a woman sneezing inside her home.

How to combat hay fever and summer allergies with your smart home

Learn how air quality monitors, smart plugs, IFTTT and smart air purifiers can work together to keep your allergies entact during the spring and summer months.

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As spring's warmer weather turns to summer, hay fever sufferers everywhere will reach for the medication, close the windows, and resist the constant urge to rub their eyes.

Being allergic to pollen and other airborne particulate matter is no fun. In addition to pollen brought in from outside, having windows open on a warm, sunny day is likely to move dust around your home, increasing the likelihood of hay fever-like symptoms developing.

But along with the usual supply of tablets and nasal sprays, we at GearBrain think the smart home might be able to offer a solution.

Of course, not much can be done about the air outside. But there are smart air quality monitors, purifiers, smart plugs, Alexa, and IFTTT (If This, Then That) applets that can help form an automated solution for keeping your hay fever at bay.

First up, here are some air quality monitors to consider:

Airthings Renew Air Purifier - $399

a photo of Renew Smart Air Purifier in a baby's bedroom.Airthings Renew Smart Air Purifier Airthings

One of the newest additions to our smart air purifier review lineup is Airthings latest smart air purifier, Renew. The Airthings Renew Smart Air Purifier is designed for bedrooms to enhance sleep and air purity. Inspired by nature, its elegant design offers versatility in placement and ease of movement within any space up to 525 sq ft. The purifier operates quietly at 23 dB in Silent mode, utilizing a 4-stage HEPA-13 cleaning system to eliminate particulates, gases, and odors, capturing 99.97% of tiny particles. Its Auto mode, equipped with a laser-based PM2.5 sensor, automatically adjusts fan speed according to the air quality, optimizing energy use. The device is fully controllable via the Airthings app over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, allowing for remote monitoring and filter reordering. Despite the lack of direct, smart home automation through Alexa due to air quality parameter specifics, Alexa can still vocalize sensor readings, enhancing user interaction. The Airthings Renew Smart Air Purifier is more than just an air purifier; it adds to your lifestyle, promoting health, ease of use, and environmental sustainability for a healthier home.

After testing this new Airthings smart air purifier for a few weeks, we like what we see and recommend it. It costs $399, and if you bundle it with other Airthings devices, you can get up to a 25% discount on orders placed on the Airthings site.

Read our full review.

Rabbit Air A3 Smart Air Purifier - $749.95

a photo of Rabbit Air A3 smart air purifier and its filtersRabbit Air A3 smart air purifier and its filtersRabbit Air

A newcomer to our list this year is Rabbit Air. Rabbit Air offers a range of air purifiers perfect for people with pets, asthma, or allergies. The BioGS 2.0, priced at $369.95, features a four-stage BioGS HEPA filtration system designed to combat pet dander and allergens, suitable for rooms up to 550 sq. ft. For mothers needing asthma-trigger-free air, the MinusA2 model ($599.95), with its six-stage HEPA filtration system, covers up to 815 sq. ft., effectively removing smoke odors and airborne irritants. Lastly, the A3 model ($749.95) is ideal for those with allergies, boasting a six-stage filtration system and BioGS HEPA filter, capturing 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns across 1,070 sq.ft., targeting pollen, dust mites, and mold spores. These products are available on Amazon and RabbitAir.com, making them easily accessible for enhancing indoor air quality.
We are currently testing the A3 and its powerful six-stage air filtration system, which includes a BioGS HEPA filter. According to the company, it achieves an impressive efficiency of 99.97% in capturing particles as tiny as 0.3 microns with a coverage area of up to 1,070 sq.ft. This level of filtration effectively eliminates common allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and mold spores, relieving allergy-prone individuals or those with existing allergies.

