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First Alert by BRK Smoke Detector Reviews: Choosing the Best Smoke Alarm for Your Home

First Alert is the brand of smoke detectors owned by BRK, one of the most well-known smoke alarm companies out there. BRK offers numerous First Alert alarms to meet a variety of needs. Whether you’re a property manager looking to install new smoke detectors for your apartment complex or a homeowner needing to update your smoke detectors, it can be difficult to know which type of alarm will serve you best. We’ve reviewed eight popular First Alert smoke detectors to make your decision easier.

BRK smoke detector comparison table

Below we’ve compared eight popular First Alert/BRK smoke detectors to help you see the different options available. Some have special features, like carbon monoxide alarms or escape lights, so be sure to read each alarm’s description below.

Model numberSC7010B3120B7020BFG250LBSA350BSCO2BSC9120B9120B
What it looks like
Price*$59.99$49.99$27.95$22.44$39.99$32.99$24.90$46.05
Power sourceHardwired with battery back-upHardwired with battery back-upHardwired with battery back-up9V battery10-year battery10-year batteryHardwired with battery back-upHardwired with battery back-up
SensorPhotoelectricDualPhotoelectricIonizationIonizationIonizationIonizationIonization
CO detector included
Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No
Shop nowView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
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Model number
What it looks like
Price*
Power source
Sensor
CO detector included
Shop now
Learn more
SC7010B 3120B 7020B FG250LB SA350B SCO2B SC9120B 9120B
$59.99 $49.99 $27.95 $22.44 $39.99 $32.99 $24.90 $46.05
Hardwired with battery back-up Hardwired with battery back-up Hardwired with battery back-up 9V battery 10-year battery 10-year battery Hardwired with battery back-up Hardwired with battery back-up
Photoelectric Dual Photoelectric Ionization Ionization Ionization Ionization Ionization

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review

*Data effective 8/25/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

SC7010B Hardwired Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery Backup Review

First Alert BRK SC7010B Hardwire Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery BackupThis smoke alarm is designed for residential homes and institutional locations (hospitals, hotels, dormitories, etc.). You can link up to 18 compatible First Alert devices (e.g., smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, bells, repeaters, etc.) with this alarm. If one device triggers, they all sound an alarm. This feature can be convenient in larger institutions, but it’s frustrating for some users because it can be difficult to find the one that started it all during a false alarm. This alarm has a photoelectric smoke sensor, which means it detects slow, smoldering fires.

Pros

  • Interconnect up to 18 compatible devices
  • Detects slow smoldering fires
  • 85 dB alarm
  • Low battery alert
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Easy installation
  • UL certified

Cons

  • Some reports of faulty devices
  • Some reports of false alarms

3120B Hardwire Dual Photoelectric and Ionization Sensor Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup

First Alert BRK 3120B Hardwire Dual Photoelectric and Ionization Sensor Smoke Alarm with Battery BackupThis dual sensor alarm has both a photoelectric and ionization sensor, so it alerts you of both flaming and smoldering fires. However, it’s worth noting that there are no standards for dual-sensor alarms, so we suggest having a mixture of ionization and photoelectric alarms in your home. This smoke alarm is designed for both residential and institutional areas.

Pros

  • Interconnectable with other alarms
  • Detects slow smoldering fires and fast flaming fires
  • 85 dB alarm
  • Low battery alert
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Easy installation
  • UL certified

Cons

  • A small number of buyers receive faulty alarms

7020B Hardwire Photoelectric Sensor Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup and Escape Light

BRK Brands 7020B Hardwire Photoelectric Sensor Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup and Escape LightThis alarm has a photoelectric sensor with an escape light to help light your path to safety. BRK recommends installing this type of smoke alarm outside kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms. Since there’s an escape light, it is also recommended to have these in hallways for easier escape. The biggest issue with these alarms is that some consumers complain of a “chirp, chirp, chirp” alert that they are unable to stop without disconnecting the alarm. However, only a small number of the alarms have this problem.

Pros

  • Escape light
  • Interconnectable with other alarms
  • Detects slow smoldering fires
  • 85 dB alarm
  • Low battery alert
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Easy installation
  • UL certified

Cons

  • Some buyers experience chirping and are unable to stop it

FG250LB Lithium Battery Smoke Detector

BRK First Alert Lithium Battery Smoke Detector FG250LB by First AlertThis smoke alarm is designed for residential and institutional use, like hospital sleeping rooms, apartments, hotels, dorms, etc. It is also approved for use in RVs. Unlike the majority of the BRK alarms we’ve reviewed in this article, this smoke detector is not interconnectable, which won’t be an issue if you’re using it in a smaller space like an RV.

Pros

  • RV-approved
  • Effective detecting fast flaming fires
  • 85 dB alarm
  • Low battery alert
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • UL certified

Cons

  • Not interconnectable

SA350B Dual Ionization Battery Operated Smoke Alarm

First Alert SA350B Smoke Alarm - Dual Ionization Sensor - Detects Flaming Fires - Battery Operated - Sealed Lithium Battery by BRKIf you’re tired of changing batteries every six months, you may want a smoke alarm like this one. The battery lasts 10 years, which is the same amount of time a smoke alarm lasts. When the battery dies, you should replace the entire unit. In addition to homes, this device is recommended for homes, hospital rooms, hotel rooms, dorm rooms, and other multi-family applications, but not for common areas in multi-residence buildings.

