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Protecting your home from fire damage and dangerous gases starts with installing the proper detection devices, like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. These easy-to-install and affordable devices can help you save not only your personal belongings but the lives of your loved ones that live inside the home.

While all smoke detectors and fire alarms are designed to catch high volumes of smoke inside your home, not all models work the same. That’s why purchasing the right smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for your home is important. To help you make an informed purchasing decision, the This Old House Reviews team researched the best smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire alarms on Amazon. Here are our top recommendations.

Best Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms

While smoke detectors help you protect your home from dangerous fires by sensing the presence of smoke and emitting a warning sound, fire alarms typically work as a group to not only detect a fire but trigger actions to combat it, including contacting emergency services or setting off a sprinkler system. Usually, fire alarms signal a warning sound throughout the home or building as opposed to an isolated room or area. Here are five of the best smoke detectors and fire alarms on Amazon.

First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector

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Available in a one- or three-pack, this First Alert detector offers two-in-one protection with its included smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring. The battery-operated device includes a mutable low-battery signal and an easy-access door that lets you replace its batteries without taking it down. In addition to its simple design, the smoke and carbon monoxide detector has a seven-year limited warranty and an end-of-life chirp that signals the need for a replacement.

X-Sense Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

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This dual-sensing detector alerts homeowners to fire and carbon monoxide hazards in the home through its LCD and alarm horn. The LED light will also flash yellow or red at the same time as an audible beep to alert homeowners of an issue, which can be a helpful indication for those who are hearing impaired. In addition to its carbon monoxide detection, this device displays your home’s carbon monoxide concentration levels to help you understand the severity of a leak.

This device is great for homeowners who are looking for an easy-to-read detector, and it comes with all the necessary installation hardware, including a mounting bracket, screws, and anchor plugs.

Kidde Hardwire Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

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This smoke and carbon monoxide detector is hardwired into your existing electrical system and provides an additional layer of protection through its battery backup. The two-in-one detector supports many features that ensure it’s in working condition, including a tampering-detection alarm, adjustable mounting bracket, and battery door that only closes if the batteries are installed properly.

Additionally, the detector alerts homeowners to fire or carbon monoxide dangers through its LED status light and alarm.

Google Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detector

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This smart fire alarm from Google detects dangerous levels of smoke and carbon monoxide in your home and is a solid choice for customers with existing smart home technology. Similar to traditional smoke detectors, this device triggers an alarm when it detects a fire or the presence of carbon monoxide. The device has a light ring which turns yellow for an early warning and pulses red for an emergency, providing a visual alert for those who are hearing impaired.

However, this smart device differs from traditional models with its instant mobile notifications that alert you to a fire in your home even if you’re not there. Additionally, the alarm is equipped with voice alerts that let you know where the smoke or carbon monoxide is in your home.

Kidde Battery-Operated Smoke Alarm

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This affordable smoke detector from Kidde runs on a nine-volt battery and uses a flashing LED light and alarm to signal a fire. Although it’s a basic model, the device features a year limited warranty and includes an easy-to-use test button to verify its operational status.

What To Consider Before Buying a Smoke Detector or Fire Alarm

Before purchasing a smoke detector or fire alarm, it’s important to understand how each device’s specifications and smoke-detecting sensors affect its performance. Here are some considerations to think about when buying a detector.


Most smoke detectors and fire alarms, including the Kidde Battery-Operated Smoke Alarm and X-Sense Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector, are designed with a year battery life. While hardwired and battery-powered smoke detectors have similar lifespans, battery-operated models may require frequent check-ins to ensure the batteries aren’t dead.

Backup Power

Most smoke detectors and fire alarms are battery-powered or hardwired directly into your home’s electrical system. Typically, hardwiring the alarms calls for electrical expertise, which may require you to hire an electrician to install the smoke detectors. Battery-powered smoke detectors are easier to install because they run off of alkaline batteries and can detect smoke through power outages because they don’t rely on electricity.

Smart Capabilities

Some smoke detectors and fire alarms are equipped with smart features that send custom mobile alerts and communicate with surrounding devices. For example, the Google Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detector sends you a mobile message when it detects smoke or carbon monoxide in your home.

Underwriters Laboratories Listing

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a third-party certification company that has helped develop smoke alarm standards for over 40 years. A UL-certified smoke detector or fire alarm must meet the company’s requirements to receive its stamp of approval. Many smoke alarms, including the First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector and Kidde Battery-Operated Smoke Alarm, meet UL requirements.

