First Alert Dual-Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm
Last updated date: March 29, 2019
Why Trust DWYM?
DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand review. Learn more.
We looked at the top Smoke Detectors and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Smoke Detector you should buy.
Update as October 14, 2020:
Checkout The Best Smoke Detector for a detailed review of all the top smoke detectors.
In our analysis of 59 expert reviews, the First Alert Dual-Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm placed 9th when we looked at the top 12 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
The First Alert SA320CN Dual-Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm is an advanced smoke detector that uses ionization and photoelectric sensors to provide early warning of both smoldering and flaming fires. Intelligent sensing technology helps to reduce false alarms from household triggers such as cooking smoke or shower steam. The battery-powered fire alarm installs quickly and easily with no wiring required. A loud 85-decibel siren is designed to alert even the soundest of sleepers, and a single button silences and tests the unit. Plus, it ships in frustration-free packaging so you can install it immediately.
Expert Summarized Score
User Summarized Score
What experts liked
What experts didn't like
Overall Product Rankings
An Overview On Smoke Detectors
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.
Battery-operated smoke detectors 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 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.
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 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.
The Smoke Detector Buying Guide
- 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.
Checkout Our Other Buying Guides
- The Robotic Vacuum Guide
- The Cordless Vacuums Guide
- The Electric Pressure Washer Guide
- The Gas Pressure Washer Guide
- The Air Mattress Guide
- The Pressure Washer Guide
- The Drone Guide
- The Electric Razor Guide
- The Convertible Car Seat Guide
- The Dyson Vacuum Guide
- The Infant Car Seat Guide
- The Dry Dog Food Guide
- The Carpet Cleaners Guide
- The Kick-Start Every Morning With Coffee Maker Guide
- The Air Fryer Guide