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.
Written by | Updated November 20, 2019
Best Overall
safety siren brand radon gas detectorSafety Siren Radon Detector
  • EPA-approved
  • Long-term readings
  • Easy setup
  • EPA-approved
  • Long-term readings
  • Easy setup
Runner Up
airthings radon gas detectorAirThings Radon Gas Detector
  • Instant readings
  • No lab fees
  • Place it anywhere
  • Instant readings
  • No lab fees
  • Place it anywhere
Budget Pick
Pro-Lab Radon Detector KitFirst Alert Radon Test Kit
  • One-year test
  • Postage included
  • Provides average levels
  • One-year test
  • Postage included
  • Provides average levels
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Last Updated: 2 weeks ago
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Radon is a product of decaying radioactive elements like uranium. There are pockets of the substance across the country, but some states have higher levels than others.

A radon detector can tell you if your home is at risk of contamination. Long-term and short-term kits are DIY tests perfect for testing your current or potential new home.

The highest concentrations of radon can be found below-ground levels without much ventilation such as basements, crawlspaces, foundations, sump pumps, construction joints.

We Compared Radon Detectors

Price
Long-term Detection
Short-term Detection
Lab Testing Required
Lab Fees
Safety Siren Pro Series 3
AirThings Corentium
Pro-Lab Radon Gas Test Kit
RSSI Alpha Track
First Alert RD1
Kidde Radon Gas Detection Test Kit
Safety Siren radon gas detector airthings radon gas detector Pro-Lab Radon Detector Kit alpha brand long-term radon detector First Alert radon gas test kit Kidde radon test kit
$149.99 $154.10 $26.34 $28.00 $13.98 $11.48
Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
No No No Yes Yes Yes
No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
No No Yes No No No
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Home Depot View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

*Amazon.com prices as of 11/20/19  09:29 pm MST.

The 6 Best Radon Detectors

#1. Safety Siren Pro Series3 Radon Gas Detector

Best Overall
Safety Siren radon gas detector

SafetySiren Pro Series 3

The Safety Siren costs more than most on our list, but it has the features to justify the price. Instead of a one-time monitoring sample, the Safety Siren Pro Series 3 takes air samples every hour and self-tests every 24-hours. This keeps the readings accurate and current.

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

Pros

  • Continuous readings
  • Clear, easy to read display
  • EPA-evaluated

Cons

  • Steep price

2. AirThings Corentium Home Radon Gas Detector

Runner Up

AirThings Corentium

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.

Pros

  • Get readings instantly
  • Long- and short-term readings
  • No lab fees

Cons

  • Expensive

3. Pro-Lab Long-Term Radon Gas Test Kit

Budget Pick
Long-term radon gas test kit

Pro-Lab Radon Gas Test Kit

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.

Pros

  • Detects up to 1 year
  • Provides an average radon level
  • Prepaid postage included

Cons

  • $40 lab fee

4. RSSI Long-Term Alpha Track Radon Detector Kit

Alpha Track Pick
alpha brand long-term radon detector

RSSI Alpha Track

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.

Pros

  • Long- or short-term use
  • Low initial price

Cons

  • Not available in New Jersey
  • Lab fees required for results

5. First Alert RD1 Radon Gas Test Kit

Quick Test Pick
First Alert radon gas test kit

First Alert RD1

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

Pros

  • Tests in 48 hours
  • EPA-approved

Cons

  • Fees differ for New Jersey residents
  • Lab fees required

6. Kidde Radon Gas Detection Test Kit

DIY Pick
Kidde radon test kit

Kidde Radon Gas Detection Kit

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 ten dollars to the EPA for results.

Pros

  • Tests in 48 hours
  • EPA-approved

Cons

  • Fees differ for New Jersey residents
  • 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.

*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.

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 ninety 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.

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 Thumb Tack.

Radon Detection FAQs

How Much Radon is Dangerous?
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.

Where does radon come from?

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.

What buildings are most likely to be affected by radon contamination?

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

How do I get the most accurate results from my radon gas test kit?

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.

What is the best location for my radon detector?

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.

What should I do if I find high levels of radon in my home?

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 Thumb Tack. 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.

Is radon mitigation expensive?

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.

How is radon harmful?

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.

*Amazon.com list price as of 11/20/19 09:29 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.

Written by Katie McEntire

Since 2013, Katie has written marketing copy, long-form posts, reviews, and blogs. She began her career as a writer and reviewer with the mission to recommend only the best products for her readers. She’s designed tests, evaluated products, and written reviews on a range of subjects such as appliances, power tools, and software. Today, she applies these research and writing skills on the SafeWise team to explore the world of home, auto, and internet security. Learn more

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  • Roy Dunham

    Did you consider testing the Radon Eye RD200 Smart Radon Monitor Detector ?

  • Robert Burgett

    Why do four of the 6 listed test products begin with this paragraph?

    “The Safety Siren claims a high price tag of the others listed here, but the EPA-evaluated device lasts longer than any other radon detection kit out there. It is a digital monitor that displays the radon gas level—both short- and long-term averages—and will last up to five years.”

    It seems as though your posted version of this article you wrote has some copy/paste errors and is missing some information about 4 of the products that might be helpful.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Whoa! Yeah, that’s definitely a publishing error. Thanks for catching that. We’re on it.

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