Dreo Macro Max S Smart Air Purifier - $219.99

a photo of Dreo Macro Max S Air Purifier on a counterDreo Macro Max S Air Purifier GearBrain

The Dreo Macro Max S Air Purifier, designed for large spaces up to 2030 square feet, boasts a robust three-stage filtration system, including a pre-filter and an H13 true HEPA electrostatic filter, capable of eliminating up to 99.99% of airborne particles like dust, pollen, pet hair, and smoke. Ideal for significant areas such as dorms or master bedrooms, it features an impressive air purification capacity with 4.8 air changes per hour in rooms up to 423 square feet, alongside PM2.5 monitoring, Auto Mode via the Dreo app, and quiet operation as low as 24dB in Sleep Mode. This smart device offers real-time air quality updates, a smart filter life reminder, and versatile control options, including voice, app, and touch controls, with air quality indicator lights for easy monitoring. Operating on a 2.4 GHz wireless connection, it's compatible with iOS and Android devices but does not support a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection. Additional features include a Child Lock and filter change reminders, enhancing its functionality and user convenience.

The Dreo Macro Max S Air Purifier costs $219.99 and is available on the company site. Read our full review to learn more about this smart air purifier and its long-lasting air filters.

Buy Dreo Macro Max S Air Smart Air Purifier

Sensibo Air Pro - $149

Sensibo Air Pro is a smart AC controller that can monitor the air inside your home.Sensibo Air Pro is a smart AC controller that can monitor the air inside your home. Sensibo

The Sensibo Air Pro is a revolutionary addition to our list of smart air purifiers, being the world's first smart air conditioner controller equipped with an air quality sensor. This innovative device transforms your existing cooling or heating system into a smart, connected tool within minutes, addressing the concern that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. With the Sensibo AirQ, you can control your home's climate via your phone and monitor indoor air quality, particularly noting the levels of TVOCs—harmful chemicals found in many household products. When pollution is detected, it intelligently interacts with other Sensibo devices to activate purification processes, ensuring safer air and enhanced indoor comfort. Compatible with major smart home ecosystems like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit and straightforward to set up through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the Sensibo Air Pro offers an efficient way to save on energy costs while breathing cleaner air, making it a valuable addition to any smart home.
The Sensibo Air Pro's MSRP is $199 but can be purchased on Amazon for only $149.

Afloia Smart Air Purifier - $169

a photo of Afloia Smart Air Purifier in a room with UV-C light onAfloia Smart Air Purifier GearBrain

Do you have a big room where everyone likes congregating in your home? Or do you have an open floor plan and need a smart air purifier to clean the air for a large indoor area? Afloia can help. This smart, controlled air purifier can help clean the air in any large room up to 1500 square feet. It can detect in real-time allergens, pet hair, smoke, and any particles as small as 0.1 microns, including pollen and dust. It can even filter pollution from wildfires. It also comes with a True HEPA H13 filter, an activated carbon filter, a fine preliminary filter, and a UV-C light. This smart air purifier also has a 4-stage purification system that can filter out 99.9% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. (Read our full review here.)

Toshiba Smart Air Purifier - $269

a photo of Toshiba Smart Air Purifier with Alexa Voice SystemToshiba Smart Air Purifier with Alexa Voice Control GearBrain

Toshiba Smart Air Purifier (CAf-Z40US) is a smart air purifier with a Wi-Fi connection and the Amazon Alexa voice platform. It offers real-time air quality monitoring, a visible filter lifespan progression bar, and an indicator light that alerts users when to replace the air filter.

When it comes to air filters, the Toshiba Smart Air Purifier has two: an H13 True HEPA filter and a carbon filter to help remove airborne contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size, including pollen, dust mites, mold spores, viruses, and more. It also comes with a child safety lock that can turn off the air purifier when the front grill is removed when operating. This is good to have since the device is rather tall.

Read our full review here.

Buy on Amazon

Awair Element - $209

Awair ElementsThe Awair Elements 2nd Edition air quality monitorAwair

One of our favorite air monitors, the Awair, is a smart box with a simple LED arrangement for displaying a live score out of 100; the higher the number, the better the surrounding air quality. Now in its third generation, the $209 box also shows temperature, humidity, CO2, chemicals, and dust scores. Although it cannot measure pollen directly, the device's dust reading can trigger a fan or air purifier, helping to remove the hay fever-like symptoms dust can cause.

