Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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Nobody wants to think about the possibility of a silent killer in their homes that can endanger their family, but that’s the reality we face every day. I’m talking about carbon monoxide and the very real danger it poses for all families. Not only is this gas extremely toxic for humans it also happens to be odourless and colorless so you wouldn’t even know of its presence until it’s too late.
Before you start panicking we want to reassure you there is a simple solution to protect you from this ever present danger in the form of a carbon monoxide detector. In most jurisdictions all new homes have to have these installed when they’re constructed and almost all cases local laws require older homes to be retrofitted with them. Even if for some strange reason the region you’re living in doesn’t require them it’s a god idea to take it upon yourself and get one of these installed in your home.
We’re going to look at 5 of the best carbon monoxide detectors available and we’ll go over their strengths and weaknesses for you. No home should be without one of these life saving devices and that’s why we felt it was so important to review them here. These can be set up in a number of different ways and which one’s best for your family will depend on your own needs so consider these carefully before deciding which one of these detectors is right for you.

Types and Features of Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

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    Multi-Function Detectors

    In many new homes the smoke alarms hardwired into your ceiling or walls also happens to double as a carbon monoxide detector. This is probably one of the easiest set ups to work with as it means less maintenance for you. You only have one detector to monitor and ensure it’s working properly so there’s less of a chance that you’ll forget to check on it frequently. These dual purpose devices have proven to be quite effective in saving lives and they’re a great choice for any home. If you already have smoke detectors in your home and you don’t want to replace them then you’ll probably want to opt for a separate device.

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    Digital Detectors

    Some carbon monoxide devices are very basic – they simply sound an alarm when levels of the gas reach dangerous levels in your home. That’s certainly a good thing, but wouldn’t it be great if you could prevent the build-up of these toxic gases before they become a real problem? That’s where carbon monoxide detectors with digital displays have an advantage over traditional detectors. These modes have a digital display that can display accurate and up to date information on the carbon monoxide levels in your home. If you notice levels are getting a little higher than they should be you can simply open a window or two before it becomes a real problem.

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    Smart Technology Detectors

    Some of the newest carbon monoxide detectors don’t just have digital displays they also have built-in self-diagnostic software that allows them to monitor their own operation and ensure everything’s in good working order. If they detect a problem with their operation they can alert you through an app on your smartphone. These devices also allow you to monitor your home’s carbon monoxide levels remotely using apps as well. This is great if you’re out for a night on the town with your spouse and you want to monitor the levels in the home are safe for the teenagers, young children, and pets that may be back at home.

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    Hardwired Detectors

    In the past most smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors were battery powered and you had to remember to check on them each month to make sure they were still working properly. This is fine if you’re a particularly organized individual who has no problem with setting up a monthly maintenance schedule and sticking to it. Unfortunately many of us are not quite so diligent in performing regular duties like this and that could potentially put our families in danger. That’s why many consider hardwired detectors to be a better choice. These detectors are wired into your home’s electricity supply so they always have a constant source of power unless there’s a power outage. The good ones also have a battery backup for this possibility.

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    Battery Operated Detectors

    If you’re looking to save a bit of money you may want to opt for a battery powered carbon monoxide detector. These are an inexpensive option that can still be very effective in protecting your family. They generally don’t have any sort of digital display – they simply sound an alarm when levels of carbon monoxide reach dangerous levels. They’re simple yet effective devices. Typically it’s recommended to check their batteries every three months, but we believe checking them once a month is the better option as it will ensure you get in a regular routine. It’s probably a good idea to set up a monthly alert in your smartphone so you don’t forget.

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    Plugin Detectors

    Another option is a portable detector that simply plugs into any wall outlet. The advantage of these is that you can place them wherever you want them and as long as there’s a wall outlet nearby you’ll always have the power you need. If you decide to use one of these devices it’s a good idea to check on them regularly to ensure that someone hasn’t accidentally unplugged them.

