7 Indoor Air Quality Monitors: My Unbiased Comparison


Indoor air quality is exciting because up until now, it was solely reserved for the professionals. But thanks to newer technology and the advancements in smart home integration, it’s becoming more affordable for virtually anyone who happens to have a roof over their head.


But What Are the Best Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Monitors For Your Home?

As with any products that are new, indoor air quality monitors are still going through a phase of experimentation. Luckily, many of the products you’ll see here have already gone through their first versions, but they’re still far from perfect. As time goes by, we can hope for these devices to become better and better.

In this list, I’ll compare the currently available indoor air quality monitors and share a snapshot of how their features compare.

Let’s take a look.



What Makes It Unique:

The Awair monitor (now in its 2nd edition) stands out with its stylish, retro look. It measures a little over 6 inches wide and 3 inches tall, so it can blend in nicely on a side table or nightstand. The box around the Awair is made from North American walnut timber, while the inside has a clean white grid to display the data and act as an LED light.

It’s also one of the most well-rounded indoor air quality monitors currently on the market since it gives readings for virtually most pollutants that a home needs to have tested. If you’ve owned the 1st edition, you should be happy to know that the new Awair has upgraded its fine particles sensor to a far better one.

Another thing that makes the Awair special is that it gives you actionable tips. Rather than just letting you stare at numbers, the company behind the Awair has teamed up with the Mayo Clinic to create what are known as Mayo cards inside the app. These Mayo cards tell you what to do when levels of certain pollutants rise


What It Measures:

We are told that these measurements can be made in an area up to 1,000 sq. ft. The Awair gives 5 direct measurements. Its carbon monoxide (CO) data is only indirectly inferred from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This monitor will not replace your carbon monoxide detectors! It also conveniently measures ambient noise in decibels.

The 5 primary measurements that the Awair gives are:

  • Fine particles, or pm2.5, ranging from 0 to 1,000 μg/m3. The actual particle size it can measure is between 0.3 μm and 2.5 μm. Measurement given is accurate within +15%. The company calls this pollutant “fine dust” inside its app.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ranging from 0 to 60,000 ppb (parts per billion). Measurement given is accurate within +10%. The company calls this pollutant “chemicals” inside its app.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2), ranging from 400 to 5,000 ppb. Measurement given is accurate within +10%.
  • Temperature, ranging from -40 to 257 °F. Measurement given is accurate within +0.2 °C.
  • Relative Humidity, ranging from 0 to 95%. Measurement given is accurate within +2 %.


Display and How Information Is Presented:

A user-friendly app on your phone or tablet lets you see the quality of your air continuously. The app gives you a simple score between 0 and 100 that summarizes the 5 measurements overall. You can also delve deeper into each measurement as the Awair keeps 28 days of historical data. The Awair team can provide older data if needed by emailing them at hello@awair.com.

The data is color-coded in the app, using orange, yellow, or green to represent the air quality.

If you don’t have access to the app, the unit itself shows air quality information on its LED display. There are 3 possible display types: score, clock, or dot. Dot is literally just a dot that’s either orange, yellow, or green. This one is used at night to minimize the lights in the bedroom, but you can also use the dim or sleep mode to turn down the brightness. Score displays the score of the air quality, while the clock display turns the unit into a stylish clock.

Even if you have minimized the display, you can always tap on the unit with your fingers a few times and it will immediately display the indoor quality score.


Connectivity and Smart Home Integration:

This unit offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It works on its own without any connections, but you’ll need Wi-Fi to use the app.

It automatically sends push notifications to iPhone or Android devices if the air quality levels change.

It works with Nest, Alexa, and Google Home. No Apple HomeKit as of right now and it appears that Nest is the only smart thermostat that the Awair works with.

There are plenty of IFTTT applets already available for the Awair, but you’ll have to consider its smart plug version (the Awair Glow) to fully integrate IFTTT with the Awair.


Where It Can Improve:

It would be nice to be able to analyze the data through a PC. Many customers also complained about losing their data whenever the Wi-Fi was reset, but it seems that this issue has vastly improved with the second edition. More IFTTT functionality is probably on its way, as well as broader smart home integration.

One thing I didn’t particularly like is their labeling of two pollutants as “fine dust” and “chemicals.” Technically, both terms are correct, but they may confuse the customer.

