What to Know About Smart Smoke Detectors

Smart smoke detectors can warn you if there is a fire in your home, whether you're there or not. Here's what you need to know.

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There were an estimated 379,600 residential fires in 2018, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, and every year about 2,000 people die in residential fires. Early warning of a fire is key to saving lives. Smoke detectors are a major part of early warning, but they can sometimes be annoying and troublesome, which makes some homeowners disable them. Smart smoke detectors solve the annoyance problems and other challenges as well. Here’s what you need to know about life-saving smart smoke detectors.

How Smart Smoke Detectors Work

Just like regular smoke detectors, smart smoke detectors have sensors that detect smoke and sound a warning alarm. The major difference is that smart detectors also send alerts to your phone through their compatible app.

Smart Smoke Detector Features

Receiving mobile alerts isn’t the only important feature of smart smoke detectors. You can also use the app to turn off the alarm, solving a big problem. Tapping a button on an app is much easier than fanning the smoke detector with a towel or climbing on a chair to remove the battery when you burn toast or something on the stove.

Many, like the Onelink Safe & Sound by First Alert, also monitor carbon monoxide levels in your home and alert you when they reach dangerous levels. Some smart smoke detectors, like the Nest Protect Gen 2, can even pinpoint where the smoke or carbon monoxide is coming from. Certain brands may connect with virtual assistant Alexa or your home’s security system, or even stream music.

Installation

Most smart smoke detectors are battery-operated and can be installed with a couple of screws. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, smoke detectors should be installed on every level, in each bedroom and outside sleeping areas. The optimal location is the center of a ceiling. If you must to install a detector on the wall, put it close to the ceiling.

Smart Smoke Detector Safety Concerns

Because smart smoke detectors, like standard smoker detectors, run on batteries, you’ll need to replace them every six to 12 months. Most smart smoke detector apps will alert you when the batteries are low, so there’s no way you can forget.

Cost

Smart smoke detectors can run anywhere from $100 to $250. The more features it has, the higher the price. For example, the Onelink Safe & Sound by First Alert is more expensive because it includes Alexa connectivity and streams music. Cheaper alarms don’t offer these features.

Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford is an award-winning writer of tech, health and science topics. Her work has been featured by CBS, CNET, MTV, USA Today and many more. Visit her website at alinabradford.com.