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The Best RV Carbon Monoxide Detectors to Keep Your RV Safe

Written by Stephen Ryan / Fact checked by William Turner

Choosing the best RV carbon monoxide detector is a pivotal part of ensuring your RVing adventures are entirely safe. But sometimes, it can be challenging to find one suited for your need as a rig owner.

best rv carbon monoxide detector

I intend to make this search much easier by going through several crucial topics related to these devices. Some of these topics include essential buying factors, CO detector types, their benefits, and how to clean/maintain them.

These discussions will ensure you become capable enough to make a sound final buying decision. You can then rest easy knowing a top-tier CO detector is keeping everyone within your rig safe.

Top 1



Dimensions 9 x 6 x 4 inches
Alarm Audible, Visual
Power Source ‎Battery Powered

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Top 2

MTI Industries 35-742-BL


Dimensions 10 x 8 x 2 inches
Alarm Audible
Power Source Battery Powered

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Top 3

First Alert CO250


Dimensions 4.25 x 4.25 x 1.6 inches
Alarm Audible
Power Source Battery Powered

Jump to Review

Table of Contents

7 Best Carbon Monoxide Detector for RV Reviews 2023

This section will contain 11 reviews of my favorite options. Each of these reviews should offer a better handle on what high-quality options offer. It’ll make sure you know what to look for when choosing your next model.

1. FIRST ALERT CO400 Carbon Monoxide Detector

A motorhome carbon monoxide detector should never be complicated to set up, operate, and maintain. Hence, RV owners looking for such a product should consider the FIRST ALERT CO400. This device can save families the hassle of installing bulky and complicated units in their motorhomes.

I am unfamiliar with its CO detection sensor technology. However, reading different customer reviews gives me an idea of its performance. This model meets UL standards, guaranteeing this device will alert me once it senses a predetermined CO level. And for that, I am confident it accomplishes its task exceptionally well.

Testing the design is quite an experience because of its 85-decibel alarm. I think it is louder than my food processor at high speeds. Four consecutive beeps followed by a two-second pause indicate a potential carbon monoxide leak.

One beep per minute notifies users to replace the battery, while five beeps per minute tell users to ditch the detector for a new unit.

Unlike other products, setting up this CO detector is straightforward. RV owners only need to insert the nine-volt battery into the compartment and turn it on.

This carbon monoxide detector has a 5-year limited warranty, which roughly translates to its longevity. It offers exceptional value because people get two devices for the price of one CO sensor.

Although this travel trailer carbon monoxide detector has admirable functionality, it cannot detect ultra-low levels of the chemical.

  • Effective carbon monoxide sensor
  • Super-loud 85-decibel alarm with three notification modes
  • Battery-operated device for ease of setup
  • Meets UL standards
  • Five-year warranty
  • Two-in-one purchas
  • Not recommended for low-level carbon monoxide detection
Regardless, I still love this carbon monoxide detector. It is effortless to set up and operate, making it an ideal companion in high CO-risk situations.

2. MTI Industries 35-742-BL RV LP/CO Alarm

MTI Industries’ 35-742-BL Dual RV LP/CO Alarm is an excellent choice to lead off our list. This 12v carbon monoxide detector comes equipped with several essential features any rig owner will find appealing.

One of these features would have to be it being a combination model. In other words, this device can detect both gas leaks and CO gas at the same time. The product’s customer reviews are full of praise for its ability to serve both roles effectively.

I was also pleased to see this model has a plug-in 12V power source. This aspect ensures rig owners won’t ever need to replace any dead batteries. It removes an unneeded hassle for your life, which is a positive in my book.

Rig owners should find this product’s impressive durability appealing, as well. You can attribute this benefit to its high-quality construction. In fact, the manufacturer made sure this product can withstand the rugged environment of an RV.

Honestly, I don’t see any reason why this RV carbon monoxide propane detector wouldn’t last ten years without any issue. It was even tested in extreme conditions to ensure it could function at any temperature between -40 F and 158 F. Therefore, it’ll be fine wherever you plan on traveling.

The product’s installation was another massive advantage. It has one of the easiest processes that I’ve encountered with these devices. If I can install this model without needing an expert’s help, anyone reading this article shouldn’t have much trouble.

