Did you know that the air quality in your home can be worse than the air in any one of the worst polluted cities? Several air pollutants could be harming you and your loved ones, and you may not even know it. There is a variety of test kits and monitors to help you determine what pollutant is prominent in your home so you can take steps to reduce it. Our reviews and guide below will help you choose the best home air quality test kit or monitor to ensure you and your family’s health.
Do You Need a Home Air Quality Test Kit?
Various pollutants in your home can have multiple different symptoms on people. Although it is recommended to do an air test if you suffer from a sign connected to air quality, we also recommend you consider indoor air quality testing for the following reasons.
Moving Your Home
If you are moving into a new apartment or house. Whether you are renting or have just purchased new real estate, we highly recommend you either do an air test before buying or at least before moving in. With real estate, not all is always disclosed, and knowing what you are moving into may help avoid health problems in the future and time wasted on pinpointing them.
If you have recently done renovations in your home. Repairs involve a lot of chemicals, dust, and grime. Once the remodeling is complete, and everything is in place, do a quick air test to make sure your family is safe to move back in. You may also want to do one before renovations, and one following renovations to see if there is a difference in air quality.
If there was a fire recently in the area you live in. Forest fires cause a lot of havoc not only on the environment, and through the destruction of whole communities and nature, they also have a horrible effect on our lungs. Particles from fires hang around, affecting your lungs and health. By doing a test following a nearby forest fire, you can make sure the air you breathe is clean.
Pets, Smoking, and Crafts
If you have pets, a smoker in the home, do crafts that require glues or have other concerns regarding air quality. Regardless if you have symptoms or not, it is good to regularly check your air quality from time to time to make sure that the air you breathe is safe. After checking your air quality, you may become interested in a top-rated air purifier for pets or an efficient air purifier for smoke.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, consider an air quality test to make sure they aren’t caused by pollutants in your home:
- Sinus congestion
- Dryness or irritation of the eyes, skin, throat, or nose
- Shortness of breath
- Sneezing or coughing
- Hypersensitivity and allergies
If you have allergies and know the symptoms you experience when they are triggered, and you notice them increasing at home, it’s time to do a test of the air quality in your home. Unfortunately, most of the symptoms from bad air quality are similar to a common cold or flu, and many people brush them off. However, if they continue and no medication is working to reduce the symptoms, they are most likely caused by polluted air.
Who Will Benefit from a Home Air Quality Test Kit?
Anyone interested in the quality of the air in their home can benefit from a kit. The more you know about the air in your home, the more you can take action to prevent polluted air contaminating you and your family.
Still, consider a home air quality test kit or monitor if you:
- Have children in the home.
- Have pets
- There are elderly living in your home
- You or someone in the home has respiratory issues
- You or someone in the home has allergies
- Live in a fire-prone area
- There is construction going on near your home
If you live in a dry, hot area, consider investing in an evaporative cooler to combine cooling and filtration of the air. Many of these coolers have filters that capture airborne particles and offer a combination of filtering, cooling, and humidifying the air. We’ve collected the needed information and put together extensive reviews on top-rated evaporative coolers to help you choose the best one for you and your family.
Why You Need a Home Air Quality Test Kit
As with all other types of products, there are always benefits and drawbacks. Understanding both will help you avoid being disappointed as well as know what to expect from a quality product
Benefits of Home Air Quality Test Kits
The benefits are pretty clear. If you want to enjoy the benefits of using a home air quality test kit, make sure you have pinpointed the potential culprit and know where to test. This will save you money, give you more accurate readings, and allow you to use more specific tests.
- They are inexpensive in comparison to hiring a professional to do similar tests in your home.
- The results you get are relatively fast. Although you have to ship most samples, it usually doesn’t take more than a week to get results. If you purchase a monitor you can get real-time results, but only most air pollutants except for mold.
- They help protect your family from potential air pollutants and allow you to take the necessary steps to clean the air in your home.
