Best Smoke Detectors of 2018

John Carlsen ·
Smart Home & HVAC Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We installed, tested and ranked six smart smoke detectors on the market today. It took more than 40 hours to mount each one to our testing apparatus, connect them all to the internet and assess their effectiveness. We also evaluated their associated mobile apps, features and benefits. Based on our results, we believe the Nest Protect is the best smoke detector you can buy. It’s a breeze to install and set up, and it’s the only smoke detector we reviewed that passed every detection test we put it through.  

Best Overall
Nest Protect
The Nest Protect is the best, most advanced smoke detector available on the market today. It is the only device we reviewed that passed all our tests, and we found it was the easiest to install, connect and use.
View on Amazon
Best Value
Kidde KN-COSM-B-RF
This is the least expensive smoke detector we reviewed, and it’s easy to install because it doesn’t hardwire into your home’s electrical grid. All in all, it’s a great budget pick.
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Best for Apple HomeKit
First Alert Onelink AC10-500
The First Alert Onelink AC10-500 is easy to use, integrates seamlessly with Apple HomeKit and has a long warranty. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an Android app.
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Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Price
Detection & Alerts
Design
Price Compared to Average
Detection Efficiency
Smoke Sensor
Carbon Monoxide
Voice Alerts
Remote Hush
Ease of Use
Warranty
Detector Lifetime
Power Options
Smart Home Platform
$89.99 Zceleron Store
5 4.6 4.5
Average
A
Split-Spectrum
A
2 Years
10 Years
Battery, Wired
Nest, Nexia, Vera, Wink, Google Home
$108.76 Jolly Esprit
4.6 4.5 4.5
Average
B+
Photoelectric
B
10 Years
10 Years
Battery, Wired
Apple HomeKit
$49.97 Home Depot
3.5 4.3 5
More Expensive
C-
Ionization
B
10 Years
10 Years
Battery
Wink
$149.95 BH Photo Video
3 3.3 4
More Expensive
C+
Photoelectric
D
1 Year
5 Years
Battery
Asante
Best Overall
In addition to the standard tone alarm, the Next Protect features a voice alarm that calmly tells you about the danger, where it is and how to proceed.
If you happen to be away when an emergency occurs, this smoke alarm’s mobile app notifies you immediately. This allows you to contact emergency services and potentially avoid the worst of the damage. The app also lets you monitor what’s happening in your home and test alarms remotely, and it teaches you how to best use your smoke detector. This smoke alarm is only one piece of Nest’s larger home automation system. Not only can you network multiple Nest Protect units together, but you can also connect other Nest devices such as thermostats and security cameras. Additionally, the Nest Protect is compatible with other smart home networks including Nexia, Vera, Wink and Google Home; it doesn't work with Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit. Unfortunately, the two-year warranty is shorter than those from First Alert and Kidde.
Pros
  • Voice alarm tells you where danger is and how to proceed
  • Mobile app connects smoke detectors, thermostats and security cameras
  • Connects to a variety of smart home networks
Cons
  • Has a relatively short warranty period of two years
  • Isn’t compatible with Amazon Alexa
  • Isn’t compatible with Apple HomeKit
$119Amazon
Read the full review
Best Value
This alarm is two devices in one: a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector. It’s very easy to install because it runs on changeable batteries so you don’t have to hardwire it into your home’s electrical grid.
If the Kidde KN-COSM-B-RF detects an emergency in your home, it sets off a tone alarm as well as a voice alarm that gives instructions and tells you what the danger is. It also uses voice notifications to let you know when you need to change the battery. If you buy more than one of these detectors – and you should! – you can network them through your home’s Wi-Fi network. Once they are connected to the internet, you can download the Wink smart home app to control your smoke detectors, as well as many other devices, remotely. You can receive notifications on your phone if there’s an emergency while you are away; however, you need to buy a Wink hub to do so, which is an extra expense. Of all the smoke alarms we reviewed, this Kidde model fared the worst in our detection tests. Smoke must be very dense and concentrated for the alarm to sound. This underscores the need for multiple smoke detectors in several places in your home.
Pros
  • Detects both smoke and carbon monoxide
  • Doesn’t require a hardwired connection
  • Can connect to multiple alarms via Wi-Fi
Cons
  • Performed poorly in our detection tests
  • Requires extra equipment for the mobile app
  • Only compatible with Wink smart home platform
$65.99Amazon
Read the full review
Best for Apple HomeKit
The First Alert Onelink AC10-500 is easy to use and is the only smart smoke detector we reviewed that works with Apple HomeKit, where you can control it and other smart home devices using the Apple Home app.
One of the best parts of this smart smoke detector is that it comes with a 10-year warranty, which is just as long as the device's sensor lifetime. Other smart smoke alarms have more traditional warranties that last only a couple years. This smoke detector also has a carbon monoxide sensor to further improve the safety of your home. If it detects a problem, you'll get three alerts: a loud tone, voice alerts and a mobile notification to help you respond to the situation accordingly. We found this unit easy to set up and connect to Wi-Fi. First Alert has also created a standalone mobile app for this smoke detector that lets you test, control and monitor the battery. Unfortunately, it's not available for this product on Android devices, so you need an iPhone or iPad to use the app. Aside from HomeKit, this product doesn't work with any other smart home systems. In our detection tests, the First Alert Onelink AC10-500 did well but wasn't able to match the Nest Protect in effectiveness.
Pros
  • Compatible with Apple HomeKit
  • Detects both smoke and carbon monoxide
  • Includes a 10-year warranty
Cons
  • Not compatible with other smart home systems
  • No Android mobile app
  • Scored below Nest Protect in our detection tests
$119.99Amazon
Read the full review
The Asante Smoke Detector kit comes with two smoke detectors, making it one of the more affordable smart smoke detectors available. However, its lackluster performance in our detection tests and lack of carbon monoxide detection keep it from being the best.
Installing this device was frustrating and took over an hour, longer than reasonable for a smart home device, but in the end, you have a functional and convenient system – especially if you buy other smart home devices made by Asante. Unfortunately, you can’t use Asante smoke detectors with any third-party smart home systems. The warranty on this smoke detector is only one year with a detector lifetime of five years, both of which are the shortest in our comparison. Despite its flaws, the Asante Smoke Detector Kit is a decent solution for monitoring your home for fire.
Pros
  • Comes in a two-pack
Cons
  • Short warranty
-
Read the full review

