The Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is a consumer-grade carbon dioxide monitor sold by a company with ample experience in creating and selling professional and occupational-level gas monitoring equipment. With such a wealth of knowledge in gas monitoring, I wanted to try the Carbon Dioxide Monitor for myself.
With the carbon dioxide monitoring market becoming more diluted, choosing the correct monitor for your needs is becoming increasingly difficult. As such, I wanted to review the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor and compare it to other popular monitors on the market.
I’ve used the monitor as my primary carbon dioxide monitor for the past couple of months, and I’ve had a lot of time to test the device and analyse its strengths and weaknesses in everyday use. Today, I want to share my experiences with the product and discuss whether it’s worth purchasing.
Before diving into the article, however, I want to mention that the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is a white-labelled product. You may have seen identical devices sold by brands such as Rovary and GZAIR. For the most part, these devices are the same and share a feature set.
Left: Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor. Right: Rovary Carbon Dioxide Monitor
With that said, each product seems to have some minor differences. For example, the display on the Rovary device varies significantly from the Forensics Detectors device. The GZAir product, on the other hand, features an exporting data function unavailable on the Forensics Detectors model.
While I will discuss the differences between these carbon dioxide monitors later in the article, I did want to mention the white labelling upfront to avoid confusion. If you believe you’ve seen similar monitors from other brands before, you probably have!
Forensics Detectors offers a few unique functions on their product, though, and it’s a monitor you will want to check out. Without further ado, let’s dive into the review!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please refer to my affiliate disclaimer. I was sent a product for review, but the article is not sponsored. All opinions expressed in this post are my honest thoughts. I only recommend products that I genuinely 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, and information is subject to change without notice. Devices mentioned on this website are not medical devices and do not guarantee protection.
The most important aspect of any carbon dioxide monitor is, of course, its accuracy. Therefore, I decided to run some tests to ensure you can rely on the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor. While I don’t have access to a reference monitor to compare against, I compared it against the Aranet4 – a monitor often regarded as the most accurate consumer-grade carbon dioxide monitor.
Since carbon dioxide concentrations can vary greatly – even with both devices within close proximity of one another – I created a temporary test setup to monitor both devices. While by no means perfect, placing both devices in a box with constant airflow (provided by fans) allowed me to ensure minimal discrepancies recorded in the air by both devices.
This box was placed in a large room without ventilation for an hour. In this situation, you would expect to see a gradual increase in carbon dioxide concentrations recorded by both devices. While you would expect the increase to be mostly linear, some minor differences are caused by uncontrollable variables.
For the first test, I compared the factory calibration of the Forensics Detectors monitor with an accurate manual calibration of the Aranet4. Both monitors provided similar results in this test, but the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor consistently recorded concentrations 30-60ppm below the Aranet.
Since the monitors consistently had similar readings and exhibited the same trends, I figured a calibration issue was the most likely problem. As such, I recalibrated both devices in the same outdoor air. The Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor features manual calibration, and it’s a painless process – select the calibration option and allow the device to sit for 300 seconds.
After the calibration on both devices was complete, I reran the same tests. Starting at around the same carbon dioxide concentration, I used my box setup to again record the increase in carbon dioxide concentration over an hour in the same room. The results are fascinating!
After calibrating the Aranet4 and Forensics Detectors CO2 Monitor in the same conditions, they provided almost identical measurements for the next hour. While some readings differed significantly, these were within the margin of error of both devices (± 30ppm for the Aranet and ± 50ppm for the Carbon Dioxide Monitor).
Since running these tests, I’ve had both monitors on my desk to continue comparing their readings. Over the past week, they’ve read within ten parts per million very often, sometimes even measuring the same concentration! Needless to say, I’ve been very impressed by the accuracy of the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor, as it’s a significantly cheaper device.
The only caveat I need to mention is regarding calibration. Forensics Detectors suggests manually recalibrating the device every six months. However, I would recommend more frequent recalibrations – perhaps every month or two. Even over a month, I’ve noticed some drift, and I wouldn’t want to use the device for six months without any manual calibrations.
Thankfully, there is no automatic calibrating working behind the scenes on the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor. While automatic calibration may seem useful, it often leads monitors to increasingly inaccurate readings. I discussed this issue in-depth in my Vitalight Mini CO2 Detector review, and I recommend referring to that article if you want to know why automatically calibrating devices may be worth avoiding.
Of course, the carbon dioxide sensor is one of three sensors in the product. Alongside it, you can also find a temperature and relative humidity (RH) sensor. Over my time using the product, I found the temperature sensor accurate to within one degree Celsius and the RH sensor within 3%.
Overall, the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor performed exceptionally well. After carrying out these tests, I feel confident saying the product is accurate provided it is calibrated correctly. While the temperature and RH sensors were a bit less accurate, they still provided actionable insights.
The Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor has a simple design, but I wouldn’t call it minimalist like the Aranet4 or Qingping Air Monitor Lite. The design makes it instantly apparent that the Carbon Dioxide Monitor isn’t meant as a portable solution – rather, it’s intended to live somewhere in your home or office.
The monitor is large, has a relatively short battery life, and has a large screen. Together, these factors show that the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is best suited to living in your home or office. If you’re looking for such a device, you will want to consider a smaller monitor, such as the Vitalight Mini CO2 Detector.
With that said, the Carbon Dioxide Monitor from Forensics Detectors is a perfect desk-based solution. The user interface is clean and easily readable, and the device’s size and shape mean it is visible even from metres away. Since the battery life is quite short (eight hours – although I’ve found it to be around 24 hours), you’ll also find you want this device almost permanently plugged in.
The device is powered by a mini USB cable included with the product. However, no adapter is included, so you’ll want to ensure a USB adapter is available before setting up your carbon dioxide monitor. Thankfully, nearly everyone should have spare USB power bricks by this stage!
I’m not a fan of the mini USB connection – it’s 2022, and even far cheaper devices, such as the Vitalight, use USB Type-C. Although I can forgive the connection in this case (since the monitor likely won’t be moving much), I wish we could have a standardised connection that all devices use.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that Forensics Detectors offers a power-socket-mounted alternative to the USB-powered version I’ve been using. The former device lacks a mini USB connection and has prongs built into the back. If you are looking for a simple wall-based solution instead, this model might be ideal for you!
Moving on to the front of the device, the monitor features four LEDs on the left-hand side bezel. The first LED indicates if the device is on, and the next three are colour-coded green, yellow and red to represent the current air quality. These LEDs are very handy for viewing the device at night or from a distance.
Unlike most other carbon dioxide monitors, the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor does not use an E-ink screen. While this has the benefit of meaning the screen can be backlit (just hit a button, and the screen will light up), it also means the screen is less visible in brighter light, and the viewing angles are worse. Since the LEDs allow you to identify the CO2 concentration in the dark quickly, I would have preferred an E-ink screen.
This image has been brightened significantly. Without editing, it’s almost impossible to see the screen in low light.
However, while the screen isn’t very bright, I don’t find this a major issue with the product. What is frustrating, however, is that to make the screen backlight activate, you need to press a button and pressing a button makes a loud beep. While you can turn the concentration alarms off, you can’t disable the sound on button presses. This makes it difficult to use at night when you don’t want to wake anyone or pets.
Furthermore, the screen brightness is almost blinding in the dark. To fix this issue, I would have loved to see a button on the top of the device (similar to a sleep button on an alarm clock), which would light the screen, but at only 30% or 50% brightness. This button could have been silent to press and would’ve been a better option than pressing the menu, enter, or up or down arrows simply to highlight the screen.
Turning the device around, the back of the product is covered in vents that act as air intakes. As usual, the device is prone to water damage, and you’ll want to ensure it’s always clear of any potentially hazardous areas. There is also an on/off button, which, as the name suggests, turns the product on and off.
There are also two screw-mounting holes on the back of the device. These holes may be very useful if you intend to mount the monitor somewhere. However, I would still recommend the non-USB-powered Carbon Dioxide Monitor for anyone wanting a wall-based solution.
Finally, looking at the bottom of the device, you will find feet near the corners of the product. These ensure the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is never sitting directly on your desk or any other surface. While it’s a small addition, I’m happy to see feet included, as these should prevent the device from being damaged by small spills.
Overall, the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is a well-designed device. However, it’s not intended as a portable product and is designed to sit on a desk, countertop, or windowsill. Luckily, the device performs well in this role!
With the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor, you will regularly interact with the device. Unlike some more pricey monitors, such as the Qingping Air Monitor, the Forensics Detectors model does not have an accompanying app or connectivity.
This can be a strength or weakness, depending on your needs. On the one hand, the device lacks historical reporting functions, and there is no way to view current CO2 levels unless you can physically see the device. On the other hand, there’s no need to rely on an app as the device has all the essential functions on board.
I find non-connected devices to be great as desk-bound monitors. If you have an office space or are looking for a monitor for your lounge or living area, such monitors are ideal. However, a connected device is often a better option if you want a device to use on the go.
Luckily, as I mentioned in the design section, the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is clearly intended to be a desk-based monitor. Both the interface and design of the product show this, and it’s far from ideal as a portable device.
The user interface on the device is easy to use and without frills. On the main display, you’ll be able to see the date, time, battery life, CO2 ppm, temperature, relative humidity, and the current settings you have enabled or disabled (such as mute). While the display isn’t quite as minimalist as some devices, it also doesn’t feel cluttered like some devices.
For a desk-based monitor, I appreciate this simple approach. While I loved many aspects of the Qingping Air Quality Monitor, one aspect I didn’t love was how overwhelming the display felt. There was a wealth of information shown at all times, but it was hard not to feel like the device was too busy.
The Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor has alarms indicated by the LEDs (and an audible beep if you have it enabled). By default, the LEDs are set to indicate 400-799, 800-1199, and 1200+ ppm. Thankfully, Forensics Detectors has made a great choice in allowing the user to change the thresholds if needed. You can easily set the device up to show a red LED at 1000ppm or even 1400ppm if you prefer.
The Carbon Dioxide Monitor supports sound if you also want an audible warning. While the beeps are far from a nice sound (I found them rather annoying and quickly disabled them), some people will appreciate being warned when CO2 concentrations pass a certain threshold. The beeps are attached to the yellow/red LED levels, so they will sound at whatever concentration you set the yellow and red LEDs to light up at.
The other options in the settings menu will allow you to calibrate the device, set the temperature unit, view the maximum CO2 concentration recorded by the device, and set the time and date. While navigating the menus isn’t exactly straightforward – it took me a few attempts to figure out how to navigate – you quickly get used to it.
Overall, using the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Detector is not a bad experience. While I wish the menu were a bit easier to navigate, this is a minor issue considering the device is largely a set-and-forget product that you won’t be physically interacting with much after the initial setup.
Both the wall-mounted and USB variant of the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor cost $99 (United States Dollars). Compared to other monitors on the market, this pricing is reasonable and competitive with a range of other carbon dioxide monitors.
However, you will want to consider your needs before deciding if the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is for you. Most importantly, do you need a data logging function? If so, there are other similarly priced devices with the ability to view historical data and even export it.
Of course, some people will also prefer a device with more limited functionality that doesn’t require yet another app. If this is you, this carbon dioxide monitor might be the perfect choice. Although I have a range of carbon dioxide monitors, I prefer non-connected monitors for my work desk and the living room.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is that the price includes a one-year warranty. While I haven’t tested the warranty myself, the company has good customer service from what I’ve read online, and they honour their warranties.
While the device should have a lifespan significantly longer than one year, it’s nice to have a warranty for the first year, as this is when issues are most likely to occur. While warranties aren’t uncommon, quite a few devices come lacking them, and that’s why I feel like the inclusion of a warranty should be mentioned.
Compared to other carbon dioxide monitors on the market, the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is worth considering – provided you aren’t looking for a portable monitor or a monitor with data logging. However, how does the monitor compare to its white-labelled competition, which I mentioned earlier?
Well, the GZAIR monitor and Rovary monitors are very similar, but their primary difference is the ability to save data and view previous data on the monitor. However, the devices also sell for around $30 more, competing with products such as the Qingping Air Monitor. While some people may prefer the simplicity of the GZAIR or Rovary device, I would opt for the Qingping monitor as it’s a more complete air quality monitoring solution.
Therefore, the question again comes down to whether you view data logging as an essential feature or not. The feature is incredibly useful, and I recommend such a device if you want full insights into your indoor air quality and ventilation trends. However, some people want a simple-to-use and understandable carbon dioxide monitor – if this is you, the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is a great choice.
That brings us to the final question that needs to be answered – is the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor a device you should consider? Well, I can say it’s a device worth considering, but in the end, it will come down to your needs.
If you need a portable carbon dioxide monitor or a device which allows you to view historical data, you will want to consider alternative products. However, if you would prefer a simple, no-frills monitor with great accuracy, the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is a good choice.
Although the device has found a permanent place in my home, it’s not perfect. I wish the screen could be improved (perhaps it could be E-ink like most other monitors to improve visibility?), and I dislike the usage of micro USB on a modern device.
The device also has some significant advantages, though. One that can’t be overlooked is the manual-only calibration of the carbon dioxide monitor. There are multiple carbon dioxide monitors on the market that I love but that have the critical issue of automatically calibrating regularly, causing them to be inaccurate.
The Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor avoids this common pitfall, making it a trustworthy carbon dioxide monitor for your home or office. Just remember to calibrate it manually every couple of months to account for sensor drift!
Is the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor Accurate?
Yes! In my testing, the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is as accurate as the Aranet4 and other, more pricy consumer-level carbon dioxide monitors.
Where Can I Buy the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor?
You can purchase it from Forensics Detectors website.
What Alternatives Are There to the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor?
You can check out the Qingping Air Monitor and Air Monitor Lite at this price.
Does the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor Have a Battery?
Yes! While the stated battery life is eight-hours, I found the battery life to last around a day.
Does the Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor Have Auto-Calibration?
No. The device only has manual calibration.
Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor Review
The Forensics Detectors Carbon Dioxide Monitor is an affordable carbon dioxide monitor from the company. The monitor features an accurate NDIR sensor, a built in battery, large screen, and manual calibration. Overall, it's a promising monitor for a reasonable price.
Product Brand: Forensics Detectors
- Large screen
- Customisable LEDS
- Customisable alarm thresholds
- Easy to use
- Allows for manual calibration
- No auto-calibration
- Good UI
- No historical data/data logging
- Uses micro-USB
- Screen isn't great
- No connectivity