Awair Element air monitor

Awair Element: Test your air and see what you’re breathing at home

How's your air quality? This $149 air monitor reads in real-time five crucial elements in your space, and tells you what you may want to change

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The new Awair Element is the latest air monitor from Awair, a trim, a white device that does little else than tell you about the air you're breathing right now. It doesn't talk to you, barely sends notifications, and can't control your lights or the music in your home. But it does provide immediate feedback about one of the key components in your life — what you're taking into your lungs.

We've tested other Awair devices, including the recent Awair Glow C. But we just put the new $149 Element — which is an update to the Awair 2nd Edition— to the test in a Manhattan apartment during the winter, where unrelenting radiators, dust from the street, and lots of people packed inside for long periods of time gave us some insight on what's happening in our space.

How to get started

The Awair Element needs a little to get started. You plug in the device and then pair it with the Awair app. You'll also need to make sure Bluetooth is working on your smartphone. If you have an Awair device — and are adding another to your home, say in a different room, this is going to be easy. The app will find the Element and pair it quickly.

Awair Element air monitorThe score from the Awair Element is visible on the front of the dot matrix screenGearBrain

If not, download the Awair app and create an account, then allow the app to find your new Element. You can rename it here — we called our device Purple. But you can also name it the living room or whatever you prefer to help you differentiate the monitor from another.

Next, you'll want to enable notifications, which will let you know if certain levels are rising in your space and you will also want to choose the most important thing you want Awair to monitor from this list of five:

  • General
  • Allergy
  • Sleep
  • Productivity
  • Baby

I often worked in the space I was monitoring, so I chose productivity.

Each element is tracked on the front of the Element as LED lights and then through color-coded readings in the app. As expected, green is best, and red is poor. All elements, including temperature, humidity, CO2, and chemicals like VOCs, and particulates, are then combined to give you a final score of 0 to 100. You can also move through the specific elements on the Element itself by pushing the button on the back.

I needed to adjust small details in the app, like changing the temperature from celsius to Fahrenheit. Also, I was now testing the device in New York while I had tested the last Awair on the road from California.

Awair Element air monitorYou can set notifications on the Awair Element which come to your smartphoneGearBrain

What Element can do

The main job of the Awair Element is to read five components in the air in a specific space that's about 1,000 square feet. We tested this in an open space, about 700 square feet, including a kitchen and living room.

Awair picks up on the sensors in the device, reading the air coming in through the opened space on the left. I repeatedly found that two areas caused the most problems for me throughout the weeks I tested the Element: humidity and CO2. Both made sense to me as I tried the monitor during the winter when the humidity was at an all-time low, and CO2 would rise as my windows stayed closed to keep my apartment low.

When the levels rose to what the Element deemed outside the good range, I would get a notification on my smartphone and the Element would also scroll this detail across its screen. That reading wasn't easy to read, and only scrolled past once, hence our suggestion to enable notifications through the app.

I'd also get suggestions through these notifications, like opening the window to reduce CO2 levels. And yes, that would work to lower levels.

Smart home connections

You can link the Awair Element to Google Assistant — but not, and this is key, Google Home. We have outlined exactly how to connect Awair to Google Assistant. Once you do, you can ask the voice assistant for details about your air quality through the Google Assistant app, or directly from your smartphone if that's the AI you're using.

Awair Element also works with Amazon Alexa, but you can't connect directly through devices — you need to use an Alexa Skill. You need to download the Awair Skill, which we've outlined how to do in detail. From there, you can either use an Alexa device to ask for Awair details or use the Amazon Alexa app to pull up scores from Awair as well.

You can also connect to other smart home devices, including Ecobee Thermostats and the Sensi Smart Thermostats, which can read Awair Element's readings and adjust your HVAC system.

Awair Element air monitorThe Awair Element can monitor five different levels in the home, and give you one group score ranging from 1 to 100GearBrain

How well Element worked

Awair Element is a solid air monitor. As mentioned in other Awair reviews, we can't verify the levels mentioned in the Awair app. But we can certainly tell when the temperature is rising, for example. When we were using some dry-erase markers about five feet from the Element, we also noticed that the chemical levels started rising rapidly. As soon as we stopped using them, they lowered.

We also found that CO2 levels would rise and fall based on the number of people (and our dog) in the room, dropping lower at night when everyone was asleep, and away in the bedrooms, and also when we opened the living room windows. That's why we feel very comfortable trusting the Element for readouts about the air in our room.

Notifications came as levels rose — but also as they started to improve. I appreciated this information, which I could also track — and see changes in real-time in the app.


The Awair Element is $149 — $50 less than the Awair 2. It's also $50 more than the Glow C, but the Element can read more, including CO2 and particles.

Worth the investment?

Air monitors are one of those smart home devices that you likely never think to buy. It doesn't control your lights, doesn't play music, and won't tell you the weather. The Awair Element will give you feedback on what may be floating in the air you're breathing and impacting the environment where you spend most of your time. The Element also suggests simple, actionable ways to improve the quality of your breathing, even without investing in an air purifier.

The Awair Element is a device that works: it looks nice, takes up space, and does precisely what the monitor promises to do, tell us what may be affecting the air, and how we can breathe more easily.


  • Well-designed
  • Works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Precise, real-time readings of five crucial elements affecting the air you breathe


  • Price
  • Readings on the device's matrix screen scroll past only once
  • Without enabling notifications on the app, it would be hard to know when levels rose or fell

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Awair Element Indoor Air Quality Monitor, White/Grey Trim

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