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Not sleeping well lately? Poor air quality in your home can negatively impact your sleep, physical energy, and cause cold symptoms like teary eyes or sniffles; not to mention the dreadful words like lung disease or cancer.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Seemingly, the air quality within our homes can be up to eight times worse than outdoors, and on specific occasions — say while repainting a wall — way more than that too. Our need for a more secure and confined environment has somehow contributed to this disparity in air quality between the interior and exterior.

Indoor air quality can deteriorate due to activities like cooking, which introduces smoke and other particulate matter. Cleaning and DIY hobbies can introduce Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs). Home building materials and the furniture may also release these VOCs. In the process of trying to secure our homes by locking doors and keeping the windows shut, we may also inadvertently seal in our expiratory carbon dioxide. Furnaces and other wood-fueled heaters produce carbon monoxide. High humidity and damp spaces breed mould.

Here, we have six smart indoor air quality monitoring devices that you should consider having at home, and hopefully help you to fill your house with good, clean air.

Each device may tackle some or most of the home air pollutants. They may also have other secondary functions.

Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarm ($99)



This is an advancement of the traditional smoke alarm. It detects smoke particles and carbon monoxide, and alerts residents of the high CO level with a female voice (before the alarm actually goes off). It also relays the detections to any connected smartphone or tablet. In the center of the device is a big Hush button which can be used to stop the alarm in cases of false detections, like burned toast. The Nest Protect connects with the Nest Thermostat and other Nest Protect devices through your home’s wireless network. It has a central ring that emits a green light as lights are switched off in the room, to indicate that all systems are running fine. When battery level is low, the light turns amber and the female voice provides a battery replacement reminder when someones walks past, instead of the incessant chirp that traditional smoke detectors emit. This low battery level reminder is also relayed to linked smartphones and tablets.

Interestingly, it also works with Dropcam Dropcam Pro WiFi Monitoring System Review and Giveaway Dropcam Pro WiFi Monitoring System Review and Giveaway The Dropcam Pro is a small, WiFi enabled, security camera for personal use. We bought this unit for our review. Read More to record and store video feeds should the alarm go off — an incredibly handy feature, especially in cases of fire.

Read our in-depth review of the Nest Protect Nest Protect Review and Giveaway Nest Protect Review and Giveaway Read More .

Currently available from Amazon for $99.

Birdi ($119)


The Birdi takes the Nest Protect concept, and improves on it. It comes with extra features like support for multiple languages, open data Air Pollution Index (API) readings, Birdi community alerts during emergencies, plus the ability to remotely reset the alarm via smartphone or tablet in cases of false alarms.

Along the IAQ monitoring path, Birdi tracks dust pollution, pollen, humidity, temperature and carbon dioxide levels. Compared to the Nest which just senses carbon monoxide levels, the Birdi flies way further.

Pre-orders available at $119 with expected delivery in October 2014

Netatmo Weather Station ($179)


This weather station comes as a pack of two units: indoor and outdoor. The shorter, outdoor station tracks relative humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure and outdoor air quality. All data, plus those from other outdoor stations are analysed with data from local and national agencies. A more accurate weather picture is made available via mobile apps, relevant to that particular location. This aims to help planning of outdoor activities, dressing properly for comfort and choice of the appropriate mode of transportation in real time.

The IAQ monitor is also the home base station. Taller than the outdoor station, it tracks indoor temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide levels to give an alternate indoor air quality picture. Netatmo Weather Station also tracks sound or noise levels indoors.

Available from Amazon for $179

CubeSensor ($299-599)


Winner of the TechCrunch Hardware battlefield at CES 2014. CubeSensors track almost everything at home that would affect health and efficiency. It monitors indoor temperature, barometric pressure, ambient light and sound levels, as well as indoor air quality and relative humidity.

Pick up a sensor and shake it. If the light changes color to red, find out what the alert is about and its recommended solution by accessing the mobile app from a linked smartphone.

Number of cubes required depends on the number of rooms or spaces at home. CubeSensors comes in packs of two, four or six; along with one base station to connect them.

Available now, ships within EU to USA and EU.

Alima ($215, €169)


Alima is a dedicated indoor air quality monitor. It touts total VOC sensing, detecting over thirty different types of VOCs. It can also monitor carbon monoxide and dioxide levels, humidity, airborne particles up to PM2.5, and of course, temperature.

One unit is supposedly sufficient for a home. It is to be placed on flat surfaces in the kitchen, dining and living area for optimal air quality monitoring. Tracking other spaces like bedrooms is done by flipping the Alima over and back to start a new tracking record at that particular room — yes, it includes an accelerometer.

Immediate visual cues to detections are indicated by color changes. Sensing results and recommendations are sent to the smartphone or tablet app.

