CO2 home monitors are more important than you think because carbon dioxide is already a common problem in our indoor environments.
A flurry of studies showed that high indoor CO2 levels are affecting our health -- and our cognitive ability in particular. Studies also show that indoor CO2 levels are much higher than is healthy. Good airflow can be hard to ensure in many houses, and even if you do focus on it, it's hard to know how much airing is enough. This is where CO2 monitors come in.
A CO2 home monitor is a device designed to measure the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air within your home or other indoor spaces. These monitors work by using sensors that detect the amount of CO2 present and display the levels on a digital screen, often in parts per million (ppm). They can raise alarms when the CO2 levels are getting dangerously high and keep you informed of how pollutant levels vary throughout the day.
Before we dive into more details about each individual indoor air quality monitor and what you should look for, here's a list of our favorite products.
- Air Quality Detector--With the combination of electrochemistry, semiconductor and temperature and humidity sensors, this multi-function air quality detector can not only accurately detect CO2, HCHO, TVOC in real time, but also comprehensively detect the temperature and humidity
- Real-Time Monitoring--The sensor incorporates NDIR (non-dispersive infrared) waveguide technology and has a built-in carbon dioxide (CO2) Automatic baseline calibration for long-term drift compensation. With a digital + analog bar color dual display, the measurement result is more intuitive and precise readings for CO2, HCHO, TVOC, temperature, and humidity
- Compact & Portable-- With its small size and battery-powered operation, this carbon dioxide monitor is easy to o move from room to room or even take with you when traveling
This is the second most affordable product on our list, and it honestly has a very good price-quality ratio.
I've found it to be quite reliable. The readings seem believable, especially when I noticed the CO2 levels rising as I breathed on it and going down when I opened the windows. I've also been impressed with its sensitivity. It picks up changes in air quality from various sources, such as cooking or the use of household chemicals. The display is well-designed and easy on the eyes, though I did find it a bit dim at certain angles. I wouldn't put it by a sunny window -- you shouldn't put the monitor by the window in the first place actually.
One of the standout features for me is its portability. Being battery-powered, I can easily move it around my home or even take it with me on travels. You can put it in your car, bring it to the office, whatever. You can also just plug it in instead of using batteries, which is definitely an advantage.
Setting it up was a breeze, and I didn't have to fiddle with any complicated apps or Wi-Fi connections. However, I must admit that the instructions provided could have been clearer. But once I got the hang of it, operating the device became intuitive.
The monitor doesn't only highlight CO2. It also monitors:
- Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) -- a grouping of a wide range of organic chemical compounds that can be detrimental to human health;
- Formaldehyde -- which can lead to irritation of the nose, mouth, and throat.
All in all, I'd say this is definitely a reliable starter product.
- KNOW YOUR AIR - Track temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2), chemicals (VOCs), and particulate matter (PM2. 5) in your space
- GAIN ACTIONABLE INSIGHT - Receive real-time insight into your indoor air quality and track changes over time in the Awair Home app
- TRANSFORM YOUR ENVIRONMENT - Browse in-app feedback and tips to improve the health of your space
- WI-FI CONNECTED DEVICE - Awair Element requires Bluetooth (for setup) and a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Connection.
- BECOME AWAIR - If you are curious about your indoor air quality (IAQ), we'll show you how easy and inexpensive it is to improve it.
The device is compact, aesthetically pleasing, and provides valuable feedback on indoor air quality. Personally, I wish the display would be a bit clearer, but to be honest, I mostly checked it on my phone, so it was all fine.
As with other devices, it's not just a home CO2 monitor -- it offers monitoring of other pollutants as well. For instance, you can try it after painting a room. You'd be surprised to hear that the level of pollutants can stay abnormally high in a room for days and even a few weeks after painting a room. If you've got a furnace, you absolutely need something like this.
The device seems accurate but I have seen reviews from people who bought two and received different values. I couldn't replicate this problem, but it's worth pointing out. Also, some people using Apple devices reported problems with the app. As I don't have Apple, I can't speak to that either.