But the price tag was a bit more than I would want to spend on a 12 volt CO detector. Bargain buyers would be best off looking to buy another option.

  • Detects both CO and gas leaks
  • 12V power source
  • Top-tier, durable construction
  • Easy to install
  • Can function in extreme temperatures
  • A little bit pricey
Aside from its price tag, there isn’t a single bad thing about this model. It’s fitted with everything a rig owner could want and does its jobs effectively. You could do much worse than paying a little extra for quality like this CO detector.

3. First Alert CO250 RV CO Alarm

If you need an affordable, practical model, First Alert’s CO250 BRK RVA RV CO Alarm should be at the top of your list. This battery operated carbon monoxide detector for RV usage matches most competitors’ performance at a fraction of their price.

It becomes one of the best bargains available due to its effective results and affordable price. You will also find its features aren’t anything to overlook, either. Its hinged cover design makes installing the device and replacing its battery much easier than with other models.

I was also impressed with its overall construction quality. This model has been tested in the most extreme environments to withstand usage inside an RV. Due to this, the constant bumps and climate changes shouldn’t have any effect on its performance.

You can thank this construction for its 10-year lifespan, as well. This model won’t have any issues blessing you with a detector that doesn’t need a replacement anytime soon. It’ll be a consistent part of your RVing lifestyle for years to come.

The product’s silence feature was another aspect to catch my attention. It’ll ensure you can silence any unwanted alarms, such as when its battery needs replacement. There’s no reason to believe it’ll become an unneeded annoyance inside your rig.

First Alert was nice enough to include the batteries with purchase, too, which doesn’t often happen with other models. It’s just another hassle that a buyer won’t have to think about after buying this CO detector.

But rig owners who live in California will have to look elsewhere. This model can’t be shipped there due to certain regulations. It’s a massive bummer for any Californian looking to take advantage of this bargain.

  • Available at an affordable price
  • Hinged cover design to make installing and changing batteries more convenient
  • Built to withstand an RV environment
  • Has a silence feature
  • 10-year lifespan
  • Batteries included
  • Can’t be shipped to California
If you live outside of California, I don’t see why this model isn’t already in your buying cart. What else could a person want from a CO alarm?

4. Kidde RV CO Alarm

The Kidde RV CO Alarm happens to be another battery operated option with some impressive features. It runs on 2 AA batteries, which Kidde includes with purchase for convenience purposes.

This 2 AA battery power source design ensures the model offers uninterrupted CO monitoring even during power outages. It’ll ensure your rig’s always protected against dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Other customers seemed to agree as many of their reviews were full of praise for its performance.

I was also happy to see this product features a piezoelectric horn for its alarm. This horn will produce a sound rated 85dB that’ll make you aware but won’t destroy your eardrums. Some of these other models have almost unbearable alarms.

The device’s test/reset button is another excellent inclusion. It’ll allow users to test the device to ensure it’s working. You’d be surprised how many rig owners have detectors die without them even noticing.

You don’t have to worry about hardwiring this device, either. Its battery-operated design ensures it’s not required, which makes for a much easier installation. This aspect was another thing that customers were raving about in their reviews.

Bargain buyers will be overjoyed with this model, considering it’s the least costly option on our entire list. You’d be hard-pressed to find another effective CO detector available for a price tag less than this one.

However, some customers did report a few packaging issues. These buyers had received the product without the batteries or in a damaged package. It’s not an ideal look for a company with such a good reputation as Kidde.

  • Battery-operated design offers uninterrupted CO monitoring
  • Produces a bearable 85dB alarm
  • 2 AA batteries included
  • Install doesn’t require hardwiring
  • Lowest price among our options
  • Has a test/reset button
  • Packaging issues (no battery or damaged package)
The product’s packaging issues shouldn’t take this option off your list. In fact, these issues were only mentioned in a few reviews and their customer service handled them quickly. You should have full confidence in buying this CO detector.

5. X-Sense SC03 RV CO Alarm

The X-Sense SC03 RV Smoke and CO Alarm has many similar features to our previous model from this brand. For instance, it comes with a built-in lithium battery with a 10-year lifespan to ensure product longevity.

