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Best Air Quality Monitors

Updated October 2023
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
AIRTHINGS Wave Plus Smart Radon CO2 and TVOCs Detector
AIRTHINGS
Wave Plus Smart Radon CO2 and TVOCs Detector
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Best for Large Households
Bottom Line

An award-winning indoor air quality monitor that also measures radon levels and earns our home improvement expert's approval.

Pros

Sensors detect radon, CO2, VOCs, humidity, temperature, and air pressure. The Bluetooth-enabled device sends real-time information to the app and logs air quality readings. User dashboard is easy to navigate. Can also be integrated with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT.

Cons

Doesn't measure particulate matter.

Best Bang for the Buck
Langkou 4-in-1 Portable Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Langkou
4-in-1 Portable Indoor Air Quality Monitor
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Simple yet Solid
Bottom Line

Measure CO2, temperature, humidity, and more with this easy-to-read hollow monitor with a vibrant and colorful screen.

Pros

Designed to keep growing rooms in their proper state. Helps prevent your plants from giving off toxic gases or negatively affecting the environment they sit in. Results are quick and accurate, with up to 8 hours of battery on a single charge. People love the clear display.

Cons

Some won't like the way it's ventilated. Battery life doesn't measure well against others.

Temtop LKC-1000S+ Air Quality Monitor
Temtop
LKC-1000S+ Air Quality Monitor
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Indoor/Outdoor Use
Bottom Line

A professional-grade air quality detector small enough for handheld use in a variety of environments.

Pros

Calibrated to be used in many different environments such as the home, car, or outdoors. Powered by a long-lasting battery. Wearable for extended use.

Cons

Doesn't measure radon, CO, or CO2. Emphasizes formaldehyde rather than all VOCs.

Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor
Amazon
Smart Air Quality Monitor
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Alexa Ready
Bottom Line

If you've got an Alexa or Echo smart home, this air quality monitor should fit right in.

Pros

Measures PM2.5, carbon monoxide (CO), and VOCs. Also keeps track of temperature and humidity. Displays color-coded LED for at-a-glance air quality and offers detail via Alexa app. Designed for easy setup.

Cons

Needs an Echo device or Alexa integration for the best features. Doesn't measure radon or CO2.

SAF Aranet 4 Home Wireless Indoor Air Quality Monitor
SAF
Aranet 4 Home Wireless Indoor Air Quality Monitor
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Easiest-to-read
Bottom Line

This is an effective tool to have for CO2 concerns and other potential hazards in your home.

Pros

The power-efficient e-ink screen is easy to read from close up and far away. It monitors CO2 levels, temperature, and other atmospheric data on-screen. Works with smartphones, with up to 14 days of history.

Cons

The unit itself is quite fragile, so be careful. Others report faulty calibration.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

30
Models
Considered
60
Consumers
Consulted
18
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for best air quality monitors

For anyone concerned about health and safety in the home, an indoor air quality monitor (AQM) can be a helpful tool. Air quality monitors measure the amount of certain gasses and pollutants in the air inside your home, giving you insight into your indoor environment, helping you avoid dangerous conditions and allowing you to take steps to improve the air quality.

AQMs have sensors that measure the air in your home and a display or other means of showing you the results. They’re powered by batteries or plugged into an outlet and can be mounted on the wall or set on a counter or table. Many offer a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to your home network or smartphone.

A good indoor air quality monitor should measure one or more of the four most concerning pollutants: airborne particulate matter (PM) in microns (micrometers), carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide (CO and CO2), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and radon (Rn). That said, air quality monitors shouldn’t be used to take the place of smoke detectors or CO alarms, which alert you immediately to life-threatening situations. Don’t rely on an air quality monitor in place of these important safety devices.

We’ve selected seven air quality monitors we think are worth your time and money. We recommend the Airthings Wave Plus for its design and features and the Temtop M10 Multifunctional Monitor for its wallet-friendly price.

Best air quality monitors

Airthings Wave Plus

The Airthings Wave Plus is our top pick among indoor air quality monitors. This unobtrusive round device mounts on a wall, and a wave of the hand displays the current air quality in simple colors. Its sensors detect levels of radon, CO2 and VOCs like formaldehyde, as well as useful indoor air statistics like temperature, air pressure and humidity. In addition to the simple red-yellow-green air quality indicators, it sends detailed air quality data to the Airthings app for Android and iOS devices.

The Wave Plus has some drawbacks. It doesn’t measure particulate matter of any kind, nor does it measure CO. It also doesn’t distinguish between formaldehyde (HCOC) and other VOCs. Its color-coded visual display doesn’t include a screen to tell you exactly what it’s detecting, so you’ll need the app for that. And it doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi. Nonetheless, this device’s simple setup and ease of use earn it the place at the top of our list.