I’ve already seen some comments where some people have thought that fine dust refers to small dust mites. It would be better for the company to just refer to this as fine particles or fine particulate matter. Inside a home, fine particles encompass things like cooking gases, tobacco smoke, mold, bacteria, and viruses, so calling it “dust” could confuse someone.

The term “chemical” is also too vague. They should just call them what they are – volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Awair should also start offering phone support to its customers. Sadly, most of the indoor air quality products only offer online support as of now, so it isn’t just Awair.


Awair Glow

What Makes It Unique:

The Awair Glow is the cousin of the original Awair. It’s still stylish and is a less expensive alternative at about half the price of the original Awair. Both units cover about 1,000 sq.ft. of space. It may not be as smart and fancy as the Awair, but the Awair Glow is great for those who are looking for just good, solid IFTTT or voice assistant integration.

The Awair Glow is plugged directly into an electrical outlet and can act as an intermediary between your “dumb” devices to make them smart. In other words, it’s a smart plug that also happens to be an indoor air quality monitor. Use the Awair Glow’s outlet to connect to dehumidifiers, humidifiers, air purifiers, heaters, fans, air conditioners, smart oil diffusers, and any other devices that you want the Awair Glow to control.

Did I mention it also doubles as a nightlight that can be dimmed as needed?


What It Measures:

It gives you the same measurements as the Awair previously mentioned, but without the fine dust (fine particles). So, it will measure VOCs (chemicals), CO2, humidity, and temperature. However, it does have another sensor that reads larger dust particles. In other words, the Awair will give you readings for small particles like smoke, smog, bacteria, and viruses, while the Awair Glow will read out things like dust mites and pollen.


Display and How Information Is Presented:

The Awair and Awair Glow share the same app to present your indoor air quality as an overall score. The app also includes the “Mayo cards” and stores 28 days of data just like the original Awair. The overall score is also represented by a color code, which you can see inside the app and the LED light on top of the Awair Glow.

If you keep the Awair Glow in your bedroom, it generates something called a sleep report to tell you the indoor air quality as you sleep (this is important because CO2 levels tend to rise in our bedrooms when we sleep).


Connectivity and Smart Home Integration:

Works with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

IFTTT is possible, as long as the device you want to control is directly plugged into the Awair Glow.

The Awair Glow can be controlled by voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home.


Where It Can Improve:

Since the Awair Glow has a single outlet, it can only control one device at a time. Because it acts as a smart plug, you can save money by buying a “dumb” device to control instead. If you’re looking for a way to save money on an air purifier, you can just buy a less expensive air purifier and make it smart through the Awair Glow.

But if you’re trying to have a more complex automation in place, the Awair Glow alone won’t help you. It won’t be able to control your Nest thermostat for you or anything else that isn’t directly plugged into it. It definitely needs smart home integrations beyond just voice assistants and being a smart plug.

I’m also not sure why the Awair Glow is missing the fine particle (pm2.5) sensor since the original Awair already has one. Hopefully, it will be added in the near future.

Based on the customer reviews, it also seems that the original Awair is the trigger for IFTTT functions, while the Awair Glow only executes it. In other words, you need to own both the Awair and the Awair Glow. The Awair would pick up a change in air quality and then instruct the Awair Glow to turn on an air purifier that’s directly plugged into the Awair Glow smart plug. If this is the case, then the company definitely needs to be more clear on this in the product specifications.



What Makes It Unique:

The Foobot might be a simple-looking device, but don’t let that fool you. The Foobot has been shown to be one of the most precise devices on the market when it comes to measuring fine particles.

While it appeared for a while that its last model was having a hard time keeping up with the necessary upgrades, its new model is now up-to-date and ready to compete with the rest of the products on this list.

If you’re a fan of Nest, you’ll love Foobot. Foobot’s cloud has specifically been made for Nest, although it will work with other systems as well.


What It Measures:

The Foobot reads VOCs, temperature, humidity, fine particles (pm2.5, or particulate matter), and CO2. Its CO2 readings are derived from the VOC data.

As is common among these kinds of devices, it reads VOCs as a total average of several VOCs (known as TVOC). We’re told that the TVOC reading is primarily based on formaldehyde, iso-butane, toluene, methane, ammonia, and benzene readings.

The fine particles measured are between 0.3 μm and 2.5 μm in size.