We reviewed the Awair Element in early 2020 and the 2nd Edition in 2021. We liked its design, how it works with both Alexa and Google Assistant, and its precise, real-time ambient air quality readings. The 2nd Edition's price is relatively high, but it is similar to the first-generation Awair in terms of its wooden construction.

Read the GearBrain review here.

Blueair Aware - $349.99

picture of Blueair Aware air monitorBlueair Aware air monitor. Blueair

Like the previous two options, the Blueair Aware monitors particulate matter, VOCs, carbon dioxide, temperature, and humidity and logs this data every five minutes. As with the others, this data can be viewed on Aware's iPhone and Android smartphone app.

Where the Awair needs to tap into IFTTT (more on this later), the Aware can talk directly to Blueair's air purifiers, like the Classic 205. GearBrain reviewed this setup in 2017 and scored four stars out of five. We suggest you look at the new family of air purifiers called the DustMagne. These devices not only clean the air but also double as small pieces of furniture.

Buy on Amazon

Coway Airmega 250 - $320

Coway Airmega 250 air purifer is a large air monitoring and purifying device.Coway Airmega 250 air purifier review GearBrain

This $400 smart air purifier is designed to clean the air of spaces measuring up to 930 square feet. It monitors and cleans the air, and the good news for hay fever sufferers is that the HEPA filter clears out 99.7 percent of particles, including dust, pollen, and smoke.

We reviewed the Airmega 250 and praised its quiet operation in its least intensive mode, competitive price, and simplicity. Measuring how well these devices are working can be tricky, but we like how the Coway measures air quality as it cleans. We noticed how the earthy smell of food containing a lot of plants was reduced when the purifier ran. However, it misses out on smart and connected features and can get quite loud in its most intensive setting.

Buy Coway Airmega 250 air purifier

Coway Airmega 100 - $129

Coway Airmega 100 SAir Purifer Reviewwww.gearbrain.com

All of the previous smart air purifiers come with app control. There is one smart air purifier that doesn't have an app but performs just as well as a smart air purifier that does. It is Coway's Airmega 100, which we recently reviewed.

The Coway Airmega 100 air purifier emerges as an innovative, cost-effective solution in air purification, marking the brand's first foray into cylindrical designs tailored for various needs, including allergen, virus, smoke, and odor reduction. It features a 3-stage filtration system capable of eliminating 99.999% of particles as small as 0.01 microns over 810 square feet, making it suitable for residential and office spaces. The Airmega 100 enhances sleep with its whisper-quiet Sleep Mode and optional nightlight, operates at the volume of a whisper, and includes an Auto Mode with a precise particle sensor for real-time air quality adjustments. Its 360° air intake design and powerful filtration system offer efficient pollutant removal. In contrast, the real-time air quality indicator and safety features like the control panel lock and year-long filter life with replacement indicators ensure user-friendly operation and maintenance. The Coway Airmega 100 stands out for its advanced technology, thoughtful design, and comprehensive approach to improving indoor air quality, positioning it as an excellent choice for enhancing health and comfort.

The Coway Airmega 100 costs $129 and is available on the company site and Amazon.

Buy Coway Airmega Air Purifier

Airthings Wave Mini - $79.99

The Airthings Wave Mini and Airthings smartphone appThe Airthings Wave Mini and Airthings smartphone app GearBrain

Airthings sells a range of air quality monitors, and while these don't clean the air, they can help alert you to problems like spikes in CO2 and radon. It is useful for hay fever sufferers if Airthings recently updated its smartphone app to include local pollen data-pollen data. This isn't the most advanced of systems, but the app now shows how much tree, grass, and weed pollen there is in your area, giving each metric a score out of five.

More than that, the app also breaks down tree pollen into four different categories, and as I write this, I can see that my area of London scores a 3/5 for tree pollen, with birch causing that, not oak, pine, or olive. This information can be helpful if you know what pollen causes your hay fever.