Some other similar traits between the two include detecting both smoke and CO, simple using process, easy installation, multiple buying options (1-pack, 3-pack, and 5-pack), and a practical test/silence button. Honestly, there are only four critical differences between these two products.

The first difference is this model meets the requirements needed to be used in and shipped to California, which our prior X-sense option doesn’t. It can offer these benefits because it meets California’s Fire Marshal regulations.

You can also expect the SC03 model to have a slimmer design. It makes for a more compact and meshable CO alarm. Rig owners shouldn’t have any issues blending this model right into their rig’s interior.

This model happens to be slightly less expensive, too. It’s not a huge difference, but it becomes a much bigger deal when you start considering the larger buying options. Any bulk buyers should keep this aspect in mind.

Given this information, it seems this X-Sense model offers all the first option’s top-tier performance qualities, but with California compatibility, a cheaper price tag, and a slimmer design. It sounds like a much better deal for anyone who was considering our first model from this brand.

But the fourth difference is why both models end up on this list. This option doesn’t have a convenient LCD display, which is a massive part of the SC01’s appeal. It makes deciding between the two much tougher than you initially expect.

  • Detects both smoke and CO
  • Multiple buying options: (1-pack, 3-pack, and 5-pack)
  • California compatible (meets Fire Marshal regulations)
  • Has a slim design with a test/silent button
  • Affordable price tag
  • Simple usage and installation
  • Doesn’t come with an LCD display
In any case, it becomes clear both the X-Sense models deserve a spot on this list. Bulk buyers or any rig owner who isn’t too concerned with an LCD display should choose this option. It has everything else a person could look for in an RV CO detector.

6. Universal Security Instruments RV CO Alarm

If you happen to be an eco-friendly person, Universal Security Instruments’ RV Carbon Monoxide Smart Alarm might be your ideal option. The product earns this distinction because it uses permanent power alkaline batteries that are more disposable than lithium options.

These batteries also offer a 10-year lifespan to ensure a decade’s worth of performance before a replacement is needed. Plus, buyers won’t be too upset with its performance quality during these ten years because it utilizes smart alarm technology.

Users should expect this advanced technology to make nuisance false triggers a non-issue. Its ability to adjust based on environmental factors like humidity makes this possible. Therefore, waking up to a false alarm at 1 am won’t be a part of your life with this product onboard.

I was intrigued by this product’s versatile design, too, which makes installing it a breeze. It has even proven to be an excellent choice for situations outside the RV, such as apartments and homes. Honestly, it might be a smart move to buy a few of these and upgrade your home ones.

This model’s also known for its maintenance-free design. It’s a feature that’ll make sure you end up getting an entire decade of top-tier performance without a second spent on upkeep. This outcome sounds like a dream scenario for me.

You might be shocked to learn this model doesn’t have an expensive price tag, either. It falls right in line with the average expected cost of these devices. I ended up pleasantly shocked when I saw its value when doing my product research.

It’s worth noting that some customers did report shipping issues. However, it seems most of these problems were solved quickly, thanks to Universal Security Instrumental’s customer service.

  • Alkaline batteries have a 10-year lifespan
  • Utilizes smart alarm technology to minimize false triggers
  • Versatile construction can work in situations outside motorhomes
  • Maintenance-free design
  • Not costly to purchase
  • Shipping issues for some customers
The product’s shipping issues aren’t ideal, but it doesn’t seem like a trend. It’s much more likely that these incidents were no more than isolated occurrences. If this model fits your needs, you shouldn’t hesitate to purchase it.

7. FASOHERE CO Detector

Our final product, FASOHERE’s Multi-Function Carbon Monoxide Detector, happens to be quite different from the previous options on this list. After all, its design allows it to function as both a device charger and a CO alarm.

This multi-purpose construction makes it one of the more convenient models mentioned in our article. But if the product can’t perform both roles effectively, these abilities don’t mean much to a person who buys it.

Thankfully, this model offers excellent performance when doing both tasks. It’s shown to be an effective monitor of CO concentration with its highly sensitive CO sensor. In fact, this product will beep whenever carbon monoxide levels reach above 100 ppm. It should have no trouble protecting you and your loved ones on board an RV.

But even with its excellent CO detection, its charging ability might be more impressive. It’s actually capable of offering 4x faster-charging speed than most traditional methods. You can also charge a variety of different devices using this product, including any USB device.

