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Most smart home devices nowadays are purchased for convenience, connectivity and cool-factor. But when wiring up your house, safety should be a priority over (or along with) with all the smart lights, TVs, remotes and speakers you’re buying online.
That’s where a smart smoke detector comes in. A regular old-school smoke detector, or an ionization-type smoke alarm, contains a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates. The air within becomes iodized, and a current begins flowing between them. Any sign of smoke disrupting the flow of ions triggers the alarm, giving off the screech we’ve all experienced. These traditional ones are known for being quick to alert once a fire is already in full flames.
How Does a Smart Smoke Detector Work?
With a smart (optical or photoelectric) smoke detector, a projected beam of UV or infrared light is constantly keeping an eye on the room. When the detector senses that the light intensity is reduced, primarily from particles of smoke, the sensor is triggered and the alarm is sounded. These types of detectors are more sensitive to the beginning stages of fires, when the slow, smoky smoldering begins, but can also detect flames from a growing fire too.
Some units can also sense when there’s a smokeless fire, from something like alcohol or gasoline, and are capable of detecting carbon monoxide as well – a potentially fatal gas that’s odorless and can appear entirely separate from a fire, due to faulty ventilation from buildup in appliances like gas heaters.
Having a wired-up house full of interconnected detectors has its advantages. Any potential problems with smoke or CO2 can quickly alert you, no matter where you are in the house, and even tell you in spoken words what room it’s sensing trouble in. If you’ve already got a smart-home system in place, such as Alexa or even a home security one like ADT, these can integrate and boost your home’s safety even more.
An app is an almost-always accompanying feature, and gives you a visual, interactive way to manage everything from your device, from current settings to recent flare-ups, keeping you safe and in charge whether you’re home or even on vacation.
We’ve rounded up five of the best smart smoke detectors that can help increase safety for you and your family – no matter how smart your home already is.
1. Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector
This modern smart smoke detector also acts as a carbon monoxide detector, alerting you in a human voice to the exact location of the problem. Its “Split-Spectrum Sensor” keeps a lookout for both fast burning fires, as well as small smoldering ones.
Setup is easy with the connecting Nest app, which lets you see when something’s wrong (whether you’re home or not) and the app has other handy interactive features too, like silencing the alarm when you’re cooking and things are smoky but under control.
The “Nightly Promise” feature tells you every night if the batteries are getting low, which provides peace of mind for a sound sleep, and also avoids the incessant chirping of the old models. It also provides a handy night-light whenever you walk under it.
Nest says that one of these units can last up to 10 years, and there’s also a battery-powered version available too if you’d rather avoid the wiring.
2. OneLink Safe and Sound by First Alert Detector
First Alert and its parent company BRK have been manufacturing reliable fire safety equipment since 1958, including smoke detectors, extinguishers, even fire escapes. This powerful all-in-one unit combines their fire safety tech and reliability from over 60 years of experience, bringing home safety into the modern era.
The OneLink features a photoelectric smoke sensor and an electrochemical carbon monoxide alarm, with a multi-directional speaker to make sure everyone in the house hears it. It’s compatible with Alexa for voice-activated commands, as well as AirPlay (with iOS) for multi-room audio – even for playing music or listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
The accompanying OneLink app can let you track carbon monoxide levels and battery power, customize nightlight settings, and tell you if there’s a problem – both the type of issue and the location.
3. Samsung Electronics ADT SmartHub Smoke Detector
If you’re wiring up your new home and plan to get set up with home-security company ADT to connect everything, consider this smart smoke detector. It’ll still function on its own like a normal detector, but having the ADT SmartHub takes it to a whole new level of home security.
The main ADT control panel acts as the “brain” of the system, letting you monitor and set alarms for everything, from fire to floods and break-ins. But the ADT SmartThings app gives you a full control panel over a whole array of home security extras, like carbon monoxide and motion detectors, water leakage sensors, even turning lights on and off.
Plus ADT monitors everything from afar, so you’re not completely on your own when an emergency strikes.
4. Leeo Smart Alert Smoke/CO Remote Alarm Monitor
This small and circular little device plugs directly into a wall outlet, connects to WiFi, and listens intently for the frequency of any other smoke alarms sounding (including spoken word alarms), even from far away. When they do, the Leeo sounds an alarm of its own, boosting it to make sure everyone in the house can hear. If no one’s home or responding, it can also contact your neighbors, friends, and the fire department.
The device itself is compact and sleek, with a soft glowing light than can be colorfully changed in the app, and adjusted for intensity right on the unit itself. It’s also compatible with the SmartThings app, and can monitor temperature and humidity too.
5. Ardwolf Photoelectric Smoke Alarm
This two-pack features photoelectric tech with an omni-directional sensor, designed to specifically see lightly-smoking small fires. In other words: it can alert you before big flames even start to show.
Since they’re battery-powered (a pair of 9 volts are included), they won’t lose power during an outage, and are built with quality parts and zero radioactive materials. With proper care, one of these units can last up to a decade.