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    Detectors on All Levels

    One more thing we should mention is that it’s important to have carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. If you only have one on your main level you may never know that there are dangerous levels present in your upstairs bedrooms until it’s too late. Gases aren’t always present in the same quantities everywhere in your home and that’s why it’s important to have carbon monoxide detectors on each level to make sure your family’s safe.


The Reviews:

 

Feature Nest Protect First Alert CO605 First Alert CO710 USI MC304SB Sensorcon
Backup Power
N/A N/A  
Digital Display
Remote App Connect
Multi-Function Device
Features 9 6 8 7.5 8
Design 8 7 8 8 6.5
Usability 9 8 8 7.5 8
Performance 8 8 8 8 8
Score
Prices $$$ $ $ $ $$$
 
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Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm


Features
9.0
Design
8.0
Usability
9.0
Performance
8.0

Features

This amazing little device is a multi-function smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. What makes this product stand out in a crowded marketplace is its range of features. This is a true piece of smart technology and an ideal fit for the smart home. It can connect remotely to your smartphone via Wi-Fi and alert you when carbon monoxide levels are too high or if the batteries are running low in your device. It can also tell you exactly where in your home the problem is and it will actually talk to you and let you know of impending problems such as burnt toast in the toaster.

Design

This detector features an ultra-modern design that’s definitely suited for the modern home. It has a ring light that’s designed to glow green when smoke and carbon monoxide levels are safe in your home and red when they’re not or the battery needs replacing. This feature removes any ambiguity about whether it’s working as it should be and helps to improve peace of mind.

Usability

The Nest Protect is a battery operated smoke and carbon monoxide detector so you will need to set a regular schedule to change the batteries. Unlike older battery operated detectors though this one will send a message directly to your smartphone telling you to change the batteries so there’s little chance you’ll forget about it. It can also give you gentle vocal cues that smoke is present even if it isn’t a real problem yet. This is ideal if it’s just a matter of some burnt toast in the toaster and you can even silence the alarm from your phones app if this happens to be the case.

Performance

The reviews on this detectors performance are overwhelmingly positive, but the most consistent complaint with the device seems to be with the reliability of its Wi-Fi connection. Some customers have complained of frequent dropped connections or difficulty in setting it up for remote access in the first place. Overall though the majority of customers found this detector works as advertised and is a significant upgrade over traditional detectors.


First Alert CO605 Carbon Monoxide Plug-In Alarm with Battery Backup


Features
6.0
Design
7.0
Usability
8.0
Skill Bar TitlePerformance
8.0

Features

The First Alert CO605 is a no frills standalone carbon monoxide detector that’s designed to get the job done without much fanfare. There’s no digital display on this one and no access to it through a smartphone app. What it does have going for it is portability. It plugs directly into any wall outlet and it has a built-in battery backup that takes over if the power supply gets cut for any reason. There’s a test/silence button on the front and it will alert you when the device is approaching the end of its useful life

Design

This carbon monoxide detector has a very generic design which looks similar to other detectors on the market today. It’s essentially designed to blend into the background as much as possible and the plain white color it comes in helps to do this. The only display on this device is the small and simple light indicator on the front of it to indicate whether it’s functioning properly or not. If it starts flashing red you probably need to change the backup batteries or replace the device.

Usability

Using this product couldn’t get much easier. All you have to do is insert the batteries for back up and then plug it in and you’re ready to go. If you want to test it out you can press the test/silence button on the front. That’s all there is to it.

Performance

In general this device seems to perform its function well. The extra security of the battery backup is comforting and most customers that have purchased this product seem quite satisfied with their choice. A few have complained about the battery backup chirping for no reason even after changing the batteries which suggests a faulty product. Fortunately this doesn’t seem to be something that most purchasers have run into.


First Alert CO710 10-Year Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Temperature


Features
8.0
Design
8.0
Usability
8.0
Skill Bar TitlePerformance
8.0

Features

The CO710 is a more advanced detector from the folks at First Alarm. This detector does have a digital display that not only allows you to view the carbon monoxide levels in your home any time you like – it also displays the ambient temperature in the room as well. It’s powered by a lithium-ion battery designed to last for 10 years so you don’t have to worry about changing the batteries.

Design

This detector has a simple modern design that will look right at home in just about any décor. It has a nice large blue backlit display that’s easy to read and capable of providing up to date information. Perhaps best of all it’s a portable device with a wide base that you can sit on any flat surface such as coffee tables or end tables.

Usability

This device couldn’t be easier to use you simply power it on and leave it to do its job. If carbon monoxide levels are approaching dangerous levels it will display this automatically on the screen and if they’re high enough it will sound the alarm. When carbon monoxide levels are below the danger threshold it will display the ambient room temperature instead.

Performance

Most reviews of the First Alarm CO710 are overwhelmingly positive, but of those that have had issues with it there are some complaints that it’s over sensitive. Nobody wants to be constantly bothered by unnecessary alarms, but that’s certainly better than the alternative of no alarm at all. Fortunately this seems to have been a problem for only a small minority of purchasers.


Universal Security Instruments MC304SB Carbon Monoxide Smart Alarm


Features
7.5
Design
8.0
Usability
7.5
Skill Bar TitlePerformance
8.0

Features

One of the main reasons that the MC304SB carbon monoxide detector is so popular is that you never have to replace batteries or plug it in during its useable life. It has a built-in lithium-ion battery that’s designed to last for ten years without ever having to charge it. It doesn’t have a digital display, but it does have an intelligent sensor built-in that’s designed to separate nuisance alarms from real emergencies. It can also adjust its functionality depending on the relative humidity in your home.

Design

This alarm has a unique looking design that’s a little different from traditional detectors, but it is well labelled clearly indicating its function. You can mount it on the wall or simply place it on any table if you prefer. It’s relatively compact so it won’t take up much room if you choose the latter option.

Usability

This is a simple device that will work all of the time automatically as soon as the battery’s activated. All you have to do is place it where it’s needed and forget about it – it will alert you automatically if a problem occurs. There is a test/reset light on the front as well if needed.

Performance

There are a fair number of complaints about false alarms with this product. That’s a bit of a concern as no one wants to constantly evacuate their home in the middle of the night because of supposedly dangerous carbon monoxide levels that simply aren’t present. My biggest question when I see complaints like this though is how do you know it’s a false alarm? For the most part this alarm seems to work exactly as it’s supposed to.


Sensorcon Certified Intrinsically Safe Carbon Monoxide Detector & CO Meter


Features
8.0
Design
6.5
Usability
8.0
Skill Bar TitlePerformance
8.0

Features

The Sensorcon carbon monoxide detector is a little different than the other ones we’ve reviewed. This product is designed to be used in industrial environments although it will still work just as well in your home. This is a rugged device that’s designed to keep working even in extreme circumstances. The carbon monoxide levels are clearly displayed on its digital readout and there is a mute button if you want to silence the device. It has a clip on the back to attach to any piece of equipment as needed.

Design

This device is designed for functionality not aesthetics. It’s black casing and large green buttons will definitely stand out in any environment and if you do plan on using it in the home it will likely clash with your décor unless you happen to have your home modelled after a construction site!

Usability

This Sensorcon device is easy to use with nice big buttons that are clearly labelled and they work as advertised. It is battery operated so you will have to remember to change these on a regular schedule to ensure it keeps working though.

Performance

This is a popular device that performs well in most environments. It can handle being dropped and it’s waterproof as well which makes it ideal for use in industrial settings. Perhaps the biggest problem with this detector is that the digital display is not backlit which can be somewhat problematic in low light situations.



Keeping Your Home Safe

All of the carbon monoxide devices we’ve reviewed above are capable products that will keep you and your family safe. It’s up to you to decide which one is best for your family, but if we had to choose a favorite on this list it would have to be the Nest Protect device. We like this model because of its ability to connect with your smartphone and its smart sensor technology. No matter which device you choose just make sure to check it regularly to make sure it’s working as it’s supposed to.

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