Licensing and Monetization of our Open Source Air Quality Monitors

All the AirGradient’s founders have been affected by the severe air pollution in Southeast Asia, and from the start we have worked with disadvantaged communities and provided them with affordable and high-quality air quality monitoring.

We have invested tens of thousands of dollars developing our indoor and outdoor air quality projects and are very committed to continuing to support these open-source projects and keep them updated. As we do not receive any grants or contributions, we have paid for these developments through the sales of our air quality kits and other commercial monitors. We appreciate everyone who purchased one of our kits and helped us achieve our objectives.

We recently decided to license all Open AirGradient open-source and open-hardware air quality projects under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License see CC BY-SA 4.0 Licensing Terms and Conditions. The licence covers the enclosure files, schematics, PCB files, and firmware, thus providing you with all the resources necessary to build a robust, accurate, and reliable air quality monitor.

We believe that the CC BY-SA license is the most suitable because it permits our project to flourish while honouring our efforts and commitments, thereby ensuring the longevity of the project. We also think that by including share-alike and attribution requirements in our licensing terms, we can disqualify unscrupulous individuals and entities from misappropriating our collective work.

Why we Chose Creative Commons?

The Creative Commons (CC) licenses are not commonly used for hardware products, but they do have one major advantage and that is their wide-spread use. Many are familiar with the various CC licenses and immediately understand the terms of use.

Creative Common Licenses. Easy to Understand.

We also like the CC icons which are small, easily recognised, and easy to share on documents.


We want to ensure that any product that is derived from any of our projects remains open source for the benefit of the wider community. We therefore do not allow license modifications and forbid anyone to close license any product or work, whose origins can be traced back to any of AirGradient’s open-source projects. This ensures that all upgrades, improvements and extensions to hardware and software will remain open-source and available for air quality projects all over the world.


There are a few reasons why we think attribution is necessary. Most importantly, we want to give credit to the active community and a wealth of information on our website and forum, which include fantastic additions and extensions to the kit developed by the community, some which address issues experienced during assembly. Attribution is a way that we acknowledge where the work comes from and shows respect for all the work contributed by those actively involved. Attribution makes it easier for us to share the improvements with our community. The knowledge that has been acquired benefits us all.

Let’s talk about money

Commercial Use

For a short time we toyed with the idea of not allowing commercial use. However, restricting commercial use goes against some of the core beliefs of the Open Source Foundation and could discriminate against some users. Also, NGOs and Non-Profit organisations that occasionally resale goods, like our kits, and use the proceeds to support their causes, would be exempt.

We want to give organizations (including for-profit companies) the opportunity to build on our tested designs and further develop them, for instance by integrating new connectivity choices options such as LoRa or additional sensors. We only ask for a commitment that anyone using our open-source products will not create closed and proprietary versions of products derived from our work. All work and products must remain open-source.

In the end…

We do hope that the license helps you in using AirGradient in the best possible way for your project as well as ensuring the whole community benefits from the accumulated knowledge. Get in touch with us if you have any comments or concerns!

by Achim Haug
Mar 8, 2023

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