Best Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon Monoxide detectors are devices we generally don’t think about too much, yet it’s vital that every home or business incorporate them. Many needless deaths would be prevented each year if more people installed them in their homes, as this silent killer – odorless, tasteless – can strike at any time. Since they are such an important purchase, it’s imperative that you know which features are necessary when making a buying decision, and with such a wide variety of products on the market, it can be a tough choice. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the products available, review a few of them and determine which one is the best carbon monoxide detector.
There are a few vital features that every carbon monoxide (CO) detector should have, including:
- Power source. As there are two main types – A/C powered and battery-powered, ensure that the unit has a backup battery if plugged into a wall outlet, which will keep you protected in the event of a power failure.
- Silence button. When an alarm inadvertently goes off in a non-emergency setting, the unit should have a button to silence it; otherwise, people tend to remove the batteries and may forget to replace them.
- Battery sensor. Newer CO detectors will have battery indicator displays, helping you to avoid those annoying chirps when the battery is low.
- Price: The price of carbon monoxide detectors will vary, from around $30 to over $100 for full-featured models.
Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
** RECOMMENDED TOP PICK **
Nest reinvents the CO and smoke detector with their Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm. Surprisingly stylish and full of features, this detector is well worth considering.
Ease Of Use
Owing to a number of features and the fact that it is a dual CO and smoke detector, the Nest is a larger device, yet stylishly crafted into a pleasing shape. It’s also heavier, but that’s to be expected. Setup does take a bit longer as it’s wi-fi connected, and taking advantage of this feature requires a little preparation. It’s completely worth it in the end, though. Since it’s battery operated, it’s easily mounted on the supplied mounting plate – a few screws in the ceiling or wall, and the unit snaps in securely. It features a silence button, as well as sporting a battery indicator light.
– Dual CO/smoke detector alarm
– Wi-fi notifications
– Speech warnings tell you what is happening and where
This is probably one of the most sophisticated yet easy to use detectors on the market. As mentioned, it’s a dual system capable of alerting you to both smoke and CO. With its wireless capabilities, the unit is able to notify you via a smartphone app (iOS and Android) in the event of a detection, so you’ll always be in the loop. But the connectedness doesn’t end there – multiple units can be linked so that, for instance, a device upstairs can warn you of a detection downstairs. Not only does it produce an alarm sound and a ring-shaped LED warning, it also announces via voice the nature of the detection, and can do so in English or Spanish.
It’s expensive for a detector, owing to the fact that it’s a dual nature alarm, as well as for its other features.
It’s hard not to like this product for what it brings to the table. To be able to be notified remotely via a smartphone app that there has been a detection event in your home is a feature you didn’t know you needed, but later find you can’t live without. The voice alarm system is clear, concise, and interconnected with other units, ultimately taking safety to the next level. The only downside is the cost; however, for the suite of features, it’s definitely worth it.
– Voice alarm
– Able to connect with multiple units
– Smartphone Notifications
Weight: 1.7 lbs
Detects Smoke: Yes
Ease Of Use:
No mounting is required for this unit. Simply plug it into any outlet, turn it on and it will begin doing its job. As such, its operation couldn’t be easier. The unit comes with a 6-foot extension cord so it can be placed anywhere. The interface is easy to use and intuitive, so there really is no learning curve at all.
– LED display
– Backup battery
– Displays CO levels
The Kidde is fairly sophisticated for the price, featuring an LED display that alerts you to CO PPM (parts per million) levels during an alarm. The display nominally rests at 0, but will show the numbers quickly in the event in a spike in CO levels. In addition, a patterned alarm will sound to alert you of the danger. A 9-volt battery can be used as a backup in the event of a power failure, giving you additional peace of mind. It also comes with a 5-year warranty, however, this can be a double-edged sword as some have bought the product only to discover that it was actually manufactured years earlier, invalidating the warranty and having already reached the end of is service life. Since it’s A/C powered, there’s no battery sensor, even for the backup. And it doesn’t come with a silence button in the event of an erroneous reading.
The unit is a very budget-friendly product.
All in all, this is a very effective carbon monoxide detector for the price. Despite the problems with the limited lifespan, it’s very simple to install and operate and provides no-frills protection from CO poisoning.
– Easy to install
– LED display
– Limited lifespan
– No backup battery sensor
Weight: 15.2 oz
Detects Smoke: No
First Alert CO 615
The First Alert CO 615 uses one of the most sophisticated sensors available to detect carbon monoxide levels and displays them on an LCD screen.
Ease Of Use:
Like the Kidde, installation is a question of plugging it in and letting the unit do the rest. It comes with a 6-foot extension cord, useful if you want to mount it on a wall or choose some other placement. The interface consists of two buttons, one to silence a non-emergency alarm, one to toggle between battery strength and peak CO levels. As well, a battery can be used either as a main power source or as a backup. It’s an easy to install product that couldn’t be easier to use.
– Electrochemical sensor
– Peak level indicator
– 7-year warranty
Sporting an electrochemical sensor that is among the most sophisticated in any carbon monoxide detector, the First Alert promises emergency notification at the lowest threatening levels. Additionally, the LCD display shows the peak levels of CO detected since the unit was previously reset, letting you know if there is a pattern in the readings. Although it should be stated that some consumers claim that the peak level indicator resets automatically every 24hrs, negating the usefulness of this feature. The product is backed by a 7-year warranty, giving it a fairly long lifespan for a detector of this type, and letting you know that it will be there when you need it. In fact, it incorporates not only a battery strength indicator but also an “end of life” alarm, notifying you when the unit needs replacement.
Similar to the Kidde, the First Alert is it in the budget range.
All told, the First Alert is a dependable carbon monoxide detector available at a low cost. It’s easy to install – simply plug it into the wall – and gives you the option of A/C or battery operation, allowing you to use it anywhere. Sensitive sensing combined with a 7-year warranty results in a product that will last and will be there for you when you need it the most.
– Low cost
– Sophisticated sensor
– 7-year warranty
– Peak level is known to reset automatically
Weight: 12 oz
Detects Smoke: No
While the First Alert and Kidde carbon monoxide detectors are admirable and useful products, especially considering the price, the nod goes to the Nest. While more expensive, the Nest offers the complete package: dual carbon monoxide/smoke detection, clear voice notifications indicating what the nature of the problem is, and the ability to notify you via smartphone when you’re away. In addition to being stylish and attractive, the Nest provides all the features you’d need in a carbon monoxide detector, and then some. There’s no better product to keep your home safe from both carbon monoxide and smoke than the Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm.