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The Best Smoke Detector

Last updated on July 19, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Smoke Detectors and dug through the reviews from 59 of the most popular review sites including Safety, Consumer Reports, Wiki EZ Vid, Find The Top 10, Top Ten Reviews, New York Times Wirecutter and more. The result is a ranking of the best Smoke Detectors.

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DWYM is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Smoke Detectors

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Nest

Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Overall Take

High-Tech AlarmThis combo carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector hooks up to your home's Wi-Fi and can be monitored from an app.

Experts Included
DWYM Home Experts plus BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Tom’s Guide, Trusted Reviews, Pocket-lint, Top Ten Reviews and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.
Pros
" Like other Nest products, this combination smoke/CO2 detector is "smart" and compatible with numerous devices."
Cons
"These alarms are expensive compared with a standard smoke and CO alarm."

First Alert

Battery Operated Combo Smoke Alarm

Overall Take

Connects to DevicesConnects with other First Alert devices in your home and can tell you where the issue is in your house.

Experts Included
DWYM Home Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, Consumer Reports, Consumer Search, Tuck, The Spruce, RelevantRankings.com and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" That CO detector adds a good bit to the price—currently a single SCO501CN-3ST unit is just barely cheaper than the two-pack of our top pick—so we made this a separate recommendation in case you’re already covered with a stand-alone CO..."
Cons
"Not as effective detecting blazing fires."
  The Best Value

Kidde

Hardwire Smoke Alarm

Overall Take

Easy to InstallA hardwired smoke alarm that's easy to install and affordable.

Experts Included
DWYM Home Experts plus BestReviews, Tuck, Digital Trends, SafeWise, Top Ten Select, B4 Best Reviews and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Customers report it’s very easy to install."
Cons
"The downsides to this alarm are its warranty and ionization-only functionality."

Alert Pro

10 Year Battery Smoke Detector Fire Alarm

Overall Take

Smart BatterySmall smoke detectors that don't require frequent battery changes.

Experts Included
DWYM Home Experts plus Safety. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The long-lasting battery and life span reduces reminders for battery changing and includes a hush function for false alarms."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the smoke detectors available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

59

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Safety, Consumer Reports, Wiki EZ Vid, Find The Top 10, Top Ten Reviews.

34,377

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Smoke Detectors and also dug through the reviews from 59 of the most popular review sites including Safety, Consumer Reports, Wiki EZ Vid, Find The Top 10, Top Ten Reviews, New York Times Wirecutter and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Smoke Detectors.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Our Expert Score
9.4
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.3
8,611 user reviews
Our Take

The easy-to-install Nest Protect Alarm will alert you to both smoke and carbon monoxide in your home. This smart detector offers a combination of voice, siren and smartphone alerts. It can notify you of dangers whether you are asleep in bed or away from home. The smart voice alerts even tell you what is occurring and how you should proceed.

What other experts liked
Like other Nest products, this combination smoke/CO2 detector is "smart" and compatible with numerous devices.
- BestReviews
The second-generation Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is the best smart smoke alarm for everyone because it’s the easiest to install and use, and it reliably and calmly alerts you to potential danger whether you're home or away...
- New York Times Wirecutter
November 15, 2018 | Full review
The Nest Protect uses a split-spectrum sensor that Nest says is good at detecting both slow-smouldering fires as well as fast-burning ones.
- Tom's Guide
November 20, 2018 | Full review
Self-checks, Pathlight to help you find your way around and Works with Nest rules just add to the smart simplicity of this device.
- Trusted Reviews
December 12, 2018 | Full review
Nest Protect is also compatible with IFTTT, meaning you can do other clever things with it too.
- Pocket-lint
November 21, 2018 | Full review
Nest Protect goes a step further by adding voice alerts that calmly tell you what kind of danger is present, where it is and how to proceed.
- Top Ten Reviews
June 15, 2018 | Full review
The Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm is another solid smart detector with ample functionality.
- Reviewed
December 12, 2018 | Full review
I particularly liked the Pathlight feature; when you walk under the Protect when the lights are out the light ring glows with a soft white light to guide your way.
- PC Magazine
January 17, 2014 | Full review
With a slimmer profile, a new in-app "silence" button that allows you to turn off smoke and CO alarms remotely (the original Nest Protect doesn't currently support this feature) and integration with the Nest Learning Thermostat , Nest Cam and...
- CNET
July 27, 2015 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
Requires some tech knowledge to set up and use.
- BestReviews
These alarms are expensive compared with a standard smoke and CO alarm.
- New York Times Wirecutter
November 15, 2018 | Full review
At $100, the Nest Protect is one of the most expensive, but also one of the most comprehensive, of the smart smoke detectors we've tested.
- Tom's Guide
November 20, 2018 | Full review
There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s expensive, however.
- Trusted Reviews
December 12, 2018 | Full review
It's an expensive bit of kit though – so you're probably wondering if it's worth the outlay and if all the bells and whistles are worthwhile.
- Pocket-lint
November 21, 2018 | Full review
Unfortunately, the device warranty is only two years, unlike the 10-year warranties of the First Alert Onelink and Kidde KN-COSM-B-RF.
- Top Ten Reviews
June 15, 2018 | Full review
The Nest Protect didn’t perform as well as some of its competitors in terms of responsiveness, taking 30 seconds or more after the alarm sounded to send notifications.
- Reviewed
December 12, 2018 | Full review
It has one other thing in common with the Learning Thermostat in that it carries a hefty price tag; at $129 (direct) it's significantly more expensive than what you'll pay for a typical smoke/CO alarm.
- PC Magazine
January 17, 2014 | Full review
The light bulb integrations weren't responsive enough for short smoke events, typically flashing several minutes after our test smoke dissipated.
- CNET
July 27, 2015 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Kidde Hardwire Smoke Alarm

