The 7 Best Home Gas Leak Detectors of 2023

We like the First Alert GCO1CN Explosive Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detector

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First Alert and Kidde Gas Detectors

Amazon

To protect your home and family from dangerous colorless, odorless, lethal fumes, you could use the home-remedy soap-bubble detection method: Mix a teaspoon of soap into a cup of water, pour it over a suspected gas leak, and see whether bubbles show up. But for a more accurate, and often faster, method of detecting combustible natural gases, carbon monoxide, or radon in your home's air or around appliances, we recommend gas leak detectors. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Fire Protection Association recommend that every household have a carbon monoxide detector, with battery backup, near every sleeping area. Depending on your location and circumstances, you may need other types of gas leak detectors, as well.

“NFPA actively supports the installation of carbon monoxide detectors and works throughout the year to educate the public about the risks of carbon monoxide in the home,” says Susan McKelvey, NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) director.

We consulted with experts and researched gas leak detectors to determine which gases they detect, their styles and features, and whether they’ve been evaluated by an independent testing laboratory, such as UL Services, to make sure they meet industry safety and quality standards. Our top pick is the First Alert GCO1CN Combination Explosive Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detector, which monitors for carbon monoxide and for natural gases such as methane and propane.

Here are our picks for the best home gas leak detectors.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

First Alert Explosive Gas and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Backlit Digital Display

4.8
First Alert Combination Explosive Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detector

Amazon

What We Like
  • Detects methane and propane

  • Continuous monitoring

  • Plugs into any outlet; has backup

  • Backlit digital display shows current and peak levels

  • UL-certified

  • Five-year limited warranty

  • Few false alarms

What We Don't Like
  • Battery drains quickly

Unlike other gas leak detectors that just monitor for one type of gas, the First Alert GCO1CN Combination Explosive Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detector monitors your household for carbon monoxide, as well as natural explosive gases such as methane and propane. If a gas leak is detected, it sounds an 85-decibel alarm—with the loudness equivalent to the sound of a nearby food blender. This product is UL-certified and has a five-year limited warranty. 

This unit, which uses an electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor, plugs into any outlet, so you can start using it right away. A convenient battery backup keeps it going when the power goes out. You should check the battery frequently, as it can drain quickly. The unit has a backlit digital display showing current and peak levels of carbon monoxide, so you can discern patterns in the levels in your home. 

We especially appreciate that, unlike some other gas leak detectors, this product incurs few false alarms. It is also intriguing that this model can function with a standard universal remote, according to the manufacturer. We would have preferred that it be included, but you have to purchase that separately. 

Price at time of publish: $89

Types of gas monitored: Carbon monoxide, natural explosive gas, propane | Power source: Plug-in with battery backup

Best for Carbon Monoxide

Kidde Nighthawk Plug-In AC/DC Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector

5
Kidde Nighthawk Plug-In AC/DC Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector

Amazon

What We Like
  • Continuous monitoring

  • Plugs into any outlet; has battery backup

  • UL certified

  • 10-year limited warranty

  • Digital display shows current and peak levels

  • Few false alarms

What We Don't Like
  • Not effective for other gases

All households should have carbon monoxide detectors that monitor the levels of that dangerous gas and sound an alarm if levels become unsafe. The Kidde Nighthawk AC Plug-in Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm is an elementary product that monitors only your levels of carbon monoxide. If you have unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, an 85-decibel alarm (about as loud as a nearby food blender) sounds. It’s UL-certified and has a 10-year limited warranty.

For this product’s affordable price, you get several features. For instance, this unit continuously monitors CO levels and updates its digital display every 15 seconds. That lets you determine whether the CO level is dropping. The display also shows current and peak levels of carbon monoxide in your home.

This item plugs into an outlet and has a battery backup, so it keeps working during a power outage. We have noted few false alarms.

Price at time of Publish: $34

Type of gas monitored: Carbon monoxide | Power source: Plug-in with battery backup

Best Handheld

TECHAMOR Y201 Portable Gas Leak Detector

TECHAMOR Y201 Portable Gas Leak Detector

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Affordable

  • UL certified

What We Don't Like
  • No continuous monitoring

If you want a gas leak detector that fits in the palm of your hand, try the Techamor Y201. This is an affordable option for confirming whether there are any leaks present. The device includes a sensor tip for detecting natural gases such as methane and propane.

