TechNow: Airthings, getting to the hub of things

The Wave Plus can measure Radon gas levels, CO2, humidity, temperature, air pressure and TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds).

I was impressed with the Airthings Wave Plus when I reviewed it last year, but there is a glaring featuring missing that the Norweigan company has now rectified with a simple and easy to install hub.

The Wave Plus can measure Radon gas levels, CO2, humidity, temperature, air pressure and TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds). The latter is a combination of gases and odours emitted from many different toxins and chemicals found in everyday products.

The Airthings Wave Plus will look at all the readings and provide visual feedback on the device when you ‘wave’ your hand over it. If it lights up with a green ring, the air quality is excellent, however, if it’s red, then you need to check the app to see why it’s so bad.

The problem is you have to be close to the Wave, Wave Plus or Wave Mini for the app to update/sync because it uses Bluetooth. This means that you can’t check live sensor readings any time and anywhere.

The Airthings Hub mostly sorts this by firstly connecting to the Wave and then to the cloud. This means that you can open the Airthings app anywhere and see the latest readings. That being said, it takes a few seconds to sync the data each time you open the app. This is still a lot better than having to be close enough to my Wave for it to sync and you can do it from anywhere in the world.

The Airthings Hub will work with up to 10 devices, not including the first-generation of Wave. It measures 125x125x25mm (WxDxH) and weighs 249g and needs to be plugged into the mains electricity using the supplied power adapter.

On the top surface, there are three icons that light up for power, the Airthings cloud connection and that Airthings SmartLink connection showing its devices are up and working.

You first need to add the Hub to your devices in the Airthings app in the same method used to connect the Wave via Bluetooth.
You first need to add the Hub to your devices in the Airthings app in the same method used to connect the Wave via Bluetooth.

The Hub has to be connected to your network via an ethernet cable (supplied).

You first need to add the Hub to your devices in the Airthings app in the same method used to connect the Wave via Bluetooth. You then have to link devices like the Wave Plus to the hub.

Once you’ve made the connection between the Hub and the Wave Plus, you won’t be able to connect to it directly as it disables the Bluetooth to save battery.

Using the app, you can check current and historical air quality data by swiping through the various readings where you can see an average of each reading for the last 48 hours, week, month or year.

The Hub just works and I found I was checking readings far more frequently thanks to the convenience of not having to be near the Wave Plus. This is more especially true if you have multiple devices in your home where you can see readings from each device without having to go to each one just to get the latest reading. The Hub gets new data sent to it from a device like the Wave Plus regularly, which means it’s up-to-date.

You also get Amazon Alexa and IFTTT support, but Google Home integration is currently not available in Ireland. Alexa integration is a simple matter of setting up the skill, but the only thing that works is your radon gas levels. Why none of the other sensor readings are available makes no sense.

Although not a deal-breaker, it would have been nice if the app could send alerts if a sensor reading spiked above a set level. I would also like a feature to be added where you can quickly see the currently reading rather than the average over a period of time.

If you already have a Wave Plus, Wave or Wave mini then the Airthings Hub is a bit of a no-brainer. 

If you’re interested in getting one of these to check your radon gas levels or just want to check air quality, then Airthings offers a great pack deal called the Airthings House Kit which includes the Hub, Wave and Wave Mini for €300. The Hub on its own costs €80.

Available from Airthings.com

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