The Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Canada
Having a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your home is important, whether you live in an apartment, a house, a mobile home, or anywhere you call home. Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no smell and no other indicator when it is reaching high levels other than symptoms such as nausea, exhaustion, and unfortunately even death.
It is recommended to have multiple detectors in your home, especially if you have an attached garage or use fuel-burning appliances such as clothes dryers, water heaters, etc. Choosing a carbon monoxide detector may seem like a one detector fits all situation, but there are differences and features to look out for when buying a device for your home.
Our list below will help choose the best carbon monoxide detector available in Canada that suits your needs.
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What To Look For in a Carbon Monoxide Detector
When looking for carbon monoxide detectors, keep these factors in mind:
Accuracy: It should go without saying that the most accurate sensing technology is what you are going to want to look for when it comes to detectors, especially carbon monoxide detectors. CO builds up as time goes on and CO detectors can sense that before it becomes a serious issue.
A statement on the package of your CO detector should indicate the alarm’s accuracy levels. If the detector is UL or CSA approved, then the accuracy must be certified and up to the date as well.
UL or CSA listed: Not all CO detectors are UL (Underwriter’s Laboratories), or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certified. A good and proper detector should meet one of their standards and be certified by either and it will be printed on the packaging.
As of writing, Kidde is the only major manufacturer that is certified by both the CSA and UL, ensuring that their products meet their strict code of standards.
Plug-in and/or battery operated: CO detectors that are directly plugged into a wall outlet are recommended as opposed to strictly battery powered models. If you live in a home that may not have electricity all the time or has frequent shutoffs, then a battery powered one or a backup battery that lasts is a good idea.
Most plug in CO detectors have fail-safes such as alarms that will alert you when the detector has been nudged out of the wall.
CO detector + other detections: You can get CO detectors that have gas or smoke detection built in as well. The myth that having multi-detection appliances make them less reliable is untrue, as they are detecting different things. If you are wanting to have several bases covered by a single detector (or a combination pack that has two separate detectors) but worry that they won’t be compatible, be sure to double check that aspect.
Peak-level memory: CO detectors have a peak level memory read-out that indicates the current level of CO in the home. If there is an emergency the detector can help emergency personnel determine what they need to do to help clear the house properly, whether the CO is very dense or minimal.
Voice warning: You can get CO detectors that have voice alarm warnings along with the regular beeps that most people are used to hearing from smoke detectors, etc. If you tend to not hear beeping or need an extra layer of alarm that can help wake you up in the middle of the night, you may want to look into a carbon monoxide detector that has voice warnings as well.
The Best Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
Kidde 900-0263CO-CA Plug-in Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Kidde is a name you might see on this list a few times, as they are a leading brand for carbon monoxide detectors and other such appliances. The 900 CO Detector is a top-rated carbon monoxide detector. Using it could not be easier, as it just simply plugs into a hallway outlet, and you are set to go.
AA batteries are included as a backup in case of power failure in your home. Although keep in mind that all battery powered back-ups do not last very long, and you cannot use this detector on batteries alone. It must be plugged into an outlet with a power source to function properly. A Test/Reset button is on the front face of the detector.
If the unit has been nudged out of place or come loose a constant alarm mode will be activated.
- Easily works by plugging into an outlet.
- CSA tested.
- Only detects CO.
- Battery backup does not last very long.
The Best Carbon Monoxide Detector with Smoke Detector
Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector
If you are wanting to get a carbon monoxide detector that also doubles as a smoke detector (or more, such as natural gas) then the Nighthawk from Kidde is a good choice. This detector is a great deal for the cost and is also well-built and accurate.
Easy to see red LED’s blink every 30-40 seconds to indicate that the unit is receiving power. The peak CO level is displayed on the digital display since it was last reset. A 9-volt backup battery works for a short time if there is ever a power failure. Three ways to mount this detector make it easy to set-up and place in your home wherever you would like.
Photoelectric technology may detect visible particles such as those that come with a smoldering fire, faster than ionization alarms that only detect smoke or smaller particles. The Hush buttons allows for approximately an eight-minute temporary silence from the smoke alarm, which is great if you are prone to setting off kitchen smoke detectors.
- Covers CO, natural/explosive gas, and smoke detection.
- Can be difficult to remove the back panel.
The Best Budget Carbon Monoxide Detector
First Alert CO615A Carbon Monoxide Plug-In Alarm
The First Alert carbon monoxide detector has multiple versions available, including this easy plug in and use version with a battery back-up.
This alarm plugs into any 120v outlet and requires no additional mounting. Line cord allows for multiple installation options, however. The backlit digital display shows danger levels, current CO levels, and the peak CO levels in your home. The backlighting will only display when a button is pressed or when an alarm makes a sound.
An easy access battery compartment in the front of the CO detector makes for easy battery replacement without having to unplug the detector or dismount it at any point. The mute button silences unnecessary alarms and the Test button is the same one for ease of access.
- Backlit digital display.
- Easy access battery door.
- Peak CO levels are shown at button presses, not continuously.
The Best Carbon Monoxide Detector with Voice Alarm
Kidde P3010CU Photoelectric Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm
The Kidde P3010 model is a perfect choice if you are wanting a combination CO/smoke detector that also has a voice alarm instead of just the usual high-pitched beeping that comes with most detectors.