Latest News & Updates (October 2018)

*Top Ten Reviews is currently re-evaluating how we test and compare smoke detectors. The market for smart smoke detectors is contracting, so we may add basic smoke detectors to our comparison in a future update.

*The Halo+ has been discontinued.

*On March 21, 2018, Kidde issued a recall for its Kidde Dual Sensor (Photoelectric and Ionization) Smoke Alarms – Models PI2010 and PI9010. To check if your Kidde smoke detector is part of the recall, we encourage you to visit Kidde's recall website.

*Roost discontinued its RSA-200 and RSA-400 smoke alarms between December 2017 and January 2018. However, all of the mobile app functions of these products are still available in the Roost Smart Battery ($34.99), which replaces the standard 9V backup battery used in most smoke detectors.

*First Alert released the Onelink Safe & Sound, a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm that comes with a built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant and a music-quality speaker (released June 2018 for $249.99). We will test this product in a future update.

Why Trust Us

We tested, rated and ranked the most advanced smoke alarms on the market today. We chose smart smoke alarms that do more than simply blare an alarm for fire and carbon monoxide emergencies. The products we reviewed are cutting-edge devices made for 21st century homes, and they all have mobile apps.

While researching for this comparison, we looked into the differences between the sensors each smoke detector uses and found research from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) that suggests you should have both photoelectric- and ionization-type smoke detectors in your home since each type is suited for different types of fires. For example, photoelectric sensors do better with smoldering fires that grow slowly and produce a lot of smoke while ionization alarms are better for detecting fast-growing, flaming fires. UL is not alone in this recommendation; many other fire safety organizations make the same suggestion.

