How to choose a smoke detector

Safety & Security

Keep your home and belongings safe with the right smoke detector.

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Which smoke detector is best?

Smoke detectors are crucial to the safety of any home. Therefore, making the right choice of smoke detectors is critical to keeping your home protected. Whether you’re looking to integrate your smoke detector into your smart home system or just want a dependable, no-frills workhorse, there is a range of great options in choosing a smoke detector.

Things to consider when buying a smoke detector

When looking for a high-quality smoke detector, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and budget. It’s recommended that you place a smoke detector in each bedroom of your home as well as outside the bedrooms (in a landing or hallway area). In addition, place at least one for each floor of the home, including one in the kitchen. To avoid over-triggering the kitchen detector, be sure to place it at least 10 feet from the stove.

Smoke detectors sound an alarm when they detect smoke and, in some cases, carbon monoxide. They range in price from around $10-$100 for a detector that integrates into your smart home system. Here is a range of options at different price points.

Affordable smoke detectors

First Alert SA303CN3 Battery-Powered Ionization Smoke Alarm with Test/Silence Button

First Alert SA303CN3 Battery-Powered Ionization Smoke Alarm With Test/Silence Button

One of the top names in smoke and fire detectors, First Alert makes dependable, highly rated products. Although this is on the lower end of the cost scale, its ionization sensor effectively detects smoke from flames, such as those from paper and grease fires. The side battery door makes replacement a breeze and the single test/silencing button helps turn off the alarm with ease.

Sold by Amazon

Kidde Battery-Powered Smoke Detector/Alarm

Kidde Battery-Powered Smoke Detector/Alarm

Kidde is another respected name in smoke detectors that produces quality products. If you’re looking to keep your family safe at a minimum cost, the entry-level Kidde smoke detector is low priced but gets the job done. Its ionization technology detects invisible fire particles and sounds at an impressive 85 decibels.

Sold by Amazon

X-Sense Fire Alarm with LED Indicator & Silence Button

X-Sense Fire Alarm with LED Indicator & Silence Button

A favorite in the affordable fire alarm space, one of the key benefits of this detector is its 10-year lithium battery. Its long battery life means you’ll never have to replace batteries throughout the life of the device. Installation is simple with the included screws, anchors and mounting bracket. Or use an adhesive magnetic pad (sold separately) for effortless wall or ceiling installation.

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Midrange smoke detectors

First Alert SA320CN Dual-Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm

First Alert SA320CN Dual-Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm

This detector is equipped with photoelectric and ionization sensors to detect both smoldering and fast-burning fires. The alarm can be a bit jarring, but if you or anyone in your household is a heavy sleeper, that’s a benefit in the middle of the night when an emergency arises.

Sold by Amazon

Kidde Battery-Operated Intelligent Detector Alarm Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

Kidde Battery-Operated Intelligent Detector Alarm Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

This Kidde Intelligent Detector has the bonus of front-loaded batteries. Hence, there’s no need to take the detector off the ceiling to change the batteries. It has a built-in carbon monoxide detector as well. This detector is UL-certified and comes with a 10-year warranty.

Sold by Amazon

First Alert SCO501CN-3ST Wireless Interconnected Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location, Battery Operated

First Alert SCO501CN-3ST Wireless Interconnected Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm With Voice Location, Battery Operated

A step up from First Alert’s more basic model, the SCO501CN connects multiple alarms wirelessly to create a safety network throughout your home. Its voice alarm clearly indicates where the problem is located, and the high-decibel warning effectively alerts you to potential problems. In addition, this model features a photoelectric smoke sensor and an electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor that monitors your home for fire, smoke and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Sold by Amazon

High-end smoke detectors

Alexa-Enabled Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm with Premium Home Speaker, Onelink Safe and Sound by First Alert

Alexa-Enabled Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm With Premium Home Speaker, Onelink Safe and Sound by First Alert

Advancements in technology have made smoke detectors smarter and easier to maintain. With this, First Alert’s foray into the “smart home” smoke detection field, you get all of the dependability of a First Alert smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector, with the ease of a device you can control via an app. This detector is Apple HomeKit compatible and is Alexa-enabled. Get remote notifications of any emergency, even when you’re not at home, track the battery levels in the app, customize nightlights and get voice alerts that make it easy to know where the alarm is sounding in the home. 

Sold by Amazon

Google Nest Protect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector

Google Nest Protect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector

Easily integrated into your Google account, this smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector speaks and gives you early warnings when smoke or dangerous carbon monoxide levels in the home. Its Split Spectrum Sensor detects fast-burning and smoldering fires and gives a voice warning about where the danger is. When you’re not at home, the Google Nest communicates via Wi-Fi and gives you access to real-time information on the status of the detector. Control through the app lets you know battery levels and sends alerts as to any activity or alarms. Usually, Nest Protect has its light turned off, but when you walk underneath it, Pathlight can light your way.

Sold by Amazon

X-Sense 10-Year Battery Combination Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector with LCD Display

X-Sense 10-Year Battery Combination Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector With LCD Display

Based on cost alone, this X-Sense combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector could fit in the upper end of the mid-range detectors, but several attractive features make it hold its own in the high-end range. Its clear LCD display makes understanding its status a breeze, with a three-color indicator easily informing you whether the alarm is in normal operation, detecting a hazard or requiring maintenance. What’s more, it takes three separate smoke samples from surrounding air. The full 360-degree ring of air intake ensures this detector has no blind spots for the most accurate reads.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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