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The Three Types of Commercial Air Quality Monitors

There are many types of monitors out there on the market, some fitting your needs and some not. While air quality monitors can vary greatly, they usually fall under a few categories that can be useful in your search for a suitable air quality monitor.

Air Quality Monitors Overview

Air quality monitors generally fall under three categories: lab-grade monitors, commercial-grade monitors, and consumer monitors.

Lab-grade monitors, like beta attenuation mass monitors, are used by governments and scientists to gather air quality data, as they are incredibly accurate and operate within larger ranges than commercial or consumer monitors. However, these monitors are also costly and enormous, usually reserved for baseline monitoring purposes at large-scale stations. Imagine a $100,000 lawnmower sitting inside your office!

Consumer-grade monitors, on the other hand, fall to the opposite side of the air quality monitor spectrum. These monitors are much cheaper and can be portable. However, these devices are usually only suitable for in-home or personal use and may have fewer features or options than both commercial and lab-grade air quality monitors.

Commercial-grade monitors split the difference between lab-grade monitors and consumer monitors, combining the relative affordability of consumer-grade monitors with the powerful features for the built environment of lab-grade air quality monitors. Like the Sensedge and Sensedge Mini, these monitors are primarily used in building projects and to earn building certifications.

Commercial Air Quality Monitors

Under the umbrella term of commercial air quality monitors, there are a few kinds that differ based on purpose. 

3 Types of Commercial Air Quality Monitors

Outdoor Air Quality Monitors

As the name implies, outdoor monitors gather ambient air quality data. They are located outside and measure pollutants commonly seen outdoors, like particulate matter and ozone. These devices are weather-resistant, and they must meet certain environmental tests and simulations to be accredited by some building certifications.

Outdoor monitors are widely used in research to study ambient pollution levels. They are also used in schools to make sure that it’s safe for students to play outside, and office buildings can use outdoor monitors in conjunction with indoor to maximize HVAC efficiency. When ambient pollution levels are low, building occupants can open windows instead of using forced ventilation, which consumes a large amount of energy.

In-Duct Air Quality Monitors

In-duct monitors are similar to interior monitors but are generally located within the HVAC system of the building. These devices are typically used to provide air quality data and information from within the air ducts of a commercial building. In-duct monitors measure temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other parameters to ensure the comfort and health of those regularly occupying the building. These monitors can also be used to optimize the efficiency of the building’s HVAC system, save energy, and reduce unnecessary wear-and-tear on equipment.

Interior Air Quality Monitors

Interior monitors are also located within building projects, but fulfill different air quality monitoring uses. These monitors are generally used to measure the air quality within the built environment and ensure occupant comfort. These devices usually monitor pollutants found indoors, like carbon dioxide and TVOC, alongside other outdoor pollutants. Interior monitors can also measure additional factors like humidity and temperature.

Not all interior monitors are the same, either. Some monitors may integrate with specific building automation protocols, monitor particular pollutants, and take air quality readings at different intervals. For the breakdown of what you should look for in an interior commercial air quality monitor, check out our article here.

Need more information about air quality monitoring? Check out our newest guide all about commercial air quality monitoring and key things to consider before investing an a monitor below: 

Air Quality Monitoring Guide


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Kaiterra is a global company on a mission to end air pollution. We make air monitors that empower people to make small changes in their everyday lives and help with researchers, NGOs, and governments around the world to end air pollution at the source.