No matter where you are in the world, it’s important to monitor the air quality. So, we’ve curated this list of the best apps for air quality.
The quality of the air we breathe is of the utmost importance. Due to environmental factors and air pollution, the quality of the air outside can vary on a daily basis, and as such, it’s important to be aware of the present conditions at any given time. Fortunately, there are a few great apps that you can use to check the present air quality in your local area; this way, you can avoid going out when the air quality is low, which will help improve your overall health.
In this article, we will look at five of the very best apps for air quality that works in almost every country; we’ll explain what the apps are, how they work, their best features, and go over the pros and cons of each one. We’ll also answer frequently asked questions and provide some good general tips for tracking and monitoring air quality.
If you want to know the exact air quality in your home you may want to look into investing in an AQI monitor – we recommend the best home air quality monitor based on testing the reviews and tests we have conducted.
Keep reading to learn:
- The best apps for air quality
- What the normal AQI air quality level is
- At what AQI the air becomes hazardous
- What the most accurate AQI app is
- What determines AQI air quality
- And much more
What is AQI?
AQI stands for Air Quality Index. The AQI is the measurement of how clean the air is in a given region at any given time. The AQI scale goes from zero to 500, and the higher the AQI level is, the more pollution is in the air. Generally speaking, AQI levels below 100 are considered to be healthy and acceptable, while AQI levels in excess of 300 are considered hazardous and pose a health risk. That said, it’s important to note that various countries have their own air quality metrics in place, but the AQI is a good universal baseline that can help you stay informed about how safe or unsafe the air is in your local area.
The 5 Best Apps for Monitoring the AQI
Keep in mind that these apps are not the only AQI air quality monitoring apps on the market, but they have been chosen for this list because of their ease of use, features, and availability. Most of the apps on this list work on both Android and iOS devices and are available in most countries, meaning that almost anyone with a smartphone can use them to track the quality of the air in their local region.
Also, please note that this list is not in any particular order, which is to say that the number one app on the list is not necessarily any better than the number five app; each of these apps work well and do a great job at monitoring AQI levels and using any one of them will be much better than not monitoring the AQI at all.
1. IQAir / AirVisual
IQAir / AirVisual is one of the best air quality apps on the market today and has almost a quarter million installs globally. The app provides real-time AQI information for more than 10,000 cities across the globe, and best of all, it’s free to use and doesn’t include any annoying advertisements. In addition to air quality, IQAir / AirVisual also provides real-time weather data, so it’s a great app to use for checking not only the air quality but also the local weather forecast in your region.
The best features of IQAir / AirVisual
One of the best and most important features to look for in any AQI air quality app is real-time data, meaning that if the air quality changes suddenly, you’ll know right away and won’t have to wait hours or days for updated information.
Available in 80+ Countries
The app is available in more than 10,000 cities across 80+ countries, meaning that in most of the world’s most populous urban centers, you’ll be able to quickly and easily get an accurate measure of the air quality.
7 Day Forecasts
Being able to see 7-day forecasts is extremely helpful, especially when planning outdoor activities. By knowing in advance when the air quality will be best, you can schedule your outdoor time accordingly, ensuring that you’ll have access to the best possible air quality each week.
Free of Ads
Advertisements can be extremely annoying, especially when you just want some quick info, such as the AQI levels or weather in your local region. IQAir / AirVisual doesn’t contain any ads at all but rather features a clean user interface that displays only the data you need and want.
In addition to the AQI, IQAir / AirVisual also provides real-time weather information so that with a single glance, you can learn both the quality of the air and the weather forecast in your local region.
Sensitive Group Information
IQAir / AirVisual has specific information about airborne pollutants and allergens that might affect sensitive people, such as people with allergies, asthma, and other breathing conditions, which is extremely helpful for people affected by those conditions.
Links with your Air Quality Monitor
The app can also link up with your external air quality monitor if you have one. Most people don’t use external AQI readers, and the app does a great job, but for those who want to be extra certain of the air quality, this may be a helpful feature.
Live Monitoring of 6 Key Pollutants
In addition to the AQI level and weather, the app also monitors six key air pollutants, which can further inform your outdoor activity schedule. Ultimately, more information is always better than less when it comes to air quality.
Historical Data Graphs
Another great feature of the app is that it shows historical data so that you can better understand trends in AQI and airborne pollutants.
The pros of IQAir / AirVisual
- Widely Available
- Real-time Data
- Free of Ads
- Weather Info
- 7 Day Forecasts
The cons of IQAir / AirVisual
- Provides frequent notifications
Download it from Apple Store and Google Play Store
We also produced a hands-on IQAir purifier review that is worth checking out.