Type of Sensors

There are three different types of sensors inside a smoke detector, including a photoelectric sensor, an ionization sensor, and dual-sensing technology.


A photoelectric smoke alarm uses a light-sensitive sensor and an LED light to detect smoke. The smoke detector’s light sensor can’t pick up the LED light that’s emitted unless there’s smoke in the air, which causes the light to reflect and be picked up by the device’s sensor, triggering an alarm.


Ionization fire alarms like the Kidde Hardwire Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector use radioactive material that’s positioned between two electrically charged plates, which triggers air to flow from one plate to another. When smoke enters the detector, this airflow is restricted and triggers an alarm.

Dual sensors

Some smoke detectors, including the X-Sense Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector, use both ionization and photoelectric detectors to sense smoke and trigger an alarm. Utilizing both detection methods helps a device detect a range of fires while providing an alternative in case one method fails.

Top Brands

When it comes to smoke detectors and fire alarms, Kidde and First Alert lead the pack. Check out the history behind each company’s fire detection technology below.


Founded over years ago, Kidde is one of the largest fire safety product manufacturers and produces devices like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. The company’s offerings go beyond just detection, as the company offers equipment like fire extinguishers and escape ladders that can help homeowners after a fire is detected.

First Alert

First Alert is a manufacturer of fire prevention devices and products, including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire-resistant safes. The company created the first battery-powered smoke detector, which went on to earn a UL listing.

Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If your current smoke detector isn’t equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm, or you’re looking for added protection in a specific area of your home, a carbon monoxide detector is an affordable and convenient solution. Take a look at our top three recommendations.

Kidde Nighthawk Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Alarm

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This carbon monoxide detector plugs directly into a receptacle for long-lasting power and contains a nine-volt battery backup in case of an electricity outage. The plug-in detector operates in environments ranging between °F–°F, perfect for homeowners looking for detection in poorly insulated areas of the home. Additionally, the device is available in a three-pack for multi-room protection.

Kidde Battery-Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm

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This carbon monoxide alarm is a solid option for homeowners looking for a wall-mounted model. The device comes with a slide-out door for convenient battery access and can be fixed to any wall using screws. Additionally, the alarm displays your room’s carbon monoxide reading on its included display, which it updates every 15 seconds.

First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector

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This detector from First Alert is a good choice for homeowners who want an affordable way to monitor carbon monoxide levels in their homes. The battery-operated detector emits a loud decibel alarm when triggered and can be mounted to a wall or laid flat on any surface. Additionally, the device is protected with a seven-year limited warranty and is equipped with an end-of-life chirp that signals when it’s time for a replacement.

What To Consider Before Buying a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Before purchasing a carbon monoxide detector, consider the following three factors.

Power Source

Like smoke detectors, most carbon monoxide alarms are battery- or electric-powered. Instead of wiring directly into your home’s electrical system, many carbon monoxide alarms conveniently plug into a receptacle. Typically, electric-powered models offer a battery backup to keep the device running through a power outage.


Most carbon monoxide alarms, including the Kidde battery-operated and plug-in models, give the exact carbon monoxide reading in the room on a convenient display. Having an accurate carbon monoxide reading not only helps you assess the danger of your situation, but it also helps determine the location of a carbon monoxide leak.

Smoke Detection

While our recommended carbon monoxide detectors only sense high levels of carbon monoxide in your home, some models like the Kidde Hardwire Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector provide both smoke and carbon monoxide detection. If you’re looking for a dual-protection device, a more affordable and convenient option is to purchase a two-in-one product. If you just need carbon monoxide detection, one of the options above should do.

Where To Place the Devices Throughout Your Home

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests installing a smoke detector in every hallway, level, and bedroom inside your home. The best place to install a smoke detector is on a ceiling, though you can install one on a wall if you position it within inches of your ceiling.

The NFPA recommends placing a carbon monoxide detector in every area you install a smoke detector. It’s important to remember to install carbon monoxide alarms away from flame-producing appliances, as this can trigger a false alarm.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I replace a smoke detector?

Most smoke detectors, including the First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector, emit a chirp that signals the end of their working life. If you own a model that isn’t equipped with an end-of-life signal, you should replace the entire model after 10 years of use.

How can I tell if there’s carbon monoxide in the house?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that can lead to serious health complications and possibly death if exposed to in high quantities. While the gas can’t be detected using taste, smell, or sight, it can cause symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, blurred vision, and confusion. A carbon monoxide detector can also detect high levels of carbon monoxide within your home and alert you when this occurs.

What can cause a carbon monoxide leak in the home?

