at a quick glance. Not only that, but they are very intuitive to someone that’s not all that familiar with this particular air quality monitor.
So what else comes with the best PM 2.5 sensor? Well, I’m glad you asked. Something unique to our AirVisual air quality monitor review is its ability to forecast air quality data up to 3 days in advance. It also provides advice based on past and present air quality data points. Last but not least, the IQAir AirVisual pro utilizes smart integration and is able to control other smart home devices with IFTTT commands.
Best Indoor Air Quality Monitor w/ an Outdoor Module
Weather station? No, you didn’t click on the wrong page. Netatmo has a very unique product. It’s a weather station and air quality monitor all in one product. Netatmo monitors temperature, humidity, air quality, CO2, and has a sound meter for noise pollution. It provides both real-time notifications and historical graphs via the intuitive smartphone and iPad app.
Besides the unique indoor air quality sensors, you also receive a second module for outdoors. The outdoor module monitors temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and outdoor air quality. It’s also capable of providing a weather forecast! We actually have a full page review on the Netatmo Weather Station in that section of the site. This is an alternative to buying both an air quality monitor and a household weather station. This combination unit provides a ton of value to the user that would otherwise be interested in both devices. If this is you, go with the Netatmo!
Best Air Quality Monitor: Particle Counter
Dylos DC1100 Review: The DC1100 Dylos air quality monitor is a kind of an apples to oranges comparison to the others on this list. It’s an actual laser particle counter and is mainly focused on just that, particles. It sees particles in two size ranges, large (2.5+ micron) for things like pollen and small (0.5-2.5 micron) for things like bacteria and mold. Others on this list won’t see particles at the level the Dylos air quality monitor will, and that is important for respiratory conditions specifically.
This DC1100 includes real-time bar graphs and also a 30-day history log. It helps you better understand when you should run an air purifier, and also what settings to use. The Dylos air quality monitor does not have many of the bells and whistles, or fancy industrial design, as some of the others on this list have. However, this model is highly recommended and a great tool if you have asthma or another respiratory condition and don’t care about other readings.
Best Air Quality Monitor: Budget Pick
Elgato Eve Room Review: The Elgato Eve Room is less expensive than most on this list, but still provides readings on some of the core essentials for air quality monitoring. It measures VOC, temperature, and humidity. It’s very portable due to the Bluetooth and battery-powered design (3x AAA).
What stood out in our Elgato Eve Room review was that it’s small, basic, and simple. It does what it says and nothing more. If you want to monitor aspects of the air quality, but you’re on a budget, consider this model. Do keep in mind that it requires an Apple iPhone or iPad with IOS 10.3 or later to control this Homekit-enabled accessory.
Best Portable Air Quality Monitor
Igeress Air Quality Detector Review: We’ve chosen the Igeress as our best portable air quality monitor. Readings include total VOC, PM2.5, PM10 (for reference), and formaldehyde. Note, there is no CO2 detector in this unit, but it does provide formaldehyde readings if that’s something you’ll require. Along with being the best portable air quality monitor, this is the best VOC meter you can get at this price-point.
During our portable air quality monitor review of the Igeress, we noted that it is a no frills, inexpensive, and very portable unit. There are several like it available, but based on price and feedback from actual customer reviews, we recommend it above the others. It is also one of the most accurate air quality monitors in the “portable’ category.
Best Radon Detector: Real-time Detection for your Smart Home
Airthings Wave Smart Radon Detector
Airthings Wave Review: The Airthings Wave provides real-time, continuous monitoring of radon gas, temperature, and humidty and logs detailed data to their free app or the Airthings Dashboard. It utilizes convenient Bluetooth technology and can integrate with your smart home using IFTTT.
During our Airthings Wave review, we really liked the LED ring indicator. It provides a quick, easy to understand indication of the current radon level by providing a green, yellow, or red ring at the center of the unit. Green of course means that radon is low, yellow is a warning, and red means danger, radon levels are high!
According to the EPA, radon is the second leading cause to lung cancer behind smoking. Radon is an odorless and colorless gas that is not easily detected. And, if you need a real-time radon detector, why not get one of the best air quality monitors at the same time. The Airthings Wave is great piece of mind!
Our Previous Favorite…
Foobot Review: We previously chose the Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor as #1 on our list. Partly because of its ease of use and intuitiveness. Like many of the other models, the Foobot provides its user with an indoor air quality score. In the Companion App, it shows those scores along with the thresholds from the EPA and WHO (World Health Organization) so you know exactly where you stand and where the threat level is.
It provides both real-time details and histo30rical spikes on VOCs (chemicals), PM2.5, CO2 (calculated), humidity, and temperature. It doesn’t have an actual CO2 sensor on-board. It calculates and estimates for CO2 based on the VOC reading. It seems to be fairly accurate. Of course the Foobot is made for home use and isn’t going to give you lab-accurate readings. If it did have all these features, it would be much more expensive than it is.
