What is the Netatmo Healthy Home Coach?
Monitoring your home’s air quality is big news at the moment, with a raft of products all launching at the same time. The cheapest product is the Netatmo Healthy Home Coach, which keeps the cost down by using fewer sensors. In turn, this may affect its usefulness.
Netatmo Healthy Home Coach – Design and build
Netatmo is well known for its high-quality designs, and the Healthy Home Coach looks gorgeous. It’s only available in rose gold, but that’s fine with me, as this cylinder looks and feels fantastic. While other home monitors are designed to blend into the background, this is a product that you’ll most likely be happy to have out on display.
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A single LED lights the central chamber when you hit the button on the front. The light colour changes depending on how good the air quality in your home is: light blue means all Healthy, moving through orange and red to show you when conditions have turned Unhealthy. A single Healthy Home Coach is designed to monitor a single room, although you can buy multiple units and monitor them all from within the same app.
Netatmo Healthy Home Coach – Features
Netatmo’s Healthy Home Coach has several sensors to detect the quality of your home environment. Humidity helps you see the relative air moisture, as rooms that are two humid can breed bacteria and mould; rooms that aren’t humid enough can cause breathing problems and itchy skin. Hand-in-hand with this is the temperature sensor so that you can keep a room at the right ambient level. This is particularly important if you have a baby, as they can’t regulate body heat.
A sound meter is something that I haven’t seen on an air monitor before. Netatmo says that it’s a useful metric, particularly in monitoring sleep quality. For example, by checking the historical data at night, you can see if there are regular loud noises that could be disturbing you and your family. Air quality simply measures the Co2 levels of the room. Higher concentrations of CO2 can make it harder to concentrate.
That’s it, sensor-wise, from Netatmo. It’s a real shame that the Healthy Home Coach can’t measure some of the more harmful elements, such as particulate matter (small bits of dust that can penetrate the lungs) or VOCs (volatile organic compounds, which are toxic chemicals often found in cleaning products). These two options are some of the most critical for measuring what’s actually going on in your home.
As the LED on the front of the Healthy Home Coach doesn’t tell you what’s going on, detailed information can be monitored from the neat app. The home screen shows, at a glance, if your room is Healthy or Unhealthy.
Under that basic overview you get readings for each of the four measurements that the Healthy Home Coach monitors. Each tells you descriptively if the reading is good or not; tapping any reading brings up more detailed information. The exact information differs depending on the reading. If you get a bad one, such as a room that’s too hot, the information box shows some tips on what you should do to combat the reading.
Healthy Home Coach can operate in three modes: Whole Family, Baby, and Asthmatic. Each mode sets different thresholds for measurement warnings. For example, the Baby mode is more sensitive to heat; the Asthmatic mode is more sensitive to humidity. Unfortunately, the tips don’t change to suit the mode, such as giving specific advice on how to keep a baby cool. Testing the Healthy Home Coach in Baby mode gave advice on wearing “appropriate clothing”.
All data is kept for 24 hours, so you can step back in time to see what the measurements were like in the past. Other smart home monitors keep data for a longer period, helping you build a better picture of your home’s health.
Netatmo Healthy Home Coach – Performance
The Healthy Home Coach responds quickly to changes in your air, but the problem is that most of the readings are rather obvious. If a room is too hot or too cold, for example, it’s easy to tell. And it’s easy to buy a cheap device that can measure both humidity and temperature, provided you don’t care about having the information in an app.
Without particulate matter or VOC sensors, the Healthy Home Coach doesn’t respond to other factors, such as cleaning sprays putting harmful chemicals into the air. Without these sensors, it’s hard to take steps to really clean up every aspect of your home’s air.
Netatmo Healthy Home Coach – Apple Home
Netatmo supports Apple Home with the Healthy Home Coach. Once added into your system, you can ask Siri simple questions, such as “What is the humidity in this room?” Current Apple Home restrictions means that only the CO2 sensor can be used in automations. Even then, you can’t set a threshold, and Apple Home can only trigger an automation when high levels of carbon dioxide are detected. It’s a little disappointing that the system isn’t more flexible.
Sadly, there’s no IFTTT channel to give you more control over other devices. Given that other Netatmo products have an IFTTT channel, this is bound to be added in the near future, but for now the Healthy Home Coach is less flexible than its competition.
Should I buy the Netatmo Healthy Home Coach?
As neat as the Netatmo Healthy Home Coach and its app are, it doesn’t measure enough things for our liking, and the measurements it does take are a little more obvious. The more expensive Foobot has a wider range of sensors and a better IFTTT channel.
A simple home monitor, but it doesn’t particularly tell you anything that isn’t obvious or that can’t be done cheaper.