December 16, 2018
Hand holding Air quality detector.
Wellness Tip

Which Home Air-Quality Detectors Do a Good Job?

by Wellness Letter  

Home air-quality monitors can detect indoor air pollution so that remediation steps can be taken, but not all devices are accurate, according to testing done at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and reported in the journal Indoor Air in April 2018.

Researchers tested seven consumer-grade models, all costing less than $300, for their ability to detect fine particulate matter, which comes from indoor sources (such as smoking, cooking, unfiltered humidifiers, and dust) as well as outdoor sources (such as motor vehicle exhaust and wildfires) and increases the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Four models were sufficiently accurate in detecting high levels of fine particles:
• AirBeam
• AirVisual Node
• Foobot
• Purple Air PA-II

Three were not sufficiently accurate:
• Air Quality Egg
• Awair
• Speck

None of the devices did a good job at detecting the smallest (ultrafine) particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs. But many sources of ultrafine particles also emit fine particles, so the monitors could still help in this regard.

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see Air Cleaner Effectiveness.