Best Carbon Monoxide Detector

We spent over 33 hours researching and testing 13 different carbon monoxide detectors and found that power source, accuracy, and frequency of updates were most important. The Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Alarm scored high above the rest in all categories and is our top pick. The battery backup and digital displays are great features that make the unit easy to use and read. It is very easy to install and offers three different mounting choices. Updates are sent through every 15 seconds so readings are always up to date. There is a five year warranty on this unit.
codetector
11 mins to read
56 products considered
13 products reviewed
33 hours reviewing

1. Kidde

Best Overall Carbon Monoxide Detector

5/5 Product Rating
The Kidde KN-Copp-3 Nighthawk Plug-in Carbon Monoxide Alarm has a battery backup so your protection doesn’t stop if your power goes out for any reason. The digital display is easy to read and shows CO levels on parts per million which enables you to see if the levels change and when they change. This unit is UL-listed and is powered by A/C power. It is user friendly and easy to install.

It will plug directly into an A/C outlet and uses a 9 volt battery for the backup. One of these important and functional carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home and will give a very distinctive, easy to notice sound if CO levels are at an unhealthy level. If the detector senses CO at an unhealthy level, 4 quick beeps will sound every 5 seconds until the levels decrease or the reset button is pushed at a very easy to hear 85 decibels.

You have three mounting choices with the Nighthawk CO detector that makes it very convenient for the homeowner to mount it in the best way for them. The peak level button will display the highest CO levels detected by the alarm from the time it was installed or from the last time you reset it. Thos CO detector will update the reading every 15 seconds that way you’re getting real time results and won’t have to be exposed to dangerous levels if they are detected. This carbon dioxide detector by Kidde comes with a 5 year limited warranty.

Sarah Lytle

2. First Alert CO615

Best Overall Carbon Monoxide Detector – Runner Up

4.8/5 Product Rating
First Alert is a well known and respected name in smoke alarms and this carbon dioxide detector is just as good as their smoke alarms. The First Alert CO615 CO alarm uses the most advanced technology available to produce accurate and reliable results that will give you the peace of mind you want. The LED display is backlit for easy reading and installation is simple too; just plug it in to any wall outlet and you’re all set.

The battery backup ensures that the carbon monoxide detector works even if your power isn’t. All it needs is a 9 volt battery.

There is both an audible and visual alert that signals you to replace you r battery and will also let you know if the battery is removed. Another great feature of this carbon monoxide detector is that it will let you know when the whole unit needs to be replaced by emitting 3 chirps. The First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm comes with a 7 year limited warranty.

Sarah Lytle

3. First Alert CO605

Best Budget Carbon Monoxide Detector

4.7/5 Product Rating
The electrochemical CO sensor is the most accurate sensor that is made and the CO605 has it. This type of carbon monoxide detector uses less power than other types of detectors and it lasts longer as well. If abnormal levels of carbon monoxide are detected, the alarm will sound, 85 decibels of clear sound that will be unmistakable so you can check things out and get out of the house if necessary.

A/C power is what is needed to power this unit and can be done by simply plugging the detector into any regular wall outlet. It also has a battery backup so you don’t lose protection simply because you have lost power. You will love the simple installation of this First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector, just plug it in and go. No additional mounting is needed.

You can test the unit easily with the test/silence button that is clearly visible on the front of the detector. You will get constant monitoring of CO levels in your home with this detector by First Alert. For your additional peace of mind and convenience there is a low battery indicator as well that will emit a signal to let you know a new battery is needed. The front opens easily for easy battery changing as well. This unit carries a 5 year limited warranty and has a helpful Alarm Action chart that is also included which tells the user what to do in the event of the alarm sounding.

Sarah Lytle

Carbon Monoxide Detector Comparison


Kidde


First Alert


First Alert
605


Nest


First
Alert
5CN


First Alert
9120


Kidde
LPM


First Alert

600


First Alert
400


Kidde

BA

Voltage9.00
/ 120.00
120.00120.001.509.009.00
/ 120.00
1.30120.009.001.30
Power
Source
Battery
/ AC Plug-in
AC Plug-inAC Plug-inBatteryBatteryBattery
/ AC Plug-in
BatteryAC Plug-inBatteryBattery
Readout
(PPM)
30 – 99930 – 999NANANANA70 – 999NANANA
SensorElectrochemicalElectrochemicalElectrochemicalIonizationIonizationElectrochemicalIonizationElectrochemicalIonizationIonization
Temperature
Range
(Fahrenheit)
40 – 10050 – 10050 – 10040 – 10040 – 10050 – 10040 – 10050 – 10050 – 10040 – 100
Relative
Humidity
(Percentage)
5 – 955 – 905 – 905 – 985 – 955 – 905 – 955 – 905 – 905 – 95
Accuracy
(Percentage)
+/- 2.00+/- 2.50+/- 2.50+/- 1.80+/- 2.50+/- 2.50+/- 2.00+/- 2.50+/- 2.50+/- 2.00
Updates
(Seconds)
15151530151515151530
Warranty
(Years)
5552555555

 

Carbon Monoxide Detector Buying Guide

Carbon Monoxide Detector Reviews

What is a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Carbon Monoxide Detector1When you’re looking for products to purchase that will keep your home and family safe, you want to get the best quality products you can. Our buyer’s guide is going to give you all the information you need to make the best choice for your needs. Different models of CO detectors have features that are fairly common to all models and then there are some that have additional features that may be offered. Once you understand what is out there, deciding between the different models isn’t as confusing.

In addition to bringing you peace of mind that you’re doing everything you can to keep your family safe, having carbon monoxide detectors in your home also raises its value if you ever decide to sell your home. To find the best CO detectors for your home there are a few things you need to consider.

