Amazon $ 69.99 Smart Air Quality Monitor Is the company’s first entry into the increasingly popular indoor air quality monitor (IAQ) category. And, based on my experience with this product, it’s a trendy move. While smart monitors are relatively cheap and convenient thanks to voice control, they do not add anything particularly innovative or useful to the concept of consumer air quality monitors.
Indoor air quality monitors are intended to convey all the annoyances that you can’t see floating in your house ( The EPA states that indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air.).You may have heard Volatile organic compounds Other air pollutants common in modern homes. Many can exacerbate or cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma. General activities in our home, such as cleaning and cooking (Especially in the case of gas), Adds fine particles to the air that can cause harm and worsen existing health. And, of course, the outside air can get in. Living near crowded roads or in areas affected by wildfire smoke can be disastrous for your life.
A smart air quality monitor can raise your head when the air quality is low, so you can do something about it (open windows, turn on fans, start air purifiers) Not only do you have to do something about it, but thanks to its connected nature, you don’t have to interfere about it.
For example, when particulate matter rises, the connected air quality monitor will instruct the fan connected to the smart plug to turn on, or the smart thermostat will activate the HVAC system to move the air, or smart air. You can also trigger a purifier. Start purifying the air.
Here’s the problem with Amazon’s cute $ 70 smart air quality monitor. It can’t do that.
All you can do is send an alert to your phone, make an announcement with an echo speaker, and indicate with its LED light when the air quality inside you is poor. You can also turn on heating or AC based on temperature, which may help the movement of air.
There is no screen on the device to show exactly what is wrong (a feature of almost all competing products). Instead, you’ll need to have an Echo Show nearby to see your measurements (or see your app). The alerts sent only indicate poor air quality, no other information. Other monitors I have tested send specific alerts such as “high CO2 levels, time to air this location” or “slightly humid, consider running a dehumidifier”. Amazon devices give you an early warning, but that’s about it. But for those who don’t want to pay a small fortune to monitor their air, this is a decent option.
Price is the biggest selling point of Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor. This is a much cheaper way to monitor indoor air, with most competing products priced between $ 100 and $ 300.
$ 300 Awair Element When Airthings View Plus A leader here for those who want to take their air seriously.The cheaper side of things is $ 99.99 Eve roomThis is HomeKit only, Netatmo Smart Indoor Air Quality Monitor $ 119.99And $ 45 Aqara TVOC Air Quality Monitor (For this Hubs start at $ 30), Both of these work with Alexa and can connect to HomeKit.
Amazon smart AQ monitor measurement PM 2.5 (Particulate matter small enough to penetrate the lungs), VOC, Carbon monoxide, humidity, and temperature. There are no carbon dioxide monitors offered by some competitors. This helps identify poor airflow in the room and may warn of the risk of indoor COVID infection. (High levels of CO2 are a lot of room air Consists of the breath of others — And all the bacteria that breathing carries. However, the Smart Monitor offers more sensors than PM2.5 and similarly priced Aqara sensors that do not measure carbon monoxide.
Like most consumer IAQs, smart monitors provide an easy-to-read score for air quality. The on-board indicator light also changes green to good, yellow to medium, and red to bad. The score is displayed in the app on a scale of 100, 0 to 35 is bad, 65 to 100 is good.It’s probably based on Air quality indicators developed by the EPA to help the average user understand air quality (I contacted Amazon to confirm this). In my test, the score stayed around 89 unless I cooked on the gas stove when the gas stove plummeted around 23.
You can see your score on the Alexa app or on the dashboard of your Echo Show device. Here you will also get a breakdown of what contributes to it and, if any, what makes it worse. Each of the five sensors has its own line, highlighted in green, yellow, or red to indicate its status.
On the dashboard, you can see the sensor measurements in separate tabs. Here you can see past measurements for the last hour, day, or week. I was able to confirm the data for one month.
A smart monitor is a great looking device. Designed like a rectangular pack, with rounded corners, matt white plastic, and a small grill for air to pass through. It’s also significantly smaller than most competing products and won’t be mistaken in the living room or kitchen. Must be connected via a micro USB cable and a wall plug (included). There is no battery backup.
The monitor will take 7 minutes to calibrate before displaying the IAQ score. According to Amazon, it can take about two days to adapt to the air. Due to the calibration time, it has to be unplugged and the calibration is reset, so it is not very suitable for moving around the house. Interestingly, all competitors have the option of using only battery power. This helps with portability, but most of the time it takes time to adjust to read the air correctly.
I installed a test unit in the kitchen. While cooking on the gas stove, I was able to turn on the stove’s hood just by glancing at the red light. But if I have a connected range, it would be even better if the smart monitor could turn on the fan automatically.
The device performed as well as other smart IAQ monitors during testing, but with slight differences in readings. The main feature it provides is not voice alerts through compatible speakers. Even if it’s not turned on by default, you can still go to the smart monitor settings in the app and enable push notifications and echo announcements when the air quality deteriorates. These are limited, but only tell you when they are poor. I think the follow-up that tells me when everything is back to normal was good.
You can also ask Alexa for the latest air information by saying, “Alexa, what is the indoor air quality?” Answers include bad, normal, and good, in addition to air quality scores. (Note: “Alexa, what’s the quality of the air?” AirNow.gov of Outdoor No air quality index score or monitor is required in your area. You can ask for room temperature and humidity, but you cannot get CO, PM, or VOC measurements by voice.
Amazon says that adding a device to a group of apps can also request measurements for a particular room. This is useful if you have some of these in different rooms around the house. However, in my tests, I continued to receive the response “It is not yet supported”.
I’m not a proponent of multiple apps, but this device deserves a standalone app. Just tapping multiple menus four times requires a lot of scrolling to get to your monitor’s dashboard, but this is not a user-friendly experience.
As I mentioned earlier, my other complaint is the lack of home automation. This is a smart air quality monitor that is not very smart.It works with Alexa routine (An automatic shortcut that helps connected devices work together), but the only trigger it provides is temperature. There are five sensors here, but only one can tell other devices in the house to turn them on or off. (This also applies to all other air quality monitors that can connect to Alexa, which indicates that Amazon has platform work to do to enable it).
It’s much easier to recommend if smart monitors can also affect humidity, VOCs, COs, and particulate matter. Amazon says it is working on adding this feature, but until it arrives, the device is limited as a smart air quality monitor.
I have set up a routine to activate the fan of the HVAC system when the kitchen temperature exceeds 75 degrees between 5 pm and 8 pm during normal cooking. I waited 20 minutes for the routine and then set the fan back to automatic. This worked fine.
Another use case for temperature triggers is as a room sensor for smart thermostats running on Alexa. Amazon smart thermostat. But other room sensors for smart thermostats ( Ecobee When Nest), Functions are limited. You cannot set conditions outside of hours, such as running a routine only when room movement is detected or when the light is on. That is, it can heat or cool an empty room.
A smart monitor is basically an Alexa / Echo home companion device, not a stand-alone air quality monitor. Amazon designed this primarily for audio and visual indicators, not apps. This approach is fine if you have an Echo Show, but not very useful otherwise. (Amazon offers a value bundle that includes Smart Monitor and Echo Dot or Echo Show 5).
If you have an Echo Show, such as the Amazon Smart Thermostat, and are interested in the height of particulate matter, you may be able to take advantage of the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor. Otherwise, it’s not very effective, so there’s no compelling reason to pick it up — yet.
Photo of Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge