Did you know that the air inside your home is most likely worse than the air in New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world? We spend nearly 90% of our time indoors, whether it is in the home or work, and the air we breathe may be poisoning us. If you have been experiencing headaches, irritation, a dry cough, or any other of the numerous possible symptoms of indoor air pollution, you may need to consider finding the best home air quality test kit.
There are many home air quality test kit reviews, and so many options available that you find yourself lost in selecting what is best for your home. We have done the legwork for you, now all you have to do is use this guide to choose the ideal kit to tackle the problem.
Why You Need a Home Air Quality Test Kit (Benefits & Drawbacks)
Many questions come up when considering whether a kit really is the way to go. Many people haven’t even considered that the air in their home could be making them sick, let alone thought about what the best way to go about checking for possible pollutants.
Benefits of Using a Home Air Quality Test Kit
The benefits of using a kit are apparent. First, it’s essential to try and follow your instincts and nose to pinpoint what the problem is, a test kit can help give you further analysis. This will provide you with guidance as to what measures to take to ensure the air in your home is clean so that you can avoid the health impacts of polluted air.
- Inexpensive alternative to professional indoor air quality testing
- Fast results – as quickly as 2 days depending on the kit and what you are testing
- Protect the family from potential air pollutants in the home
- Pinpoint what is causing potential health problems
Drawbacks of Using a Home Air Quality Test Kit
Of course, as with everything else, there are potential drawbacks.
- Not always 100% accurate – usually due to not following the instructions carefully
- Difficult to pinpoint the exact source for what is causing the air in your home to be unhealthy if a general kit for numerous pollutants is used
- Need to know what you need to test for because for accurate results more definite tests are required
In general, there is a step process for taking action. The first is to follow your nose and symptoms to determine what exactly is making the indoor air harmful. It’s only after that that we recommend ordering a kit to get a reading and identify what steps should follow.
Choosing a quality kit requires a bit of research, in your home and online. Choose a reputable company that offers a lot of support. It’s crucial that their phone and email are listed on the website, and offer FAQs, videos, and tutorials for using their kits. Also, make sure their kit includes everything needed to do the testing, so no additional investment is required.
Best Home Air Quality Test Kits Comparison Chart
General Tools MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter
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Home Air Check Indoor Air Quality Test
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Mold Inspection Network DIY Mold Test
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EG Air Air Quality Pollution Monitor
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MOLDetect – One Sample Mold Test
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Awair Air Quality Monitor
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Home Air Quality Test Kit Reviews – Healthy Indoor Air
Here is a list of the reviews of the most reliable home air quality test kits available on the market nowadays. Keep in mind that they are all high-quality ones, and we have not arranged them in any particular order.
1. General Tools MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter
Untreated high levels of moisture is the single leading cause of harmful mold growth in your home. Well, with this General Tools Digital Moisture Meter, you will not only detect moisture, but you’ll also do it swiftly.
The pin sensors of this device find the moisture content in your drywall or wood and help you find out if you need to dry the existing materials or replace them with new ones. You quickly get the level of remediation that is required to keep you and your family healthy.
The unit will detect moisture in wood as high as 50% above the norm. For construction materials, the maximum amount you will detect is 33% above the norm. Despite the many advantages, there were two things that we did not like about this unit. Firstly, the device does not work great with textured surfaces. This will sometimes make it hard for the meter to get a good reading. Still, the apparatus has an LCD display, a hold function to freeze a reading, a low battery indicator, and an auto power off.
- Works quickly and effectively
- A battery level indicator
- An LCD display
- Auto power-off
- Not as effective with textured surfaces
2. Home Air Check Indoor Air Quality Test
This Home Air Check Indoor Air Quality Test is made especially for detecting formaldehyde but it also can identify off-gassing of laminate glues and many other sources. This is a single-use indoor quality test that can be applied at various places, such as your house, car, mobile home, office, etc.
The test is easy to use since the instructions are well-written, and once you are done, you can mail your samples to an AIHA-accredited laboratory for analysis. The results usually come back quickly in the form of an email. Although it typically takes 14 days to have your samples processed and an email sent back to you, sometimes it may take even more than a month, which is quite irritating.
The good thing is that the lab analysis is included in the cost, and it is accurate.
It is essential that you know how big the place you are about to inspect is. If the area is up to 2,000 sq. ft., one test will be enough. However, you will have to order 2 tests if you have a 3-4-bedroom home or small home with a basement. For anything more significant than that, you will need 3 tests. Bear in mind that the kit cannot stay unpacked for longer than 60 days.
- Accurate results
- Lab tests are included in the price
- One kit covers up to 2000 sq. ft which is more than a mid-sized home.
