Skip to content

Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Review – Is It Accurate?

Late last year, I had the chance to review the two air quality monitors from IKEA. While the Vindriktning was pretty terrible, the $50 Vindstyrka was a surprisingly decent air quality monitor – especially for the price. While I’m all for supporting smaller brands (especially those with high-quality monitors), I admit that large manufacturers bring two major benefits.

Firstly, they bring much more awareness to the issue. While there are so many great air quality monitors out there already, the chances are that people won’t ever see them unless they go out of their way to search for them. This indicates preexisting awareness of air quality and the importance of monitoring it. On the other hand, if people can stumble upon an air quality monitor in IKEA or virtually on Amazon, it can bring much more awareness to the issue and the importance of indoor air quality monitors.

Secondly, no one can offer prices as low as these large manufacturers (assuming they don’t overcharge). For example, the IKEA Vindstyrka is a $50 monitor that houses a $30 sensor – with all the other components used in the device, not many other brands could offer such a competitive price. However, a company like IKEA or Amazon can purchase hundreds of thousands or millions of sensors and get vastly lower component prices, leading to cheaper products.

BreatheSafeAir Award
Award Logo
Best User Experience
Qingping AQ Monitor

With a beautiful display, this is the best standlone indoor AQ monitor.

* This link may be an affiliate link. I can earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

BreatheSafeAir Award
Award Logo
Best Enthusiast
AirGadient ONE

An indoor air quality monitor with great performance.

* This link may be an affiliate link. I can earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

BreatheSafeAir Award
Award Logo
Best Outdoor
PurpleAir Zen/Flex

With dual-PM sensors, this monitor emphasises accuracy.

* This link may be an affiliate link. I can earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

For these two reasons, I was especially excited when both IKEA and Amazon released air quality monitors seemingly in quick succession. While the IKEA monitors are cheaper at $15 and $50, the Amazon monitor looks to offer some significant advantages at a cost not much above the pricier IKEA monitor. Of course, I want to look deeper at the monitor to see if it is an offer ‘too good to be true’!

After many months of shipping difficulties with the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor, I am finally happy to present my full review of the device. Before diving in, I want to state that I’m not involved in the Alexa ecosystem and have no interest in getting other Alexa devices. As such, this review won’t focus so much on the smart aspects of the device but rather on its accuracy and usability. Countless reviews are already looking at the smart aspects and Alexa integration, so please refer to those if you want to learn more. However, as far as I can tell, no one has yet discussed the device’s accuracy. Let’s dive in!


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please refer to my affiliate disclaimer. I was NOT sent a product for review; I purchased this monitor myself. All opinions expressed in this post are my honest thoughts. I only recommend products that I believe in.

Information on this blog is for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information herein with other sources. Furthermore, this information is not intended to replace medical advice from professionals. This website assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information, which is subject to change without notice. Devices mentioned on this website are not medical devices and do not guarantee protection.


Accuracy & Sensor

Amazon AQ Monitor SEN44

The main sensor of the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor.

The most important aspect of the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor – as with any air quality monitor – is its accuracy. No matter how user-friendly or well-integrated the device is, it’s irrelevant unless the device is accurate. Unfortunately, many reviews also overlook this. Let’s take a look at how the monitor performs.

The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor (what a mouthful!) uses the SEN44 sensor from Sensirion. This sensor is an all-in-one sensor that measures PM2.5, VOCs, humidity and temperature. After hours of research, finding information on this sensor seems near impossible, unlike the much more documented SEN54 (found in the IKEA Vindstyrka). While it’s hard to tell the exact specifications of this sensor, I have to assume it’s very similar spec-wise to the SEN54 but presumably a generation older. I’ve never found another monitor with the SEN44, and Sensirion’s website doesn’t list it either, leading me to believe this may be a custom sensor for the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor.

Besides the SEN44, the Smart Air Quality Monitor also houses one other sensor for CO (carbon monoxide). This sensor is a Figaro TGS5141. It’s important to note, and Amazon makes it abundantly clear, that this monitor should not be used as a substitute for a certified CO alarm or detector. Based on my research, this warning is much-needed because the CO alarm is not particularly capable, but there will be more on that soon!

