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The best air-quality monitors from our testing in 2024

Check your air quality and protect your family with the best air-quality monitors, as tested by our experts

While our cities aren’t the deadly smog traps they once were, poor air quality still causes around 40,000 early deaths per year in the UK. The fine and ultrafine particles involved have been linked to breathing problems such as asthma and emphysema as well as lung cancer, strokes, dementia, cognitive impairments and even liver disease. What’s more, building materials, paints and furnishings can give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) with equally harmful effects, while some areas of the UK have high levels of radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that’s considered one of the largest causes of lung cancer. Mould within the house can also exacerbate a range of respiratory conditions.

You can fight air pollution with air purifiers and ventilation, but only if you know what you’re fighting. That’s where air-quality monitors (AQMs) come in, giving you an accurate means of detecting and tracking pollution levels. I’ve tested a range of the best air quality monitors from all the major manufacturers, covering everything from standalone budget models to smart AQMs that work with online services and smartphone apps. You’ll find my recommended AQMs below. And if you need more information and advice before you make your choice, you’ll find it in the buying guide, after the reviews.

Best air-quality monitor: At a glance

Best air-quality monitorAirThings View Plus (~£250)Check price at Amazon
Best air-quality monitor for tracking and alertsAmazon Smart Air Quality Monitor (~£70)Check price at Amazon
Best air-quality monitor for valueTemtop M10i (~£100)Check price at Amazon

How we test air-quality monitors

We test air-quality monitors in two locations inside a three-bedroom detached house. Testing two or more at a time, we set them up and leave them on a shelf in the living room in order to see how well they track changes in air quality over the course of a week, and how effective they are at reporting changes via any screens, built-in indicators or companion apps.

We also test them in a smaller room, where they are exposed to drying paint, smoke, deodorant sprays and moisture from a humidifier, to see how quickly they react to high-risk particulates and issue any warnings. Where the air-quality monitors include smart features, we try controlling them through an Amazon Echo smart speaker or through an Android smartphone with Google Assistant to see how effective they are.

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The best air-quality monitors you can buy in 2024

1. Airthings View Plus: Best air-quality monitor

Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… checking measurements in real-time and other online features
Not so great for… cost

Airthings’ premium air-quality monitor gives you all the features of the excellent Wave Plus below, plus some useful extras. The most obvious of these is the 2.9in ePaper screen, which can be configured to show any two measurements in real-time, plus the current air quality when you wave your hand over the surface. I found the screen crisp and easy to read, despite the occasional ghosting that’s one downside of ePaper tech, and it doesn’t seem to hit the battery life too hard. A set of six AAs can last you up to two years, or you can power the View Plus with a USB-C cable, though you’ll need to provide your own charger.

The other big upgrade is the built-in Hub functionality. Keep the View Plus connected to your charger and you can use it as a gateway to connect any other Airthings monitors to the internet, allowing them to sync automatically with the Airthings dashboard in the cloud. With a couple of Airthings products in the house I’ve found this easier than syncing with my smartphone, and it means I get the latest data and notifications, wherever I am.

Monitoring remains top-notch, covering radon, VOCs, PM2.5 pollutants, humidity, air pressure and temperature, making it easy to track mould and damp risks as well as the effects of chemical pollution. The companion app is superb, too.

The View Plus is expensive, but if you want real-time monitoring with a built-in display, it’s the best AQM money can buy.

Key specs – Pollutants monitored: VOCs, PM2.5, radon; Temperature: Yes; Humidity: Yes; Display: 2.9in ePaper; Connectivity: 801.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE; Apps: iOS, Android, web-based dashboard; Power: 6 x AA, USB Type-C; Dimensions (WDH): 170 x 33 x 90mm

2. Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor: Best air-quality monitor for tracking and alerts

Price when reviewed: £70 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… affordable and easy to install and use
Not so great for… there’s no display and it requires Alexa

Trust Amazon to come up with such a cheap, effective monitor, even if you need Alexa to use it. The Smart Air Quality Monitor is a compact block with rounded edges, with an LED indicator at the top and an air intake at the front. It’s permanently powered through a micro-USB charger, and easily installed through the Alexa app. In fact, with existing Echo devices in the house and the app already on my smartphone, I found that it practically installed itself.

Using the app, you can get weekly, daily and hourly reports on your air quality, on top of the current measurements, tracking CO, PM2.5 and VOC levels, as well as temperature and humidity. The LED glows green when levels are under control, turning to amber then red should they rise. You can also get alerts through the app or an Echo speaker, or simply ask Alexa for the current readings.

