With all the technical jargon associated with carbon monoxide detectors it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you and your family... right? 

    Well in this article we are going to break it all down for you. Starting at just what a CO detector is, how they work, how to ensure that you have them in the most effective places, and then finally we will review some of the best sellers. All of this with the goal to help you find the right detector to help protect you and your family, from this silent killer. 

    Navigate to a section:


    What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)

     Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless, and odorless gas that can be fatal if you are overexposed. It is often times referred to as the silent killer because of this. The reason that CO is deadly is that it blocks the bodies blood from being able to carry oxygen. There are three different levels of exposure to carbon monoxide (Mild, Medium, and Extreme). 

    • Mild : Mild exposure will typically result in headache, nausea, sleepiness and flu like symptoms. 
    • Medium : Medium Exposure will result in a migraine like headache, confusion, and an accelerated heart rate
    • Extreme: Extreme Exposure can be fatal and is typically proceeded by convlusions, unconciosness followed by brain damage, and heart and lung failure. 

    How do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work?

    A carbon monoxide detector uses either an electrochemical, biomimetic sensor, or a metal oxide semiconductor that each detects the presence of high levels of carbon monoxide in a different way. A sensor that uses a biomimetic detector has a gel that changes color when a certain level of carbon monoxide is detected, alerting you to the danger. Metal oxide semiconductors use silica chips to detect elevated carbon monoxide levels, and then an alarm is triggered. Then you have the industry leading electrochemical sensors. These types of sensors use chemical solutions to detect elevated carbon monoxide levels, and then electrodes release a current that triggers an alarm.

    Here is a description of each of the different types of carbon monoxide detectors. each work.

    • Opto Chemical

      Opto-chemical detectors have a chemical inside which changes color in the presence of carbon monoxide. These are typically the most inexpensive form of detector but also provide the lowest level of protection for the gas.

    • Biomemtic

      These sensors work similarly to the hemoglobin in our blood which changes color in the presence of CO. Because of this they can give you a qualitative measure of the air, and not just an indication of the presence of carbon monoxide. These were the first type of sensor to make it into the mass market.

    • Electro Chemical

      These sensors are a type of fuel cell that instead of producing power produce a signal current that is transferred from one electrode to the other. The measurement of this current gives you the concentration of the gas in the air.

    • Semiconductor

      This sensor has thin wires of tin dioxide over a ceramic base and an integrated circuit sensor. The sensing element needs to be heated and thus requires a larger power source. Wxygen in the air increases the resistance on the wires, and carbon monoxide decreases resistance. The measurement of this resistance is what will gives you the reading of the co levels.

     

    Sources Of Carbon Monoxide

    Download Infographic

     

    Top Carbon Monoxide Detector Video 

    Are there differnt kinds of Co Detectors?

    There are many different types of carbon monoxide detectors out there, and as long as you are buying one that is from a good company and that has been tested, you should be good to go. While you can spend more money on a more sophisticated type of carbon monoxide detector, even those on the lower end of the price scale should provide your family the protection that they need. When looking at different options you may want to consider the following options that are available.

      • Dual Sensor

        You can get a dual sensor alarm system that works for both carbon monoxide and smoke, protecting your family from two potentially deadly threats.

      • Digital

        There are digital options that will give you a precise reading of the carbon monoxide level in your home.

      • Smart detectors

        integrate with your home automation system, perform their own self diagnostics, and best of all they link to your smart phone so you can monitor your home when you are away. While these detectors are among the pricier options, they are also among the best.

      • Hardwired

        Hardwired detectors are wired directly into your home's power grid, which means no changing batteries for you.

      • Battery operated

        Battery operated detectors are the simplest option out there, and while they aren't great they certainly beat having nothing at all. They work reasonably well at detecting carbon monoxide, but you will have to test the batteries in them every three months.


    Top Carbon Monoxide Detectors of 2017

    Find On Amazon

    Nest Protect

    The Nest Protect carbon monoxide detector uses an electrochemical sensor that is extremely sensitive and will alert you at the first sign of danger. It offers both carbon monoxide and smoke detection, and it can be integrated into most home automation and home security system. It is battery operated, uses state of the art technology, and can be controlled with an app via your smart phone. The only real con with the Nest Protect carbon monoxide detector is that it has a higher price point than most other carbon monoxide detectors. While the higher price might seem to be too big of a hit on your bank account, always remember that you can't put a price on the safety of your family.

    Pros

    • Smart Device
    • CO and Smoke Detector
    • Battery Operated
    • State of the Art Technology
    • Sleek Design

    Cons

    • Most expensive option in category


    Find On Amazon

    Kidde KN-COEG-3

    This is a dual detection (carbon monoxide, explosive gases) alarm which really gives you alot of value. It has a digital display, has 3 different mounting options, battery backup and meets the requirements of the UL (independent facility that tests products with widely accepted saftey standards )

    Pros

    • Digital Display
    • Multiple Gas Detection
    • Battery Backup

    Cons

    • Not Smart Device

    Find On Amazon

    Universal Security Instruments MC304SB

    The Universal Security Instruments MC304SB is very intriguing as it comes with an installed battery that will last for the life of the alarm which is 10 years. You can install this on the wall, or just sit it out on a table. It uses microprocessor intelligence to almost completely remove false alarms, and comes with a 10 year limited warranty.

    Pros

    • No Plug Required
    • Never have to change battery
    • 10 Year Warranty

    Cons

    • Not a Smart Device

    Find On Amazon

    Kiddie KN-COPP 3

    The Kiddie Night hawk is a carbon monoxide detector with a digital display. It can be plugged directly into the wall, or you can use a 6' power cord that is provided. This detector also comes with a battery backup so that in case of a power outage the detector will continue to work. The nighthawk also comes with a 10 year warranty

    Pros

    • Digital Display
    • Battery Backup
    • 10 Year Warranty
    • Flexible Placement

    Cons

    • Only CO Detector
    • A Bit Large

    Find On Amazon

    Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM

    The Kiddie KN-COPP-B-LPM is a carbon monoxide alarm that is battery powered and comes with a digital display. If you are looking for simple, and don't want your detector to have to go in an outlet then this is the option for you. Simple and straight forward.

    Pros

    • Digital Display
    • Battery Operated
    • Can go anywhere

    Cons

    • No Plug

    Find On Amazon

    First Alert CO605

    This is the most basic Carbon Monoxide Alarm of the bunch, and it is also the cheapest. It doesn't have a digital display but if all you are worried about is being warned if carbon monoxide is present then this is a great option. This is a plug in Alarm with a battery backup.

    Pros

    • Price
    • End of life warning

    Cons

    • No Digital Display

    Find On Amazon

    First Alert 9120B6CP

    The First Alert 9120B6CP is are hard wired option. This one will typically be installed by an electrician as it doesn't have an ac plug. It does include a battery backup in case of power outage though. This alarm uses ionization technology for its detection.

    Pros

    • Ceiling Install
    • Battery Backup

    Cons

    • Proffessional Installation Likely Required

    Last Updated 7/13/2017