It has several embed protections against common charging issues, as well. For instance, this model will ensure there won’t be any short-circuiting, over-heating, over-charging, or over-currents when recharging your devices.

If these features weren’t enough, buyers won’t have to concern themselves with any complicated wiring or using process. This model instead has a simple plug-in design to ensure comfortable usage that should cause absolutely no issues.

A few customers did report it having issues staying secure inside their cigarette lighter sockets, though. It could represent a problem when traveling from place to place.

  • Multi-purpose construction (charger/CO detector)
  • Highly sensitive CO sensor
  • 4x faster-charging speed than regular methods
  • Can charge different devices, including USB ones
  • Offers several protections for its charging process
  • Simple plug-in design
  • The product has a habit of disconnecting from cigarette lighter sockets.
The connection issues were a bit of a bummer to read about within this product’s customer reviews. But its excellent convenience and product quality more than make the device worth it. After all, many other customers were ecstatic when it came to how this model functioned.

Vitowell RV Carbon Monoxide Detector (Outdated)

Buyers looking for a combination model should check out Vitowell’s RV Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector. As its name suggests, this option will have no trouble working as both a smoke and CO detector inside your rig.

The product can serve these dual purposes because it’s equipped with an electrochemical CO sensor and a photoelectric smoke sensor. These two inclusions make sure it can easily monitor both smoke and CO concentration to keep your family protected.

I found myself loving this product’s LCD display, as well. This aspect is vital because it can indicate real-time CO concentration in your rig’s air, working status, and remaining battery life. It’s an effective way to ensure a user can stay on top of how well it functions.

You will also like this product’s low-profile design, which should have no problem blending into your rig’s interior. In fact, this model is half as thick as most other alarms to ensure it won’t be an eyesore inside your RV.

Its installation process is another aspect I found to be appealing. This model is relatively easy to install with its accompanying mounting bracket. After all, there’s no hardwiring required, and every necessary installation piece comes included.

Vitowell’s known for providing excellent customer service, too, which is a nice addition. It seems numerous buyers were impressed with their overall helpfulness. Honestly, you don’t often come across praise for this aspect when looking at customer reviews.

But some customers weren’t a fan of this product’s flashing red light. It was the one complaint that was mentioned in more than a couple of customer reviews.

  • Smoke and CO detector
  • Readable LCD display
  • Low-profile design
  • Easy installation process with no hardwiring
  • Excellent customer service
  • A few customers weren’t a fan of its flashing red light
The flashing red light issues shouldn’t be a deal-breaker considering its overall effectiveness. If it means constant protection against smoke and CO, I’d be more than happy to deal with this one issue. It ends up being more of a nuisance than a real problem.

MTI Industries Safe T Alert CO Detector (Outdated)

MTI Industries’ Safe T Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector is an ideal choice for usage inside any motorhome from Class A RVs to fifth wheels. Its use of advanced technology makes it a perfect fit for dealing with the ruggedness of RV settings.

The advanced technology ensures it offers top-tier performance in whatever situation that presents itself. It’s clear that this 12 volt carbon monoxide detector shouldn’t have problems meeting any rig owner’s expectations.

You can also expect it to offer a great deal of convenience with features like its rapid recovery sensor. It’ll ensure the product resets after being silenced to ensure consistent, constant monitoring.

Its 12 volt design assures you don’t have to worry about replacing batteries, either. This aspect will make sure you aren’t spending extra money on batteries every few months. It’s just another hassle that this fantastic model eliminates.

The product’s “Alarm Mute” button is another standout feature. It’s a useful addition because this button will guarantee the alarm doesn’t make any noise when your RV’s safe and ventilated. In other words, it helps prevent false triggers from occurring.

As for the alarm itself, it’ll offer a loud warning that won’t be overbearing. It won’t make your ears bleed or anything, which is something I’m always looking for in these devices. My sensitive ears can’t take much over 85dB.

But all of these great features do come with one downfall. This model is more expensive than most other options CO detectors available. You’ll have to pay a small fortune for this particular MTI Industries’ device.

