The Dangers Of Poor Quality Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Poor-quality Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are being offered on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, with apparently no meaningful response from either Amazon or eBay on how they are going to resolve such dangerous, life-threatening devices being available on their marketplaces.

In this article, I’m going to look at how you can avoid buying cheap, poor quality or fake carbon monoxide detectors, what to look for, and which ones you should buy.

Cheap or poorly made detectors that don’t meet specific standards will likely have a high failure probability, putting you and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.

40 people a year die at home due to carbon monoxide poisoning, however, with the influx of cheap, poorly made detectors, this number could go higher.

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Poor Quality Carbon Monoxide Alarms

I’m convinced that no business, brand or manufacturer deliberately goes out of their way to produce a poor quality safety device, like a carbon monoxide detector.

Poor Quality Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Yet, that being said, there are right now, numerous carbon monoxide detectors and alarms on sale on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay that I would not trust in my home, and would not trust to protect my family.

A recent Which? consumer test found a multitude of problems with cheap, unbranded carbon monoxide detectors available on various platforms and marketplaces, with problems ranging from the complete non-detection of carbon monoxide, to inadequate volume of alarm when it was detected.

The Standard: EN 50291

Let’s play devils advocate here for a minute.

What does the above heading and number mean to you, specifically in relation to the carbon monoxide detector you have in your home?

Unfortunately, it probably means very little to you.

However, it’s an important number because it represents set standards that carbon monoxide detectors must adhere to.

And this is the problem. For many people, a carbon monoxide detector is a carbon monoxide detector.

They buy a carbon monoxide detector, and they expect that carbon monoxide detector to work and to detect carbon monoxide.

But not all things are built equal, and it all boils down to one thing, and one thing only…


The smaller manufacturers are more likely to cut corners and use subpar components in their carbon monoxide detectors in order to compete with brands such as Fire Angel, Kidde, X-Sense and Wolfshield.

Remember, these are trusted brands with years of experience, so to compete with them more often than not means cutting corners, and not adhering to the specific standards as set out.

And this equals poor-quality carbon monoxide detectors potentially finding their way into thousands of homes.

The Importance Of A High Quality Carbon Monoxide Detector

The problem with carbon monoxide is that you can’t see it, you can’t touch it, and you can’t smell it.

That’s why it’s critically important that all homeowners in the UK should have a fully working, fully compliant carbon monoxide detector installed in their homes.

A good quality carbon monoxide detector, which adheres to all UK standards will comply with BS EN 50291-1 or BS EN 50291-2, will include:

  • The ability to detect carbon monoxide.
  • Alarm when carbon monoxide is detected.
  • 3 LED’s with battery warning.
  • End of life information.
  • Audible alarms for battery failure or low battery.
  • Minimum 85dB audible alarm at 3m.

Choosing a carbon monoxide detector from a trusted brand will mean you get all of the features mentioned above and more.


I advise you only buy a carbon monoxide detector from trusted, recognised brands.

You can see some of these carbon monoxide detectors here: Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors For Home Use (UK Top 3).

Unfortunately, marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are still not doing enough to ensure the products offered on their marketplaces are safe and effective, and do the job they are designed to do.

Admittedly, it’s a tough task to keep tabs on thousands of products and the quality of those products, but when it comes to products bought to keep people safe, then the enormous purse strings of the likes of Amazon should be deep enough to find a worthwhile solution to this age-old problem.

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Questions & Comments

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Stay Safe. Stay Secure.


My name is Richard.

I'm 40 years old. And I have nearly 20 years experience in various safety and security industries.

I'm here for you, sharing all my knowledge and experience to help you create a safe and secure home for you and your family.

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