How clean is the air you’re breathing? At one time or another, your home has probably been the unwilling host of microcosmic pollutants. The best air quality monitors will constantly measure the types of irritants in your air, log the readings, and even kick on your air purifier to combat your home’s microbial pests.
Two common types of indoor air pollutants are fine particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Fine particles are invisible irritants no larger than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, but they can cause serious issues for those with respiratory conditions. VOCs are invisible vapors and gases that are often the byproduct of burning fuel products, like gasoline and wood-burning stoves. While the best air purifiers on the market will work wonders to combat these invisible irritants, one thing most purifiers lack is the ability to locate and analyze the pollutants flying around your home. That’s the job of an air quality monitor.
Check out our picks for the best air quality monitors for 2020.
Temtop M10 Air Quality Monitor
The M10 uses a blend of laser-measuring technology and pollutant-balancing algorithms to scan the air nearby for fine particles, HCHO (formaldehyde), and VOCs produced by common household cleaners, paints, and various fuel-burning appliances. When the M10 detects a surplus of any harmful pollutant, an onboard alarm will sound, letting you know it’s time to crack a window or to change the filter in your HVAC system.
We’re big into portable and unobtrusive designs, which is one of our favorite things about the M10. Running off a rechargeable 2,200 mAh battery, the monitor is designed for easy grab-and-go analytics. Take a reading of your house’s indoor air, the inside of your car, or even the great outdoors. The meter boasts just one power button, and the M10 will last up to 6 hours on a single charge.
Airthings Wave Plus
Radon is an odorless natural gas that can be found in most homes, albeit at manageable levels. However, long-term exposure to radon can lead to serious respiratory issues, including lung cancer. Radon is not to be taken lightly, and that’s where the Airthings Wave Plus comes in.
This smart monitor does a deep scan of your home’s air for not just radon, but temperature, humidity, C02, VOCs, as well as overall air pressure, a category that no other monitor on this list is capable of detecting. Once the Wave is powered, using it is as simple as literally waving your hand in front of the meter for color-coded air quality readings. Green is all-good, yellow is a warning, and red means there are dangerous levels of radon or other airborne toxins in proximity. It takes about a week for the monitor to get properly acclimated to your home’s environment.
Download the Wave app (iOS and Android) to receive the most up-to-date readings on your mobile device, but do be aware that the Wave uses Bluetooth to sync data to your phone, not Wi-Fi. This means you’ll need to be inside your house (or very close to it) to collect the latest air quality readings.
If minimalism is what you seek, the Eve Home is your best bet. Sleek and portable, the Eve is also powered by one of the strongest rechargeable batteries on our list. Expect up to 6 weeks on a single charge. When the battery is low, just connect any standard USB cable to your Eve. Even your old iPhone wire will do.
The Eve Home monitors for overall air quality, temperature, and humidity and stores its collected data into detailed hour, day, week, month, and year graphs that you can access through the Eve app (iOS and Android). The actual monitor will rate the air on a 5-star scale. Keeping above 3 stars is what you want to shoot for. And, speaking of Home, the Eve is also compatible with Apple HomeKit. Once you’ve added Eve to your Apple smart home, the monitor can automatically trigger purifiers and other web-connected air-filtering appliances when air-in-proximity is too contaminated.
Awair Element Indoor Air Quality Monitor
This is one of our favorite monitors in our breakdown, just based on aesthetics alone. The Awair Element measures only 6 inches wide and 3 inches tall, making it an easy addition to any part of your home or workspace.
The Element tracks and reports on five key air categories: Fine particles, VOCs, temperature, humidity, and Co2. Readings for each category are displayed on the monitor and stored in the Awair app (iOS and Android), along with tips and advice on how to mitigate your stuffy air. Add even more control over your air with Alexa and Google Home. When pollutants get too high, the Awair can trigger web-connected thermostats and purifiers to begin cycling the air in your home. The only drawback we’ve come across with the Element is that it can be a bit finicky when first pairing the monitor to Wi-Fi. However, these little network troubles are more the exception than the norm. If you personally encounter Wi-Fi issues during setup, just unplug the monitor, plug it back in, and re-enter your network info.
Awair Glow C Monitor + Smart Plug
For those looking to forego a digital readout altogether, look no further. The Awair Glow C is an all-in-one monitor, smart device trigger, and nightlight that features zero display. Just plug the Glow C into any wall outlet, download the Awair app, and receive real-time air quality reports.
The Glow C tracks for VOCs, temperature, and humidity, so it may not be the best choice for those concerned with cutting down on fine particles. But, for under $70, you’ll never have to worry about battery, the Glow will automatically power any air-device connected to its smart outlet, and the monitor can even double as a powerful nightlight with a range of customizable colors.