How to Choose the Best Dust Monitor: An Explanation of Certification Kinds and Levels

It may be difficult to choose the best environmental dust monitor. There are many dust sampling techniques to choose from, including high volume, low volume, optical, and beta attenuation, as well as various degrees of certification for each one of these ways of dust sample.

Popular dust monitoring devices are classified into four performance classes: certified reference, certified equivalent, certified indicative, and indicative, for the sake of comparison.

Certified Reference Instruments 

The high-volume sampler and the Partisol are the two instruments on display in the Certified Reference class. Although there are many more, these are the most often used instruments that have reference certification.

Gravimetric particle measurement is required for equipment to be designated as Reference. Gravimetric methods use the mass of the material as a basis for calculating a value.

The most accurate particle measuring technique has few major drawbacks when compared to other methods of the same class or higher.

The process requires daily or weekly filter weighing by hand. The operator must manually remove the sample before sending it to a laboratory for testing. As a result, compared to fully automated processes, operating costs are astronomical.

To summarise, although reference devices are very precise, they are also costly to run and unable to provide a real-time picture of dust levels in the environment.

Certified Equivalent Instruments 

Equivalent techniques get their name from the fact that they have been proven to be as good as Certified Reference instruments in terms of performance. Not only do they satisfy certain objective pass/fail criteria established by the MCERTS, US EPA, TUV, or equivalent regulatory agency, but they also function similarly.

Several alternative systems of measuring have been recognized as being equal by the authorities. Each technique has its own set of problems and potential pitfalls. There are no less costly instruments in this category than there are in the Certified Indicative category. It’s also possible that they’re more costly than Certified Reference-level equipment.

Hourly statistics may be provided. Instead of daily averages, these devices may give data as hourly averages. This implies that data collected at one point in the day may be compared to data collected at another point in the day.

Summary: Certified Equivalent devices are reliable and accurate, but the overall installation costs may be expensive, and they cannot give minute-by-minute information.

Certified Indicative Instruments 

An indicator is anything that has been proven to be indicative when compared to other instruments that have been certified as equivalent. In Europe, where the requirements for Indicative instruments are formally defined, the word “Indicative” is used more often. MCERTS, the world’s sole standard for indicative dust monitoring devices, was developed as a result of the formal requirements.

To satisfy the MCERTS standard for indicative dust monitoring, several manufacturers (including Aeroqual) have shown their products’ performance. Both indicative and reference dust monitoring devices must be tested against each other for 40 days as per the standard. In addition, a factory inspection is required to verify that quality procedures are in place to guarantee that instruments of consistently high quality are manufactured by the manufacturer.

Because of the cheap cost of the optical sensor they utilize, the devices may be made accessible to a wide audience. Because they’re inexpensive, more people can afford to use them, and because some individuals can afford to purchase three Indicative instruments instead of just one Equivalent one. When you measure at many locations, you get a more accurate picture of what’s happening. This improves data quality.

Overall, Certified Indicative instruments are more affordable than non-certified alternatives. They’re low-cost and simple to make use of. The accuracy and quality of certified instruments have been proven. Finally, maintenance needs may be reduced, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership.


Your application and budget will determine the environmental dust monitor you choose. To get a fairly priced and somewhat accurate dust monitor, consider a Certified Indicative device. If great precision is needed and the cost is not an issue, then a Certified Reference or Certified Equivalent equipment should be considered. A certified Reference is a good option if you just need data once a day. An Indicative monitor is required if you need minute-by-minute data.


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