Carbon monoxide detectors are a vital part of home safety. In fact, as noted by the National Conference of State Legislatures,  most states require carbon monoxide detectors in homes through state statute, building codes, or use of the International Residential Code.

While the exact regulations vary by state, one thing is clear: the alarms are mandated for a reason. Carbon monoxide has no taste, no color, and no odor – without a detector, you might never know there’s a leak in your house until it’s too late.

With that in mind, we decided to look around and find the best detectors for your home.

Comparison Table

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How We Chose Our Ratings

a photo of an old model of a carbon monoxide detector

Accuracy is always important in our reviews, but that's especially true here. The best carbon monoxide detector isn't a luxury product, it's a warning device that could save your life. As such, we put the highest emphasis on reliability over time.

Several other factors went into our final decisions. First, we looked at the normal lifespan of each detector. This can vary widely based on the batteries you use, but most detectors ship with batteries that have a specified lifespan, and longer is generally better.

We also looked at the overall opinions of each detector, including a variety of reviews on the internet. Detectors with more positive reviews were ultimately rated higher than those with few reviews, even if those few reviews are good.

Finally, we considered the extra features on each unit. Now, honestly, there aren't a lot of features on most carbon monoxide detectors. However, a few products offered things like wall socket plug-ins or included smoke detectors, and we valued those a little more than battery-only, sensor-only products.

Top 10 Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Now that you know how we chose the products on this list let's take a look at the best carbon monoxide detector systems currently on the market.

1. First Alert CO410

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Pricing: About $$, but discounts usually available

First Alert’s CO410 is easily one of the most popular carbon monoxide detectors on the market, and it’s not hard to see why. This unit features a digital display that tells you how much carbon monoxide is present in the parts per million. That may not sound like a lot, but as little as 9 parts per million once a year can be dangerous.

If you're getting any parts per million, chances are the number is going to keep going up until you stop it at the source. Having a display to let you know that any is present is a great feature and one that helped the CO410 earn its place at the top of this list.

Remember, you should have a detector on every floor and in every bedroom - so you'll probably need to buy at least two or three of these.

2. Carbon Monoxide Detector

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Pricing: About $

If you're looking for a budget detector, this is a great alternative to the CO410.'s detector has an 85-decibel alarm and an electrochemical sensor that quickly senses the presence of carbon monoxide in the air.

Like the previous model, this one also has a display that tells you exactly how much carbon monoxide is being picked up in the parts per million. A red LED provides a visual alert of the problem, while less obviously, this product can shot the peak reading over a set period to help you monitor the flow of carbon monoxide.

All in all, this is a solid budget detector. The only major drawback is that it doesn't include batteries, so you'll have to provide 2 AA batteries. If you're not sure which brand to buy, Costco's Kirkland battery line is both affordable and long-lasting, making it the best value.

3. First Alert CO250

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Pricing: About $, but discounts are commonly available

First Alert makes a lot of good detectors, so they earned several spots on this list. The CO250 isn't quite as fancy as the CO410, but it's also more affordable. When you need a lot of detectors for your house, that difference can matter.

Unlike the first two entries on this list, the CO250 does not have a digital display. It does, however, come with its own 9-volt battery (so you won't need to spend extra on those), and several features like low battery chirping and an end of life signal make it easy to set and forget until it's time to change the battery.

This is one of the best carbon monoxide detector options on this list in part because of the dual silence features - one for the alarm and one for the low-battery chirps. This particular detector is available in 2-pack and Tamper Resistant variants (the latter of which is helpful if you're worried about the batteries being stolen).

4. Instecho CO Detector

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Pricing: About $

Instecho's detector is another budget model - the lowest on this list so far - but the low cost hides a surprising variety of features. Like the early entries, it has an LCD display that can tell you the current carbon monoxide readings in the parts per million. Unfortunately, it doesn't include the three AA batteries it needs to function.

The main reason to choose this detector is its low cost – to be honest, there’s not a lot that separates detectors in this price range other than the quality of their components. Unlike devices meant to be used on a regular basis, carbon monoxide detectors are meant to be put up and largely forgotten except for the occasional test.

The reason it's not higher on this list is that the mounting brackets are meant to be triangular, which is inherently harder to set up than two brackets in a line. Other than that, this remains a solid choice.

5. HYT Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm

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Pricing: About $

This product has the benefit of at least looking a little different than most alarms, and that scored more than a few points with our team. In fact, it's easy to mistake this detector for a wall-mounted speaker, making it ideal for tech-styled rooms.