2. Air Quality – AirCare
Air Quality – Air Care is another excellent app that provides real-time information about the AQI levels in 40+ countries. The app has won more than 20 international awards and continues to be one of the most popular AQI air quality apps on the market. The app features both a free version and a paid version, but the free version works fine and provides accurate information about the AQI, along with pollen and raw pollutant data. The app features an easy-to-use user interface that even a child could understand quickly and boasts numerous charts, graphs, and maps, to help you visualize the data, which for some people is much more effective than reading the numbers.
The best features of Air Quality – Air Care
Clean User Interface (UI)
The app features a clean, minimalist design that makes it super easy to find the information you’re looking for without having to navigate a ton of different tabs, making it a great app to use when you just want the info you need at a glance.
Like most of the apps on this list, Air Quality – Air Care features real-time information so that you can stay up to date on the latest air quality levels without there being any delays or long wait times for accurate info.
The app also contains real-time data (in select countries) about the pollen levels in the air, which can be particularly helpful for people who suffer from seasonal or permanent allergies. The app also contains information about birch, olive, grass, and ragweed levels, which also affect many people with allergies.
Raw Pollutant Data
In addition to the AQI, pollen, and airborne allergen levels, the app also contains useful information about the concentration of raw pollutants in the air. Raw pollutants include things such as PM10, O3, NO2, and other harmful raw pollutants in the atmosphere.
Being able to visualize the data can help make it much easier to understand when the AQI is hazardous. The app features a number of handy charts, graphs, and apps, which can help you make sense of the data quickly in a way that isn’t always possible when looking at the numbers. This is especially helpful for children who may understand things visually but not numerically.
Educational Tools for Children
Speaking of children, the app also features a mascot that teaches kids about the various factors which contribute to air quality, including pollens, allergens, pollutants, and much more, making the app a great educational tool for teaching your kids about the importance of monitoring the air quality.
One of the great features included with the paid version of the app is the real-time push notification system which will send a message directly to your Android or iOS device in the event that the air quality should become hazardous so that you can get indoors and avoid any of the health complications associated with high AQI levels, or airborne pollutants such as pollens and allergens.
The Paid Version is Ad Free
The free version of the app does contain some ads, but they aren’t particularly obnoxious. That said, every app is better with no ads, and that’s certainly an option for those who use Air Quality – Air Care. The paid version of the app allows you to remove all ads so that you can enjoy a cleaner user interface.
The paid version of the app also allows users to toggle between the light and dark modes. For most people, this isn’t a major deal, but some people will definitely prefer the dark mode, especially at night and so if you like the look and feel of the app, and are considering the paid version, then this is just one more nice feature that you should be aware of.
The pros of Air Quality – Air Care
- Real-time Data
- Visualization Features
- Pollen and Allergen Info
- Raw Pollutant Data
- Educational Tools for Kids
The cons of Air Quality – Air Care
- Issues with selecting a preferred location
Download it from Apple Store and Google Play Store
3. Plume Labs
Plume Labs is without a doubt one of the most accurate air quality monitoring apps available for both iOS and Android devices. The app goes above and beyond many of the competitors in that it not only provides real-time data around the globe, but it actually features street-by-street air quality information, as well as incredibly accurate 72-hour forecasts. The app features interactive maps that make it easy to plan jogging routes and outdoor activities and is available in most major urban centers around the world. The app was designed and built by scientists and boasts a ton of additional bells and whistles, such as morning and evening reports tailored to your city, along with smart notifications and clean air coaching features.
The best features of Plume Labs
One of the best features of Plume Labs is that it is available, with very few exceptions, in almost all major cities in the world, so no matter where you live or where you’re planning to visit, you’ll be able to get up-to-date, accurate information about the air quality in those regions.
Street by Street AQI Maps
Unlike many of the other AQI monitoring apps, Plume Labs features a street-by-street interactive map tool that allows you to view local pollution hotspots and plan your outdoor activities according to the most accurate information available in your city at any given time.
Being able to see the AQI forecast for the next few days is very helpful when planning outdoor activities such as running, jogging, or sports. Plus, by knowing how the air quality will change, you can avoid being outside at the most hazardous times of the day, which can significantly improve your overall health and well-being.
