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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Stuart Pritchard

Best air quality monitors for home to identify indoor pollutants

Pollution is a problem. There, I said it.

Indeed, you don’t have to be an avid activist follower of Al Gore or – for our younger audience – Greta Thunberg to know that the planet is in a bit of a mess, particularly the oceans. But another major concern for lung-users the world over is our air quality.

With industry, airplanes and other assorted vehicles, power plants and many other things besides pumping out pollutants, the quality of the air we breathe is constantly under question not just outside but also in our homes and offices.

So, you might develop a bit of a cough, what of it? Well, you might, but according to the doctors, you may also find yourself developing far worse respiratory conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease even and lung cancer if the air around you is particularly bad and you’re particularly unlucky. And, not that I wish to worry you any further but according to GOV.UK there is also “emerging evidence for associations with dementia, low birth weight and Type 2 diabetes”.

But, I suppose, the question is: what can you do about the air? Outside, nothing. But inside you can arm yourself with a smart air quality monitor to keep a constant eye on things like airborne chemicals, Radon (we’ll get back to that), temperature, mould growth and humidity in your home/office and, if necessary, use a purifier to clean the air to a far healthier, less potentially lethal level.

There are plenty of options on the market, some standalone monitors that link to an app, others being purifiers with built-in monitors that check and clean the air automatically for you. So, whether you’re a city dweller, a suburban/urban-ite or a countryside settler, there’s an option for all, each designed to help you – apologies in advance – breathe that little bit easier…

Shop the best below

AirThings View Plus

Best for: Keeping a constant eye on air quality

A slick little number with a neat minimalist design, the View Plus from AirThings can be wall-mounted or left freestanding and features a built-in USB-rechargeable battery for absolute freedom of placement.

Capable of reading the room for a variety of potential issues, including particle matter, CO2, humidity, the temperature, airborne chemicals, and air pressure which can affect Radon levels (Radon being a lung-cancer-causing gas), so the View Plus watches Radon levels too, making it the full monitoring package.

All information is available on the accompanying iOS or Android app and colour-coded notifications either bring peace of mind or warn you to flee your house immediately, depending.

Plus, you can also customise the device display to provide an instant-glance update on the two elements that matter most to you, allowing you to reach for your independent air purifier any time it is called for.

Small, compact and smart, the AirThings View Plus is ideal for inner city living where air quality can change dramatically with the will of the wind.

Buy now £237.00, Currys

Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor

Best for: Go-anywhere air checking

Air – unless you’ve accidentally ended up sucked into the vacuum of space – is everywhere… thankfully. However, the quality of said air can vary wildly depending on where you are, so if you’re (rightly) concerned with that quality, get your hands on this small and smart near-cube from Amazon.

Mains powered and measuring a mere 65 x 65 x 45mm (W x L x H), the Smart Air Quality Monitor is ideal for any room in the house or, indeed, for slipping into an overnight bag to keep track of particulate matter (allergens and irritants [PM 2.5]), Volatile Organic Compounds (chemicals), Carbon Monoxide, plus the humidity level and temperature in your hotel room.

Being an Amazon product, once paired up, all info is available via the Alexa app on your smartphone, or you can simply ask any Alexa device about the indoor air quality and have all the essential info relayed to you verbally or with all five elements displayed on-screen should you own an Amazon Echo Show display.

What’s more, should the Smart Air Monitor detect drops in air quality, you’ll receive automatic notifications so that you can casually power-up the purifier or flee the scene screaming*, depending on what the report says.

*Latter scenario largely unlikely.

Buy now £70.00, Amazon

Breville 360° Autosense Air Purifier

Best for: Air monitoring and purification in huge rooms

To paraphrase 80s’ bequiffed-singer-led pop-rock band The Smiths, some rooms are bigger than others, and those rooms require more monitoring and more oomph when it comes to purifying the air in it. Which is where the Breville 360° Autosense Air Purifier comes neatly in.

Standing a little over 60cm tall, the 360° is hardly imposing, yet it is capable of taking in air from – all in the name, folks – 360 degrees and making any required air changes up to five times per hour in rooms measuring up to a sizable 28m2.

