Awair Glow air quality monitor review: Wonderfully informative if not a bit worrisome

I'm an allergy sufferer. I'm allergic to dust, pollen, mould, trees, grasses, an assortment of barnyard animals, cats, dogs, smoke, and more. And like an idiot, I have both a cat and a dog in a rather small home that's over 65 years old.

I've long wondered about the air quality in this house: we have a newer furnace and replace the filter fairly frequently, but it's always so dry in here and you can't eat anything without it being peppered by dog or cat hair.

When I was offered the Awair Glow to review, I was surprised it existed, excited to see what the air in my house was like, and worried that it'd reveal something sinister. If you've been looking for a way to monitor your home's air quality, you're gonna wanna check this out.

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Design, setup, functionality, oh my!

I love the Awair Glow's design. It essentially looks like an oversize Glade plug-in air freshener. For some, it may be an eyesore, while for others it may just melt in with the rest of their smart home products. The thing you have to remember is that this is more than just an air quality monitor.

The thing you have to remember is that this is more than just an air quality monitor.

The first thing you notice is the big power button right on the front — that's because the Glow doubles as a smart plug, á la TP-Link or iDevices. You plug it into your existing power outlets without losing a spot to plug something in. It does, however, bulge over into the bottom outlet spot (if you plug it into the top socket), so it's a bit cumbersome to plug in a larger adapter beneath it.

On the top is a faux-wood piece with the air quality LED indicator in it. If it's green, your air's good. Yellow is fair, and red is unh-unh, no good, here, take this gas mask and get out. Surrounding the wood plate is actually a nightlight, which is wonderfully bright and just plain looks cool.

On each side of the Glow is a vent, which is presumably where the air gets in, mingles with the Glows parts, and the magic happens. All in all, this is a lovely, if not derivative-looking air monitor/smart plug, and I like it.

Air, I took you for granted

Let's talk about Awair's app. It's elegantly designed and straightforward, which is exactly what you want when dealing with something that can be as complicated as air quality. When checking out your current air status, or "Score," you'll see a measurement of the room's temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide level, and "chemicals." Each has a graded scale from green to red, and depending on the color, is given a rating from good to poor. The one thing I'd like to see here that I don't is what kinds of chemicals the "chemicals" reading refers to. The term is dubious and when you see the value climb higher than the "good" range, it can be a bit troubling.

Down the bottom of the app are tabs that let you check out tips on improving air quality, historical trends in your air quality, your other devices, notifications, and your air quality score. I love that you can break down your historical trends into the four subcategories that you see in your score. That'll let you know if the improvements you choose to make are helping at all.

Another awesome feature of the app is the ability to change your air quality preferences to match what concerns you. So I, for instance, have my preferences set to "Allergy", which gives me a reading and recommendations based on improving the air quality for an allergy sufferer. You can also choose General, Sleep, Productivity, and Baby. Changing these preferences won't change the actual readings of each of the four air quality categories, but it will change how these values affect the type of air quality you're looking for. For example, the Productivity setting really focuses on the carbon dioxide levels in your home, since elevated levels of carbon dioxide have been shown to negatively affect productivity. The Allergy setting focuses on the chemicals in the air and the humidity.

What's really made me appreciate this app is how the readings change in real time. We decided to give this thing a good test one day, so we vacuumed and cleaned up thoroughly. For the first little while after, the chemicals were quite high, so we had obviously disturbed pet dander and whatnot while cleaning up. But after a short time (once things had settled, presumably), the chemical levels started to drop and readings changed.

The push notifications are actually handy and not just, "hey, it's cold in here, do something."

The push notifications are quite handy, and they aren't just "hey, it's cold in here — fix it"; they're actually helpful. You'll get notifications along the lines of "carbon dioxide levels are climbing; adding plants to your home can help bring those down and up productivity." For some reason, it also never occurred to me that having a more humid home would cut down on the amount of allergens in the air.

Connectivity: Hey Google, turn on the living room lamp and turn off the night light

I recently (finally) purchased a Google Home mini and a TP-Link smart plug. I wanted a second smart plug, but figured I could do without in my small home. Then I realized the Awair Glow had one built-in and was over the moon. It pairs with Google Home excellently, and has not failed once. I have my living room floor lamp plugged into it, and it works like a dream.

The smart plug aspect is probably meant more for an air conditioner, humidifier, fan, or some other air-affecting device, but I like it for the lights. You can actually schedule your devices right in the Awair app, or you can trigger a device with the air quality or motion. Getting too humid? Dehumidifier will turn on. Don't need the fan while you're not in the room? It'll shut off after 10 minutes without motion. You can even set the nightlight to turn on when there's motion, making it perfect for a hallway or bathroom.

Should you buy it? Absolutely

For roughly $100, you get a multi-use device that, paired with the app, gives you helpful tips and insight into your home's air quality (something not many folks likely think about on a given day), a smart plug that's both Alexa- and Google Home-compatible, a nightlight, and peace of mind (or an intense feeling of paranoia). Having not realized what humidity means for air quality, I've decided to purchase a humidifier thanks to the Awair Glow, and I'll likely be better off for it (I'll update this when I buy one).

If you've ever wondered about your home air quality, have a newborn, suffer from asthma or allergies, or simply want a healthier, more comfortable home, then the Awair Glow is the perfect tool to help you monitor and master your home air quality.

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Mick Symons
Mick is a writer and duty editor for Android Central. When he's not on the job, he can usually be found vacuuming up pet hair or trying to convince his wife that he needs more guitars.