The Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors Review

BEST HOME SECURITY

Google Nest

Google Nest Protect

  • Sends out phone alerts
  • Smoke and CO locator
  • Silence alarm with app

BEST AFFORDABLE

Ring Alarm

Ring Smoke Listener

  • Easy and quick set up
  • Works alongside Ring app
  • Three-year battery life

ALSO GREAT

Kidde Nighthawk

Kidde Alarm

  • Displays CO levels
  • Comes with a backup battery
  • Features LED operation

Google Nest Protect is a Homeowners Top Pick

It’s safe to say that all appliances are not equal; there are some that need only a smidgen of thought before you buy them. Then with others, it takes a village. For instance, when it comes to carbon monoxide detectors, doing your research is just as important as making the purchase. The good news is that we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve gone through thousands of reviews and compared this product with other carbon monoxide detectors, but every path we took led us right back to the Google, S3000BWES, Nest Protect carbon monoxide detector.

This detector sniffs out carbon monoxide, an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be quite poisonous when absorbed into the bloodstream. Once it’s done, the Nest Protect tells you exactly where CO is hiding in your home so you can tackle the problem early. One of the many great things about the Nest Protect, is that it not only functions as a CO locator but also doubles as a smoke alarm.

Even more impressive, this Google CO detector sends push alerts to your phone via its app to alert you when there’s a problem. This could range from a full-on CO alert to a low battery; all in all, you’ll be kept in the loop.


Reviews: Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors of 2020

  1. Google, S3000BWES, Nest Protect – Top Certified CO Detector
  2. Ring Alarm CO and Smoke Listener – Most Affordable Smart CO Detector
  3. Kiddie Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Alarm – Best Easy-to-Read CO Detector
  4. SimpliSafe Carbon Monoxide Detector – Best for Early Carbon Monoxide Detection
  5. Samsung ADT Carbon Monoxide Alarm – Best Quick Fix

1. Google Nest Protect

BEST HOME SECURITY

Google Nest

The Google, S3000BWES, Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm is a two in one detector that lets you know when there’s either smoke or carbon monoxide in your home. The detector itself not only alerts you on the presence of this harmful entity, but it also tells you exactly where the smoke or CO is coming from. With that useful tidbit, you can speedily respond to the situation.

In addition, it features a ‘light in the dark’ component. Basically, any time you walk underneath the detector in a poorly lit area, it’ll light up. Further, the Google smoke and CO detector work alongside the Nest app which sends you push notifications on your phone whenever there is a problem. It equally fills you in when the battery is low. Using the app, you can conveniently silence the detector’s alarm by simply using the Nest app.

Pros Cons
  • Comes with a convenient app
  • The battery life of 10 years
  • Detects both smoke and CO
  • Allows you to silence the alarm using its app
  • Alerts you when the battery runs low
  • Does not use interconnect wire
  • Only comes in one color
  • Only shows CO PPM when connected to the internet

2. Ring Alarm CO and Smoke Listener

BEST SMART HOME

Ring Alarm

It’s one thing to have a smoke and CO detector, and it’s another to have a smoke and CO listener. The latter alerts you when your smoke and CO alarms are triggered, even when you are not home. All in all, Ring Alarm CO and Smoke Listener ensure that you are not left in the dark when it comes to the presence of fire, smoke, and CO in your home. While regular detectors simply detect smoke and Co, then trigger its alarm if either is present, they often fail to consider the fact that you may not be in the building when the alarms go off.

The Ring listener conveniently fills this gap in operation, so you really don’t have to worry even when you’re away. Furthermore, the device is very easy to install and it doesn’t require the use of any tools. It also has a battery life of about 3 years, and once that has elapsed, the batteries can be replaced. If you’re really looking for that seamless operation, use it alongside the Ring app.

