Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: March 25, 2021
House Weather is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
The chances of you being overwhelmed and making a lousy air quality monitor purchase are relatively high if you don’t have enough information. That said, getting the best air quality monitors is a walk in the park once you learn to recognize pitfalls and traps set by marketers. Also, to avoid said traps, you’ll need to determine the quality of such a device by looking at the features listed.
Some of the standard air quality monitor features include dimensions, weight, power source, and air pollutants the device can detect. The types of air pollutants the device is sensitive to will have a direct effect on whether the device proves useful to you or not. The weight, dimensions, and power source will, on the other hand, dictate how you handle installation and use. Also, occasionally you’ll find some extra features in the air quality monitor options you encounter. By accounting for all these, you are guaranteed to get an excellent selection for your budget and needs. Lastly, we’ve listed below five options that may qualify as the best air quality monitors for you.
The Awair Element Indoor Air Quality Monitor gets the highest rating out of all the air quality monitors on this list. It achieves this feat through a mixture of features that would make it ideal for air management indoors. As you can see, it is compact, only weighs 16 ounces, and would not look out of place on a coffee table or a work desk.
When functional, this tiny device can give you various stats about the humidity and temperature in a room. Additionally, you’ll get data on carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and chemical levels in the room.
Notably, the info and stats that the mini device collects will be displayed on your phone when you need it. The air quality monitoring tool works with both Android and iOS devices through the Awair Home App. Interestingly, the Awair Element Indoor Air Quality Monitor also integrates with your google assistant or Amazon Alexa.
The product incorporates both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options that allow the connection to your phone to be seamless. Also, you’ll note that each device can only monitor a single room’s air quality. As such, if you want stats that cover the whole house, you’ll need a few of the Awair Element Indoor Air Quality Monitor gadgets.
Seemingly the mobile app is also capable of providing air quality data from multiple sources as well.
What we liked:
There is a free dedicated smartphone app for use with these gadgets
Monitors temperature, humidity, and three different types of air pollutants
Compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
Compact and lightweight
What could be better:
The Wi-Fi connection has been reputed to malfunction from time to time
Second, on our top home air quality monitors list is the Airthings 2930 Wave Plus Radon & Air Quality Monitor. It weighs close to half the Awair Element Indoor Air Quality Monitor’s weight and will thus be more portable. More to that point, it also uses AA batteries as a power source. As such, taking it to your regular coffee shop to ensure air quality is top-notch won’t be a difficult task.
The image above also shows it can be used alongside smartphones, which will also serve as the medium through which you get your air quality results. Notably, the monitor-smartphone connection works via Bluetooth. Additionally, an app that you can use alongside the device is readily available for download as well.
Furthermore, you can opt to log onto the Airthings dashboard online for air quality stats if you don’t feel like using the app. Nevertheless, a quick summary of the conditions can also be provided to you when needed. For this to work, you wave in front of the device, and you get feedback on air quality in terms of a color signal. The colors green, yellow, and red will indicate air quality is good, fair, or poor in that order.
Smart home integrations are also on offer with this tiny device. They include two of the most common options, i.e., Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, as well as a third option, namely IFTTT (If This Then That).
The list of things the machine can detect is also impressive. It includes carbon dioxide, toxins and chemicals, air pressure, humidity, temperature, and lastly, RADON levels. Also, let’s not forget the Airthings 2930 Wave Plus Radon & Air Quality Monitor has two awards to its name. This is partly thanks to the innovative design and the high-quality features of the offering.
What we liked:
Can provide a summary of air quality condition
Portable and lightweight
Works with Smart home apps
Detects up to six air quality indicators
What could be better:
The Airthings 2930 Wave Plus Radon & Air Quality Monitor may require up to seven days to adjust to your home environment
The Huma-i HI-150 Advanced Portable Air Quality Monitor has also gotten lots of praise from our review team. Since it’s pocket-sized and comes with a Lithium polymer battery, you can carry it with you everywhere you go. This may help ensure you’re always taking in clean air. It’s also beneficial that the Huma-i HI-150 only weighs 2.12 oz.
This air quality monitor also features an OLED display in its construction. With this, you’ll get to see CO2, VOC, temperature, humidity, PM2.5, and finally, PM10 levels. Also, you can choose to view air quality stats in the form of a graph or as icons. You can reference what the icon mode looks like from the image we’ve provided.
A unique component of this air quality monitor is the built-in fan. As you probably know, the device needs to come into contact with air so it can check for contaminants. The inbuilt fan serves to pull the air into the device for the same reason and so that you can always have real-time air quality readings.
Additionally, it may not look like it, but the Huma-i HI-150 Advanced Portable Air Quality Monitor is exceptionally durable.
The VSON Air Quality Monitor also impressed us to the point where we had to include it in our list. The list of things it can measure in the air to determine air quality is impressive.
Also, the 6 oz. weight does allow for this purchase to be carried around from room to room and even as you go outdoors. As is typical with air quality monitors that can be used outdoors, this pick is powered by a built-in battery. However, the 3-5hr runtime isn’t impressive.
A large LCD color display is also evident in the image of the device above. This will give you comprehensive statistics on the air quality, and if it isn’t good enough, it will be up to you to look for remedies. That said, if you fail to notice the color change indicating air quality is poor, the sound alarm will ensure you get the message.
