The Best Smoke Detectors of 2020

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “residential is the leading property type for fire deaths (75.0%), fire injuries (77.1%) and fire dollar loss (43.4%). Ensuring your home is equipped with properly working smoke detectors is essential. Let us help you with our smoke detectors buying guide.

 Best for Residential and Commercial Use

Honeywell Wireless Smoke and Heat Detector

Honeywell Wireless Smoke and Heat Detector

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Our Rating

  • Highly rated Amazon Choice product
  • LED status lights for normal and abnormal conditions
  • Easy, no-drill mounting base

 Best Smart Smoke Detector

Nest Protect Smoke and CO Alarm (2nd Gen)

Nest Protect Smoke and CO Alarm (2nd Gen)

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Our Rating

  • Photoelectric and ionization technologies
  • Get mobile alerts through the Nest Protect app
  • Built-in voice technology to announce where smoke or CO has been detected

 Best Split Sensor Smoke Alarm

First Alert Smoke Detector Photoelectric and Ionized Alarm

First Alert Smoke Detector Photoelectric and Ionized Alarm

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Our Rating

  • Has an ionization sensor to detect flaming fires
  • Can connect with other First Alert smoke detectors for simultaneous alerts
  • 85-decibel smoke alarm for loud and clear alerts

The Best Smoke Detectors of 2020

While smoke detectors are essential for home safety, a full security system can enhance home’s protection.

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15 of the Best Smoke Detectors
Smoke Alarm Facts & Figures

Smoke Alarm Facts & Figures

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, 25 percent of smoke detector failures stem from dead batteries. That’s why it’s essential to regularly check your smoke alarm’s batteries.
  • Smoke detectors reduce fire deaths by half (NFPA). Yet, in nearly 40 percent of recent home fire deaths, there was not a smoke detector in the home (FEMA).
  • The Red Cross reported that if all U.S. homes had working smoke alarms, nearly 900 people could be saved from home fire deaths annually. Having both smoke detectors and sprinklers could reduce an individual’s risk of a fire-related death by 82 percent.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Smoke Detector

Factors to Consider When Buying a Smoke Detector

  • Power Type

    For smoke detectors, you can choose between a hardwired setup, battery-powered setup, or a combination of both. Buying a smoke detector that has to be hardwired into your home provides an advantage in that you won’t have to check batteries constantly as the device is continuously supplied with power. The downside is that your smoke detector won’t work in the event of a power outage unless it has a backup battery. A combination of both power sources is the best setup for ease and reliability. Choosing a battery-powered smoke detector may make installation easy, but you’ll have to be sure to check the batteries regularly for your safety.

  • Alarm Type

    Choose between a photoelectric, ionization, or a combination of both types for a smoke alarm. Both types have their benefits, but it’s important to keep in mind that there are different types of fires. A photoelectric smoke alarm is designed to capture smoldering and slow-burning fires, while an ionization smoke alarm will detect fast-burning fires. The best choice is finding a smoke detector with dual-sensing capability for smoldering and fast-burning fires.

  • Additional Features

    Other features you’ll find today with smoke alarms are LED lighting and carbon monoxide detection. Smoke alarms with an LED light that is triggered during an emergency can provide helpful lighting, especially if an emergency occurs at night. LED strobe lighting is also helpful for the hearing impaired to alert them. Combination smoke and CO detectors are even better, allowing you to be alerted for fire and dangerous levels of CO in your home.

Understanding The Difference in Smoke Detectors

Understanding The Difference in Smoke Detectors

  • Hard-Wired vs. Battery Operated

    Hard-wired smoke alarms connect to your home’s wiring and electric system. They often require professional installation and may not work during power outages. On the contrary, battery operated smoke detectors are easier to install and don’t pose as much of an electric concern. The best bet is to invest in a hard-wired smoke detector with a backup battery for an interconnected smoke detecting system that still works during an outage.

  • Ionization vs. Photoelectric

    Ionization smoke alarms respond quickly to fires that arise quickly from flammable objects and liquids, also known as flaming fires. On the other hand, photoelectric smoke detectors work best after a long period of building smoke of smoldering fires. Consider placing dual sensor detectors throughout the home to detect both photoelectric and ionization using one alarm.