It’s a great device and I found it very fast and accurate in testing, although it’s slightly frustrating that you can only use temperature as a trigger for Alexa routines; humidity or air quality could have been used to activate a dehumidifier or air purifier. All the same, this is one of the cheapest AQMs out there, and the natural choice if you already use Alexa.

Key specs – Pollutants monitored: VOCs, CO, PM2.5; Temperature: Yes; Humidity: Yes; Display: LED indicator; Connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2; Apps: Alexa app on iOS, Android, Amazon Fire; Power: Micro-USB; Dimensions (WDH): 65 x 65 x 45mm

3. Airthings Wave Plus: Best air-quality monitor for VOCs and radon

Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… instant feedback, radon tracking and online features
Not so great for… there’s no PM 2.5 monitoring

It might look like a simple smoke detector, but the Airthings Wave Plus is one of the most comprehensive air-quality monitors around, detecting VOCs, CO2 and radon gas while also collecting data on temperature, humidity and air pressure. Just be aware that it doesn’t track PM 2.5 pollutants, such as industrial smogs or diesel emissions, which may be as harmful to your health if you live in an area with heavy traffic.

I’m a big fan of the way the WavePlus gives you everyday feedback using a central coloured ring. This shifts from green through amber and into red according to the overall level of air quality when you wave your hand in front of it. If you want more detailed information, you can get it through a web-based dashboard or Airthings’ smartphone app. This will give you the most recent figures for VOC, radon and CO2 concentrations, and a handy graph showing their rise and fall with 12-hour, 48-hour, weekly, monthly and annual views.

The WavePlus is consistently fast to register changes in air quality, and I found it accurately tracked emissions over hours and days. I could quickly see the difference when moved to a just-painted upstairs bedroom or when placed near a lit woodburner in the living room downstairs.

The unit normally connects to your phone via Bluetooth, but you can also connect it to an optional Airthings Hub so that it can deliver real-time updates to Airthing’s online services when your phone isn’t around. This also enables you to get the latest readings through an Alexa or Google Nest smart speaker, or use the data to control other devices in the home through IFTTT, without having your phone in range. The Wave Plus can also be wall- or ceiling-mounted, and it’s powered by two AA batteries. In my experience, these last for between 12 and 15 months.

There’s no getting around the fact that the Wave Plus is expensive, but it’s a straightforward and thoroughly informative monitor with one of the best apps in the business.

Key specs – Pollutants monitored: VOCs, CO2, radon; Temperature: Yes; Humidity: Yes; Display: Ring indicator; Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, Airthings SmartLink; Apps: Android, iOS, web dashboard; Power: 2 x AA batteries; Dimensions (WDH): 120 x 120 x 36mm

4. Eve Room: Best VOC monitor for iPhone users

Price when reviewed: £88 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… tiny and unobtrusive, very easy to use and check
Not so great for… it needs Apple HomeKit and there’s no PM 2.5 monitoring

If you’re looking for an unobtrusive air-quality monitor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything dinkier than the Eve Room. It’s a tiny square unit with a 200 x 200-pixel E Ink display that gives you a star rating for the current air quality based on detection of VOCs, temperature and humidity.
It also works hand in hand with Apple’s HomeKit and Eve’s iOS app, which can track all three metrics across a period of hours, days or weeks. It can even trigger HomeKit-compatible air purifiers, dehumidifiers and fans.

It’s very easy to use, and I found it as quick as the Airthings products to react to changes in the air. It connects to your iPhone or iPad over Bluetooth Low Energy, and only needs charging roughly every six weeks over micro-USB.

However, the Eve Room has two big issues that might put it out of contention. First, there’s no tracking of PM2.5 pollutants or radon, only VOCs, so if you want all-round peace of mind, you might want to look at a different product. Second, it’s a HomeKit-only product, so it’s of no use if you’re not an iPhone/iPad user. But if you are and your primary concern is VOCs, this is a good option that you’ll barely notice sitting on a shelf or window sill.

Key specs – Pollutants monitored: VOCs; Temperature: Yes; Humidity: Yes; Display: 200 x 200 pixel e-ink; Connectivity: Bluetooth LE; Apps: iOS; Power: Internal Li-ion; Dimensions (WDH): 54 x 54 x 15mm

5. Temtop M10i: Best air-quality monitor for value

Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… all-round tracking and real-time checks
Not so great for… poor battery life and limited views in Android app

The Temtop M10i covers more ground than the entry-level monitors, detecting both PM2.5 fine particulates and dangerous VOCs, with a special focus on HCHO or formaldehyde. I like the way you can see the current levels update in real-time on the bright LCD screen, switching between them with a click of the button on the top.

