The Best Smoke Detectors

Check out our favorite smoke detectors so you can sleep with peace of mind.

By Katie Dyal

Smoke detectors are an essential item that is needed throughout every home for safety purposes. By investing in a smoke detector system and keeping track of the functionality, you are going to position yourself and your family in a safer environment in case of accidental fires.

Smoke detectors have several capabilities, but the primary purpose is to serve as a warning signal. When your device detects smoke, you will be alerted, which will give you more time to plan your escape.

The National Fire Protection Association reported, “Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.” Take a look at our top picks for best smoke detectors, and then read on to learn how to manage your system correctly for constant protection.

The Best Smoke Detectors

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First Alert smoke detector

Best Budget: First Alert Smoke Detector Alarm

  • Cost: $11.68
  • Rating: 4.5/5 from 3,547 reviewers
  • Warranty: 10-year limited warranty

The First Alert Smoke Detector is commendable in terms of its performance, convenience, and quality. This smoke alarm is designed with an ionization sensor, which helps to detect fast-flaming fires quickly and efficiently by alerting you with an 85-decibel sound alarm.

The system is hard-wired into your home, but also backed with 9-volt batteries; in case of any unexpected power outages, your alarms will still be operational.

Not to mention, the First Alert alarm can be interconnected with up to 12 compatible detectors, and six compatible devices such as bells, door closers, and horns. All units connected will go off once one system detects smoke, and you will be able to identify the first unit initiated by the latching alarm indicator.

Built with smart technology, the chances of having an accidental alarm triggered is slim to none. If there is a non-threatening detection, each unit has a silence button that quickly works to turn off the alarm. This button also provides single-testing to make sure your system is working properly and gives a low battery warning signal. It’s easy to install with universal mounting brackets and meets UL 217 standards.

Nest smoke detector

Best Smart: Nest Protect

  • Cost: $119.00
  • Rating: 4.4 / 5 from 5,002 reviewers
  • Style Options: Battery or Wired

For smart homeowners, the Nest Protect is the alarm system for you. This smart alarm may involve a higher price tag, but with its capabilities and connectivity, reviewers are saying it’s well worth the price tag.

The Nest Protect connects to your devices through Wi-Fi and can be purchased as battery-powered or wired with a battery backup. The Nest Protect will alert you via text message when a problem is detected.

A fire can occur when no one is home, and the Nest Protect will inform you before it’s too late. Not only does it send you a text message, but it also has a voice alert feature that happens to be a friendly human voice. When smoke or CO is detected in a specific area, all alarms will tell you what is being exposed and where it’s coming from.

This alarm is built with a Split-Spectrum Sensor, which uses two wavelengths of light to detect smoke from any type of fire. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous chemical that can’t be seen or smelled. Nest Protect alarms are designed with a carbon monoxide sensor that can detect the CO that you can’t while telling you where it’s coming from.

This carbon monoxide alarm tests itself with a sound check and a nightly promise policy. Each day, the Nest Protect tests the sensors and batteries automatically. If everything is functioning correctly, a green light is shown, and if something needs to be replaced, it will send you a text message.

Kidde smoke detector

Best Hard-Wired Alarm: Kidde Hardwired Smoke Alarm

  • Cost: $12.22
  • Rating: 4.5 / 5 from 615 reviewers
  • Warranty: 5-year limited warranty

Highly respected in the fire detection and suppression industry, Kidde’s smoke alarm is said to be the best hard-wired alarm on the market. It’s highly compatible, easy to use, and proven to work correctly for all your fire safety needs.

The Kidde Smoke Alarm is built as an ionization smoke alarm with a 120-volt power source. It also has 9-volt battery backup included in case of any electrical issues. Not only is it guaranteed to work at all times, but it also is highly compatible. It can connect up to 24 devices (18 initiating) including smoke, carbon monoxide, and heat alarms.

Installation is simple yet secure. There’s a front battery pull-tab that allows you to replace batteries with ease, as well as a large mounting base and bracket with simple step-by-step instructions. This electric system has one button that serves as an alarm tester or a “hush” indicator. When there is a non-threatening detection, simply push the hush button to deactivate the sound system.

All Kidde smoke alarms meet UL requirements, and when the batteries need to be replaced, a bright red LED light will appear to alert you.

How to Choose a Smoke Detector

Installing smoke detectors throughout your home will help you to sleep because you will be at ease that your house is safe and hazard-free. Whether you live alone or your house is always full, you can’t be in two places at once, so allow your smoke system to take care of the entire house while you rest.

It’s important to know what to look for when shopping for a smoke detector system. Depending on your living conditions, a particular type may be better than another. It’s also essential to know where to install your smoke alarms. Learn everything you need to know about smoke detectors below.

Types of Installations

Smoke Detectors are typically made in one of two ways: hard-wired or battery-powered. Hard-wired units are installed through your electrical system, whereas, battery-powered units generally are mounted, but run off a specific battery source. The most common batteries used are 9-volt, AAA, and AA batteries.

Hard-wired units are considered better than battery-powered because they are more self-sufficient, and they usually come with a battery backup in case of an electrical issue. Hard-wired units take more effort when installing, so if you are looking for a more straightforward process, battery-powered is the way to go. The only thing you have to do is make sure the batteries are charged.

Types of Sensors

The two different types of sensors within a smoke detector are photoelectric and ionization sensors. Photoelectric smoke detectors are recommended for alerting smoldering-type fires, which means fires that put out a lot of smoke.

Ionization smoke alarms are recommended for detecting fast-burning fires, which means fires with lots of flames rather than smoke. Either type of sensors can be beneficial to your home, but a photoelectric smoke system is more customary.

Where to Install Smoke Alarms

It’s suggested to have at least one smoke alarm placed on each floor of a home, as well as in every bedroom. Smoke alarms are best placed in the basement, hallways of different levels of the house, and in each bedroom. There is no need for a smoke alarm in the garage, or in weather conditions permitting lower than 40 degrees or higher than 100 degrees.

To learn the proper parameters of where to install your alarms based on the specific room, read Installing Smoke Alarms guideline on the NFPA’s website.

Safety Precautions

Smoke detectors are universal security instruments that protect your home from unexpected fires and smoke-filled situations. It’s an essential system that is necessary for every home and can potentially save your life. Whether you have a hard-wired or battery-powered system, it’s critical to ensure that it’s operational and functional.

The NFPA also revealed, “In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.” If you have a battery-powered unit, be sure to check the batteries at least every six months. Whether or not it alerts you for a replacement, it’s best to be sure that it’s running correctly to protect your family from the worst of situations.

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