Dylos DC1100

How accurate are common particle counters?

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Paddy graduated in aeronautical engineering from Bristol University, and now runs Smart Air’s operations from Beijing. He’s an advocate for open data, free information and transparent business.

21 thoughts on “How accurate are common particle counters?

    1. Good question! From our experience all devices do drift over time and need recalibrating. Even the Dylos. We regularly send our Dylos units back to the company in the US to get them recalibrated for $45 a time. As for the other units, they don’t seem to have an official recalibration service. I reached out to the guys at AirVisual and they said spraying compressed air to clean the sensor is one method to help improve accuracy. If high accuracy is a requirement for a customer then they can recalibrate in their factory.

  1. “Since then, the market has exploded with new particle counters as cheap as 99 RMB. But are they any good?”

    Although I came here to look up your results on the Node… I must admit this line got my attention, and I was a little disappointed to not hear anything about anything in *that* price range. I’m on a budget here in Beijing (which is why your product appealed to me in the first place) and I’m *really* eager to find out anything (even less comprehensive) that you could say about the reliability of the cheaper stuff!

    When will you write *that* review? 🙂

    1. Hey Edward, good question! We are as of right now working on a fundraiser campaign to raise some money to buy as many different particle counters as we can. Once we’ve done that we’ll test them all methodically and publish the results. We also definitely want to test the 99RMB ones! We have heard some reports that their accuracy is not great, and that’s also my guess, but we need to do the tests and see.

      Thanks for being patient

        1. Good point, whilst one would assume a cheaper particle counter won’t be as good as a more expensive one, it’s not always true (just like Smart Air’s purifiers!). The thing with particle counters is they are inherently more complicated than a purifier – they contain lasers which require calibration and testing. If the technology was identical then sure, they would work just as well as the expensive ones, and that’s exactly why we want to test these counters to verify this.

    1. Hey Dave! We’ve tested a few particle counters under $50 (310RMB) and from what we’ve seen none of them are extremely reliable at giving accurate results. If you just want a particle counter that gives you something in the ‘ballpark’, so you can have a rough idea of what your indoor air pollution is, then you can pick up any of the particles counters in the 100-200RMB range (check out Taobao). They can give you an indication, but not a very accurate one.

  2. Hi. I’m confused by the conversion formula you use for the Dylos. Are you using the actual particles per cubic foot (the displayed numbers multiplied by 100), or the displayed numbers themselves. I’m referring to a DC1100 PRO. If the left displayed number is, say, 150 and the right number is 20, what does that equate to in PM2.5 micrograms/cubic meter?

    I’m a novice is this field, and basically am trying to figure out what readings are “good” for a residence. Thank you.

  3. Hi everyone. My daughter and I were so happy to meet everyone when we picked up our DIY a couple months back and now we are also the proud owners of a canon as well.

    I was wondering if you plan to review the new Laser Egg 2 upgrade with the VOC sensor. I really want to grab a laser egg but if the upgrade works reasonably well, I’d prefer to have that one. Unfortunately, I can’t find anyone who has put it through its paces yet.

    1. Hi Toby, really glad the DIY and Cannon are serving you well! Regarding the Laser Egg 2 with VOC tester – we have tested it here at the Smart Air lab, but have not written up the report. Our findings were that the VOC sensor can be overly sensitive and may not be the best indicator for VOCs. VOC sensors are complicated and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ for VOC devices. Our advice in the meantime is that if you do buy a VOC detector, be sure to read up about the numbers and what they really mean!

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