Review: Awair and your iPhone help you understand what's in the air you breathe

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 5
The air quality within your home can affect many aspects of your health, which is why it is important to understand the quality of what you breathe. Awair aims to do just that while looking striking in the process.






The second-generation Awair is an air quality sensor that excels in two areas -- it looks better than most, and it works better than most. Even with lack of HomeKit, it easily earns a spot on our shelf.

Let's dig into why.

Lookin' fine

Awair Air Quality Sensor


Unlike most other smart home gear, Awair puts a priority on looks. It isn't meant to hide in the background, but instead stand out and be noticed. The exterior is a nice American walnut frame, which fits easily into most modern home decors. If you don't want to always view metrics on the screen, it can display a clock.

Awair Air Quality Sensor


A pair of buttons and the power port are on the back. An air intake hole and a series of perforations are are on the front.

Awair is powered through USB-C, which is something we were quite happy about. USB-C is the way the industry is heading, if perhaps a bit slower than Apple might like, so it is only appropriate that any new product opts for that over micro USB. Bonus points for this.

Awair Air Quality Sensor


Behind some of those perforations are LEDs, used to make this into a display. By default, a series of bars representing the various measurements are shown with the overall score in the top right-hand corner.

Tapping the top button on the back allows you to cycle through individual metrics or to display the time.

What it measures

There are five primary measurements that the Awair can sample: Fine dust, CO2, humidity, temperature, and volatile organic compounds (VOC). The Awair explains what each of these are, what they can cause, and how to fix them if they hit unhealthy levels.

Awair Air Quality Sensor


Awair's software is also proactive in giving you tips on these metrics, a difference that distinguishes it from other air sensors. If enabled, Awair will also send you alerts when your metrics are awry and when they get back into spec, whether at home or on the go.

Viewing measurements

To get these measurements, users can glance at the integrated display, view them in the Awair app. or query Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Nest.

Awair Air Quality Sensor


The in-app experience is nice, with a simple and straightforward design that looks great. Right when you launch it you are brought to the overall score. The Awair score is a summary of your air quality in one single value.

Below it is a bar graph of each of the five individual measurements you can easily view. Additional tabs have tips, trends, integrations, and notifications. In our time testing, it has been really helpful in understanding our air quality.

HomeKit?

For us, the biggest detractor was the lack of HomeKit support.

There is support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but Apple's Home app is still not supported here. This is something we'd like to see change in the future.

With HomeKit, we'd be able to enable an air purifier when the quality drops down and turn if off when it goes to normal. We'd be able to ramp up the dehumidifier when the humidity levels get too high. Unfortunately, we can't do that as it stands.

Other sensors like the Eve Room are capable of doing this at a lower price, but they don't look quite as nice and are limited in other regards.

Is it for you?

Air isn't something you can easily see, which makes it difficult to spend some substantial money for something that helps you "optimize" it.

Awair Air Quality Sensor


We've tested out a whole host of different air quality sensors, and they just didn't seem to work quite as well as Awair did, nor did they report quite as many metrics. Let alone let us know how to correct them.

This year, pollutants in the air have been high, with allergies really getting to people, and even their pets.

Awair let us know that VOC was too hight for comfort, and PM2.5 was elevated as well, that other sensors weren't warning us about. We made a few changes and after we did, we saw a noticeable difference in us, as well as our dogs' health.

Awair Air Quality Sensor


It's not lost on me that I could have just made those the changes because of the allergies, and not require the Awair to scream about it. What I like is that Awair does things proactively, alerting me to make corrections before they become an issue, and not after we get a biological effect from the pollen.

Awair is all around excellent, with the only mark against it being the lack of HomeKit support. Awair promises to help you understand what is in the air you breathe, and it does just that. Air quality has the potential to improve allergies, asthma, focus, sleep, skin health and your overall health.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy

To pick up the second-generation Awair air quality sensor, you can find it on Amazon for $198. It is a bit more than other air quality sensors, but it is made out of higher quality materials, provides better insights and actionable tips, and measures better, which we think makes it worth it.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 230member
    This could be an eye opener for many.  Once people see just how bad the air is inside their homes they’ll start opening their windows much more.  Air quality is much better outside than inside.
    Andrew_OSUjbdragonAwair
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Radon testing would be nice
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,601administrator
    cndgoose said:
    Radon testing would be nice
    It would, but that requires a radically different kind of sensor.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    crabbycrabby Posts: 35member
    is there any evidence that this info actually leads to improved health? I do not mean just "feeling better' but fewer days in the hospital. Tobacco smoke, Radon and some others have a proven record of evil- but does this monitor's info make any detectable difference?
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,601administrator
    crabby said:
    is there any evidence that this info actually leads to improved health? I do not mean just "feeling better' but fewer days in the hospital. Tobacco smoke, Radon and some others have a proven record of evil- but does this monitor's info make any detectable difference?
    I would think that what the user does about it would make the difference, not the info itself.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 188member, editor
    crabby said:
    is there any evidence that this info actually leads to improved health? I do not mean just "feeling better' but fewer days in the hospital. Tobacco smoke, Radon and some others have a proven record of evil- but does this monitor's info make any detectable difference?
    Like Mike says, this just provides the info about these different metrics. You can do your own research about each of their individual effects on your health, but yes, there is plenty out there to prove the validity of these effects. Here is one site on just the health effects of dust (PM2.5): http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/Health-effects-of-dust


  • Reply 7 of 20

    Is it for you?