Another thing we really like about the Foobot is its ability to play well with other smart home devices such as Amazon’s Echo, ecobee, IFTTT, nest, LUX, and Honeywell. You can find quick start guides for each of these on their website.
Besides the fact that the CO2 is calculated rather than measured, the only other downside we think is worth noting is that it takes 6 days to acclimate to an environment. This means it’s not very portable, which isn’t a problem for most folks who only plan to use it in their home anyway.
The Foobot air quality monitor is a great product and has great customer reviews and feedback. It’s also easy to set up and use in minutes, however as of recently, it’s been sold out and Foobot is working on a new air quality monitoring device. No indication yet when it might be available.
Best Air Quality Monitor Reviews Wrap-up
We hope our best air quality monitor reviews will help you in your search. We’ve chosen the models above out of a larger group that were researched thoroughly. They are all good IAQ monitors and any one of them would be a good start to making sure you have safer air to breathe for your family and in your home. The key is to make a concerted effort TODAY so that you’re being more diligent about the air you and your family breathe in your home. Most never take action. Read the guide below, find the best air quality monitor that’s right for you above, and take action! Your family will be healthier and you’ll feel better knowing what’s in your air. This is literally an investment that will help you breathe easier!
Indoor Air Quality Monitor Buyers Guide
Now that you’ve seen our indoor air quality monitor reviews and top air quality monitor list, see our buying guide below, detailing what to look for when purchasing your next monitor. You’ll also find some tips for increasing indoor air quality and reducing pollutants in your home. If you came for a lesson on poor indoor air quality and how to fix it, this section is for you.
Why Do I Need an Air Quality Monitor?
We spend about 90% of our time indoors according to the EPA, where we often see pollutants 2-5 times higher than those typically found outdoors! This is partly because of poor ventilation and being in an enclosed area. Air quality can deteriorate because of the presence of mold, paint, hair spray, pesticides, bugs, and even some air fresheners. Contaminants also include bacteria, viruses, and allergens. The drivers really can be endless unfortunately, even cooking in your kitchen can degrade the air we breathe. All the more reason to make sure we each have access to the best air quality monitors.
It’s common for us to think that this is only an issue in China or other countries far away. The fact is that it’s happening right here in our own homes. Did you read the claims at the top of the page from some of the most trustworthy and knowledgeable organizations around the globe? They should drive home why this is an important topic, and why you should read through the indoor air quality monitor reviews above.
What To Look For In An Air Quality Monitor
Air quality monitors come in many different shapes and sizes. They also come with different features as you’ve seen mentioned in the air quality monitor reviews posted above. Below you’ll find some of the most common home air quality sensors they offer, with a brief description of each.
Volatile Organic Compounds gaseous pollutants emitted in the atmosphere and have adverse health effects for us. The most well-known VOC is Formaldehyde (found in some glues, building materials, and fertilizers). VOCs are typically measured in PPB (parts per billion). A VOC sensor is important and should be included to be considered as the best air quality monitor.
Carbon Dioxide is naturally present in our atmosphere at small levels. We exhale C02 when we breathe. It can also be formed through combustion (exhaust). It can be dangerous when levels increase and there is not enough ventilation. CO2 is often measured in PPM (parts per million).
Particle Matter is everywhere, suspended in the air. These very small particles include dust and pollens, among other things and are inhaled into our lungs, causing adverse health effects. PM comes from many sources including cooking and other combustion as well as vacuums that are not filtered correctly. PMs are categorized in sizes – PM2.5 are particles under 2.5 micrometers and PM10 are particles between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in size. Levels of particle matter measured in concentrations per a given period of time.
Temperature & Humidity
Believe it or not, the temperature and humidity indoors are important indicators for IAQ and are common in the best air quality tester products. Things like high humidity promote mold growth and dust mites that can make asthma and allergies act up. Likewise, low humidity can cause issues as well, including dry and irritated skin as well as upper respiratory infections. All of these things can assist in contamination of the air, and the best indoor air quality monitor should catch them so that you don’t need a separate remote temperature sensor or hygrometer.
Do you have other smart home devices?
If so, you’ll probably want to find the best air quality monitor that is compatible with your smart device network. Many of the best IAQ monitors are now smart home compatible like you saw in our air quality monitor reviews above. It’s becoming more and more common, but it’s not an option you will see often in a low price indoor air quality monitor.
Health effects of Poor Air Quality
Health effects can include temporary irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. Poor air quality can also cause headaches and dizziness as well as fatigue and/or nausea that usually take place at the time of exposure. Some more serious long-term effects of VOCs include damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system according to the EPA. Similarly, they state that respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer have all be associated with indoor air pollutants. As you can see, there are some very serious side effects to poor air quality in your home.
In addition to cardiovascular and respiratory system damages, more recently, air pollution has been linked to negative effects on the reproductive system and your child’s mental health. A recent study by a researcher at Boston University’s School of Medicine found that women who live nearby major roadways and who are exposed to higher concentrations of traffic fumes are more likely to experience fertility issues. Likewise, a study links even low levels of air pollution to affect both the cognitive and mental health of children. It also labels traffic as a specific contributor. You can read more about this study here.