Pros Cons
  • Easy and quick to set up
  • Alerts you when your smoke and CO alarms go off
  • Has a long-lasting battery life
  • Batteries are replaceable
  • Works alongside the Ring app
  • Does not actually detect smoke or CO
  • Additional fee for professional monitoring
  • Requires the Ring Alarm security system to function, which is sold separately

3. Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Alarm

ALSO GREAT

Kidde Nighthawk

Carbon monoxide is a major silent killer, but with the Kiddie Nighthawk Plug-In AC/DC Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector, you’ll never be left in the dark again. This CO detector constantly informs you of the carbon monoxide levels in your home. To that effect, it comes with a digital display that shows you a clear and visible readout of the CO levels. With this information, you’ll know for sure if any area in your home is a high risk, and in turn, you can take action. Taking things up a notch, it features a peak level button that displays the peak CO levels that have been recorded by the alarm since it was last unplugged or reset.

This CO alarm, as the name implies, also triggers an alarm system when it detects that your home has been exposed to high levels of CO for an extended period of time. It’s equally fitted with test button functions that test the unit for proper operations and an LED operation that denotes normal operation.

Pros Cons
  • Is inexpensive to purchase
  • Comes with a CO level digital display
  • Includes a backup battery
  • Features test button functions
  • Complete with a 10-year warranty
  • Would not function in temperatures higher than 37.8C
  • Battery can be difficult to insert
  • Expert installation is quite expensive

More Carbon Monoxide Detectors that Are Worth a Look

We found a few more…that didn’t quite make the top three but had enough good qualities that we think they’re worth considering as you shop around.

4. SimpliSafe Carbon Monoxide Detector – Best for Early Carbon Monoxide Detection

To avoid being a victim of a house fire, you need to remain prepared at all times. You see, in the case of a fire outbreak, every single second on the clock counts. The SimpliSafe Carbon Monoxide Detector is designed to ensure that you’re not just constantly protected, but you’re equally in the loop. Furthermore, this device doubles as a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, alerting you in the event of excessive smoke or a fire breakout. It’s even built with photoelectric sensors that offer you an increased level of safety. These sensors respond within 30 minutes of detecting high levels of smoke and CO so that you and your loved ones have enough time to evacuate the premises.

Another great thing about these sensors is that they are less prone to false alarms, so you can wave goodbye to unnecessary panic. In addition to all these, the SimpliSafe detector features an internal siren as well as a full-blown security system alarm. It also offers plans that involve alerting you of the triggered alarm as well as calling firefighters to your home to ensure the safety of you and your family.


5. Samsung ADT Carbon Monoxide Alarm – Best Quick Fix

You can contribute to the protection of your home and your family by getting the Samsung Electronic F SMK-1 ADT Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm. Like any other alarm system, it alerts you when there is smoke in your home. But, it also sends out alerts in the event of extremely high temperatures, as it senses that this might connote a potential fire. At that point, what happens is that the alarm sends push alerts to your phone once the danger is detected, so even if you’re not home, you’re kept in the loop. It also gives you the option of connecting the alarm’s lights to other devices, so it can come on or go off when extreme temperatures or smoke is detected in your home.
Even more, the Samsung CO alarm monitors CO levels in your home and alerts you when the levels are even slightly on the high side. It comes alongside an optional professional monitoring service that not only calls you but further alerts local authorities and the local firefighter department whenever your alarm system has been triggered. For a fully functional alarm operation, all you need to do is download the SmartThings app on your smart device.


Things to Consider Before You Buy

Types of smoke detectors

Purchasing smoke detectors in your home is a worthwhile investment. As mentioned earlier. There are some appliances that you can risk taking a chance on, like a blender or a toaster oven, but when it comes to smoke detectors, you need to fully understand the purchase you’re making. In that vein, there are three types of smoke detectors that you should consider before making your purchase. They include:

Ionization smoke detectors: An ionization smoke detector senses the presence of smoke using ionized particles. Every ionization smoke alarm contains a small amount of radioactive material that is well placed between electrically charged plates. This further ionizes the air and creates a current between the plates. For the most part, ionization smoke detectors are highly sensitive, so even steam from a shower can trigger it. You’ll have to deal with a lot of false alarms if it is placed in the kitchen or bathroom.

Photoelectric smoke detectors: This is the second most popular type of smoke alarm and it detects smoke using a light source and a light sensor. The alarm gets tripped when smoke particles obstruct the light beam and, in turn, reflect partial light to the sensor. These types of sensors are particularly good for the early detection of fire. A photoelectric smoke alarm is not as sensitive as an ionization alarm, but it may occasionally still be set off if there’s a buildup of dust.