  • Compatible with any RV
  • Features a rapid recovery sensor to ensure constant monitoring
  • 12 volt design doesn’t require batteries
  • Prevents false triggers with its Alarm Mute feature
  • The alarm sound isn’t too overbearing
  • Higher price tag than most options
This product’s staggering versatile, convenience, and effectiveness make paying its higher price more than worth it. Once it’s within their RV, I can’t imagine any rig owners will feel any differently.

X-Sense SC01 RV CO Detector (Outdated)

Bulk buyers should pay close attention to X-Sense’s SC01 RV Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector. It comes with a buying option for purchasing five of these products, which should fall right into their wheelhouse.

These buyers will also find themselves loving its overall convenience. It happens to be another dual model capable of offering smoke and CO detection. More importantly, it has proven to provide effective results when doing both roles.

I was intrigued by this model’s built-in lithium battery, as well. This aspect will offer ten years of constant power to ensure the detector remains eco-friendly. Plus, it saves you from having to change batteries regularly like with other battery operated options.

The device’s LCD display is another fantastic quality, which showcases its user-friendliness. It’ll make sure a rig owner can clearly see the CO levels, remaining battery power, and your alarm’s working status. In other words, you’ll always know how well it’s functioning.

Buyers will have no issues mounting this device, either. It has a reputation for being easily mounted on walls or ceilings thanks to its included mounting bracket and screws. The entire installation should go off without a hitch, given these inclusions.

Some other notable features include a test/silence button, an 85dB alarm tone, and a compact design. Each of these aspects will make your life as a rig owner much more comfortable than with other options.

But its built-in battery can’t be replaced. Therefore, if yours has a defective battery that dies sooner than expected, you’ll need to buy a completely new detector.

  • Suitable for bulk buyers
  • Proven to be effective in detecting both smoke and CO levels
  • Excellent, user-friendly LCD display
  • Built-in lithium battery capable of lasting ten years
  • Easy installation process with its included mounting bracket and screws
  • Compact design with test/silence button and 85dB alarm
  • Battery can’t be replaced
The non-replaceable battery isn’t much of an issue because it has a 10-year lifespan. But you never know when something weird might happen with these types of devices. However, most customers seem to run into no issues at all with this product.

Atwood RV CO Detector (Outdated)

Atwood RV Carbon Monoxide Detector is considered among the most trustworthy options available for rig owners. This detector has a long-standing reputation for being less sensitive to false triggers than other competing options.

You might not consider this a massive benefit, but it’s the one thing capable of ensuring the model won’t activate for no reason at 4 am. As a person who loves sleep, I consider this an essential feature of any option worth buying.

Its fuel cell sensor is another aspect that showcases its impressive performance. This sensor will provide an early alert when CO levels start getting too high. It should offer enough time to make sure you can get everything in order safely.

This Atwood carbon monoxide detector excels when it comes to durability, as well. It’s known to have a respectable 7-year lifespan, which is a considerable number of RV trips. It’s nice to know you won’t need a replacement anytime soon with a model like this one.

I found this product’s using process rather appealing, too, considering its simplicity. This detector uses three indicator lights to demonstrate different situations: red blink (low power level), red flashing (active alarm), and green blink (operating normally).

These three indicator lights make figuring out what’s going on with the detector much easier than other options. As for this Atwood carbon monoxide alarm’s sound level, it’s a reasonable decibel level that’ll make you more than aware.

I was disappointed to see a few customers mentioning issues with the product’s buttons making a rattling sound during travel. It’s a small issue, but one capable of making your trip a little more of a headache than expected.

  • Less sensitive to false triggers than other models
  • 7-year lifespan
  • Equipped with a fuel cell sensor for effective early detection
  • A simple using process with its three indicator light system
  • The alarm has a reasonable sound level
  • Buttons known to make a rattling sound during travel
If the only issue I have with a CO detector is rattling buttons, I’m going to chalk that up as an absolute win. Atwood did an excellent job building a useful, convenient model, which would make any rig owner more than happy.

What to Look for When Buying an RV Carbon Monoxide Detector


The task of finding a perfect RV CO detector requires a basic understanding of several critical factors regarding these devices. If you continue to read this section, you’ll gain all the information needed for making a responsible buying choice.