Temtop M10 4-in-1 Monitor

The Temtop M10 is a stylish little device that won’t look out of place on a shelf, nightstand or tabletop. Shaped like a contemporary alarm clock, it sports a black screen with a clear, bright LED display that is easy to read and interpret. It has sensors to detect PM2.5 particulates as well as CO and VOCs, including a separate display of the specific amount of formaldehyde detected. A color-changing LED indicates whether a reading means good (green), fair (yellow) or poor (red) air quality. The Temptop M10 runs on a built-in battery that can be charged with the included USB cable.

Know that the M10 does not measure radon or CO2 in the home. Nor does it measure temperature, humidity or pressure. It needs to be calibrated in fresh outside air for 3 to 6 hours before use. This freestanding unit should not be mounted on the wall.

Temtop LKC-1000s Air Quality Monitor

If you want more data from your air quality monitor and don’t mind if it looks more like something suited for a scientific research field trip than a piece of home tech, try Temtop’s advanced LKC-1000s monitor. Portable, with high-visibility orange styling and the shape of a walkie-talkie, this monitor not only looks like a piece of research equipment but acts like one, measuring PM2.5 and PM10 with a laser sensor and boasting pre-calibrated sensors for formaldehyde. Its clear, utilitarian screen displays more detail for each measurement than the Temtop M10, and it’s operated with a rubberized control pad like that on a remote control.

This device notes temperature and humidity, but it doesn’t measure radon, CO or CO2, and it focuses on measuring formaldehyde rather than all VOCs.

EG Air Quality Monitor

Another air quality monitor with a utilitarian design, the EG AQM measures PM2.5, VOCs and formaldehyde. Like the Temptop, the EG monitor can be used as a handheld device or set on a table or other surface using its built-in stand. It uses laser measurement to get a clear reading of particulate matter, and it breaks out formaldehyde readings from the rest of the VOCs it can detect. The bright, colorful screen is one of its most appealing features, providing readings and data in a clear, legible format.

This air quality monitor does not measure CO, CO2 or radon. Its button controls make you scroll through options to dig into the details, but the main screen shows all four sensors and a one-word summary of your air quality. Note that the screen shuts off after a few seconds to save power, so this monitor isn’t designed to stay on all the time.

Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor

Amazon’s Smart Air Quality Monitor is, as you’d expect, a solid air quality monitor that integrates with the company’s Echo speakers and Alexa assistant. If you have an Echo smart speaker, you can use this monitor to trigger actions like turning on a dehumidifier, fan or air purifier. The Amazon Smart AQM measures PM2.5 particulate matter, CO and VOCs. It also senses temperature and humidity. It’s powered with a micro USB power cable.

This monitor does not measure radon or CO2. This is a small, simple gadget that sits on a shelf or tabletop and cannot be mounted on the wall. A small LED light is the only built-in indicator of air quality. For everything else it needs a smartphone app or Echo device through which you can use Alexa to give you readings.

Govee Smart Air Quality Monitor

Govee is a company known for dazzling LED lighting, but it also makes a line of smart home devices designed to work together in a network. Govee’s Smart AQM is a sleek tabletop/shelf unit with a large and versatile always-on display and sensors in a handle-like arc to one side. The display shows temperature and humidity as well as PM2.5 readings, and it can be adjusted to bright or night mode with a button. Of the big four air pollutants, the Govee only measures particulates.

The Govee also connects via Wi-Fi, so you can keep track of your indoor air quality remotely using a smartphone. As part of a connected system, data from the Govee monitor can trigger actions in Govee’s other air quality products like its air purifier and humidifier.

Langkou 8-in-1 Air Quality Monitor

If you don’t need Wi-Fi uploading, remote monitoring or smart home bells and whistles and just want a single, easy-to-read device that keeps track of home air quality, the Langkou 8-in-1 AQM might be right for you. This self-contained unit sits on a table or shelf and measures particulate matter from PM10 to PM2.5 and even PM1.0. It also monitors CO2 levels and can act as an alarm when it reaches 1,000 parts per million (ppm).

It has a large, easy-to-read display that shows CO2 levels, PM readings, temperature and humidity all at once. Its ability to measure several sizes of PM is particularly impressive, as is its frequent sampling to keep values updated. You might miss the ability to connect to it remotely, but if you don’t need to, we think the Langkou AQM is a worthy choice.

Expert tip
A wall mount of monitors is best, as floors and ceilings may not be indicative of the actual environment.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

Pollutants detected by air quality monitors

An air quality monitor must be able to check the air for different kinds of pollutants. Before you purchase one, read the product specs to make sure it will detect the substances you need it to detect. Below are some of the most significant.

Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are naturally occurring gasses that, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, can be harmful at elevated levels. CO2 can build up from a malfunctioning home heating system. CO appears in the air after fuel burns in an appliance or vehicle. As you probably know, CO has a notorious reputation for being a deadly invisible gas.

An AQM should measure the CO2 or CO in parts per million (ppm). If you discover you have an unsafe amount, you’ll want to look into proper ventilation and other professional-grade solutions right away.

