Best Smoke Detector 2021: Home Safety 101

Can you imagine losing everything you own in a matter of minutes? There’s nothing more horrifying than the thought of a fire burning through your belongings and destroying your home — inch by inch, memory by memory.

And what if it doesn’t stop there? Every day, seven people in the US die in home fires. What’s worse, these deaths can be prevented if everyone would invest in the best smoke detector for their homes.

Of course, not all smoke detectors are the same. While some only consist of a sensor and a siren, others can help you create an interconnected network of smart devices in your home. Both of these options work, it just depends on what you’re after.

Because of that, we’ve decided to help you out and create a unique list of the best devices for you to choose from in 2021. Here’s how we did it.

 

Choosing the Best Smoke Detector in 2021

  • Sensor

The first and most important thing you need to know about your smoke detector is what kind of sensor it has. There are three main types of sensors on the market today: ionization sensors, photoelectric sensors, and dual-sensor smoke detectors:

Ionization smoke detectors use a tiny amount of radioactive material that helps detect small particles of smoke typical of fast, flaming fires.

Photoelectric smoke detectors use a light source to detect larger particles, characteristic of big, smoldering fires that produce a lot of smoke.

Dual-sensor smoke detectors use both of these sensors. While you might assume that this gives you the best of both worlds, that isn’t necessarily the case. It largely depends on the quality of each smoke alarm sensor and the way they’re connected.

Besides all this, many hybrids use one of these technologies with certain modifications specific to their brands. For example, the enhanced photoelectric sensor used by Nest Protect has a photoelectric smoke detector that is fitted with a special LED light, so it can detect both types of fires. In addition to that, there are so-called smart batteries that can transform your old smoke alarm for a fraction of the price.

  • Main features

The best smoke detectors offer various extra features that either complement their main role or give you more bang for your buck. For example, what happens when your smart smoke detector actually does what the name suggests and identifies a potential problem? Can you control what happens remotely or using your voice? Is it possible to use the detector as a home speaker and connect it to other smart devices? We turn your attention to the features we deem most important and most interesting.

  • Price

As always, the final part of smoke detector reviews concentrates on the price. For many consumers, this is, of course, the most important factor to consider. Finding the right balance between price and quality is a subtle skill that many people just can’t seem to master. Most of the time, extremely expensive, high-end devices will give you the quality you need, but your household budget might not stretch far enough to justify the purchase. On the other hand, a cheap detector that doesn’t work is not only a waste of money; it’s also potentially dangerous.

Our Top 3 Recommendations

NO.
COMPANY
STATS
FEATURES
PRICE
8.6
FROM $579
8.4
FROM $79.99
8.0
FROM $20.99

Best Smoke Detectors 2021

Nest Protect Review

PROS
  • Wide-spectrum sensor

  • Automatic self-testing process

  • Remote monitoring

  • Pathlight feature

CONS
  • Minor connectivity problems

Sensor

This Nest smoke detector uses what the company calls a split-spectrum sensor. It’s basically an enhanced version of a photoelectric sensor that is equipped with an additional blue LED light to help it detect a greater number of particles in the air. It can differentiate between smoke and steam, which is often a problem for old, classic devices. In a way, it can be considered to have a dual sensor because it detects both slow and fast flames. Because it detects high levels of carbon monoxide, it’s considered a contender for the best smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Main features

Like many Nest products, this smoke detector uses voice notification to help you avoid potential safety hazards. The low-battery alarm is subtle and alerts you ahead of time. Since you can control the alarm with your mobile app, you also have the option of hushing any annoying false alarms with a single tap. You also get subtle and timely low-battery alerts directly to your phone to ensure your home remains safe at all times.

One interesting feature that is a favorite among many users is the so-called “Nest Pathlight.” These photoelectric smoke alarm devices have built-in motion detector lights that activate as soon as you pass under it, so it doubles as a nightlight. During the day, the light ring in the device glows green if everything is alright, yellow if it detects a little bit of smoke, and red when it’s on full-scale alert.

Price

Each Nest Protect device costs $579.00. You can get much better deals if you decide to buy a pack of three or six fire alarm detectors and, truthfully, most homes need more than one fire alarm. You might be able to find better deals on websites like eBay, although don’t expect the price to be much lower.

First Alert Onelink Safe and Sound Review

PROS
  • Built-in Alexa assistant

  • High-quality speakers and microphones

  • Phone notifications

CONS
  • Quite expensive

  • No automatic testing feature

  • Only hardwired

Sensor

First Alert’s Onelink smoke detector uses a photoelectric sensor to detect smoke and an electrochemical sensor to detect carbon monoxide so you’re protected on both fronts. The sensor’s ability to discern between smoke and shower steam means fewer false alarms and more reliability. The high-quality CO sensor detects leaks from various sources like cookers or heaters, making it one of the best smoke and carbon monoxide detector equipment.

Main features

This alarm detector has plenty of features to offer, which makes sense considering the device’s hefty price tag. Whether the outlay is worth it depends on what you’re after.

First of all, the detector has a built-in Alexa assistant, which essentially transforms it into a multifunctional smart speaker. It’s one of the best home smoke detectors since it also works with Apple Homekit, Google Assistant, Siri, and Apple iOS devices. If home automation is your thing, you will love the premium quality of the speakers and highly sensitive integrated microphones. If you name the rooms in your house, you will get specific voice-controlled alerts letting you know where the problem is.

One important thing to know about this First Alert device is that it is only available as a wired smoke detector. This is great for people whose home falls under the hardwired law requirement, but it also means that it’s susceptible to power outages. The adapter is included in the box and allows for easy installation. Your mobile phone gives you full control over the detector, including its useful nightlight feature. If there is a fire or CO emergency, Safe and Sound will send a notification to your phone.

Price

Before you gasp at the steep price of the detector, make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting for it. The Safe and Sound wired smoke detectors work as both a reliable smoke detector and a smart speaker in one neat package. Because of that, you will have to spend $220.88 on just one of these devices. It has a lot of great features, but you should figure out whether you’ll need those extras before you buy.

Kidde Worry-Free Hardwired Smoke Alarm Review

PROS
  • Extremely cheap

  • Hush feature

  • Easy installation

  • Interconnectivity with up to 24 devices

CONS
  • No automatic testing

  • Lacks smart features

  • Doesn’t detect CO

Sensor

The hardwired Kidde smoke alarm uses a regular ionization sensor, which is usually a lot better at detecting fast, flaming fires. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Kidde’s hardwired smoke detector won’t discover slower, smoke-heavy fires as well. It might just take it a little longer.

Main features

Simplicity is the main selling point for Kidde’s hardwired smoke alarm. The device doesn’t offer that many features but focuses on the detector’s primary function. There is only one button on the whole device, and it’s used both for testing and for the hush feature. The latter lets you disable the alarm for a short period to help you avoid false alarms when you’re cooking, for example.

The large mounting base allows for easy installation, while the tamper-resist locking feature secures the best hardwired smoke detector from theft. Offering interconnectability with up to 24 devices, you’ll be able to secure every room in your home.

Price

Since this product offers basic functionality, its low price comes as no surprise. At around $37.99 apiece, you can create a network of reliable fire alarms for the cost of just one high-end smart smoke detector. If you don’t have any need for smart devices, this certainly pays off.

X-Sense Smart Smoke Alarm Review

PROS
  • Push notifications

  • Self-testing mechanism

  • 10-year battery life

  • IFTTT and Apple HomeKit support

  • Good price

CONS
  • Some WiFi connectivity issues

  • No CO sensor

Sensor

This X-Sense fire alarm uses a modern photoelectric sensor to detect fires and trigger a shrill 85 dB siren. One of the main reasons why this is considered the best smoke detector for your kitchen is the fact that it can discern between real fires and smoke that results from your cooking. With this device keeping guard, you won’t have to deal with numerous false alarms, even if you install the detector near your kitchen. Unfortunately, there is no CO sensor in the device, so you won’t be able to keep track of carbon monoxide levels.

