Sensing the Air Quality: Research on Air Quality Sensors
Overview of Air Quality sensors experiments

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Air quality monitoring device & sensors research

Air Quality monitoring is well known and established science which started back in the 80's. At that time, the technology was quite limited, and the solution used to quantify the air pollution complex, cumbersome and really expensive.

Patent US7947503: Monitor and methods for characterizing airborne particulates
Fortunately, now days, with the most recent and modern technologies, the solutions used for Air Quality monitoring are becoming not only more precise, but also faster at measuring. Devices are becoming smaller, and cost much more affordable than ever before. For instance, new technologies like the Tapered element oscillating micro balance (TOEM) provide significant advantages over the traditional Beta Attenuation Monitors (BAM)

Even more recently, ultra-affordable sensors are starting to appear on the market - many of them linked to the IOT trend of sensing everything. While most of them are purely gimmick, and so definitely useless toys, some of them are starting to achieve performances comparable to professional monitors, at one hundred time less of cost of them. In order to asses the reliability of those sensors, the Earth Sensing Labs from the World Air Quality Index project is and has been conducting many Air Quality Sensor research and live-data experiments from many years.

Particle Sensors

The particle sensors can detect the amount of dust in the Air. While the first generation was just able to detect the amount of opacity, most recent sensors can now detect not PM2.5 and PM10 but also up to 7 different particle size (aka bins).
Plantower PMS 7003
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
20USD (130CN¥)
Plantower PMS 5003
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
18USD (120CN¥)
Plantower PMS 3003
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
14USD (90CN¥)
Plantower PMS 1003
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
14USD (90CN¥)
Comming Soon
Plantower PMS A003
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
24USD (160CN¥)
Novafitness SD011
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
23USD (150CN¥)
Comming Soon
Novafitness SD018
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
19USD (128CN¥)
Novafitness SD021
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
23USD (155CN¥)
Yuntong YT-001
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
20USD (130CN¥)
Comming Soon
Sharp DN7C3JA001
Virtual Impactor for Sharp

20USD (135CN¥)
Shinyei PPD42NS
LPO Optical PM sensor
5USD (35CN¥)
Samyoung DSM501
LPO Optical PM sensor
4USD (24CN¥)
Modified Shinyei PPD42NS
Analog Optical PM sensor
5USD (35CN¥)
Dylos DC1100
Laser based PM2.5/PM10
integrated monitor

300USD (2000CN¥)
Comming Soon
Alphasense OPC-N2
Laser based PM2.5/PM10 sensor
500USD (3333CN¥)

Gas Sensors

On the opposite of particle sensors, the gas sensor can detect and count the type of particle present in the air, such as for instance Ozone (O3), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), ...
MQ 131
Ozone Electro-Chemical sensor
Ozone Electro-Chemical sensor
57USD (380 CN¥)
SGX MiCs 2614
Ozone MEMS sensor
18USD (120 CN¥)
SGX MiCs 2714
NO2 MEMS sensor
23USD (150 CN¥)
Alphasense NO2 B43F
NO2 Electro-Chemical sensor
90USD (600 CN¥)
MQ 9
Carbon Monoxyde Electro-Chemical sensor


  • Note1: The USD/CNY conversion rate is based on 1 CNY = 0.15 USD. The price are based on direct purchase from the vendors without shipping cost.

  • Note2: The Dylos monitor does not really belong to the PM sensor category since it is a completely integrated and standalone monitoring equipment, much more expensive than any other sensor, but it is listed here for historical reason.

  • Note 3: The Alpha Sense OPCN2 is expensive, and the the price you pay is for the traceable calibration (done using Polystyrene Spherical Latex Particles). Otherwise, from a technology side, it does not include anything better than what the $20 sensors can do, except from an IC.

  • Note4: There are many scientific article on low-cost sensor. See the one from NCAS and WACL for an excellent and brief overview on the evaluation of low cost chemical sensors for air pollution measurement.

  • Note5: If you would like to suggest news sensors, please contact us or just post a message in the discussion board at the bottom of this page.

Last 5 days PM2.5 comparative measurement

The graph "BAM PM2.5" is the reference measurement from a professional BAM monitor. A loess smoothing is applied to all the other graphs in order to minimize the noise. You can move your mouse over the graph labels to see the actual output vs. the averaged values.


For the list of all air quality sensors, check the Sensor Overview page

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本网站采用的污染指数和颜色与EPA是完全相同的。 EPA的指数可以从 AirNow上查到

空气质量指数 空气质量指数级别(状况)及表示颜色 对健康影响情况 建议采取的措施
0 - 50 一级(优) 空气质量令人满意,基本无空气污染 各类人群可正常活动
51 -100 二级(良) 空气质量可接受,但某些污染物可能对极少数异常敏感人群健康有较弱影响 极少数异常敏感人群应减少户外活动
101-150 三级(轻度污染) 易感人群症状有轻度加剧,健康人群出现刺激症状 儿童、老年人及心脏病、呼吸系统疾病患者应减少长时间、高强度的户外锻炼
151-200 四级(中度污染) 进一步加剧易感人群症状,可能对健康人群心脏、呼吸系统有影响 儿童、老年人及心脏病、呼吸系统疾病患者避免长时间、高强度的户外锻炼,一般人群适量减少户外运动
201-300 五级(重度污染) 心脏病和肺病患者症状显著加剧,运动耐受力降低,健康人群普遍出现症状 儿童、老年人及心脏病、肺病患者应停留在室内,停止户外运动,一般人群减少户外运动
300+ 六级(严重污染) 健康人群运动耐受力降低,有明显强烈症状,提前出现某些疾病 儿童、老年人和病人应停留在室内,避免体力消耗,一般人群避免户外活动

如果你想了解更多有关空气质量与污染,详见维基百科或者 AirNow

有关健康建议详见北京的Richard Saint Cyr MD医生的博客

Usage Notice: All the Air Quality data are unvalidated at the time of publication, and due to quality assurance these data may be amended, without notice, at any time. The World Air Quality Index project has exercised all reasonable skill and care in compiling the contents of this information and under no circumstances will the World Air Quality Index project team or its agents be liable in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss, injury or damage arising directly or indirectly from the supply of this data.



Temperature unit: