Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors to Protect You and Your Family

carbon-monoxide-detector

Best Carbon Monoxide Detector can save your family from being poisoned by the odorless, colorless gas that leaks from everyday household items, such as power generators, dryer vents, and gas and wood-burning fireplaces. Every year in the U.S., more than 400 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and another 50,000 visit an emergency room for treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prevention can cost as little as $20, but with so many carbon monoxide detectors on the market, it can be tough to figure out which best suits your home. Read on for our recommendations, plus important advice on essentials to consider before you shop.

What to Consider:

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors can be battery-operated, plug-in, or hardwired (with backup batteries in case of a power failure). Battery-operated alarms are the easiest to install and usually budget-friendly, though you’ll need to regularly check for dead batteries.

Carbon monoxide alarms often include smoke detectors, which can have ionization sensors for detecting fast-burning fires or photoelectric sensors that detect smoldering, smoky fires. Some detectors include both and are called dual-sensor alarms, though they’re harder to find.

How We Evaluated:

Every carbon monoxide detector we recommend below has an average customer rating of at least four stars. We cast a wide net to find the best options on the market, digging into our own research, gathering and digesting statistics and other information from the CDC, and considering expert sources such as Consumer Reports and Wirecutter. Our list of the best carbon monoxide detectors includes models with different power sources and features that span a range of price points. For each device, we also report its dimensions, so you can map out the wall space it will take up while you wait for it to arrive at your door.

Key Specification

Style
Power Source
Brand
Color
ItemDimension

Alarm Detector
Battery Powered
Kidde
White
3 x 7 x 11 inches

Review:

If you’re looking for a reliable yet budget-friendly carbon monoxide detector, this your best bet. It gets rave reviews, with more than 24,000 customers giving it an average 4.7 stars. It checks boxes for all the basics you need for continuous monitoring, including a pulsing red LED warning light and an 85-decibel alarm that trigger simultaneously if carbon monoxide is detected. There’s also a sizable test-and-reset button to ensure the unit is working. It runs on two AA batteries, which are included.

 
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Key Specification

Style
Power Source
Brand
Color
ItemDimension

1 Pack
Plug-in
Kidde
White
2.75 x 1.5 x 4.5 inches

Review:

This carbon monoxide detector is another customer favorite, with an average 4.7 stars from more than 18,000 reviewers. The plug-in unit is well-priced, fairly compact, has a peak memory feature that records carbon monoxide readings, and includes an 85-decibel alarm. In the event of a power failure, two included AA batteries serve as a backup. Given the smaller footprint, test button is a thin bar that isn’t designed as well as some other units, but the easy plug-in installation is a major perk.

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Key Specification

Power Source
Brand
Dimension
Sensor Type

Battery Powered
First Alert
5.13 x 2.38 x 5.13 inches
Electrochemical

Review:

Although this battery-powered carbon monoxide detector comes with a big jump in price compared to our first two recommendations, its features are next-level. It has a voice alarm, plus it can be connected to other units to create a wireless network for blanket coverage in your home. Once the exact location of carbon monoxide is detected, it pings the other units and triggers the voice alarm. What is missing is an LED warning light, a feature included on detectors that cost much less than this First Alert. Two AA batteries are included for installation.

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