- They allow you to pinpoint what is causing many health issues and symptoms.
Drawbacks of Home Air Quality Test Kits
As with everything else, there are drawbacks. Some more prominent than others.
- Some of these tests aren’t 100% accurate. Usually, this happens when the user does not collect samples properly or follow instructions carefully.
- It can be challenging to pinpoint the exact air quality problem to test for, thus resulting in many users purchasing broader tests that don’t offer the same level of accuracy as more specific tests.
- Some test manufacturers and labs cannot be trusted 100%. You must do proper research before choosing a home air quality test kit.
To avoid getting scammed when choosing a kit, make sure you select a reputable company. Always do in-depth research on the company that you pick to buy from and review the customer feedback. They must disclose full contact information, and if possible, contact them to ask a few questions before ordering to make sure the information is up to date.
Your research will also provide you with essential information about whether the kit includes everything necessary to do the testing. You will also find out if it doesn’t have additional fees such as shipping and lab testing, and to make sure whether it is a surface or air sample that needs to be collected. One of the most significant issues we’ve found people have is that they did not read the information carefully and were disappointed with surface sample kits.
Best Home Air Quality Test Kits Comparison Chart
Mold Inspection Network DIY Mold Test Kit
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IGERESS Air Quality Monitor
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uHoo Indoor Air Quality Sensor
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Air Ae Steward Air Formaldehyde DIY Test Kit
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EG Air Quality Pollution Monitor
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First Alert MT1 Mold Detector Kit
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7 Best Home Air Quality Test Kits – Top Picks
Below, in no set order, we will share the leading home air quality test kits.
1. Mold Inspection Network DIY Mold Test Kit
Before we continue with this review, we want to make sure you are aware that this kit is to test surface mold when you have pinpointed where it is. There are different types of mold, and usually, the best way to attack it is knowing exactly what kind of mold you are up against. This is where this kit comes in handy.
This is a straightforward, fast, and safe kit that comes with a quick start guide and booklet. With it, you will collect samples to find out what mold or mycotoxins there are. Although the kit price includes all lab fees, it does not include shipping or preprinted envelope.
Once you’ve collected the samples using the tape lifts, you put the samples in an envelope and send them to the lab. You will get fast results via an illustrated data report that you will receive via email. If you have questions an expert consultant is standing by to explain the findings from the data.
The kit includes 3 surface tests and everything needed to collect the samples. Keep in mind that due to local laws, Texas residents must pay $24 extra for lab fees. Although the lab has more than 50,000 processed tests, it is not certified.
- The price of the kit includes lab fees and 3 surface tests.
- Expert consultation to explain the results from the samples collected.
- Easy to use, fast results, and proper instructions.
- This test is only for visible surface mold that you have identified. Not for mold spores in the air.
- The lab is unaccredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association but has had over 50,000 successfully processed tests.
- Shipping envelope and fees not included in the price.
2. IGERESS Air Quality Monitor
The IGERESS air quality monitor for home offers a 7 in 1 monitoring of potential air pollutants. It will allow for 24-hour air quality testing and provide you with real-time results. The monitor features smart calibration and scientific calculation of air pollutants. e
The 7 in 1 monitor offers testing for HCHO (formaldehyde), TVOC (volatile organic compounds, PM2.5, PM1.0, PM10, humidity, and temperature, and an alarm will sound if the air isn’t healthy. The monitor is straightforward to read and understand, as all results are displayed on a large color LCD screen.
The unit is very portable, as it is rechargeable using a USB cable. It features only 10 keys and comes with a manual. Unfortunately, we had a difficult time understanding the manual. This could be a serious problem as you cannot get accurate results unless you use the monitor correctly.
- 2 years warranty and 6 months return from the manufacturer.
- Inexpensive product, but you get what you pay for.
- The unit features a large LCD and is portable and rechargeable.
- The unit has the ability of long term values.
- The manual isn’t well written and is very difficult to understand.
- Not suitable for areas with high humidity and temperature.
