Best Smoke Detector: The Top Models Today

Best Smoke Detector: The Top Models Today

The best smoke detector save countless lives every year. They are like silent warriors, always on and ready to sound an alarm when your home is on fire so you can get yourself and your family to safety quickly. The best smoke detectors cut deaths from residential fires in half according to the United States Fire Administration (UFSA).

smoke detector
Image from Pixabay

Investing in a quality smoke detector is important. The USFA states that three out of five fires continue to rage due to alarms that malfunction. We have thoroughly researched several of the best smoke detectors on the market and have chosen seven of the best smoke detectors being sold today. Keep reading to find the best smoke detectors for your living situation.

FAQs about Smoke Detectors

The best smoke detectors come with many benefits, are easy to install, and last for 10 years or more. Some models come with special features like silence buttons for false alarms, alerts for smoke only, and shared communication, so it protects your entire home. You should change older smoke detectives periodically and always have a new one installed when you move into a new home. 

Image by Your Best Digs from Flickr

Knowing you have installed the best smoke detector helps you feel more confident about keeping yourself and your family safe.

1. What Is a Smoke Detector?

A smoke detector, also known as a smoke alarm, is a device that can sense smoke. The best smoke alarms release a local signal that can be heard and/or seen to a control panel built into the fire detector. Smoke detectors can sense smoke in the air either optically (using photoelectricity) or physically (using ionization). Some use both methods, creating an ultra-sensitive alarm that detects smoke fast. Power methods vary from individual, battery operated units to electric powered units that are linked at the main unit.

2. How Does a Smoke Detector Work?

The best smoke detectors sense smoke using two methods. Ionization smoke detectors use radioisotopes (atoms with excess nuclear energy) to ionize air particles, creating an electrical charge that causes the flow of electrical current. They have two ionization chambers. One chamber stays open to the air and one is sealed, allowing zero particles to enter.

Google S3000BWES Nest Protect, 2nd Generation, White, Battery, 1

When smoke enters the open chamber, some ions attach to it and cannot carry a current, then the electric circuit senses the different currents in the chambers and makes the alarm sound. The circuit also monitors battery use and releases an intermittent warning when power is low.

An optical, or photoelectric, smoke detector uses incandescent light bulbs or a light-emitting diode providing infrared, visible, or ultraviolet light to detect smoke and other toxic gases. This light is combined with a lens and a photoelectric receiver (usually in the form of a photodiode). Spot-type detectors have these components arranged in a chamber where air flows.

Sometimes the air might contain smoke from a nearby fire. Optical/projected-beam smoke detectors emit a beam of infrared or ultraviolet light that is received/processed by a separate device or reflected to a receiver. The emitted light then passes through the air and is tested and sent to a photo sensor.

3. Why Are Smoke Detectors So Important?

Google S3000BWES Nest Protect, 2nd Generation, White, Battery, 1

Smoke detectors are important because they provide you with a rapid warning signal if and when a fire occurs, which saves countless valuable lives every day. Fires can be started in several ways and in any room of your house. Roughly 2000 people lose their lives in fires within the home. Smoke and deadly gases like carbon monoxide spread farther and faster than heat.

People die mainly from inhaling smoke and toxic gases rather than severe burns from the fire itself. Most fatalities occur because a fire erupts while occupants are asleep and thus rendered unaware of what is happening until it is too late to escape safely. Smoke detectors guard a home 24/7 and will sound a shrill alarm at the first detection of smoke, allowing individuals and families precious, though limited, time to get to safety.

4. Where Can You Buy the Best Smoke Detector?

You can purchase the best smoke detectors at local hardware stores (or at their websites online) like Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and Lowes, and department stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy. You can also buy them online at electrical supply shops or major retail sites like Amazon. Local fire departments may offer smoke detectors at reduced prices or even for free. Contact your local fire marshal for more information about what kind of smoke detector you need to install and where you can buy them.

5. Where Should You Install the Best Smoke Detectors?

Install the best smoke detectors on every level of the home, in bedrooms and outdoor sleeping areas.  Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance of the best smoke detectors. Place detectors along a pre-made escape path to help you and your family get out of the home more easily in conditions when visibility is limited.  You should place the best smoke detectors in the center of a ceiling or near the ceiling on a wall.

Factors Used for Research and Review

We used a specific guideline containing certain factors to research and review the best smoke detectors and come up with a list of the seven best ones on the market. The first factor was the type of features each of the best smoke detectors came with. The second factor that came into play was the benefits each of the best smoke detectors provided and what some of their downsides/drawbacks were.

The third factor we looked at was how much each unit cost, individually and in multiples (where applicable). The last two factors we paid attention to during research was where you can buy each model and whether they come with a warranty.

Overall Price Range of Smoke Detectors

Prices for the best smoke detectors differ. You might be able to get one for free at your local fire department. If not, you can find single and multipack units at a nearby hardware store or online. Price depends on what type of smoke detector (photoelectric or Ionizing), if they are battery operated or use home electricity, and what extra features they come with.

What We Reviewed

Image by Your Best Digs from Flickr

  • Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm
  • Elvicto Combination Photoelectric Smoke&Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Honeywell 5808W3 Wireless Photoelectric Smoke/Heat Detector
  • First Alert Powered Alarm SCO5CN Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Kidde i9040 Fire Sentry Battery-Operated Ionization Sensor Compact Smoke Alarm
  • Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Second Generation)
  • Fire Sentry i9040E Smoke Alarm

The best smoke detectors save countless lives every year. They are like silent warriors, always on and ready to sound an alarm when your home is on fire so you can get yourself and your family to safety quickly. The best smoke detectors cut deaths from residential fires in half according to the United States Fire Administration (UFSA).

