The Airthings Wave sets itself apart from other air quality monitors by ensuring your physical safety rather than just your comfort. It monitors levels of radon, a naturally occurring colorless and odorless gas that causes more lung cancer in the U.S. than anything other than smoking.
The original Wave and its successor, the Wave Plus (which adds carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound measurements to radon monitoring), get their names from their primary method of operation—you wave your hand in front of the device to get a color-coded-LED reading of your overall air quality—but it’s the companion app that provides the literally dirty details. Unfortunately, because you must communicates with sensors via Bluetooth, you must be within 30- to 50 feet of the device to get the most current readings.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best air quality monitors, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.
Airthings recognized as a significant barrier to users keeping regular tabs on their indoor air quality. Thus, it has introduced the Airthings Hub to bring those Wave device readings online, so you can access the data from anywhere.
The hub measures 4.9 x 4.9 x 1 inches (WxDxH) and, though square, adopts the look of its satellite devices, with a white finish and pinholed surface. Instead of a light ring, three icons across the bottom to indicate when power is on, the Hub is communicating with Airthings cloud, and one or more Wave devices are connected and actively sending data.
The Hub requires AC power and connects to your router via a supplied ethernet cable. You add it in the Airthings Wave app the same way as any Wave device: tap the plus sign and the app searches for and connects to it via Bluetooth. Once the Hub is online, you can add up to 10 Wave devices individually by tapping a link icon on top of the All Devices screen.
I reviewed the Wave Plus a while back, so I connected that to the Hub. It successfully linked up after a short firmware update. The Hub communicates with devices via Airthings Smartlink using unlicensed spectrum in the 868/915MHz band (868MHz in Europe, 915MHz in the U.S. and several other countries). Once a device is linked to the Hub, its Bluetooth radio automatically shuts off, reducing the drain on the device’s batteries. Bluetooth will re-enable if you unlink the device from the Hub.
You won’t notice much difference in the app once the Hub is set up. A signal strength icon now appears next to each connected Wave device instead of the Bluetooth symbol, but that’s the only real change I could identify. You still check current and historical air quality data by swiping through the various readings, as I outlined in my Wave Plus review.
The Hub worked flawlessly in my tests, and most users should see an immediate impact on their monitoring habits. Rather than needing to walk into the room where a Wave device is located to update its readings in the app, you can check your phone or log into the Airthings web portal from anywhere.
As Wave devices send data through the Hub every five minutes, you’re guaranteed to be viewing current air quality info. This 24/7 access to data also makes integration with other platforms—such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT—more effective.
The Airthings Hub syncs will all Wave devices except the first-generation Wave. If you have any combination of them in your home, it makes sense to tie them together with the Hub for easier, more accurate air quality monitoring. If you don’t have any of them, Airthings also offers the Airthings House Kit, which bundles the Hub with a Wave and a Wave Mini for $299.