Currently available for pre-order at $215 or €169, ships in October 2014.

Withings Home ($219.95)


This security-cum-healthy-living device was just announced early September 2014. It has a 135 degree angle HD video camera with “clear” night vision that will intelligently track movement and people. It also supports two-way high quality audio. The Withings Home doubles as a baby monitor that will even play lullabies, or be used as a security camera. The unit records video, which is maintained on the cloud server as a video diary. A magnetic base facilitates placement of the device on any surface.

As for healthy living, the Withings Home monitors humidity levels, temperature and VOCs. The device will light up red upon sensing conditions that are beyond normal healthy ranges. Alerts are sent to linked smartphones.

Announced, but not available yet.

Bonus entry: Foobot

Foobot is a smart air quality monitor which can be connected to any iOS or Android device to analyze your indoor air quality and help you track down any pollutants. It has sensors for particulate matter, gas pollutants, temperature, and humidity.

Read our full review of the Foobot Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor Review Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor Review Shipping for $199, the Foobot, a connected indoor air monitor could potentially change your quality of life. Read More .

So that’s just a few of the interesting smart indoor air quality monitors. Any of them should be a great addition to your home. Which direction do you think smart air quality monitoring devices should be heading? Why not a smartphone that incorporates IAQ sensors? What’s your opinion on this? Please let us know.

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  1. Chris Kristiansen
    July 29, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Not a single detector for radon gas? Radon is the most important component in indoor air quality. In fact, it kills 20,000 people a year in the US alone. That is more than drunk driving and home fires combined. It is far worse than any of the other things you could measure. You should have mentioned the Corentium Home for example.

  2. Alex
    July 4, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    You forgot Foobot, Await, and the Air Quality Sensor in the Canary, which is a home security system, like Withings Home

  3. Nathan
    April 1, 2016 at 6:53 am

    @Maybethisweight you are right, I am in Guangzhou myself and often I thought I'd be better off with air-filters and keeping windows shut at all times but after I bought one of those surprisingly it is not true... The paint used in my house gave TVOC of over 1 mg / m3!!! The international threshold is 0.08 mg / m3... So... I realised that opening the windows every day for a few hours while being away and then closing them when I got home and turning on air-filter was the best solution for my home. I also bought some money plants and several other plants and flowers and now I can achieve around 0 to 0.05 TVOC and around 20 AQI at all times... that is better air as in many other countries.

    • Vincent
      April 25, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      @Nathan?Guess we who are living in China all need something more advanced, like, a Mechanical Ventilation System with dust filter.

    • Alex
      July 4, 2016 at 11:04 pm


  4. Anonymous
    May 8, 2015 at 3:50 am

    Do not see the value

  5. amit
    December 29, 2014 at 1:38 am

    I wish the blogger can test the devices and relative accuracy of the devices else its just theory ,

    • Fred
      August 8, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Good ideia.

  6. Bill
    October 11, 2014 at 12:47 am

    ... Or you could just open your windows.

    • Ginger Ferrer
      April 9, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Not really. Air pollution comes from the outside of one's home, office or aparttment.

      • dt
        December 15, 2015 at 9:44 pm


        We spend about 90% of our time indoors. Building materials contain chemicals, VOCs, irritants, etc. that contribute to off-gassing and ultimately sick building syndrome. We can say definitively for most people the air we breathe in buildings is more polluted than the outside air.

        A building with 100% outside air would be a mechanical engineer's dream - but it's costly and impractical and not a sustainable design option.

        Therefore we bring in some fresh air and mix it with "recycled air". That mixture of air is then distributed/re-distributed through the building.

        If you were to buy any of these gadgets (which doesn't solve the problem, just communicates it) I would challenge you to see how the air quality changes after opening a few windows in your home.

    • Bill
      April 11, 2015 at 12:23 am

      @Ginger Ferrer
      Not true. "Studies of human exposure to air pollutants by the EPA indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times, and occasionally more than 100 times, higher than outdoor pollutant levels."

      • Alex
        July 4, 2016 at 11:06 pm

        I think you could and should just buy a Canary instead, it's of better value because it's also a security system that's the same price if most of these.

    • Bill
      April 11, 2015 at 12:26 am

      The best thing you can do is open your windows. This is better than buying yet another transient gadget to fill a need that has been created by marketers.

    • maybethisweight
      August 14, 2015 at 4:19 am

      I live in Dalian, China. Sometimes I can't even see the horizon sometimes. Simply opening the window is not an option. But I know what you mean, I used to live in Southern California where opening the window still equates to "fresh" air.

      I'm using online sources to check the air quality outside, have a sensor for inside, compare the two, then decide if I'm better of opening or closing the windows and using an air filter.