How to Increase Home Safety with These Top Radon Detectors

Radon is a radioactive gas found underground. Learn how to see if your home is at risk.
Best overall
SafetySiren Pro4
SafetySiren Pro4 Radon Detector
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    EPA-approved
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    Takes continuous readings
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    Easy setup
Runner up
airthings radon gas detector
AirThings Radon Gas Detector
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    Instant readings
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    No lab fees
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    Place it anywhere
Budget pick
Pro-Lab Radon Detector Kit
Pro-Lab Long-Term Radon Gas Test Kit
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    One-year test
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    Postage included
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    Provides average levels

Radon is a product of decaying radioactive elements like uranium. Both short-term and long-term kits can help prevent contamination at your house.

We recommend the SafetySiren Pro4 Radon Detector as a long-term solution for testing in your home, especially if you're moving to an older residence. The SafetySiren takes continuous readings to give you both short- and long-term insights.

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Where radon is common

The highest concentrations of radon can be found below-ground levels without much ventilation such as basements, crawlspaces, foundations, sump pumps, and construction joints. There are pockets of radon across the country, but some states have higher levels?than others.



Compare the best radon detectors

Best overall

Runner up

Budget pick

Alpha track pick

Quick test pick

DIY pick

SafetySiren Pro4 Radon Detector

AirThings Corentium

Pro-Lab Radon Gas Test Kit

RSSI Alpha Track

First Alert RD1

Kidde Radon Gas Detection Test Kit

SafetySiren Pro4airthings radon gas detectorLong-term radon gas test kitalpha brand long-term radon detectorFirst Alert radon gas test kit
Price

$212.97

$179.00

$21.10

$28.00

$13.98

$11.55

Long-term detection
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Short-term detection
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Lab testing required
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Lab fees
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*Amazon.com prices as of 12/10/2020 4:30 p.m. MST. See full disclaimer.

The 6 best radon detectors

1. SafetySiren Pro4 Radon Detector: Best overall

The?SafetySiren Pro4 Radon Detector costs more than most on our list, but it has the features to justify the price. Instead of a one-time monitoring sample, the SafetySiren takes air samples continuously and displays new results every hour on a backlit LCD screen.

It’s also EPA-evaluated, meaning it meets federal standards for radon detectors and can last for up to five years.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Continuous readings
Pro Bullet Clear, easy-to-read display
Pro Bullet EPA-evaluated
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Steep price

2. AirThings Corentium Home Radon Gas Detector: Runner up

The Corentium Home Radar Detector by AirThings looks like a cell phone and runs a little under $200. It’s battery-operated and portable, and it claims to be accurate even in dusty and humid conditions. Because you get your readings instantly, you won’t need to pay for lab fees or postage stamps to send it off.

It’s small, portable, and wire-free, so you can place it virtually anywhere. From the crawlspace to the downstairs game room, you can check radon levels throughout your home.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Get readings instantly
Pro Bullet Long- and short-term readings
Pro Bullet No lab fees
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Expensive

3. Pro-Lab Long-Term Radon Gas Test Kit: Budget pick

The Pro-Lab Radon Gas Test Kit is a long-term kit, measuring radon levels from three months to a year. This makes it more expensive, but readings are more accurate the longer you use the device.

The Pro-Lab may seem like a steal at first, but its purchase price doesn’t include the $40 lab fee for testing.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Detects up to 1 year
Pro Bullet Provides an average radon level
Pro Bullet Prepaid postage included
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet $40 lab fee

4. RSSI Long-Term Alpha Track Radon Detector Kit: Alpha track pick

Alpha Track Pick

You can get a reading from the RSSI Alpha Track Radon Detector in as little as eight days to a full year. This makes it a good choice when scoping out new homes. If you decide to buy the house, keep this detector for the first year to measure risk levels.

We like that you can use the RSSI as a long- or short-term radon detector, but it still requires lab fees to get results. Plus, this radon detector isn’t available to New Jersey residents due to high state lab fees.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Long- or short-term use
Pro Bullet Low initial price
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Not available in New Jersey
Con Bullet Lab fees required for results

5. First Alert RD1 Radon Gas Test Kit: Quick test pick

First Alert offers an easy setup and fast analysis. The company delivers test results, along with a detailed action plan, within 72 hours of receiving your radon sample. This is a great kit for home buyers, as the kit only needs 48 hours to test radon levels.

First Alert claims a spot on the EPA Radon Gas Measurement Proficiency Program.

