Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors
In order to find the best carbon monoxide detector for your specific needs, the first thing you need to do is have a firm understanding of the different types that are available. All types of carbon monoxide detectors measure the level of carbon monoxide in a space; however, the manner in which they operate differs. There are six main types of carbon monoxide detectors, which include:
- The digital read out carbon monoxide detector
- The hardwired carbon monoxide detector
- The AC plug in carbon monoxide detector
- The combined smoke and carbon monoxide detector
- The interconnected carbon monoxide detector
Here is a detailed look at each of the different types of carbon monoxide detectors.
The Digital Read Out Carbon Monoxide Detector
This type of carbon monoxide detector has a display panel, which allows you to see the both the current and the pervious carbon monoxide concentrations in parts per million. This is particularly handy, as it will allow you to asses or identify dangers. Some models of this type of carbon monoxide detector even offer a continuous stock ticker read out of the current level of carbon monoxide in your home.
The Hardwired Carbon Monoxide Detector
This type of carbon monoxide detector is connected directly to the power supply of your house or office. It also comes with a backup battery, which will power the detector in the event that the power goes out. Because it has access to a continuous supply of power, you don’t have to worry about the batteries dying and your carbon monoxide detector not being powered. Because they are connected directly to the power supply, this type of carbon monoxide detector should be installed by a professional electrician to ensure that it is properly and safely hooked up.
The AC Plug In Carbon Monoxide Detector
The AC plug in carbon monoxide detector can be plugged into an electrical out in your home or office, which makes it very convenient to use. You can easily move this type of carbon monoxide detector about and you won’t have to worry about having charged batteries because it is connected directly to the electrical system of your home or office. This type of detector is best used in locations where an electrical outlet is at eye level to allow you to view the readings of the carbon monoxide with ease.
The Combined Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
As the name suggest, this type of detector combines a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector in one unit, which elements the need to have two types of detectors on your home. On the downside, it can be difficult to find a location to properly place this type of detector. Generally, smoke detectors are best placed on the ceiling, as smoke rises, and the best position for a carbon monoxide detector is on a wall where you can easily see the readings.
The Interconnected Carbon Monoxide Detector
The interconnected carbon monoxide detector connects either with cables, or it can be wireless, with other alarms and monitors, such as smoke detectors and security systems. The main benefit of this type of carbon monoxide detector is that it will relay emergency alarms from other parts of the building, so you can be alerted of a danger in one part of your home or work place while you are in another part.
The Portable or Handheld Carbon Monoxide Detector
As the name implies, this type of carbon monoxide detector can be carried in your hand, which makes it very portable. The portable or handheld carbon monoxide detector is intended for use in commercial or governmental safety inspection roles to identify carbon monoxide leaks. It is not designed for regular use in a home or office setting.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Carbon Monoxide Detector
In order to determine which type of carbon monoxide detector will best suit your particular needs, there are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration before you decide on which one to choose. Some of the most important factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a carbon monoxide detector include the lifespan of the detector, the accuracy of the detector, and the ease of use, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important when choosing a carbon monoxide detector, please keep on reading.
The lifespan of the carbon monoxide detector
Over time, the sensors on a carbon monoxide detector will start to wear away. Most carbon monoxide detectors have a life span of five years, though there are models that are designed to last longer. Obviously, the longer the life of the carbon monoxide detector, the better, as it will ensure your safety and it will avoid you having to spend extra money on replacement detectors.
The location it will be placed
You should also consider where the carbon monoxide detector will be placed. If you are going to purchase a plug in model, you want to make sure that you have access to an electrical power outlet where you will be able to read the display on the carbon monoxide detector with ease. Carbon monoxide detectors are best placed on a wall where they are clearly visible and easy to read so that you can quickly see the levels of carbon monoxide in your home or office.
The power options
You also want to consider the available power options that a carbon monoxide detector will offer. As mentioned above in the ‘types’ section of this buyer’s guide, carbon monoxide detectors can either be hardwired and connected to the electrical system of your home or office, or they can be plugged into an electrical outlet. Hardwired models should be installed by a professional electrician in order to ensure proper installation, while a detector that is powered via an electrical cord is simple enough to set up on your own. However, a hardwired detector does not need require an electrical outlet, which means that you don’t have to scramble to find one that will work for the detector.
The accuracy of the carbon monoxide detector
Accuracy is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when you are choosing a carbon monoxide detector. The accuracy depends on the performance of the sensor, as well as up to date electronics and operating software. These factors are inter related and must work together in order for the carbon monoxide detector to yield maximum results.
The ruggedness of a carbon monoxide detector
The ruggedness of the carbon monoxide detector is directly dependent on the devices casing. It must be able to withstand regular wear and tear so that the sensors are not compromised.
The reliability of the carbon monoxide detector
You also want to make sure that your carbon monoxide detector is as reliable as possible. If the device is not reliable, it could fail you, and it may not detect an elevated carbon monoxide level.
The testing functionality
Carbon monoxide detectors should be tested once a month in order to ensure that they are working properly. Virtually all carbon monoxide detectors are outfitted with a test / silence function, which is intended to test the device, as well as silence it, in the case that a false alarm is sounded.
The cost of the carbon monoxide detector
As with all items you purchase, the cost of the carbon monoxide detector is an important factor to take into consideration. Not only should you consider the cost of the actual unit, but you should also consider the cost of installation and maintenance. Carbon monoxide detectors that offer a lot of features will have a higher price tag, and hardwired devices should be installed by a professional electrician, which can increase the cost factor. Also, if the device runs on batteries, you are going to want to consider the cost of replacing the batteries when they wear out.
The sound of the alarm
You also want to make sure that the carbon monoxide detector offers an alarm that is loud enough for you to hear throughout your home or office. Generally, most carbon monoxide detectors have an alarm with a minimum 85 decibel horn that can be heard within 10 feet of the device; however, are models that offer louder horns that can be heard from farther away.
Features Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Offer
There are several features that are available for carbon monoxide detectors. These features are intended to make the carbon monoxide easier to use and more effective. As mentioned above, the more features a carbon monoxide detector offers, the more expensive it will be. It is important to understand the different types of features that are available and their intended function so that you can determine whether you want or need them.
Here is a look at some of the top features that carbon monoxide detectors can offer.
A voice alert
Some higher end carbon monoxide detectors offer a voice alert. For example, dual smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with this feature will announce the nature of the hazard, whether it is smoke or carbon monoxide related, to reduce confusion if the alarm sounds. Some interconnected models will announce the location of the detected problem on every alarm in the network so you know exactly where the problem is located.
A remote control
Some carbon monoxide detectors can be controlled with a remote control. The remote can be used to easily test the device, and to turn off any false alarms with ease.
A digital display
A digital display will provide instant and constant readouts of measured carbon monoxide levels, peak levels measured over a period of time, the condition of the battery and more. A digital display makes it easy to keep tabs on the condition of your carbon monoxide detector and the carbon monoxide levels in your home.
Top Carbon Monoxide Detector Brands
There are several manufacturers that produce carbon monoxide detectors. Here is a look at our picks for the best brands on the market today.
This company produces high quality carbon monoxide detectors that are designed with the latest technologies. Constructed of durable materials, and offering a long life span, Nest Protect carbon monoxide detectors are an excellent choice.
Another top producer of carbon monoxide detectors is Kidde. This company uses the most cutting edge technologies to produce highly reliable and accurate carbon monoxide detectors so that you can ensure your protection.
Another one of the most trusted carbon monoxide detector brands is First Alert. This company makes a wide range of carbon monoxide detectors that offer an array of features. First Alert products are very durable and last a long time.