Stand-alone or Combo Model

One of the first things to decide is whether you want a combination or stand-alone model. The difference between these two options comes down to the fact that combo options can detect smoke, too. Honestly, deciding what type fits your needs can be rather tricky. It’s a decision that needs to be made by examining your budget ranges and overall preferences.

Combo options offer two critical benefits, detecting smoke and carbon monoxide within a single package. They end up being a cost-effective choice for people who don’t want to buy two separate devices.

A stand-alone CO detector will have a lower initial price tag than combo options, though. It’s one of the reasons many rig owners go with this option. After all, most RVs come with a smoke detector within them anyway.

Power Source

Your next decision will concern what kind of power source would be ideal. CO detectors happen to have a variety of options with their power sources. You’ll come across plug-in, hardwired, battery operated, and battery/plug-in models.

Rig owners who end up getting hardwired units tend to adore them thanks to their lack of batteries. It’s a nice feeling, never having to change them. In most cases, these devices also come with a backup battery for power outages. But their installations do usually require an expert, which is another expense.

Plug-in and battery operated options do offer more install locations than hardwired CO detectors. Plus, buyers won’t need to fret about them when a power outage occurs. It’s why these models usually end up being a good choice for RV owners.

But people who want a model run by a battery will need to ensure they choose one that has a long lifespan, at least ten years. If you do, your selected CO detector will remove the need to think about a replacement anytime soon.

Digital Displays

Most RV owners find a camper carbon monoxide detector with an effective digital display much more user-friendly than other options. It’s a crucial aspect because readable ones will ensure the rig owners can see their RV’s precise CO levels at any time.

You can also expect them to keep a record of the rig’s CO levels. It’s an essential benefit because it’ll warn you of issues like slow-moving leaks that can become costly down the line. It doesn’t hurt that you can access this information without the alarm ever sounding, either.


The price of an RV carbon monoxide alarm will vary from model to model. It’s one of the reasons why constructing a budget based on your particular needs comes in handy. But you must make sure this resource accounts for every feature deemed necessary by your preferences.

For instance, people who want combination models should expect them to cost more than stand-alone options. It would make no sense to ignore this reality when building your budget, or you’ll end up with unrealistic expectations.

But a well-crafted budget shouldn’t have any issues making this entire buying situation more manageable. After all, it’ll lessen your suitable options to a much smaller number. It should help make those stressful feelings disappear.


A top-tier camping carbon monoxide detector will offer a higher level of sensitivity when it’s detecting smoke or CO levels. You’ll need to understand that these measurements are calculated in part per million (ppm). In most cases, these devices can measure levels between 30 and 40 ppm at their lowest.

You can expect these devices to trigger whenever these levels reach above 70 ppm. If you have an option with this level of sensitivity, it shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your rig safe. You’ll have the necessary protection to ensure carbon monoxide is never an issue during your travels.

But it’s worth noting that some models do offer higher levels of sensitivity. If you’re genuinely concerned about your rig’s CO levels, I’d recommend looking for a model capable of detecting levels around ten ppm. These models would be an ideal choice for any rig owner with a gas stove inside their RV.


Most rig owners tend to overlook the lifespans of these devices. It’s important to realize that these CO detectors are going to stop working at some point. You should actually expect them to obtain a significant amount of operation mileage during their time onboard your rig.

In most circumstances, an RV CO2 detector will remain functioning between 5 and 10 years. It’ll end up depending on your model’s brand and construction quality. You should do significant research into these two aspects to ensure your model remains usable for ten years.

One way of examining this aspect would be reading through each option’s customer reviews. These resources should contain insight into the product’s durability. It’s the only way to ensure you aren’t looking for an RV carbon monoxide detector replacement anytime soon.


Buying an RV CO detector with a simple installation process is a must for any rig owner. I’d recommend purchasing one capable of being set up by you. It would help save you money by avoiding having to pay a professional for the job.

Most manufacturers will make this easy by outlining the process in each model’s product description. You can use this resource to determine whether setting it up will be a hassle-free task that doesn’t require professional help.

Customer reviews are another resource capable of determining the ease of a model’s installation process. After all, people get frustrated when they can’t install something themselves. You can use their negative or positive feedback to decide whether the process is easy or not.