You are responsible for the return postage costs, and the price does not include the lab fee costs for New Jersey residents.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Tests in 48 hours
Pro Bullet EPA-approved
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Fees differ for New Jersey residents
Con Bullet Lab fees required

6.?Kidde Radon Gas Detection Test Kit: DIY pick

Kidde provides an all-in-one radon sampler bag that simply needs to be placed in the testing location. This kit is great for short-term radon tests and only needs to sit for two or three days.

Once you’ve tested, send it to the laboratory in the provided return envelope.

The list price covers the cost of analysis, except in New Jersey, where residents must pay a fee of $10 to the EPA for results.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Tests in 48 hours
Pro Bullet EPA-approved
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Fees differ for New Jersey residents
Con Bullet Lab fees required

Where to put a radon detector

Install your radon detector at the lowest occupied level in your house. Radon usually disperses at three stories above ground, so placing a test on higher levels won’t catch higher concentrations.

Place the detector in a discreet location away from windows and doors because outside air can affect its reading.

Avoid humid areas like your bathroom or laundry room to avoid malfunctions. Placing it near crawlspaces, construction joints, and sump pumps can also create false positives or incorrectly high results.

Document the test. Write down the start and end date and time for the test. This will help with comparing results and deciding whether to perform another test.

Types of radon detectors

We recommend starting with an inexpensive radon gas test kit, and then—if the results are concerning—purchasing an electronic radon detector to continue to monitor your home.

Short-term radon test kits

A short-term radon test kit gives you fast answers. If you’re in a time crunch, these tests are a good way to get a quick snapshot of your home’s radon gas levels.

Short-term kits use charcoal to absorb radon radiation, and they typically need between two and 90 days to get a good reading. The longer you test, the more accurate your results will be. When the test period is up, send the kit to a laboratory and technicians will use a special process to count the number of radioactive particles emitted from the charcoal.

Long-term radon test kits?

If you’re looking for a more reliable overall picture of your home’s radon level, a long-term test kit is a good choice.

Long-term kits use a process called alpha track detection to measure radon gas in the air over a period of three months to a year. When alpha particles hit the coated plastic or foil sheet in the kit, they make pockmarks on the surface. Lab technicians count the pockmarks to determine average radon levels in your home.

Long-term kits are more expensive than short term kits, but they’re also more accurate because they measure radon levels over a longer period of time.

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Hire a professional

If you have detected high levels of radon in your home, you should hire a contractor who specializes in radon mitigation. You can search for contractors and see user reviews on Thumbtack.

Bottom line

Whether you’re concerned about radon levels in your basement, crawlspace, or regular living areas, the SafetySiren Radon Detector is your best long-term solution.

It’s pricier than the rest on our list, but we think its easy-to-read LCD screen, frequent display updates, and five-year shelf life make this detector worth it.

FAQ

Radon detectors measure levels in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) to indicate the average, year-round radon levels. If your home measures between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L, consider taking steps to reduce radon levels.

Any result above 4pCi/L should be confirmed with a follow-up test. If the result remains high, take immediate action to reduce the radon levels in your home.

Radon is a byproduct of uranium, which is found naturally in soil. As uranium decays, it releases radioactive particles of radon called radon daughters (or alpha particles), which can then seep in through tiny cracks in your foundation or walls and into your air.

Radon isn’t picky about where it shows up. Any building—a home, school, office, store, or warehouse—is susceptible to radon contamination.

Place your radon detector in the lowest level of your home in an area without ventilation or airflow. Follow the test’s setup instructions, then leave the area undisturbed until the test is done. Remember, the longer you leave the test out, the better results you’ll have.

Your radon detector is designed to find out how much radon you’re being exposed to on a daily basis, so keep it nearest the lowest level areas where you and your family spend the most time.

Once you know your levels are higher than the recommended amount, your first step is to find a contractor qualified in radon mitigation. Contact your state radon office for a list of contractors in your area. You can also search for a qualified radon mitigation contractor on Thumbtack. Once you select a contractor, they will usually begin by sealing any cracks or crevices in your foundation. Then, they’ll install a mitigation ventilation system to help air better circulate and reduce the risk of radon inside your home.

Because few cases of radon contamination are the same, each one will have a different price tag. But on average, you can expect to pay at least $500 for basic mitigation services, and possibly more if you have a trickier situation.

The National Cancer Institute cites radon as a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoke, causing somewhere between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths annually. Anyone who smokes and is also around higher radon levels are at an elevated risk of developing lung cancer.

Keep in mind that not everyone who is exposed to high levels of radon will get lung cancer. According to the EPA, only about 4% of nonsmokers will get lung cancer from radon exposure, even from greatly elevated levels of the gas.


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Disclaimer

*Amazon.com list price as of 12/10/20 4:30 p.m. MST. Product prices and availability are accurate as of this date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any prices and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy.