Best Smoke Detectors of 2020
One of the most important items every person should have in their home is a smoke detector. Three out of every five fire deaths result from properties that do not have working smoke alarms. These must-have home security items can alert you to a fire and save your life.
Some of the best smoke detectors on the market today have multiple functionalities, meaning they can do more than just let you know about smoke in your home. Finding the best smoke detector for your home depends on your personal needs and preferences.
Our Top Picks
Our pick for the best overall smoke detector.
Owned by Google, Nest has one of the best smoke detectors on the market. This smoke alarm also alerts you to carbon monoxide in the home, and even tests itself so you don’t have to remember.
A voice alert will give you a heads up before the alarm goes off, and it can tell the difference between steam from cooking and smoke from a fire. It can also connect to other Nest equipment, making this a useful addition to your smart home ecosystem.
Nest’s smoke alarm is so smart, it can test itself. It also self-monitors the battery life, which is ideal for someone who forgets to check up on smoke detectors every six months, as recommended.
Smoke isn’t the only thing this alarm can alert you to via a siren and mobile app. It also lets you know when dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are present in your home.
Our SecurityNerd didn’t realize how useful this was until installing the Nest outside the bedroom door. If you wake up in the middle of the night to grab a drink from the kitchen, you’ll love the motion activated night light that comes on to light your way.
While this is the best smoke detector on the market, it is also one of the most expensive. You get what you pay for, but it could also be a big drawback for the more budget-conscious consumers.
Nest smoke detector reviews have homeowners complaining about false alarms. While this seems like an issue Nest has been trying to deal with, it’s important to note our SecurityNerd has not had an issue with false alarms since purchase.
The Nerd Verdict: 4.5 out of 5
The Nest Protect is one of the most powerful and versatile smoke detectors out there. It’s an added bonus to not have to remember to test for functionality or batteries, since this model does it itself. While the price is steep, it’s a pretty impressive product. Check out our full review of the Nest Protect.
- Phone Alerts: Nest Protect sends you a message when there’s a problem or the batteries run low.
- Smoke and CO Locator: Nest Protect speaks up if there’s smoke or CO and tells you where it is, so you know what to do.
- Detects CO: Carbon monoxide is an invisible, poisonous gas. Nest Protect tells you where it’s hiding.
- A Light in the Dark: Usually Nest Protect has its light turned off, but when you walk underneath it, Pathlight can light your way.
- Fast Detection: Every second counts. The Split-Spectrum Sensor looks for both fast and slow burning fires.
Our pick for the best bargain smoke detector.
Kidde has been around for over 100 years, manufacturing fire safety equipment. It’s one of America’s largest manufacturers of smoke detectors. If you’re in the market for a no-nonsense smoke alarm with carbon monoxide detection, Kidde has a great option that won’t hit you in the wallet.
For around $35, it’s an incredible value to have a unit that can also connect with other Kidde detectors in the home for extra safety. If one goes off, they can all go off, no matter their location.
You’ll be alerted to smoke as well as carbon monoxide in your home. This smoke detector will also flash red when dangerous levels of carbon monoxide have been detected.
This product will alert you by telling you exactly what the threat is in the home. If smoke is detected, it will give you a verbal warning prior to the alarm. The same goes for carbon monoxide detection.
If you like the idea of being alerted to any emergencies on your smartphone, this is not the best smoke detector for you. The Kidde model does not have an app, so you won’t be notified or be able to control it while you’re not home.
This Kidde model has in ionization sensor, which is ideal for detecting smoldering fires with larger particles. It does not have a photoelectric sensor for detecting fast-moving fires.
The Nerd Verdict: 3 out of 5
Kidde is a company with a long track record, known for manufacturing fire safety products. You can rest assured that you are getting a quality smoke alarm. This is not the best smoke detector if you’re a home automation junkie and want all of your home security products connected straight to your smartphone. But if you’re in the market for a no-frills smoke detector that will get the job done, Kidde is an ideal option at a great price.
- Smart Interconnect-Interconnects up to 24 Kidde devices (of which 18 can be initiating), Battery Backup (2-AA batteries included) - Provides...
- Humidity range: 10%-95% relative humidity, non-condensing. Battery lockout system - The battery door will not close unless the batteries are...
