The Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can be life-threatening, but CO detectors act as an early warning system. We narrowed down the top CO detectors to help keep your home safe and give you peace of mind.
Updated May 18, 2021
Written By
Safety Team | Home Security Experts
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The 5 best carbon monoxide detectors

How to Choose a Carbon Monoxide Detector: 3 Things to Consider

  • Power

    You may choose a hardwired, battery, or plug-in connection to power your CO detector. Most detectors that are hardwired or plug into a wall outlet come with a backup battery. Two significant advantages of choosing a hardwired detector are consistent power, and most are professionally monitored by your home security provider.

  • Digital Display

    Purchasing a carbon monoxide detector with a digital display makes it easier for you to monitor your home’s CO levels. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide register above 101 parts per million. A siren or voice will alert you if these dangerous levels are detected in your home.

  • Dual-sensing

    The best CO detector will depend on a few personal factors. No matter what you choose, remember that having any carbon monoxide detector is better than not having one at all. Don’t let any of the top features stop you from picking one to protect your home. You can always upgrade to a better option later. Here are the top factors that we recommend keeping in mind.

Compare Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Our 12 Picks

  • Top Certified Carbon Monoxide Detector

    Nest Protect Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm (2nd Gen)

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Nest Protect is the best dual carbon monoxide and smoke detector to help protect your home. We love that you can receive Nest mobile alerts if there’s danger or silence the alarm if needed. Two features that set Nest’s dual detector apart are the built-in night light to illuminate automatically when you’re walking and the Nightly Promise to let you know that your detector is working correctly. All in all, Nest is a step above the rest with cutting-edge features that give you peace of mind. Nest now has a battery-powered version that’s perfect for rental properties or travel.

    Stand-out features include

    • Nightly Promise feature to ensure the detector and batteries are working
    • Dual detector to sense smoke and dangerous carbon monoxide levels
    • Mobile alerts check the status of your detector and alert you of danger.
  • First Alert CO710 Carbon Monoxide Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    The First CO710 CO detector is the best battery-powered alarm. It’s a step above the rest with a battery that lasts up to 10 years. The alarm also has a built-in, easy-to-read digital display to show the home’s temperature and CO levels. Best of all, it comes with a 10-year limited warranty to keep your home safe and ensure customer satisfaction.

    Stand-out features include

    • 85 dB alarm to sound for emergencies or low battery alerts
    • Digital display of CO levels and home temperature
    • 10-year built-in battery
  • First Alert CO400 Carbon Monoxide Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    The First Alert CO400 Carbon Monoxide Detector is designed with an electrochemical sensor for monitoring and detecting dangerous CO levels in your home. This device features a loud 85-decibel siren and has been tested to meet UL safety standards.

    Stand-out features include

    • 5-year warranty
    • Savings when purchasing bundled packs
    • Includes “End-of-Life” signal to alert you to change the detector

How to Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The process of installing a carbon monoxide detector differs according to manufacturer and power source. We recommend thoroughly reading your manufacturer’s instructions for a proper setup, and contacting customer support for assistance. Remember, some CO detectors will require professional installation, especially if connecting to your home security system. Here are the general tips we recommend keeping in mind. 

  • Install one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, including the basement. 
  • Place it at knee level — usually this is the height of a sleeper’s nose and mouth. If you have children or pets, consider placing detectors at chest level to keep them out of reach. 

A note about traveling

For your safety, it’s best to take a small carbon monoxide detector with you when you travel in case one isn’t at your hotel or rental property. Get one that plugs into the wall so it’s not obstructive to the property. 

Adding a carbon monoxide detector to your security system

Most security providers offer environmental monitoring equipment to alert you of any danger. The best home security companies include smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as a part of its equipment lineup. Before you call your security company to have a carbon monoxide detector added, here are a few pros and cons to weigh.

If you’re looking for a home security system and carbon monoxide detector, here are a few of our top picks to consider for the best security and environmental monitoring. Best of all, most of these providers come with an electrochemical sensor to detect low levels of carbon monoxide for your safety. 

Benefits of CO detectors

There are several types of carbon monoxide detectors. We highlighted the best types of CO detectors to help you choose the right one. Before buying, don’t forget to check your state’s regulations because each one has different CO detector requirements for rental properties, hotels, businesses, and recommendations for homes. 

  • Temperature-adjusting carbon monoxide detectors: Temperature-adjusting detectors limit false alarms that occur due to humidity or fluctuating temperatures.
  • Alarm clock carbon monoxide detectors: These alarms accurately detect carbon monoxide PPM. They offer different alarm sounds based on PPM and the estimated amount of time it takes to evacuate safely. 
  • Duo smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: This all-in-one detector features a smoke sensor and a carbon monoxide sensor that use the same power source. It features alerts tailored to the type of danger detected.
  • Smart CO detectors: Carbon monoxide alarms with smart technology allow you to monitor CO levels using a mobile app. They may also connect with your smart home system.

Most carbon monoxide alarms are easy to set up and use. The best of the best detectors are equipped with smart features to easily control and receive mobile alerts if there’s any danger. Smart detectors also have voice control and other settings to help give you peace of mind. Most of these detectors, like Nest’s, or Ring’s similar option, also connect to other smart home devices. But the most common CO detectors are equipped with two LED lights to show the alarm’s status at a quick glance.

The bottom line:

If you have a carbon monoxide detector, now is a good time to check it. Test the batteries to make sure it’s working properly. You can also change your CO detector to feel more comfortable with your choice to protect your home. No matter what you choose, it’s best to make sure they’re installed and working properly to keep your home safe. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can easily go unnoticed without the right detector in place. 

Carbon monoxide detector FAQs

Home Security Experts

Safety Team

The Safety Team is a group of experts that handle provider research, product reviews and recalls to make your home safety and security search as easy as 1-2-3.

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