If you want more information on smoke detectors, we recommend checking out the National Fire Protection Association's helpful guide, "Safety Messages About Smoke Alarms."

How We Tested

Ease of Use
Our testing team built a custom apparatus designed specifically to analyze each smoke alarm’s detection capabilities. It was placed in the center of a room measuring 25.33 x 18.83 feet. We mounted and hardwired each of the detectors to the apparatus and noted how long it took to install each one using the included manufacturer instructions.

After connecting each alarm to a Wi-Fi network, we installed its associated mobile app on a smartphone. We evaluated how easy each app is to use and tested how long it takes for notifications to arrive on your mobile device when there is an emergency. We also assessed how well each device connects to third-party smart home automation systems. We contacted each company, when possible, to assess how helpful its representatives are when resolving potential technical problems.


Detection Efficiency
Our detection efficiency testing is for comparison purposes only and was not designed to replace industry-standard safety certifications carried by each unit we reviewed. Perhaps the most important thing we learned from our testing is that smoke detectors have a limited range, which is one of the reasons modern building codes require a unit in every bedroom as well as in areas adjacent to bedrooms.

To test effectiveness, we sprayed test smoke from an aerosol can directly at each device and timed how long it took the alarm to sound. We sprayed the test smoke from 5, 10 and 15 feet away. Every detector sounded within 30 seconds at the 5-foot mark. Three smart smoke alarms –

Nest Protect, Halo+ and First Alert Onelink – went off at the 10-foot mark. All but one of the smoke detectors, the Nest Protect, failed to detect dangerous levels of smoke at the 15-foot mark.


How Much do Smart Smoke Detectors Cost?

Always weigh the costs against the benefits you might get from a smart smoke alarm. On average, you can expect most smart smoke detectors to cost around $100, though some units cost as much as $250, which can be up to 10 times more expensive than normal units. This can make replacing all of the existing smoke detectors in your home very expensive.

To keep costs down, consider using traditional units throughout your home with smart smoke detectors in main areas. Traditional smoke detectors typically cost between $10 and $40. Here are a few basic models that are popular on Amazon:

  • First Alert BRK 3120B ($27.18) - This hardwired alarm uses both photoelectric and ionization sensors to detect smoke. It does not have a carbon monoxide sensor.
  • First Alert SCO7CN ($25.97) - This battery-operated model has a photoelectric smoke sensor as well as a carbon monoxide detector. In addition to its siren, the unit can voice warnings and instructions.
  • First Alert P1010 Atom ($24.88) - This model uses a photoelectric sensor to detect smoke and is more compact than traditional smoke detectors.
  • First Alert BRK 9120B ($9.81) and Kidde i4618AC ($14.12) - These hardwired models detect smoke using an ionization sensor. Neither model detects carbon monoxide.

Tips for Choosing a Smart Smoke Detector

Alerts
In addition to tone alarms, the best smoke detectors alert you with voice notifications that tell you what kind of danger they identified and where it’s located in your home. Look for smoke alarms that interconnect, which allows them to sound at the same time when one detects a problem so everyone in the house knows about the potential emergency.

Carbon Monoxide Sensors
Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that's odorless and colorless, so having a detector in your home can save your life. Most of the smoke detectors we reviewed also monitor your home for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in addition to smoke.

Mobile App
Each of the smoke alarms we tested can connect to a mobile app, either through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a smart home hub. The app helps the smart smoke detector track battery life and sends you notifications to replace the battery before it starts to chirp in the middle of the night. It also lets you monitor conditions in your home, hush false alarms and test your devices remotely. If something happens when you’re not home, you receive an alert on your smartphone.

Smart Home Compatibility
Each smart smoke alarm in our comparison can be used as part of a larger smart home system. If you already have a smart hub in your home, make sure the smoke detector you buy is compatible. The best devices work with a variety of platforms like Nexia, Vera, Wink, Google Home, Apple HomeKit and more.


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