As with other gas leak detectors equipped with a probe, the Techamor Y201 has a flexible gooseneck to check hard-to-reach areas. This gas leak detector utilizes three AAA batteries and has an estimated battery life of up to four hours. The device is UL-certified.

Unlike a stay-in-place gas leak detector, this product is somewhat complex to operate. When you turn it on, it briefly warms up, then emits a soft ticking sound, which indicates that the sensor is starting to sample the air. You may need to adjust the levels for your particular home. If the device detects a gas leak, it alerts you with an 85-decibel alarm (about as loud as a nearby food blender) and flashes red LED lights. There is a way to adjust the device to minimize false alarms. We strongly recommend that you consult your user manual.

Note that this is not a continuous monitoring device: It’s meant as a spot-check for furnaces and other appliances in your home powered by natural gas. Don’t use this device or other handheld devices if you smell natural gas or otherwise detect a gas leak. If you suspect a gas leak, leave your home immediately, and call your gas company.

Price at time of Publish: $38

Type of gas monitored: Natural gas | Power source: Handheld, battery-operated device

Best RV Propane Detector

MTI Industries 30-442-P-WT Propane Gas Alarm

MTI Industries 30-442-P-WT Propane Gas Alarm

Amazon

What We Like
  • Optimal for motorhomes

  • Easy to install

  • Wide effective temperature range

What We Don't Like
  • Requires knowledge of electrical wiring

Campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, and other RVs rely on propane for basic operations such as heating and cooking. But having a propane source in an enclosed space can be a hazard if a leak occurs. To keep tabs on the situation, your RV should be equipped with a propane gas leak detector, like this model from MTI Industries.

The MTI Safe T Alert RV Propane Gas Alarm is a popular pick for RV enthusiasts who are replacing expired or defective leak detectors for their camper or motorhome. The manufacturer claims the product meets the standards of the RV Industry Association. 

This product wires into your rig’s electrical system; it takes no batteries. It is compact, at only 6 inches wide, and it installs simply. If you’re replacing an expired propane detector, you should be able to mount this product easily into the former space. 

We appreciate that the product features an intelligent mute button, which also resets the detector when the RV’s air is once again normal. If not, the alarm reactivates. We also like the manufacturer’s claimed effective temperature range of minus-40 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

Price at time of Publish: $54

Type of gas monitored: Propane | Power source: Hardwire into your vehicle

Best for Radon

SafetySiren Pro4 Series Radon Detector

 Safety Siren Pro4 Series Radon Detector

Amazon

What We Like
  • Continuously monitors radon levels

  • Plugs in

  • Backlit display, easy to read

  • Designed and made in the U.S.

What We Don't Like
  • Readings take nearly 48 hours

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is the number-one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you suspect that you have high levels of radon in your home, especially if you don’t have a radon mitigation system, you may want to purchase a radon detector.

Just plug in this unit and it’s ready to start continuously monitoring the levels of radon in your home. (However, we have noted that it can take 48 hours or more for the first set of readings to display. It then updates readings every hour.) A backlit display shows your home’s radon levels, and an alarm sounds if they are dangerously high. The unit is designed to detect long-term as well as short-term radon levels.

We appreciate the three levels of audio alarm, as well as a visual alarm for the hearing impaired. The manufacturer also says the unit self-tests every 24 hours.

Price at time of Publish: $220

Type of gas monitored: Radon | Power source: Plug-in

Best for Contractors

Ridgid CD-100 Combustible Gas Leak Detector

Model micro CD-100 Combustible Gas Detector, Gas Leak Detector

Courtesy of Amazon

Ensuring that there’s no combustible gas leaks on a worksite is an important part of safety and eliminates unnecessary fire risk. Contractors often carry a heavy-duty gas leak detector to check for leaks from pipes and fixtures. The Ridgid Micro CD-100 is a well-built device that offers reliable service for contractors. One key feature is that the sensor can be easily replaced, adding to the device's usable lifespan.

