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What’s peace of mind worth to you? It’s a question I often ask myself whenever I check out smart home gadgets because these are devices that are intended to be used by many people within a household, not just myself.
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One area I’ve been particularly invested in since the start of the pandemic has been the air quality in my apartment. Sure, it’s not something I’m directly interacting with on a continuous basis like my smartphone, but you’ll appreciate the assurances you get from the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor. Read on to find out why.
Included in the Box
Setup and Installation
Considering that this is the first Alexa-enabled air quality monitor I’ve used, I didn’t know what to expect with the setup. Luckily, the process was straightforward enough that I’m confident that anyone with minimal tech expertise could get it up and running. Once I finished setting it up in the Alexa app, it required about an hour to properly calibrate itself.
Of course, the biggest thing to remember before setting it up is where you want to place it in your household. Since I live in an apartment, the living room seemed most logical, which is in between my bedroom and kitchen. This decision shouldn’t be overlooked because its placement is critical. For example, if your bedroom sits above the garage, I would recommend putting it in the bedroom because idling cars in the garage during wintertime can be a recipe for disaster.
Inconspicuous and discreet best describes the design of the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor. At first glance, it could easily be mistaken for a pint-sized smart speaker of some kind because of the grill cutout. In reality, though, its compact size allows it to easily blend with my decor — so it’s never too overwhelming.
However, the only minor complaint I have about the design was the decision to rely on a microUSB connection for its power input. It’s dated at this point and I honestly was hoping to find a USB-C port instead.
Unlike some of the other smart home devices you may already have littered throughout your home, the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor isn’t something you’ll interact with on a consistent basis. Instead, it’ll be working on its own in the background to monitor particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), humidity, and temperature. You might even not realize it’s there unless the air quality suddenly changes.
In order to see what it’s detecting, you’ll need to access the Alexa app on your smartphone. Alternatively, you can ask Alexa on a compatible smart display “what’s the air quality like?” From there, she’ll show you the results.
Luckily, the dashboard is simple enough to understand and navigate around. I personally like how the chart can be broken down by hour, day, or week, to get a better overview of the trends surrounding indoor air quality. The simplicity of its breakdown is appreciated.
During the first few weeks it started to monitor, it’s been pretty spot on with the alerts. For example, I know that the air quality in my apartment takes a hit whenever I cook dinner at night because of the fumes that are produced. And rightfully so, the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor registered the spike in VOCs during those instances.
While there’s an option in the Alexa app to make announcements on your Echo devices whenever the air quality changes, I wish that it had its own built-in speaker to announce them. Sure, there’s the LED light on the unit to indicate the air quality, but I would much more appreciate audible alerts directly from the device itself. I’m not saying it should be like a smart speaker, but at least emit a tone of some kind.
Oddly enough, Amazon states that it’s capable of registering carbon monoxide levels. However, it also claims that “it is not a substitute for a carbon monoxide alarm, and is not certified as a CO alarm or detector.” I reached out to Amazon to clarify this, but I presume it’s because it doesn’t have a built-in siren. Nevertheless, it’s been registering levels of 0 ppm (parts per million), but there have been a few occasions when it averaged 3 ppm in a day. Strange? Yes. Anything more than zero would naturally elicit an alarmed response from me, but it’s only a concern when it exceeds 15 ppm.
Knowing is better than not knowing. I also understand the importance of indoor air quality, which is why I see the value in the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor. Sure, it’s something I might forget that’s there, but it’s working tirelessly in the background to keep me informed. And yes, it’s actually one of the more budget-friendly options out there.
So Should You Buy it?
You bet. It pairs nicely with an Amazon Echo Show smart display to give you an additional screen at home to instantly see the indoor air quality.
How Long Will It Last?
The all-plastic construction is both durable and lightweight enough to endure some minor drops. I also suspect that it’ll hold up for a good while because it’s one of those gadgets that stays put where it is at all times. In the event of a defect, it comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
What Are Some of the Alternatives?
I would classify the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor as a generic option, but there are others that track more pollutants. Here are some of the best alternatives to look at.
Airthings Wave Plus
Monitoring nearly the same pollutants as Amazon’s offering (with the exception of carbon monoxide), the battery-powered Airthings Wave Plus can go anywhere to track the air quality. It’s especially great for basements because it can monitor radon levels.
Instead of having to use an app to see the air quality levels, the Eve Room has a built-in LCD screen that conveniently shows some of the results.
Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier
Taking it beyond just monitoring, the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier not only tracks indoor air quality in real-time but also acts as an air purifier that filters the air. It’s pricey, but it can quickly transform the air quality in no time at all.
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