The First Alert Onelink AC10-500 is an outstanding smart smoke detector for a 21st century home. It’s easy to use and detects smoke and carbon monoxide better than most of its competition. It also works well with First Alert’s mobile app and integrates seamlessly with Apple HomeKit. You can expect this smoke alarm to last a full decade, and it is under warranty all 10 years.
As with all smoke detectors using photoelectric sensors, this unit is exceptional for detecting smoke from slow-burning, smoldering fires, but may not be enough to detect smaller particles from fast-growing fires. For this reason, these units should be used alongside ionization-type smoke alarms in your home. The First Alert Onelink AC10-500 also has a built-in carbon monoxide sensor.
Like all smoke detectors on the market today, when the First Alert Onelink AC10-500 detects danger in your home, a loud tone alarm sounds. This device stands out with an additional voice alarm – a voice plays through the device’s speaker saying what it detected and where it’s located. If you have multiple detectors networked together, this voice alarm sounds on all of them so everyone in the house hears about the problem. The Onelink app notifies you immediately if the device detects an emergency in your home. This is especially convenient when you’re away and need to contact local emergency services to deal with the crises.
During our evaluation process, we put the AC10-500 through a battery of tests. We wired it into our testing rig, then sprayed faux smoke from an aerosol can directly at it. When we sprayed the smoke from 5 feet away, it took 23 seconds to go off and at 10 feet, it took 31 seconds – both times were slightly longer than average.
It failed to detect the smoke at all when we sprayed it from 15 feet away, even after we expended the full can. However, it’s important to note that only one of the alarms we reviewed, the Nest Protect, detected smoke from that distance, which reinforces the fact that you need to install smoke detectors throughout your home.
We found the First Alert Onelink AC10-500 very easy to set up – it only took a few minutes to mount it and connect it to a power supply. If you’re installing more than one of these smoke detectors, you can connect them all via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This allows them to work together and provides more comprehensive coverage.
For the First Alert Onelink AC10-500 to work properly, you must hardwire it into your home’s electrical grid, which serves as an uninterrupted power source. The device also comes with a 10-year sealed battery that functions as a backup if there’s a power outage. There's also battery-powered version, the DC10-500.
The AC10-500 is fully compatible with Apple HomeKit – a platform designed by Apple to network devices such as thermostats, motion sensors, smart locks, smart plugs and lightbulbs. You can use the Apple Home app to control all these items and your smoke detectors, so if you want a complete home automation system, this is a good way to go.
Aside from the Apple Home app, First Alert's Onelink app lets you control, test and monitor your smart smoke detector. It’s not as comprehensive as Apple Home, but it connects you to your smoke alarm as well as First Alert’s home environment monitor. Beyond detecting smoke and carbon monoxide, this allows you to track your home’s temperature and humidity. While there is a version of the Onelink app for Android, it doesn't work with the AC10-500 or the DC10-500.
This smoke and carbon monoxide detector lasts about 10 years, and the manufacturer’s warranty covers it for its entire expected life. Even if it stops working in year nine, the company can replace it for you. This is a great indication of First Alert’s confidence in its products. Even though the First Alert Onelink AC10-500 is easy to install, set up and use, you may need to contact customer or technical support. You can reach the company by phone and email.