Carbon monoxide is emitted by appliances like boilers and water heaters when their fuel source isn’t burned properly. Additionally, a car’s engine emits carbon monoxide while running, which can lead to health complications or death if you breathe in high levels of carbon monoxide inside an enclosed garage.

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What does "move to fresh air" mean?

The phrase "move to fresh air" is printed on the cover as reminder to move everyone to a well-ventilated area with fresh air when the CO alarm sounds.

Note: Do not unplug or move the CO alarm. When the CO alarm sounds, make sure that everyone in the home/building is evacuated to an area with fresh air.

Why didn't the fire department, gas company or emergency responder locate the source of CO after my alarm sounded?

If your carbon monoxide alarm went off, it detected a dangerous level of CO. Some reasons why a responder may not find CO during an investigation:

  • CO levels dissipated in fresh air. If windows and doors were opened before the first responder arrived, the same concentration of CO gas may no longer be present. Be safe first and vent dangerous carbon monoxide gas to the outside. The responder can try to recreate the conditions. If your CO alarm is a model containing a digital display, there is a "peak level" button which will display the highest level of CO detected by the alarm since the alarm was reset.
  • The alarm may have been caused by an on-again, off-again problem. CO alarms measure gas exposure over time, so the exact conditions that caused an alarm may be difficult to duplicate during a CO investigation.

Will carbon monoxide alarms detect explosive gas leaks?

No, not unless it is specifically marked as an explosive gas alarm. Our CO alarms are single function and react to carbon monoxide only. To detect explosive gas, you need an explosive gas alarm. Different kinds of explosive gas can be detected and it is recommended that any home that utilizes natural or propane gas have at least one explosive gas leak alarm.

Can you reset a plug-in CO alarm with the test/silence button?

No, the test/silence button only tests or silences the CO alarm. To reset the alarm, the alarm needs fresh air and time to burn the contamination off the sensor. Push and hold the silence button for 5 seconds to silence the alarm while contamination is being burned off the sensor. You may need to do this a number of times to give the carbon monoxide alarm enough time to reset.

Can I test my CO alarm any way besides pressing the test button?

No, pressing the test/silence button is the only proper way to test the CO alarm. NEVER use vehicle exhaust or some other CO source. Exhaust causes permanent damage and voids the warranty.

Where should I install my carbon monoxide alarms?

It is very important to install a carbon monoxide alarm outside each separate sleeping area, and for maximum protection, install one in every bedroom. Many states now require installation of a carbon monoxide alarm inside each bedroom. For added protection, placement of an additional carbon monoxide alarm at least feet away from the furnace or fuel burning heat sources is recommended. Install carbon monoxide alarms a minimum of 10 feet from sources of humidity like bathrooms and showers. In multiple-story dwellings, install one carbon monoxide alarm on every level. If you have a basement, install a carbon monoxide alarm at the top of the basement stairs, and in each separate sleeping area.

What areas should I avoid installation of a carbon monoxide alarm?

Do not install carbon monoxide alarms in garages, kitchens, furnace rooms, or in any extremely dusty, dirty, humid, or greasy areas. Do not install alarms in direct sunlight, or areas subjected to temperature extremes. These areas include unconditioned crawl spaces, unfinished attics, un-insulated or poorly insulated ceilings, and porches. Carbon monoxide alarms should not be installed in outlets covered by curtains, heavy furniture or other obstructions. Do not install in turbulent air-near ceiling fans, heat vents, air conditioners, fresh air returns, or open windows. Blowing air may prevent carbon monoxide from reaching the CO sensors.

Can I interconnect carbon monoxide alarms with smoke alarms?

Generally, yes. Refer to the specific information contained in your user's manual to verify the alarms are compatible.

What are some common sources of carbon monoxide (CO)?

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that's produced during incomplete combustion of any fuel like natural gas, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, wood, gas, oil or coal. Common sources include:

  • A vehicle running in an attached garage
  • Furnace
  • Clothes dryer
  • Range
  • Oven
  • Stove
  • Fireplace
  • Water heater
  • Space heater
  • Portable generator
  • Charcoal grill

When there is enough fresh air in your home to allow for complete combustion and these appliances are vented and work properly, in normal operating conditions, the trace amounts of CO produced by these sources are not typically dangerous. However, there are common conditions that can cause CO levels to rise quickly:

  • Appliance malfunction, i.e. the heat exchanger on your furnace cracks
  • Vent, flue, or chimney is blocked by debris or even snow
  • Fireplace, wood burning stove, charcoal grill or other source of burning material that is not properly vented
  • Vehicle is left running in an attached garage and carbon monoxide seeps into the house
  • Several appliances running at the same time and competing for limited fresh air can be a cause of carbon monoxide buildup. This condition can result in incomplete combustion and produce CO, even if all appliances are in good working condition

What levels (ppm) of carbon monoxide cause an alarm?