Dual-sensor smoke detectors: The dual-sensor smoke detector is the least popular type on the market. This smoke alarm conveniently gives you the best of both worlds by combining the benefits of the photoelectric detectors and ionization detectors. The downside to this sensor is that some alarms require both sensors to be tripped before the alarm is triggered, and this gives room for delayed alerts.

Do I really need a smoke detector?

Did you know that almost half the home fires in the United States happen in homes without smoke alarms? The fact is that no home is completely protected from fire breakouts, but having a smoke alarm installed comes with a number of benefits. One major one is the possibility of saving the lives of you and your family. Here are a couple of other benefits of having a smoke alarm:

Smoke detection: Having a smoke detector in your home simply translates to the fact that you’re taking the necessary steps needed to avoid a fire-related disaster. A smoke detector equally gives you the chance to speedily abandon ship in the event of a fire. There’s also ample time to contact the fire department to salvage what’s left of your home.

Discounts: Just owning a smoke detector can sometimes save you some money when it comes to your homeowner’s insurance. In a nutshell, it shows your insurer that you take responsibility for your home and your property and were well prepared for a smoke or fire-related accident.

Monitoring: One of the great things about having a smoke detector is that it offers you 24/7 monitoring. This is a great perk seeing as fires can occur at any time, even while you are asleep. In this scenario, a smoke alarm can alert you promptly, so you can safely evacuate the building before the fire gets out of control.

Protection: Many gases sometimes produce toxic and odorless gas, and without a smoke detector installed in your home, you wouldn’t even be able to smell the gas. This means that the gas can overcome you and cause negative side effects without you even being aware of its presence without a smoke detector.

Inexpensive: Smoke detectors are typically inexpensive to purchase, and it’s a good thing they are because they are a necessity. Some battery-operated smoke alarms even go for as low as 10 dollars, so you’re sure to find something effective regardless of any budgetary restrictions.

How do I install a smoke alarm?

There are a couple of things to take into consideration before you install your smoke alarm. The first thing is the type of smoke alarm you want to choose, then you need to decide where to install the smoke alarm.

Choosing your smoke alarm: Not only are there different types of smoke alarms to choose from, but there are also different brands and models of alarms that come with interesting features. Some alarms even incorporate voice alerts and further come with adapter plugs that allow for easy and seamless installation. Once you have found yourself a specimen that meets your needs head-on, the next step is deciding where to place it.

Where to install smoke alarms: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that a smoke detector should be installed on every level of your house and in every bedroom. They also recommend that alarms be placed at least 10 feet away from any cooking appliances, like a stove to prevent false alarms. Finally, they advise that smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or at least no more than 12 inches from the ceiling. Keep it in mind that they should equally not be installed near any windows or ducts.

Installing your alarm: To install your alarm, you will need a pencil drill, a hammer, and a screwdriver. Start by making drill points on the ceiling, and ensure it’s no less than 8 inches from a wall. Then proceed to drill the holes, mount the alarm unto its mounting bracket and secure it in place by twisting it. Finally, screw on the base plates and insert the number of batteries needed for the alarm to function.


Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors FAQs

What is carbon monoxide?

At some point or the other, you must have heard someone bring it up in conversation. In fact, this deadly gas is the topic of many cautionary tales. The gas itself is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Furthermore, it’s produced when gasoline, charcoal, propane, wood, and other types of fuel are burnt. Carbon monoxide can be incredibly harmful if high levels of it enter into the bloodstream. As such, if you live in a tight sealed or enclosed space with appliances and/or engines that are improperly ventilated, then you may be at risk of being exposed to carbon monoxide. Altogether, high levels of the gas in a space like this can be especially dangerous.

In the event that carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream, carbon monoxide poisoning occurs. To further break it down; once there’s an excess amount of carbon monoxide present in the air, your body begins to replace the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. The result of this can be serious deep tissue damage, and at the most extreme point, death. The risks that accompany carbon monoxide exposure are very high, which is why it is recommended to get a smoke alarm that also doubles as a carbon monoxide detector.