Display and How Information Is Presented:

The unit itself just shows a color-coded light to give you a general idea of the overall indoor air quality.

To get more information, you’ll need the Foobot app on your phone or tablet. The app primarily shows information for indoor air quality,  but it also has a section to show you outdoor pollution.

The data is summarized on a simple screen, showing you the results for three particular pollutants – particulate matter, VOCs, and CO2. You’re given a simple score between 0 and 100, which is then interpreted based on the recommendations as set by the World Health Organization (WHO). As long as your entire screen is blue, your air is safe. But if it’s orange, your air needs to be improved.

The data for each pollutant can be analyzed by minutes, hours, days, or weeks. It can also be exported to create charts.


Connectivity and Smart Home Integration:

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The Foobot works with IFTTT and already has a wide range of applets available.

It’s a great monitor if you’re looking for smart thermostat integrations. It works with the Nest Learning Thermometer, Ecobee, Honeywell, Warmup, hive, and Netatmo, to name a few. You can expect it to work with your voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant.

The Foobot is able to control other appliances either through a smart plug or directly through the network. It’s capable of controlling your smart air purifiers, ventilation systems, dehumidifiers, or anything else that’s smart and affects your indoor air quality.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with Apple HomeKit as of right now.


Where It Can Improve:

The Foobot could definitely use a redesign, otherwise, it just can’t compete with the Awair.

The team behind it has lagged in terms of releasing updates. While this issue has improved vastly, some customers are still struggling to make it work with the iPhone X. It’s one of the best monitors on this list as far as the quality of the sensors and array of smart home possibilities are concerned, but the design and lack of urgency with the needed updates are preventing it from becoming the product that it could be.

Also, even though the VOC sensor is great, unfortunately, the reading only starts at 125 ppb. For customers who want to know the VOCs levels, even if they’re low, this is a major drawback.

Similar to some of the other monitors on this list, Foobot also only offers online support. There is no phone number to call as of right now.



What Makes It Unique:

The uHoo indoor air quality monitor is one of the most expensive ones currently available to the residential market, but you’d never guess that just by looking at it.

Don’t let that fool you, though. This device has 9 built-in sensors and is advertised as the world’s most advanced monitor. If you have asthma or other respiratory problems, the uHoo is a perfect fit. It goes beyond the basic sensors and gives you readings for other pollutants that are especially prone to cause respiratory issues and flare-ups.

For example, the uHoo measures ozone and nitrogen dioxide. Ozone is a major ingredient found in smog, and nitrogen dioxide is found in vehicle emissions and fossil fuel combustion. Both pollutants are especially troublesome for asthmatics.

The app also lets you adjust the thresholds for each pollutant to make it more suited for you. If you have chemical sensitivities, for example, you can lower the threshold of the VOCs to be more representative of how you want your home environment to be. You can use uHoo’s Health Report inside the app to keep track of how you feel at any given time. This helps you to correlate certain health triggers with the condition of the air inside your home at any given time.


What It Measures:

The uHoo provides 9 total measurements. Each has its own sensor, none of the data are derived from the measurement of another pollutant. The uHoo measures the following:

  • Fine particles (pm2.5). uHoo simply calls this “dust.”
  • VOCs. Given as a total, or TVOC measure. The VOCs that are part of the measurement are a-pinene, d-limonene, acetaldeyhyde, acetone, hexanal, n-decane, tolouene, formaldehyde, and benzene.
  • Carbon monoxide. Use it to supplement your already existing carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Carbon dioxide.
  • Ozone.
  • Barometric air pressure.
  • Temperature.
  • Humidity.
  • Nitrogen dioxide.


Display and How Information Is Presented:

The device itself only represents the overall indoor air quality through a small color-coded LED light at the bottom, which can either be red, orange or green.

The uHoo app is simple to use and gives you data for each of the 9 measurements individually, with each also being color-coded separately. Your data is displayed inside the app by the hour, day, week, or month and lives in the cloud.

The app will give you some actionable pointers to improve indoor air quality, similar to the “Mayo cards” you’d see in the Awair app.


Connectivity and Smart Home Integration:

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (2.4GHz as of now).

The uHoo can be synced with some smart home devices, although you’ll find better home automation with most of the other monitors on this list. uHoo has some catching up to do as it’s just too new as of now.