Particulate matter is a term that refers to particles that are floating in the air. Dust, pollen, mold and smoke all fit under the PM umbrella and, according to the EPA, can cause immediate short-term or long-term respiratory issues, especially those particles that measure 10 microns or smaller. (A micron, or micrometer, is one millionth of a meter.) PM is typically thought to be any particle measuring between 2.5 and 10 microns in diameter (PM10). Particles smaller than 2.5 microns are labeled PM2.5. Some air purifiers can only remove PM10 particles from the air. Others are able to filter PM2.5 particles.

Volatile organic compounds are chemicals not found naturally in the air. Vapors from items like paint, paint stripper, pesticides, gasoline and other chemicals can create VOCs and, according to the EPA, can cause effects ranging from eye irritation to serious organ damage and even cancer. An air quality monitor measures VOCs in parts per billion (ppb).

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive element that, according to the EPA, is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Because it is odorless and colorless, radon is especially dangerous. It exists in soil and can seep into the home through pores in the foundation. Notably, not all air quality monitors can detect radon. Some people purchase a separate radon test kit to check for a buildup of radon in the home.

Expert tip
Calibration is key for accuracy. Follow all instructions clearly to get the best results from your air quality monitor.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

Features to look for in air quality monitors

AQMs come in different shapes, sizes and configurations. The following is a partial list of features to look for as you shop. Not all products have all of these features. For example, not all air quality monitors are smart devices.

Display screen

Air quality monitors come with and without a display screen. Those that don’t have one tend to connect to smartphone apps or the internet to display air quality data. A display screen makes a monitor easier to use as a stand-alone device, and it can give you pertinent air quality data at a glance. Many models designed for home use come with a relatively large and easy-to-read LED screen that includes color coding and graphics, while others have a utilitarian LCD screen that can be harder to understand.

Power

Handheld AQMs designed for the field or professional use typically run on batteries, either regular or rechargeable. Household monitors may have built-in rechargeable batteries that draw power via a USB cable or plug into an outlet with an AC adapter. An air quality monitor with a battery can keep going in case of a power outage, which is handy in emergencies.

Portability

A stationary AQM on the wall or a shelf works well for passive testing. It can monitor the air for pollutants without you needing to do anything. A handheld monitor allows you to test the air quality in all areas of your home. Being able to test each room can help you find a problem quickly. There are also personal air quality monitors that can be clipped to clothing and taken with you, but their accuracy is a little questionable compared to handheld, wall-mounted or tabletop units.

Smart features

Many AQMs intended for home use can be integrated into smart home networks like Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem, and Apple’s HomeKit. With an air quality monitor in one of these systems, you can automate responses based on your air quality readings, such as turning on an air purifier when particulate matter reaches a certain threshold or opening automated windows if the CO2 is too high. Air quality monitors that connect to the cloud or a smartphone can also give you more detailed information than you get from a display alone.

Expert tip
Support better quality air by doing the following: vacuum often, change HVAC air filters every 3 months, and use a humidifier or purifier. 
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

FAQ

Q. How much do air quality monitors cost?

A. Inexpensive AQMs cost between $30 and $50. There’s a wide range of devices at this price, but some may come from obscure manufacturers and not offer accurate readings or save your data securely. Monitors in the $50 to $250 price range have better sensors, displays and connectivity and are typically more reliable and trustworthy. Spend more than $250 and you’ll find specialized and high-performance monitors intended for professional and industrial settings.

Q. What is a good AQI reading?

A. In the US, the EPA maintains a standard Air Quality Index measured from 0 to 500 that’s also color coded. A reading of 0 to 50 is coded green and means good air quality, 50 to 100 is yellow and means moderate or acceptable, and anything over 100 is unhealthy or worse. Some internet-connected indoor air quality monitors display this official local AQI.

When it comes to specific pollutants, the US National Ambient Air Quality Standards recommend PM2.5 levels of less than 35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) in a 24-hour period and CO under 9 parts per million (ppm) over 8 hours. Other authorities recommend levels for VOCs including formaldehyde at 7 to 40 parts per billion (ppb), and radon under 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

Q. Are there some easy ways to improve my home’s air quality?

A. The easiest way to make an immediate change in the air quality of your home is to open your windows. If the poor air quality is coming from outside, such as during a smoke emergency or wildfire, an air purifier is the next easiest solution, especially if the main pollutant is particulate matter. Also remember to clean and change the filters on your air conditioner and keep humidity below 50% indoors. Dusting surfaces and vacuuming rugs regularly helps too.

It’s also important to maintain adequate ventilation. One of the most common causes of poor IAQ is inadequate ventilation. A good ventilation system brings fresh air inside and circulates pollutants outside.

Q. Do I have to calibrate the air quality monitor?

A. To work properly, an air quality monitor must be calibrated before you use it, although some come pre-calibrated. Calibrating it usually means exposing the monitor to a base level of indoor or outdoor air quality.

 

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