Carbon monoxide alarms are designed to alarm before the average healthy adult feels symptoms. Since you cannot see or smell CO, never assume it's not present. Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Standard UL requires residential CO alarms to sound when exposure times and exposure levels of CO in the chart below. CO alarm levels are measured in parts per million (ppm) of CO over time (in minutes). The UL Required Alarm Points are:

  • If the Alarm is exposed to ppm of CO, it must alarm between 4 and 15 minutes.
  • If the Alarm is exposed to ppm of CO, it must alarm between 10 and 50 minutes.
  • If the Alarm is exposed to 70 ppm of CO, it must alarm between 60 and minutes.

The alarm is designed not to alarm when exposed to a constant level of 30 ppm for a period of 30 days.

Is carbon monoxide heavier than air?

Carbon monoxide is not heavier than air. A carbon monoxide alarm should be installed in a location where the alarm will stay clean, and out of the way of children or pets. Refer to the user's manual for specific installation requirements.

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Best Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors of

Most smoke and carbon monoxide detectors look the same, so you might think that they basically are the same. As long as they’ve been certified by a testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Intertek Electrical Testing Labs (ETL), they should work just fine, right? Not exactly.

“We need to test detectors because some fail at CO detection, and there are differences in how quickly different models respond to CO,” says Bernie Deitrick, Consumer Reports’ test engineer for smoke and CO detectors. “I have never tested a model that failed our fire and smoke tests, and it is reassuring to know that such critical devices actually work.”

A detector’s ability to sense carbon monoxide can mean the difference between life and death. According to the CDC, every year more than Americans die from accidental CO poisoning, and about 50, Americans end up in the emergency department.

In the lab, we expose detectors to both flaming fires and smoldering, smoky fires to see how well they detect smoke and fire. For CO alarms, we expose them to precise high CO levels ( parts per million) and low CO levels ( ppm) to see how accurately and how quickly they detect the deadly carbon monoxide. And for stand-alone CO detectors, we also check the accuracy of the CO levels that they either display on their screens or read aloud via voice messages.

As you shop, note each detector’s power source: Generally, detectors are battery-powered, hardwired, or plugged into an outlet. Battery-powered detectors can be placed anywhere and run on replaceable batteries (usually 9-volt or AA) or sealed lithium batteries that last 10 years. Hardwired detectors require special wiring for power that’s typically found only in newer or renovated homes. Plug-in detectors receive a constant flow of power from an outlet. Both hardwired and plug-in detectors use a backup battery that will take over in the event of a power outage. Backup batteries need to be replaced annually.

To determine the type you need, remove the detectors in your home from their mounts. If there are wires connected to them that run into the wall or ceiling, you need hardwired detectors. If there are no wires, you need battery-powered detectors.

Below are the best smoke and carbon monoxide detectors from our tests. You’ll find stand-alone smoke detectors, stand-alone CO detectors, combination smoke-CO detectors, and smart smoke-CO detectors that can send alerts to your smartphone. There are hardwired and battery-powered picks for each type of detector.

For a look at all the models we’ve tested, see our smoke and carbon monoxide detector ratings. And for help picking the right types of detectors for your home, check out our smoke and carbon monoxide detector buying guide.

Smoke Detector Installation (4K) Kidde

Smoke and carbon monoxide sensors are valuable for every home. So, you want to know about ‘what is the best smoke and carbon monoxide detector' for your home?  I will tell you about the two leading smoke and carbon dioxide detectors that are very popular in the market is Kidde and First Alert smoke detectors. First Alert has better features than the Kidde because of the alarm system with a verbal warning of the threat.

Overview of Kidde

Kidde possesses FireX branded units and it has two product lines. One is Nighthawk and the other is a Silhouette. The main characteristic of Nighthawk is that it is available in battery-operated and plug-in units. Whereas, the Silhouette comes in hardwired units, and you would enjoy using it because it has a sealed lithium battery with self-charging feature that stays through the lifetime of the alarm. Kidde provides combo units, which is a combination of carbon monoxide and smoke sensors to keep you alert. It also creates dual-sensor units that obtain ionization and photoelectric technologies.