- Temperatures are shown only in Fahrenheit.
3. uHoo Indoor Air Quality Sensor
This may be the most expensive product on our list, but it seems to be the ultimate winner in quality as well. This is a very advanced technology sensor that offers a comprehensive analysis of the air quality in your home. It monitors humidity, temperature, nitrogen dioxide, toxins, carbon dioxide, ozone, PM2.5, PM.25, and air pressure levels.
What sets this product apart from the rest is that it is very functional, connecting to a mobile app that you download, streaming data to you at all times. It offers not only immediate air quality results but tips on improving the air and much more. The system of the uHoo syncs with any IFTTT compatible device such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Roomba, smart air purifiers, and more for scheduling.
Although they claim it is easy to use and connect, this was actually one of the most significant problems we faced when using this product. However, if you follow instructions carefully, this is a lovely and useful device.
- This unit monitors more air quality factors than most others on the market.
- It can be connected to any iOs9 or Android 4.3 or newer device through a downloadable app.
- The elegant design makes it an attractive addition anywhere in your home.
- You don’t have to calibrate the device as it calibrates itself.
- The unit is somewhat tricky to set up and connect, resulting in errors and frequent disconnection from Wi-Fi.
- The downloadable app isn’t straightforward to work with and requires more attention from developers to fix.
- It is costly for an air quality monitor for home.
4. Air Ae Steward Air Formaldehyde DIY Test Kit
This is very easy to use and a fast way to test for formaldehyde without spending a fortune on professional testing. The test kit can cover any living area up to 270 square feet. Make sure you use one package per room. If you want better results, close up space for as long as possible and then collect a sample. This will give more accurate readings.
The indoor air quality testing procedures don’t take up more than 50 minutes to complete. Throughout the testing period, try to avoid fluctuations in the humidity or temperature in the area for better results.
You don’t have to send the kit for testing, you get fast results right on the spot. The reading you get is only visual, which may be challenging to read at times. The package includes an absorption box, absorbent, color developer, colorimetric card, and user manual. When storing make sure you do so in a dark and dry place.
- Fast results that don’t require lab testing.
- Tests up to 270 square foot area.
- It comes with all indoor air quality testing equipment.
- The packaging is terrible, usually resulting in chemicals either leaking or drying out.
- The chart and results are complicated to match and read.
- There are too many steps, and the testing is time consuming even without lab testing.
- There’s no way to determine if it is accurate.
5. EG Air Quality Pollution Monitor
This monitor is a fantastic choice that offers many functions at a more affordable price. It monitors and provides information on the temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit, humidity level, concentrations of formaldehyde, natural and synthetic volatile organic compounds, TVOCs, and delicate particle dust matter at PM2.5, PM1.0, and PM10.
You can either spot check the quality of the air in any location or use it for continuous monitoring on its built-in stand. It features a lithium battery that can be charged by a micro USB. The LCD 320 x 240 color LCD display gives easy-to-read results and readings.
The unit also features a built-in fan that allows it to draw in the air faster to provide real-time readings and laser sensors for dust level measurements. It also has a second semiconductor sensor for testing formaldehyde levels and synthetic and natural organic compounds. For the unit to calibrate, it must be taken out in fresh air.
With the unit you receive a 20 page eBook, Gas, and Air Quality Hazards, to guide you to better air quality in your home.
- You can set alarms for different levels of HCHO, but not for TVOC levels.
- The built-in fan draws in air for faster readings.
- It comes with 20 page eBook about air quality.
- The instructions for use are miswritten, making it difficult to use the unit.
- It cannot record levels, which would have been useful for monitoring air while sleeping.
6. First Alert MT1 Mold Detector Kit
Don’t be fooled by the low price of this kit. Although it comes well-recommended by some of our user panel and reviews research, it doesn’t include shipping and lab fees in the price. It tests for and identifies several types of mold colonization through surface testing.