Let’s loop back to the SEN44, which the monitor uses to monitor all other pollutants and conditions besides CO. While I can’t find the exact specifications of the sensor, it is possible to do some testing, and that’s exactly what I did. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to reference-grade equipment, but I do have access to a range of ‘known accurate’ consumer-grade monitors that have undergone extensive testing. In this case, I compared the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor to two Purple Air monitors, as they’re generally well-studied and well-regarded by a range of organisations and institutions.

While I did a lot more testing behind the scenes (see the image below!), I decided only to show the Purple Air comparison results as I didn’t want to overcomplicate the graphs or provide overwhelming data. I also know that Purple Air monitors tend to have a good reputation in the air quality community, and these are the comparisons many readers are looking for.

Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Testing

Before discussing the results, I want to discuss a few points first. The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor is not ‘smart’ regarding data. There is no way to export data from this monitor, at least not if you plan to use it as it comes out of the box. This is incredibly frustrating and made any comparisons I wanted to do exceedingly painful. While I would have loved to compare longer periods of readings to my Purple Air monitors, I didn’t want to spend hours in front of my phone checking the concentration every five minutes and then writing it down on a spreadsheet. Therefore, I decided to compare shorter periods (< 24 hours with data every five minutes).

Secondly, in the app, you can view readings for all pollutants in an hourly view (data every five minutes), day view (data every hour) and weekly view (data every day). You can’t adjust these periods, which is frustrating, but I think these intervals are acceptable for most people. What confused me initially, however, is that the app shows not the average for every interval but the peak concentration. Therefore, while the monitor takes a PM2.5 reading every minute, the hourly view will only show you the peak concentration every five minutes. The same goes for the daily view, which shows every hour’s peak concentration.

I personally would prefer to see a rolling average (such as many monitors do by default, usually for five – or ten-minute periods) as these are less prone to outliers caused by errors. While this isn’t a deal-breaker, it does lead to some odd readings from the device that are clearly misreadings caused by various potential factors. Anyway, enough explanations, let’s take a look at my findings.

Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Accuracy

The first comparison I carried out compared the peak reading (which can’t be changed) from the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor (in blue) to three Purple Air devices in five-minute intervals. When I first saw this graph, I was instantly worried – it looked like the Amazon monitor was significantly underreporting concentrations compared to the Purple Air monitors.

I then repeated the experiment and had similar results, as shown below. I was confused, though, as the Sensirion SEN54 is generally decently regarded and should be relatively accurate, so I would expect the same from the SEN44. Yet somehow, the Amazon monitor always underreported. After researching, I realised that the issue was likely with the raw data I exported from the Purple Air monitors.

Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Accuracy 2

If you’re not aware, Purple Air monitors are good monitors, but by default, the raw PM2.5 concentrations they report are significantly above what reference equipment reports. This is especially true for smoke events, which were the primary source of pollution during my testing of the monitors. For this reason, the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) created a correction formula to correct the monitors’ data, which has been proven to improve accuracy significantly. I thought it was worth a try, so I changed the Purple Air data to be corrected and plotted the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor’s data again.

Amazon Air Quality Monitor Accuracy vs PurpleAir

After applying corrections, you can instantly see a noticeable change, with the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor reporting very similarly to the Purple Air monitors. Despite doing much research, I can’t tell exactly what corrections Amazon or Sensirion has added to the monitor or sensor. Still, it appears to perform well, and it reports very similarly to the (corrected) Purple Air monitors.

Amazon AQ Monitor Accuracy

I made one final comparison over a longer period. Besides an unexplainable spike at the start of the data (which occurred a few times over the few weeks I’ve been using the device), the readings align very closely with the Purple Air monitors with the EPA correction applied. Overall, the sensor performs well regarding PM2.5 concentrations, mostly caused by smoke; it tracks closely with performant consumer-grade monitors. I wanted to share these findings because I’m sure many people have compared and will continue to compare this monitor to Purple Air monitors.

On a side note, when I first exported the data and saw how much the Amazon monitor was ‘underreporting’, I opened the device to give the sensor more airflow because I wondered if the vent might be restricting airflow and causing issues. It didn’t seem to make any difference at all – at least not concerning particulate matter readings.

