An air-pollution sensor that monitors radon gas

The Airthings Wave Plus assesses pollutants in your home and will notify you when air quality is poor

Airthings Wave Plus, £239
Airthings Wave Plus, £239 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

I am not sure how appropriate it is to describe an air-pollution monitor as “deluxe”, but this new one from the Norwegian brand Airthings is certainly a cut above in terms of sophistication. Along with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and excess CO2, it sniffs out radon gas, which is suspected by reputable sources such as Cancer Research UK of being responsible for the alarming increase in the number of lung cancer cases among non-smokers. 

Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas formed by the radioactive decay of the uranium that occurs naturally in all rocks and soils. Airthings Wave Plus works with your smartphone to detect indoor radon levels, which are said to be above the danger level in a small but significant proportion of homes, as well as offices and schools.

One thing the Wave Plus doesn’t look for is dust and particulates, which other devices I have reviewed here, like the Foobot and the Awair, rather major on. Airthings says it feels radon, VOCs and CO2 are more important indoor pollutants than particulates, which are more prevalent outside. 

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The ergonomics of the Wave Plus are clever; not only is there the usual app to check into and phone notifications on bad pollutant levels, but you can also just wave a hand by the device and it will light up green (or yellow or red) to show that the air quality is good (or not).

@thefuturecritic

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