Note that if you want to use this kit, you must already know where the mold is. The purpose of this kit is to determine the type of mold you are dealing with to better attack it. The kit comes with enough test strips for testing in 9 different locations.
Once you’ve collected the samples, they are sent to NIOSH, a certified lab. Each sample is lab tested at $15 per sample, which gives you results as to the specific type of mold growth. You will receive results in five to seven days, and the kit comes with a 5-year warranty.
You will receive the full mold test kit with everything needed for testing, manual, and a preprinted return envelope. Note that the envelope does not include shipping fees.
- The testing of samples is done in a certified lab.
- The kit has a 5-year limited warranty.
- The kit comes with a preprinted return envelope.
- Lab and return shipping fees not included in the price.
- The adhesive of the tape for picking up samples isn’t strong.
- This kit isn’t for collecting air samples to test for mold spores, but of visible surface mold you want to know more about.
7. Air Ae Steward Indoor Air Quality Monitor
This rechargeable air quality monitor can last 8 hours on its lithium battery. It offers accurate and trustworthy measurements through its ISO, calibration, factory testing, and gas flow conductivity detection technology. With the unit, you can easily measure HCHO, TVOC, PM2.5, PM10 in real-time, as well as temperature and humidity.
The unit features an LED display light for easy reading and attractive white design. If the levels of the air are not healthy, it will sound an alarm notifying you. The LED display features faces that show you in real-time the quality of the air you are breathing.
Although the LED display is large and features a light, it is difficult to read from different angles. It also doesn’t seem to have a fan to pull in air for faster reading, while the temperature is in Celsius only.
- Easy to read LED display light on the unit.
- The alarm will sound if air quality levels are low.
- The battery can be charged, making it portable for on-the-go air monitoring.
- The temperatures are displayed in Celsius only.
- It doesn’t seem to be very accurate, giving different readings and fluctuations without reason.
How Home Air Quality Test Kits Work
There are different types of home air quality test kits, depending on what you want to test for. Different from the air quality monitors, some of which we listed above, test kits require you manually check the air or surfaces of your home to determine what kind of mold or issue you are dealing with. Before you purchase a test kit, however, you must know what you are looking for.
Once you know what the problem is, you order the kit and follow the instructions for collecting samples from your home. Some testers will require leaving out a sample collector for a while to collect samples from the air, while others may need you to use provided sticky tapes to pick up from areas you suspect have mold.
Once collected, some kits may allow you to get results immediately or over a short period, while others require that you send the collected samples to a lab. If it is necessary to send them to a lab, it may mean you have to pay for the lab tests or shipping, so never been fooled by the low price of the kit. If it seems too inexpensive, then most likely lab and shipping costs aren’t included.
Please continue reading below for more information and guide to indoor air quality testing, so you choose the ideal air quality test kit and protect your family from airborne pollutants.
Different Types of Home Air Quality Test Kits
Whether it is formaldehyde, mold, radon, or anything else that you suspect in your home, you must purchase a test kit specifically developed for it. Each kit comes with full instructions on how to test home air quality by yourself,
Allergen Test Kits
One of the most popular types of indoor air quality testing is for allergens. As many people suffer from allergies, often they cannot determine what allergen has made it into their homes. There is a variety of test kits available for testing allergens, frequently covering the most common culprits such as animal dander, mold spores, fibers, insect fragments, pollen, dust mites, and more.
If you suspect that a specific allergen has made its way into your home, you may want to get a more specific kit catering for this particular particle, such as mold or dust mites.
Mold Test Kits
Mold is another severe issue people face, and many are allergic to it. It can cause a plethora of health problems, and usually, it is difficult to determine if it is present. There are two types of kits catering to mold testing; air collection and surface collection.
If you already suspect mold growth in a particular area of your home and you want to determine if it is dangerous mold or something that most likely isn’t affecting you, you may use a surface collection kit. It provides you with sticky adhesives that allow you to collect a sample from the surface and determine the type of mold you are dealing with.