The Ridgid features sturdy, rugged housing with five soft-press buttons to control operation. A 16-inch flex probe enables you to position the sensor near suspected leak sources, while a five-bar LED display provides an indicator of the presence of gas. One standout feature is its three-way alert to the presence of gas: an audible alarm, a visual LED reading, and tactical vibration. On a loud worksite, the addition of a vibrating indicator ensures that ambient noises won't drown out any alert to the presence of gas. 

Price at time of publish: $282

Best Budget

Home-Flex Electronic Gas Leak Detector

Electronic Gas Leak Detector

 Home-Flex

While safety is not something you can, put a price on, it’s helpful to know what your affordable options for a gas leak detector include. For under $35, you can pick up a pen-style gas leak detector that is easy to use and can detect the presence of natural gas, liquid propane, butane, and methane. While this is more limited in scope than some higher-powered gas leak detectors, it can help to detect some of the most common household gases.

The Home-Flex Electronic Gas Leak Detector features a sensor at its tip, protected by a cap when not in use. (Though you can use the product with the cap on, it's more accurate when you remove it.) The device runs on just two AA batteries, and it is small enough to slip inside a drawer or keep in your toolbox.

Price at time of publish: $32

Final Verdict

The First Alert GCO1CN Combination Explosive Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detector is a versatile, affordable device that monitors your household for carbon monoxide and natural explosive gases, such as methane and propane. It is UL-certified and has a five-year limited warranty. It plugs into a standard outlet and has a battery backup. For a dependable handheld model, which detects gas leaks around gas-powered appliances, we recommend the Techamor Y201 Gas Leak Detector.

What to Look for in a Gas Leak Detector

Targeted gas

Depending on what you need to monitor, a gas leak detector is designed to detect and alert you to one or more types of gases:

  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is a byproduct of a natural gas leak from a home appliance, or a car left running in a garage. Carbon monoxide buildup from lack of ventilation is toxic, resulting in 50,000 emergency room visits and about 430 deaths each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Natural gas, including methane and propane, is used to fuel gas-powered appliances, such as stoves, furnaces, and water heaters. Natural gas is very combustible, and a leak can lead to an explosion from a lit match or a light switch, causing an average of 4,200 home fires per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Although natural gas is odorless, it generally has an additive that smells like rotten eggs to make it easier to notice a leak.
  • Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can leak into homes through cracks in the foundation, loose-fitting pipes, floor-wall joints, and other entry points. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Style

There are several styles of gas leak detectors, ranging from handheld units, for spot-checking for gas leaks, to plug-in alarms that continuously monitor your home for leaks. If you want to monitor for gas leaks 24/7, you’re probably better off with a plug-in alarm-style unit. For dangerous natural gas or carbon monoxide leaks where minutes matter, be sure your monitor has a battery backup in case of a power outage.

Certification

Make sure your device has been evaluated by an independent testing laboratory, like UL Services, to make sure it meets industry safety and quality standards. Note: For radon detector standards, the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) has worked with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop standards for detecting and measuring radon.

FAQ
  • How many gas leak detectors do you need?

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Fire Protection Association both recommend that all households have a carbon monoxide detector with battery backup near every sleeping area of your home.

  • Where should I install a gas leak detector?

    Each product has its own specifications as to where it should be optimally installed. Some products that are designed to detect leaks around gas-fueled appliances may specify that you install those products near those devices, such as a water heater or furnace. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your device regarding how and where to install your specific device.

  • What should I do if my monitor’s alarm goes off?

    “If an alarm sounds, or someone in the home smells gas,” says Susan McKelvey, the Communications Manager of the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), “all occupants should get out immediately and contact the local fire department or emergency service number for assistance.”

Why Trust The Spruce?

Missy Keenan is a freelance writer with more than two decades of experience as a journalist and communications professional. She has a special interest in all things home and garden. Keenan has written hundreds of articles for publications, including Do It Yourself, Secrets of Getting Organized, DSM, Iowa Gardening, and Glamour magazines, as well as USA Today and The Des Moines Register. For this article, Missy spent hours researching safety information and products. She also consulted with Susan McKelvey from the National Fire Prevention Association. Erica Puisis also provided initial research into some products noted here.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Protect Yourself and Your Family from Radon. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (CO)U.S. Centers for Disease Control

  3. Natural Gas and Propane Fires, Explosions and Leaks Estimates and Incident DescriptionsNational Fire Protection Association