The best radon test kits

Radon test kits

Living with high amounts of radon in your home can have devastating health effects, but how do you test for something you cannot see or smell? With a radon test kit, of course. Here we will show you how they work, how accurate they are, and review the best short and long-term kits.

Topics covered
  • How do radon test kits work?
  • Are they accurate?
  • Where is the best place to put a radon test?
  • How often should you test?
  • The best radon test kits
    • First Alert short-term test
    • Accustar short-term test
    • Pro-Lab long-term test




How do radon test kits work?

Short and long-term DIY radon test kits use different methods of measuring the amount of radon in the air. Regardless of the method used, results are given in picoCuries per liter (pCi/L).

It’s important to note that there are no safe levels of radon and each country has a different level that it regards as acceptable. In the US, the acceptable level is 4 pCi/L.

Short-term tests: Short term tests use activated charcoal. The atoms in the gas stick to the charcoal and are counted in a laboratory.

Long-term tests: Long-term tests make use of Alpha track devices, which works the same way as the charcoal method. The only difference is that instead of the gas atoms sticking to charcoal, it sticks to a special type of tape, which is also counted in a laboratory.

Radon inspector testing: When using the services of a professional radon inspector, they will use an electret, which is a disc that uses an electrical charge. These devices are expensive and require a trained professional to use it.


Are they accurate?

Long-term test kits (3 to 12 months) are more accurate than short-term tests (2 to 4 days). That doesn’t mean that the short-term test kits are unreliable. Just make sure that it comes from a trusted and quality brand.

The accuracy of a radon test also depends on several external factors which we will discuss here:

Airflow / breeze: Whenever testing, make sure to minimize breezes or airflow in the room for the duration of the test. This will allow the gas (if present) to naturally build-up in the space and thereby give you an accurate reading.

The season: The season in which you conduct your test matters. It’s best to test during autumn or winter because high temperatures and humidity associated with the spring and summer months can lower the amounts of radon in your home.


Where is the best place to put a radon test?

To get the most accurate reading possible, place the test on the floor of the lowest liveable part of your home, whether it is in a basement or the ground floor.


How often should you test?

Just because your radon test results were favorable, doesn’t mean that it will remain so. It’s recommended to test once every year or two. If you happen to live in a radon problem area, you may want to consider getting a detector system instead.


The best radon test kits

There are many radon gas test kits on the market, which is why we have reviewed 3 of the best – 2 short-term kits from First Alert and Accustar and 1 long-term kit from Pro-Lab.

First Alert Radon Gas Test Kit

The First Alert Radon Test Kit is not only the easiest and safest way to test for radon gas, but it is also approved by the EPA.

It’s a short-term test that makes use of the activated charcoal method. To use, simply place the test on the floor of the lowest part of your home or business and leave it for 2 to 4 days. When done, put the test in the envelope (provided with your purchase) and mail it back to the First Alert lab. The results will be emailed back to you within 72 hours of them receiving your sample.

Your purchase includes the test, a self-addressed envelope, lab fees, and clear instructions on what to do should your test results come back positive.

The product weighs just under 4 ounces and has dimensions of 8.38 x 6.5 x 8.38 inches.

Get the latest price from Amazon.com.


Radon Test Kit from Accustar

This radon gas test kit from Accustar gets placed on the floor on the lowest part of your home and is left for 2 to 4 days. Afterward, place the test in the included envelope and send it to the lab for analysis. You will get your results within a few days.

Your purchase includes the test, a self-addressed envelope, clear instructions, and the lab analysis fee is included in the price.

The product weighs just under 5 ounces and has dimensions of 4.69 x 4.41 x 1.57 inches.

Get the latest price from Amazon.com.


Pro-Lab Long-term Radon Test Kit

The easy to use long-term test kit from Pro-Lab tests for radon with alpha track technology. To use, place it at least two feet from the floor and away from windows, and leave it undisturbed for 3 to 12 months.

When done, place the test in the included envelope and send it off to the lab for analysis. Postage is paid, but you will have to pay an additional $40 for the lab analysis.

Results will be available within 7 working days.

The product weighs 2.4 ounces and has dimensions of 0.8 x 5 x 8 inches.

Get the latest price from Amazon.com.


More information

The best radon detectors.

The best radon mitigation fans.

Everything you wanted to know about this deadly gas.

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