How does it know when the air needs changing? Thanks to its Autosense system which continually checks, informs you of the situation via a touchscreen panel, then sets about the task of freshening up the room. This is done through a three-step system which systematically pre-filters by capturing larger particles like hair and pet dander, before step two factors in the True H13 HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) Filter, which works to capture up to 99.97 per cent of impurities, alongside allergens including dust, pollen and mould spores. Finally, step three brings in the Activated Carbon Filter to neutralise unwanted odours caused, all leaving your room’s air clean, clear of nasties and smelling as fresh as a mountain breeze.

Something of an essential for anyone with allergies, you’ll notice the difference from day one.

Buy now £199.00, Amazon

Breville 360° Light Protect

Best for: Breville benefits, lower price

Fancy the main benefits of the big Breville 360° Autosense, but in a smaller form factor and with the best part of 50 quid shaved off the asking price? You’re in luck, for this is the Autosense’s littler brother.

It still offers 360° air-intake, the same three-step approach to capturing larger particles, then tiny impurities and allergens with its True H13 HEPA Filter, and then the same neutralisation of unwanted odours, such as the smell of cooking, pets or smoke.

Also with this option, a UV light at the centre helps to reduce the reproduction of germs, viruses, bacteria, mould and fungi trapped in the filter, while Night mode turns off all display lights and runs at speed setting one to produce just 33dB of sound for a cleaner, more peaceful night’s sleep.

With a handy carrying handle to help you tote it from room to room, the Breville 360° Light Protect lets you enjoy the myriad health benefits of purified air in every room you inhabit.

Buy now £150.00, Amazon

Fellowes AeraMax DX5

Best for: Monitoring and purifying air in smaller rooms

Designed to evaluate and clear the air in rooms roughly around 8m2, the sleek-looking AeraMax DX5 has all the undeniable minimalist stylings of a Pixar-produced robot, with the equally appealing blue backlight of the front-facing display adding to that effect splendidly.

But this is no mere well-priced triumph of style over substance; far from it. In fact, just £120 bags you an air-monitoring and purifying powerhouse which uses Fellowes AeraSmart Sensor to read the room and a True HEPA Filter capable of capturing 99.97 per cent of pesky, allergy inflaming particles, some as small as a miniscule 0.3-microns (like smoke), filtering it all out and pumping clean air back out via the automatically speed-adjusted fan.

Those light indicators on the front panel keep you informed as to the current air quality, with the blue of the main light cycling to amber or red depending on the air condition. The additional Aera Plus Mode kicks in during peak allergen seasons to ramp up the clean airflow by around 35 per cent for 10-minutes to ensure hay fever sufferers and the like are kept mercifully free from itchy eyes, runny noses and all the other deeply unpleasant symptoms associated with the summer.

Okay, at 69.2cm tall, it is quite sizable, but the benefits far outweigh any perceived impracticalities when it comes to this air quality curing bit of kit.

Buy now £119.99, Ryman

Fellowes AeraMax DX55

Best for: Monitoring and purifying air in average-sized rooms

The step-up model from the DX5, if you’re dealing with a room with dimensions pushing 18m2, then the DX55 may well be the air-clearing answer for you.

Featuring the same AeraSmart sensor as its sibling, air quality is automatically monitored for pollen, dust mites, mould spores, dander, cigarette smoke, odours and all other associated allergens.

The four-step purification system then captures them securely inside its True HEPA and Carbon filters, prior to the DX55’s fan automatically adjusting its speed to pump out the purified gaseous good stuff.

Also imbued with Aera Plus Mode to handle peak allergy conditions, the DX55 ups the ante on the DX5, increasing air flow by around 50 per cent to eliminate allergens and keep you blissfully teary eyed and scratchy throat-free.

Buy now £169.99, Ryman

Netatmo Smart Indoor Air Quality Monitor

Best for: Bedroom air quality monitoring for Apple users

Taking things back to air quality monitoring basics now, although in a highly stylish and smart manner, the Netatmo Indoor Air Quality Monitor is a 45cm tall, battery powered monitor. It measures the air quality, humidity, temperature and even noise levels, sending alerts to your iPhone or iPad (HomeKit compatible) if there’s an issue. Then it suggests how to fix potential problems over the Healthy Home Coach app.