Compare Smoke Detectors

Compare Smoke Detectors

Honeywell Wireless Smoke and Heat Detector

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Nest Protect Smoke and CO Alarm (2nd Gen)

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First Alert Smoke Detector Photoelectric and Ionized Alarm

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X-Sense Escape Light Smoke Detector

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X-Sense Combination Smoke & CO Detector

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SITERWELL Smoke Detector and Fire Alarm

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Arikon Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

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ADT Smoke Detector

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Vitowell Combination Smoke & CO Detector

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Fire Sentry i9040E Smoke Alarm

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Ardwolf Photoelectric Smoke and Fire Alarm

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First Alert SA511CN2-3ST Smoke Alarm

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Elvicto Photoelectric Smoke Detector

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Universal Security Instruments Smoke Sensing and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

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OneLink Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector

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Price $45.99 $106.49 $26.98 $29.99 $37.99 $29.99 $22.99 Contact for a quote $20.99 $5.66 $25.09 $74.87 $32.99 $34.32 $119.00
Rating 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 4.5 stars 5 stars 4 stars 4.5 stars .5 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 3.5 stars
Power Battery Battery Hardwired with battery backup Battery Battery Battery Battery Optional wireless or hardwired Battery Battery Battery Battery Battery Hardwired with abttery backup Battery
Installation type DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY Professional DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY
Sensor type Photoelectric Photoelectric Photoelectric & ionization Photoelectric Photoelectric & electrochemical (for CO) Photoelectric Photoelectric Not specified Photoelectric Ionization Photoelectric Photoelectric Photoelectric Photoelectric & ionization Photoelectric & electrochemical (for CO)
CO Detection No No No No Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No Yes Yes
Warranty Not specified 2-year limited warranty 10-year limited warranty 5-year limited warranty 5-year limited warranty 10-year limited warranty Not specified Not specified 5 years Not specified Not specified 10 years Not specified 10-year limited warranty Not specified
Best Smoke Detectors: Our 15 Picks

Best Smoke Detectors: Our 15 Picks

  1. Best for Residential and Commercial Use
    Honeywell Wireless Smoke and Heat Detector

    1. Honeywell Wireless Smoke and Heat Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    This Honeywell smoke detector meets UL Standard regulations for certified smoke detector installation and safety requirements for homes and businesses. The wireless photoelectric smoke alarm comes with enhanced Robust RF field strength between the smoke detector and its receiver for better fire detection.

    Stand-out features include

    • Easy installation with a durable mounting base to support uneven ceiling surfaces
    • Smart signals from the installed control panel to alert smoke detector cleaning
    • Green and red LED status indicators to stay up to speed on the smoke detector’s condition
  2. Best Smart Smoke Detector
    Nest Protect Smoke and CO Alarm (2nd Gen)

    2. Nest Protect Smoke and CO Alarm (2nd Gen)

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Nest Protect smoke detector uses smart technology to easily manage the alarm via the Nest Protect mobile app. The mobile app automatically notifies Nest users of any smoke, fire or carbon monoxide detection. Easily power on this smoke alarm with six AA lithium batteries while staying up to speed on the smoke detector batteries and alerts using a smartphone and the Nest Protect app to have peace of mind away from home.

    Stand-out features include

    • Monitor hush alarms via your mobile device and Nest app
    • Use the Nest Protect mobile app to receive mobile notifications for low batteries and test the smoke alarm
    • Quickly detects photoelectric and ionization fires using the Split Spectrum Sensor
  3. Best Split Sensor Smoke Alarm
    First Alert Smoke Detector Photoelectric and Ionized Alarm

    3. First Alert Smoke Detector Photoelectric and Ionized Alarm

    Our rating

    Our take

    Seamlessly interconnect these six smoke alarms throughout the home to simultaneously receive alerts of ionized fires sounding a loud and clear 85-decibel smoke alarm. This First Alert alarm meets all UL certified smoke alarm standards for approved home and business installation.

    Stand-out features include

    • 9V backup battery to continue to protect homes from fires during power outages
    • One-press button to test alarm and manage nuisance alerts
    • Uses an ionization detector to prevent flaming fires
  4. Best Smoke Detector with LED Light
    X-Sense Escape Light Smoke Detector

    4. X-Sense Escape Light Smoke Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    The X-Sense Escape Light Smoke Detector features a tri-color LED light, designed to automatically illuminate whenever the alarm is triggered to help you get to safety. This alarm is photoelectric to help detect smoldering fires and has a lithium battery made to last for 10 years. The also has an auto-check function to let you know if it has a fault or if the battery needs to be replaced.

    Stand-out features include

    • Designed with a tri-color LED light
    • Battery is made to last for 10 years
    • Has a photoelectric sensor to detect smoldering and slow-burning fires
  5. Best Smoke & Co Detector
    X-Sense Combination Smoke & CO Detector

    5. X-Sense Combination Smoke & CO Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    This X-Sense smoke and CO detector has built-in photoelectric and electrochemical sensors for catching smoldering fires and CO levels in your home. The battery is made to last for 10 years, and this product has been tested to meet UL standards.

