Updated: June 8, 2015

Carbon Monoxide Reviews:

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a silent killer and the only real way to protect yourself is with a carbon monoxide detector. The Kidde 900-0146 is considered the top of the line for CO detectors due to its durability, speed and accuracy. The battery operated system is ideal for those times when a power outage hits and you tend to use things like space heaters which use carbon monoxide generating measures. Added features like a low battery indicator, 5-year warranty, peak level memory, and electrochemical sensor make this model the best in its class. First Alert is another maker of carbon monoxide detectors - many of which are top sellers on consumer websites like Amazon.com.

Best Carbon Monoxide Detector:

RECOMMENDED - The #1 seller on Amazon is the Kidde 900-0146 which sells for less than $40. Many independent review sites for CO detectors also rate this product very highly. We found favorable comments about Kidde detectors from Consumer Reports as well. The 900-0146 features an easy to read digital display which shows you the level of carbon monoxide it is reading. The front load battery door makes for easy swapping out of low batteries. That was the one complaint we read about this Kidde model - a few people mention that it really uses up batteries. Other features include peak level memory, a test/reset button, a 5 year limited warranty, and an 85 decibel horn if necessary. Owner comments include "setup is a breeze", "peace of mind", and "better than basic CO alarm". Reviews from experts like About.com and Consumersearch.com also agree that the Kidde Nighthawk 900-0146 is the leading product in this category.

Basic Carbon Monoxide Detector:

Not everyone needs all the bells and whistles on a high end Kidde carbon monoxide sensor. We RECOMMEND going with the First Alert CO600 Plug In Carbon Monoxide Alarm which sells for less than $20. When you consider the cost versus what you get out of it (piece of mind), it's well worth it. The First Alert CO alarm has a 120 volt AC plug-in and it uses electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor for accurate results and readings. There is a test button and a silence button which are easy to use say owners. Installation is a snap - just plug in into a wall outlet and you're done. If it so happens that there is CO levels beyond what is considered safe, an 85 decibel horn will sound making sure that everyone hears it and gets out of the house safely. See all the top selling First Alert carbon monoxide detectors here.

Combination Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm:

Lots of families are concerned not only with unsafe levels of CO in their homes but also with the potential of a fire. Smoke detectors are pretty much commonplace in almost all dwelling (due to the law). If your smoke detector dies one day, consider replacing it with a combination unit like the Kidde KN-COSM-B Battery-Operated Combination Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm with Talking Alarm for less than $40. You get a nice 2 for 1 product that will protect your family for years to come. The Kidde Nighthawk 900-0102 even features a voice alarm system where it will announce things like "Fire", "Carbon Monoxide", and "low battery" depending on what the danger is. The test/reset button will let you make sure it's functioning properly (a good thing to do on Jan 1st every year). The Kidde is UL approved and sells online at Amazon for the cheapest price we could find. See all the top selling Kidde carbon monoxide monitors here.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, toxic gas that has the molecular formula CO. Carbon Monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of the fossil fuels - gas, oil, coal and wood used in boilers, engines, oil burners, gas fires, water heaters, solid fuel appliances and open fires. It has become increasingly important to have good ventilation, maintain all appliances regularly and to have absolutely reliable detector alarms installed giving both a visual and audible warning immediately when there is a build up of CO to dangerous levels. Carbon Monoxide poisons by entering the lungs via the normal breathing mechanism and displacing oxygen from the bloodstream. Interruption of the normal supply of oxygen puts at risk the functions of the heart, brain and other vital functions of the body.

Placement of a carbon monoxide detector:

Proper placement of a carbon monoxide detector is important. If you are installing only one carbon monoxide detector, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends it be located near the sleeping area, where it can wake you if you are asleep. Additional detectors on every level and in every bedroom of a home provides extra protection. Don't install carbon monoxide detectors directly beside or above fuel-burning appliances, as appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon start-up. A detector should not be placed within fifteen feet of heating or cooking appliances or in or near very humid areas such as bathrooms. Manufactureres like First Alert suggest mounting the detector on the ceiling.