Expert Summarized Score
9.6
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.9
768 user reviews
Our Take

The user-friendly Kidde i4618AC will interconnect with other Firex smoke detectors, creating a safety network throughout your home. Although this is a hardwired smoke alarm, it is easy to install. You can also change the backup battery without removing the device. In addition, its low price makes it affordable for any budget.

What other experts liked
Customers report it’s very easy to install.
- BestReviews
The Kidde i4618AC interconnects with other Firex smoke alarms, enabling you to create a network of smoke detection throughout your home.
- Tuck
September 6, 2018 | Full review
This no-frills, user-friendly model by Kidde is a hardwired alarm that uses ionization sensors to detect smoke and fire.
- Digital Trends
February 2, 2018 | Full review
A reviewer on the site Tuck recommends the Kidde Hardwire Smoke Alarm because it can connect with other FireX alarms and the 9V battery is easy to change out without taking the unit down.
- Business Insider
October 29, 2018 | Full review
You can protect your home for less than $15 with the Kidde i4618 Firex smoke alarm.
- SafeWise
January 18, 2018 | Full review
The flashing light makes it easy to find out what alarm was triggered in an interconnected system.
- Top Ten Select
October 1, 2018 | Full review
Owners rent the Kidde i4618 for easy installation and ease of use, including a silence feature that can quickly mute an alarm if needed.
- B4 Best Reviews
It comes with an indicator light to tell warn you if the battery power is low.
- Home Safety Dot
February 4, 2019 | Full review
The front loading battery door makes changing the batteries fast and efficient.
- Informed Mag
What other experts didn't like
Doesn’t offer any advanced features or Smart Home network connectivity.
- BestReviews
The downsides to this alarm are its warranty and ionization-only functionality.
- Tuck
September 6, 2018 | Full review
However, the reviewer didn't like that you still need to have photoelectric alarms, and the warranty is relatively short at five years.
- Business Insider
October 29, 2018 | Full review
While this provides early detection for fire particles, which is useful in a flaming blaze, it doesn’t provide accurate detection for smoldering fires.
- SafeWise
January 18, 2018 | Full review
No low battery indicator light, chirping alert only.
- Top Ten Select
October 1, 2018 | Full review
While most users are satisfied with the performance, some say they have intermittent tweets or false alarms.
- B4 Best Reviews
The price has recently risen slightly.
- Home Safety Dot
February 4, 2019 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 12

2. First Alert Battery Operated Combination Smoke Alarm

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 10

3. Kidde Hardwire Smoke Alarm

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 12

4. Alert Pro 10 Year Battery Smoke Detector Fire Alarm

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 2

5. First Alert Interconnected Wireless Smoke Alarm

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 11

6. First Alert Dual-Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 12

8. Leeo Smart Alert Smoke/CO Remote Alarm Monitor

Overall Score: 7.8
Reviews Included: 11

9. First Alert Smoke Alarm With Photoelectric Sensor

Overall Score: 7.4
Reviews Included: 6

10. First Alert P1000

Overall Score: 6.5
Reviews Included: 5

Our Findings

Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

What We Liked: The easy-to-install Nest Protect Alarm will alert you to both smoke and carbon monoxide in your home. This smart detector offers a combination of voice, siren and smartphone alerts. It can notify you of dangers whether you are asleep in bed or away from home. The smart voice alerts even tell you what is occurring and how you should proceed.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Kidde Hardwire Smoke Alarm

What We Liked: The user-friendly Kidde i4618AC will interconnect with other Firex smoke detectors, creating a safety network throughout your home. Although this is a hardwired smoke alarm, it is easy to install. You can also change the backup battery without removing the device. In addition, its low price makes it affordable for any budget.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

First Alert Battery Operated Combination Smoke Alarm

What We Liked: The First Alert combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector lets you program up to 11 locations within your home. This allows the alarm to alert you to precisely where the danger is with a verbal announcement. You can also interconnect this detector with up to 18 other First Alert-enabled alarms to create a wireless in-home safety network. The CO sensor can detect low levels of carbon monoxide and alert you to any leaks.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Our Smoke Detector Buying Guide

A properly installed, well-maintained and good quality smoke detector can literally save your life and the lives of those you love the most. Deciding the best brand and size for your home can be difficult since so much is riding on the little, plastic devices working as they should.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Battery-operated smoke detectors, such as the Alert Pro 10 Year Battery Smoke Detector, run solely on batteries, which are easy and affordable to install and replace. You can use a battery-operated detector in virtually any location. Provided the batteries are changed as needed, they will work during power outages as well.

