With its Wave and Wave Plus air quality monitors, Airthings has clearly accomplished its mission to raise awareness of radon, the naturally occurring gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking. However, the latest product is designed to be discovered other types of indoor air pollutants.
With the Airthings Wave Mini, the company tries to increase the likelihood that you will monitor your air quality at all by offering a device that is slim in both complexity and price. It seems that the logic is that once you experience how easy it is to gain insight into common airborne irritants ̵
Updated September 8, 2020 to report that AirThings has added a mold-risk indicator feature to the AirThings Mini Air Quality Monitor. Users need to update the apps on their mobile devices to get the new feature. However, it is important to note that the sensor does not discover the presence of mold, it only monitors the conditions that are likely foster shape. You can learn more about AirThing’s mold-growth indicator on the company’s website.
As the name suggests, the Mini looks like a miniaturized version of the Wave Plus. It measures 4.1 x 4 x 1.8 inches and weighs less than 5 grams. Like its bigger brother, it has an LED in the middle that illuminates different colors to indicate air quality, and a pair of sensors are located near the bottom edge. The only difference is that the surface of the Mini is smooth instead of being decorated with small holes.
Airthings Wave Mini is powered by three pre-installed AA batteries. All you have to do is remove the battery tab to turn it on. When you download the Airthing’s companion app and register or log in to an existing account, the app will ask you for the pairing process. The Mini can be mounted on a wall, or you can attach the L-shaped stand and place it on a flat surface such as a desk or shelf. In either case, it is recommended that you place it at least three feet from windows or vents for accurate reading.
It takes about an hour after setup to start getting accurate air quality measurements. The heart of the Wave is still the simple operation – you just wave your hand in front of it to get an instant air quality status. If the LED is green, your air quality is “good”. Yellow means that the air quality is approaching the maximum recommended levels – time to open some windows and let in some fresh air. If the LED is red, high levels of some pollutant are detected and you need to check the app for more information.
The app provides the same color-coded statuses as the device, but contextualizes them with current measurements for TVOC, temperature and humidity. If you tap on any of these, you will get historical data for that reading, including 48-hour, weekly, monthly, and annual averages. You can also view this data by logging in to the Airthings website from a web browser. This allows you to browse through readings from multiple devices / rooms side by side and export the data as a CSV file. For additional context, you can add a tile that uses the device’s location to display outdoor air quality data. This can improve your understanding of your indoor readings.
I used the Wave Mini in my bedroom, where I also have an indoor thermometer / hygrometer. The mini-measurements were consistent within a degree / percentage point of the unit. My TVOC measurements fluctuated between good and not so good, according to the historical trend that was shown when I had previously used Wave Plus. When the air quality dipped, it was usually just an infusion of fresh air needed to get my readings from yellow to green.
Google Assistant and IFTTT
Like all Wave products, the Mini supports some smart home integration. By connecting it with Google Assistant, you can use voice commands to control the air quality level. There are also a handful of IFTTT applications that allow you to be notified of air quality changes via email, text or push notification or have them logged into a spreadsheet. There is less to offer here than for Wave and Wave Plus, as you can find applets to integrate these devices with other smart products, such as Philips Hue lights and WeMo-smart plugs, but it works in line with the Mini’s emphasis on simplicity.
Are you going to buy it?
Given that 96 percent of homes have at least one type of indoor air quality problem, I can highly recommend the Airthings Wave Mini to anyone. Given its affordable price, it is safe to say that Airthings hopes that you will distribute throughout your home, and that is not a bad idea, as air quality can vary greatly from room to room.
No matter how many you buy, you would strongly recommend that you add Airthings Wave Plus for complete ecosystem monitoring once you get it. It is one of the only air quality monitors that actually improves your safety and comfort, so it is well worth the greater investment.