By Sotirios Papathanasiou
Air pollution expert Sotirios Papathanasiou has been testing out the Analox CO2BUDDY and gives his in-depth review below:
Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitor sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic because they are good indicators of the indoor conditions in public places like schools, offices, restaurants, etc. The CO2BUDDY can be used in all these cases. However, it can cover even more scenarios as it functions as a tool for professionals that work in places where the conditions are extreme, for example, in dry ice shipping & logistics and COVID-19 vaccine distribution channels.
Dry ice is a solid form of CO2. As it warms, it goes through a process called sublimation, meaning it goes directly from a solid to a gas, bypassing the liquid state. As a result, huge concentrations of CO2 are released into the atmosphere and the environment. These concentrations can reach critical levels for the health of the employees.
I want my review to be as accurate as possible and despite the fact that I don’t work in harsh environments, I know people that they do, so I asked them to wear the CO2BUDDY during their workdays and share their experience with me. They were more than happy to help and they also took some photos. Before reading their experience let’s learn some technical details about the monitor.
- Extremely lightweight: max weight 70g
- Rechargeable battery via micro USB
- Up to 4 days operation on one charge
- User friendly: Single button operation
- Fresh air calibration function
- Alarm indicators: Audible, visible, and vibration
- Maximum relative humidity – 95% RH (Non-condensing) Temperature – 0 to 40°C (32 to 104°F)
CO2 SENSOR SPECS
- CO2 Sensing Method: Non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) absorption
- Sample Method: Diffusion
- Measurement Range: 0-5%
- Resolution: 10ppm
- Operating Conditions: 0°C to 50°C, 0 to 95% RH, non-condensing
- Sensor Life Expectancy: > 15 years
The monitor is designed to alert users to high CO2 concentrations. It achieves this by audio thanks to the buzzer, with light flashes thanks to the color LEDs, and with vibration cues thanks to the embedded vibrator. Also, there is a small LCD screen that displays the current CO2 percentage. e.g. 0.04% (safe 400ppm) or 3.05% (high 30,500ppm).
There is only one button that allows the user to turn the monitor on/off, set the calibration function or adjust the alarm settings and thresholds. The user needs to read the instructions in order to adjust the device as there is a series of button presses that will set the right configurations, but this will happen only once during the initial setup.
Once the device runs out of power a LO (low) indication will appear on the screen and the buzzer will sound periodically. The device comes with 2 years warranty but the life of the CO2 sensor is greater than 15 years which is fantastic. It is very sturdy and compact and both the neck strap or the clip on the back is removable.
The monitor comes with an IP54 rating which means it is protected against quantity of dust that could interfere with the normal operation of the product but is not fully dust tight. The product is completely protected against solid objects. It is also protected against water splashing from any angle.
The professional I lent the monitor to works in the maintenance of water tanks that are closed spaces with no ventilation and once they are inside a tank, CO2 can build up really fast. Sometimes they work in a group of two, so double CO2 is releasing inside the tank and the work is hard which means that the metabolic rates and oxygen consumption is faster than a sitting person.
He told me that although the company that provides that service has other gas monitors for safety reasons, they don’t have a CO2 monitor so small that he can wear it on his clothes every day and be alerted to possible dangers.
The monitor is brilliant and very useful. I see great potentiality as it is classified as a piece of safety equipment.
If I had employees under my command that had to work under extreme conditions, I would like to have the ability to analyze the data from the sensors in order to understand better the conditions and possible measurements that I would have to take in order to ensure safety for my staff. Unfortunately, the monitor doesn’t register the measurements in a log file. It would be a great feature for a future product iteration.
I know that CO2 monitors are associated with COVID-19 nowadays. However, they offer so much value to consumers and professionals. CO2BUDDY is a versatile CO2 monitor that can be used in so many places and for a variety of reasons. At the end of the day, we know that safety and precaution are very important for employers and employees.