Now, let’s move on to what many people will consider the next most important metric to monitor – VOCs or volatile organic compounds. Generally speaking, the Sensirion VOC sensors are decent and some of the most commonly used in the field. However, there is one very important factor to keep in mind. Sensirion’s sensors, as with many other brands, do not show absolute VOC values, instead, they use an index which shows relative values.

Sensirion VOC

Sensirion VOC index.

While Sensirion’s index is on a 1-500 scale, Amazon has changed that to 1-100 for the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor. This means that you should not use the number displayed for VOC concentration as an absolute but as a relative indicator of increasing, decreasing, or steady VOC levels. These sensors set new baselines every 24 hours, and that baseline constantly adjusts, meaning you can’t view absolute concentrations in the app. While I’m unsure what Amazon sets the baseline at, it appears very low (I’d guess either 1, 5 or 10 is the baseline).

While probably less important for many people, I’ve also found the temperature and humidity readings quite accurate (using an Aranet2 as a reference point). I initially doubted that this monitor could provide accurate temperature readings due to its compact housing and components, but it has performed quite well, always staying within a few per cent RH and 1.5 degrees Celsius of the Aranet2.

This leads us to the final sensor – the Figaro TGS5141 – used to measure CO (carbon monoxide). Once again, this monitor should not replace or be used in place of a certified CO monitor. That said, having another CO monitor that provides absolute values can be handy in some situations. Unfortunately, those situations are likely quite rare.

Figaro CO Sensor Specs

Above are Figaro’s official specifications for the sensor. As mentioned, the baseline offset is <±10ppm, meaning that up to 10ppm, the sensor may not record any concentration. Considering that outdoor concentrations rarely exceed ten ppm and that indoor concentrations will likely only exceed that concentration when smoking or, potentially, cooking. Is there a disadvantage to having this sensor included? No, but it definitely shouldn’t be relied upon, and its usefulness is questionable. I would’ve much preferred to have seen a CO2 sensor included, even if it would’ve increased the price by $10.

Overall, regarding accuracy, the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor performs well with particulate matter, temperature, and relative humidity readings. When it comes to VOCs, the sensor performs as it should, but it’s important to note that it will only provide relative readings. On the other hand, I think the CO sensor has very limited usefulness due to its limit of detection (LOD) and relatively low resolution.


Design

Amazon Smart AQ Monitor Front

For many, the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor’s unassuming and minimalist design is its most appealing aspect. This is probably the most simple-looking air quality monitor I’ve ever reviewed, and it gives me a feeling similar to that of the Qingping Air Monitor Lite. That’s not to say the monitor feels cheap or low-quality – quite the opposite! The monitor is compact but weighty, and the plastic feels high-quality.

There are a few obvious things to note here. Most importantly, the device doesn’t have a screen or display, meaning that the monitor is useless on its own. Instead, you will need to use the app any time you want to interact with the device. While there is a small LED on the front of the device, this only indicates your overall air quality score and lights up either green, yellow, or red based on the Amazon AQI, which we will discuss in the next section.

The design feature that stands out the most is the vent, which covers the front of the device. This vent allows air to enter the device, and right behind it, both the intake and exhaust fan from the SEN44 sensor sits. While I had some apprehension about this vent and felt that it might restrict airflow, the sensor appears to perform the same inside and outside the case.

Amazon Smart AQ Monitor Underside

Turning the device around, you will find the only button on the back. This button allows you to power on and off the device and enter the manual setup and factory reset modes. A quick tap will also briefly enable the LED so you can get a quick (but very limited) insight into your indoor air quality. It’s worth noting that this function is only needed if you turn off the LED in the app; otherwise, it will always be on.

You will find some regulatory information on the bottom of the device, a QR code to manually add the device to Alexa, and two interesting features. Firstly, the Micro-USB port is used to power the device. I can’t believe I’m saying this still in 2024, but there’s no excuse for Micro-USB. Type-C is so cheap these days; even $10 devices have Type-C ports on them. I can’t see any justification to continue using this outdated technology (to be fair, a few air quality monitors still use these older ports, but that doesn’t save them from my criticism either!).