    When they integrate with HomeKit, otherwise sadly not. Do they have a concrete plan to do so?
    edited August 5 jbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,449member
    Sounds like the perfect gadget for hypochondriacs.
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 9 of 20
    lkrupp said:
    Sounds like the perfect gadget for hypochondriacs.
    Or people who have legitimate air quality related allergies, i.e. dust mites (must maintain humidity below 50% to prevent them), dust, pollens. There's also many people who have immunodeficiencies who need to monitor the quality of their air so they can stay among the living. Quality of life can definitely be improved for those of us unfortunate enough to have to deal with things like that. There are many things that are funny in this life, but joking about other people's legitimate health concerns is really not among them.
    JWSC
  • Reply 10 of 20
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 265member
    Now I'm intrigued. It never occurred to me that there are devices to measure air quality and air purifiers for the home (except built in to the furnace -- that reminds me, I got to change the filters). True, I don't live in California or cities with smog. 

    But, I have to respectfully disagree with the author's taste. I think this device is uuuuggggly. 
  • Reply 11 of 20
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 188member, editor
    larryjw said:
    Now I'm intrigued. It never occurred to me that there are devices to measure air quality and air purifiers for the home (except built in to the furnace -- that reminds me, I got to change the filters). True, I don't live in California or cities with smog. 

    But, I have to respectfully disagree with the author's taste. I think this device is uuuuggggly. 
    At least you respectfully disagreed on the looks! :wink: 

    I dunno, I really like how this looks. We have a lot of walnut in our home so it happens to match our interior really well. Lots of white, lots of walnut.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    rcfarcfa Posts: 721member
    I don’t get why products like these don’t include CO and smoke detection while they are at it.

    One should not need multiple air sensors for each room...
  • Reply 13 of 20
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,749member
    rcfa said:
    I don’t get why products like these don’t include CO and smoke detection while they are at it.

    One should not need multiple air sensors for each room...
    The article stated that it does measure CO2. I would think smoke would be useless and an unnecessary expense to add. There's a reason why smoke detectors are always ceiling mounted.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,601administrator
    mike1 said:
    rcfa said:
    I don’t get why products like these don’t include CO and smoke detection while they are at it.

    One should not need multiple air sensors for each room...
    The article stated that it does measure CO2. I would think smoke would be useless and an unnecessary expense to add. There's a reason why smoke detectors are always ceiling mounted.
    A great deal of the reason why it doesn't, I alluded to in an earlier comment. Radon isn't detected, because it requires a different kind of sensor. A smoke detector has a decaying (very low power) radioactive source inside it -- which is why they have to be replaced every two years or so.

    More sensors get more expensive quickly.
    edited August 6 JWSC
  • Reply 15 of 20
    FolioFolio Posts: 393member
    JWSC said:
    This could be an eye opener for many.  Once people see just how bad the air is inside their homes they’ll start opening their windows much more.  Air quality is much better outside than inside.
    You must be lucky and not live in Beijing, LA, or NYC, etc. As someone who lives in Eastern US city and likes to exercise outside, in summers I frequently query Siri what's the "AQI" now, and she'll give me the present Air Quality Index reading from my geographic location. It varies throughout the day, which may be that weather forecasters don't cite it much unless it's really bad.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,891member
    Well I'll refuse to buy it because of lack of Homekit support. That's ignoring about half of the U.S. population for not supporting Homekit. There's really no excuse for that anymore. You no longer need Apple's hardware chip.

    If you're gong to support Google and Alexa and ignore Homekit, I'll ignore your product. It's that simple. Besides, I already have Temp and Humidity from my Ecobee 4 and it's remote sensors, which of course supports Homekit.
    edited August 6
  • Reply 17 of 20
    dkhaleydkhaley Posts: 24member
    JWSC said:
    Air quality is much better outside than inside.
    I'm not sure that is true here in Texas. At least indoors we can use purifiers.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,208member
    Between the Mendocino Fire Complex and the Ferguson Fire, here's what your air looks like in the U.S. today;

    https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires

    My berg on the Eastern Sierra has that wonderful smell of burning pine this morning. 
  • Reply 19 of 20
    ...it reminds me of the Tivoli table radio: www.tivoliaudio.com...
  • Reply 20 of 20
    cndgoose said:
    Radon testing would be nice
    Here you go: https://airthings.com/us/wave-plus/

    "Wave Plus The first battery-operated smart IAQ monitor with Radon detection, including sensors for temperature, air pressure, humidity, TVOCs and CO2."
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