Other Important Factors to Consider


Our buying guide should’ve provided a foundation to begin your search. This section’s discussions will help fill in any remaining questions or concerns. It’ll give a more in-depth idea about what these devices do and offer rig owners.

What is a carbon monoxide detector for RV?

One of the first things to understand is carbon monoxide happens to be very dangerous and lethal. You need to have some protection against this silent killer, which is where these devices come in handy. In fact, detecting CO levels without one is almost impossible.

Given this information, you’ll need a CO alarm to ensure unsafe carbon monoxide levels don’t cause any harm to anyone within your rig. It’s the only way to ensure you can avoid CO poisoning that carries symptoms like vomiting, weakness, intense headaches, and sometimes death.

How does it work?

An RV CO detector’s primary purpose is rather apparent; these devices help detect unsafe CO levels within a motorhome. These detectors will function similar to a smoke alarm where a loud alert will sound when levels get too high.

In some cases, these detectors will produce a siren instead of an alarm when dangerous CO levels are detected. Some options will even send you a notification to your phone or rig’s security system.

But the main point is CO detectors are essential devices a rig owner must obtain. It’s a vital part of keeping your loved ones and RV safe during travels. It could be the very thing that saves your life.

What are the different types of RV CO detectors?

As you might expect, there are several types of devices available. I’m going to cover each of the most popular ones in this section. It’ll help determine what kind fits your needs the best.

  • Biomimetic Sensors

One of the first types worth discussing is CO detectors with biomimetic sensors. You can expect these devices to detect carbon monoxide levels using a combined liquid or gel chemical that’ll change colors. Their lifespans tend to end around three years after the first usage, depending on their manufacturer and construction quality.

In the end, biomimetic sensors are a practical but short-term solution. It’s an ideal fit for someone who wants a hassle-free and straightforward option.

  • Metal Oxide Semiconductors

Metal oxide semiconductor-based CO detectors are notable for their constructions consisting of wired circuits. Buyers can expect these circuits to track a significant amount of CO levels without any issue. Plus, their longevity is quite impressive, as they usually last around a decade.

Therefore, these devices end up offering more durability than biomimetic sensors. Rig owners looking for an effective, long-term option would be making a smart choice in buying one. But you might need to spend a little more than you’d initially expect.

  • Electrochemical Sensors

If you need an advanced model, carbon monoxide detectors with electrochemical sensors would be your best bet. They are often viewed as the top ones among these devices because they can generate current that can detect a wide range of CO levels.

You can also expect them to last much longer than our first two types. But this higher level of effectiveness and durability comes with a downfall. Their price tags tend to be much more expensive than any other CO detector type.

But if you aren’t concerned about price, these models should be your best RV carbon monoxide detector without much competition. One of these models would offer extensive protection against CO and ensure your rig’s always protected against this silent killer.

  • Optochemical Sensors

CO detectors consisting of optochemical sensors are the cheapest type. These models have a lower price tag than the rest because they only track CO. In other words, they won’t trigger an alert or alarm like the previous kinds of detectors.

Instead, you can expect these devices to utilize a pad that’ll change colors when carbon monoxide is detected. It’s clear that these detectors only offer limited protection. You’d be better off spending a bit more money on another type.

Why do you need an RV carbon monoxide detector?

Many rig owners often undervalue how valuable having a detector onboard can be during their travels. In fact, these people seem to not realize various sources of carbon monoxide are common within rigs: gas-powered heaters, built-in generators, gas stoves, etc.

Sadly, these CO sources can make anyone who’s inside a potential victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s a more common problem than most people recognize. A significant amount of people get treated for CO poisoning that was caused by non-fire incidents every year.

This situation gets even more frightening when you consider many of them end up dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. Due to this, investing in an effective CO alarm ends up being very important.

After all, it’s a simple way to make sure you and your family don’t add to these statistics. It’s much better to pay a little money now for one of these devices than enduring some unneeded tragic event later.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Our FAQ section will cover a few more essential topics related to CO detectors. It’ll help ensure you become an expert on these devices. After reading these discussions, this entire process should become an absolute walk in the park.

What are good RV carbon monoxide alarm brands?

Finding a trusted brand is a critical task when choosing an RV CO detector. Your chosen model needs to be made by a brand known for providing excellent product quality and customer service.