1. Kidde Combination CO/Smoke Alarms

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are the must-have for your home. Moreover, these sensors will give you a signal initially when there are any fire and smoke in the home. Kidde is a trusted name around the globe, especially if you want to find the peace of your mind at home. Kidde CD has lithium sealed battery with 10 years of battery life warranty, in addition to a carbon monoxide alarm to detect any type of smoke and fire threat.

The carbon monoxide, alarm contains a digital display feature and utilizes electrochemical detecting technology to safeguard you and your entire family from the hazard of carbon monoxide.

2. Key Features of Kidde CD

  • Kidde provides you a long life 10 years lithium sealed battery with a warranty for the decade. However, when the battery life ends then CO alerts you to change it as soon as possible.
  • The other feature is the LED lights which notify you with a warning and status of the unit: green light for normal operations, red light for alarm, Amber light for error.
  • The alarm sounds decibel loud when CO suspects a danger. Due to the loud alarming sound, any person can awake from sleep to handle the threat.
  • Kidde has a Peak Level Memory which shows the highest CO concentration measured since the last reset of the unit.
  • You can easily check and reset CO alarm from the circuit and it permits you to instantly silent the alarm.

Overview of First Alert

First Alert possesses the BRK Branded units with a product line ONELINK. It has wireless connectivity throughout with verbal alarm units. The unit comes with a battery, plug-in, hardwired battery backups and hardwired units. The battery backups keep you updated and safe from any mishap because the battery will still function if the power goes out. The First Alert dual unit components include photoelectric and ionization detectors to detect if there is any smoke or leakage of carbon monoxide.

1. First Alert Combination CO/Smoke Alarms

The combination of smoke sensor and the CO detectors make the SC 07CN device by First Alert. This device presents you an opportunity to have the 2-in-1 benefit of both the smoke and CO detection.

2. Key Features of First Alert SC07CN Alarm

  • The First Alert SC 07CN has a hardwire photoelectric and ionization smoke alarm to detect fire and carbon monoxide.
  • It can detect two threats at the same time.
  • First Alert's main function is that it alarms with voice and tells you the exact location where the threat begins. You can easily investigate the threat and understand the situation with the help of verbal alarm sounds.
  • It has a 10 years battery life warranty, and its units can easily be installed and operated.
  • The photoelectric sensor in the First Alert device warns you of burning fires at the early stage and to recognize the smoke particles generated by smoldering fires. It also makes the difference between real threats such as smoke and fume created from the cooking, showering, and other daily routine activities. It also helps in minimizing the detection of false alarm.
  • The electrochemical sensor monitors the CO level that recognize the carbon monoxide leakage from multiple sources, for example, fuel-burning appliances, blocked chimneys, and generators. It can verbally communicate and alert you to analyze the problem originally.

How to Choose the Right Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

Well, here are some important points to keep in mind when you go to purchase a CO detector for your home:

  • Sensors to monitor the surrounding conditions: In order to adjust to a change in temperature or humidity, a smoke detector must have the electro-chemical sensors. Yes, the Nighthawk technology of the Kidde’s CO alarms keeps you safe from the false alarms as it adjusts to the surrounding conditions.
  • Warning for alarm replacement: Well, this is an important feature of end-of-life warning as it intimates you to replace the alarm. Kidde is the only reliable manufacturer of such CO alarms which have successfully tested the feature.
  • Certification: Before you purchase a CO alarm, make sure that they abide by the rules of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA). You can trust Kidde as they meet all the requirements by the authorities.
  • Efficiency and Accuracy: Always look for the statement printed on the packing of CO alarm about the certification by UL or CSA.
  • Plug-in Battery Back-up and Replacement: Look for a battery-operated device to stay protected in cases of power outage. In addition, the plug-and-play feature increases the ease-of-use.
  • Digital Display of CO amount: The modern devices update and display the amount of CO in the surrounding every 15 minutes.
  • Peak-Level feature: Well, the highest amount of CO present in the room determines the way to control it. So, the modern devices have this feature too.
  • Sound Alarm: If you have a verbal warning CO detector, you are in the best place as it helps you react timely to an emergency.

Choose the Best Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

X-Sense offer the combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector to provide the double protections like smoke fire and carbon monoxide. It is an 10 year battery operated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

10% OFF

X-Sense SC01 Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

  • year sealed battery smoke and carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Digital LCD display clearly indicates real-time carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations.
  • 2-in-1 smoke and CO detector with dual photoelectric and electrochemical sensors.
  • A single button to test the alarm’s circuit and temporarily silence nuisance alarms..


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