Awair has announced a new smart plug called the Glow C. The Glow C is a follow-up to the Glow from a couple of years ago, and it blends Awair’s air quality-sensing technology with a smart plug and a customizable night light. It’s available at an introductory price of $75 starting today, which is $25 less than the prior Glow model. After July 31st, the Glow C will go to its regular price of $89.
Seventy-five dollars (or eventually, almost $90) is a lot of money for a smart plug when you can easily find simple internet-connected plugs on Amazon for less than $20, so the Glow C’s real value is in all of the other sensors Awair has packed into it. Like the larger Awair products, the Glow C can measure temperature, humidity, and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs (but not carbon dioxide, which the first model did detect). It can then use that data to trigger devices that are plugged in to it, such as a fan, humidifier, or air conditioner. The Glow C also has a motion sensor, so it will only turn on a device when someone is present in the room. It also has a fully customizable light that can be used as a simple nightlight or to let you know the status of your air quality at a glance. (Green is good, red is bad.) As with other smart plugs, there’s a button on the Glow C to turn it on and off from the plug itself.
The Awair app also uses this combined data to provide a score between 0 (bad) and 100 (perfect) for the air quality in the room where the Glow C is installed. It will provide push notifications when it detects changes in air quality, along with suggestions for how to address the problem (e.g., “The humidity is getting low. You might want to turn on a humidifier.”) as well as a chart showing the history of changes over time. You can also manually toggle the smart plug and set up various rules and conditions to trigger the outlet from the app.
Finally, the Glow C can connect to Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and other smart home devices for more control options. Awair did not say if or when Apple’s HomeKit support would be added to its product lineup when asked.
To test the Glow C, I plugged it into my bedroom and plugged a dehumidifier into it. I then set a trigger in the app to turn on the dehumidifier when the Glow C detected humidity levels of 50 percent or more. Unsurprisingly, the Glow C kicked on the dehumidifier when it detected humidity levels rising. However, it frequently turned the dehumidifier on and off to maintain the 50 percent level, which was annoying and surely not good for the longevity of the dehumidifier.
Awair says it is working to improve the intelligence of the trigger to prevent this from happening. As with any smart plug, the Glow C works best with devices that remember their state when powered down or have manual controls as opposed to digital ones. My dehumidifier makes an obnoxious beep every time it turns on and has its own sensors for detecting humidity, so it wasn’t the best thing to pair with the Glow C in a bedroom. Awair is launching a section on its site with recommended devices that it has already tested to work with the Glow C.
If you do have a device that works well with a smart plug, the Glow C is quite interesting. It’s far more intelligent than a standard smart plug if you’re using it with a fan or other device that can improve air quality, while also providing a handy night light wherever it’s plugged in. I do wish there was more I could do with the sensors packed into the Glow C — turning my other smart lights on when it detects motion would be great — but overall, the Glow C is an easy, unobtrusive way to measure the air quality in a room and automatically take action to correct it.
Update, 8:00AM ET, July 26th 2019: Added more information about pricing.
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