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2019’s Best Smoke Detectors and Alarms For Home Protection

Best smoke alarms for every home

ProductNest ProtectFirst Alert SA3210 Dual Sensor AlarmVivint Smoke AlarmKidde P9050 Smoke Alarm
Product imageVivint smoke alarm
Best forBest smart smoke alarmBest dual-sensor smoke alarmBest connected smoke alarmBest budget smoke alarm
Find itView on AmazonView on AmazonView Vivint PlansView on Amazon
Price range$$$$$$$$$
PowerWired or AA batteries10-year sealed batteryAAA batteries9V battery
SensorPhotoelectric with split spectrum Photoelectric and ionizationPhotoelectricPhotoelectric
Smart home integration
Professional monitoring
Mobile access
Product
Product image
Best for
Find it
Price range
Power
Sensor
Smart home integration
Professional monitoring
Mobile access
Nest Protect First Alert SA3210 Dual Sensor Alarm Vivint Smoke Alarm Kidde P9050 Smoke Alarm
Vivint smoke alarm
Best smart smoke alarm Best dual-sensor smoke alarm Best connected smoke alarm Best budget smoke alarm
View on Amazon View on Amazon View Vivint Plans View on Amazon
$$$ $$ $$$ $
Wired or AA batteries 10-year sealed battery AAA batteries 9V battery
Photoelectric with split spectrum Photoelectric and ionization Photoelectric Photoelectric

Moving to a new home or simply looking for ways to make your current home safer? Now is a great time to update your smoke detectors. While smoke detectors might not be the flashiest purchase you’ve made recently, we’re not being dramatic when we say that they can literally mean the difference between life and death. Keep reading for help finding the best smoke alarm for your family.

  • Nest Protect: Best smart smoke alarm
  • First Alert SA3210 Dual Sensor Alarm: Best dual-sensor smoke alarm
  • Vivint Smoke Alarm: Best smoke alarm with a security system
  • Kidde I9050 Smoke Alarm: Best inexpensive smoke alarm

Nest Protect: Best smart smoke detector and CO alarm

Nest (S3003LWES) Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Protect Your Home From Fire and Gas Leaks, Even When You're Away, Wired (Second Generation)If you don’t have the budget for a monitored home security system, a smart smoke alarm is the next best thing. You’ll still get notifications on your mobile device if you aren’t home to hear the alarm go off, which means you can call for help and make sure someone gets to your house as quickly as possible.

Our favorite smart smoke detector is the Nest Protect because it integrates with other Nest devices, gives you mobile access, and includes carbon monoxide monitoring.

Key features

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detection
  • Wired and battery-powered options
  • Mobile alerts and alarm control
  • Seamless connection with other Nest home automation products
  • Split-spectrum sensor to detect multiple kinds of fires
  • Motion sensor lighting
  • 85 dB sensor
  • Voice alarms that tell you where the danger is located

First Alert SA3210 Dual Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm: Best dual-sensor smoke alarm

First Alert SA3210 Dual-Sensor Smoke & Fire AlarmNot all fires are the same—some start slow and produce lots of dangerous smoke, while others get hot very fast and spread quickly without creating as much smoke as you may expect. This First Alert smoke alarm has a dual-sensor design so it will quickly detect both slow-burning fires and fast-moving fires. And with a battery that lasts for 10 years, you won’t have to worry about whether or not the batteries will run out every few months.

Key features

  • Dual sensors for multiple types of fires
  • 10-year sealed battery
  • 85 dB siren
  • Easy installation
  • 10-year limited warranty

Vivint Smoke Detector: Best connected smoke alarm

Vivint smoke alarm

When your smoke detector is part of your monitored security system, you never have to worry about missing an alarm. If your smoke detector goes off while you’re hiking in the mountains without cell service or while you’re in the middle of a crucial presentation to project stakeholders, your security provider will still be there to send for help in an emergency—even if you didn’t see a notification on your phone.

Many security companies offer smoke detectors, but Vivint is our top pick because the alarm connects with other home automation and security devices that come in handy whether you’re going about your normal day or dealing with a real crisis.

Key features

  • Smoke and increased heat detection
  • Integration with other security system equipment
  • Professional monitoring
  • Mobile notifications
  • Wireless and battery power
  • 85 dB siren

Why Vivint’s smoke detector is our top recommendation

Integration is a big deal—at first it might just sound convenient, but in an emergency, integrated devices can actually increase your safety. For example, if your Vivint smoke alarm goes off, the connected thermostat will shut off air flow to slow the spread of the fire and the smart locks will automatically unlock so you can get your family out of the house as fast as possible.

The biggest benefit of the Vivint smoke detector is that it can be professionally monitored as part of your security system. If you aren’t home to hear the alarm or if you aren’t somewhere that you can get a mobile notification, someone will still be watching over your home and ready to send help.

Kidde Battery Operated Smoke Alarm P9050: Best budget-friendly smoke alarm

Kidde PE9 (P9050) Battery-Operated Photoelectric Sensor Smoke AlarmMost homes need multiple smoke alarms—not just one. And because buying four or five smoke detectors can add up, sometimes price becomes the deciding factor. If your budget is too tight for one of the smoke alarms listed above, that’s okay. After all, a basic smoke detector is dramatically better than no smoke detector at all.

When price is an issue, we recommend the Kidde P9050 smoke alarm. Kidde has a strong reputation and offers reliable detectors you can count on to protect your home. Plus, since this one is so affordable, you’ll be able to get as many as you need to protect your entire home.

Key features

  • Affordable price
  • Photoelectric sensor
  • 85 dB siren
  • Battery power
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Easy installation

What you need to know about smoke alarms

Should I get a hard-wired smoke detector or a battery-powered smoke detector?

In most cases we recommend choosing a wired smoke detector or a smoke detector with an extra-long battery life. Hard-wired smoke detectors are more reliable since you don’t have to worry about batteries dying. Plus, most wired smoke alarms have battery backups, so they’ll still work during a power outage.

However, battery-powered smoke detectors are much easier to install, so be honest with yourself—if easier installation is the difference between whether or not the smoke detectors will actually get placed in your home, battery-powered smoke detectors will work just fine.

Where should I put smoke detectors?

At bare minimum, you need at least one smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home—basement, main living area, attic, etc.

Ideally however, you should place a smoke detector in every bedroom and in hallways outside sleeping areas.

ASL Insider Tip

Pro Tip:

Place smoke detectors about 10 feet away from appliances like ovens, clothes dryers, and dishwashers to reduce false alarms.

How often do I need to check the batteries?

If you have AA batteries, AAA batteries, or a 9-volt battery in your smoke alarm, you should check the batteries at least every six months.

ASL Insider Tip

Pro Tip:

Set a calendar reminder to check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms once a month so you’ll always know you can count on them in an emergency.

Does it matter which type of sensor my smoke detector has?

There are two common types of sensors in smoke detectors: photoelectric sensors and ionization sensors.

Photoelectric sensors are best for detecting smoldering fires that produce lots of smoke.

Ionization sensors are best for detecting faster fires with lots of flames and less smoke.

Most smoke alarms use photoelectric sensors because they’re best for alerting you to dangerous levels of smoke, even if there isn’t a large fire.

Choosing the best smoke detector for your home

What do you look for in a smoke detector? Share your advice in the comment section below!

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