Radon Detectors & Test Kits

Radon, the odourless naturally occurring radioactive gas is one silent killer, which muddles with your health when inhaled in large concentrations. Radon gas has been one of the main reasons behind lung cancer among the non-smokers. A smoker exposed to this dangerous gas has a higher risk of getting deadly lung cancer. According to US EPA, about 4% of the non-smokers are subjected to this fatal disease due to continuous radon exposure.

This problem has a simple solution: a proper radon mitigation system. If you reside in the places where Radon gas levels are known to be high and problematic, you need to get the radon level in your house checked from time to time.  

But what is the need to keep a check on the radon level, when there is already a mitigation system installed?

Well, the risks posed by a high concentration of radon gas are quite dangerous. According to US EPA, anything above 4pCi/L concentration of Radon causes serious threats to health. Hence, the mitigation system needs to be checked for its efficiency from time to time. For this, the best and easy way is to keep a track of the radon levels in your home.

The radon gas gets released into the air after it decays into the soil. This radioactive gas seeps into your basements from cracks in the building or bodies of underground water. You will never know how much radon gas you are exposed to unless you have a proper detection mechanism.

You can get a professional to check the radon levels at your home, or you can buy a test kit and check it yourself.

Below are some of the radon detectors available in the market. I have reviewed them to help you make a good choice.

Best Radon Detectors & Test Kits for home reviewed

1. Corentium Home Radon detector

“Air things” presents a state of the art radon measuring instrument in the name of Corentium.  This 4.7”×2.7”×1” digital instrument weighs about 0.3lbs and is powered by 3 AAA batteries.

Over its useful 10 years of lifetime, it boasts of producing accurate radon measurements (with only 5% variance) similar to the ones given by the professionals which use the commercial radon detectors. This accuracy owes to the implementation of advanced algorithm which is normally found in the commercial radon detectors used by professionals.

It has a digital display which indicates both long term average value and short term average value, in pCi/L. Since it is battery powered, it can be taken to different spots to detect the radon levels. The inaccuracies caused due to external factors like electromagnetic interference, dust and even humidity (below 85%) is eliminated as this unit adapts to the surrounding environment easily.

Not only its installation is pretty easy, it is quite simple to use also. All in all, it is a good value for money product.

Pros:

  • Accurate measurement with only 5 % variance
  • Indicates both long term and short term measurements
  • Portable
  • Unaffected by EMI, dust and other external environmental factors.

Cons:

  • Uses 3 AAA batteries which need to be replaced every 2 years.
  • You cannot rely on the readings for the first few days of installation. Only after a couple of days, the readings come out to be accurate.

2. Safety Siren Pro

Continuous radon detection is needed for those places where there is a risk of high radon exposure to keep track of the radon level. The Safety Siren Pro electronic radon detector from family safety products is a continuous radon tester with numeric LED display. The display shows both short term and long term radon levels in a clear and easy to understand format.

Hourly update of the radon levels is also indicated in its Display. This is recommended as the radon levels change according to the humidity and season.

The design of this professional grade detector has been approved by the US EPA. The display which has a range of  .1 to 999.9 in pCi/L shows the short term radon level value measured by averaging the radon samples over 7 days. The long term level displayed is the measured value that is calculated by averaging the radon levels from the time the system was powered up to the last reset. It releases an alarm if the readings go beyond the EPA specified value of 4 pCi/L. This alarm can be set to mute or reactivated using a button.

Pros:

  • Clear, easy to read LED display
  • Displays both short term and Long term readings
  • Shows hourly radon level updates
  • Audible alarm which goes off when the radon readings go higher than 4 pCi/L

Cons:

  • High cost

3. RADEX RD1503 Radon detector

One of the best selling workhorses of Quarta-Rad, the RADEX RD1503+ comes with power-packed features that make this scientific tool perfect for an average Joe.  It is specifically designed to be used as a personal Geiger counter that detects ionized radiation at indoors, outdoors and in objects.

With a LCD display, it shows the measured Radon gas levels along with other rays such as beta, gamma and x-ray.

This pocket-sized detector is battery powered and can be carried anywhere easily. The accuracy of this device has been tested by the Japanese consumer protection agency. The radon level is measured in modern micro Sieverts units. A Cesium-137 isotope has been used for calibration of the device which has a detection range of  0.05 – 9.99 uSv/h. The LCD monitor displays the difference in dose rate between the averaged and background values. This device also features inbuilt adjustable vibration and audio signal.

Pros:

  • Pocket size, portable radon detector
  • Also measures beta, gamma and x-ray radiation
  • Embedded Audio alarm and vibration
  • Detection range: 0.05 – 9.99 uSv/h

Cons:

  • It sometimes measures the ambient radiation instead of Radon gas emission alone.

4. First Alert RD1 Radon gas test kit

With nearly 60 years of experience in producing home safety products, First Alert’s Radon gas test kit helps to detect radon gas level in your homes using a short term test.

It is one of the simplest and safest ways of testing the radon levels in your home. This char-coal based kit has been listed by the EPA Radon Gas Measurement Proficiency Program.

You will need to make sure the room or area where you plan to carry out the test has a low humidity level and preferably dry.

Once the test samples are sent, it takes only 72 hours to get the results via email. It is a great pick if you are looking for a short test that would help you identify how much your radon mitigation system is working. The kit comes with a manual, which guides you to properly interpret the test results for better disaster preparedness.

Pros:

  • Char-coal based test kit gives precise result
  • Fast delivery of test results (72 hours maximum)
  • Simple and easy to use, all you have to do is place the kit at the desired site.

Cons:

  • The room needs to be low in humidity (preferably dry)
  • Test can be carried out in a closed area only.

5. Air things wave smart radon detector

Air things wave smart radon detector helps you keep a close eye on the radon levels of your home in a more digitized and smart way. It comes with simple comprehendible colour codes that indicate good/warning/danger level of radon; all you need to do is wave your phone in front of it.  Your phone will receive all the (daily, weekly, monthly) updates regarding radon, temperature and humidity levels through a free mobile app.

This aids in accessing the radon levels at your home in real time, which is a great advantage.

The first reading is displayed after 48 hours of installation.  This device is convenient to use and can be installed easily through its instruction manual. It is powered by 2 AA batteries which can last long up to 1.5 years.

Pros:

  • Simply wave before the device to see whether the radon exposure is within good/warning/danger levels.
  • Fantastic app which can be used in both android and iOS devices.
  • Get daily, weekly, monthly radon, humidity and temperature updates on your phone
  • Easy to mount

Cons:

  • Highly priced

6. Kidde 442020 Radon Test Kit

Kidde presents an easy to use short term radon detector kit for your homes and the surrounding area. An activated charcoal bag acts as a radon detector which needs to be placed in the desired location for three continuous days and instructions given in its manual needs to be followed.

The radon is measured with an EPA registered facility.  The kit includes a return mailer envelope which makes the return of the test sample easy. The samples need to be sent to the Alpha energy laboratories ltd.

Analysis fee is already included in the cost price of the kit. This means you need not give any additional charges except if you are from New Jersey, you will have to bear a sum of $10 for the same.

Pros:

  • Charcoal based radon sample gives precise results
  • One of the best kit when comes to short term radon test
  • Easy to use
  • Analysis fee included in its cost

Cons:

  • The EPA charges an additional 10$ from its New Jersey customers as analysis fee

7. Alpha Track Radon Kit

If you are looking for a long term or a flexible radon test kit, the Alpha track radon kit is your ideal buy.

This kit is super easy to use, all you have to do is place this at the spot you intend to and follow the instructions given in the user manual.

If you plan to take the test for 8 days or more(less than 14 days), the kit detector must be sent to the lab via overnight service.

The highlight of this kit is that it gives you the flexibility to take the test for any number of days in between 14 days to 1 year. The more days the kit has been exposed to the radon emissions, the more data can be inferred and more accurate results will be yielded.

The cost is also quite reasonable as it is inclusive of the analysis and test fees. You do not need a sealed room for the best results; however it must be kept at the lowest possible height and not on dirt, away from any heat source.

Humidity or any other transition radiation may affect the accuracy of the results.

Pros:

  • Flexible test duration; from 14 days to 1 year, EPA recommends 90 days and above to furnish accurate results.
  • Easy to use: Just follow the instructions given in the manual
  • The longer the test duration, the more data it generates.
  • The cost is inclusive of the lab analysis and test fees

Cons:

  • It is not resistant to humidity or any other sort of tamper
  • The results which come via mail/email are not easily comprehendible

8. Airthings Corentium Pro- Digital Radon Detector

One of the lightest approved Continuous radon monitor, Corentium Pro-Digital radon detector from Airthings has an exceptionally easy to use mechanism. This makes it suitable for both commercial and professional use.

The user-friendly mechanism employed in this product gives out the maximum reliable result, by just exposing it to the air. The indoor air is sampled through the inbuilt passive diffusion chambers and radon gas level is measured by the silicon photodiode. This gives out the maximum possible precise results.

It comes with data storage which can be accessed through the wireless internet connection. You can access the data which is as old as 5 years through its amazing memory backup, through free software which can be launched on any windows laptops and computers. You can use this data to produce a customised report that keeps a track of the radon levels at your home over a period of time. 

The main highlight of this product is that the display can be controlled through a mobile app. It is powered by 3 “AA” batteries and is free from cables and adapters, making it a hassle- free portable radon detector. It comes with a tilt sensor, which makes this device tamper-resistant.

The Corentium Pro-Digital Radon detector boasts of a 10 year life expectancy.

