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Best Air Quality Monitor 2021

Airthings Wave Plus Air Quality Monitor Hero
Airthings Wave Plus Air Quality Monitor Hero (Image credit: AirThings)

I suffer from allergies, so it's important for me to find the best air quality monitor I can. A device that can monitor the air quality in my home and, even better, also clean it, is essential. And here, I've rounded up a number of air quality monitors that can give you an idea of how good or bad the air quality is not only inside of your home, but also outside.

Best Overall: AirThings Wave Plus

Airthings Wave Plus Air Quality Monitor Lifestyle

Source: AirThings (Image credit: Source: AirThings)

AirThings Wave Plus

Keep it clean

Radon detection
Small, lightweight, and wall-mountable
Smart connectivity via app, voice assistants
Expensive
Need to replace batteries
Doesn't report PM2.5 (particulate matter)

The AirThings Wave Plus is a circular device that has six sensors to detect for radon (a naturally occurring radioactive gas), VOCs (volatile organic compounds that can be found in everyday items like cleaning products, paint, and furniture), CO2, humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure. Access the AirThings Dashboard to get a comprehensive look at all of the data, including historical reports and tips for improving the air quality in your home.

Connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth and download the AirThings app to get detailed insights. It can also connect to the AirThings Hub (sold separately). Additionally, you can literally wave your hand in front of the device to see a color-coded visual reading of the air quality: green means good, yellow is fair, and red is poor.

Mount it on your wall like you would a thermostat; it works with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control as well as IFTTT for integrating it with other devices in the home to provide certain actions. You could, for example, have a smart air purifier turn on whenever the AirThings detects fair or poor air quality.

Operating on a pair of AA batteries that last for about 16 months, it's just 16 cm in diameter and comes with a 12-month warranty. Keep in mind that it will need about a week to adjust to your environment before it gives accurate readings.

Best for Purifying, Too: Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier

Dyson Hot Cool Air Purifier Lifestyle

Source: Dyson (Image credit: Source: Dyson)

Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier

All-in-one

Not only monitors but also cleans the air
Gorgeous design
Also use for personal heating and cooling
Very expensive
Might be more than you need
Much bigger than others on this list

Yes, technically this is an actual air purifier, not just an air quality monitor. But if you are concerned enough about the air quality in your home, chances are you are looking for a device that can keep it clean. So why not get it all in one shot? The Dyson purifier is worth including because you get really detailed air quality data with the handy Dyson Link app that works with it. This HEPA air purifier is also a space heater and fan that can use a backward airflow mode to purify a room without cooling or heating when you don't need either.

In the app, see details on ultrafine particles (PM2.5), allergens, VOCs, and nitrogen dioxide, and have the unit automatically kick in to clean the air when it senses that levels are too high; or manually control it through the button on the unit, the included magnetic remote, or the app.

The sealed HEPA filter captures 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns, and Air Multiplier Technology uses a powerful airflow along with 350-degree oscillation to direct airflow where you need it. The app shows real-time and historical reports and can be used to set schedules so you can keep the air continuously clean instead of just passively monitoring it.

Best for City Dwellers: IQAir AirVisualPro Smart Indoor & Outdoor Air Quality Monitor

Iqair Airvisualpro Smart Air Quality Monitor Lifestyle

Source: IQAir (Image credit: Source: IQAir)

IQAir AirVisualPro Smart Indoor & Outdoor Air Quality Monitor

Stay ahead of the game

Compact, easy to bring with you
Can forecast air quality and send alerts
Track reports on-the-go
Expensive
More ideal for outdoor use

If you live in a big city, chances are you're constantly dealing with construction, heavy machinery, people smoking outdoors, heavy traffic, and many other pollutants. This professional-grade monitor provides accurate readings of the real-time outdoor air quality, as well as the temperature and humidity indoors.

It can be set up to work with other IFTTT devices so you can receive an alert, for example, when a high CO2 level is detected. It uses high-precision laser technology for the PM2.5 sensor and has an industrial-grade CO2 sensor. Using in-house data and machine learning, the device can forecast the air quality in 10,000 locations worldwide so you can make an informed decision about whether to head out to the park or wait for another day. You can also receive alerts on your phone about air quality changes.

Using the device's internal battery and data storage, take on-the-go measurements of air quality then download the reports wirelessly or access them via the website dashboard. The user-friendly interface makes it easy to use for even non-tech-savvy individuals.

Best for On-The-Go: BREATHE Smart 2 Personal Air Quality Monitor

Breathe Smart2 Personal Air Quality Monitor Lifestyle

Source: Breathe Tech (Image credit: Source: Breathe Tech)

BREATHE Smart 2 Personal Air Quality Monitor

Adjust your lifestyle

Keep up to 30 days of data to find hotspots
Very compact and portable
Use it to make actionable changes
Sometimes it's nice to be able to use an app
No smart connectivity

The perfect air quality monitor to pop into your purse, backpack, or jacket pocket and bring along with you, the Smart 2 fits in the palm of your hand and works right out of the box without the need for a subscription, smartphone, or app. It also comes with a clip and mounting strap to secure it to a bicycle or stroller handle. Viewing the real-time air pollution level reports, you can adjust your normal routes or avoid certain parks or areas that have polluted air. The unit lets you view up to 30 days' worth of data which can also help you identify potential hotspots to avoid.

