Carbon Monoxide Detector Reviews
Appliances such as furnaces, clothes dryers, stove tops or ovens can leak a deadly gas called carbon monoxide. The problem and danger with carbon dioxide is that it is odorless and colorless so detecting it without a carbon dioxide detector is virtually impossible. Companies have created special carbon dioxide detectors that will measure the amount of CO in the air and if it reaches unhealthy and dangerous levels an alarm will sound.
- Best Overall
- Best For The Money
- Best Inexpensive Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Best Seller Amazon
- Best Portable Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Best Carbon Monoxide Detector Battery Life
- Determining Your Needs
- Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Carbon Monoxide Detector Features
- Carbon Monoxide Detector Safety Tips
There are combination smoke alarm/ CO detectors but it is recommended that you get dedicated CO detectors if you want the best protection from this deadly gas. A carbon monoxide detector works by detecting levels of CO in the air. It measures the levels automatically and if they are above what is considered safe, an alarm goes off letting you know that CO has been detected.
With all of the different models and brand names on the market, you may be worried about how to decide which type and brand you should get. That is where we can help.
The leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America is carbon monoxide poisoning.
This guide is designed to teach you about the different types of carbon monoxide detectors that are available, the features they can have, how to determine your needs and how to sort through those different choices so you can choose the one that works the best for your needs.
With the right knowledge you will be able to make an informed decision that you will be confident about. When it comes to a carbon monoxide detector you don’t really need one with a bunch of bells and whistles, you simply need one that has a reliable and accurate CO detection sensor, a loud alarm, and a few other basic features to ensure the safety of your family.
Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors
First Alert Dual Power Carbon Monoxide Plug-In Alarm
|Backlit digital display||Electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor
|Best For The Money|
Kidde Battery-Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm
|Free-standing design||5 year limited warranty
|Best Inexpensive |
First Alert Plug In Carbon Monoxide Alarm
|Alarm Action Chart||Battery backup
|Best Seller |
Kidde Nighthawk Carbon monoxide Detector
|3 mounting options||Battery backup
Awakelion Battery-Operated Combo Co Detector/Alarm
|Portable design||Voice alert
|Best Battery Life|
First Alert CO710 10-Year Carbon Monoxide Alarm
|Peak level feature||Stylish, free-standing design
Carbon Monoxide Detector Buyers Guide
Determining Your Needs
Before you purchase a carbon monoxide detector take some time to determine what your specific needs are. This will prevent you from purchasing a unit that doesn’t have the features you are looking for. We have put together a list of questions that will help you decide what you need to protect your home in the best and most accurate way possible.
- Does your state have any regulations regarding carbon monoxide detectors? – There are regulations in some states that require homes to have carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke alarms. Make sure you know what your state requires. If you’re not sure where to look to find those regulations, check with your local fire department. They will know what the regulations are and will be able to help you.
- How many CO detectors do you need? – The CPSC recommends that you put a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home as well as in every sleeping area. Count how many occupied bedrooms you have and plan on getting one for every one of them. Many of the CO detectors on the market come in multiple unit packs to make buying several more economical.
- Do you have a power preference? – Carbon monoxide detectors can be battery powered, AC powered or a combination of the two. Getting combination detectors will provide you with the best protection possible since you will have the AC power the majority of the time and then if the power goes out, the battery backup will automatically kick in.
- Where to put your carbon monoxide detector – Many carbon monoxide detectors are designed to be able to stand up on their own without a stand so you can place them on a shelf, table or dresser without worrying about them toppling over.
The most common placement for CO detectors is to mount them on the wall the way smoke alarms are mounted but with the new designs, you can set them up and get the same protection. The designs are stylish and do not detract from the décor of your home. Most CO detectors are white but there are some that are off white or black as well if you prefer.
There are also places you should NOT put them. We have gone over these places further down in this buyer’s guide so you will know where it is okay and safe to put the CO detectors and where you should avoid.
Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors
All of the carbon monoxide detectors on the market will fall into one of three different categories. We have listed the three categories below along with some information about each type.
This type of CO detector will require two or three AA batteries to work. Battery operated carbon monoxide detectors are not the same as those with battery backup. A battery operated detector only uses batteries. Although this means you will have to check and change the batteries as needed, it does make the COI detector very portable. Some people even use them in their RVs or campers.
These carbon monoxide detectors plug into a regular wall outlet and almost always have a battery backup. They are very easy to install and generally have easy to access batteries. It is wise to check the battery life on a regular basis unless the CO detector you have chosen has a low battery life indicator. Most do and this provides a level of convenience that users enjoy. You won’t have to worry about the batteries dying when you least expect it; you will know exactly where your battery power stands and when to change them.
This is not as common to find in CO detectors but this is a very popular feature of smoke alarms. A hard-wired CO detector has been wired into the electrical system of your home and requires installation that you may or may not choose to do yourself.
Researching different CO models can be overwhelming with all of the choices available. Just take it one product at a time, match it up with your list and you will be able to find the models that match your preferences and needs. It is important to make sure that the carbon monoxide detectors you choose are UL certified. This means they have met or exceeded all safety standards.
Carbon Monoxide Detector Features
There are many features that a carbon monoxide detector can have but this will depend on the brand, the type of detector it is and even the cost. As you go over this list think about the features that are most important to you and make sure that the CO detectors you are considering have the features you need and want.
Low battery signal
If you have a battery operated carbon monoxide detector or it has a battery backup you want to make sure that the batteries are good and the unit is working properly. A low battery signal is very useful in helping you prevent the unit being dead because the batteries have run out of juice. Some models have indicator lights and others have a chirping alarm.
When your carbon monoxide detector is going off there is a test/silence button that you can push to silence the unit. Every carbon monoxide detector has a test/silence button that is used to test the unit to make sure it’s working and also to silence a false alarm. This makes the detector easy to silence without having to remove it from the wall or take the battery out.
Digital LED display
The display on your device is important because it provides several pieces of information that you need. Some units provide ambient temperatures and ongoing CO levels. Others will provide the CO level that is present at the time the alarm is set off. It is much easier to see the digital display if it is backlit. This enables you to see the readings even in low light conditions.
The battery backup feature is very important in keeping your home and family protected even if the power goes out in the home. Plug in CO detectors will use the AC power all the time unless there is a power outage and then the battery backup will automatically kick in.
Most carbon monoxide detectors have a 5 to 10 year life span depending on the model and brand. If it has a sealed lithium battery, the device will last for the life of the battery. It will usually have a warranty that covers it for the life span of the unit as well.
If the carbon monoxide detector can be mounted on the wall, it will almost always come with the needed mounting hardware needed to put it up. This will be in the description so you can see ahead of time if you will have to purchase something extra. Some that have mounting hardware even include the tools you will need as well.
Most carbon monoxide detectors look fairly similar and most look just like smoke alarms. There are some models of CO detectors that are designed to be a little more stylish and are free-standing so you can place them on a table, shelf, counter or dresser and they won’t fall over. In most cases, your CO detector will be white but there are also grey, off white and black detectors as well.
Electrochemical carbon monoxide Sensor
Most of the new models of CO detectors use this technology which is considered the most accurate technology available. When you are protecting your home from something as deadly as carbon monoxide you want to be sure that your devices are accurate. Look for models that feature this technology and you won’t have to worry about accuracy.
If you notice your carbon monoxide detector beeping & chirping, don’t worry it is just the end of life signal that is letting you know that it is time to replace the entire unit. This chirping helps you differentiate between a low battery indicator and an end of life indicator.