All in all, I'd say this is a robust home air quality monitor from what I can tell. The only issue I had was that I was not sure why I needed to sign up with a username and password. It seemed a bit excessive. But in terms of CO2 monitoring, the Awair seems to do a good job.
- RELIABLE RADON RESULTS: As radon levels fluctuate daily, continuous long-term measuring is necessary. Airthings Wave Plus measures radon accurately and reliably
- CLEAN AIR SENSORS: Radon, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), VOCs (airborne such as kitchen gases, fumes and cleaning products), humidity, temperature and air pressure sensors allow you to gain full visibility into six key indoor air factors
- EASY AND CLEAR RESULTS: Wave in front of the device for a color-coded visual indication or connect via Bluetooth to the Airthings App for detailed insights into your air
- DESIGNED IN NORWAY, TRUSTED BY THE WORLD: 15 years of experience in indoor radon and air quality monitoring and original industry leaders in radon gas detectors.
- WHAT YOU GET: Airthings Wave Plus, 2 AA batteries, Quick Start Guide, Airthings Support and optional
Something about the Airthings device just says 'quality' more than others on this list. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but somehow, I found myself most drawn to this. Maybe it's the fact that I know they sponsor major chess tournaments, so I have a bias towards it, but somehow, something about this CO2 monitor just feels right.
The Airthings 2930 Wave Plus is a comprehensive air quality monitor that provides readings for radon, CO2, VOCs, humidity, temperature, and air pressure. It's designed for consumers and offers a user-friendly experience. Out of all the devices, this one seems to be the most sensitive about changes -- for instance, when you sweep or vacuum a room or open a window, this one seems to change its reading the most.
The device requires a calibration period of 7 days for accurate readings, especially for radon and CO2. After this period, it provides consistent measurements. There's also a History feature where it can store data, but you have to create a username.
All in all, this is probably the product I'd most recommend out of this list. If you only get one home CO2 monitor for indoor air quality, the Airthings is an excellent option and very reliable one.
- The perfect companion for indoor environments, allowing you to monitor CO2 levels, temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric pressure in real-time
- Easy for anyone to use – the color coding and the optional buzzer warns you when the CO2 concentration gets too high
- Power-efficient e-ink display ensures super long battery life for this wireless device (up to 5 years)
- Smartphone app for viewing and analyzing historical data up to 90 days history
- Uses nondispersive infrared sensor (NDIR) technology for most precise and reliable CO2 measurements
The SAF Aranet4 air quality monitor is yet another reliable choice. The real-time data it provides on pollutants, temperature, and humidity has been a game-changer for me. It was easy to set up, you can also use batteries, and the battery life is surprisingly long-lasting, which is a huge plus.
The E-ink display is clear and easy to read, though I do wish it had a backlight for nighttime viewing. As for the price, while it's on the higher side, I genuinely believe you get what you pay for. The comprehensive monitoring capabilities and user-friendly features make it worth every penny.
I also had zero issues setting it up, and connectivity seems to be very well. If you don't get the Airthings, this is a very comparable product.
- 🏕️ [High-precision CO2 Sensor]: The CO2 detection adopts the most advanced sensor of Swiss Sensirion's unique PASens technology, and adopts the photoacoustic detection principle to perform accurate and reliable measurements in a wide range of concentration areas and applications.
- 🔔 [Carbon Dioxide Concentration Alerts]: The CO2 concentration alert value can be customized to make our life, work or production environment safer.
- 💧 [Temperature and Humidity Monitor]: Temperature and humidity are closely related to human body, plants or storage environment. This air quality tester has the function of real-time monitoring of temperature and humidity.
- ⏰ [Clock Calendar and Alarm Clock]: This indoor air quality meters can also be used as a daily clock and alarm clock, with multiple functions to make life more convenient.
- ⛺ [Wide Range of Applications]: This CO2 sensor is widely used in agricultural planting, greenhouse vegetables, production warehouses, raw material processing, daily life, computer room, wine cellar, RVs, schools, cafes, etc.
The product is well-built with a clear and bright display. It's easy to read and visually appealing. It also has a calibration period, so don't get spooked if it shows some variation in the beginning.
But of course, the main draw of this product is the price tag. It's the cheapest on the list, and to an extent, you get what you pay for -- but don't let the cheap price fool you. This is still a reliable air monitor.
Overall, without having any standout features, the Newentor CO2 Monitor is a great budget option that provides all the general functionality required from a CO2 home monitor. If you're looking for an entry-level product, this is definitely a good one to go with.
- ✅ [PROTECTS EVERY BREATH] – When it comes to the health of your family, AirKnight knows that every breath counts. Our 9-in-1 air quality monitor is equipped with powerful sensors that detect the main 8 kinds of air pollution (CO2, VOCs, Formaldehyde, AQI, PM2.5 & PM10 Dust Particles, & more) in REAL-TIME, all displayed on one sleek, clear LCD screen.
- ✅ [SIMPLE, FAST SETUP] – No complicated app, badly written instructions or Wi-Fi required for one of the most premium indoor air quality meters. Our device was specially designed to be operated by anyone, anywhere, so you can keep your space safe without a tech-induced headache. An instructional video is included also, just in case.
- ✅ [PORTABLE FOR EVERYWHERE, ANYTIME USE] – Featuring a heavy-duty 3000 mAh rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, your AirKnight AK1000 portable air quality monitor is designed to travel with you, monitoring your air quality for hours at a time on a single charge. Never go unprotected again!
- ✅ [WILDFIRES & WOOD-BURNING APPLIANCES] – The Airknight AK1000 is perfect if you are near a wildfire – or if you depend on old or wood powered appliances in your home. The 9 in 1 AK1000 is also a carbon dioxide monitor and guards your air quality by letting you know when particulate matter and VOCs are unusually high.
- ✅ [2 YEAR WARRANTY AVAILABLE] – AirKnight is an American company that works tirelessly to ensure the overall quality of each indoor air quality monitor with rigorous testing. Simply put: if you are not happy, we will replace your AirKnight AK1000 or give you your money back – no questions asked!
I was pretty impressed by the AirKnight. It checks all the boxes and personally, I dig the multiple-section display. I dislike clicking through different readings so having them one in all go is easier for me.
However, I did notice that it doesn't use the standard Air Quality Index (AQI) that the US government uses, which took some time to get used to. I also had a minor issue with the battery not holding a charge, but the company's customer service was quick to respond and assist. Overall, I find it to be a valuable tool for ensuring the air quality in my home is safe and healthy.
I also like the fact that it has a rechargeable battery and a 2-year warranty. All that makes this a product that's well worth the cost in my view.
Those are just some of the best home CO2 monitors on the market. In recent years, people have started paying more attention to indoor air quality
What to look for in a CO2 monitor for your home
Monitoring carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels in homes and other indoor spaces is becoming increasingly important, especially with the emphasis on energy efficiency and tightly sealed buildings. When selecting a CO₂ home monitor, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you're getting accurate and useful data. Here's an in-depth look at what you should look for in a CO₂ home monitor:
- Accuracy and Precision:
- Accuracy refers to how close the monitor's readings are to the actual CO₂ concentration.
- Precision refers to how consistent the readings are when taken under the same conditions multiple times.
- Look for monitors that have a high degree of both accuracy and precision. This is often indicated by a percentage or parts per million (ppm) value. For instance, ±50ppm or ±3% of the reading.
- The range indicates the minimum and maximum CO₂ concentrations the monitor can detect. For home use, a range of 400ppm (typical outdoor concentration) to 5000ppm should be sufficient.
- Response Time:
- This is the time it takes for the monitor to detect a change in CO₂ levels and display it. A faster response time is generally better, especially if you're trying to assess how activities or changes in the environment affect CO₂ levels.