It measures AQI and PM2.5 concentration both indoors and outside using a laser air quality sensor that measures particulate pollution in the air around you. You can also set a warning alarm to sound should levels get too high.

A Night Mode dims the light and screen so it won't distract you while sleeping. Once at home, it sits neatly in a convenient and stylish dock. The unit, which operates from a lithium-ion battery, comes with support for five languages.

Best for Smart Connectivity: Netatmo Weather Station

Netatmo Weather Station Lifestyle

Source: Netatmo (Image credit: Source: Netatmo)

Netatmo Weather Station

Predict the weather

Detailed weather tracking as well
Smart home integration
Useful ventilation alerts so you can take action
Might be more than you need
Slightly expensive
No Google Assistant integration

Not only does this handy device and its partner smartphone app provide detailed air quality reports, it can also monitor humidity, indoor noise level, and barometric pressure. At its heart is the analyzing of weather trends, which you can see a full history of via graphs, as well as getting seven-day weather forecasts. But this unit also has some interesting air quality features, too.

It measures indoor pollution via a CO2 sensor and can send real-time notifications to your smartphone, like a ventilation alert when it detects that it's time to air out your home after you've just cooked a big meal with pungent spices, for example, or put a fresh coat of paint in the dining room.

It's also super smart, able to work with Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri for voice control: say things like, "Hey Siri, how's the air quality in my living room?" to get useful feedback. You can also use Apple HomeKit to create automations and do things like have the compatible smart air purifier kick on when the Netatmo Weather Station detects pollutants in the air. You get all of this and the unit isn't that much more expensive than the others.

Best Value: Awair Glow C Air Quality Monitor + Smart Plug

Awair Glow C Air Quality Monitor Lifestyle

Source: Awair (Image credit: Source: Awair)

Awair Glow C Air Quality Monitor + Smart Plug

Plug it in

Small and unobtrusive
Makes a connected device smart and actionable
Doesn't need batteries
Not as robust as the others
Only tracks VOCs

Like many other air quality monitors on this list, this one does double (and triple) duty as something else: it's also a smart plug as well as a night light. Plug an air purifier, humidifier, fan, or other device into it and the appliance automatically becomes smart, able to be controlled from a compatible app or smart device: the plug is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and the Awair app works on both Androids and iPhones. The device that's plugged into the Awair can be automatically triggered to turn on once the air quality reading suggests cleaning is needed.

The device tracks VOCs, humidity, and temperature levels and provides real-time feedback in the Awair app, along with actionable tips to help improve the air quality in your home. You can manage multiple Awair devices from the single app interface, customize schedules, view data trends, and more.

As a night light, the plug emits a soft glow of light, and you can choose from hundreds of light colors. The tiny unit doesn't stand out in the room, and just takes over one AC outlet while it does its work.

Choosing the best air quality monitor

You might suspect that the air quality might not be great inside your house, around your neighborhood, or in areas you frequent for your morning run, afternoon walks with the new baby, or patio lunches with colleagues. In this case, an air quality monitor is a great device to provide some insight before you delve full force into buying an air purifier or change your daily habits to avoid highly polluted outdoor areas.

There are plenty of options out there, but the AirThings Wave Plus (opens in new tab) is a great middle-of-the-road option that doesn't provide more than you need but has everything you would want. And it won't break the bank. It doesn't just track for one or two types of pollutants but has sensors for three, including radon, VOCs, and CO2. Plus, it also measures humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure which can also impact your health. Too much humidity can cause mold growth which, in turn, can lead to symptoms. Meanwhile, changes in barometric pressure can cause everything from headaches to joint pain and fatigue.

The unit can neatly mount to the wall and quietly do its thing as you go about your day. Use the app to get reports and real-time details or just wave your hand in front of the unit and check that it illuminates green to indicate that all is good. If you find that it's frequently in the red or even yellow "fair" range, it might be time to start thinking about getting an air purifier. All of the options here are suitable for various use cases, but in terms of checking the air quality at home and getting accurate details on all kinds of pollutants, this is the best option.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author: Cp Headshot

Christine Persaud resides in Toronto, Ontario Canada and has suffered from allergies her whole life that can be exacerbated by air quality, including pollen, dust, pets, and seasonal changes. Not surprisingly, she has air purifiers throughout her house and is always checking in to make sure the readings are favorable.

Christine Persaud is a freelance writer for Android Central who has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's probably working on her latest fitness program, binging a new (or old) TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets, or spending time with her school-aged son. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.