- The unit only tests for Formaldehyde
- Sometimes the results take more than a month to come.
3. Mold Inspection Network DIY Mold Test
This DIY Mold Testing Kit is designed to test surfaces for mold. Note how we say “surfaces”. This means that the mold has to actually be visible for you to test. This method of testing cannot test the air in your home, but can, however, be used to test dust from an air filter. This way, you will know if there are any water damage indicator spores. Still, bear in mind that using the kit this way will yield less useful information since this is not the intended use of the product.
On the other hand, this mold testing kit is easy to use because it comes with a quick start guide, and а full booklet. The lab fees and the detailed report are included in the price unless you happen to be from Texas. The lab is unaccredited but it has processed more than 50,000 such tests over the past decade.
The fact that this test is a high-quality one, but has a budget-friendly price must also be taken into account. With this product, you get 3 surface tests meant to inspect three different places.
- 3 surface tests included
- Comes with an instruction manual
- Lab tests are included in the price
- A unit is a budget-friendly option
- Not as sensitive and specific as other mold tests that use PCR
- The suspected mold must be visible for this test to work
- The lab is unaccredited to the AIHA
4. EG Air Air Quality Pollution Monitor
As EG Air’s newest model, this air quality pollution monitor accurately assesses humidity levels, temperature (in Celsius), concentrations of formaldehyde, TVOCs, and delicate particulate dust matter(PM2.5/PM1.0/PM10). All of these cause health issues when they make their way to one’s respiratory tract.
Testing can be done on the spot but you can also leave the unit on to provide some continuous air monitoring over a specific area. The lithium battery provides portable power when there is no DC 5V micro USB charging available. We also liked the 2.8” 320×240 pixel color LCD display on which the information is displayed.
Getting the device calibrated before the first use requires some time. Also, you need to read the instructions more than once, as they are not that clearly written. With this EG Air Air Quality Pollution Monitor, you also get access to a 20+ page eBook on Gas and Air Quality Hazards. Another great feature is the built-in fan that draws in ambient air to allow REAL-TIME measurements.
- Advanced fan and sensors
- The device is portable
- Battery life of about 2-3 hours against an average of 1-1.5 hours.
- The instructions may be tough to understand
- Getting it calibrated before you use it for the first time will be slow
5. MOLDetect – One Sample Mold Test
This is a mold test kit that will give you some more detailed information regarding the contaminants in your indoor air. What our team really likes about this product is that the test results actually say which type of mold you have in your house. The results also state the severity, based on the number of spores that are found.
As high-level as this sounds, you have to do another, more thorough professional testing course if you want to find out if the mold you have is hazardous. The good thing is that the manufacturer of the product will give you a recommendation on what your next steps should be.
As far as the application goes, you can use this kit to see if there’s any mold in the air vent in your office. Any car air conditioner can also be tested for mold using this unit. The downside is that you can use one tape sample per location, and the more you want to test, the more you will need to pay. The lab testing and results are included in the price. It will typically take 2-3 business days for the results to be emailed back to you.
- No need to pay extra for lab analysis
- The results of the product state the type of mold you have
- If you need further testing, the manufacturer will provide help
- Only one tape sample can be used per one location
- Some professional testing is required to find out if the mold you have is really dangerous
6. Awair Air Quality Monitor
A huge advantage of this product is the fact that it can detect the 5 main factors of air quality that can impact your health and comfort. They are:
- Fine Dust (PM2.5)
- Chemicals (VOCs)
You can use the settings to have the unit focus on the ones that you find most essential. If you love using your phone, you will be glad to hear that this product has an Awair app, and you can see your air quality both there, and on the Awair display.
The lights do not need to be on all the time. There is also an auto-adjust setting for the brightness levels. In case you want to monitor more than one room, you should buy a few devices because the manufacturer does not recommend moving the unit regularly. The Wi-Fi connectivity seems to drop on occasion, and we find that to be a bit irritating as well.
- Connects with Alexa, Google Home, Nest, and more.
- Provides personalized tips
- Detects the 5 essential elements of air quality
- Lights are easily adjustable
- If you have a larger home, you need more than one device
- The wireless LAN adapter is of low quality
Types of Indoor Air Pollutants
If you do a simple search, you will find that there are many options available. To decide what kit you need, you have to make sure you first have an idea of what you need to test for. Once you know what may be affecting your air quality, you can start researching the ideal company that provides the specific kit.
Air Pollutant Types
Before we jump into the different testing available, it’s essential to understand the various air pollutants that could be ruining your air quality.