Where It Can Improve:

Even though the uHoo’s powerful sensors can’t be ignored, its price probably needs to come down slightly in order to be competitive. While customers have left rave reviews about the actual performance of the sensors, it appears that the initial set-up has been cumbersome for some.

The product is new and is made by a crowd-funded startup. The company should do more to instill confidence in US consumers who may be interested in the product. It would be nice if it had at least phone support.

The website also lacks more explanation about the product. uHoo should take a cue from Awair and Foobot and make the website as information-packed as its competitors. The website focuses too much on a general explanation of air quality instead of putting its 9 sensors front and center and explaining them in more detail.


Nest Protect

What Makes It Unique:

With the Nest name behind it, you can expect the Nest Protect to be receiving stellar customer reviews (it does, in case you want to double-check).

The Nest Protect does what most of the other indoor air quality monitors on this list don’t do – it monitors smoke and carbon monoxide. But rather than being that dated chirping detector, this one’s smart.

It also acts as a motion-activated light to guide you as you enter the room, or to exit it in case of an emergency.


What It Measures:

The Nest Protect measures smoke and carbon monoxide levels.

You may also wish to know what sensors the Nest Protect has inside:

  • The electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor lasts up to 10 years.
  • The smoke detector inside uses two sensors (photoelectric and LED). Nest calls this a split-spectrum sensor mechanism. They explain that nowadays indoor fires spread more rapidly thanks to a more sealed home environment and that the old-fashioned ionization sensors are no longer relevant. Apparently, back in the 1970s it took 30 minutes for a home to be engulfed in flames, whereas nowadays it only takes 5 minutes. They claim that the split-spectrum sensor can detect both smoldering and flaming fires while eliminating nuisance alarms at the same time.
  • The humidity sensor eliminates nuisance alarms coming from steam (like boiling water in the kitchen or bath).
  • The heat sensor detects sudden rises in temperature and is another way to detect potential fires.
  • The occupancy sensor detects movement to activate the light inside.
  • The ambient light sensor detects natural nightfall, which triggers its Nightly Promise event. Nightly Promise means that the Nest Protect checks its batteries and sensors each evening before you go to sleep.


Display and How Information Is Presented:

The Nest Protect does not chirp – it alerts you using a human voice that’s coming from its speaker. It integrates with the rest of the Nest app and gives you monthly reports of smoke and carbon monoxide levels.

The Nest Protect has a color-coded LED circle light built into it. As long as this light is green, you’re safe.


Connectivity and Smart Home Integration:

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The device itself can either run on batteries or be wired.

You’ll get push notifications on your phone to alert you of alarms, a change in trends of the readings, or when the battery needs to be changed. You have complete control over your phone – you can even hush the alarm from your phone if you know it’s a nuisance alarm.

If the alarm does go off, Nest Protect automatically activates your Nest Cam to capture video of the alarm event. Based on this footage, you can then remotely choose to silence if it’s a false alarm or take more serious action. It will allow you to disarm the security alarm in case of an emergency.

The Nest Protect can be integrated with other smart devices in your home to work better. For example, it can silence your TV or music so that you can better hear the alarm. It can also shut off smart appliances that may be the cause of the alarm, like water heaters, furnaces, or ovens, as well as control your Nest Thermostat.


Where It Can Improve:

With more stringent fire codes in new homes, you may be required to have a smoke and carbon monoxide detector in every room in your home. And let’s face it – this product is not cheap. It’s hard to argue that its price needs to go down, considering the quality and multitude of features that the Nest Protect has.

For the average person, it’s probably best to buy a single Nest Protect for each floor in your home and then supplement the rest of your home with more affordable smoke detectors.


Netatmo Healthy Home Coach

What Makes It Unique:

The Netatmo Healthy Home Coach is a sleek, modern indoor air quality monitor with a beautiful app to match. It also works with Apple HomeKit, which is a rare find when it comes to indoor air quality monitors. The Netatmo allows you to pick from three settings to best suit your home environment – general, baby, or asthmatic. Its app is gorgeous and easy to use, but beyond that, I’m afraid that this monitor leaves plenty to be desired.


What It Measures:

The Netatmo will measure air quality, temperature, humidity, and noise. And by air quality, it means carbon dioxide that it reads from an infrared sensor.


