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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tests in 48 hours
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 Thumbtack.
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 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.
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
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. Learn more