4 Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors of 2022
A look at the best carbon monoxide detectors to help keep you and your family safe.
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Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can leak from improperly ventilated engines and appliances in your home. In large amounts, it can be deadly to you and your family. Having a CO detector in your house can help you and your family avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are multiple types out there, from battery-operated to full-on smart detectors. But not all are created equal. As such, finding the best carbon monoxide detector for your home should be a top priority. We’ve rounded out some of the best options here.
What to Look for When Buying Carbon Monoxide Detectors
There’s a lot to take into account. Mark Dawson, the chief operating officer of Mister Sparkly, an electrical company, suggests choosing one that stores data about past CO levels.
“Carbon monoxide detectors with displays that include a history of your home’s CO concentration are extremely beneficial and make it easier to assess any potential issues or dangers that may arise,” Dawson says. Further, he recommends avoiding plug-in detectors, because gas can rise from the floor and compromise them.
Also think about what other features you need. Basic detectors warn you when your home’s CO levels become too high, but smart options may offer a more detailed analysis of your home’s environment and connect to your smart home ecosystem.
Some carbon monoxide detectors come with smoke alarms, too. These can have ionization sensors, which pick up on flames and fast-burning fires, as well as photoelectric sensors, which detecting smoky and smoldering fires. Dual-sensor detectors come with both types.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what kind of detector you need. Dawson recommends going with a device that’s hardwired and offers a backup battery. This way, you avoid changing out the batteries regularly.
To choose the best carbon monoxide detectors, we took into account best features, pricing, expert recommendations and user reviews.
Best Overall Carbon Monoxide Detector
Experts recommend placing multiple detectors throughout your home. The First Alert Hardwired CO detector easily connects with other devices, ensuring the proper protection of you and your family.
This model comes with a microprocessor, which should alleviate any possible false alarms. Because it’s hardwired, you’ll need a dedicated electrician to install it. It also features a battery backup system to help your home stay safe even when the power goes out.
- Can connect multiple devices;
- Microprocessor helps cut down on false alarms;
- Battery backup system for added security.
- No LED warning light;
- No voice alarm.
Best Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
For a carbon monoxide alarm that doubles as a smoke detector, the USI Three-in-One smart alarm is a surefire win. The dual-sensor design pick ups on fast-burning or smoky, smoldering fires.
The 10-year sealed battery should last the device’s entire life span. The downsides? No LED light or digital display.
- Fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detection in one device;
- Dual-sensor design detect multiple types of fires;
- Ten-year battery life.
- No digital display or smart features;
- No voice alarm.
Best Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Detector
Dawson doesn’t recommend plug-in CO detectors because outlets tend to be too low to the floor for effective carbon monoxide monitoring. But plug-in alarms can be useful for taller outlets or as a backup detection method.
If you prefer a plug-in detector, this First Alert carbon monoxide plug-in alarm is one of the best options you’ll find. Its digital display keeps you up-to-date on your latest CO readings. It also features a peak memory option, which Dawson recommends to keep track of your highest past CO levels.
The battery backup system means it will still function during power outages. The 85-decibel alarm is loud enough to send alerts throughout the house. It coms with a seven-year warranty.
- Digital display;
- Battery backup;
- Peak memory feature;
- Loud alarm;
- Seven-year warranty.
- No voice alarm;
- No LED warning light.
Best Smart Carbon Monoxide Detector
Google Nest Protect is ideal for those who want a smart carbon monoxide detector that can also make use of other features in the Google Home ecosystem.
It easily connects with other Google devices to keep your home running smoothly. It offers smart features like instantly telling you which room the alarm originates from.
It comes with a built-in smoke detector, and can be purchased in hardwired and battery-powered options. It’s more expensive than the other options on our list, but it’s well worth the price for those who want the extra features.
- Built-in smoke detector;
- Connects to the Google Home ecosystem;
- Can tell you which room the alarm is coming from;
- Available in hardwired and battery-powered models;
- Stylish design.
Frequently Asked Questions About Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Where is the best place to put a carbon monoxide detector?
If it’s got a digital readout, install your carbon monoxide detector at eye level so you can easily see the display. Otherwise, mount it a few feet below the ceiling, or even lower. Carbon monoxide often won’t rise all the way up to the ceiling (like smoke does) until the concentration reaches a critically dangerous level.
Place CO detectors outside rooms with appliances that can leak carbon monoxide, such as the laundry room, kitchen and bedrooms. Keep them close enough so they’ll wake you in the middle of the night.
How many carbon monoxide detectors do I need?
For a multi-story home, experts recommend placing one on every floor, and near every room that may produce a buildup of the deadly gas.
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