Illustration of devices connected by IFTTTIFTT devices can help you solve hay fever in your smart home.iStock

We write a lot about If This, Then That at GearBrain because it can make smart home products and services work together in ways they couldn't before. The platform's so-called applets can be created in just a few seconds and are how devices trigger each other into action.

For example, an IFTTT applet can be written to switch on a Samsung air purifier when a Blueair Aware detects high levels of particulates. A tweak of the applet could be used with an Awair. Similarly, the applet can be modified to take control of other smart home devices, like a WeMo air purifier or Tado air conditioner.

IFTTT can also make devices react to the weather forecast or alert you to a high pollen count. For example, an applet can send you an email or other notification when Weather Underground reports a high pollen count for your area, reminding you to take your hay fever medication. Or, an applet could take that same forecast and switch on your air purifier before the pollen affects you.

A more straightforward early-warning system could take the forecast and turn a Philips Hue smart light red when the pollen count is above a certain number. You could configure this so that your bedside lamp turns green on low pollen days and red when the count is higher - and set it to change the lamp's color when you return from your morning shower.

However, IFTTT introduced a pricing structure in 2020 whereby users who choose not to pay can only use three custom-made applets at a time. If you require more than three applets (and if you are a smart home enthusiast, then you probably will), you'll need to pay $2.50 monthly for IFTTT Pro or $5.00 per month for IFTTT Pro+. You can read more about the differences between the free and Pro tiers here.

Smart plugs

picture of tp-link smart plug in the wall in a bedroom.TP-Link

This is a low-tech solution, but it could be as effective as a more complex, automated system if you can find an air purifier or conditioning unit that switches on and starts working as soon as it receives power from a wall outlet.

That's because a smart plug can switch on when IFTTT tells it to – either because an air quality monitor like the Awair Element has recorded a rise in the particulate matter or because the local weather forecast predicts high pollen for the day. (Learn more about smart plugs here: Smart plugs and switches: The complete guide.

You could also use this system to switch on a fan plugged into a smart plug to circulate air or even activate a motorized window blind when the room's temperature reaches a certain level.

As we said above, the air purifier, conditioner, or fan must work when it receives power and does not require pressing a button - because if it does, the smart plug will have no effect. You should also buy a HEPA filter purifier and learn how often the filter needs replacing - this can be as often as three months in some cases.

Air purifiers with Alexa

Stepping away from IFTTT - and thus taking a less automated approach - there are now air purifiers with their own Wi-Fi connections and Alexa skills. This means you can set the purifier to work at certain times of day via the Alexa Routines function or have the device to switch on when you ask Alexa out loud.

Here, smart air purifiers we found on Amazon that Alexa can control include:

You could also invest in a product from Dyson, like Pure Hot+Cool. This is an air quality monitor, purifier, heater, and fan in one. It cannot actively cool the air like an A/C unit, but the bladeless fan is quiet and powerful. At the same time, the heating element works well, and the purification system is automated, ramping up the fan when dirty air (such as while cooking nearby) is detected. You could take manual control on a day when the pollen count is high to help clear the air and address any allergies you might have.

Dyson recently expanded its air purifier range with a model that identifies and destroys formaldehyde. The TP01 Cool and the HP01 Hot+Cool are two devices that also work as air quality monitors, HEPA filters, and cooling fans, with the latter also operating as a heater.

Buy on Dyson

What does the future hold?

Most smart air quality monitors do not offer specific pollen measurements; instead, they group them into their particulate readings. We would like to see extra granularity here in the future, allowing hay fever sufferers to know more clearly when pollen in their homes is high.

The future will also see smart homes open and close their windows to regulate their temperature and humidity and to expel excessive amounts of carbon dioxide. The Velux Active, a motorized window system powered by Netatmo, was launched in 2019 to automatically control windows, blinds, and shutters based on the weather and indoor conditions. We hope to see this system, and others, take particulates, dust, and pollen into account in the near future.

With all these devices and services, a smart home where the windows automatically close and air purifiers switch on when high pollen levels are recorded is much closer than you might think.

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