Morning and Evening Reports
Having a handy report in the morning is very useful for planning your day. When you first wake up, you can find out everything you need to know about today’s air quality, including when and where it will be the most hazardous. Likewise, in the evening, you can access another report that will tell you about tomorrow’s air quality as well as recap the AQI situation in your city over the past day.
Global AQI Searches
Being able to check the AQI in your city is, of course, very useful. But when you’re planning a trip, it helps to know what the air quality situation is like at your destination; this is where Plume Labs stands out from the crowd. Global AQI searches allow you to check out the AQI in most other cities in the world so that you’ll always know what sort of situation you’re walking into when traveling.
Another great feature of Plume Labs is that the app will automatically alert you if the AQI levels rise to hazardous levels in your city or if you enter a part of town where there are particularly high levels of pollution which can enable you to take immediate action so as to safeguard your health.
Clean Air Coaching
The clean air coaching feature is another excellent benefit of the app. The coaching feature helps you identify the situations that cause you to breathe polluted air and assists you in planning healthier outdoor activities in areas with less contaminated oxygen. All things considered, this is a great educational feature that more AQI apps could benefit from.
In addition to real-time local data, the app also provides historical information and forecast data so that you can better understand the AQI trends in your city and where things are likely to be headed in the next few days. Also, the historical data helps provide valuable context so that if you notice a sudden spike in the AQI, you’ll be able to look back in time to determine if this is something you should be particularly concerned about or if it’s normal to see such spikes occur on occasion in the long term.
Hyper-Local Real-Time Info
Thanks to the widespread availability of the app, Plume Labs doesn’t only show air quality levels in your city as a whole, but rather, it actually shows you real-time information about the AQI in your specific neighborhood, which can help inform you when it comes to traveling outdoors, as well as planning recreational activities and outdoor gatherings.
Plume Labs is one of the few sites that shows satellite imagery so that you can visualize the air quality in a way that the numbers alone might not convey. By being able to see the airborne pollution for yourself, you can quickly understand the AQI for the day without relying on figures that can be confusing for some people. It’s not uncommon to see negative reviews for any AQI app with people claiming the data is unreliable, but by being able to see the actual satellite imagery for yourself, it becomes hard to deny the accuracy of the information provided by Plume Labs.
The pros of Plume Labs
- Real-Time AQI Information
- Street by Street AQI Maps
- Global AQI Searches
- Clean Air Coaching
- Satellite Imagery
The cons of Plume Labs
- Requires GPS permission for most features
Download it from Apple Store and Google Play Store
BreezoMeter is one of the most personalized and customizable AQI air quality monitoring apps available. The app has a ton of great features, including real-time AQI information, weather forecasts, air quality maps, personalized recommendations, notifications, pollutant tracking, and it’s available in 94 different countries, making it one of the most commonly available AQI apps on the market today. The app also provides actionable information about ambient air quality and uses a proprietary algorithm to extract and display data from more than 7000 weather centers and AQI monitoring stations worldwide.
The best features of BreezoMeter
Up-To-Date Real-Time Information
As with all the apps on this list, BreezoMeter features frequently updated real-time information about AQI levels, ambient air quality, and airborne pollutants so that you can plan your outdoor activities accordingly. The site gathers data from global monitoring stations to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in the app.
In addition to the AQI levels and other air quality factors, BreezoMeter also gives accurate weather information, including both short- and long-range forecasts, which can help you plan your day’s activities not only in terms of air quality but also with respect to rain, snow, and other environmental conditions. It’s nice to be able to see both the AQI and the weather in one place without needing to download and install multiple apps for this information.
The app features a smart notification system that will inform you when the air quality in your city becomes hazardous so that you can take the steps necessary to go inside and avoid breathing hazardous or contaminated air, which is always a nice feature to have.
The app keeps track of AQI and other airborne pollutants and allergens, such as pollen levels, so that if you have a high sensitivity or allergies, you can stay informed and make your outdoor plans accordingly.
Unlike many of the other AQI apps available on the market today, BreezoMeter actually provides personalized insights that factor in where you live, work, and your daily activities. This can be helpful for educating yourself on the levels of hazardous air you are being exposed to on a daily and weekly basis, allowing you to adjust your routine so that you’re breathing in cleaner air more frequently.
Given that the app is available in 94 countries and counting, there’s a great chance that you’ll be able to access the app in your city. The app works in most major cities and populous areas in those countries as well, which ensures that you’ll be able to stay up to date on the latest air quality information while traveling within and around your current country.