- Peak level memory - Announces “carbon monoxide previously detected” if alarm has detected a CO level of 100ppm or higher since it was...
- Ionization sensor technology - Ideal for detecting fast flaming and other types of fires, Est button Functions: Tests the unit for proper...
- Green LED-Illuminates to indicate the unit is receiving AC power. Flashes once every 60 seconds to indicate battery only mode. Flashes once...
First Alert SC7010B
Our pick for the best smoke detector for seniors.
First Alert name has been around since 1976 and garnered a nice track record in the fire safety business. This particular alarm is ideal for senior citizens, or those with hearing issues because of the low frequency horn.
This smoke alarm will give a verbal notification when it detects signs of a fire. It will let you know there is smoke or carbon monoxide in the house with a voice notification prior to the alarm.
This First Alert model will alert you to smoke in your home as well as carbon monoxide.
While the alarm is loud enough for anyone to hear, it has a frequency that makes it easier for senior citizens or people with hearing issues to hear it.
This is not the best smoke detector for people who want to be alerted to smoke or carbon monoxide while you’re not home. There is no app, and no smartphone integration.
This smoke alarm has a photoelectric sensor, best for detecting fast-moving fires. It does not have an additional ionization sensor, which will alert you to smoldering fires with more smoke than flames.
The Nerd Verdict: 3 out of 5
The First Alert alarm is ideal for homeowners who want a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm at a good price. For folks with hearing issues, this alarm frequency makes it easier to hear, which keeps them safer in case of an emergency. You’ll also be able to connect all of the First Alert models together. For under $50, it’s a good option to consider.
- Keep your family safe with this hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide alarm; The battery backup means constant monitoring, even if there's a...
- Features electrochemical Carbon Monoxide sensing technology as well as a photoelectric sensor equipped with Optipath 360 technology that...
- In case of danger, the loud spread spectrum alarm is designed to be heard easily by even those with some hearing issues
- Can connect to other compatible BRK or First Alert detectors, to ensure all alarms will sound when threat is detected
- 10 year limited warranty; Equipped with end of life signal chirp, so you know when it's time to replace the unit for your safety
Onelink Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detector
Our pick for the best smoke detector for home automation.
This Onelink model is manufactured by First Alert as well. This is the company’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarm that has the most bells and whistles which makes it one of the best smoke detectors for people who want home automation options. You can even ask Alexa to check up on this Onelink model, which is a huge plus for homeowners looking to create their own smart home ecosystem.
This model connects to Alexa and Apple HomeKit. The app also allows you to receive alerts from your smartphone.
It will let you know if there is a dangerous level of carbon monoxide as well.
In case of an emergency, you will receive an alert through the smartphone app. If you’re in the home, you’ll also hear a voice alert to let you know about the type of emergency prior to the alarm going off.
It’s one of the most expensive smoke detectors on the market and the price could be a turn-off for the budget conscious.
Onelink smoke detector reviews have multiple complaints about issues with the mobile app. Some customers complain in the app store about setup and functionalities, so keep that in mind before purchasing.
This model has a photoelectric sensor, but not an ionization sensor.
The Nerd Verdict: 4 out of 5
The Onelink smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector from First Alert is a great choice for anyone looking to round out their home automation options. Compatible with Alexa and Apple HomeKit, you can check up on the status of this alarm via smartphone and even silence the alarm if needed. With its dual functionality and voice alerts, you’re paying more, but getting a smoke alarm with all the bells and whistles.
- SMOKE + CO DETECTION 2-in-1 smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarm alerts you to both types of danger in your home, with a photoelectric...
- MOBILE + VOICE ALERTS Alarm sends emergency notifications, via your phone, while voice alerts tell you the type and location of danger
- A HOME SAFETY NETWORK + ALEXA Interconnects with other Onelink devices (sold separately) to create a smart home safety network, so if one...
- EASY BATTERY CHANGES Easy-access battery door, for simple battery changes; replaceable 5-year battery
- COMPATIBILITY Compatible with Apple HomeKit; can be used on both Apple and Android devices
Kidde PI2010 Smoke Alarm
Our pick for the best dual sensor smoke detector.