- Over time, sensors can drift from their original settings. Some monitors allow for manual calibration, while others might self-calibrate. Knowing how and when to calibrate your monitor is crucial for maintaining accuracy.
- A clear and easy-to-read display is essential. Some monitors offer digital displays with graphs, historical data, or even color-coded indicators to show if CO₂ levels are within a safe range.
- Additional Sensors:
- Some CO₂ monitors also measure other indoor air quality parameters like temperature, humidity, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter. If you're interested in a comprehensive view of your indoor air quality, consider a monitor with these additional features.
- Connectivity and Data Logging:
- Some modern monitors can connect to smartphones or computers, allowing you to track and analyze data over time. This can be useful if you want to study patterns or share data.
- Battery Life and Power Options:
- Depending on where you want to place the monitor, you might prefer a battery-operated unit or one that plugs into an outlet. Check the expected battery life if you're going for a wireless option.
- Size and Portability:
- If you plan to move the monitor between rooms or even different buildings, a compact and portable design might be beneficial.
- Price and Warranty: As with any product, you'll want to balance features with cost. Consider your specific needs and budget. Also, check if the product comes with a warranty or guarantee.
What symptoms can high CO2 levels trigger?
CO2 levels are important for several reasons: high concentrations can lead to poor air quality, which may cause headaches, drowsiness, and even cognitive impairment in extreme cases. Additionally, elevated CO2 levels can be an indicator of poor ventilation, which could also mean that other pollutants and pathogens are accumulating in the air. By keeping an eye on CO2 levels, you can take steps to improve ventilation and overall air quality, making your indoor environment healthier and more comfortable.
FAQ about CO2 monitors
A home CO2 monitor is a device that measures the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air within your home. These monitors are useful for ensuring that indoor air quality is safe and comfortable.
CO2 is a naturally occurring gas, but high levels of it can be harmful. Elevated CO2 levels can lead to headaches, drowsiness, and impaired cognitive function. Monitoring CO2 can also help you understand how well-ventilated your home is.
Most CO2 monitors use infrared sensors to measure the concentration of CO2 in the air. The sensor absorbs infrared light at a specific wavelength, and the amount of light absorbed is proportional to the concentration of CO2 in the air.
Place your CO2 monitor in a central location, away from windows, doors, and vents. This will give you the most accurate reading of the average CO2 level in the room.
It's a good idea to check the monitor at least once a day. Many modern monitors come with smartphone apps that allow you to monitor levels in real-time.
Outdoor levels of CO2 are usually around 400 parts per million (ppm). Indoors, levels should ideally be kept below 1,000 ppm. Levels between 1,000-2,500 ppm may cause discomfort, and levels above 5,000 ppm can pose health risks.
Improving ventilation is the most effective way to lower CO2 levels. This can be done by opening windows, using exhaust fans, or using an air exchange system. Plants can also absorb CO2, although you would need a large number of plants to make a significant difference.
The price of home CO2 monitors can vary widely, from around $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on the features and accuracy.
Yes, most home CO2 monitors are designed for easy installation. They can be wall-mounted or placed on a flat surface. Some models are even portable.
No, CO2 monitors measure carbon dioxide, while carbon monoxide monitors measure carbon monoxide, a deadly gas produced by burning fossil fuels. Some devices can measure both, but make sure to read the specifications carefully.
You can purchase a home CO2 monitor at electronics stores, home improvement stores, or online retailers. Make sure to read reviews and compare features to find the best model for your needs.
Some advanced CO2 monitors come with additional sensors that can detect other pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, and even humidity and temperature. However, basic models may only measure CO2 levels.
The CO2 levels are usually displayed in parts per million (ppm) on the monitor's digital screen. A level below 1,000 ppm is generally considered good, but levels between 1,000-2,500 ppm may cause discomfort and above 2,500 ppm can be a health concern.