Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide
Amazon’s foray into the smart home has long been limited to its Echo smart speakers and displays, electing to acquire rather than build when it came to other categories of smart-home devices. What makes the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor (and the company’s smart thermostat) so unique, therefore, is that it was developed entirely in-house.
Adding an air quality monitor to a smart home makes sense. Most air quality issues are easily fixed by increasing ventilation or running an air purifier. While most pollutants aren’t life-threatening, carbon monoxide is, and some never know they’re in danger as it is both an odorless and colorless gas.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best indoor air quality monitors, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
But high-quality sensors are expensive. Our current favorites, the Awair Element, Davis Instruments AirLink, and the AirThings Wave Plus, all retail for north of $180. If you don’t have a health condition that renders you sensitive to poor indoor air quality—asthma, allergies, COPD, or the like—you might be reluctant to spend that kind of money on a device that measures, but doesn’t do anything about airborne pollutants.
The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor’s most attractive feature, therefore, is its price tag: it costs just $70. The device measures ambient temperature, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), PM2.5 (particulate matter larger than 2.5 microns), andcarbon monoxide—a pollutant none of our top options don’t (although Amazon stresses that its air quality sensor it is not certified as such and is not a substitute for carbon monoxide alarm). Curiously, Amazon’s gadget does not monitor carbon dioxide levels. But for the price of our top choices, you could install several of Amazon’s monitors to stay informed of the air quality throughout your house.
Price and list of features, however, don’t necessarily add up to a great product. Despite the fact that Amazon first announced this product in November, 2021, the app experience and Alexa compatibility feel disappointingly unfinished.
Setting up the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor
The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor is relatively small, taking up about the same desk space as the current-generation Echo Dot. To get the best and most accurate readings, you’ll want to place the device in an area with a free flow of room-temperature air (i.e., with nothing blocking the front or rear of the device and keeping it away from heat sources).
When you plug the monitor into an AC outlet, it will power up, immediately look for a nearby Echo device, and automatically add itself to your Wi-Fi network. I spent more time waiting for it to calibrate and send data, about seven minutes, than setting it up. It was that easy.
Amazon says that the device may need up to 48 hours to calibrate for the best readings; however, the readings I got after the initial calibration seemed accurate enough to be useful.
All Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor data lives in the Alexa app
Amazon’s latest device feels like something that was rushed to market before it was finished. If you’ve purchased a shiny new Echo Show 15 with widgets, you won’t find any widget that will show your air quality readings on that large display. What’s even more odd is that you can’t ask Alexa about the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor’s specific readings—Alexa responded to my query with “that isn’t supported, yet.”
In all my time using new Amazon smart-home devices, I’ve never run into Alexa all but admitting something isn’t working as it should. You will find all the data, including historical information and other ways to trigger your Echo devices to notify you of poor air quality conditions, but you’ll have to dig for it. I eventually figured out how to add it the Alexa app’s front page, but it’s not a great experience. It’s unfortunate, because the device otherwise seems to be very accurate at detecting airborne pollutants. While I was doing some cleaning with household chemicals near the sensor in the living room, the monitor triggered a poor air-quality alert across all our Alexa devices.
If you can deal with Amazon’s less-than-user-friendly Alexa app, you can create Alexa routines that will have the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor trigger other compatible smart devices—such as an air purifier, a fan, or a humidifier or de-humidifier—to alleviate indoor air quality problems.
The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor is not ready for prime time
It’s hard to give a full-throated recommendation to the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor today; fortunately for Amazon, the shortcomings lie in software, and software can be updated. We’ll update this review if such an update changes our opinion of this product.