Kaiterra Laser Egg+ Chemical Indoor Air Quality Monitor Review

Cupertino, October 15, 2019

After the publication of my article "How to monitor the quality of indoor air (IAQ) in your smart home" from Residential technology todayI received a message from a reader informing me that I needed to take a look at the Kaiterra Sensedge IAQ monitor. At the author's suggestion, I contacted Kaiterra and, although they did not send me Sensedge, they sent me one of their Laser Egg + Chemical IAQ monitors to review.

As its name suggests, the Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical includes sensors for airborne particles and chemicals. Both are very important indoor air pollutants.

Source of the image - https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/particulate-matter-pm-basics#PM

As the picture above illustrates, the PM2.5 particles are composed of, among others, soot and tobacco smoke. Dust, pollen and mildew are examples of PM10 particles. PM10 and PM2.5 particles are particularly dangerous for human health because they can penetrate deep into the lungs and, in some cases, even into the blood. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to particulate pollution has been linked to:

  • Premature death in people with heart or lung disease
  • Nonfatal heart attacks
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Lung function decreased
  • Increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the respiratory tract, cough or breathing difficulties.

The airborne chemical pollutants measured by Laser Egg + Chemical are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Again, according to the EPA, VOCs are generated by:

  • Paints, paint removers and other solvents
  • Wood preservatives
  • aerosols
  • Cleaners and disinfectants
  • Anti-moths and air fresheners
  • Fuels and automotive products
  • Leisure supplies
  • Dry-cleaned clothes
  • pesticides
  • Building Materials and Furnishings
  • Office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction liquids and carbonless copy paper
  • Graphic and craft materials, including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions.

VOC exposure can usually cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Headaches and nausea are another common symptom of exposure. However, damage to the health of the liver, kidneys and central nervous system as well as cancer are more serious for health.

Because of the serious health problems that can result from indoor air pollution, an IAQ monitor, such as the Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical, is an important tool for making your home a safe and healthy place to live. .

The Egg + Chemical IAQ Laser Monitor is distinguished from the competition by the use of a laser particle detector for the measurement of airborne particles. Most residential IAQ monitors use an infrared detector that is not as accurate as the laser egg sensor. The Kaiterra website contains an excellent article describing the different sensor technologies used to measure particles. You can find the article here.

Another difference between the Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical and the other IAQ analyzers I have reviewed is that the Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical does not require you to use an application to display the readings it has collected. Instead, the device includes a 2.5 inch LCD screen (measured diagonally). By pressing the mode button located at the top of the device, the user can browse the various display screens, including:

  1. Overall Indoor Air Quality Index (AQI) based on a combination of PM2.5 and total VOC (TVOC) readings.
  2. Inner IQ that displays a reading from 0 to 500 based on the PM2.5 level
  3. The PM2.5 concentration used to calculate the air quality index measured in micrograms per cubic meter (μg / m3)
  4. TVOC showing a reading of zero to 100 depending on the level of TVOC
  5. Relative concentration of TVOC in parts per million (ppm)
  6. Detail screen displaying> 0.3 particle count, current temperature and current humidity
  7. Local weather forecast
  8. A screen that will turn off the backlight of the LCD so that the device can be placed in a bedroom and does not disturb someone trying to sleep

The connection of the device to the application Kaiterra offers some advantages, because it is via the application that the unit is connected to the Wi-Fi network of the owner. These advantages are:

  • Weather Display
  • Pollution alerts sent as application notifications
  • Automatic calibration
  • Firmware updates

Another convenience is that the application also offers the user the ability to select which screens to display when the mode button is pressed. So, for example, if you do not care about the temperature and humidity data displayed on the "Details" screen, this screen can be turned off to reduce the number of times it is necessary to press the Mode button. . screens displaying data.

Install

The installation is very simple. After plugging in the device and repeatedly pressing the mode button, it starts to provide limited readings of IAQ, as described above. The next step is to connect the Egg + Chemical Laser to the Kaiterra application.

