Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Smoke Detectors here.
The Kidde RF-SM-DC is a wireless smoke detector that operates fully on battery power. One of the benefits of wireless units is that they do not require electrical rewiring and can be mounted in any location throughout your home. Battery operated smoke detectors may be best suited to older homes built prior to modern code, which require a home’s electrical system to accommodate hardwired smoke detectors.
The RF-SM-DC is built with an ionization sensor. Ionization sensors detect the presence of fast burning, flaming fires but are not as effective in detecting smoldering fires that may burn for longer periods of time prior to igniting. Smoldering fires are best detected with photoelectric sensors. The best smoke detectors come equipped with both ionization and photoelectric sensors. To obtain full coverage for both types of fires without purchasing a dual-sensor detector, it is recommended that you pair the Kidde RF-SM-DC ionization detector with photoelectric detectors installed throughout your home. Of course, all smoke detectors meet the requirements for detecting both types of fire; single-sensor monitors are better at detecting one type of fire while dual-sensor detectors are equally good at detecting both types.
Although it is battery operated, the RF-SM-DC includes a feature you typically only find in hardwired smoke detectors: interconnectivity. Having interconnectivity means this smoke alarm can be paired up with other alarms installed in your home so that when one of them goes off, they all do. This is an added safety precaution that can cut down on the possibility you may not hear an alarm go off in your basement or in a back bedroom. The RF-SM-DC can be interconnected with as many as 24 Kidde devices but no more than 12 Kidde smoke detector units.
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This wireless smoke detector includes standard features, such as low-battery warning lights, a once-per-minute audible chirp when batteries are running low and an alarm hush button. Otherwise, it lacks some features that may make it a more user-friendly product – such as a voice warning that sounds off in addition to the alarm, safety lights that illuminate when the alarm is triggered, and a silencer that can mute the unit’s low-battery chirp until you have had an opportunity to replace the batteries. Help and support options are exceptional, offering support via telephone, email and FAQs. The smoke detector has a 10-year manufacturer warranty.
The Kidde RF-SM-DC wireless smoke detector is one of only two products on our top 10 list that are battery operated and can still interconnect with other installed alarms. If offers top-notch help and support for troubleshooting, yet falls short of providing complete coverage by virtue of the fact it has an ionization sensor that detects flaming fires more effectively than it detects smoldering fires.