It is equally important to note that exposure to carbon monoxide can be especially dangerous to certain groups of people. These groups include unborn babies, children, the elderly, people who suffer from chronic heart diseases, and anyone who loses consciousness due to carbon monoxide poisoning. You need to be vigilant because the signs that you’re exposed to the gas are extremely subtle. Once you have a mere suspicion, it’s advisable to leave the space, get some fresh and contact your local emergency care.

What are carbon monoxide peak levels?

A carbon monoxide alarm functions as a time-weighted alarm. This simply means that it measures the build-up of the gas in your house over time. The moment a person starts to feel the side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, this means that they have likely been exposed to a gas level of 50 parts per million (PMM) for about 8 hours.

Furthermore, the way a CO alarm responds or alerts you of CO exposure varies depending on the level of carbon monoxide present in the air. To break it done a bit more, the levels of carbon monoxide exposure are divided into four groups, ranging from low to dangerous levels:

  • Low level: 50 PPM and less
  • Mid-level: between 51 to 100 PPM
  • High level: More than 101 PPM if no symptoms are being experienced
  • Dangerous level: More than 101 PPM if symptoms are being experienced

One major thing to take note of is the response times depending on the CO levels present in the air. Typically, if the CO levels are 40 PPM, then the response time should be 10 hours before you get alerted. If it is 50 PPM, then the response time is 8 hours. With 70 PPM, the response time is between 1 to 4 hours. Then, if the level of CO in the air is 400 PPM, the alarm’s response time will be between 4 to 15 minutes.

Where should smoke detectors not be installed?

There are quite a number of locations around the house where it is recommended to install a smoke alarm, like in every bedroom, hallway, and kitchen. However, in the same light, there are also a couple of locations where smoke alarms should not be installed, according to recommendations by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Some of these locations include:

Where combustion particles are produced: Combustion particles are formed whenever something burns, so to avoid having to deal with constant false alarms, it is advised not to install smoke detectors in those areas. Places to avoid include kitchens with poor ventilation systems, furnace rooms, and garages. Altogether, a smoke detector should be placed at least 20 feet from the source of combustion particles, and in instances where a 20-foot distance is not possible, the smoke alarm should be placed as far away from the source of fuel-burning as possible.

Damp areas: Smoke detectors should not be installed in areas that are damp, humid, or steamy. They should equally not be placed near any bathrooms that have showers. In fact, it is advised to keep the smoke detector at least 10 feet away from saunas, showers, and even dishwashers.

Dusty areas: Dusty, dirty, or greasy areas are a no go for smoke alarms. This is because the build-up of dust or dirt in the smoke alarm can trigger it even when there isn’t smoke or fire. It is also not recommended to install a smoke alarm directly over a stove or over. In the case that you have a smoke alarm in your laundry room, make sure you clean the unit frequently to ensure that it is dust and lint-free.

What type of smoke detector is best for bedrooms?

As aforementioned, it is recommended to have a smoke alarm installed in every bedroom in your home. This is a necessity and not a luxury seeing as fires can occur anywhere in the house, even in bedrooms. So, having a smoke detector in all the bedrooms ensures that everyone’s response time is spot on. Even more, when the smoke alarm goes off in one bedroom, then everyone else is alerted and can quickly evacuate the building. The fire department can then be contacted to deal with the crises.

Now you may be wondering what kind of smoke detector is the best for a bedroom. First, there are a couple of things to consider in this regard. For one, bedrooms are rarely the sources of smoke or fire in a house, so if a smoke detector goes off in a bedroom, this should be a cause for alarm. You’ll want to have either an ionization detector or a dual-sensor smoke detector in your bedroom. This is because both types are very sensitive and will quickly alert you in the case of a fire.

In addition, it is advised to have a smoke detector that doubles as a carbon monoxide detector. You see, carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas, so it cannot be detected by humans. A smoke detector that also senses the presence of carbon monoxide will be the best bet in a bedroom. For the most part, it will also let you know if you’ve been exposed to CO, especially as you cannot detect it by yourself.

How far can a smoke detector be from a bedroom door?

The importance of having a smoke alarm installed in every bedroom in your home cannot be overemphasized. Fires, though unprecedented, are not uncommon and they can occur as a result of the most trivial things. With house fires costing families across the country valuable property and sometimes their lives, you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself and your family from experiencing traumatizing loss.

At this point, no one needs to tell you how important it is to have smoke detectors in your bedroom. Nevertheless, some other questions may pop up here and there. For instance, where should the smoke detector be placed in the bedroom? How far away from the door should it be? It is recommended that a smoke detector, in a bedroom, should be installed on the ceiling, or at least a couple of inches below the ceiling. When it comes to how far the smoke detector should be from the door, it is recommended that it should be at least 4 inches away from the door.

Where in a room should a smoke detector be placed?

To start off, it is essential to be aware of the fact that it has been highly recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that at least one smoke detector be installed on every floor in your home. This is to ensure that you are constantly aware of a fire breakout, regardless of the floor, you stay on. Now that’s out of the way, it is equally as important to note the different areas in a room where you can place your smoke detector.

The NFPA advises that a smoke detector should be installed in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on every level of the house, including the basement and attic. In the basement, the alarms should be installed on the ceiling near the bottom of the stairs. On levels that don’t have bedrooms, a smoke alarm should be installed in the living room or family room, as well as near the stairway leading to the upper level. Finally, a smoke alarm should be a minimum of 36 inches away from an HVAC supply vent, bathroom door with a tub, or a shower or ceiling fan blade tip.

Should you put a smoke detector in the kitchen?

Where you decide to position your smoke detector is very important. In fact, where it’s placed in a house, determines how swiftly individuals within the household will respond. It even goes as far as to affect firefighter response times. Since it has been established that smoke detectors can be installed in bedrooms and on every floor, it’s important to narrow it down even further. For instance, people are often confused as to whether to place a smoke detector in the kitchen. One way or the other, there’s going to be smoke and steam produced while cooking and they don’t want to risk triggering multiple false alarms.

To answer the question, yes, a smoke detector can and should be installed in a kitchen. However, just as important as the location of the smoke alarm is the placement of the smoke alarm. In a kitchen, the smoke alarm should not be placed directly over the stove or the oven to avoid false triggers. Also, the alarm should be placed at least 10 feet (or 3 meters) away from any kitchen appliances to minimize false alarms during cooking.

What are the common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

As we now know, carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas that is produced by burning of fuel. We also now know that the PPM levels of the gas determine how harmful the gas is once people are exposed to it. Extended exposure to carbon monoxide can bring about a range of symptoms, the worst of which is death. Other symptoms of exposure to the gas however also include (but are not limited to):

A tension-type headache: This is usually the most common symptom of carbon monoxide exposure, and can feel like you are experiencing a tightness around your temple area.

Dizziness, tiredness, and confusion: Although these symptoms are not exclusive to carbon monoxide poisoning, there are still symptoms to watch out for if you suspect that you have been exposed to the harmful gas.

Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing: These can also be a way to detect carbon monoxide poisoning.

One thing to note is that the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are quite similar to the symptoms of the flu and food poisoning. However, with CO poisoning, you do not experience high temperatures. The symptoms will get much worse if your exposure to the gas is prolonged, so the safest thing you can do for yourself is to have a CO detector in your home, and visit the hospital if you think you have been exposed to the gas.

How We Picked the Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While picking out our carbon monoxide detectors, we ensured that we only selected brands and types that will best serve you and your household. Here are some of the criteria that we considered when selecting our best picks.

Audible alarm: For the most part, we only selected detectors that come with an audible alarm. It’s very important that they are able to notify you of the presence of the gas as quickly and as clearly as possible.

Interlinking technology: Our detectors feature smart technology that allows you to conveniently interlink a number of detectors together. This, in turn, facilitates an early warning.

Certification: All our carbon monoxide detectors comply with American standards and carry an approved mark to this effect.

Digital CO display: CO detectors with a digital display are the best way to go if you’re in the market for ultimate protection. That’s why our well-curated list contains detectors with digital CO display.

Battery/hardwired: The CO detectors in our selection are either battery-powered or hard-wired detectors. It’s important to us that you have the power source of your choice.