This includes bacteria, dust mites, pollen, dander, and most importantly, mold. These types of contaminants cause allergic reactions, so if you experience coughing, wheezing, watery eyes, dizziness, or shortness of breath when you are indoors, you may consider a test focused on biological pollutants.
There are also tests entirely focused on mold. If you suspect mold may be the problem a test like this is best to see how extensive the problem is and what actions to take. Mold is actually one of the most aggressive and common pollutants in the home.
This includes VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as lead, radon, formaldehyde, and other chemical contaminants. These compounds can become vapors or gasses.
We store plenty of chemical pollutants that we don’t realize may be harming us. These include stored fuels, preservatives, disinfectants, cleaners, and even dry-cleaned clothing. Look for symptoms such as respiratory tract irritation, loss of coordination, nausea, memory impairment, headache, dizziness, and more.
This includes tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide. Many of the chemical contaminants and VOCs actually result from combustion pollutants. Environmental tobacco smoke, or ETS, is dangerous because it consists of over 4,000 compounds, out of which 40 are carcinogens.
Carbon monoxide is the other dangerous pollutant. It is odorless and colorless but can cause unconsciousness or even death. Low levels may cause dizziness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, and more. Rather than testing, we highly recommend you have a CO monitor on every floor of the home.
Types of Indoor Air Quality Testing Kits
Now that you have an idea of what the potential dangers are, it’s time first to do some detective work. To determine what is the best kit for your needs, you must first pinpoint the source of the problem. It’s important to decide what type of pollutant you are dealing with.
There are no kits that cover all pollutant types, and even once you know what kind of pollutant you are dealing with, you must determine what you will be focusing on. In the case of biological pollutants, there are different kits focused on mold, dust mites, and bacteria. The more you know about the issue, the better.
There are 6 different testing kits that we’ve identified, but you can find a combination of them as well:
Allergen Testing Kits
If you feel that you are allergic to something in your home, these kits help recognize and identify common indoor allergens. This includes pollen, mold spores, dust mites, skin cells, insect fragments, and even fibers from fiberglass.
Mold Test Kits
This is a significant one as mold is regularly overlooked in the home. If you feel that mold is the problem, it’s better to move onto this kit rather than a simple allergen one that includes mold. This will help better identify any airborne mold in your home.
Formaldehyde Test Kits
Considered a carcinogen, it’s essential to do regular formaldehyde testing in your home. It will identify if there are dangerous applications of it indoors.
Organic Vapor Test Kits
These kits focus on VOCs and numerous organic compounds found in your indoor environment. You can find a wide variety of such kits, but remember, the more you pinpoint the issue, the better you will be able to tackle it. So if you already have a suspicion, it’s better to get a more specific kit.
Lead Test Kits
Many older homes may have lead-based paint, and it’s vital that before any renovations are done, you do testing to approach the issue safely.
Radon Test Kits
These are ideal for pinpointing if there is a radon problem in your home. Use a kit like this to get an idea if there are reasons for concern. If you get elevated results, we highly recommend you contact a professional to do long-term testing.
Of course, there are plenty of tests, many of which are combined type tests. Some are more focused on a specific type of pollutant as well, and we recommend you narrow down the testing as much as possible.
Although DIY indoor air quality testing kits are a great inexpensive option to hiring a professional, it can get costly to do testing on all potential pollutants indoors. Follow your instincts, pay attention to your symptoms, and follow your nose to narrow down the possibilities.
Installation, Maintenance, and Tips for Indoor Air Quality Kits
Once you know the culprit, or have a suspicion and have chosen and ordered a kit, it’s time to do the testing. Packages vary, and it’s imperative to read the instructions carefully and follow them cautiously to get the most accurate results. Here are some easy tips for indoor air quality improvement;
Installation & Tips
Most have more or less the same requirements depending on what you will be testing.
- Biological Pollutants – you will receive a container for an air or dust sample which you must collect and send back. This can be done via a tool like the aerosol impactor. The best kits have everything included, so no additional tools need to be bought
- VOCs and Chemical Pollutants – you will be provided an air test kit. You will have to collect samples as per their instructions and return for testing.
Tools for Air Quality Testing
When you receive your test kit, you may have one, some, or all of the following testing tools.
- Direct-Reading Colorimetric Tubes – these usually test for VOCs, NO, NO2, CO, CO2, formaldehyde, and more. Air is drawn into the tube, which contains a reactive compound. If it comes in contact with a contaminant, it changes color.
- Air Sampler – used for testing formaldehyde, VOCs, and more. With or without a pump, they capture air into a collection device. This device is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
- Microbial Sampling – these types of tools are for testing for biological pollutants and fungal spores that cause mold. You may receive something like a dish where mold will grow. This is then sent to a laboratory.
