The air we breathe indoors daily is a critical part of our health and wellbeing, but even as important as it is, it often goes overlooked. In the western part of the world, air purifiers are not a household staple as of yet, and potentially harmful gases are not detected by conventional monitors installed in homes. While smart tech has definitely made keeping on top air quality easier, there is still a long way to go before it becomes commonplace.
This is especially true with Radon, with its deadly links to lung cancer with long term exposure, but for one reason or another, it is simply not on everyone's minds. Just like with other eye-openers like indoor VOCs and CO2, the smart home sector is trying to change this with products like the Airthings Wave Plus, which I have been testing in my home for the past month. This compact, yet capable sensor measures just about everything, including Radon, and does so with an easy setup process, and an understandable app, that makes it an excellent solution for smart safety in any home.
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Airthings Wave Plus
Bottom line: The Airthings Wave Plus has everything that you need to monitor and maintain a healthy environment inside of the home. With an easy setup process, user-friendly app, and six sensors, which include Radon, the Wave Plus is the ultimate home monitor.
- Easy set up
- Long battery life
- Fast, reliable connection
- Six built-in sensors
- Works with Alexa, Google, IFTTT
- Weeklong calibration
- Doesn't work with HomeKit
Sense all the things
Airthings Wave Plus: The features
The Airthings Wave Plus looks like a typical smoke detector, with a round, all-white design that can be mounted on walls or ceilings. The face of the device is littered with small air inlets, along with two recessed areas near the bottom used for motion detection and power status. Positioned in the center of the Wave Plus is a large light ring that provides a quick overview of the air in the home through a series of different colors, such as green for good.
Around the back of the sensor are two AA battery compartments that keep it running completely wirelessly for up to 16 months. The back of the sensor is magnetized, allowing it to attach to a removable mounting plate without having to position it in just the right spot. A single screw is included for mounting, which is inserted directly into the center of the plate, making installation fast, and it also works just fine being set on top of a surface like a table or counter if needed.
In addition to Radon, the Wave Plus includes sensors for five other metrics inside: temperature, humidity, VOCs, air pressure, and CO2. The Wave Plus, like most sensors, doesn't provide truly precise measurements, and in this case, Airthings' offering can achieve accuracy within 10% after the first seven days, and within 5% after two months.
Data collected by the Wave Plus is stored locally on device for up to 80 days, and syncs with the Airthings Wave app, available on iOS and Android, for historical tracking. The Wave Plus communicates to the app via Bluetooth, making the set up process faster without having to entering a Wi-Fi password. Airthings provides all of the recent measurements in numerical form, along with a status ring that mimics the one on the device, on a home screen that is shown upon launching the app. Tapping on a measurement will show additional data points and a line graph which can display readings from the previous 48 hours, week, month, or year. All of the sensor data is also available via a web portal, accessible from any desktop browser, which makes it easier to discern exactly when a problematic measurement occurred.
Accessing data and features via the Airthings Wave app or web portal app does not require a subscription, which is surprising (in a good way) considering the recent push for services for just about everything. The Wave Plus works with Amazon's Alexa, the Google Assistant, and IFTTT, for convenient status checks via voice. Once connected to a smart assistant, a general overview can be summoned on demand, as well as room- or metric-specific data through commands like "Check the radon". Sadly, the sensor does not support Apple's HomeKit or Siri Shortcuts.
Informative and understandable
Airthings Wave Plus: What I like
As previously mentioned, the Airthings Wave Plus connects directly to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, which makes the initial set up process a breeze. After unboxing, you simply download the Airthings app, create an account, and follow a few prompts to get up and running, it is really that simple. For the initial set up, I chose to lay the Wave Plus on a table, and then once it was connected, I mounted it to a wall with the included hardware, which was equally as easy. This is in large part due to the thoughtful mount design, which uses one screw to hold a magnetic plate to the wall, which in turns allows the Wave Plus to attach to it just by lining the back of it up. Since the sensor is powered by batteries, this awesome design will make the replacement process quick, and not something that I am dreading.
