The Best Rated Carbon Monoxide Detectors 2018

By Jason Horton & Mason Hoberg

In a departure from previous years, this time the detectors chosen for this guide have been selected based on assessment of market sentiment by manually gathering over 31,000 rating sources from 5 star ratings, expert reviews and forum discussions. Those data were then algorithmically processed to produce a rating as a number out of 1000 for all 40 detectors short-listed, with the top 9 being selected to recommend below. These recommendations are therefore based on thousands of opinions rather than just one.

Contents

Things to Consider When Buying Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Budget for Multiple Detectors:
    When you consider that you may need 4 detectors or more to cover all areas of your home, the price starts to add up - so make sure you leave enough room in your budget for all the detectors you need.

  • Sensor Life:
    The sensors in a detector have a limited life span and the entire unit has to be replaced once the time limit is reached - this typically ranges between 5 and 10 years.

  • Sensitivity:
    CO concentration levels are measured in Parts Per Million (ppm) with standard detectors measuring levels from 30-40 ppm and sounding the alarm with consistent levels over 70 ppm which is fine for most people. If you have special health concerns such as respiratory illness, advanced age, or pregnancy, then you might want to consider one which measures levels as low as 10 ppm.

  • Digital Display:
    This is an important feature which some of the cheaper models don't have. These allow you to look through the history of CO levels since the last time you reset the detector - this is extremely useful for seeing if you have low levels of CO that don't trigger an immediate alarm but which might be harmful if exposure continues long term.

  • Power Source:
    You have four main options:

    • Battery operated
    • Plug into a wall socket
    • Hard-wired into your home's electricity supply (this option usually requires a contractor to install)
    • Combination of wire-in or plug-in and battery backup

    A power blackout is a time of heightened risk of CO exposure because that's when many people are most likely to be using fossil fueled appliances such as heaters and power generators, so we advise only to get a detector which uses batteries and will continue working when the power goes out. So be very wary of hard-wired models that don't have some kind of battery back-up, fortunately there are fewer of these on the market these days than a few years ago.

The Best Rated CO Detectors

Product Name PolyRated* Sources Median Price
Kidde KN-COB-B-LPM 921 450+ $24
Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM 921 200+ $26
Kidde C3010 916 200+ $33
Kidde KN-COB-LP2 910 850+ $24
Kidde KN-COP-IC 908 150+ $38
First Alert CO710 903 125+ $43
Kidde KN-COSM-IBA 903 550+ $36
Kidde KN-COPP-3 902 2700+ $38
BRK First Alert CO615B 898 1800+ $28
Special High Sensitivity Option
Kidde KN-COU-B 856 20+ $102

*PolyRated products have received a market satisfaction rating out of 1000 using the Polyphonical Algorithm.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Kidde KN-COB-B-LPM

Kidde KN-COB-B-LPM
Manufacturer: Kidde | Median Price: $24

Power: Three AA Batteries
Sensor Life: 10 years
Digital Display: No
Sensitivity: The alarm will sound at:
  • 70 ppm detected over 60 to 240 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 50 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 4 to 15 minutes

Kiddle’s KN-COB-B-LPM is a highly rated, and thoroughly vetted product. This carbon monoxide detector is currently sitting at a 4.6 out of 5-star rating on its Amazon product page, showing that in practice the product has a very high success rate in the homes of customers who buy it. Currently, 96% of reviewers had a positive experience with the product.

The KN-COB-B-LPM’s best selling point is the “battery lockout” system, which makes it difficult to close the unit without having batteries installed. This helps to ensure that the unit isn’t closed and mounted without having batteries installed. The Kiddle KN-COB-LPM also comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Something to be aware of with this product is that it does not have a digital display, so it won’t display information like peak CO levels.

Get the latest Kidde KN-COB-B-LPM price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM

Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM
Manufacturer: Kidde | Median Price: $26

Power: Three AA Batteries
Sensor Life: 10 years
Digital Display: Yes
Sensitivity: The digital display updates every 15 seconds. The alarm will sound at:
  • 70 ppm detected over 60 to 240 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 50 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 4 to 15 minutes

Kidde’s KN-COPP-B-LPM has the same response times found in the KN-COB-B-LPM with the added bonus of a digital display. The product’s display shows peak CO levels, as well as current CO levels (in ppm, or parts per million). The “Peak Level” display is a huge selling point for this device, because it allows you to check if the CO levels in your home are fluctuating to dangerous levels at times where you’re not at your residence. The “current CO level” display updates every 15 seconds.