Investing in a quality smoke detector is important. The USFA states that three out of five fires continue to rage due to alarms that malfunction. We have thoroughly researched several of the best smoke detectors on the market and have chosen seven of the best smoke detectors being sold today. Keep reading to find the best smoke detectors for your living situation.

Features

A smart Smoke alarm is your best bet if you can’t afford a monitored home security system. The Nest Protect is a smart smoke detector that notifies you on your smart phone and other mobile devices if you aren’t home when the device goes off. This allows you to call for help and make sure someone can get there quickly when you aren’t home. Other key features include smoke and ten-year carbon monoxide detection and monitoring, wired and battery power options, seamless connection to other Nest home products, and a voice alarm that lets you know where the danger is so you can use the best, safest route to escape.

Warranty

This product comes with a 2-year warranty.

Pros

  • Detects slow and fast moving fires
  • Silence alarm through Nest app on phone or tablet
  • Connects via Wi-Fi to notify you of emergencies
  • Comes with a 10-year carbon monoxide (CO) sensor

Cons

  • Plastic Shrink wrap on batteries thicker than normal

Features

The Elvicto is a combination fire and carbon monoxide detector. It has photoelectric sensors that detects smoke and an electrochemical CO sensor alert. It comes with a 10-year lithium battery that doesn’t require wires. The unit comes with required mounting supplies and is easy to install. There is a button to test or silence the alarm

Warranty

This product comes with a 3-year protection plan

Pros

  • Easy Installation
  • 10-year Lithium Battery
  • Detects smoke and CO
  • Single button test or silencer

Cons

  • Would work better with a clock included

Features

The Honeywell 5808W3 is a tough smoke detector that covers a great distance between detector and receiver without needing a repeater. It has a smart check that sends a signal to the control panel whenever it needs to be cleaned, which helps ensure it functions properly. It received a high UL approval for use in residential and commercial buildings. The detector has a green LED indicator for normal conditions and a red LED indicator for dangerous or abnormal conditions. It comes with a mounting base and installs easily on even and uneven surfaces

Warranty

You can buy a 2-year protection plan or a 4 year protection plan on Amazon.

Pros

  • Easy installation because of mounting base
  • Sound alarm and LED light
  • UL listed for residential and commercial buildings
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Unattractive design

Features

The First Alert SCO5CN is a battery operated smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) detector. It continuously monitors CO levels in your home to keep you and your family safe. Features include photoelectric and electrochemical sensing, indicator lights, and an 85 dB (decibel) siren. Because this smoke detector is battery operated, you can install it without needing any electrical skills. Changing batteries is also easy and you won’t have to remove the unit from the wall.

Warranty

This product comes with a 7-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Senses smoke and carbon monoxide
  • Alerts with a loud 85 dB alarm and flashing light
  • Easy installation and use
  • Easily change batteries

Cons

  • Doesn’t sense temperature change

Features

The Kidde i9040 Smoke detector is powered by a 9v battery that comes packaged with the unit. It has a button with which you can test the circuitry, battery function, and horn. It is sleekly designed with a four-inch diameter and can be installed in minutes. The unit has an ionization sensor that detects smoke quickly and operates continuously, even during power outages.

Warranty

This product does not come with a warranty.

Pros

  • Uses 9v battery that works even when power is out
  • Single test button for circuitry, battery function, and horn
  • Ionization technology for quick smoke detection
  • Sleek design
  • Easy to install and use

Cons

  • No CO detection or monitoring
  • Doesn’t connect to other smoke detectors
  • Can’t connect to smart phones or tablets

Features

The Nest Protect 2nd generation smoke detector uses a split-spectrum sensor that has an infrared photoelectric and a blue LED sensor. This protects against slow and fast burning fires and is the only smoke detector on the market to do so. It also has an electrochemical carbon monoxide (CO) detector along with heat and humidity sensors that can tell the difference between real fires and false alarms. It has wireless technology so you can test connectivity and safety, silence an alarm, and receive notifications from an easy to install app on your smart phone or tablet. Plus, it comes in battery powered or hard-wired versions.

Warranty

This product has a 2-year warranty.

Pros

  • Split-spectrum/dual photoelectric sensor
  • Electrochemical CO detector
  • Sleek design
  • Alarm silence button on the unit or from app
  • LED lights and voice warnings
  • Great customer service
  • Interconnect to 18 devices
  • Integration with Nest
  • Learning Thermostat and Nest Cam
  • Heat, humidity, and ambient light sensors
  • Connects to phone via Wi-Fi
  • Hardwire models come with battery backup

Cons

  • 2-year warranty
  • Battery powered model uses 6 AA batteries
  • Relies on Wi-Fi to connect to phone or tablet
  • Might not connect to router that doesn’t support IPv6

Features

The Fire Sentry i9040E is the best basic smoke detector on the market. It is reliable, durable, and affordable. It uses an ionization sensor and is powered by a 9V (volt) battery that provides continuous protection. It can detect smoke during power outages due to running on a battery instead of being hard-wired to the home’s electricity.

Warranty

There is no warranty for this product

Pros

  • Continuous smoke detection, even during power outages
  • Battery operated
  • Ionization sensor
  • Reliable and durable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No CO detection or monitoring
  • No connection to other detectors or phones or tablets
  • No light sensors
  • No test button

The Verdict

If you are looking for a way to make your current home safer or are moving to a new home, these are the seven best smoke detectors you can find today. They offer quality protection combined with a wide variety of excellent features and great prices. Each model has a high UL listing approval, they are UFSA recommended and have been researched by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

Featured Image from Pixabay

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