Carbon Monoxide Detector Safety Tips
Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous, colorless and odorless gas that is created when fuels such as wood, gasoline, oil, propane and others burn incompletely. Inside your home, cooking and heating equipment that use fuel can be potential sources of Co. We have compiled a list of safety tips for you regarding carbon monoxide that will help keep you safe. The CO detectors are a major step in protecting your home and family. These safety tips will add to that protection.
- Read the instruction manual for your CO detector and follow the instructions to the letter for mounting the detector. It will need to be in specific places in the home and at certain heights as well. The instruction manual will let you know what these specifics are.
- Check with your local fire department (call the non-emergency number) to find out what you should do if your CO alarm goes off and the reading indicates that CO levels have been detected at a dangerous ppm (parts per million) level. There will more than likely be a specific number you should call. They will tell you the steps on what you should do. Be sure to write them down and place them somewhere easy to locate in the event of an emergency.
- Test your carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month. Some people are happier and feel better about checking weekly. Replace them according to the brand’s instructions and if it is before the warranty is out, be certain to call the warranty company so you proceed properly.
- If the alarm goes off and you think it’s a false alarm, use the silence button to turn it off. If it keeps going off call your non-emergency fire department number and explain to them what is going on. They may opt to come to the house and check to be certain everything is okay. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
- If the alarm goes off, move everyone in the family to a fresh air location outside or at the very least by a door or open window. Make sure all members of the family are together and call the proper emergency people to check things out.
- If you need to warm up your vehicle, make sure that you remove it from the garage as soon as you start it and let it warm up outside. You should never run a fueled engine of any kind indoors or in a garage even if the garage doors are open. You also want to be sure that the exhaust pipe of your vehicle is not blocked by snow.
- During and after you have had a heavy snow, ensure that the vents for the stove, the furnace, the clothes dryers and the fireplace have the appropriate ventilation systems. Generators should never be used indoors unless it is designed for indoor use. If you do use it inside, never leave it on unattended, place it near open doorways and windows and be careful about what you do with it.
- Carbon monoxide detector placement is very important. Do not mount the Co detectors near the hot water heater and the furnaces. The nature of these items can cause false alarms. You also don’t want to put them in the kitchen or laundry room. Anywhere where there are appliances can cause false alarm readings.
- Replace the detectors every 5 years – Unless your detector is a 7 or 10 year model, you can expect to replace them every 5 years.
- Check the batteries every week or month and change accordingly. Dead batteries mean you are not being protected from carbon monoxide. Make sure that you check the battery every week to ensure batteries and backup are working properly.
- Don’t mount or place your carbon monoxide detectors in direct sunlight.
- Keep your carbon monoxide detectors away from places that have vents such as AC units and vents, open windows and doors and other breezy areas. These things can cause the CO detector to give false readings.
Purchasing the right carbon monoxide detectors will protect your family and home from this deadly gas that cannot be seen or smelled without the use of special equipment. Because of the nature of carbon monoxide, it is impossible to see or smell anything out of the ordinary that would give you a clue that something was wrong. And since CO poisoning mimics the flu, you may not realize that there is a problem until it is too late.
Water heaters, AC units, furnaces, ovens and clothes dryers can pose potential CO threats. Having good quality carbon monoxide detectors can give you peace of mind that if there is a problem, the detectors will pick it up and alert you that the levels are not at safe.
Carbon monoxide detectors can prevent a tragedy from happening, especially if you have very young children. A child’s small size makes them more at risk to CO leaks so make sure that you put a detector in their rooms as well as on each floor of the home if it is a two story.
The peace of mind these units will provide is priceless. There is no need to leave your home and family unprotected when there are so many great models out there at all price points. Regardless of your budget you will be able to find a carbon monoxide detector that will be perfect for your home. You will need more than one but with the economical cost, purchasing several won’t break your wallet at all.
- Kidde – https://www.kidde.com/home-safety/en/us/
- First Alert – http://www.firstalert.com/
- Awakelion – https://www.amazon.com/Awakelion/pages/15757603011