Carbon monoxide (CO2) detectors are the powerful SOS alarms that recognize the invisible, life-threatening gas. Without a CO2 detector, it’s nearly impossible to detect carbon monoxide because it cannot be identified by a color, smell, sound or taste. Luckily, the right carbon monoxide detector can help alert you before it’s too late.
Our top carbon monoxide detectors
Most Affordable Smart Carbon Monoxide Detector
Ring Alarm CO and Smoke Listener
Why we picked it:
24/7 professional monitoring services to closely monitor your home when you’re away
Uses smart technology to work with existing smoke detectors for easy use and management
Creates an interconnected home carbon monoxide system at an affordable rate
Carbon monoxide (CO2) is a poisonous gas that is created from appliances such as a gas stove, heater or other appliances that use fossil fuels such as coal or oil. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide cannot be identified by a color, sound or taste – making it difficult to detect. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 400 people die from carbon monoxide annually. Without a CO2 detector, both humans and animals are at risk for inhaling carbon monoxide which could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning without notice.
What are carbon monoxide peak levels (PPM)?
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Carbon monoxide levels are calculated in parts per million (PPM). When levels are 1-70 PPM, people and animals may experience very slight cold or flu-like symptoms. Once levels reach 150-200 PPM, seek medical attention immediately.
What should I look for when buying a carbon monoxide detector?
Before buying a carbon monoxide detector understand your state’s laws and regulations for home alarms. Look for carbon monoxide detectors that are battery-powered or include a backup battery in the event of a power outage. All-in-one smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are popular to save space, installation time and money. Most importantly, before buying a carbon monoxide detector, look for a sticker or mention of the detector meeting UL (Universal Listing) Standards to ensure the CO2 detector has met the regulations and passed the authorities’ tests, guaranteeing a safe carbon monoxide detector without worry.
What are the common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Oftentimes, carbon monoxide symptoms vary by age, but a few are quite common. If carbon monoxide takes over the bloodstream there are a few carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms to look for including: nausea and/or vomiting, confusion or loss of alertness, weakness and/or dizziness, chest pain, slight headache.
If you think you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 to seek medical attention immediately.
Installing carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors should be in each frequently used room in the house. Start by adding detectors outside of bedrooms, the kitchen and common areas. For multi-story properties, at least one should be placed on each level, including the attic and basement.
There are two common installation options, hardwired and battery-operated. Hardwired carbon monoxide detectors connect to your home’s electricity and wiring – which may require a professional. Battery-operated CO detectors are usually wireless, easy to install and less of a concern during power failures. Luckily, most hardwired carbon monoxide detectors now include a backup battery to ensure protection even during an outage.
Keep carbon monoxide detectors out of reach to avoid tampering. For the best carbon monoxide detector placement, place them at knee level – often the height of a sleeper’s nose and mouth. If you have children and pets, place them at chest length or as high as needed to keep them out of reach.
When you travel, consider traveling with a small, TSA approved CO2 detector for your rental property or hotel just in case one’s not installed. These can easily be plugged into a power outlet and powered on with the touch of a single button.
Types of carbon monoxide sensors
There are four commonly used carbon monoxide detecting sensors used for sensing and alerting.
Biomimetic sensor: The biomimetic sensor uses a combination of color-changing liquids or gel-like elements to detect carbon monoxide. Detectors that use this sensor last up to three years.
Metal oxide semiconductor: This sensor is created using wired circuits to monitor carbon monoxide. Most detectors that use this sensor last up to 10 years.
Electrochemical sensor: This is considered the best-in-class sensor that offers the most protection for homes when detecting carbon monoxide. Electrochemical carbon monoxide sensors are known to generate currents that show the amount of carbon monoxide detected through a scientific combination. These operate best in most home temperatures and are included in longer life span detectors.
Optochemical sensor: The most cost-effective carbon monoxide sensor that only has the power to determine whether or not the poisonous gas is detected. The sensor uses a pad that changes colors when carbon monoxide is found. Although carbon monoxide detectors with this sensor may be affordable, they are known to offer limited protection. Optochemical sensors can only detect whether or not carbon monoxide is present. Without knowing carbon monoxide levels, danger could be closer than known.
The Ring smoke alarm and carbon monoxide listener work together with existing traditional carbon monoxide detectors to provide maximum home safety and peace of mind with smart technology. The duo uses the Ring mobile app and Ring Alarm Security Kit to send maintenance and emergency notifications to your smartphone.
Receive automatic mobile alerts using the Ring app when existing carbon monoxide detectors sound their alarms
24/7 professional monitoring for peace of mind when away from home
Seamless connection to any existing carbon monoxide or smoke detector that’s less than 10 years old, regardless of the brand
This easy to install carbon monoxide alarm uses a digital display to clearly display the latest levels of carbon monoxide in the home. The Nighthawk can be powered by plugging into any wall outlet, extended using a 6-foot cord or mounted to avoid tampering. The alarm includes a backup battery to continue to detect during power outages.
Digitally displays carbon monoxide levels to easily read level changes
Uses LED blinking light in the corner of the alarm to rest assure it’s working properly
85-decibel alarm for a loud and clear sound if rising carbon monoxide levels are detected
The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide duo detector is designed to be easy to use. Easy-to-read light alerts and automatic mobile notifications using the Wi-Fi and the mobile Nest Protect app make for a controlled safe and smart home even when you’re away.