    Stand-out features include

    • Detects both smoke and CO levels in your home
    • Battery is made to last for 10 years
    • Has a photoelectric sensor and electrochemical sensor
  6. SITERWELL Smoke Detector and Fire Alarm

    6. SITERWELL Smoke Detector and Fire Alarm

    Our rating

    Our take

    The SITERWELL smoke detector uses photoelectric technology, fire-retardant material, and UL Standards and regulations for safe installation and use against smoke and slow-building fires. This 3 pack of battery operated smoke alarms detects heat and smoke with LED light signals to quickly spot slow building smoke.

    Stand-out features include

    • Green LED light to alert that the smoke detector is receiving power without worry
    • Receive emergency notifications via First Alert’s Onelink mobile app while away
    • Photoelectric sensor to quickly detect slow-rising smoke from all angles of the home
  7. Arikon Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

    7. Arikon Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Arikon Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector can detect two dangerous threats in your home – fire and dangerous CO levels. This device is battery operated, making it easy to install. It also has a photoelectric sensor to detect slow-burning fires.

    Stand-out features include

    • Combination smoke and CO detector
    • Photoelectric sensor
    • Battery operated for easy installation
  8. ADT Smoke Detector

    8. ADT Smoke Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    You’ll always know when smoke is in your home with ADT’s smoke detector. When smoke is detected, mobile alerts are automatically sent to your smartphone, the smoke detector sounds an alarm and the 24/7 professional monitoring service is notified to keep your home safe.

    Stand-out features include

    • Use the ADT Pulse® mobile app to automatically receive alerts when smoke or fire is detected
    • Includes a ‘Smart Check’ feature to automatically signal when the smoke detector needs to be cleaned
    • Connects to ADT’s security system for a safe, smart home
  9. Vitowell Combination Smoke & CO Detector

    9. Vitowell Combination Smoke & CO Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Vitowell Combination Smoke & CO Detector is designed to detect fire and dangerous levels of CO in your home. It features an LCD display, has an 85dB alarm, and requires no hardwiring for easy mounting.

    Stand-out features include

    • Detects both smoke and CO levels in your home
    • Has an LCD display for CO levels
    • Easy to install with no hardwiring involved
  10. Fire Sentry i9040E Smoke Alarm

    10. Fire Sentry i9040E Smoke Alarm

    Our rating

    Our take

    This simple, affordable smoke detector protects homes against fast flaming fires with an ionization sensor, a dust cover, and 9V batteries. The durable smoke detector includes a test button to easily check the smoke detector’s condition monthly.

    Stand-out features include

    • 85-decibel low battery alert with flashing LED light to quickly alert of smoke and fire within the home
    • Ionization sensor to detect flaming smoke and fire
    • Battery operated with 9V batteries for wireless, hassle-free installation
  11. Best Wide-Range Detection
    Ardwolf Photoelectric Smoke and Fire Alarm

    11. Ardwolf Photoelectric Smoke and Fire Alarm

    Our rating

    Our take

    This Ardwolf smoke alarm is operated by a 9V battery to detect photoelectric smoke. The alarm includes an 85-decibel for a powerful alert for smoldering smoke and flashing red LED lights to signal when a battery change is needed.

    Stand-out features include

    • Photoelectric chamber to detect smoldering, slow burning smoke from wide ranges before catching flames
    • 9V Battery operated to work during power outages
    • One Single-tap button for quick smoke alarm resetting and monthly testing
  12. First Alert SA511CN2-3ST Smoke Alarm

    12. First Alert SA511CN2-3ST Smoke Alarm

    Our rating

    Our take

    This First Alert Smoke Alarm is battery operated with an 85-decibel alarm and 11 programmable locations that use voice alerts to tell the family which room is in danger. This smoke alarm pack detects photoelectric smoke with AA batteries for wireless installation and connectivity to 18 other First Alert alarms throughout the home.

    Stand-out features include

    • Detectors are designed to wirelessly interconnect with First Alert smoke alarms for a seamless smoke detector system throughout the home
    • Battery operated to avoid rewiring and continued protection during power outages
    • Includes programmable locations to alert the family where smoke or fire is coming from
  13. Elvicto Photoelectric Smoke Detector

    13. Elvicto Photoelectric Smoke Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    Elvicto’s affordable pack of smoke detectors uses a photoelectric sensor to protect your home from smoke and fires with an LED light and loud sound alert. This battery powered smoke detector combo helps alleviate the worries of wired installation and potential outages during a power failure.

