Biohack: Know Your Air Quality


“We consume 1 million breaths of air every month without knowing how the air quality affects our bodies, mind and comfort.”


Air quality data can be easily obtained through various apps and websites, monitored with commercial gear or even using custom built inexpensive sensors. Considering that 92% of the world’s population is exposed to harmful levels of air pollution this can be a significant biohack to improve your quality of life. The promise of improved sleep, better focus, reduced allergies and asthma management make air quality worth tracking. In this article we will discuss ways to scrape, monitor with commercial options and even build your own air quality monitor from off the shelf sensors.




Observing air quality in your area does not need to be an expensive endeavor. There are multiple free services and citizen science projects to scrape air quality data such as carbon dioxide, ozone and particulate matter size. The apps and data are free to access and do not even require a login be created to view the data. The APIs are at least initially free to access, but after 10,000 calls per month the charges begin for AirVisual.
  • app: AirVisual – A beautiful and free iOS / Droid app that crowdsources data from their own hardware and the EPA’s AirNow websites.
  • app: AirMatters – Another very useable app which pulls air quality info from the EPA AirNow and
  • – A slightly dated website with simple web map interface. The site is an excellent source for definitions and explanations of air quality as well as links to other resources.




Taking a look at the slickest user friendly devices on the market currently brings up these three air quality recording devices. The key thing that stands out around the commercial versions is that they are ~$200 and measure particulate matter PM2.5 and volatile organic compounds VOCs.
  • IQAir AirVisual Pro ($269)
    • PM2.5 (0.3 – 2.5um)
    • CO2 (400-10,000 ppm)
    • Access: WiFi / Samba / IFTTT
    • PM2.5, NO2, VOCs
    • Access: Flow companion app, BLE
    • PM2.5 (0.3 – 10um), TVOC
    • Access: Apple HomeKit, Kaiterra app, WiFi





Now that we have discussed that we can pull air quality data for free or purchase ready to use air quality stations let’s compare to some of the DIY options out there. One can quickly see that combining the PMS5003 sensor to detect particulate matter with the SGP30 for estimated CO2 and volatile organic compounds offers a widest range for DIY data collection.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.