Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Gentex GN-200 is part of a series of alarms available from Gentex. It can be interconnected, or wired together, with other Gentex smoke detectors, so that if one smoke alarm sounds, they'll all sound. This safety feature provides an added level of assurance that you'll be alerted as soon as possible if a fire starts.
You can connect the GN-200 with other alarms because it's a hard-wired smoke detector. It runs on a 120-volt AC current from your home's electrical system. However, unlike other hard-wired smoke detectors, it doesn't have a battery backup, which means when the power is out in your home, the alarm won't work.
The smoke alarm has green and red LED indicators to let you know at a glance if your alarm is working properly. When the alarm is connected to an AC power source, you see a green LED, and a red LED flashes every 15 to 30 seconds. If there's no AC power, the green LED will be off. If the smoke detector is malfunctioning, you'll hear a chirp between the red LED flashes. A button on the alarm simulates a smoky condition so you can easily test the smoke alarm.
To detect a fire, the Gentex GN-200 relies on a photoelectric sensor that uses both a light source (an infrared LED that pulses every eight seconds) and a light sensor. When smoke enters the sensing chamber, the smoke particles reflect the light from the infrared LED onto the light sensor. When the light sensor has confirmed smoke for two consecutive pulses, it sounds the alarm.
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Photoelectric smoke sensors are great at detecting slow, smoldering fires, such as a fire that starts from a cigarette burning in a couch or bedding. These sensors are not as sensitive to the flaming fires that start from kitchen grease or paper burning in a wastebasket.
With its photoelectric smoke sensors, the Gentex GN-200 can provide an early warning of a smoldering fire that may not burst into flame right away but can fill your home with smoke. However, its lack of a battery backup means you won't have a working smoke detector if your home has no power.