Like the KN-COB-B-LPM above the KN-COPP-B-LPM features a battery safeguard which helps to prevent the installation of the unit when batteries aren’t put in. The unit also features a low-battery signal which alerts you if the installed batteries are at too low of a charge level to allow the unit from properly functioning.

Get the latest Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

Kidde C3010

Kidde C3010
Manufacturer: Kidde | Median Price: $33

Power: Sealed in lithium battery which activates when mounted. The unit can be deactivated when needed.
Sensor Life: 10 years
Digital Display: No
Sensitivity: The alarm will sound at:
  • 70 ppm detected over 60 to 240 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 50 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 4 to 15 minutes

Kiddle’s C3010 is a sealed, display-less carbon monoxide detector. The sealed lithium battery is designed to last for roughly 10 years, facilitating continuous operation without battery changes. The battery engages when the unit is attached to its mounting bracket, so when the unit isn’t mounted it isn’t receiving any power. The unit also alerts you when the battery’s charge lowers past the point of functionality. Though you will have to replace the unit itself, rather than just the batteries.

Because the unit lacks a digital display, it won’t give you any information as to what your CO levels are (or if they fluctuate throughout the day).

Get the latest Kidde C3010 price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

Kidde KN-COB-LP2

Kidde KN-COB-LP2
Manufacturer: Kidde | Median Price: $24

Power: Two AA Batteries.
Sensor Life: 10 years
Digital Display: No
Sensitivity: The alarm will sound at:
  • 70 ppm detected over 60 to 240 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 50 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 4 to 15 minutes

Kiddl’e KN-COB-LP2 comes with a unique feature for a battery-less display, a “memory” feature which alerts users if the unit has detected CO concentration of 100 ppm. The cool thing about this is that the unit has the affordability of display-less designs while still alerting you to CO fluctuations that may occur when you’re not home.

The KN-COB-LP2 also comes with a “hush” control for when the unit’s batteries are low. When the batteries become low, the device alerts you by “chirping”. However, at this point many batteries are still functional. So the KN-COB-LP2 allows you to silence the low battery chirp for 12 hours, allowing you and your family to still be protected without having to perform battery changes at inconvenient times.

Get the latest Kidde KN-COB-LP2 price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

Kidde KN-COP-IC

Kidde KN-COP-IC
Manufacturer: Kidde | Median Price: $38

Power: Wire-In with 9-Volt Battery Backup.
Sensor Life: 10 years
Digital Display: Yes
Sensitivity: The alarm will sound at:
  • 70 ppm detected over 60 to 240 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 50 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 4 to 15 minutes

Kiddle’s KN-COP-IC is a wire-in carbon monoxide detector. What this means is that the unit is wired directly into your home’s pre-existing power infrastructure, which means that your device won’t require battery changes. In order to protect your family in the event of a power outage, the Kiddle KN-COP-IC also comes with a 9-Volt backup power supply.

The KN-COP-IC can also be interconnected with other devices, and the alarm will actually sound differently when the unit is connected to an engaged fire alarm. The unit also comes with a digital display, which updates every 15 seconds to show the current carbon monoxide levels in your home. The unit also comes with a peak level display, which shows the peak level of carbon monoxide that the device has encountered.

Get the latest Kidde KN-COP-IC price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

First Alert CO710

First Alert CO710
Manufacturer: First Altert | Median Price: $43

Power: Sealed in lithium battery.
Sensor Life: 10 years
Digital Display: Yes
Sensitivity: The alarm will sound at:
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 50 minutes

The First Alert CO710 is both a thermometer and a carbon monoxide detector. The unit is designed to sit either on a table top or dresser or mounted on a wall. The cool thing about this unit is that it offers more flexibility in where it’s placed, and not having to mount the unit is great if you live in an apartment or rental home where you’re not comfortable drilling holes into the wall.

This unit also features a sealed-in lithium battery, which eliminates the need to change batteries. This feature is a huge asset, because you won’t have to worry about being woken up in the middle of the night or having to change batteries at inconvenient times. The First Alert CO710 also features a peak CO meter, which allows you to see whether or not CO levels are fluctuating and address the problem accordingly.