Button placement on the front also makes the device a cinch to figure out. In addition to that, the number of buttons is also minimal. If you want to ensure accurate results each time the device takes an air quality reading, you should calibrate the VSON Air Quality Monitor as soon as you get it.
Lastly, the tool also comes with a fan whose job is to suck in air for testing.
What we liked:
Easy to use
Portable and lightweight
Has an audible alarm for poor air quality
A large LCD screen is provided to give readings
What could be better:
Short battery life
Without calibration, the accuracy of the device isn’t good
As for the Temtop M2000C Air Quality Monitor, it comes in the shape of old mobile phones. Unlike our first two favorite picks, this option comes with a screen where all air quality information will be displayed. As such, it can work independently of smartphones.
The Temtop M2000C Air Quality Monitor will use five indicators of air quality to determine whether the air is safe to breathe or not. These include PM2.5, PM10, CO2, temperature, and humidity. When the device does find the air quality to be harmful, you will be notified via an audible alarm.
You should also note the built-in rechargeable battery. With it, you eliminate battery purchases on the condition that you remember to charge the air quality monitor from time to time.
One thing in the Temtop M2000C you might dislike is the weight.
What we liked:
Measures PM2.5, PM10, CO2, temperature, and humidity
Features an audible alarm
What could be better:
The monitor is heavy in comparison to others
Things to Consider
To further narrow your list from the five air quality monitors above to the one you’ll buy, you may need the buying guide below.
Features to consider when choosing the best air quality monitor
You’ll note that for every air quality monitor in the list above, a list of features has been provided. These had a hand in how the devices ranked and will probably affect how effective the tool is as well. As such, deciding what features you’d like in your air quality monitor early on, even before you look at the options being sold, is ideal. You can use the section below as a reference point just in case you don’t know much about air quality monitor features in general.
What it can measure
All five models that made it to our list can measure temperature and humidity levels. The temperature and humidity levels will determine whether mold will grow in your space as well as whether dust mites will be present. These allergens may make your space uncomfortable. Also, low humidity levels are responsible for various respiratory issues as well.
Additionally, air quality monitors can provide stats on carbon dioxide (CO2) levels as well. Remember that CO2 is always present in the air around you. However, if the carbon dioxide gas levels get high enough, it could lead to problems in your health. Since the gas is measured in parts per million, anywhere between 2000 and 5000 ppm could be dangerous. Also, the higher the level, the more dangerous the air.
Another thing your purchase might be able to measure is VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. These pollutants, like CO2, can adversely affect your health. Out of the many VOCs, the most commonly known one is Formaldehyde. This is a material that can be found in fertilizers, glues, and building materials. It could thus be present around you without your knowledge.
Your purchase should also measure particle matter (PM) levels as well. These particles include pollen, mold spores, and dust, which can wreak havoc when inhaled into our lungs. Also, the particles themselves come in different sizes.
Also, a precise air quality monitor is needed. It could be dangerous if your device doesn’t tell you that air quality is poor when pollution levels are high. Also, the response time needs to be fast; otherwise, it may be too late by the time the readings start to reflect poor air quality.
Ease of use
The Huma-i HI-150 Advanced Portable Air Quality Monitor is undoubtedly easy to use, which is a huge benefit. It comes with a minimal number of buttons and an easy-to-read screen. Even kids will easily figure out that air quality is poor if you’ve taught them to use the device. As a result, they can take steps to ensure their safety.
Also, each air quality monitor will have a different detection capacity with regards to the area that it can cover. One may cover 300 square feet while another covers 500. If you have larger rooms in your house, the latter makes more sense as a purchase.
With these smart integrations, you can even take steps to remedy an air quality problem from a remote location. Remember, you can integrate devices such as fans and dehumidifiers with these smart integration apps as well. As such, air quality monitors with smart integrations give you more flexibility and functionality.
Air quality history
The air quality history may also help identify some air quality issues that need to be dealt with. Also, you can tell when air quality is declining at a fast rate and start correcting the issue before it is too late.
One example of an air quality monitor extra feature that you might like is the audible alarm, which will alert you even if you are in the next room. Bluetooth connectivity and free smartphone apps may also qualify as extra features that could prove useful in the long run.
Air quality monitors do detect mold as it produces spores that qualify as particle matter. As such, the device should be able to tell you that high levels of particle matter are in the air around you. However, there is no way for the tool to differentiate between mold spores and other types of particle matter.
If you’re using the air quality monitor indoors, avoid proximity to doors and windows. Additionally, avoid placing the tool in an area with limited air circulation. Also, if people breathe out directly onto the machine’s sensors, it might skew the results. As such, it’s best to avoid this situation as well.
Finally, try and lift the air quality monitor one to two meters above the ground.
You can depend on the Awair to give you dependable air quality readings. Additionally, it’s compatibility with both smartphones, and smart home applications are top-tier features.
As for the Airthings 2930 Wave Plus Radon & Air Quality Monitor, it holds some similarities with the editor’s choice pick. For one, you get smartphone compatibility. Second, it can be used in conjunction with smart home applications to ensure you always come home to clean air. This air quality monitor is also unique in that it can detect radon gas levels.
The Huma-i HI-150 Advanced Portable Air Quality Monitor is highly rated in terms of portability. It fits in your pockets, is lightweight, and comes with a rechargeable battery. The interface also does wonders for the usability of the tool. That said, so long as you understand the pros and cons of all options listed above, you can’t go wrong with your selection.