There are different types of home kits, so you may receive a variety of these tools, depending on what you will be testing.
Maintenance of Indoor Air Quality Kits
Each kit comes with its own instructions, so maintenance depends on what package you have chosen. Most importantly, handle the equipment carefully so as not to contaminate it upon testing. Find the ideal spot for analysis depending on what you will be testing for.
If testing for mold, focus on mold-prone areas such as the basement, bathrooms, and storage areas. For VOCs consider the garage, bathrooms, and kitchen. For allergens focus on bedrooms and living areas that cause an increase in your sensitivity. Most importantly, carefully follow instructions, handle with care, and try to avoid contamination of the samples you will be sent to the lab.
Tips and Procedures for Handling Indoor Air Quality Kits
Here are some essential things to consider when considering an investment in an air quality test kit. Although less expensive than a professional doing the testing, they can get pricey. So you want to make sure you are getting the most suitable and accurate product. Here are some indoor air quality testing procedures that can help you along the way.
- Try to pinpoint the culprit. Yes, you can splurge and buy different types of kits, try to test for everything, but what’s the point of using a home kit if you won’t be saving any money in the end?
Check your symptoms, look for mold, consider indoor pollutants that are visible (such as pets, plants, chemicals you keep in the cupboard and age of the home). The closer you are to knowing what the pollutant is, the higher the chance of being testing its levels better.
- Attempt to remove the culprit. The pollutant may be a plat that you allergic to, hidden mold, or dust. Invest in an air purifier. Check out some great reviews in our Air Purifier Archive at Homeair that cover every type of indoor air pollutant. If the problem persists, it’s time to pinpoint it and invest in a home air quality tester kit.
- Research the available options and read the home air quality test kit reviews. You will be surprised by the great feedback you will get from people that have tried the kits before. Find a product that focuses on the specific pollutant you are concerned may be the culprit.
- Once you receive your home test kit, read the instructions very carefully. You must follow them exactly as written.
- You should have answers soon. Once you’ve collected the samples and sent them to the laboratory, you will get a response with a complete reading. If the levels of the tets are high, tackle the problem or hire a professional. Usually, it’s relatively easy to remove the pollutant or use an air purifier to clean the air.
Kits vary in price range depending on how many pollutants you need to test for. The more you pinpoint the problem, the less expensive the test will be.
Dealing with and Preventing Indoor Air Pollutants
Once you have found out what is causing the air in your home to be unhealthy, it’s time to take action. One of the most common pollutants is mold, especially if you have a basement, don’t have proper air ventilation in the home, or have issues with moisture.
Clean the area with diluted soap and water using gloves and a mask. Allow the area to dry completely. Once cleaned, keep humidity indoors between 30% and 50%. One can do this by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier. Install and use exhaust fans in areas prone to moisture such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. You can also check out our reviews on bathroom exhaust fans.
This varies depending on the specific allergen causing the problem. The key is to keep vents and air conditioner filters clean at all times. Regularly wash sheets, covers, and any other removable cover fabric in the home, including curtains. Purchase and use an air purifier for allergies.
This is also very specific as it can be a single pollutant that is causing the problem for you and your family. However, using all-natural cleaners and detergents is a great start. Keep all harsh chemicals in an outdoor storage area or the garage. Once you have pinpointed the issue, take action, and remove potential pollutant form your home.
This one is straightforward, make sure you install a CO monitor on every level of the house. If you have a garage, one in the room that opens to the garage is also recommended. For the highest security, one in every room is even better. Regarding tobacco smoke, deep cleaning and possibly repainting may be in order.
If you feel like being at home is making you ill or heightens your allergies, it’s time to invest in a top home air quality test kit. If you find that mold is the problem, check out our piece on the finest air purifiers for mold.
Monitor, test, and maintain your indoor air quality to keep yourself and your family safe from indoor pollutants. It takes more than just a kit, it takes continuous action against poor air quality. Take a look at the many ways to control heating, cooling, and home climate at HomeAir and find the best collection of reviews on the most sought after products.
Congrats, dear friends! You have read our buying guide devoted to finding the best home air quality test kits. So as you are reading this on a computer or on a phone in your house, now might be a good time to actually check the quality of the air. Who knows what kind of bacteria is flying through the air right now!
There are many aspects to keep in mind when choosing an air quality test kit, and that’s why our team hopes that the article was useful. Our goal is to make it easy for you when you wonder how to test air quality. Share this piece with others and send us an email or leave us a comment if you have a suggestion regarding the content of the article. Thanks for reading, and as always – stay put!
Please read our reviews on best air fresheners for home and bathroom use, too.