AirThings Wave Plus Review
Due to the health risks of Radon, every house should test for it. AirThings is the only smart option on the market so regardless of the price, it is worth it. The inclusion of CO2, TVOCs, temperature, humidity and air pressure on this model make it more interesting to use than its cheaper brother, and I think that makes it worth the extra £80.
Overall - 87%
In recent years there has been a growing trend towards healthy lifestyles, many people are turning vegetarian or vegan,
This has led to a boom in health orientated gadgets, services and apps. I have reviewed things from DNA testing, blood tests, sleep trackers and many more. We all know of the dangers of CO2 in our home, but Radon and overall air quality are important factors that affect our well being.
Radon exposure has been linked to lung cancer in numerous case-control studies performed in the United States, Europe and China. There are approximately 21,000 deaths per year in the US due to radon-induced lung cancers. Radon has been considered the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Radon exposure in homes and offices may arise from certain subsurface rock formations, and also from certain building materials (e.g., some granites). The most significant risk of radon exposure arises in buildings that are airtight, insufficiently ventilated, and have foundation leaks that allow air from the soil into basements and dwelling rooms.
Many of the commercially available Radon devices collect radon that then requires you to send off to a laboratory for analysis. With the Airthings Wave Plus, you no longer need to do this, and it provides daily Radon measurements with no lab analysis required.
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The Wave Plus has more features than the standard Wave. This is not just a Radon detector, it monitors multiple air quality factors, including sensors for temperature, air pressure, humidity, TVOCs, and CO2.
The design of the unit is basic, not dissimilar to a smoke alarm. It uses AA batteries hidden being a magnet backplate which should last about 16 months before you need to replace them. The mounting plate has a hole in it so you can screw that the wall while still quickly being able to remove the monitor.
It is best not to mount it out of reach as there are LEDs built into it and a motion sensor. When you wave your hand in front of the unit, it will give you a colour notification about the current air quality.
Set up is easy, just download the app, create an account and follow the instructions. You will then need to leave it for 7 days to allow it to learn about your current air conditions. I had no radon issues, but I assume if there were an excessive amount of this it would warn you immediately.
Quite likely due to the aggressive battery management on my Huawei P30 Pro, whenever I loaded up the app, I had to do a manual sync. This doesn’t always work perfectly, I noticed if my Bluetooth was off, it didn’t warn me, it just tried to sync then not update. Similarly, with Bluetooth on, quite frequently it took two attempts for the data to refresh.
While this can be a little annoying it is not too much of an issue, the device itself will show you a coloured ring giving you an overview of the current air quality status, though you will need to go into the app to see a breakdown of each reading.
With this being able to test Radon without external analysis, you can use it to help whittle down the source of any Radon far faster than single-use devices.
With regular syncing you can see how the air levels differ throughout the day, you can view this data either via the app or via the web dashboard, which is a preferred medium to view data in my opinion.
In the web client, you can see the exact times of readings, which makes it a little easier to diagnose possible causes of low air quality. We get peaks in our TVOC and CO2 levels at times that are similar to when I cook lunch or dinner. We are getting a new kitchen soon, and ventilation is one of my priorities, so this should hopefully reduce.
Airthings is also compatible with IFTTT, which I think is fantastic as it allows improved warnings, and some automation to mitigate low air quality. If it detects high levels of radon, you can have it text your, or even flash your hue lights. Alternatively, you can have it switch on a smart plug so it can start a fan.
Pricing and Competition
This model is priced at around £280 while the standard Wave is around £195, which is a lot of money when you first look at it. However, from a little Googling, this appears to be the only smart radon detector on the market, which goes a long way to justify the cost.
Furthermore, the single-use passive detectors that need to be sent off for analysis cost £52 for two via the official UKradon website. These will only be useful for identifying if there is an existing problem and will be no use for determining where the source is or for continued monitoring after you address the issue. So if you do have a Radon problem, this monitor could work out considerably cheaper.
With Radon not being something that has an obvious source, and its potential health risks, being able to identify Radon exposure easily is something that should be important to everyone, not just health and fitness enthusiasts.
Assuming you don’t have a Radon issue, this is the sort of device that you will set up and forget about after a few weeks, which makes it a little unexciting. However, just like your smoke or CO2 alarm not going off this is a good thing. Admittedly with the extra sensors in this, I am more motivated to check up on my air quality than the basic model with just Radon.
This model is priced at £278.44, which is undeniably expensive, but as always you can’t put a price on your health. The standard model which only detects Radon is £194 on Amazon and has been as low as £150 recently. If this does detect high levels of Radon, regardless of price, it will be money spent, and if it does not, in my opinion, the piece of mind is worth it.