Pros

  • 10-year battery life
  • Detects fast flaming fires
  • 85 dB alarm
  • Low battery alert
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Easy installation
  • UL certified

Cons

  • Not interconnectable

SCO2B Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with 9V Battery

BRK Electronics SCO2B Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with 9V BatteryThis alarm is a CO sensor and smoke alarm in one. The CO sensor is electrochemical, which is the most accurate sensor available because of its output of CO concentration. It requires minimal power and has a lifetime of 5+ years. The nice thing about these types of alarms is that they save time and money on installation. You only have to buy and install one device as opposed to two separate devices. This alarm is designed for residential and institutional applications.

Pros

  • Electrochemical sensor
  • CO and smoke alarm in one device
  • 10-year battery
  • Detects fast flaming fires
  • 85 dB alarm
  • Low battery alert
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Easy installation
  • UL certified

Cons

  • Not interconnectable
  • Some buyers experience chirping and are unable to stop it

SC9120B Hardwire Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery Backup

First Alert BRK SC9120B Hardwire Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery BackupThis hardwired alarm is a smoke and CO detector in one. The CO sensor is electrochemical, and the smoke sensor uses ionization. The system is meant to last 10 years as well as its battery, so there is no need to replace batteries regularly with this one. Overall, consumers seem pleased with this alarm. The biggest problem they run into is the detector not lasting the full 10 years, but since the warranty lasts 10 years, you should be covered.

Pros

  • Electrochemical sensor
  • CO and smoke alarm in one device
  • 10-year battery
  • Interconnect up to 18 compatible devices
  • Effective detecting fast flaming fires
  • Low battery alert
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Easy installation
  • UL certified

Cons

  • Some customers claim these don’t last 10 years

9120B Hardwired Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup Review

BRK Brands 9120B Hardwired Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup, Single Individual from Contractor Pack (2 Pack)This smoke alarm is designed to have a quicker installation and perform better than others to help reduce nuisance alarms. Customers still report issues with false alarms with this device—and at a higher rate than other alarms in this article. Plenty of customers have positive results from this alarm, but from what we found in our research, approximately 20% of buyer reviews reference a high number of false alarms.

Pros

  • Interconnect up to 18 compatible devices
  • Detects fast flaming fires
  • 85 dB alarm
  • Low battery alert
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Easy installation
  • UL certified

Cons

  • Higher rate of false alarms than the other BRK smoke detectors

Where should you install First Alert smoke detectors?

BRK recommends installing photoelectric smoke alarms outside of kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms because these are areas where smoldering fires typically occur. A smoldering fire is caused by a smoking material, like a cigarette, being left unattended. These types of fires produce carbon monoxide and cyanide, which are toxic.

Ionization alarms are recommended for areas where fast flaming fires occur, like laundry rooms. Fast flaming fires occur when flammable materials ignite with other items, causing more flames and less smoke.

How to take care of your First Alert smoke detectors

To get the most out of your smoke detectors, follow these care instructions.

  • Clean them at least twice a year. Make sure there are no cobwebs or dust on them.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • If your batteries are not meant to last 10 years, be sure to change them every year — even if they aren’t dead yet.
  • Never “borrow” batteries from your BRK smoke detector to use in another device with the thought in mind that you’ll put them back. More often than not, you forget.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly.

service representativeBRK customer service

The majority of the reviews about BRK’s customer service aren’t great. Customers complain of rude staff and unhelpful advice. Many customers stated that after their chat with customer support, their problem was still unresolved. This is one area we’d like to see BRK improve on.

Personally, I had a great experience with customer service. I talked to three different people, and they answered all of my questions. They were all polite and helpful to me, so your experience may differ from many reviews online.

Customer reviews on BRK smoke detectors

Overall, the biggest complaint about the BRK smoke detectors is the false alarms. Not all BRK alarms have false alarm complaints, but in general, it was the number-one complaint we found in our research.

Positive feedback from customers

We never had anything other than smoke detectors for the last 15 years in our current home. We were having issues with our gas furnace and I thought why not play it safe. I ordered two of these carbon monoxide detectors. Within 1 1/2 hours of installing them the CO alarm went off. I shut off the furnace and aired out the house. No more alarm. I had the furnace checked the very next day. Turns out our furnace was pumping CO into the house at 44ppm. Worth every cent. – Phil, Amazon Verified Purchase 10/30/2016 (in regards to the SC9120B)

Nice looking smoke alarm. Installation was easy, just follow the instructions. Be careful pressing the lithium battery into place. You can test the battery in your hand before install. No false alarms so far after several days. FYI: My units box says distributed by 2014 BRK Brands, Inc. made in Mexico. – Amazon Customer, Amazon Verified Purchase 10/18/2016 (in regards to the SA350B)

Negative feedback from customers

The smoke and carbon monoxide alarm chirps all the time. I replaced the battery thinking the company shipped me a bad one, but it made no difference. Don’t buy this junk. – Raymond B., Amazon Verified Purchase 4/29/2013 (in regards to the SC02B)

GARBAGE! I should have listened to the other reviews. Wasted $125 on seven of these. I gave them four months after installing them in a newer house but all they do is go beep-beep-beep all day long. These were hardwired correctly in a clean home so I don’t know what their problem is. Just replaced all of them with the NEST protect and am finally enjoying some peace and quiet! Stay away from these, you’ve been warned. – David M., Amazon Verified Purchase 8/15/2015 (in regards to the 7020B)

What do we think?

First Alert and BRK are household names when it comes to smoke alarms, and we think the alarms are worth the money. In fact, First Alert is our pick for best photoelectric smoke alarm, beating out Kidde and Nest. After keeping families safe for more than 50 years, BRK is considered to be one of the most trusted names in home safety, and it can keep your family protected too.

What do you think of BRK? Do you have any experience with First Alert smoke alarms? Share your experience with us in the comments!

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