Uses a multi-colored light ring that shines red during when detecting carbon monoxide
Includes a 10-year best-in-class electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor using electrodes to monitor electrical or fuel flows and detect carbon monoxide
Connects to the Nest Thermostat, which will automatically disable the furnace if carbon monoxide is detected to allow time for a safe evacuation
This energy saving and battery-operated carbon monoxide detector alerts using a louder than CO2 alarm standards at 85-decibel and flashing red LED light. The alarm includes an easy-to-read digital PPM display at all times to keep you aware of levels at all times.
Flashes a bright LED light with a loud and clear 85-decibel alarm if rising carbon monoxide levels are detected
Battery powered with 3 AA batteries for affordable maintenance and continued protection during power outages
Alert times up to 90 minutes ahead of danger for levels at 50 PPM
This carbon monoxide detector combo uses Alexa and smart technology to seamlessly connect other First Alert alarms for a smart home safety system. The OneLink detector uses the OneLink Home mobile app to easily reset the alarm, check batteries and automatically receive emergency notifications away from home.
Uses an electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor to quickly detect carbon monoxide danger
Interconnects with other First Alert and OneLink devices for a safer, smarter home that can be managed using the OneLink Home mobile app
Uses Alexa voice commands and location technology allowing the alarm to clearly state where smoke or carbon monoxide is found
This affordable Instecho carbon monoxide detector is battery-operated for low energy consumption and easy installation. The easy-to-read alarm includes an 85-decibel alarm that chimes every 30 seconds until batteries are replaced.
Uses LED lights to clearly show both normal and dangerous conditions
Digitally displays a blue screen to easily read the carbon monoxide levels
Includes an ‘End of Unit’ life span alarm as a reminder for a new carbon monoxide detector
This easy to install, battery operated Kidde carbon monoxide and smoke detector all-in-one alarm includes voice warning to alert of danger loud and clear. The detector includes an 85-decibel alarm and an LED light to alert battery replacements and danger.
Rings an 85-decibel alarm for loud and clear alerts of peaking carbon monoxide levels
Uses voice technology alerts including ‘Warning Carbon Monoxide’ and ‘Fire’
Silence false alarms easily with hush functionality
These quick and easy plug-in carbon monoxide detectors meet all Universal Listing Standards for approved safe installment and use. The alarm includes a single press button to silence nuisance alarms and to regularly test the detector.
Uses an electrochemical sensor to accurately gauge carbon monoxide levels
Includes ‘End of Life’ alarm at the end of the 7-year life span as a reminder for a new carbon monoxide detector
Relies on a 9V backup battery in the event of an outlet outage or power failure
This digital, easy-to-read carbon monoxide alarm uses an electrochemical sensor to quickly detect rising carbon monoxide levels. The alarm is equipped with a 10-year battery and chirping alarm to remind you when it’s time for a new detector.
Loud and clear 85-decibel sound when alarming when CO2 is detected
Digital detector display of home temperature and carbon monoxide levels
10-year built-in battery lasts the life span of the detector
Samsung and ADT have partnered to offer a smart carbon monoxide detector using the ADT Security Hub. The detector uses the hub, a control panel and Wi-Fi to stay in the know about your home’s carbon monoxide PPM even when you’re on the go.
Ability to include ADT Professional Monitoring Services for 24/7 home supervision
Rings a clear 85-decibel alarm when carbon monoxide is detected in the home
Uses the ADT Security Hub to automatically send mobile emergency notifications
Easily control other connected smart home devices such as lights in the event of danger
Without warning, carbon monoxide can creep into the body and quickly become life-threatening. Picking the right carbon monoxide detector can help save your life and home. With many options to choose from, here are the benefits of different carbon monoxide detectors. But before buying, don’t forget to check your state’s regulations.
Temperature adjusting carbon monoxide detectors. Alarms that keep temperatures top of mind often limits nuisance alarms in the event of humidity or fluctuating temperatures to accurately measure carbon monoxide levels.
Alarm clock carbon monoxide detectors. Simply put, these alarms accurately detect the carbon monoxide PPM and offer different alarm sounds based on the PPM and estimated amount of time to safely evacuate. For example, 50 PPM detection alarms giving 60 – 90 minutes to evacuate. But, just because alarms buy time, leave the home immediately. There’s no guessing how quickly carbon monoxide levels will rise.
Duo smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These CO2 detectors are cost-effective space savers to avoid maintaining different alarms. The all-in-one detector uses a smoke sensor and a carbon monoxide sensor with the same power source and alerts tailored to the danger detected.
Smart CO2 detectors. Carbon monoxide alarms with smart technology go beyond the detector basics. High-tech features such as smartphone notifications and monitoring using a mobile app ensure a safe home when away.
Popular smart carbon monoxide alarms use control panels or mobile apps to manage programmable voice location settings. The alarm’s voice clearly states the room where carbon monoxide is detected. Most of these detectors connect to other home smart devices seamlessly for a safe and closely monitored home.
Carbon monoxide continues to be a silent threat in today’s homes. Understanding the ins and outs of carbon monoxide and preventative measures can protect your valuables and loved ones. With a firm grasp on the poisonous gas, you’ll be able to decide on the right detector with ease.