Smoke detectors are one of the most important devices we have in our homes, yet they are also one of the most overlooked as well. The bottom line is that they save lives and people should give more thought to make sure they have good quality alarms and also ensure that they are working.
So what should a buyer look for? There are two main types of sensors that detectors employ – photoelectric and ionization. Most models have just an ionization sensor that works for detecting flaming fires. Photoelectric sensors detect smoldering smoke. So the best smoke alarms will have both sensors, but you can also use a combination of both types placed in strategic spots throughout your house.
Buyers should also be aware that they can be powered either by batteries or hard-wired into your electrical system. Those that are hard-wired can be more difficult to install, but are more likely to work in the event of an emergency. Interconnected alarms are another feature to look for. These models can communicate with each other so that when one alarm goes off, they all go off. These are typically hard-wired, but there are now wireless options available.
Below we review our choices for the top 10 best smoke detectors. At the bottom of these smoke alarm reviews we also have a comparison chart to easily compare one smoke detector versus another.
The BRK 3120B has dual sensors, both ionization and photoelectric, which work great at detecting hot or smoldering fires to protect you and your home. Overall there is nothing really to complain about with this First Alert smoke alarm, however since it is hardwired it can be a bit of a pain to install.
The BRK 9120LBL only has an ionization sensor, but it can connect to any other compatible BRK or First Alert smoke detectors. Overall the First Alert BRK 9120LBL will provide worry-free service for a long time.
If you are looking for a cheap, hardwired smoke alarm with battery backup then the First Alert BRK 9120B is the perfect choice for you.
The main drawback of the Nest Protect is the price. At $119 for one device this thing is expensive, especially if you have a large home that will require several units.
If you do purchase the Kidde RF-SM-DC you might want to install a photoelectric sensor somewhere in your house as well.
The i9050 does not interconnect with other alarms, but it it very easy to install and works quite well.
The i4618 only has an ionization sensor so again we recommend that you install a photoelectric sensor in conjunction with this smoke detector.
One unique feature of the SCO501CN-3ST is that in addition to a loud 85-decibel siren is a voice alarm with 11 programmable locations indicate where and what the threat is.
On the downside it can not network with other alarms, so it is best for small homes that only need one unit.
One negative is that the dual sensors tend to create more false alarms which can be annoying, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Overall the First Alert SA320CN is a good choice for small areas that only need one alarm.
Best Smoke Detector Comparison Chart
|Smoke Detector||Rating||Best Price||Power Supply||Hardwired
|First Alert BRK 3120B||9.2||$20.93||Hardwired w/ battery backup||Yes||2 AA||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|First Alert BRK 9120LBL||9.1||$21.27||Hardwired w/ battery backup||Yes||Lithium||Yes||Yes|
|First Alert BRK 9120B||9.1||$12.20||Hardwired w/ battery backup||Yes||9V||Yes||Yes|
|Nest Protect 2nd Gen||9.1||$119.00||Hardwired w/ battery backup or Battery||Yes||6 AA||Yes – wireless||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Kidde RF-SM-DC||9||$30.38||Battery||No||3 AA||Yes – wireless||Yes|
|Kidde i4618||8.9||$13.97||Hardwired w/ battery backup or Battery||Yes||9V||Yes||Yes|
|First Alert SCO501CN-3ST||8.9||$49.49||Battery||No||2 AA||Yes – wireless||No||Yes||Yes|
|Kidde KN-COSM-BA||8.8||$30.53||Battery||No||3 AA||No||Yes||Yes|
|First Alert SA320CN||8.7||$22.99||Battery||No||2 AA||No||Yes||Yes|