Running an air purifier can help ease your mind about dangerous gases and inhalable particles in your home. The tiny Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor ($69.99) doesn’t clean the air, but it measures particulate matter (PM 2.5), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), humidity, and temperature around the clock, helping you understand what’s in your indoor air and whether a purifier is necessary. It can send notifications to your phone, announce when it detects a high level of airborne pollutants via linked Echo devices, and offers comprehensive graphs of your indoor air quality over the last hour, day, and week. Ultimately, you’ll still need a purifier to remove harmful particles and other contaminants from the air so they don’t wind up in your lungs. But Amazon’s Smart Air Quality monitor can help bring you peace of mind in knowing when you’re breathing clean.
What Does the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Detect?
The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor measures 1.8 by 2.6 by 2.6 inches (HWD). It features an air intake vent on the front and a multicolor LED indicator that displays your current indoor air quality (IAQ) at a glance. It also integrates with the Amazon Alexa app (available for Android and iOS) and Echo devices to help you keep tabs on your indoor air quality from your phone and with your voice.
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(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
As air flows through the intake vent, the device measures the temperature, humidity, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in size (PM 2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compound (VOC) levels.
PM 2.5 particles are microscopic (30 times smaller than the average human hair) and easy to inhale. Anything that causes smoke—such as burning candles, cooking, a fireplace, incense, or industrial emissions—can lead to elevated PM2.5 concentrations. This particulate matter can irritate your airways and cause breathing problems; it’s particularly worrisome for those with heart and lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease.
Most smart air purifiers measure the concentration of both PM2.5 and PM10 matter (particulate matter up to 10 microns, including dust, mold, and pollen), but the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor only detects and reports on the former.
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
CO is an odorless and flammable gas that can be toxic at high concentrations. Fuel-burning appliances such as cars, clothes dryers, fireplaces, furnaces, generators, grills, ovens, power tools, stoves, and water heaters all produce this. While the Smart Air Quality Monitor is capable of monitoring CO levels, Amazon says it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for a CO alarm. The monitor doesn’t measure carbon dioxide (CO2) or radon either, two other potentially life-threatening invisible gases.
It does measure VOCs, which are potentially harmful gases from things like cleaning products and paint. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that “thousands” of products—including air fresheners, dry-cleaned clothing, and office equipment like copiers and printers—emit VOCs, which can lead to a long list of health effects ranging from headaches to cancer. VOC concentrations are typically much higher indoors than outdoors.
The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor takes all of these factors into account and calculates your IAQ (indoor air quality) score. It considers an IAQ score between 100 and 65 as “…….