What’s more, the unit will connect over Wi-Fi and allow you to get updates through an iOS or Android app, complete with daily graphs to help you track pollution levels as they go up and down. It’s a shame there aren’t weekly or monthly views, but I found I could export the data as an Excel spreadsheet if I wanted more detailed, long-term analysis.

The device itself is compact, good-looking and easy to use, with an indicator LED that shifts from green to red if pollutant levels climb too high. However, while there’s a battery for portable use, you really need to keep it plugged into a USB charger or power bank. I found that the battery only lasts for around six hours and the M10i doesn’t go automatically into standby – it just switches off. This one caveat aside, it’s a top air-quality monitor for the money.

Key specs – Pollutants monitored: VOCs, PM2.5, formaldehyde (HCHO); Temperature: No; Humidity: No; Display: 3.5in mono LCD; Connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi; Apps: iOS, Android; Power: Built-in Li-ion; Dimensions (WDH): 81 x 81 x 30mm

6. Airthings Wave Mini: Best entry-level air-quality monitor

Price when reviewed: £66 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… feedback at a glance and mould prediction
Not so great for… there’s no PM 2.5 monitoring

If the Airthings Wave Plus is too pricey for your budget, the Wave Mini gives you many of the same features at a much lower price and in a smaller unit. This one mostly monitors humidity, temperature and VOCs, but it also has a handy mould-risk function, which uses data from the sensors to assess your room’s chances of developing mould and mildew.

The Wave Plus’s ring becomes a smaller, single indicator here, but it still works in much the same way. Wave your hand over the Wave Mini and it will light up a tone between red and green to give you a clear visual indication of your current air quality.

Otherwise, the Wave Mini works in much the same way as its bigger sibling, connecting to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth or through Airthings SmartLink to an Airthings hub. This still means you don’t get real-time updates without your phone in close proximity, but you can use the app or web dashboard to track changes in air quality or set up IFTTT routines to run a fan or dehumidifier if the sensor hits a certain target.

It might be mini, but it’s still packed with features and we didn’t find it any less sensitive or effective than the larger Wave. That makes it a great entry-level device.

Key specs – Pollutants monitored: VOCs, mould risk detection; Temperature: Yes; Humidity: Yes; Display: LED indicator; Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2; Apps: iOS, Android, web-based dashboard; Power: 3 x AAA; Dimensions (WDH): 80 x 80 x 26mm

How to choose the best air-quality monitor for you

Air-quality monitors break down into two main types. We’ll mostly be looking at indoor models designed to sit within one room and provide continuous monitoring of the air quality within that space, but there are also portable devices designed for indoor and outdoor use. They’re often used by professionals or those with respiratory conditions to provide a quick assessment of air conditions wherever they are.

Beyond that, the main distinctions come down to the style and size of the monitor, any displays or connectivity, the software it hooks up to and what pollutants and conditions it detects. This last point is particularly important, as while most air-quality monitors track levels of fine particulate matter under 2.5 microns (or PM2.5) and/or VOCs, some go much further to monitor temperature, humidity, finer particles (down to 1 micron, or PM1), radon gas, mould and carbon dioxide.

The more pollutants detected, the higher the cost, but that’s a price that may be worth paying if you live in an area with high radon levels or specific environmental concerns. That goes double if you or a member of your household suffers from a condition that might be triggered or aggravated by certain pollutants.

Is there anything else worth looking out for?

Most air-quality monitors are battery-powered, as this gives you maximum flexibility when deciding where you place them. They may require one or more long-life batteries or a rechargeable battery that needs to be topped up over a USB cable, although these shouldn’t need charging too often.

Connectivity also differs from monitor to monitor. Some use Bluetooth to communicate with a smartphone app, while others can hook up to a Wi-Fi connection, and even communicate with Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa smart home hubs to control other supported devices, including air purifiers, dehumidifiers and fans.

Perhaps the most important feature, though, is how they communicate with you. As these are small devices you’re usually either looking at a coloured air-quality indicator or a small display, but smartphone apps give you more information and allow you to track air quality, temperature and humidity over time, which can be really useful if you’re trying to keep an eye on wider trends.

The clearer and easier these apps are to use, the more you’ll get out of your air-quality monitor, so it’s definitely worth taking into account.

What can you do about your air quality?

In most cases your best option is ventilation: open up some windows and get some air moving in the house. However, if you live in one of the UK’s worst-affected regions this might not be enough. Air purifiers are now very affordable and can be used to improve air quality in the rooms where you spend most of your time.

Similarly, dehumidifiers can help in rooms where there’s too much moisture and a risk of damp and mould. If you have high levels of radon, you may need more specialist advice. More ventilation or an active air management system may be necessary to get your radon levels down. You can find more information and advice on the government’s radon website.

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