The increasing applications of low-cost air sensors promises more convenient and cost-effective systems for air monitoring in many places and under many conditions. However, the data quality from such systems has not been fully characterized and may not meet user expectations in research and regulatory uses, or for use in citizen science. In our study, electrochemical sensors (Alphasense B4 series) for carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2
), and oxidants (Ox
) were evaluated under controlled laboratory conditions to identify the influencing factors and quantify their relation with sensor outputs. Based on the laboratory tests, we developed different correction methods to compensate for the impact of ambient conditions. Further, the sensors were assembled into a monitoring system and tested in ambient conditions in Hong Kong side-by-side with regulatory reference monitors, and data from these tests were used to evaluate the performance of the models, to refine them, and validate their applicability in variable ambient conditions in the field. The more comprehensive correction models demonstrated enhanced performance when compared with uncorrected data. One over-arching observation of this study is that the low-cost sensors may promise excellent sensitivity and performance, but it is essential for users to understand and account for several key factors that may strongly affect the nature of sensor data. In this paper, we also evaluated factors of multi-month stability, temperature, and humidity, and considered the interaction of oxidant gases NO2
and ozone on a newly introduced oxidant sensor.
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