Best PM2.5 Air Quality Monitors in 2021

PM2.5 air quality monitors can be a great tool to ensure the air you are breathing is safe. So what are the best PM2.5 air quality monitors in 2021? Which air quality monitors are the most accurate?

PM2.5 Air Quality Monitor Tests

The South Coast AQMD tested 55 PM2.5 air quality monitors for accuracy. All monitors were field tested inside a custom-made aluminum enclosure. As you can see from the rankings below, one thing is clear: price and accuracy are not correlated.

Note: R2 is used as the measure of accuracy of the monitors. R2 measures how much variance exists between the actual value of PM2.5 versus the calculated value by each monitor. An R2 of .7 is represented by an accuracy of 70% in this article.

Read More: Tests Show Cheap Air Quality Monitors More Accurate Than Expensive Competition

Rankings: Best PM2.5 Air Quality Monitors in 2021

The Best (>85% accuracy)

The PurpleAir PA-II was the most accurate air quality sensors tested, with a 95% accuracy. It also was the only monitor in the top 6 that is waterproof and can be used outdoors. The popular Elitech Temtop LKC-1000S+ and Atmotube Pro was not too far behind with a tested 91% and 88% accuracy. All three of the top performing air quality monitors were under $250, well under the average price of the monitors tested.

1. PurpleAir PA-II

Tested Accuracy: 95%

Estimated Price: $249

Weatherproof: Yes

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: PurpleAir PA-II

2. Elitech Temtop LKC-1000S+

Tested Accuracy: 91%

Estimated Price: $140

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Elitech Temtop LKC-1000S+

3. Atmotube Pro

Tested Accuracy: 88%

Estimated Price: $189

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Atmotube Pro

The Pretty Good (>70% accuracy)

Half of the air quality monitors tested had accuracy between 70 and 85%. This group included popular air quality sensors including Kaiterra Laser Egg, Temtop M2000, IQAir AirVisual Pro, and the Dylos DC1100 Pro.

4. Kaiterra Laser Egg 2+

Tested Accuracy: 83%

Estimated Price: $199

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Kaiterra Laser Egg 2+

5. Edimax Edigreen Home

Tested Accuracy: 82%

Estimated Price: $299

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Edimax Edigreen Home

6. Air Quality Egg (Version 2)

Tested Accuracy: 82%

Estimated Price: $240

Weatherproof: No

 

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Air Quality Egg (Version 2)

7. TSI AirAssure

Tested Accuracy: 82%

Estimated Price: $1500

Weatherproof: Yes

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: TSI AirAssure

8. Elitech Temtop M2000 (2nd Generation)

Tested Accuracy: 79%

Estimated Price: $100

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Elitech Temtop M2000 (2nd generation)

9. Dylos DC1100 Pro

Tested Accuracy: 75%

Estimated Price: $300

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Dylos DC1100 Pro

 10. IQAir AirVisual Pro

Tested Accuracy: 72%

Estimated Price: $270

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: IQAir AirVisual Pro

11. TSI BlueSky

Tested Accuracy: 70%

Estimated Price: $400

Weatherproof: Yes

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: TSI BlueSky

The Not so Good (<70% accuracy)

7 of the air quality monitors tested under 70% accuracy. Ironically, the most expensive monitor tested, Aeroqual Series 500 ($1,000+), was in this group of worst performers.

12. Hanvon N1

Tested Accuracy: 65%

Estimated Price: $200

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Hanvon N1

13. Elitech Temtop P20 

Tested Accuracy: 64%

Estimated Price: 70%

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Elitech Temtop P20

14. Dylos DC1700-PM

Tested Accuracy: 63%

Estimated Price: $475

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Dylos DC1700-PM

15. Aeroqual Series 500

Tested Accuracy: 56%

Estimated Price: $1490

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Aeroqual Series 500

16. Foobot

Tested Accuracy: 55%

Estimated Price: $200

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Foobot

17. Speck

Tested Accuracy: 32%

Estimated Price: $150

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Speck

18. Plume Labs (Flow 2) 

Tested Accuracy: 7%

Estimated Price: $199

Weatherproof: No

Air Quality Monitor Rankings: Plume Labs (Flow 2)

Analysis

The old phrase “you get what you pay for” does not apply to air quality monitors. The tests show air quality monitors have little correlation between price and accuracy. There can even be large variation between different models of one brand. The accuracy of each of the three Elitech Temtop monitors varied significantly. The Temtop LKC-1000S+ ranked as the most accurate monitor while the Temtop P20 was one of the worst.

MonitorPrice (USD)Accuracy
PurpleAir PA-I$25095%
Elitech Temtop LKC-1000S+$14091%
Atmotube Pro$18988%
Kaiterra Laser Egg 2+$19983%
Edimax Edigreen Home$29982%
Air Quality Egg (Version 2)$24082%
TSI AirAssure$150082%
Elitech Temtop M2000 (2nd Generation)$10079%
Dylos DC1100 Pro$30075%
IQAir AirVisual Pro$27072%
TSI BlueSky$40070%
Hanvon N1$20065%
Elitech Temtop P20 $7064%
Dylos DC1700-PM$47563%
Aeroqual Series 500$149056%
Foobot$20055%
Speck$15032%
Plume Labs (Flow 2) $1997%

Smart Air Recommended Top 3 PM2.5 Air Quality Monitors

Elitech Temtop LKC-1000S+: Sensor provides real-time measurements of PM2.5 and PM­10 mass concentrations, formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It also displays temperature, relative humidity and AQI. It features a histogram function to display PM2.5 concentration changes in the latest 12 hours. This device is not weatherproof.

PurpleAir PA-I: Sensor is an optical particle counter. Measurements down to PM.3. This device is weatherproof.

Atmotube Pro: Sensor provides real-time measurements of PM1.0, PM2.5 and  PM­10 mass concentrations and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It also measures temperature, relative humidity and pressure. This device is not weatherproof.

Open Data

The South Coast AQMD performed the air quality monitor tests. The complete test data are openly available on their website.

How I Protect Myself

Smart Air is a certified B Corp committed to combating the myths big companies use to inflate the price of clean air.

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Smart Air provides empirically backed, no-nonsense purifiers and masks, that remove the same particles as the big companies for a fraction of the cost. Only corporations benefit when clean air is a luxury.

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