Get the latest First Alert CO710 price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

Kidde KN-COSM-IBA

Kidde KN-COSM-IBA
Manufacturer: Kidde KN-COSM-IBA | Median Price: $36

Power: Wire-In with 2xAA Battery Backup
Sensor Life: 10 years+
Digital Display: No
Sensitivity: The alarm will sound at:
  • 70 ppm detected over 60 to 240 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 50 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 4 to 15 minutes

Kiddle’s KN-COSM-IBA is a combination fire and carbon monoxide detector, offering dual protection. The unit is also a wire-in device, which means that you won’t have to worry about regularly changing the batteries. Even better, like the other wire-in units above the Kiddle KN-COSM comes with a battery backup system in case of power outages.

The cool thing about this unit is that it offers dual functionality, so you only have to buy and install one unit. It’s a great way to save time and effort, as well as save some cash on the installation. Like the unit above, the KN-COSM-IBA can also be connected to other units in the house. The unit also includes a “hush” mode which can silence the alarm for 9 minutes.

Get the latest First Kidde KN-COSM-IBA price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

Kidde KN-COPP-3

Kidde KN-COPP-3
Manufacturer: Kidde | Median Price: $38

Power: Plug in with 9v battery backup.
Sensor Life: 10 years
Digital Display: Yes
Sensitivity: The digital display will show levels down to 30ppm. The alarm will sound at:
  • 70 ppm detected over 60 to 240 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 50 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 4 to 15 minutes

The KN-COPP-3 Nighthawk is Kidde's top selling CO alarm and it can usually be found on Amazon's best seller list. It has very similar specifications to the Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM listed above with the primary difference being that it plugs directly into a wall socket and uses a 9v battery as a backup power supply - it alerts you when the battery needs replacing.

It also has a 6ft extension cord so you don't have to mount it exactly where the wall socket is. You can find out more by reading this extended KN-COPP-3 Meta Review.

Get the latest KN-COPP-3 Nighthawk price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

BRK First Alert CO615B

First Alert CO615b
Manufacturer: BRK | Median Price: $28

Power: Plug in with 2 AA batteries for backup.
Sensor Life: 7 years
Digital Display: Yes
Sensitivity: The digital display will show levels down to 30ppm. The alarm will sound at:
  • 70 ppm detected over 60 to 240 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 10 to 15 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 4 to 15 minutes

First Alert, by BRK Electronics, is one of the two biggest brands in CO detectors (Kidde is the other). The back-lit digital display on the CO615B shows the battery level, CO concentration in ppm, and historical peak levels since the last reset.

The CO615B customer reviews and forum posts around the web are generally very positive. One reason its ratings don't have it further up this list is because it only has a 7 year life compared to the 10 year life of the Kidde options above. It also comes with a 6 foot cable and 2 AA batteries.

If you'd like to read more then take a look at this First Alert CO615 Meta Review. By the way, Amazon incorrectly has the CO615B listed as the CO615 which is the version without battery backup - the following link will take you to the correct version with battery backup:
Get the latest First Alert CO615B price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

 

Special High Sensitivity Option

Kidde KN-COU-B Ultra Sensitive

Kidde KN-COU-B
Manufacturer: Kidde | Median Price: $102

Power: 3 AA Batteries.
Sensor Life: 10 years
Digital Display: Yes
Sensitivity: The digital display will show levels down to 10 ppm. The alarm will sound at:
  • 20 ppm detected for more than 115 minutes
  • 70 ppm detected over 20 to 60 minutes
  • 150 ppm detected over 7.5 to 21 minutes
  • 400 ppm detected over 3 to 8 minutes

The Kidde Ultra-Sensitive Battery Powered Carbon Monoxide Monitor KN-COU-B costs a lot more than typical options because it is capable of measuring much lower concentrations of CO than most residential detectors. Typical households will not need this level of sensitivity - you only need to get one of these if you have a medical condition that makes you more susceptible to low concentrations of CO gas.

The alarm will initially sound every 10 seconds at the concentrations and durations listed above, however if the elevated CO levels continue for longer than the time ranges above then the alarm will begin sounding every 5 seconds. Because it alerts you to very low ppm levels it also comes with a 'hush' function which lets you turn the low level alerts off when not needed.

Get the latest Kidde KN-COU-B price & customer reviews at Amazon.com.

 

Methodology

We used the Polyphonical Algorithm to rate 40 models of CO Detectors. During this process we manually collected all the data before feeding it into the algorithm so we could be confident this new algorithm actually works, and it does. In any case, the written reviews and comments had to be manually scored, and doing it this way also helped us to understand the changing needs of CO detector users. Over 31,000 sources were used during this process. The Median Prices shown above were calculated from the prices at multiple stores but do not include any additional delivery charges, nor do they account for volume discounts.