Obviously not a purifier in itself, the insights and advice offered, however, can help you control your indoor environment, keeping temperatures and the humidity level right (with the help of a separate humidifier/purifier, obviously) and monitoring noise to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Although designed for use in any room, the Netatmo lends itself nicely to the boudoir where the design and features will fit nicely.

Buy now £90.25, Amazon

Blueair DustMagnet 5440i

Best for: Ultimate air quality control

Brace now for a bigger price but also an equally bigger, badder air monitoring and cleaning proposition. This is the DustMagnet 5440i, a model launched by Sweden’s Blueair back in February 2022 and one which takes things to a whole new level.

Capable of completely filtering air in massive rooms of up to 33m² every 12.5-minutes or a 79m² room every 30-minutes, not only does this typically slick stick of Scandinavian design look superb, it also removes 99.97 per cent of allergens, pollen, mould, pet dander and microplastics as small as 0.1 microns from the air thanks to Blueair’s trademarked HEPASilent technology, all sensed and seen to automatically.

But not only that! No, as the name probably gave away, it can also attracts 99 per cent of airborne dust particles before they settle on floors and surfaces, thus saving you from a) allergies and reactions associated with dust and b) actually having to dust!

Thanks to the Blueair app, you can also check on your current air quality and control the DustMagnet from wherever you are, ensuring you always arrive home to perfect internal air conditions.

So, in a nutshell, Blueair DustMagnet 5440i: clever stuff and exceptionally clean air.

Buy now £330.00, Argos

uHoo Smart Air Monitor

Best for: Overall understanding of all air quality elements

Claiming to be the most ‘advanced indoor air quality monitor’ available, the uHoo (pronounced ‘you-hoo!’, one assumes) has a lot to live up to, so let’s get to it.

Small, shapely and coming complete with an app that’s both Android- and Apple- compatible, the uHoo monitors no fewer than nine separate air quality factors, covering: temperature, dust particles, airborne allergens, nitrogen dioxide levels, carbon monoxide levels, air pressure, relative humidity, carbon dioxide levels, VOCs, ozone, and virus index. All of which sounds pretty impressive, because it is – essentially the uHoo keeps its sharp electronic eye on everything in your air-space, displaying the info via the very detailed app and making suggestions as to how you can improve every area.

Act on those suggestions and not only will you breathe better, you’ll also sleep better, be more mentally focused and avoid the aches, pains and headaches that poor air quality can induce.

Capable of working in conjunction with a whole heap of smart home apps and the big voice assistants, the uHoo also integrates into any smart-pad set-up you may have running to run seamless and automatically.

Although the Basic App comes with all the data, alerts and tips you need to epically improve indoor air quality, an upgrade to uHoo Premium gives even more detailed information, tailored insights and richer features, so is well worth consideration.

Opening boast defended, the uHoo Smart Air Monitor is the most ‘advanced indoor air quality monitor’ available; and paired with a decent air purifier or two will could make a world of difference to your indoor air quality and, by extension, your quality of life at home in general.

Buy now £299.00, Amazon

Eve Room Indoor Air Quality Monitor

Best for: Air quality checking for Apple purists

An award-winning indoor air quality sensor that’s small enough at 54 x 54 x 15mm and neat enough to barely notice, except when necessary.

The Eve Room, firstly, has a stunning e-ink display that’s really easy on the eye and, secondly, measures VOCs, temperature and humidity levels in your home, letting you know when said levels drop and action is required.

Apple HomeKit-enabled for ease of use with all things iOS, once linked up to the app on your iPhone/Pad/Watch, the Eve Room is simple to control and thanks to a built-in USB-rechargeable battery you can place it wherever you like without having to seek out a plug socket.

If you like your Apple and you like your air as crisp and fresh as a Golden Delicious, then the Eve Room, at a tenner under £100, is an excellent option for you.

Buy now £89.95, Amazon

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