Secondly, the device has a standard tripod mount on the bottom. While I can’t imagine a situation where this is particularly useful, there’s no downside to having this extra mounting option. I’m sure some people would appreciate the mounting mechanism.

Amazon Smart AQ Monitor Interior

Because I was curious, I also decided to take apart the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor, and it instantly became clear that this device was never intended to be opened. While I fully support fully repairable devices, I don’t have too much of an issue with the design for two reasons. Firstly, the SEN44 is designed to have a very long lifespan ( > 10 years), and I can’t even find the SEN44 available standalone (unlike the SEN54), so I doubt it’s even possible to replace the component if it fails. While the sensor may need cleaning after a few years, I imagine the fine vent mesh prevents most larger dust particles from entering and causing issues.

While I did have some worries about the heat generation of components within the device due to how closely located they are to one another, I didn’t notice an issue through my testing, and if the temperature readings are incorrect due to heat generation, the difference is within the sensor’s stated accuracy.

Overall, the Amazon Smart AQ Monitor is a minimalistic device requiring the app or an Alexa ecosystem to be useful. While the monitor is small and unassuming, it feels well-built, and the plastic is high-quality. Repairs or sensor changes are impossible without ruining the monitor’s look, but with this sensor, I don’t believe this should be a large issue. That said, repairable devices are always better.


App & Connectivity

As I mentioned in the introduction, I am not an Alexa user, so I won’t delve far into that side of the monitor. There are already a lot of great reviews out there for Alexa integration, so please check them out if you’re interested. That said, I have been regularly using the app, and I have some thoughts to share.

You will need to use the Alexa app on your smartphone to use this device. While the app is named Alexa, you don’t need any other devices to use the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor – just your smartphone and the monitor are enough to get started. While the pairing process can be straightforward, with your phone detecting the monitor, I couldn’t find it, so I had to scan the code on the back of the manual or the bottom of the device. Thankfully, this instantly solved any further problems, and pairing was painless.

After a seven-minute calibration period, you can begin accessing data from the monitor. To access this data, view the ‘Devices’ tab and navigate to your air quality monitor, tap on it, and you will be presented with a range of measurements. At the top of this screen, you will see an IAQ (indoor air quality) score out of 100 (with 0 being the worst and 100 the best). This score considers temperature, humidity, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and VOC values and aggregates them into one reading.

While some might find this useful, viewing the individual metrics below the overall score is far more important. Here, you can see breakdowns of each environmental variable and pollutant in further detail. From what I can tell, these are updated every 30-60 seconds. Tapping any value will take you to the graph section, which shows each factor’s historical trends in an hourly, daily, or weekly view. As mentioned in the accuracy section, each value is the peak recorded during that period, not the average. This skews the ‘averages’ that the app shows on each graph, as these are actually just the averages among the peaks for that period.

It’s also worth noting that Amazon’s thresholds, based on EPA guidelines, are still quite lenient. Let’s take the PM2.5 reading, which Amazon considers ‘good’ if it’s between 0µg/m3 and 35µg/m3, ‘moderate’ from 35µg/m3 and 150µg/m3 and ‘bad’ above 150µg/m3. While the EPA does state that 35µg/m3 is the upper limit for ‘acceptable’ PM2.5 exposure over 24 hours, it’s important to note that it’s only considered acceptable as an average for 24 hours, and we see new, stricter guidelines get released frequently from different organisations as the severity of air pollution is recognised.

While I am glad to see Amazon use guidelines from trusted organisations, I wish there was at least an option to manually set thresholds, in which case I would likely set mine at 15µg/m3. Similarly, the CO thresholds are based on EPA guidelines, and the temperature, RH, and VOC thresholds don’t state their source, but they are arguably less important, and the VOC index is relative.

Other than the limited viewing of data, the only real options regarding the Smart Air Quality Monitor are the ability to toggle on and off Alexa announcements when your air quality changes or to enable or disable notifications to the phone app. Really, it’s a very simple monitor, and its main selling point is Alexa integration, which allows you to set up smart routines and automation.

With that said, I’m here to look at the device’s usability as an air quality monitor, and I have been frustrated with the lack of advanced options. At a bare minimum, I would love to see user-adjustable thresholds, an adjustable LED (which could be tied to a pollutant of the user’s choice, as opposed to Amazon’s IAQ value), and, above all else, the ability to export data. I also don’t understand why peak values are used across measurements instead of averages such as devices like those from Purple Air use.