This smoke alarm from Kiddie, although not the most high-tech, has dual sensor technology which is the safest you can buy because it can detect different types of fires.
This Kidde model provides both ionization and photoelectric sensors. Safety experts recommend having both of these types of sensors for maximum safety.
This dual sensor model comes in around $30, making it affordable for anyone to make their home safer.
We’ve all overcooked dinner once or twice, and the pesky smoke alarm can make things worse when you know there’s no real emergency. The Hush feature on this model allows you to stop the alarm when you need to.
If getting notifications on your smartphone is important to you, this is not the best smoke detector for you. This model has no home automation options.
It's commonplace now to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in one piece of hardware. This one is lacking the dual functionality that many competitors offer.
The Nerd Verdict: 3.5 out of 5
This is a solid choice when customers are looking for a safe, dual sensor technology smoke alarm. It can detect both slow and fast-moving fires at a price anyone can afford. The Hush feature is a nice added feature. If you don’t mind a lack of home automation options or carbon monoxide detector, this model will get the job done.
- Dual sensor contains both a photoelectric and ionization sensor providing dual sensor protection in your home
- Hush feature temporarily silences nuisance alarms
- Interconnectable, 120V hardwire alarm with battery backup that provides protection even during a power outage
- Red LED flashes every 30-40 seconds to indicate that the smoke alarm is operating properly
- Test/Reset button tests units electronic circuitry and horn.Audio alarm:85dB at 10ft
Vivint Smoke Alarm
Our pick for the best security system smoke alarm.
Vivint is a home security company that offers a variety of home automation features to its 1.4 million customers in the U.S. and Canada. This company is huge on customization, allowing you to create a unique home security package with 24/7 monitoring. Vivint’s smoke alarm is one of the products homeowners can choose from, and it functions seamlessly with all the other smart home products that they offer.
If there’s a fire, Vivint’s smart thermostat can automatically turn the air off to stop the spread of the fire and open smart locks for you to exit safely. It also alerts you via the mobile app if you’re not home.
This is where the Vivint model stands out compared to other types of smoke detectors. You are required to pay for 24/7 monitoring, so if anything happens, authorities will immediately be notified.
Although this is already a battery-powered product, Vivint’s SkyControl panel has an added battery backup that will keep going if you lose primary battery power.
While you get all the bells and whistles with this smoke detector, you’ll also have to pay for professional monitoring and the entire Vivint system. If you’re simply looking for a smoke detector, this one won’t be the best option.
This smoke detector has photoelectric sensors, but not ionization sensors.
The Nerd Verdict: 4 out of 5
When you need a smoke detector with 24/7 monitoring and full home automation choices, Vivint is a great option. This choice is packed with features for anyone looking for a great smoke detector and a full-service security system.
Shopping for a smoke detector: Here’s what to know
Finding the best smoke detector for your home depends on your preferences and security needs. Here are a list of features to look for in a smoke detector:
- Sensor types: There are smoke detectors with photoelectric sensors, ionization sensors, and smoke alarms that come with both types of sensors in one product. Photoelectric sensors are better at detecting fast moving fires with plenty of flames. Ionization sensors are better at alerting you to smaller fires with more smoke. While both are great, fire safety experts recommend finding an alarm with both sensors for optimal safety.
- Battery powered or hardwired: Battery powered smoke alarms are easy to install, and provide power even through power outages. But you’ll have to change them out. Hardwired smoke detectors don’t require a battery to be changed, but can also lose functionality if the power goes out. Experts recommend finding a hardwired model with a battery backup to have all your bases covered.
- Dual functionality: While a simple smoke detector may be all you’re looking for, it’s more affordable than ever to find one with a carbon monoxide detector included in the smoke detector. It makes it more convenient because you’re only switching out one battery, and gives you more bang for your buck.
No matter the smoke detector you choose to best suit your home, it’s important to have a working model on every floor, including outside bedrooms and hallways. If it’s battery powered, change out the batteries regularly and make sure to test it as well. This is one simple home security option that can literally save your life.
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About the Author
Erin is a freelance video producer and writer based out of Florida. She works with major retail companies and digital startups as a brand storyteller. When Erin's not writing, you can catch her scuba diving and spending time with her dog (not at the same time).