Hardwired smoke detectors, like the Kidde i4618AC Hardwire Smoke Alarm, are connected directly into your home’s wiring. While they must be professionally installed, many have backup batteries that will last the lifetime of the alarm. So you can feel safe and not worry about remembering to change the batteries.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Many smoke detectors produce a loud, beeping or bleating alarm sound when triggered. This could certainly be ideal to alert you to fire or smoke danger. However, if you have heavy sleepers or young children in your home, they could be confused by or even sleep through the noisy alarm. Devices such as the Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm use voice alerts to explain what is happening. They can awaken you or notify you with spoken, easy to understand warnings.

According to the CDC, at least 430 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the United States. Considering a combination of smoke and carbon monoxide detector, such as the First Alert SCO501CN-3ST Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, could result in double protection for your home and family. Carbon monoxide can come from leaky furnaces, poorly ventilated wood-burning stoves and many other sources commonly found in homes.

If you have a home security system, you might wish to consider purchasing a smoke detector that will integrate with your current configuration. This could give you increased protection, as many security providers monitor alarms like smoke detectors and can send emergency assistance even if you are away from home or unable to call for help.

Some smoke detectors are compatible with other smart home devices. For instance, devices such as the Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm can be integrated with smart hubs, mobile apps and virtual assistants, like Google Home and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

Of course, when shopping for new smoke detectors for your home, office or other location, you must consider how much you want to spend. Fortunately, there are devices that will fit any budget, depending on features, projected lifespan and other attributes.

DWYM Fun Fact

The smoke detector was invented on accident. A Swiss physicist named Walter Jaeger attempted to create a sensor for detecting poison gas in the 1930s. When the device didn’t work as Jaeger intended it to, the frustrated scientist lit a cigarette. He noticed that the smoke moved the sensor’s meter, paving the way for modern smoke detectors.

About three decades later, the Atomic Energy Commission granted the first license to distribute smoke detectors, which were primarily used in industrial settings. These detectors used radioactive materials. By 1969, the AEC allowed homeowners to use smoke detectors. Although modern smoke detectors contain minute amounts of a radioactive material called americium-241, studies have shown them to be safe. In fact, a 2001 study showed that two of these smoke detectors in a home emit the same amount of radiation that people encounter daily from space and the earth.

Between 2005 and 2009, nearly two-thirds of all deaths resulting from
home fires occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or with smoke
alarms that were not working.

The Smoke Detector Tips and Advice

  • Ionization smoke detectors are ideal for detecting small particles associated with quick-burning flames. However, things like steam or burnt food can cause them to go off, so you might not want to use these in or near your bathroom or your kitchen.
  • Photoelectric smoke detectors are highly rated for early detection of smoldering fires that emit lots of smoke and large particles. While they have fewer false alarms, making them a good choice for kitchens and steamy areas, they might not detect fast-burning flames as quickly.
  • Dual-sensor smoke detectors provide the benefits of ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors. Alternatively, you could install different types of devices in different areas of your home.
  • Look for a UL stamp on a smoke detector before you buy it. Underwriters Laboratories (UL LLC) is a global safety company that certifies, validates, tests, verifies, inspects and audits a wide range of products including smoke detectors. The UL certification mark is the single most accepted one in the United States.
  • Be sure to check the date on a smoke detector as well. Although recommendations can vary between makes and models, Consumer Reports recommends replacing smoke detectors every 10 years. Note that this should be 10 years after the date the device was manufactured, not the date it was installed. Fortunately, the manufacture date is printed on the underside of smoke detectors.
  • The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing smoke alarms inside every bedroom as well as outside each sleeping area. On floors without bedrooms, smoke detectors should be installed in living areas, such as the living room or den, and near stairways to upper levels as well.
  • While homes built to earlier standards might be exempt, every state has regulations and standards regarding where and how smoke detectors are installed in residential buildings. Check the regulations or recommendations for your state, as some states require that you make necessary upgrades before renting or selling your home.
  • The U. S. Fire Administration recommends testing your smoke detectors monthly. Put a monthly reminder on your phone or calendar to push the button on every detector in your home to make sure the alarm works properly.
  • USFA also recommends changing the batteries in battery-operated smoke detectors one to two times per year. An effective way to remember this is to replace them every time you change your clocks for Daylight Savings.

About The Author

Avatar
Tricia Goss 

Tricia Goss is a mom and grandma living in North Texas who strives to create a safe, organized and inviting environment for family and friends. She is obsessed with helping others organize their homes (and their lives), save money without sacrificing quality of life, and find peace amidst the chaos of life. She has been writing professionally for nearly two decades