I have recently been on a quest to improve the indoor air quality in my home after suffering years of mild breathing issues due to chronic congestion. It's hardly a serious condition, but it is frustrating, nonetheless.
If you want to improve your indoor air quality, you need to identify when it is bad. This will help you identify causes allowing you to either set up schedules for things like air purifiers or helping you change your behaviour in what causing poor indoor air quality.
Indoor Air Quality monitors can be a bit of a minefield, different models measure different things, and I have reviewed several over the past few years.
Best Indoor Air Quality Monitor in the UK for 2020
Best overall indoor air quality monitor – IQAir AirVisual Pro
A good indoor air quality monitor is not cheap, but this has a high-quality PM2.5 laser sensor which should outperform the other models on this list. It will monitor both PM2.5 and PM10, then also CO2, temperature and relative humidity levels in your environment.
It is the only PM2.5 monitor I can find that works with IFTTT so it can help you set up automation to improve air quality.
Runner Up for best overall IAQ monitor – Kaiterra Laser Egg+
|Kaiterra Laser Egg+ CO2: Indoor Air Quality Monitor (Tracks...||8 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
Cheaper than the IQAir, this has some mixed reviews on Amazon, however it monitors PM2.5 (fine dust), VOCs, CO2, temperature, and humidity. It then also works with Apple HomeKit and IFTTT, allowing you to automate things within your home.
Best for automation – Eve Room
|Eve ZM-51946 Room - Indoor Air Quality Monitor for tracking...||1,590 Reviews||£82.80||Buy on Amazon|
Eve Room monitors VOCs – volatile organic compounds, temperature and humidity and at £90 it is quite cheap for an IAQ monitor. Eve has various smart home products allowing you to integrate it withing a large system. For example, there are smart plugs, a wireless motion sensor and smart radiator valves.
Only monitor that measure radon: Airthings Wave Plus
|Airthings 2930 Wave Plus - Radon & Air Quality Monitor with...||1,969 Reviews||£183.70||Buy on Amazon|
I have previously reviewed the Airthings Wave Plus, and it is an excellent smart home IAQ monitor. It is the only consumer product measuring radon which is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking, causing 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States.
As well as radon, this measures Carbon Dioxide (CO2), toxins and chemicals (Total VOCs), humidity, temperature and air pressure. However, it does not measure particulate matter, which is one of the main factors in asthma and allergies.
Worth considering – Airthings Mini
|Airthings 420 House Kit - Radon and Indoor Air Quality...||439 Reviews||£231.00||Buy on Amazon|
The Wave Mini removes the radon detection leaving temperature, humidity and TVOCs. However, it uses this data to identify mould risks.
Worth Considering – Aranet4 Home
|Aranet4 HOME: Wireless Indoor Air Quality Monitor for Home,...||139 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
I have listed the Aranet4 last because it doesn't specifically monitor elements we associate with poor indoor air quality, but it is still a good product worth considering.
This measures CO2 (carbon dioxide), temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure. CO2 levels can be good for identifying ventilation or the lack thereof.
Worth Considering – Awair Element
I am struggling to find UK stock of this otherwise it would be a higher recommendation. This good looking indoor air quality monitor tracks : fine dust (Pm2.5), chemicals (VOCs), Co2, humidity, and temperature. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant but sadly no IFTTT functionality.
Worth Considering – TSI Bluesky Air Quality Monitor
This is more a commercial-grade IAQ monitor that can be used both outdoors and indoors. It can measure PM1.0, PM2.5, PM4.0, PM10, temperature and humidity making it far more accurate than others.
However, it doesn't measure VOCs and has no smart home integrations such as IFTTT. It also costs around £380, making it prohibitively expensive for home use.
Worth Considering – Blueair Aware
|Blueair Air Quality Aware Triaxial Activity Monitor with...||Buy on Amazon|
The Blueair Aware can be placed anywhere in your home or at work to monitor particulate matter (PM2.5 for example), and VOC's, include formaldehyde.
The main reason to opt for this is that it can link up with Wi-Fi equipped air purifiers from the brand. It seems to have gone out of stock now, and at £200 + the cost of the air purifier it was not cheap. Instead, there is now the Blueair Sense+ which offers a smart all in one solution
Best all-in-one IAQ monitor and air purifiers
Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifying Fan
|Dyson TP04 Pure Cool Tower HEPA Air Purifier Blue||£750.00||Buy on Amazon|
The Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifying Fan has a built-in IAQ monitor itself, this is particularly useful as it allows the fan to be automated based on the air quality. It monitors more than average too, you get both PM2.5 and PM10, as well as VOC, NO2, temperature and humidity. The Dyson is also certified asthma & allergy friendly
Philips Series 3000i
|Philips Series 3000i Connected Air Purifier, Removes 99.97%...||£469.25||Buy on Amazon|
Just like Dyson, this also has a built-in IAQ monitor, it doesn't monitor as many things as Dyson and the app, in general, is not as good, but it should be able to purify the air better, and with the built-in monitor this can be automated based on the quality of the air.
|Blueair Sense Ultra Low Energy Air Purifier with HEPASilent...||Buy on Amazon|
I have not used any Blueair products, but they appear to be well regarded in the air purifying market.
The Sense+ combines the Blueair Aware monitor, previously listed, with an aesthetically pleasing air purifier with a dust CADR rate of 238 m3.
Features to look for in an indoor air quality monitor?
It depends if you have a pre-existing medical condition, either mild or serious.
Personally, PM2.5 is the thing that seems to affect me the most, the small particles trigger allergies. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are equally important for general health.
Temperature and humidity seem to be on all monitors.
CO2 is a good sign of poor ventilation but doesn't specifically cause issues itself.
For me, I would ideally want something that integrated with other systems such as IFTTT so you can then automate things like plugs which you can then use to automate air purfifiers or dehumidifiers.
How does poor indoor air quality affect health?
Poor indoor air quality can negatively affect everyone. It is particularly bad for anyone that already suffers from a lung condition, this can be anything from mild allergies to serious asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Children are particularly vulnerable to poor indoor air quality as their lungs are still developing.
Different factors cause different issues, and particulate matter can irritate anyones lungs or trigger allergies.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the other component. VOCs cover a wide range of chemicals and ech one can have different effects, but generally, health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.
Radon, which the Airthings Wave Plus monitors is a major cause of cancer.
How to improve your indoor air quality?
The IAQ monitor will help you identify when air quality gets poor, and you may be able to work out what is causing poor air quality. From this, you can change your behaviour.
For me, the biggest issue is cooking. Even though my office and bedroom are quite away from the kitchen, I would always get very poor air quality after cooker (especially frying things).
So for me, closing all the doors and leaving the kitchen extractor fan on after cooking has improved things considerably.
Keeping a clean house is important, in particular, vacuuming regularly helps, but having a vacuum that can filter out and contain the small particles is essential. I wrote a guide for cordless vacuum cleaners, and there is also the certified asthma & allergy friendly program which certifies products based on strict criteria. They also have a recommended vacuum cleaner and air purifier list.
Things like cleaning products are also important; many of these can give off irritating gasses.
Then, of course, the outdoor air quality will have an effect on the indoor quality, so ventilation is important, or preventing street pollution entering your home.
Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API