Main features

When this alarm detects a possible threat it activates its siren, turns on its LED light warning, and sends a push notification to your mobile phone. If you have multiple detectors (and you should), the notification will also show you the exact location of the incident. The self-testing mechanism ensures Netatmo’s best smoke alarms work properly, but there’s also the option of testing them yourself whenever you feel like it. There is a low-battery warning, but it’s unlikely you’ll even need it because it uses batteries with a lifespan of 10 years.

When it comes to compatibility, X-Sense supports IFTTT and Apple HomeKit. It’s the best battery operated smoke detector since it only connects to the WiFi network when it needs to send an alert, thereby preserving energy. All of the notifications go to your dedicated app, though you can also check them out on the website. The app gives you all the control you might need, including an alarm log with detailed events like triggers and tests.

Price

At around $79.99 per device, X-Sense is a great choice for people who want the best WiFi smoke detector on a moderate budget. If you decide to buy a couple of these, you can get a sweeter deal by opting for a bundle.

ADT Smoke Detector Review

PROS
  • Photoelectric and heat sensors

  • 24/7 monitoring center

  • Phone notifications

CONS
  • No CO sensors

  • No pre-defined prices

Sensor

This smoke detector is photoelectric, which is quite common among high-end manufacturers. However, these devices also use heat sensors that help them detect fires much more quickly through temperature changes. That said, this model doesn’t contain carbon monoxide sensors – they are sold separately.

This smoke detector is connected to the ADT home security center at all times, which monitors your activities and ensures your safety. It’s one of the best fire alarms since It is also directly connected to the local fire department, so you know help is readily available.

Main features

What makes ADT detectors different from the rest of the devices on the list is the ADT monitoring center. For about $1 a day, you get 24/7 support from the company’s employees, who are the first to respond to your emergency. That way, even if you’re on vacation, you can rest assured that your home is protected.

All alerts on your mobile phone come in the form of a text, call, or email. Of course, the last one doesn’t sound like a great idea when we’re talking about fire emergencies, but it’s good to have options. Interestingly, the ADT smoke alarm will also notify you when it’s time to clean the device so it always functions at its prime.

Price

ADT doesn’t tell you the price of its smoke detectors. Instead, all prices are discussed on an individual basis through a phone call or on-site quotes. This means you’ll have to prepare yourself for sales pitches and negotiations, which can be annoying. Add to that the $1 daily fee for the monitoring service and the cost of installing ADT home smoke detectors can add up.

Voniko Wi-Fi Battery Review

PROS
  • Inexpensive

  • Adds to your existing smoke detector

  • Activity log

CONS
  • Needs IFTTT to connect to other smart devices

  • Alarm notifications can’t be customized

Sensor

A Voniko smart battery is a great alternative to an expensive smart smoke detector. Instead of spending copious amounts of money on new devices, you can simply make your existing detector smarter with the use of a Roost smart Wi-Fi battery. The battery works with any type of sensor you might have in your home. You can simply buy a regular cheap device with a photoelectric sensor and turn it into something that rivals the best smart smoke detector in under five minutes.

Main features

Voniko Wi-Fi batteries don’t require any complex installation process. All you need to do is download the app, connect it to your home Wi-Fi, and insert the battery into your home’s standard electric smoke detector. The battery has a lifespan of three to five years; you’ll get a notification on your phone when it’s almost drained.

The Roost app allows you to monitor the safety of your home when you’re away. You can also give access to your friends and family so they can help out. With the activity log, you can keep track of all the events that happen in your home and make sure you’re always in the loop.

Price

Each Wi-Fi battery costs $7.99, which is quite a bargain considering that it turns your old device into a smart fire alarm. You can couple it with a basic, reliable photoelectric detector for a low price and you’ll have a more-than-decent protection system in your home.

Universal Security Instruments Smoke Detector Review

PROS
  • Dual sensor and CO detection

  • Nuisance alarms reduction

  • Affordable

CONS
  • No phone alerts

  • Doesn’t have a voice-control option

Sensor

This smoke detector uses what the manufacturer calls “universal smoke sensing” technology. Basically, it’s a dual sensor that can detect both types of fires, together with a CO sensor, making this a three-in-one device. Besides that, the device keeps track of temperature and humidity to improve its early-detection abilities. However, this doesn’t mean that you will be swamped with unbearable alarms wherever you go. What makes this the best smoke and carbon monoxide detector is that it uses microprocessor intelligence to make sure only the real threats come through.