Sticking with the design of the Wave Plus, I love how compact, and unassuming the sensor is. There are no annoyingly bright, always-on indicator lights, or ridiculous, look at me style of branding to be found here, which allows it to blend right in with smoke detectors already in the home. This, of course, extends to the large LED light ring, which only illuminates when walking by or waving your hand in front of it, which is quite a nice touch. I love being able to get a quick status check on demand, and even better, I absolutely love that you can silence any critical alarms with a wave.
Moving over to performance, even with it using Bluetooth for connectivity, which is notorious for being slower, and having a shorter range than Wi-Fi, I haven't run into any issues as of yet. The Wave Plus has been rock solid for the few weeks that I have been testing it, syncing over data each and every time that I have opened up the Airthings app. Yes, it does take a few seconds to get the latest data, but we are talking five to ten seconds tops, nothing insanely long or frustrating here.
With six total sensors, the Wave Plus is the ultimate home monitor, ditching the need to have dedicated sensors for temperature, or CO2
Of course, the real star of the show here is the crazy amount of sensors that are included inside. With six total sensors, the Wave Plus is the ultimate home monitor, ditching the need to have dedicated sensors for temperature, or CO2. The inclusion of Radon monitoring is also huge for the smart home world and for safety in general, as it seems to be one of those metrics that is often overlooked, despite its importance. I will admit, before testing the Wave Plus, I had no clue what the Radon levels in my home were or what acceptable measurements are, but it was always something that I was interested in learning about.
With that being said, I was quite happy to find out that my home's levels were in the safe range after calibration, especially with children in the home. Along with the LED indicator light for status and app measurements, I was impressed how Airthings provides a detailed, yet easy to understand break down of all of its measurement capabilities, complete with explanations of the actual dangers per tolerance levels. These explanations include steps that you can take to bring things into acceptable ranges, such as "experiment with ventilation" for slightly elevated Radon levels, or "contact a professional Radon mitigator" if things are getting out of control. For other metrics, like CO2, which my home struggles with, the app even includes some of the symptoms that one could experience depending on the amount in the home, which may be eye opening to some.
Waiting is the hardest part
Airthings Wave Plus: What I don't like
While setting up the Airthings Wave Plus was extremely quick and easy, the sensor itself requires some time to calibrate before providing an accurate picture of your indoor air. In this case, the sensor requires an entire week to establish a confident measurement for some metrics, and at least an hour for others. Now, the Airthings app will indeed give you data during the calibration process, it will just include a message stating that it is still in process. The process isn't the biggest of issues, and I certainly understand and appreciate Airthings wanting to ensure that the data it provides is valid, but like with all things shiny and new, it was just a tiny bit disappointing that it wasn't 100% ready to go after set up.
Speaking of disappointing, despite having integration capabilities with Alexa, IFTTT, and the Google Assistant, the Airthings Wave Plus does not support my smart home platform of choice: Apple's HomeKit. The Wave Plus seems like a natural fit for HomeKit as it provides a lot of capabilities that are baked into Apple's platform, and it connects via Bluetooth, another common HomeKit connectivity method. Because I am enjoying the sensor so much, I will be looking for ways to conjure up the data via Siri through IFTTT and Shortcuts, which is feasible, but I would rather not have to go that route.
Finally, I find the price tag for the Wave Plus to be a little on the high side. When compared to other smart monitors for the home with similar capabilities (aside from Radon), the Wave Plus is easily two to three times more expensive. I assume that the higher price point is indeed due to Radon monitoring, but I would certainly like to see it drop down to more accessible levels as indoor air quality is such a vital part of maintaining a healthy home environment.
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Airthings Wave Plus: The Bottom Line
As you can probably already tell, I am quite fond of the Airthings Wave Plus, and I have absolutely no reservations recommending it if you are in the market for a home monitor. The easy set up process, reliable connectivity, smart hardware design, user-friendly app, and the inclusion of Radon detection make it the ultimate home monitor.
Sure, it has its flaws, such as not being compatible with Apple's HomeKit, and having a high cost of admission, but there is just so much to love about the Wave Plus that makes it worth the slight inconvenience and price. If you ever wanted to learn more about the air in your home, or want that extra little peace of mind that Radon detection provides, then go out and grab the Wave Plus, its a fantastic addition to any smart home.
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