Sensor Installation

When installing your PurpleAir sensor, the best location will depend on your specific monitoring needs. Most importantly, the sensor should be placed where it is most convenient while maintaining a connection to power and WiFi. Here are some recommendations to consider when choosing a location:


  • Placement: PurpleAir sensors are designed for certain conditions.

    • The PurpleAir Classic and the PurpleAir Flex are designed to be placed outdoors but can still be used indoors.
    • The PA-I and the PurpleAir Touch are designed to sit upright on a table, desk, shelf, etc.
    • The PurpleAir Zen comes with a desktop and wall(pole) mount to place it indoors or outdoors, either mounted or sitting on a surface.
  • Connectivity: Ensure that your sensor is installed where it will maintain its WiFi connection.

  • Angle: Ensure the device is installed in its upright position so dust or particles do not settle on the lenses in the laser counters.

  • Base Cover: We do not recommend covering the base of your sensor with any material. This will impact the air flow and ability of the sensor to properly measure particulate matter.


  • Temperature: We have seen sensors survive extreme conditions and temperatures, like functioning through Alaskan winters. The following are some temperature guidelines for what we’ve noticed:
    • Functioning: -40°C to 60°C (-40°F to 140°F)
    • Operational: -10°C to 60°C (14°F to 140°F)
    • Full Accuracy: 0°C to 60°C (32°F to 140°F)
  • Sunlight: Direct sunlight can affect the temperature readings of the sensor and may discolor the exterior of the sensor. This is normal, but you could choose to avoid placing it in direct sunlight.

  • Pollution: To get the best reading for the general area, the sensor should be placed away from vents, furnaces, and BBQs, unless pollution from these sources should appear in the data.

  • Foliage: Spiders and insects tend to love the warmth of the sensor and can get in the fans, and can cause spikes in the readings. It is ideal to avoid mounting near trees and shrubs when possible.

  • Elevation: The PurpleAir sensor should be mounted at a height that is most convenient. Ensure it is high enough off the ground to allow for airflow. Also, ensure that water is not able to splash up into the underside of the sensor.


  • Consider: Consider the room’s primary use when choosing a location. For example, if you are monitoring air quality in a bedroom, place the sensor near the bed.

  • Experiment: You may want to experiment with different room locations to find the best spot for your sensor or to compare the air quality between different rooms.

What can Affect Indoor Air Quality?

There are many things that can affect the air quality in your area. The following list contains some common items to look out for:

Learn More

Learn more about sensor coverage area.
Learn more about sensor relocation.
Learn more about moving your sensor and map marker.
View the air sensor training videos from South Coast AQMD’s Sensor Educational Toolkit.

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