Main features

This Universal Security Instruments smoke detector is a reliable hardwired smoke alarm that adheres to Californian laws. You get a backup battery to ensure your safety during power outages. Since the entire device has a lifespan of 10 years, it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to replace the provided battery. In case you do need to do so, every battery has a deactivation key that makes it safe to dispose of.

As is the case with other wired or wireless smoke detectors, this one also has a button that lets you test your device, which should be done weekly, and silence the siren in case of a false alarm. When the device approaches its end, you will get a special alarm, reminding you to replace it.

Price

Compared to some other products on the market, this smoke detector is quite affordable. It costs $20.99 per unit. If you order directly from the company’s store, you can get a 5% discount on a pack of six devices, which isn’t a bad deal.

Honeywell Wireless Smoke Detector Review

PROS
  • Photoelectric sensor and heat detection

  • A range of different alerts

  • Reasonable price

CONS
  • You need a Wi-Fi receiver

  • No dedicated smoke alarm app

Sensor

Honeywell’s smoke detector is certainly one of the best on the market. The well-known home-automation company offers you a high-quality photoelectric sensor combined with heat-detection technology. The device uses special technology that automatically adjusts the sensitivity of the sensor to reduce the number of false alarms you get. You will no longer get nuisance alarms because of dust particles or smoke from cooking.

Main features

Installing the Honeywell smoke detector is simple and non-invasive. There is no need for drilling holes or performing complex feats of wiring. The detector is powered by a single 3 V lithium battery. Because of all this, Honeywell’s detector is a perfect choice for people who want to protect but not damage their homes.

To receive information from Honeywell’s wireless smoke detector, you will need a WiFi receiver. You can get alerts regarding potential fire emergencies, device tampering, or the need for maintenance. This battery powered smoke detector will let you know when it’s the right time to clean it without scaring you with an unnecessary, nerve-wracking alarm. Thanks to its easily removable cover and chamber top, the cleaning process is simple and fast.

Price

This wireless smoke and heat detector costs $59.95 on Amazon, which is quite affordable considering everything you’re getting in the package. However, bear in mind that if you want to use the device’s connectivity features, you’ll also need to buy a receiver, which can cost up to $100. If you’re looking for inexpensive electric smoke alarms that also have smart functions, this might not be the best option for you.

Siterwell Smoke Alarm

PROS
  • Fairly affordable

  • Photoelectric sensor

  • Wireless connectivity

CONS
  • Requires manual testing

  • No on-site purchases

Sensor

Siterwell’s smoke alarm also uses a reliable photoelectric sensor to detect fires. The sensor is connected to a powerful 85 dB siren, which is a standard for any type of household nowadays. The red LED light on the device flashes rapidly in case of emergency, which is especially important for people who can’t hear that well.

Main Features

Considering Siterwell’s best battery smoke detector is a smart device, it can communicate to other appliances in your home through Z-wave and LoRaWAN networks. That way, you can trigger various events and get mobile notifications when you’re in danger.

The installation process takes only a couple of minutes and, in most cases, doesn’t require any professional help. The device comes with all the screws and brackets you need. It isn’t one of those hardwired smoke detectors; it is powered by two 1.5V AA batteries. A specific type of alarm will let you know when the batteries are almost drained.

Considering the quality of the product, Siterwell’s detector will probably last you more than the recommended 10 years. However, you must follow the manufacturer’s recommendation and replace the device after a decade. To ensure its functionality, you should test even the best smoke detector weekly and clean any dust buildup every six months.

Price

Curiously enough, the price of Siterwell’s smoke detectors is not mentioned on the company’s website. You can find the product on eCommerce sites like Amazon for about $29.49 per device. You might stumble upon special deals and discounts if you buy more than one – and you’re going to have to do it. It is recommended that you buy one for every room except for the bathroom and kitchen.

