You don’t want to mess with this stuff. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that’s created by any kind of combustion. The most common forms of carbon monoxide poisoning are from car exhaust, and malfunctioning home appliances like gas furnaces or dryers.
It’s extremely dangerous because breathing enough carbon monoxide can cause death by asphyxiation. In smaller concentrations, it causes flu-like symptoms. Over time, even this can cause serious health problems. Because you can’t smell or see it, you need detectors in your home.
These devices sniff the air in the rooms throughout your house where they’re installed. They’ll activate just like a smoke detector if they sense dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Technology has made these detectors precise and sophisticated. It’s also made them inexpensive, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have them to protect your loved ones.
Look for detectors that will give you readings in PPMs (parts per million), and show you the peak level of carbon monoxide between the measurements. Many models also will connect to your existing security system and communicate with your smartphone.
1. First Alert CO400 Battery Powered Carbon Monoxide Alarm
This compact and attractive model uses electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor to provide accurate readings. That sensor has a 5-year lifespan. The device uses standard 9V batteries and requires no installation. There’s both and audible and visual battery level indicator. The sensor emits an 85db horn if harmful levels of CO are detected.
2. Kidde Battery-Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Dis
You’ll hear the 85db alarm with no problem even at a distance of 10 feet. This battery-powered detector will look for 3 levels of CO. The alarm will sound if it detects 70PPM for 60 to 240 minutes / 150PPM for 10 to 50 minutes / 400PPM for 4 to 15 minutes. The CO sensor lasts for 7 years.
3. First Alert CO615 Dual Power Carbon Monoxide Plug-In Alarm with Battery Backup and Digital Display
This sensor plugs into any wall outlet, and it has a battery backup in case of power outages. Those batteries are easy to change from the front, so you don’t have to unplug the sensor. An easy-to-understand display gives you the status. The 7-year sensor will alert you when it needs to be replaced.
4. Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Battery (2nd gen)
From the people who brought you the Nest smart thermostat comes a companion to keep you safe from both smoke, and carbon monoxide poisoning. If there’s a problem it will send an alert to your smartphone. The CO sensor will last for 10 years, and the device is smart enough to know the difference between burning toast or an actual home fire.
5. First Alert BRK SC-9120B Hardwire Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery Backup
This combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector requires an electrical source. It’s meant to work in tandem with other similar devices, so it will trigger the rest to go off if it senses smoke or CO. The detector uses a standard 9V battery as backup. The test/reset button prominent on the front, and the CO sensor has a 7-year lifespan.
6. First Alert SCO5CN Battery Operated Combination Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Alarm
Do you sometimes set off the smoke alarm when you cook? You’ll want to check out this model. It uses photoelectric smoke sensing technology, so it sets off fewer alarms caused by cooking. Two different Unique horn sounds and lights help you distinguish between a smoke or CO alarm. The device runs on 2 AA batteries.
7. Kidde KN-COSM-IBA Hardwire Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery Backup and Voice Warning, Interconnectable
This sensor is designed to work with a network of devices in your home, which are all connected to an AC source. Besides sound, it also has a bright LED light that will flash if the device is activated by smoke or carbon monoxide. It also features voice alarms, giving you a verbal warning for either fire or carbon monoxide.