What can be done to help combat these health risks?
Many issues are contributable to concentrations of air pollutants. It’s important to get outside, away from pollutants. It’s a great idea to get away and visit a park outside of the city. Go on a walk or even take a hike where you can breathe in some fresh air. Of course, finding the source of pollutants can help you remedy the root cause. So, grab an IAQ monitor for the list above to help you identify those sources. The list below will also help you breathe easier.
Tips For Improving Air Quality In Your Home
- Improve ventilation
- Use air filters
- Don’t smoke indoors
- Dust with damp cloth
- Open windows or run A/C to bring in fresh air
- Fix leaks to reduce mold
- Only use bug spray when absolutely necessary
- Vacuum carpets often
- Properly ventilate high humidity areas (kitchens/baths)
- Keep humidity levels below 50%
- Put away food and cover trash to control pests
- Run an Air Purifier
The EPA’s Role in Air Quality
Congress created the EPA and passed the Clean Air Act (CAA) in 1970. It states that the EPA has the duty to protect human health and the environment. They do this by reducing outdoor concentrations of pollutants and emissions of toxic air that cause cancer and other serious health effects. Of course, they also do their best to protect the ozone from harmful chemicals. There are six main pollutants that the EPA focuses on, called the “criteria” pollutants. These six include particulate matter (PM), ground level-ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. The one we’re most concerned about for the purposes of this guide and indoor air quality is particulate matter.
The EPA actually refers to particulate matter as particulate pollution. As we briefly discussed above, particulate matter includes things like fine dust, smoke, soot, etc. These particles come from many different sources and can cause serious health risks when they find their way deep into the lungs and sometimes as far as the bloodstream. Many of them are so small that they can’t even be seen with the naked eye. Coughing, shortness of breath, and reduced lung function are all possible symptoms. Adults with asthma, children, and the elderly are all of increased susceptibility of this problems, as are people whom already have heart or lung disease.
Long ago, the EPA set guidelines for particles smaller than 10 micrometers, called PM10 (a common measurement in many of the IAQ monitors above). However, in 1997, it was determined that even finer particles a quarter of that size are more damaging and harmful to our health. At this time, guidelines were set for PM2.5 (also common among the monitors we reviewed). At 2.5 micrometers, these are 1/30th of the diameter of a single strand of human hair! Since this time, the EPA has worked closely with auto manufacturers and other industrial plants to reduce pollutants that are a source of particulate pollutants.
How is the Clean Air Act Working?
So, is the CAA effective in solving the nation’s air pollution problems? While, there is always room for improvement and more that can be done with air quality, the EPA has made some vast improvements since their inception. A few stats: Since they started, the 6 criteria pollutants have reduced by over 50%, new cars are more than 90% cleaner running, and large industrial sources of air toxics have been reduced by nearly 70%. I’d say that’s a pretty good start, however, with more cars on the road than ever before, there’s more work to be done.
National Association of Clean Air Agencies
The National Association of Clean Air Agencies, or NACAA for short, is comprised of many organizations that range from state, local, and federal government agencies to Industry Associations. They are all stakeholders with an interest in air quality and pollution control. The reason I bring them up is because they have a wonderful website with tons of great resources for this topic. They also have educational tools, games, and videos where you can learn more. They are worth a visit!
Air Quality Monitoring Guide Review
We hope you enjoyed our guide as well as our reviews and best indoor air quality monitor reviews list. We spent countless hours researching, gathering facts, and producing this content because of our passion for clean air. Reducing pollutants in your home will make you feel better and live a healthier life and that’s confirmed by all the agencies listed below. These are some sites we visited during our research and places we recommend you visit if you’d like to see more detailed information for yourself. First, here’s a couple more quotes. Thanks again for visiting and reading about the best air quality monitors!
“Air Pollution linked to cardiovascular disease” – American Heart Association
“air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk” – World Health Organization
US EPA – EPA’s Report on the Environment (ROE): https://cfpub.epa.gov/roe/chapter/air/indoorair.cfm
US EPA – Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality
US EPA – The Plain English Guide To The Clean Air Act: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-08/documents/peg.pdf
World Health Organization – Household (Indoor) Air Pollution: https://www.who.int/airpollution/household/en/
Harvard Health Publishing – Study links long-term air pollution exposure to hear, lung problems: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/air-pollution-a-threat-to-your-heart-and-longevity
American Heart Association – Air pollution linked to cardiovascular disease; air purifiers may lessen impact: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/air-pollution-linked-to-cardiovascular-disease-air-purifiers-may-lessen-impact
CDC – Indoor Air Quality Information: https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/community-health/indoor_air.htm
CDC – Indoor Air Quality Introduction: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/indoor-air-pollution-introduction-health-professionals
American Lung Association – Keep Pollution Out Of Your Home: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/at-home/keep-pollution-out-home.html