This monitor is intended for those who want an extremely straightforward monitor. However, in that case, I would recommend something like the Airthings View Plus. Above all, this monitor is intended only for those already deep in the Alexa ecosystem because even at this price range, there are better monitors, such as the Qingping Air Monitor Lite, for anyone just wanting an indoor air quality monitor.


Price & Competition

While the pricing of the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor is quite competitive, there is still a good range of other decent options in this price range. Let’s take a look at some of the competition.

MonitorPricePollutantsEnvironmental parameters
Amazon SAQMCheckPM2.5, VOCs, COTemperature, RH
Qingping Air Monitor Lite$85PM2.5, PM10, CO2Temperature, RH
Temtop M10$110PM2.5, VOCs, CO2Temperature, RH
IKEA Vindstyrka$50PM2.5, VOCsTemperature, RH

I haven’t used the Temptop M10 yet, so I can’t comment on it, but I have used the other monitors myself, and I think they’re probably better choices. The IKEA monitor is good if you’re using IKEA’s smart home system, and it’s cheaper. On the other hand, the Qingping monitor is better if you want a good air quality monitor and aren’t fussed by integrations.


Conclusion

Amazon Smart AQ Monitor Testing

Overall, I have mixed thoughts about the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor. If you’ve already got Alexa devices and frequently use the ecosystem, then this device might be for you. However, I can’t speak to the Alexa functionality, and I think that all air quality monitors should have solid functionality outside of their smart home systems. I’ve also heard that the Alexa integration lacks some features that I would consider essential, such as stating the individual pollutant levels (for PM2.5) or giving a VOC-only overview.

The PM, relative humidity, and temperature measurements from this device are surprisingly accurate, and I was happy with its performance (after almost thinking the device was inaccurate when it was, in fact, my Purple Air sensors overreporting PM2.5 concentrations). The VOC sensor provides relative readings, so its accuracy is less important, but I wouldn’t rely on the carbon monoxide sensor, even alongside other certified devices. Again, remember that this monitor is not a replacement for a certified CO monitor.

However, the app is a big letdown for me regarding the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor. While I don’t think it’s terrible and gives a decent surface-level overview of your air quality, it just doesn’t seem like it’s intended to be used for data. Rather, it provides basic information regarding your air quality and doesn’t support any extra functionality, which I would’ve liked to see. At the very least, data exporting should be possible, and there should be more customisation regarding pollutant thresholds and LED controls.

As of the time of writing, you can purchase the Qingping Air Monitor Lite for just a few dollars more, and this device is a complete package. It also has smart home integration, an app with far more functionality, a CO2 sensor (which is far more useful than a CO sensor in a non-certified monitor – you need dedicated CO monitors in your home regardless), and is supported by a company that’s proven to be quick to provide fixes and updates based on user feedback.

Again, I don’t think this is a bad monitor. If it enables more people to monitor their indoor air quality, I’m all for it. However, for anyone looking for anything more than surface-level information, there are better monitors at the same price point.


Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor FAQ

What Does the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Measure?

It measures PM (PM2.5), VOCs, temperature, relative humidity and carbon monoxide.

Is the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Accurate?

From my own tests, the PM2.5, RH and temperature readings are accurate. CO is not particularly accurate, and the VOC readings are relative.

What Alternatives Are There to the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor?

The Qingping Air Monitor Lite, IKEA Vindstyrka and Temtop M10 are three other affordable options.

Is the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Portable?

No, it does not have an internal battery.

Where Can I Buy the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor?

From Amazon!

Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor Review - Is It Accurate?
Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor

The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor is a recent affordable air quality monitor from Amazon. However, how does it hold up to the competition?

Product Brand: Amazon

Editor's Rating:
2.5

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Accurate PM2.5, RH and temperature readings
  • Minimalist design
  • Alexa integration

Cons

  • Better options for the price
  • App lacks functionality
  • Alexa integration is limited
  • Lack of advanced features

Leave a Reply

If you want a quick reply, ask on the forum instead!