Pros:

  • Precise results
  • Portability
  • Data storage of up to 5 years(1 hour resolution)
  • 10 year life expectancy
  • Can be used for both professional and commercial use
  • Display control through mobile app
  • Tamper and EMI proof.
  • Access to data through free windows software.
  • Battery powered

Cons:

  • High Cost
  • The free software needed to access the data is not compatible with Mac computers and laptops.

9. Sun Nuclear Professional Continuous Radon Monitor

One of the leading companies dedicated to the radiation oncology quality assurance, Sun Nuclear, presents a professional grade continuous radon monitor.

This 1027 model has a simple 2 button operation and comes with a tamper detector. All the measured values are displayed on its LCD screen and these values can be used to generate reports from the computer or a printer. This single dome, solid state diffusion detector has a RS232 and printer interface which allows a compact printer to plug in whenever an on-site report is required.

It uses line power for its operation. It comes with a short term battery backup also. The reports are exported to your computer in a text format. The efficient, large chamber design of this device is unaffected by the humidity and greatly suppresses the measurement noise. It can monitor and report up to 90h of continuous radon gas level in a 1-hour interval.

Together with the comprehensive “OneRADON” software application on your android/iOS computers, this professional radon detector is capable of generating fully customizable report and invoice for a service.

Pros:

  • Reliable and precise results
  • Professional grade, AARST/NRPP, CARST/C-NRPP, and NRSB approved design
  • On-site, on demand report generation through a plug-in small printer
  • Resistant to humidity and tamper
  • Large chamber design suppresses the measurement noises.
  • OneRADON software is compatible with both Android and iOS devices
  • Short term battery backup

Cons:

  • Not suitable for commercial use
  • Requires adapters and is not easily portable

10. Radon Gas Kit from Accustar

If you are looking for a product that will assess the working of the radon mitigation system at your home, then this short term test from Accustar is an ideal pick.

This is a charcoal based gas kit, which is super easy to use and gives fast results.

Make sure you carry out the test in a closed area or where the incoming of fresh air is limited to minimum.

The test is suitable for an average sized room. Once the test is done, you have to send the test sample back to Accustar lab and they will send you the results. The test should be carried out continuously for 96 hours to get the results. Since this is a short term test, the results may not be precise and there are chances of getting false positive or false negative results. Also, the humidity may affect the device and it may not produce results.

Pros:

  • Ideal for checking working of radon mitigation system
  • Simple method
  • Fast results
  • Charcoal based product, absorbs the radon gas present in the room

Cons:

  • Test needs to be done continuously for 96 hours. A minute more than the specified time will not yield any results
  • Humidity in the room needs to be very low, otherwise the device will not converge to proper results.

Types of Radon Detectors

One of the imperative home safety devices, the radon detectors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be mainly classified into long term and short term detectors, according to the time duration of their tests.

1.Short term detectors

A Short term detector is an ideal choice if you want a quick check of the radon level at your home. These detectors produce fast results and tell you the radon levels at that particular instant. These detectors use activated charcoal which is needed to be kept at the radon exposure site for a minimum of 2 days. This test can go as long as 90 days. The more days this test runs the more accurate results it yields. The charcoal absorbs the radon gas over this period. The kit is then sent back to the laboratory to get the radon levels examined.

These test kits are generally less expensive than the long term detector kits and also produce fast results. Except for some kits, most of the short term kits require an additional analysis fee.

The reliability of these short term kits, however, is not great as the radon levels tend to vary with variation in weather conditions.

2.Long term detectors

A long term detector gives you general and reliable data regarding the radon level at your home. These kits use the alpha detection method to measure the radon levels over a long period of time, usually between 3 months to a year. The kit has a coated plastic or foil sheet which creates pockmarks when these alpha particles hit them. The test is analysed in a laboratory where these pockmarks are analysed to measure an average value of radon levels during the test period. The results are sent over mail or email in about 3 month time. 

These long term kits are usually priced higher than their short term counterparts but are more reliable. Since it uses data over a long period of time, the results tend to be more accurate and useful than the short term tests.

How to test your home for Radon?

Radon gas, as already mentioned is a tasteless and odourless gas. It is therefore almost impossible to know whether you are exposed to it, without carrying out proper tests.

Testing your home for radon is simple and affordable. You can carry out either the short term tests or the long term test, based on your requirements.

All you need to do is find the lowest possible place in your home which is used quite often, like for example a basement used as a living room. Place the testing kit there for at least 3 days, to get the actual radon level reading.

If you are using a digital testing kit, you will get to know the radon level reading on its display.

However, if you use the testing kits like activated charcoal(short term test) or an alpha detection technique(long term test kit), you will have to send the samples to the laboratory to get the results.

It is as simple as that. Just make sure you follow the instructions given in the manual of these kits properly. Like some of them do not give proper result if placed in a damp room. So, in this case, chose a place appropriately.

 If the readings are 4 pCi/L or higher, you definitely need to get it fixed by installing a radon mitigation system.  Continuous exposure to radon even at low levels can have a drastic effect on your health. So it is better to fix it even if the readings are in the range 2-4 pCi/L.