The voice alarm settings will state which alarm is going off, announcing “Fire” for fire or smoke hazards, and a “Warning Carbon Monoxide” as a warning for CO levels becoming a hazard. The smoke and CO sensors work together to detect real fires or CO leakages fast.
A sealed-in lithium battery takes the annoyance of having to change the batteries out of the detector at any point and only needs replacing as a whole appliance every ten years. No unplugging, resetting, or fighting with back panels, to change out batteries in the detector.
The fire detection side uses a photoelectric sensor that may detect visible particles, such as those associated with smoldering fires. It automatically activates once you attach the detector to the mounting bracket. Some users have stated that this model will randomly beep, whether there is a technical error or a faulty battery issue. If you do end up with a model that does so continuously, Kidde will replace your detector at no additional charge.
- Combination CO + Smoke detector.
- No battery replacement required.
- May beep randomly.
The Best Small Carbon Monoxide Detector
First Alert CO615A Carbon Monoxide Plug-In Alarm
The First Alert CO710A model is just like their others that detect carbon monoxide. This is compact and small: you can mount it on a wall or even keep it on a table.
A built-in lithium battery means that you do not need to change the batteries at any point, and it will be set to go for up to ten years. No more fumbling with hard to open back panels or reset your detector just to do so.
The peak level feature allows you to see the highest levels of CO recorded, and the ambient display will show the current room temperature along with the current CO levels at a quick glance. A singular button allows you to test the detector as well as mute it when the alarm sounds. The decibel siren should wake even the deepest of sleepers, so even without a voice activation detector and with being a smaller sized detector, it will alert you of dangerous CO levels in your home.
- Shows CO levels and room temperature.
- Compact design.
- No battery replacement needed.
- No continuous display.
The Best Portable Carbon Monoxide Detector for Car/Travel
Handheld Carbon Monoxide Meter CO Detector
Handheld Upevils is for those who are looking for a portable CO detector, whether for peace of mind during travel, or for somewhere that may not have electricity on a constant basis such as a cabin or lake rental with fuel burning fireplaces, etc.
This handheld portable carbon monoxide detector updates in real-time the amount of CO in the air around you, measuring from 1ppm to 1000ppm. The PPM is displayed on the screen in updated real time as you use it and has a beeping tone that will chime if the levels are high. It also includes a calibration mode to ensure that it ss working correctly.
It ss durable and easy to bring with you anywhere. Also, consider this portable CO detector in case of needing to check CO levels if your main detector goes off.
- Easily portable.
- Tracks CO levels in real time.
- Accuracy may be finicky, as per some reviewers.
For this article we looked at top reviews from Amazon users, other trusted review websites, and official Canadian government relied upon information to select the safest and best carbon monoxide detectors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes carbon monoxide in houses?
CO is produced whenever a material burns. Fuel-burning appliances such as clothes dryers and water heaters or attached garages are more likely to have CO problems.
Where to install a carbon monoxide detector?
The guidelines about carbon monoxide detectors is to place them centrally outside of sleeping areas, such as bedrooms (locate the detector on the ceiling or wall). Middle of the hallway between multiple bedrooms for example is a great location for a carbon monoxide detector.
How much carbon monoxide is fatal?
Sustained CO concentrations above 150-200 ppm can cause disorientation, unconsciousness, and death. At 70 ppm and above at a sustained rate, headache, fatigue, and nausea are symptoms that can appear.
How to test a carbon monoxide detector
Testing a carbon monoxide detector is much like testing a fire detector, depending on the model. Press and hold the Test button until it beeps, which can take up to 30 seconds on some models of detectors/alarms.
What other gases can set off a carbon monoxide detector?
A well-made carbon monoxide detector should not go off with other gases or if they do, rarely. Cheaper made ones, however, can be set off by hydrogen gas, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen cyanide, gas/petrol fumes, ethyl vapors, isopropyl alcohol, and nitrogen dioxide.
What does 3 beeps mean on a carbon monoxide detector?
Three beeps on your detector if they are spaced 15-minutes or so apart generally means a malfunction. You may need to get a new carbon monoxide detector or get yours inspected.
Will a carbon monoxide detector detect a gas leak?
Carbon monoxide detectors will not detect a natural gas leak. Carbon monoxide has no smell and no other indicator. However, natural gas will generally have a noticeably awful odour, smelling like rotten eggs or can burn your eyes, etc.
What to do if carbon monoxide detector goes off?
Much like a fire detector, if your carbon monoxide detector goes off be sure to:
- All people and your pets should leave the house and find fresh air
- Call 911 and report that your carbon monoxide detector has gone off
- Even if the alarm stops, wait for the proper authorities to check what is causing the carbon monoxide and ensure that your home is safe to return to
Do I need a carbon monoxide detector?
Having a carbon monoxide detector, or multiple depending on the size and layout of your home is a life-saving and inexpensive appliance to have. Some provinces/countries/cities legally require carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in your home.
How many carbon monoxide detectors do I need?
If your home has an attached garage or uses fuel-burning appliances including a fireplace, you must have CO detectors adjacent to each sleeping area of your home and if you have multiple levels there should be at least one on each floor.
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