If you are unsure if you have mold and would like to check if there are spores in the air, an air test kit should be purchased. You are given a dish where you will collect samples for a while. Depending on the product, you either send the sample to a lab or can see the results straight away.
Take a look at the air purifiers for mold that our team has highlighted in our buying guide and reviews.
Formaldehyde Test Kits
The next type of kit is to make sure there is no formaldehyde in your home. It is declared as very dangerous to your health by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as it is considered a carcinogen. By ordering a formaldehyde test kit, you can determine if there are high levels of formaldehyde in your home and take the necessary steps to have healthy air.
Organic Vapors Test Kits
There are many test kits available to test for VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and chemical concentration in your air. Most of them can cover 40 organic chemicals and 50 VOCs. It is crucial to determine the quality of the air in your home as even the most innocent looking household cleaners could be making you sick.
If you experience dizziness, fatigue, headaches, kidney or liver problems, or other symptoms, you may want to consider checking the levels of VOCs and chemical concentration in your air. The kits are simple to use, and results are relatively quick once collected and sent to the lab.
Lead Test Kits
If you live in an old home, it may be necessary to do a lead test due to the materials and paint used on older homes. Many people ignore the potential of lead poisoning until it is too late. A simple lead test kit can save you a lot of headaches and health problems in the future. It will help determine if there are issues with excess lead in the home and protect your family.
Air Quality Monitors
Above we shared several air quality monitors that are popular among consumers. The difference between the kits and monitors is that they generally collect samples for a variety of air pollutants and provide you with real-time results, in turn, warning you in case the air quality in the home is dangerous the moment it is sensed.
Unfortunately, even though many are quite useful, they do not cover every potential air quality issue, such as mold and lead. They are ideal for monitoring formaldehyde levels, allergens, and VOC levels, though not every monitor covers all.
Using a Home Air Quality Test Kit
Many people are worried about not knowing what kind of work a home air test kit will require. It isn’t necessarily lab science, the collection is straightforward and usually requires little to no effort.
Most kits require the following steps to collect samples:
Once you received your product and opened it, find the directions provided for surface and air sample collection. Every kit comes with everything necessary to collect the samples.
Air samples are collected using different tools and ways depending on what you are testing for and the particular kit. The instructions will provide you with information not only on how to collect, but where to do so, and other tips.
Surface samples either require you to use a Q-tip to collect or using a sticky adhesive.
Once you have collected and stored the samples as directed in the instructions, it’s time to send them. Most kits come with prepaid return envelopes, but make sure you check in advance before purchasing as some do not. Also, sometimes the lab testing isn’t included in the kit price.
Generally, results come in anywhere between 7 and 10 days, depending on the lab. When testing is complete, you will either receive the results by email or standard mail. In the results, you will get directions on how to read the figures. Most likely you will also receive suggestions on how to improve the air quality depending on the manufacturer and lab.
Understanding the Results
Most labs and kit manufacturers offer follow-up assistance with experts on standby to help with reading the results and finding solutions to better air quality. You can find their contact information either in the results you have received or upon ordering the kit initially.
As you can see, it is a relatively simple process. One of the best ways to ensure healthy air quality is to invest in an air purifier.
Features to Look for When Buying a Home Air Test Kit
Regardless of what you are testing for, you must choose wisely. Unfortunately, many take advantage of people’s concern for their health and air quality, and frequently we’ve seen a low quality and inaccurate products offered.
There are certain things you should keep in mind when shopping for a home air test kit:
Once you’ve chosen the type of product you need, before you consider anything else, always check the rating. Do this, or simply trust our judgment and tips.
Choose a radon kit that is either state-certified or has passed EPA’s testing program. Look for “Meets EPA Requirements” somewhere on the package.
The kit that you choose, regardless of what it tests, must work with a certified lab. Although some work with top quality labs with many years and experience in testing, be wary, and always check the reviews that you get real results.