But finding these brands can be a little tricky because there’s a large number of CO detector manufacturers. However, I’ve given you a head start by mentioning several top-tier brands in our product review section.

Each of those brands has gained a reputation for being quality among rig owners. If you stick with them, there’s no reason to believe your CO detector won’t meet your expectations. Buying a Costar carbon monoxide alarm wouldn’t be a bad decision, either.

How do you know if your carbon monoxide detector needs to be replaced?

It’s relatively simple to know when a motorhome carbon monoxide detector needs replacing. It’ll beep when the device is on its last legs to ensure you know it’s time.

Most manufacturers call this beeping the “end of life” chirp. This sound is a bit different from what emits from the device when alerting of a malfunction or battery change. So it won’t be challenging to notice when you need a new CO2 detector for RV.

For instance, the MTI Industries 35-472 will beep every 25 to 30 seconds and flash lights in a red-red-green-green order when needing replacement. However, during a malfunction, the light will be red-green only, and the sound will come out every 30 seconds.

Can I leave my carbon monoxide detector in my RV throughout the year?

No, RV owners must never leave their RV smoke and carbon monoxide detector systems in their motorhomes throughout the year.

They must disconnect the device from its power source if the motorhome isn’t used for an extended period, such as during winter. RV families must store the carbon monoxide detectors to prevent unnecessary damage or malfunction.

Users must stock their carbon monoxide detectors in camper area, room, or compartment with a 70-degree Fahrenheit temperature and 50% relative humidity.

Alternatively, RV owners can read the CO detector manufacturer’s storage guidelines and recommendations.

The storage area must also be free of any unnatural substances or fumes like chemicals.

How do I test my RV carbon monoxide detector?

RV owners can observe at least three ways to test a carbon monoxide or CO2 detector for RV.

First, they can purchase a carbon monoxide test gas and spray its contents onto the carbon monoxide detector. The device should emit a loud noise if it is working correctly.

Second, RV owners can buy a kebab stick or an ordinary match. They can ignite the stick, extinguish the fire, and allow it to fume. Quickly place the smoldering stick in an upside-down glass with the carbon monoxide detector. The glass should fill with smoke, triggering the device to alarm.

Third, some carbon monoxide detectors have a TEST functionality. Unfortunately, this attribute only confirms the functionality of the device’s electrical components, including the alarm, LED, and other electronic parts.

Where should a carbon monoxide alarm be placed in an RV?

Choosing a location for your CO detector is a huge part of this process. If you’re installing one in your rig, it needs to be put in a central location. I’d recommend placing it about 5 feet from the floor.

After all, carbon monoxide rises as the air warms up and stays close to the ground in cold, enclosed spaces. This placement will ensure your detector can work in both situations effectively. You should also make sure the device is located close to where everyone sleeps.

Why does my carbon monoxide alarm for RV keep beeping?

RV CO detectors aren’t any different from the ones in your home. These devices chirp or beep when their batteries are low. Changing the battery should cease the RV carbon monoxide detector beeping.

If your RV carbon monoxide detector keeps going off incessantly, it’s alerting you of dangerous smoke or CO levels. You should exit the vehicle immediately and get to a safe area away from your rig.

How to care and clean?

Cleaning and maintaining one of these products isn’t overly complicated. In most cases, it’s a simple matter of following the steps outlined in the product manual. These directions should make sure your chosen model lasts as long as possible.

But the general process consists of wiping down the detector’s exterior using a soft cloth to get rid of any dust. If an area’s extremely dirty, you can try using a damp cloth to clean it. However, make sure you don’t get the sensor wet, or it’ll become damaged.

You can also vacuum the device with a focus on its sensor. But you shouldn’t allow the sensor to come in contact with the vacuum’s attachment, or damage might occur. I’d recommend using canned air and spraying it all around the sensor to get rid of any lingering dust. This action should be done around two times a year to ensure the device remains in stellar condition.


Your search for the best RV carbon monoxide detector should now be relatively straightforward. It’s a simple exercise of using what you’ve learned and finding a suitable option. You can then sit back and never have to worry about CO poisoning ever again.

But if you still have a question or two, feel free to use the comment section. I’ll make sure to answer any post with a detailed response, which will get you back on track. Thanks for reading!

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