When it comes to the safety of your home and your loved ones, most of us are willing to pay just about anything. Thankfully, items like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are affordable and easy to install, and the numbers showing just how much of a difference working units in a home can be in life-saving situations are staggering.
More than one-third of all deaths by fire in the home are in homes that don’t have working fire alarms, and three out of five fire deaths take place on properties that don’t have working fire alarms. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that homeowners replace their fire alarms ten years after the date of manufacture to ensure they have up-to-date and working models. Fire alarms should also be tested once per month, making sure all alarms are interconnected and will sound at once if a fire is detected in one part of the home.
While fire alarms are a no-brainer when it comes to why we need to install them in our home and offices, not all homes have carbon monoxide detectors or updated units. Common sources of carbon monoxide leaks include furnaces, portable heaters, a range hood, water heater, attached garage, clothes dryer, dryer vents and chimneys, items that are present in most homes. Unlike fire, carbon monoxide is a silent killer, with no smoke, smell, or visible warning that alerts people to stop the leak and evacuate the premises. As natural disasters continue to rise, more people are purchasing portable generators and having a working carbon monoxide detector on hand is crucial to staying safe when using a generator.
It’s recommended that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors be placed on every floor of the home, ideally in each bedroom, with more detectors used in larger homes. Not sure which alarm is best for you? Check out our top picks below.
1. First Alert Hardwired Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
With a hardwired connection and backup battery pack, you never have to worry about the First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm quitting when you need it most. Hardwired and with a constant battery backup monitor, the First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm will alert you to danger even in the case of a power outage. The ultra-sensitive First Alert has electrochemical Carbon Monoxide sensing technology as well as an ionization sensor that can sense even fine particles in a fire. The detector has indicator lights and an 85-decibel siren, making it appropriate for customers that are seeing or hearing impaired. The alarm has three-beep modes to alert you when the batteries are low, carbon monoxide has been detected, or it’s time to replace the monitor.
2. Kidde Battery-Operated Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm
INCLUDES VOICE ALARM
With a voice alarm that will clearly alert residents to danger in the home, the Kidde Combination Smoke Carbon Monoxide Alarm runs on batteries and won’t fail even when there is a power outage. The Kidde voice alarm distinguishes between the two threats in the home, alerting inhabitants to whether there is a fire or if carbon monoxide is detected. Hush modes can be activated if the alarm sounds when there is an accidental build-up of smoke, like while cooking. The detector is easy to install and alerts users when the battery is low. It also boasts safety built-ins, with users unable to close the battery door if the battery has not been correctly installed.
Image courtesy of Amazon
3. First Alert Plug Battery Backup CO Alarm
CARBON MONOXIDE ONLY
If you already have a working smoke detector in your home and you’re looking for a reliable carbon monoxide detector, we recommend the First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm. The First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm is built with an advanced electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor that will detect carbon monoxide regardless of where it’s placed in a room, with a loud 85-decibel alarm sounds alerting residents of the danger. The alarm can be plugged into any outlet and has a battery backup for power outages. A quiet alarm will sound for eight hours when batteries are low, alerting users that it’s time to change the batteries.
4. First Alert Plug-In Alarm with Battery Backup
FEATURES DIGITAL DISPLAY
For a carbon monoxide-only alarm that you can plug in and forget about, there is the First Alert Plug-In Alarm with Battery Backup. Designed with a seven-year lifespan that includes an audible alarm to alert users when it’s time to replace the unit, the First Alert’s battery kicks in in the event of a power failure. The unit provides a continuous display of the current carbon monoxide levels in the home and has an 85 dB alarm to loudly alert users when carbon monoxide levels reach a dangerous level. The digital display makes it easy for users to confirm their current air quality levels and check the peak level to ensure there have been no significant changes in the carbon monoxide levels of their home.
5. Nighthawk Plug-in AC/DC Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector
LONG LIFE SPAN
If you already have a working smoke alarm in your home and need to add a carbon monoxide alarm, the Nighthawk Plug-in AC/DC Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector is a great option. The plug-in detector comes with a 9 V battery that acts as a backup in case of power outages. The unit is designed to last for 10 years and will alert users when it’s time to replace the Nighthawk by beeping every 30 seconds. A blinking light in the corner of the LCD screen lets users know the alarm is operating correctly, and test buttons allow for a quick reset when necessary. A peak level button also makes it easy for users to check the highest CO reading on the alarm since its last reset, alerting users to whether there has been a change in the air quality.
6. X-Sense 10-Year Battery Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Worried about dust clogging up your smoke and carbon monoxide detector and affecting its ability to get a clear reading? You may not have been before, but it can happen. The X-Sense 10-Year Battery Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm has a dustproof design that stops particles from entering the unit and affecting its ability to provide an accurate reading of the air. The long-lasting alarm horn on the X-Sense is designed to be just as strong after 10 years of use as it is on day one. The clear LCD display shows the current carbon monoxide levels in a home, as well as the working status of the alarm and the remaining battery life. The photoelectric smoke sensor and electrochemical CO sensors in the X-Sense work independently of each other and can detect fast or slow-burning fires and will only alert users when carbon monoxide levels reach an unsafe level.
7. Google Nest Protect Alarm-Smoke Carbon Monoxide Detector
FOR SMART HOMES
Google’s Nest products are all about making homes smarter and lives easier and that is definitely the case with their smoke and carbon monoxide detector. The highly sensitive detector can tell the exact location of a fire or a carbon monoxide leak, alerting homeowners to the area in need of attention. Find yourself frequently burning dinner and setting off the fire alarm? Same. The Nest’s companion app allows users to hush the alarm, which means no more frantic waving of tea towels in an attempt to turn off the smoke detector. When in night mode, the Nest provides a nightlight to help guide users through the home. We also like that the Nest uses its app to alert homeowners to issues in the home when they aren’t there. The unit is sold in a battery and wired option and will update homeowners of when it’s charging or needs replacement batteries.
8. KIDDE KN-COPF-i Carbon Monoxide Alarm
GOOD FOR VACATION HOMES
If you need a carbon monoxide alarm for a home that you are often absent from, like a rental property or vacation home, the KIDDE KN-COPF-i Carbon Monoxide Alarm is a great option. The alarm logs the highest CO levels detected in its peak memory function, allowing users to check their levels regularly to see whether there may have been a leak while they were away from the home. The hardwired carbon monoxide alarm has a backup battery for added assurance and consistently takes accurate readings of CO levels. Its alarm is a powerful 85 dB noise that can clearly be heard throughout the home.
9. Ring Alarm Smoke & CO Listener
BEST ALARM ADDITION
If you are a frequent traveler or someone who always wants to know what’s going on in their home, the Ring Alarm Smoke & CO Listener provides peace of mind for users when they are away from their home. Designed to be used in conjunction with fire and carbon monoxide alarms, the Ring sends updates to its companion app to let users know the status of the alarms in their home, pushing out an alert when either the fire or carbon monoxide alarm or both are sounded. If a fire is detected, the Ring will notify the local fire department. The Ring comes with a three-year battery life and should be placed between three and 6 feet away from fire and carbon monoxide alarms in order to get an accurate reading.