Smoke Detector

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The best way to protect your property and family from fire is to install multiple smoke detectors on each floor of your home. Smoke detectors will alert you when they sense any smoke in the area.

What is a Smoke Detector?

Smoke detectors are always on. They check the air constantly. If they sense any traces of certain gases or smoke, they will activate their built-in alarms.

The two types of smoke detectors are photoelectric detectors and ionization detectors. The ionization models are generally less expensive than photoelectric units. They’re best at detecting fast-growing fires and open flames.

Photoelectric smoke detector models are more expensive. They can, however, detect fires that might be smoldering in the walls or under the floorboards. They are also better at filtering out steam. That means they won’t go off when you’re simply cooking food or taking a shower.

Depending on the model, you can tie your smoke detector into your home’s electrical system. You can also rely on battery power. Either way, be sure to install and check its batteries. Doing so will ensure that it has a backup power supply at all times.

The Benefits & Limitation of Smoke Detectors

The primary reason to buy a smoke detector is to warn when you there’s a fire.The alarms on a smoke detector are loud enough to wake you from a deep sleep or alert you to danger anywhere in the home or even outside of the home.Many people make the mistake of assuming that they would wake up if they smelled smoke. The problem is that besides producing smoke, fires can burn chemicals that, when they enter the air, prevent you from waking up. These gases do not carry a scent and they are very toxic to the human body.

When you purchase the right kind of smoke detector, they will sense these dangerous gases and wake you up before they overcome you.Of course, as helpful as they are, there are some drawbacks to using smoke detectors. First, they can be overly sensitive and sound an alarm when there’s nothing wrong. Second, not all smoke detectors sense every danger. Some might not have the ability to warn you of certain dangers.

They can also malfunction, and if you don’t replace the battery or the unit itself in time, it will start to chirp. That chirping will be incredibly annoying, especially if it happens in the middle of the night or if you don’t know how to make it stop. The worst case scenario, however, is that the smoke detector stops working altogether without giving the warning chirp. In that case, you won’t know that the smoke detector malfunctioned and so it could put you at risk in the case of a fire.

You can remove many of these drawbacks by checking your smoke detectors regularly and replacing them every ten years.

Maintenance is the Key to Safety

The most important aspect of using a smoke detector is maintaining it regularly.

Testing your smoke detectors is incredibly important. Remember that they are delicate devices that rely on electronic circuitry and sensors. They are always son and so are subject to normal wear and tear. The only way to ensure that it is still functioning is to perform the proper tests. They will normally have a button you can push to make it sound its alarm. Set a schedule to check each smoke detector once each month. Some manufacturers suggest testing their units even more often.

Cleaning all of your smoke detectors is the next most important step. Your smoke detectors work by detecting smoke and gases. If their sensors are too dirty or if their vents are too clogged, they might not be able to sense any changes in air quality. Read your product manual on how to clean each unit. Most recommend using a vacuum cleaner extension to clean the detector of any dust. If you’re doing any sanding or remodeling in a room with a smoke detector, try to cover it with a piece of plastic drop cloth or a plastic bag to keep it clean. Take the covering off again as soon as the dust settles. And, of course, never paint over a smoke detector. The thickness of the paint will clog the vents and block the sensors.

Silencing Nuisance Detectors can sometimes be a challenge. If a smoke detector is going off for seemingly no reason, or you know that the reason is not a danger, such as smoke from a candle or steam from the stove, you can press the “hushâ€?button. The alarm will turn off for a few minutes. Take the opportunity to open some windows to air out the room. If the alarm continues going off after you’ve aired out the room, you might need to clean the smoke detector or replace its battery.

Things to Consider in a Smoke Detector

Hardwired or Battery-Operated?

Many people enjoy the reliability of tying their smoke detectors into their home’s wiring system. There is a very low risk of power outages, and you don’t have to rely completely on batteries. The downside to a hardwired unit is that not everyone is comfortable working on their electrical system. And even if you do know how to do it, the task will take you some time.

Battery-operated units are much easier to install. The problem is that you do need to check the smoke detector often to ensure that the batteries are still working. Even if your model of smoke detector is supposed to chirp when the batteries get low, there’s no guarantee that it will, so you need to be diligent about manually testing each detector.

The same goes for the backup battery of hardwired units. You should turn the power off and test the detector on battery power regularly. If the power goes out and there’s a fire, you’ll be glad your batteries still work.

Stand-Alone or Interconnected?

Some models allow you to connect them to others in a network. The benefit is that if one smoke detector senses a problem, they will all sound an alarm. No matter where you are in the house, you will hear the alarm. They will also sound the alarm when one of them has a low battery.

Stand-alone units only alert you in the area where the fire is. The benefit is that they will pinpoint the area of danger. The drawback is that if you’re a heavy sleeper or are very far away from the trouble area, you might not hear the lone alarm.


Features of a Smoke Detector

  • Alerts and Remote Control
  • Silence “Hushâ€?Button
  • Voice “Hushâ€?/li>
  • CO (Carbon Monoxide) Detection
  • Connection to a Central Monitoring Station
  • Smart Detection to identify the Location of Smoke or Gases

Top 5 smart Smoke Detectors of 2018

Nest Protect Nest Protect (2nd gen) Ring Alarm Smoke & CO Listener First AlertOnelink Safe & Sound Smoke First Alert Z-Wave Smoke/CO Alarm
List Price $110 – $145 $119 $35 $249.99 $40
Part# S2001LW S3000BWES
Dimensions (in.) 5.28 x 5.28 x 1.63 5.3 x 5.3 x 1.5 2.95 x 1.06 6.80 x 6.80 x 2.26 4.99 x 2.09
Power Battery Back-up Wired 120V-240V 3V Lithium Battery AC power is required
with Battery Back-up
2 AA Batteries Included
Connectivity WiFi 2.4 GHz WiFi 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 2.4GHz or 5 GHz   WiFi 2.4 GHz Z-Wave
Warranty 2-year limited 2-year limited 1 year limited 3-Year Limited 7 year manufacturer’s warranty provided by First Alert
Virtual assistant Amazon Alexa Amazon Alexa Not available  HomeKit,built-in Alexa  Depend on Hub

Nest Protect

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Nest Protect is another product from the leading innovator in the area of home safety. It is our top choice for smoke detectors. Like all Nest products, it is a smart device that you can link to your home automation software. Besides smoke, it detects carbon monoxide and checks the air quality 400 times each day.


  • App sends notifications to your phone, so you can call the fire department or turn off false alarms from anywhere
  • Photoelectric smoke sensor
  • Voice Control
  • Can convey the type of danger throughout the home
  • Can convey where the danger is throughout the home
  • Can add and connect new alarms without rewiring
  • Place alarms on any wall or ceiling without wire constraints
  • Available as Wired or Battery-Operated

Cons: Higher Price


Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Battery (2nd gen)

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The new Nest Protect (2nd gen) has been redesigned from the inside out. It has an industrial-grade smoke sensor, tests itself automatically, and lasts up to a decade. It’s also the home alarm you can hush from your phone without any extra hardware required. And just like the original Nest Protect, it tells you what`s wrong and can even alert your phone. Nest Protect has a friendly human voice that gives you an early warning. That way you can handle burning toast before it becomes a burning toaster.


  • App sends notifications to your phone, so you can call the fire department or turn off false alarms from anywhere
  • Split-Spectrum Smoke Detection
  • Voice Control
  • Can convey the type of danger throughout the home
  • Can convey where the danger is throughout the home
  • Can add and connect new alarms without rewiring
  • Place alarms on any wall or ceiling without wire constraints
  • App Silence: Hush alarms with your phone, not your dish towel. If everything s under control and there s only a little smoke, quiet down the alarm from the Nest app.


  • Higher Price
  • Battery-Operated Only

How can I tell which Nest Protect I have?


First Alert

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  Onelink Safe & Sound Smart Smoke
Dimensions (in.) 6.80 x 6.80 x 2.26
Weight (lbs) 1.5
Power AC Power (hardwired required)
with Battery Back-up
Warranty 3-Year Limited
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi connection
Sensors Photoelectric
Compatibility HomeKit and Alexa

First Alert Onelink safe & Sound

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Onelink Safe & Sound Smart Smoke, an all-new, Alexa-enabled, Apple HomeKit-compatible hardwired photoelectric smoke and electrochemical carbon monoxide alarm, featuring a state-of-the-art, omnidirectional speaker backed by First Alert’s unparalleled reliability and equipped with the power of Alexa. The backup battery lasts for up to 10 years.


  • Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm for Home Protection
  • Hardwired Alarm with Easy Setup and Installation
  • Smart device compatible with Apple’s HomeKit sends notifications to your phone
  • High-end speakers provide immersive, omnidirectional audio with crisp vocals and powerful bass; noise-canceling microphones hear you from any direction, even while playing music.
  • Mobile Connectivity Through the Onelink Home App

Cons: Compatible only with Apple technology



  Alarm Smoke & CO Listener
Dimensions (in.) 2.95 x 1.06
Power 3V Lithium Battery
Connectivity Z-Wave (250-foot range to Base Station)
Warranty 1 year limited
Wi-Fi 2.4GHz or 5.5 GHz Wi-Fi connection
Compatibility Not Compatible with other Home Automation

Ring Alarm Home Security System

The Alarm Smoke & CO Listener sends you mobile alerts whenever it hears sirens from any smoke or CO detector in your home. Simply place the Listener near your existing detector, connect it to your Ring Alarm Base Station and protect your home.



  • The Alarm connects to the Ring App, so you’ll always know what’s happening at home.
  • Sends alerts to your phone and tablet.
  • Set everything up in minutes without the need for tools or professional installation.
  • Ring Alarm is currently compatible with First Alert Z-Wave Smoke/CO Alarm.
  • Ring Alarm only monitors Ring Alarm sensors, but it does alert authorities if a FirstAlert Z-Wave Smoke/CO Alarm triggers a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.


  • Requires the Ring Alarm Security Kit
  • Place within three inches of existing detectors for optimal performance
  • Higher price
  • Not Compatible with other Home Automation

First Alert

  First Alert Z-Wave Smoke detector
Dimensions (in.) 8 x 7 x 2.5
Power 2 AA batteries
Connectivity Z-Wave

First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm


First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave Smoke Detector


  • Z-wave compatible smoke and carbon monoxide alarm
  • Reliable electrochemical co and photoelectric smoke sensors
  • Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide protection that alerts you whether you are home or away


  • Wireless connection to the z-wave hub (not included)
  • This alarm is not compatible with WINK & Onelink
  • Not Compatible with Smart Devices, Home Automation

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Final Thoughts

You can save your property and your life with the help of smoke detectors. But be sure to test them and clean them regularly to ensure they’re working properly. If you don’t have smoke detectors in your home, or if you have too few, invest in the best models for your home. You can choose models that are smart device and smart home compatible, those that network together, or those that provide area alarms, depending on your needs.