Air quality has become a hot topic and I’ve been testing a new smart air quality monitor from Sensibo that should help to alert you of the dangers of everyday pollutants in closed spaces such as offices, homes and even public buildings.
According to research, the typical Western individual spends 90% of their time indoors, especially in the winter. Additionally, 93% of youngsters regularly breathe harmful air, according to the WHO. The most typical interior contaminants originate from scented candles, paint, building supplies and cleaning supplies. Pollutants inside enclosed places, such as dust and pollen, can also come from outside. Inhaling such pollutants only causes the production of CO2, but it can also have a number of detrimental health effects, such as decreased energy, headaches, weariness, nausea, dizziness and irritation of the skin or respiratory system.
The Sensibo Elements is a small device that connects to your home network and then via an app can display readings from its six sensors to determine the air quality.
It has hooks built into the back that allow it to be mounted on a wall or placed on a shelf using the supplied stand. It doesn’t run on batteries and requires a permanent connection to a power source. It comes with a small power brick and a detachable USB-C cable which means you’re restricted in where you can place it because it needs to be near a power outlet.
On the front of the unit is the Sensibo icon which can be set to light up via the app. The colour of the light will change depending on the air quality — green is normal and indicates good air quality while red means the air quality is poor.
High concentrations of indoor contaminants, including CO2, TVOC, PM2.5 and ethanol, are detected by the Sensibo Elements. It also monitors humidity — high humidity levels can lead to disease and the formation of mould.
The six sensors combine and evaluate an air quality score which helps to identify overall indoor air quality. The Sensibo app will notify you when pollution levels increase and include advice for protecting against poor air quality.
Sensibo’s Elements is easy to set up via the free Sensibo app for iOS and Android. It connects to your Wi-Fi but is only compatible with a 2.4GHz network. As soon as you assign it to a room, the monitor will start assessing the quality of the air inside that space. It can be remotely controlled via the app, along with integration with Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, SmartThings and Apple HomeKit.
It also supports IFTTT, but I found it very limited. I was hoping I could get it to turn on my Dehumidifier when the humidity levels reached a certain threshold but Elements doesn’t support IFTTT triggers. However, it does work within the Sensibo PureBoost ecosystem which connects all Sensibo devices to work together: when pollution is high and an alert is activated on Sensibo Elements, PureBoost will activate Sensibo Pure (HEPA filter equipped smart air purifier) high fan to fight pollution. Combined with Sensibo’s AC controllers, Sensibo Sky and Sensibo Air, the AC will also be activated to circulate air through the purifier to decrease pollution quickly.
To test the Sensibo Elements sensors I placed several pollutants near them. I began with a cloth soaked in methylated spirits. Within seconds the air quality meter spiked into the red and the TVOC (Total volatile organic compounds) shot up to 6645ppb. Next, I placed a smouldering piece of wood near the unit and again the sensors quickly detected it and reported it in the app. While it does detect things like smoke, it can’t track things like carbon monoxide.
Unlike AirThings air quality monitors, Sensibo Elements doesn’t have a sensor for detecting Radon levels. If you’re living in an area known for this then the AirThings might make more sense for you.
The Sensibo Elements monitors common airborne pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, volatile organic compounds (fumes from household cleaners as well as emissions from items like new upholstery and things like natural gas), PM2.5 (particulate matter, such as dust, pollen, and smoke, smaller in size than 2.5 microns). It can detect ethanol levels too, which are commonly found in rubbing compounds, lotions, tonics, colognes, cosmetics and in perfumes. Additionally, the sensor records the temperature and relative humidity of the indoor air.
The device will send you a push message if the indoor air quality deteriorates and advise you to take action, such as opening a window to let fresh air in.
If you want to check how effective your extractor fan is place the Sensibo Elements in your kitchen. Frying meat was the worst to quickly set the air quality into the red however, I can confirm that making pancakes is all good.
The Sensibo app makes it quick and easy to use and see sensor readings. If you click on an individual reading you can see a graph of tracking for that day. If you want to see historical data tracked over weeks and months, you have to opt into a Sensibo Plus subscription plan for €4.99 per month or €29.99 annually and you’ll unlock several other features, including weather and air pollution updates.
You can also turn notifications on or off and set individual notification thresholds via the app. Interestingly, there isn’t any option to update the firmware on the device.
The Sensibo Elements has a good range of sensors that will alert you to the air quality dangers lurking in your home or office. I would have preferred better integration with IFTTT to allow me to control some of my no so smart devices. If you just want to monitor your air quality and make some life changes to the products you use and buy then the Sensibio Elements is a good choice. It’s also worth taking a look at some of their other products that can work in tandem with Elements using Sensibo’s PureBoost ecosystem.
Sensibo Elements €259 (currently on offer for €159) Sensibo