How to improve your home’s air with smart gadgets

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Indoor air quality is important, but until recently, it was difficult to know how many contaminants like dust and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), were in your home’s air — and there was no way to automate a response.

The smart home industry has eroded this problem. There are now several products that are capable of monitoring air quality and using If This, Then That (IFTTT) technology to send you alerts. They can even kick devices like air purifiers, ventilators and motorized windows into action.

Here is the GearBrain guide to monitoring air quality and setting up your smart home to improve the air that you breathe.

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Air quality monitors

If you want to set up a smart air quality system in your home, you’ll need an air monitor. Most of these devices cost anywhere from $100 to $250. Some have a limited feature set, while others are built into security cameras and baby monitors. Some can even tap into Alexa and IFTTT to become truly smart.

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Nokia Home, from $117

The Nokia Home combines an air quality monitor with a security camera. It’s an attractive gadget with a rotating design that lets you hide the camera when you don’t want it watching.

Data from the Home can feed into Nokia’s Health Mate app, along with information from any Nokia scales or fitness trackers that you may also own. These gadgets were all originally produced by French tech company Withings until Nokia acquired it in 2016. We think that the Nokia Home is best suited for a baby’s room, where it can be used to keep an eye on your little one, alert you when they wake up and keep tabs on their room’s air quality. You can even put on a light show for your baby, as the base can glow any color.

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Awair, $179

The Awair is a stylish air quality monitor that’s partially made with renewable materials. It can rate a room’s air quality on a scale of 1-100 (100 being the highest), and provides dust, VOC, carbon dioxide, humidity and temperature readouts.

The Awair’s companion app can provide tips on how to improve the air quality in different rooms of your house. Additionally, Amazon Alexa support means that you can verbally ask for your temperature score. The Awair’s IFTTT compatibility unlocks additional features, like the ability to automatically turn air purifiers on.

Read the GearBrain review here.

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Foobot, $200

The Foobot is functionally similar to the Awair but rates air quality on a blue-to-orange color scale (the bluer the better).

The Foobot app can alert you whenever your air quality becomes too low. Conveniently, all you need to do to receive an air quality report on your smartphone is tap the Foobot twice.

The Foobot comes with a 49-page ebook about improving indoor air quality. Like the Awair, the Foobot features Alexa and IFTTT support.

Read the GearBrain review here.

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Netatmo Weather Station, $140

We recently wrote about the Netatmo Weather Station while looking for the best smart devices for your garden. It can be used to keep an eye on rainfall and temperatures outside, but it’s actually a two-part system — one sensor is designed to stay indoors.

The Netatmo Weather Station can measure temperature, humidity, air quality, noise levels and barometric pressure. It sends alerts to your phone whenever the air quality falls, as well as advice on how to improve it. The Netatmo has Alexa and IFTTT support, too.

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Nest Protect, $160 (wired), $179 (battery powered)

Although it’s more of an emergency device than a monitor, the Nest Protect is an important addition to any smart home. Designed to be installed on the ceiling like a smoke alarm, the Protect can send you a smartphone alert when it detects smoke or too much CO2. The device can beep like a smoke alarm or verbally explain what’s wrong (which is far less annoying). You can also use the app to silence any false alarms.

IFTTT integration means that the Protect can be set to turn any compatible lights bright red when smoke is detected, or send an alert if it detects smoke when you aren’t home.

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GermGuardian smart air purifier, $150

Knowing the quality of your air is one thing. Acting on it is another. Smart air purifiers are an inexpensive way to autonomously improve air quality in your home. The $150 GermGuardian is designed to reduce odors, fight germs and provide allergy relief.

The GermGuardian’s smartphone app can display the quality of your air. You can also set the device to automatically activate when air quality falls below a certain level. You can also turn the device off with an Alexa skill.

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Wynd portable air purifier, $200

The Wynd is more portable than the GermGuardian and is designed to sit on a desk, improving air quality in your immediate surroundings. The device includes a detachable air quality tracker that can send reports to the accompanying smartphone app, which lets you check air quality from afar.

Wynd plans to add Alexa and Google Assistant integration in a future software update.

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IFTTT and smart plugs

While all of the products listed above are useful in their own right, tapping into IFTTT means that they can do so much more.

For example, you can connect your dehumidifier, air purifier or fan to a smart plug. That allows devices like the Awair and Foobot to turn that plug on under certain conditions,  such as when your VOC reading or humidity reach certain levels.

Here are some IFTTT applets that can link air quality monitors to smart plugs and lights:

Motorized window blinds from Lutron and Somfy can be programmed to open or close depending on the temperature. The Velux Active system, which will be available later this year, can work with Netatmo sensors and Apple HomeKit to automatically open and close your windows, too.

We understand that motorized blinds and windows may be pricey for some readers, but you can still improve your home air quality with nothing more than a smart plug that’s synced to an air purifier. You can use IFTTT to connect additional devices in every room of your home if needed.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker, to see other products that are compatible with Amazon Alexa.

This article originally appeared on GearBrain and was syndicated by

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