Air Quality Maps
Having all of the numbers on hand is very useful, but air quality maps can tell you everything you need to know without looking at or thinking about the numbers. These handy maps visually show not only the AQI levels but also other pollutants and airborne allergen levels so that you can assess the situation and act accordingly based on your own observations in tandem with the reported AQI and pollutant levels.
The proprietary algorithm used by the app collects and displays accurate information from weather stations and AQI monitoring centers around the world, which helps ensure that you can trust and rely on the data provided by the app.
The pros of BreezoMeter
- Real-Time AQI Data
- Weather Forecasts
- Smart Notifications
- Air Quality Maps
- Global Monitoring
The cons of BreezoMeter
- Tracks your location
Download it from Apple Store and Google Play Store
5. Air Quality Reader
Last but not least, Air Quality Reader is one of the most popular AQI apps on iOS and boasts many of the best features available with the other apps we’ve looked at so far, including real-time AQI readings, live air quality maps, an easy-to-use interface, and more, but also has the added benefit of sourcing data from Purple Air Sensors and global AQI monitoring centers. Purple Air Sensors are widely considered to be among the most accurate due to the fact that AQI industry enthusiasts and climate scientists maintain this network of AQI monitors. Unfortunately, the app is not available on Android devices but is a great app for monitoring AQI levels on Apple iOS devices.
The best features of Air Quality Reader
Air Quality Reader provides accurate, up-to-date AQI information in real-time so that you can always know right away when the air quality changes and take action to get indoors if the air becomes hazardous or contains high levels of airborne pollutants.
Live Air Quality Maps
In addition to the AQI and pollutant information available within the app, you can also access live air quality maps, which can help you see what’s going on with respect to air quality visually, rather than just by examining the numbers and raw data.
Simple User Interface
The user interface is probably the easiest and most straightforward of all the apps we’ve been looking at, which makes finding the exact information you want a breeze.
Purple Air AQI Data Sourcing
Purple Air sensors are among the most reliable in the industry, and this network is monitored and maintained by scientists and avid AQI industry enthusiasts, making it a trustworthy and reliable source for AQI levels and airborne pollution monitoring.
The app also includes a number of handy widgets, allowing you to glean all of the information you need from your home screen without ever needing to actually open or engage with the app directly in order to obtain reports about the present air quality in your city.
The pros of Air Quality Reader
- Real-Time AQI Information
- Live Air Quality Maps
- Simple User Interface
- Purple Air Sensor Data Sourcing
- Home Screen Widgets
The cons of Air Quality Reader
- Not available on Android
Download it from Apple Store
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve looked at five of the best apps for air quality monitoring let’s briefly go over some of the most frequently asked questions relating to AQI in general.
What is normal AQI air quality?
Any AQI level below about 100 is generally considered to be normal and healthy. That said, the lower the number, the better, and so relatively speaking, a reading of 100 may be high in a country where the normal level is around 40. An AQI in excess of 100 is considered to be unhealthy, and anything beyond 300 is extremely hazardous for your health.
Is 150 AQI bad?
An AQI level of 150 is bad. Again, anything in excess of 100 is not healthy and should be avoided if at all possible. However, some countries are horribly polluted and routinely see numbers in the high 200’s or even in the 300’s. That doesn’t mean that 150 is good, but it may be an improvement over the normal AQI levels in regions that are particularly polluted or experience high levels of airborne allergens and raw pollutants.
At what AQI is the air hazardous?
The air becomes hazardous, meaning extremely dangerous when the AQI levels exceed 300. That said, the air can be hazardous to sensitive groups, including those with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions when the AQI exceeds 150. So, the answer is relative, but no matter what, the air is dangerous for everyone once the AQI surpasses 300.
What is the most accurate air quality app?
All of the apps we’ve looked at in this article provide accurate, real-time AQI figures, so it’s impossible to say for certain which one is the most accurate. For Android users, Plume Labs, which provides satellite imagery, is very accurate indeed. Being able to actually see the live satellite images detailing the air quality makes it hard to dispute the accuracy of the information.
For those with iOS devices, Air Quality Reader, which relies on Purple Air Sensors, is also extremely accurate. But all of the apps we’ve looked at are, for the most part, accurate and provide detailed information about AQI levels around the world.
What determines air quality on a weather app?
The Air Quality Index or AQI is one of the most universally accepted metrics with which to measure the quality of the air we breathe. AQI factors five major pollutants into the equation: ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Considering that these pollutants are among the most harmful and also the most widespread, it’s safe to say that relying on an AQI app such as the ones we’ve looked at in this article can help you plan your outdoor activities and improve your overall health and wellness.