    Stand-out features include

    • Low power consumption using a 10-year sealed lithium battery
    • 85-decibel alarm for loud and clear smoke alerts
    • Hush alarm functionality to silence nuisance alerts
  14. Universal Security Instruments Smoke Sensing and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

    14. Universal Security Instruments Smoke Sensing and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

    Our rating

    Our take

    This Universal Security Instruments alarm protects families against three home threats – fast-flaming fires, smoldering fires and carbon monoxide. This all-in-one alarm includes a 10-year battery and a microprocessor to silence nuisance alarms.

    Stand-out features include

    • Supports extreme temperatures and humidity to avoid false smoke alarms
    • Wireless, easy installation for rental properties
    • Includes a permanently sealed battery lasting up to 10 years to reduce battery costs

Showing 5 of 15 products

Showing 15 of 15 products

Where to Install Smoke Detectors

Where to Install Smoke Detectors

The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing smoke detectors in the following locations:

  • In each bedroom
  • Right outside of sleeping areas
  • On every floor in your home
  • In living room areas
  • Near stairwells
  • Within 10 ft. of cooking appliances

These devices need to be installed on the ceiling or up high on walls. If you have a pitched ceiling, you should place your smoke detector within 3 ft. of the roof’s peak.

Benefits of Smoke Detectors

Benefits of Smoke Detectors

Every smoke detector has one goal – to improve fire and smoke safety. The choices are endless but should be tailored to what works best for your home. You can buy a smoke detector as a standalone device or with a home security system. Remember to always buy from a trusted manufacturer, and read all manuals before installment. For assistance with installing and understanding  the smoke detector requirements contact your local fire department. Regardless of the options, smoke detectors aren’t optional when it comes to home safety. Here are the most common benefits.

  • Faster smoke detection. The sooner the detector finds danger, the better. Extra seconds to safely evacuate the home could save you from inhaling life-threatening smoke and fumes. Remember to have a fire evacuation plan for a fast and safe exit if the alarm sounds.
  • Cost-effective fire safety. Most smoke detectors cost less than $15 and can often be purchased in sets of two or more for better cost savings. Smoke detectors with smart technology can be more costly but come with added benefits such as mobile notifications of smoke, voice commands and easy syncing to other home devices. For just a few bucks, you’ll have peace of mind while preparing your humble abode for the unthinkable.
  • Easy monitoring. Smoke detector check-ups are often quick and easy. It’s as simple as setting a monthly reminder to vacuum the detector free of dust and changing the batteries annually. Even during weather preparedness, most smoke alarms include backup batteries to continue monitoring during power outages. These regular routines keep the home ready for the first sign of trouble.

Our experts have now equipped you with everything you need to know about the importance of smoke detectors. From top recommendations to tools and tips, you’ll be able to pick the perfect smoke detector for your home with ease. Ready to get started? Find the best to get prepared today.

Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips

Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips

  • Always be aware of the expiration date of your smoke alarm. Most smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.
  • Set reminders to test and clean smoke detectors monthly to ensure they are clean and working properly. Even if batteries aren’t low, they should be changed annually.
  • FEMA reports most home fire deaths occur during the night hours. As a protective measure, install a smoke alarm in every bedroom and keep it free from windows and air vents.
  • The best placement for smoke detectors is on the ceiling, but if you have to mount them on the wall, make sure it’s within 6-12 inches from the ceiling. Also, avoid placing smoke alarms within 10 feet of kitchen gadgets to avoid false alarms.
Smoke Detector FAQs

Smoke Detector FAQs

What is a voice-enabled smoke detector?

Voice-enabled smoke detectors are growing popular as smart tech evolves. Simply put, think of having Siri or Alexa enabled within the smoke detector to give you voice commands rather than just a siren. Smart smoke detectors use mobile apps or built-in control panels for ease and convenience. In the event of an emergency, for some smart smoke detectors you’ll receive mobile notifications via an app.

What is a smart smoke detector?

Smart smoke detectors go beyond the basic uses with more control than through a one-touch button. They often connect to Wi-Fi and mobile devices to quickly manage smoke detector settings such as battery life, resetting or defects. The most popular feature that buyers enjoy is peace of mind away from home. When the smart smoke detector is connected to your smartphone, you’ll receive mobile notifications via the alarm’s app. Most detectors are also seamlessly connected to other smart technology home devices for a smart home that can all be managed from your mobile device.

What are smoke detector programmable locations?

Some smart smoke detectors pinpoint the exact room within the house where smoke or fire is detected. During installation, you’ll have the power to assign each smoke alarm to a preset location or room using a mobile app or control panel. When the alarm detects fire or smoke, the voice command will automatically alert you and your family of the location of the issue for a safe evacuation.

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