best portable carbon monoxide detector for travel

If you are an avid international traveler, you have heard about the ill effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. The way to keep your family safe while traveling is to be prepared. Here’s why I believe the Handheld CO Detector by GZAIR is the best portable carbon monoxide detector for travel.

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What is carbon monoxide?

The Department of Health defines Carbon Monoxide (CO) as an “odorless, colorless gas formed by the incomplete combustion of fuels.” When you are exposed to CO gas, the CO molecules displace the oxygen in your body and leads to poisoning.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says the health effects of CO depend on the CO concentration and length of exposure. Most people will not experience any symptoms at CO levels of approximately 1 to 70 PPM (parts per million).

Carbon Monoxide Sources

  • Fireplaces, both gas and wood burning
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Motor vehicles
  • Grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment
  • Gas-powered heaters, water heaters, portable generators

How to Protect Yourself from Carbon Monoxide While Traveling

Common signs of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, difficulty breathing, nausea and/or fainting. suggests the top ways to protect yourself from CO are to stay in well-ventilated rooms, know where the fire exits are and bring a carbon monoxide detector.

wentworth by the sea guest room with CO detector
compact travel handheld carbon monoxide detector

Handheld CO Detector: GZAIR

This carbon monoxide monitoring device by GZAIR SA103 is perfect for us due to its size. Our main goal was to find a small portable CO monitor compact enough to pack in a carry-on.

Here’s why this portable co2 monitor should be on your packing list!

1. Size

As mentioned above, the portable size of this device is a BIG bonus. Smaller than an iPhone, it packs easily in my carry-on bag or purse. Weighing just 4.4 ounces, it won’t weigh you down either.

2. Longevity

This CO detector is on the pricey side. The good news is the handheld detector lasts two full years from the date of first use. In addition, the battery can be replaced without replacing the entire device.

3. Waterproof Design

Due to its rugged housing, the personal gas monitor will withstand the abuse of travel. It is also waterproof. This makes it ideal for use on a boat, camping or if left in a resort bathroom.

4. Easy to Use

With only two buttons, the portable carbon monoxide device is easy to operate. Simply hold the ON/OFF button for 4 seconds to turn on and off. When turning off, hold the button until the LCD is off, then release your finger. During this process, you will see a countdown from 4 to 1.

See my YouTube video from our recent vacation to Wentworth by the Sea. The video displays how easy it is to turn on, how long it takes to start up and placement in our hotel room.

5. Multi-Use

This travel carbon monoxide alarm is ideal for the adventurous traveler. Whether you visit luxury all-inclusive resorts, enjoy outdoor glamping or camping, road trip in a campervan or motorhome, or cruise on a sailboat this compact device can accompany you.

How the Portable Carbon Monoxide Detector for Travel Works

If the sensor detects CO gas concentration exceeds 50 PPM, an alarm (95dB), strong vibration, and light will go off. The device reads in real-time so once the room returns to normal CO levels, the readout should return to 0.

GZAIR SA103 Portable Carbon Monoxide Gas CO Detector
SA103 Carbon Monoxide Gas Alarm

Best Location for the CO Alarm

As carbon monoxide is lighter than oxygen, greater concentrations will be found higher. It is best and most effective to place your portable detector on a shelf or counter.

Handheld CO Detector GZAIR

Packing a Carbon Monoxide Detector for Travel

According to the FAA, devices containing lithium-ion batteries must be placed in carry-on baggage when possible. Pick a bag that will fit in the smallest overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. We always fly with this Osprey travel backpack as it’s soft-sided and can squeeze into most spaces.

I hope this post on the best portable carbon monoxide detector for travel is helpful. Pin to Pinterest to save for your next travel packing list. Thanks for stopping by the blog!


Diagnosed with Celiac Disease eleven years ago, I've been on a journey discovering what it means to be truly healthy. Join me as I share my personal fitness goals, gluten free recipes I've tried, travel tips, curly hair product reviews and all things creative.

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