Choose a kit that includes lab and shipping in the price. It’s never nice to buy a test for one price, then have to worry about finding a suitable envelope and pay for shipping, and to top it off with more money for lab tests. It is more convenient, and you get a realistic price for full testing.
Also, the included return envelope is a life-saver as often when more steps are added, such as finding a perfect size envelope, are a convenient excuse for procrastinators that end up with collected samples in the trash because they forgot to send them out.
If you know what you need to test for, look for a test specifically catering to it. Tests that cover many air pollutants tend to be more inaccurate and less sensitive as the more specific ones. Remember that air samples have explicit square footage that they can test, and generally they are per floor of the home, or per room if doors are closed.
Get a test that includes several sample collectors to cover all the spaces that are of concern, so you get everything in one package. The smaller the area you sample, the more accurate the results you will get.
What is Formaldehyde and How to Test?
Formaldehyde is a common volatile organic compound that is released when chemicals are exposed to the air. When we breathe it in, it can be hazardous to our health. It is commonly found in various items around the house and during construction. Furniture, particleboard products, building materials, glues, cleaning chemicals, insulation, paper products, paints, and many more other household products could easily be the culprits of formaldehyde in your home.
It can cause eye, throat, and nose irritation, as well as create several neurological problems. Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde increases the chances of asthma and allergies, and it is known as a carcinogen.
Testing for formaldehyde shouldn’t be necessary unless you sense a strong chemical odor in the home or if you experience one or more of the symptoms of excess formaldehyde. If you do test for formaldehyde and the results show the air isn’t healthy, the best way to reduce formaldehyde levels is to ventilate the home, bringing fresh air in.
Visit other HomeClimate reviews and buying guides for more information and ways to maintain the air in your home safe from formaldehyde and other VOCs, pollutants, and allergens.
Installation and Maintenance of Home Air Quality Test Kits
Every kit should come with full instructions on installation, maintenance, and storage, as well as how to safely use them.
Basic Installation of Home Air Quality Test Kits and Their Use
Surface Mold Testing
This type of kit comes with adhesive tape to collect a sample to send to the lab.
The kit comes with a container that will be used for collecting an air or dust sample that is to be sent to a lab. This is easy to do and comes with all indoor air quality testing equipment needed.
Chemical Pollutants and VOCs
Air samples are collected according to kit instructions and sent to a lab.
Airborne Mold Testing
The kit comes with a dish that you place in the area of concern. Follow the instructions to see if there are mold spores in the air. Another option is to send the plate back to the lab for further analysis and more accurate reading.
Basic Maintenance of Home Air Quality Test Kits
Again, the kit will come with specific instructions for storage if you do not plan on using it straight away and maintenance if it requires time to collect a sample.
If you don’t plan on using the kit straight away make sure you follow proper storage instructions. Never leave it in high temperature or high humidity. Try to use it as soon as you receive it. Do not shake or drop the box with the kit as it usually contains glass containers, liquids, and powders.
When using the kit, carefully handle everything to make sure that you do not contaminate the samples. If testing for mold focuses on areas with high humidity such as bathrooms, basements, and other storage areas. For VOCs, consider the garage, workshop, kitchens, or anywhere else you store chemicals. If testing for allergens, check spaces you and your family spent time in most, like bedrooms, living room, playroom, and other living areas.
The most important thing to remember is carefully to follow instructions and handle correctly to avoid contaminating the samples.
Choosing the best air quality test kit requires you to use your nose to pinpoint the culprit and do plenty of research to determine which is ideal for your home. To protect your family it is essential to ensure the air in your home is healthy and safe. The best way to this is by testing the quality of the air so you can take the necessary steps.
Our air quality test kit reviews carefully research not only based on the specifications of the kits and air quality monitors, but based on user feedback, comments, and experience. The best way to choose the ideal product is by seeing what others using it have to say about it.
Would you trust a home air quality test kit over expensive professionals testing the air in your home? Share your answers in the comments below.
Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!