Once the application is downloaded from the appropriate application store, simply press the "Add" button displayed on the screen. After selecting the type of device you add, you can simply add it by capturing a HomeKit configuration image. The room where the appliance will be located and the location of your home are then selected. It should be noted that taking these selections into account may take a few minutes. A note on the screen informs the person who installs the device of it; but it's easy to miss.

Finally, you can select the brightness of the display, the temperature format (Celsius or Fahrenheit), the language (English or Chinese), the screens you want to display when you press the Mode button on the device and the size of this information. displayed (zoom mode on / off).

It is worth mentioning that while Laser Egg + Chemical currently only supports English and Chinese, the application supports the following languages: English, Chinese, German, Polish, Spanish, French and Hindi .

L & # 39; Integration

Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical offers a multitude of ways to integrate the device into a smart home. Like most other IAQ monitors, the device can be integrated into a smart home via IFTTT. You can create triggered applets based on the readings of the connected device, device read time averages, device data above a threshold, AQI by location, and AQI per site and above a threshold.

Unlike all the other QAI monitors I have worked with, Kaiterra is the only one to include HomeKit integration. This is a welcome bonus for people whose smart homes are based on Apple products and their HomeKit standard.

Finally, Kaiterra has released an API that can be used by smart home system manufacturers to integrate Kaiterra IAQ monitors into their platforms. The API is public and can even be used by amateurs. I've used the API and developed a module to integrate the Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical monitor into a Crestron-based smart home system. The module is available for download from my GitHub here.

Suggestions for improvement

Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical includes a more accurate PM2.5 sensor than its competitors and offers more integration choices, but it's not without areas where I think the product could be improved.

  1. The application and the display on the device increase rather than provide redundant views of the data. For example, the application displays the outdoor air quality of the local monitoring station, but these data are not available on the device. Another example is that the main pollutant data (TVOC or PM2.5) is available through the application, but you can not see other data readings accepted as historical graphs. It is logical that the application displays graphics that are not available on the small screen of the device, but all basic IAQ data from the device should be available in the application. You should not have to go to the home location just to see this data.
  2. The two physical buttons (power and mode) of the device itself are small. Larger buttons would be easier to use.
  3. The unit emits a noticeable buzz coming from a fan that helps circulate the air for measurement purposes. The noise is loud enough to disturb someone who is trying to sleep if the device was placed on a nightstand. A quieter fan would be a nice improvement
  4. Unlike any other IoT device that I used with the Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical, the power supply is not provided. It includes a power cable, but the buyer is supposed to provide his own USB power supply. Kaiterra has informed me that they are tackling this problem and that units will be delivering power supply blocks in the near future.
  5. No co2 sensor. CO2 is a pollutant of the common indoor air. It accumulates in a home when people breathe when there is not adequate ventilation. Symptoms include drowsiness and headaches. On 24/09/19, Kaiterra released a Laser Egg + CO2 IAQ monitor. Kaiterra sent me one to evaluate just before the publication of this article. Although I did not have time to include details about the LaserEgg + CO2 In this article, I was able to update the Crestron module on my GitHub so that it works with both LaserEgg + Chemical and LaserEgg + CO.2. That said, I would like to see a single full monitor covering particles, VOCs and CO2 instead of forcing a consumer to buy two devices in order to obtain a complete view of the quality of their indoor air.
  6. Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical includes HomeKit integration, IFTTT integration and a published API. Unfortunately, this does not include integration with Alexa or Google Assistant. Given the importance of the market share held by these two voice assistant platforms, Kaiterra should include integration with at least one, if not both.

Summary

Overall, Kaiterra Laser Egg + Chemical is an excellent product. The inclusion of a laser particle counter to measure particle pollution as well as a choice of integration options differentiates it from the competition. The only real drawback of the design of the device is the lack of a sensor to measure CO2; a pollutant of the common indoor air. Finally, the application should be improved to allow the display of all data captured by the device.

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