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Best Smoke Detectors of 2021

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.
Updated Apr 16, 2021
Written By
Safety Team | Home Security Experts
Evaluated over 90 safety products to help you protect what matters most. Check our Methodology

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

Smoke Alarm Facts & Figures

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, 25% 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% of recent home fire deaths, there was no 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 smoke detectors and sprinklers can reduce an individual’s risk of fire-related death by 82%.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Smoke Detector

  • Power type

    Smoke detectors may have a hard-wired setup, battery-powered setup or a combination of both. A smoke detector that’s hard-wired into your home eliminates the need to check its batteries as the device is continuously supplied with power. However, this type of smoke detector won’t work in a power outage unless it has a backup battery. A combination of both power sources is the best setup for ease and reliability.

  • Alarm type

    You can choose between a photoelectric, ionization or a combination of both types for a smoke alarm. A photoelectric smoke alarm is designed to capture smoldering and slow-burning fires, while an ionization smoke alarm will detect fast-burning fires. To best protect your home, you should choose a smoke detector with dual-sensing capabilities for smoldering and fast-burning fires.

  • Additional features

    Other features you’ll find with smoke alarms include LED lighting and carbon monoxide detection. Smoke alarms with an LED light triggered during an emergency can provide helpful lighting, especially if an emergency occurs at night. LED strobe lighting is also helpful for alerting the hearing impaired. Combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will help protect you from both fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

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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ADT Smoke Detector

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Ardwolf Photoelectric Smoke and Fire Alarm

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First Alert SA511CN2-3ST Smoke Alarm

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OneLink Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector

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Cove Smart Smoke Detector

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$55.95$119$24.64$29.99 $37.99 $37.39Contact for a quote $21.99$59$94.99$27.50
4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars5 stars 4.5 stars4.5 starsN/A4.5 stars4.5 stars4 starsN/A
BatteryBatteryHardwired with battery backup Battery BatteryBatteryOptional wireless or hardwired Battery Battery Battery Battery
Installation type
Sensor type
Photoelectric Photoelectric Photoelectric & ionization PhotoelectricPhotoelectric & electrochemical (for CO) Photoelectric Not specified Photoelectric Photoelectric Photoelectric & electrochemical (for CO) Photoelectric
CO Detection
NoNoNoNo YesNoNoNoNoYesYes
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 specified10 years Not specified Lifetime warranty available

Best Smoke Detectors: Our 11 Picks

  • Best for Residential and Commercial Use

    1. Honeywell Wireless Smoke and Heat Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    This Honeywell smoke detector meets UL Standards 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 you when the smoke detector needs cleaning
    • Green and red LED status indicators to indicate the smoke detector’s condition
  • Best Smart Smoke Detector

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

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Nest Protect smoke detector allows you to manage the alarm through a mobile app. The mobile app automatically notifies Nest users of any smoke, fire or carbon monoxide detection. The alarm requires six AA lithium batteries, the life of which you can monitor through the alarm’s corresponding app

    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
    • Detect photoelectric and ionization fires using the Split Spectrum Sensor
  • Best Split Sensor Smoke Alarm

    3. First Alert Smoke Detector Photoelectric and Ionized Alarm

    Our rating

    Our take

    Seamlessly interconnect these 6 smoke alarms throughout the home to receive alerts of ionized fires through a 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 protect homes from fires during power outages
    • One-press button to test alarm and manage nuisance alerts
    • Ionization detector to detect flaming fires
  • Best Smoke Detector With LED Light

    4. X-Sense Escape Light Smoke Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    The X-Sense Escape Light Smoke Detector features a tri-colored LED light that illuminates when the alarm is triggered. The alarm is photoelectric to detect smoldering fires and has a lithium battery made to last for 10 years. The device also has an auto-check function that lets you know if it has a fault or if the battery needs to be replaced.

    Stand-out features include

    • Designed with a tri-colored LED light
    • Battery is made to last for 10 years
    • Photoelectric sensor to detect smoldering and slow-burning fires
  • Best Smoke & Co Detector

    5. X-Sense Combination Smoke & CO Detector

    Our rating

    Our take

    This X-Sense smoke and CO detector features built-in photoelectric and electrochemical sensors for detecting smoldering fires and CO levels in your home. The battery is made to last for 10 years, and the alarm meets 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 an electrochemical sensor
  • Showing 5 of 11 items

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 of your home
  • In living room areas
  • Near stairwells
  • Within 10 feet of cooking appliances

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

Benefits of Smoke Detectors

There are many different types of smoke detectors to choose from. For instance, you can buy a smoke detector as a standalone device or with a home security system. Regardless of which type of smoke detector you choose, you’ll receive the following benefits: 

  • Faster smoke detection. Extra seconds to safely evacuate the home can 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. For just a few bucks, you can help protect your home from danger. 
  • Easy monitoring. Smoke detector checkups are quick and easy. You can set a monthly reminder to vacuum the detector for dust and change the batteries annually. And most smoke alarms include backup batteries to continue monitoring during power outages. 

Ready to invest in a smoke detector for your household? Find the best options to get prepared today.

Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips

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

Smoke Detector FAQs

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