Aside from the appearance, this device is about as simple as it gets. The test button can tell you how much carbon monoxide is present but other than that, you're likely to forget about it until it goes off. (That's a good thing.)

This particular device runs from three AAA batteries, with a sensitivity level accurate to 5 parts per million. The alarm will go off if the concentration rises above 30 parts per million. Helpfully, the manufacturer tests each of their devices in the factory before shipping them out, and that helps to ensure each sensor works.

6. Sensorcon Carbon Monoxide Detector & CO Meter

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Pricing: About $$$

At first, we weren't sure whether or not this product deserved to be included. Unlike the rest of this list, which largely features white wall-mounted detectors, Sensorcom's detector is a portable, industrial-strength detection unit. This is ideal if you're just moving through an area and want to be sure there's no carbon monoxide in the air.

Most homeowners don't need an industrial-level detector, but if you need to examine damaged homes on a regular basis, this could quite literally be a lifesaver. As such, we felt this particular product deserves a place on this list. For what it's worth, Sensorcon's detector has a rugged, waterproof exterior, and that might come in handy.

7. THZY Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm

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Pricing: About $

This unit made our list thanks to its dual-purpose nature. Unlike most of the best carbon monoxide detector systems, which do exactly what they say they do, this unit doubles as a smoke alarm and can take the place of one.

Battery-wise, this unit features a single large, 9V battery that lets it function for a long time. However, there are a few drawbacks that result in this product being lower on the list than its competitors. First, since it also has to run a photoelectric sensor for the smoke alarm, you can expect the battery to wear out faster than on most other carbon dioxide detectors

Also, there's no option to hook the alarm up to a household's electrical system. For smoke detectors, which drain batteries much faster than carbon monoxide alarms, that's an important feature. Linking up to other detectors also makes it possible to shut all of them down at once.

None of this is meant to imply that this is a bad unit. If it were, we wouldn't have included it in our final list. We just think you should be aware that the battery on this will drain faster than you might expect.

8. Kidde KN-COPP-3

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Pricing: About $$

Are you looking for a carbon monoxide detector that you won't have to worry about replacing the batteries for? Look no further, because this is the exact opposite of the previous detector. Kidde's unit features a red display (that's visible without being attention-grabbing) and features buttons for testing and checking the peak presence of CO in the air.

The thing that really sets it apart is that it's designed to plug into an AC socket and draw the small amounts of power it needs from that. Like every good detector, it also has a battery backup in case your power goes out, but you can expect the battery to last much longer than the competition because it won't need to be used very often.

If you don't mind permanently filling up a few sockets in your house, Kidde's KN-COPP-3 detectors are a little on the expensive side, but also the easiest to set and totally forget.

9. First Alert CO605

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Pricing: About $$, but discounts usually available

Here's another entry from First Alert - and while it may not have the digital display of the CO410, it's still one of the most popular units currently on the market. Like the KN-COPP-3, this detector features a plug you can stick into any standard socket to allow it to function as long as electricity reaches the house. For power outages, it can run from two AA batteries.

The unit itself is designed to last for 7 years, after which you'll need to replace the entire thing. This is an important caveat - some units only need to have their batteries swapped while others need to be replaced entirely. The fact that you may need to replace it entirely is why it's lower on our list than most of the other alarms.

10. Nest Protect Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarm

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Pricing: About $$$

Finally, last but far from least, we have Nest's combination smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm. While it's on the expensive side, this unit comes with easy-to-understand alerts, voice reports, vivid color-ring displays, and alerts sent right to your cell phone.

It also comes in battery-only and wired-with-battery-backup versions, and it's available in a three-pack if you need to install several of them (and most homes, between needing carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors, actually do). It may be the last entry on our list, but Nest's detector deserves serious consideration despite the price tag.

Buyer's Guide

smoke and carbon monoxide detector

If you're looking for the best carbon monoxide detector for your home, anything on this qualifies as a good option. That said, a few of these clearly stick out from the competition.

The No products found. and the No products found. units double as smoke detectors, which make them far more expensive but also a replacement for other devices within your home. Be sure to read the instructions for installing them. Smoke tends to rise, while carbon monoxide tends to sink, so they need to be put at the right height.

Meanwhile, the No products found. and No products found. can be plugged right into the wall, removing the need to worry about testing the batteries of each unit. This way, instead of forgetting, you can rest easy knowing that they’re still functioning.

The rest of the carbon monoxide detectors are functionally identical (except the portable industrial checker). They feature basic test buttons, and some have digital displays, but you could honestly get any of them and expect them to work about the same. Given that, we recommend grabbing the No products found. if you still can’t decide.

Last update on 2021-12-07 at 18:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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