Things to Consider before Purchasing

There are a few things that you will need to have the answers to before you start your search for the CO detectors you want for your home. We have outlined them below.

What are the State Regulations? – New homes are required to have carbon monoxide detectors when they are built and pre-existing homes are required to have them installed if they haven’t been already. This is a requirement in most states. They also may require the CO detectors to be hard wired or be plug in units that have battery backups. A battery backup is a good thing to have on ALL CO detectors even if it isn’t a state requirement since it means your detectors will work even when your power is out.

How many detectors do you need? – If your home is two stories, you will need to have a carbon monoxide detector for each floor. In addition the National Fire Protection Association recommends having them outside each sleeping area. It is also a good idea to have them all interconnected so if one goes off, they all go off.

Make sure the Unit you choose is Certified – Any units that you are considering should be certified by an independent testing agency. Look for UL certified and you will have this requirement covered.

Types

There are three basic types of carbon monoxide detectors available: standalone, interconnected and combination. We have outlined the differences below for your benefit.

Standalone – A standalone CO detector works independently and is generally a plug in model that uses a regular wall outlet. Most CO detectors that are standalone have battery backups which are a very important feature to have. A standalone CO detector is very easy to install but it one goes off, it will not trigger the others.

Interconnected – These are a bit more involved to install than standalone models. An interconnected CO detector means that all of the CO alarms that are installed all work together so when one goes off they all go off. Interconnected carbon monoxide detectors can also be connected with the smoke alarms in the home.

The benefit to having these alarms interconnected is that when there is danger in one room, all the alarms go off, alerting everyone in the home. They are much harder to install than wireless or standalone and you may want to get help to do this properly. It’ll be worth the extra cost to know for sure that it is done correctly unless you have experience in wiring. Another option is wireless which doesn’t require any rewiring at all. They can be installed easily and use signals to communicate with each other.

Combination – A combination unit is one that has both a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector in one. These are more expensive than standalone detectors but are generally cheaper to get combination units rather than buy one of each for your home. Here is an important thing to think about.

Carbon Monoxide Detector2It has been recommended to homeowners that they NOT get the combination models due to the fact that each alarm is designed to detect a different substance entirely and they don’t work the same way, nor do they do well in the same place. There are certain places that are better for CO detectors that may not be the best places for smoke alarms and vice versa. It is better to get separate detectors and put them where it is recommended than to worry that a combination may not detect one thing or the other reliably.

Features

There are several features that you want to make sure your carbon monoxide detector offers. These are all features that make the unit more reliable and better for the homeowner.

Battery Backup – This is one of the most important features you can have to give you even more peace of mind. Power outages are inevitable and knowing that your CO detectors will work even when your power is not.

Low battery Indicator – Make sure that your CO detector has a low battery signal/indicator that will go off and let you know when it is time to change the battery. Most of them have a chirping alarm that will sound when it’s time to replace the batteries. It can be very easy to forget that it is time to change them, so having this feature can prevent the same battery being in the carbon monoxide detector for years or find out that it’s completely dead the next time the power is out. With the low battery indicator, you’ll never be without the CO protection you want.

Digital Carbon Monoxide Display – The display on you CO detector tells you what the concentrations of CO is in parts per million. It will show them even when they are below the danger level when the alarm would sound. UL regulations require that CO alarms must go off when the readings are 70ppm or less. There can be some bad effects to pregnant women, children, pets and heart patients when levels are 30ppm. The benefit to this feature is that you can pay attention to the CO levels yourself and get an idea of what they are and what they do. An additional feature that has to do with this display is that it will also record that last highest level since they were reset, so if you’re away from home you can come home and check things out on the display and see if there was any change while you were gone.

Silence Button – Silence or hush buttons allow the homeowner to quiet an alarm that has gone off if it turns out to be nothing. All you need to do is press the silence of hush button and it will silence the alarm without having to be turned off. The chances of you forgetting to turn it back on can be high which is why this feature is a favorite among homeowners.

Remote Controlled Mute- This is a convenience feature and allows the user to silence the alarm by remote. There is no additional safety features tied to this feature as it is just for convenience and is not necessity to have the CO detector work just fine.

Important Things to Remember

It is very important to follow the directions on the package a CO detector comes in. There are a few things to remember when purchasing and using one properly. Pay attention to these tips below to get the best out of the CO detector you choose.

  • Don’t mount carbon monoxide detectors in the kitchen or near any cooking appliances
  • Don’t mount them near a furnace or water heater
  • Keep CO detectors out of direct sunlight
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector3

  • Keep CO detectors away from breezy areas with lots of fans running, vents, AC units, doors and open windows. The fresh air these areas have can cause a false low reading.
  • Test Co detectors every week and vacuum them to prevent dust build up from altering the performance monthly.
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations on changing the battery
  • Replace carbon monoxide detectors every 5 years unless the indicator signals otherwise.
  • Plan an evacuation plan on how to get out in case of a fire or CO emergency and make sure every member of your family practices it, even the very young ones. Make it important to do this and it will be important to the kids too.

Conclusion

With carbon monoxide being such a dangerous gas that is both invisible and odorless, it is very important to have protection against CO leaks that may occur due to water heaters, ranges, ovens, furnaces and AC units. Having reliable CO detectors can make the difference between life and death should leaks occur.

The information we have provided for you in this buyer’s guide and the reviews of the top rated carbon monoxide detectors will help you make the right choice on which one to get for your home. You will feel much better about the safety of your family with these valuable detectors in your home.

Resources

  1. Kidde – http://www.kidde.com/
  2. First Alert 615- http://www.firstalert.com/
  3. First Alert 605 – http://www.firstalertstore.com/