Awair Glow Review: A Smart Plug Trapped in an Air Quality Monitor?
Is the Awair Glow a smart plug trapped in an air quality monitor? Or is it an air quality monitor trapped in a smart plug? We may never know…
Either way, the Awair Glow is a fairly unique smart home gadget with some cool tricks up its sleeve. But does it work as advertised? Does it provide accurate readings? Is it a hassle to install and configure?
In this review, I’ll do my best to answer those questions, and more. When you’re done reading this review, you’ll know exactly what to expect from this air quality monitor.
Awair Glow is Packed with Smart Home Goodies
At first glance, the Awair Glow might look like just a fancy night light. But, it’s actually packed with a virtual grab bag of smart home goodies.
Here’s what’s included:
- WiFi, Bluetooth
- Smart LED “glow” light
- Smart plug
- Carbon dioxide and VOC air quality sensors
- Temperature, humidity, and motion sensors
Pretty impressive to pack all that into a night light, right?
Add in the Awair app to automatically control the smart plug and suddenly, your night light turns into a powerful smart home gadget.
Connect To Your Network
The first step to start using the Awair Glow is to connect it to your network. It has both Wi-fi and Bluetooth capabilities. In most cases, the Awair Glow will use low energy Bluetooth, so make sure you toggle Bluetooth on your mobile device.
Once your phone is paired via Bluetooth you’ll need to use the Awair app to connect the device to your Wi-fi network (only works with 2.4gHz networks). Once it’s on the network it will search for any other smart home devices, such as Alexa or Google Home.
Although you can see sensor readings on the app when you’re away from home, you won’t be able to control any appliances (using the Awair app), unless you’re connected via Bluetooth or the local area network.
Some people have complained about the product losing connectivity at random times, but I haven’t run into those issues yet. Overall, the network connection steps are a bit of a hassle. Still, you only really need to do them once.
What Does Awair Glow Tell me About My Air?
Once you’re up and running, you can check out the Awair Glow’s impressive amount of sensors. It can track
temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Glow Can Alert You of the Killer VOCs
Like most other consumer-level air quality monitors, the device doesn’t track each VOC individually. There are hundreds of common VOCs and tracking each one would be too complicated and expensive.
Instead, the toxins are grouped together under the general term “chemicals”. Potential household pollutants that will be detected by the Glow’s VOC sensor are:
- carbon monoxide (furnace fumes, vehicle exhaust)
- hydrogen sulfide (vehicle exhaust)
- methane (human “fumes”)
- ammonia and (cleaning solvents)
- toluene (gasoline, nail polish, paint thinner)
I believe the idea here is to use the Glow to turn on an air purifier if the Glow ever detects high levels of VOCs. It’s not a terrible idea. But, in my opinion, it’s not a very useful one either.
The times when your living space accumulates elevated levels of VOCs should be relatively rare. So most of the time your air purifier will just be sitting unused.
Also, most consumer grade air purifiers are marginal at best against eliminating VOCs. They typically rely on carbon filters that are undersized and lose their effectiveness after a couple weeks.
I think the more useful feature is simply the push notifications. You might consider placing a few Glows around the house near trouble areas like the furnace, a door to the garage, or a gas stove. Then, in the rare event that something bad happens, you get an alert.
Probably Won’t Help With Allergies
The Awair Glow doesn’t have a particulate sensor (PM2.5). That means it can’t detect common allergens like dust, pollen, or mold.* So, if you are trying to narrow down the source of your allergies, the Awair Glow is not for you.
It surprises me that Awair decided against including a particulate sensor. They managed to jam everything else into it. Why not one more sensor?
If I was going to use the Glow to add smart control to an air purifier, the particle sensor is the one I would want instead of the VOC sensor.
Transform Any Device Into a Smart Device
The Awair Glow has a built-in smart plug that can control any non-smart device in your home. It can use its own built-in sensors to determine when to turn your device on or off.
Common devices you might use with the Awair Glow are:
- space heater
- portable air conditioner
- air purifier
Other Smart Home Integrations
The Awair Glow can connect to Alexa and Google Home. What this means is (if you set up everything correctly) you can now use voice commands to control any non-smart device in your home, as long as it’s plugged into your Awair Glow.
Keep in mind, it won’t be able to change settings on the non-smart device, only switch it on and off, which is usually sufficient. Most people use the default settings on their devices, anyways.
You can also make use of Awair’s integration with IFTTT.
Awair Glow got its name because the LEDs emit a soft glow which can double as a nightlight.
The light can be either controlled by the app, touch, or motion. You can change the light settings by tapping the wood panel on top of the device.
The LED lights will also change based on pollution levels. Green is safe, orange is moderate, and red is dangerous. So even if you don’t receive a notification on your phone, you can still see it.
Return of the Bulky Smart Plug
When you plug the Awair Glow into one outlet, there won’t be enough space to plug anything into the other socket. It’s a bit bulky.
This was a common issue when smart plugs were first released. Most other smart plugs being sold today have been modified to fix that problem.
However, considering all the extra instrumentation installed in the Glow, I’m willing to give it a pass on this minor issue.
How Accurate are the Sensors?
With air quality monitors, there will always be some unfortunate customers that end up with faulty sensors that lose their accuracy (or never had it to begin with). It’s important to realize those few unfortunate customers are usually the loudest on online review boards.
With that said, it looks the sensors can sometimes be inaccurate. Some customers have reported the temperature sensors are a few degrees off. But judging by the generally positive reviews online, it doesn’t seem to be a systemic problem.
It would be neat if they could include a way to calibrate the sensors. However, I suspect any sort of user calibration option would just open up a flood of support calls from customers who improperly calibrated their device.
The Awair Glow is a decent air quality monitor with a reasonable price tag.
It can be used for VOC gas detection, CO2, humidity, and temperature. But, don’t forget it doesn’t detect particulates.
As an air quality monitor alone, I don’t think I would recommend it. There’s lots of other smart air quality monitors out there that outperform the Glow.
However, the Glow’s smart plug sets it apart from the other monitors. The smart plug integration makes it really easy to take an old, non-smart appliance and immediately make it smart. You don’t have to do any fancy programming or mess with any extra hubs. It’s all done within the Awair app.
The Awair Glow can breathe new life into old appliances, monitor your air quality, and provide a convenient night light. Not bad for a fancy night light.
Thanks for taking the time to read this review. Leave a comment below if you have any questions.