Display and How Information Is Presented:

The Netatmo works like most of the monitors on this list. The unit itself has a built-in LED light to give you a general representation of the overall indoor air quality. For more information, you’ll have to use the app.

The app is easy to use and gives you historical data by the hour.


Connectivity and Smart Home Integration:

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The Netatmo is a well-connected device. It’s one of the few monitors on the market that works with Apple HomeKit. It has a multitude of IFTTT applets and works especially well when connected to Eve plugs and devices.


Where It Can Improve:

Unfortunately, the Netatmo has a long way to go to truly be complete in my opinion. The app only displays 24 hours of data. It would be nice to be able to scroll back further and see longer-term historical data.

I’m also not a big fan of the company’s use of the term “air quality,” which only measures carbon dioxide. The Netatmo Health Home Coach needs to be able to measure VOCs and fine particles to even have a shot of being able to compete. The way things stand now, its carbon dioxide would pretty much just be able to help you improve your sleep and productivity. Again, the word “health” in the product name is a bit of a misnomer here as well.

The device already has an app and company name to be able to compete – all it needs are more sensors. It would also be nice to integrate it with the Netatmo Weather Station so that customers who own both products can monitor both indoor and outdoor air. My mother has rheumatism and is always worried whenever the barometric pressure outside is about to change. People like her would be immensely helped by an air quality system that monitors the barometric pressure and rain outside and tracks how this affects the indoor air.

Ideas aside, it should be noted that this monitor is one of the best-priced monitors on this list, so the lack of some sensors may be a trade-off that some consumers are willing to make.


AirThings Wave Plus

What Makes It Unique:

The AirThings Wave Plus is a recent addition to the indoor air quality product line by AirThings. The device itself looks like a smoke detector, but it does so much more.

What really makes this product unique is that it’s the world’s first indoor air quality monitor that detects radon. I’ve been impressed by AirThings since they introduced its handheld radon detector (the Corentium), basically showing the world just how inaccurate and obsolete conventional mail-in radon test kits really are.

Since then, AirThings has used its radon detection technology and packaged it alongside other sensors to create a more well-rounded product called the Wave Plus.


What It Measures:

The Wave Plus measures radon, carbon dioxide, VOCs, humidity, and temperature.

The radon measurement is immediate. There are no samples to mail out and no lab fees to pay. The VOC measurement is given as a total VOC (TVOC) measurement, although I was unable to find just which VOCs make up the measurement individually.


Display and How Information Is Presented:

The AirThings Wave Plus has an available mobile app for iOS. The Android version is coming out as of writing this article.

The data is stored historically up to 1 year. It’s not only accessible via the app on a phone or tablet, but it’s also available on your PC for download.

The device itself has a color-coded LED light ring just like the Nest Protect. As long as it’s green, you’re safe.


Connectivity and Smart Home Integration:

Bluetooth only. The device does not connect via Wi-Fi as of right now, although it’s advertised to send push notifications to your phone and use IFTTT. Clearly, its functionality will be limited until Wi-Fi is implemented. In its defense, the product has just hit the market and I expect this feature to be available very soon.

The Wave Plus itself is not wired, but rather runs on a battery that’s said to last a little less than a year and a half.


Where It Can Improve:

I’ve clearly caught this product at a bad time since it just hit the market. But out of all the products on this list, this is the one where I’d say I see the most potential.

The radon detection sensor is hard to miss and is an amazing feature, considering that the EPA seems to come out with research every year showing just how much more prevalent radon is under homes than previously thought. The company’s other products tend to receive stellar reviews, so I have confidence that this will become a high-quality product in the near future just like the other products that AirThings has created.

The unit needs to support Wi-Fi ASAP and probably needs a redesign. If it’s battery powered, there’s no reason why it cannot be a more stylish tabletop unit. Otherwise, it just looks like an average smoke detector. It’s also missing a sensor for fine particles.

There is also no Apple HomeKit, Alexa, or Nest compatibility yet, so the product is currently lacking when it comes to home automation options.


My Final Thoughts

For my home and family personally, the Foobot and Nest Protect are a winning combo. The Awair Glow seemed like an amazing product at first, but if it needs the original Awair to work with IFTTT like some customers are saying, then that would be a major drawback. I am also interested in how the AirThings Wave Plus evolves over time as I think this product has a lot of future potential.