Best VOC sensor for detecting a wide range of VOC's?


  • Hero Member

    I purchased a number of different consumer-ready off-the-shelf VOC monitors (priced in the range of $100-$300) from amazon for detecting the presence of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air, and I'm finding that most of them detect very little of what's in the air, even if it's something I can plainly smell. 😞 What I want is a sensor (a canary in the coal mine) that will alert me as to whether there might be something in the air that I should be concerned about. From that point I would then have the somewhat arduous job of figuring out what it is. However, if I don't know it's there in the first place, then I'll never know to look further. So, I guess what I'm looking for is a sensor that's sensitive to a wide assortment of VOCs. Any recommendations?



  • @NeverDie said in Best VOC sensor for detecting a wide range of VOC's?:

    So, I guess what I'm looking for is a sensor that's sensitive to a wide assortment of VOCs. Any recommendations?

    Well, I play around with the BME680. It is currently in my office. The problem is, that Bosch makes a big secret of how it works exactly. It seems that it lerns about the "normal" quality of the air over time and then reacts to changes of that standard.
    It takes about 12h for the status to go from 1 to 0. After this time, when placed close to a window, the status goes back to 0 after opening the window for a short time for several days.
    In the office here it seems to work. It changes status when the girl form the HR department is standing close to it 😁 But to be honest, the IAQ there is as far as I can judge this, only calculated based on temperature, pressure and humidity?

    If you find something good, please inform us


  • Hero Member

    @eiten I haven't yet made any progress on finding a good VOC sensor, but along the way I did find out something interesting regarding CO2: namely, if you sleep with your bedroom door closed at night, then the odds are good that the CO2 levels rise to surprisingly high and unhealthy levels.

    The better CO2 sensors are factory calibrated and never again need recalibration for the life of the sensor (usually around 10 years or so), because they are used in HVAC systems to control fresh air intake to guarantee indoor air quality. As a for instance, here is one such CO2 sensor: https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/senseair/006-0-0008/15790694 At around $50 for just the sensor element itself, it's not exactly cheap, but then again, I'd say it's worth it, because who wants to be burdened by remembering to calibrate their CO2 sensors?

    Ideally, I'd like to find a sensitive VOC sensor that also will never require calibration.

    Nearly all, and maybe all, of the off-the-shelf IAQ montoring stuff that you might buy for, say, $300 or less seems to require periodic calibration. For that reason, this might be one of those occasions where build is rather than buy.


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