GN-913 Series Smoke Alarm Review

PROS
  • An affordable price

  • On-site cleaning program

  • Photoelectric sensor

CONS
  • Manual testing

  • No wifi connectivity

Sensor

Gentex’s best photoelectric smoke detector is designed to reduce the number of nuisance alarms you get on a daily basis. The mechanism is connected to the 85-decibel siren that uses the temporal 3 evacuation system. Studies have shown that this type of oscillating alarm is a lot more effective than the use of one constant, monotone siren sound.

Main Features

The smoke detector uses a 9V battery that you get with the product. The integrated system lets you know if the battery is low or missing, so you won’t be in danger. This is not something you have to worry about when dealing with some of the best hardwired smoke detectors on the market. Gentex detector also features a patented three-position test switch, which you need to use periodically to check the functionality of the device.

Because dust particles can interfere with the proper functioning of the program, it is necessary to clean it once in a while. The Easy Wash program lets you clean the device safely on-site without anyone’s help or risking your safety. Besides that, the design of the screen on Gentex’s best smoke alarm doesn’t allow any bugs to enter the detector and cause unexpected problems.

Price

Gentex’s smoke detector can be found on Amazon for under $120, which is still quite affordable. You get the battery as well as the necessary mounting equipment.

Every purchase comes with a one-year warranty. You can find great discounts if you buy in bulk or combine it with other Gentex products. You might not recognize Gentex as the best smoke detector brand out there but it’s certainly worth the money.

Summary

Fire protection is a very important matter and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Luckily, there are so many excellent fire safety products on the market. But which one is the best? Well, the best device is the one that’s installed correctly and that works. People often spend more time researching best rated smoke detectors than making sure they are installed and maintained properly. Before purchasing, you should consider your needs, options, and legal requirements. If you are still unsure, you may consult an expert.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which type of smoke detector is best?

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there is no clear conclusion on what type of smoke detector is best. There are two types of smoke alarms, based on the kind of sensors they use. Ionization sensors use a small amount of radioactive substance to detect smoke, and they are more sensitive to fast flaming fires.

The other type, with photoelectric sensors, is more responsive to slow and smoldering fires. USFA says that both types work fine and that the best approach is to have smoke detectors with dual sensors.

Which is better, Kidde or First Alert?

It is hard to say which company has better products. They are leaders in the industry, and they represent almost three-quarters of the market. Kidde and First Alert have a wide range of smoke detectors in every category, so buyers can easily choose what’s best for them.

It’s important to check the local regulations before purchasing, so you wouldn’t end up with a great product that you can’t legally install.

What type of smoke detector is best for bedrooms?

The best option would be a smoke detector with dual sensors. If that is unavailable for any reason, then the best smoke detector with an ionization sensor would be the second-best option.

The main reason is that they are more sensitive to slow, smoldering fires, which often occur while the owners are sleeping. They also would not raise false alarms as they would in a kitchen due to their sensitivity to cooking smoke and vapor.

What is better, hardwired or battery smoke detectors?

There is no difference in performance or sensitivity. The only difference is in the way they are installed. Wired sensors require a lot more work (often by a certified electrician), while even homeowners can install battery smoke detectors.

Wired sensors are susceptible to power outages, so it’s best to buy ones with a backup battery. The battery life is the main issue when it comes to battery smoke detectors. Although some manufacturers claim their detectors have a 10-year battery life, they still need to be checked from time to time.

How much does it cost to have smoke detectors installed?

The prices of installing a smoke detector can go anywhere from $70 and $150 in the US. The average price that most people are paying is around $99. The average price of installation for a base with three detectors is around $268. An installation of a battery operated detector is, of course, cheaper and costs around $41 on average.

Which is better, ionization or photoelectric smoke alarm?

The U.S. Fire Administration says that they cannot state which kind of sensor is better because every fire is different. Ionization sensors are faster in detecting smoke from fast flaming fires, and photoelectric sensors are quicker in detecting slow smoldering fires.

The best thing is to have smoke alarms with dual sensors. USFA also states that people focus too much on the type of sensors and overlook the most important thing – proper installation and pattern. Even the best smoke detector will not do its job if it is not correctly installed properly in the right place.

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