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Smoke Alarm: Complete Buyer Guide

Mar 18, 2021
Smoke Alarm: Complete Buyer Guide

A smoke alarm is an electronic device that can sense smoke, which is the main indicator of fire. After that, it emits a sound to warn the occupants of the building. This device allows you, your family or your employees to leave the house or commercial property before it is too late.

Households and businesses need to consider professional smoke alarm installation and timely maintenance as these devices can save lives. 

There are some characteristics and features to look at when choosing the best smoke alarm: type of detector, type of alert, CO detection, price and ease of installation.


Types of Smoke Detectors

There are ionization, photoelectric and dual smoke detectors. Each of them works a little differently.

Ionization Type

This detector consists of two metal plates with an electronic current. It senses when smoke enters the chamber, which then triggers the alarm. This device is the best smoke alarm for detecting fast flaming fires quickly.

However, the alarms of this type are also sensitive to the smoke from cooking. So, they can easily cause false alarms. Many people put themselves at risk when disconnecting these alarms to avoid nuisance alarms.

Photoelectric Type

These detectors use a sensor sensitive to light. When smoke enters the detector, it identifies a disruption in the light.

They are most sensitive to smouldering fires. Photoelectric smoke detectors sense serious fires more quickly. They also trigger false alarms less often compared to ionization smoke detectors. That is why safety experts’ general recommendation includes a photoelectric smoke alarm installation, although it is more costly.

Dual Type

Choosing a dual smoke alarm that employs both may be the best option to protect your property and occupants from every possible scenario.


Types of Alert

There are different ways to alert people of a possible fire.

Beeping Alarm

A loud beeping noise is the most common way to warn people of a potential fire. Most of the alarms will use this technique.

Strobe Light Alarm

This device uses a bright strobe light and vibrations to alert occupants, so it is useful for anyone hard of hearing.

Voice Alarm

It is a less annoying alternative to a beeping alarm. You can use pre-recorded voice commands. 

Smart Alarm

Smart alarms usually feature at least one of the other options mentioned above. In addition to that, they send alerts to your smartphone app.


CO Detection

If there are gas or other fuel-burning appliances in your residential or commercial property, you should install CO detectors to guarantee extra safety. Carbon monoxide is much harder to detect, but it is as dangerous as fire.

Nowadays, there are plenty of CO and smoke alarm combo options available.


Power Source

There are two options: batteries or wired smoke detectors.

Battery-powered alarms will work even in case of a power outage. They are easier to install, but you will have to deal with the annoying beeping when the batteries are low.

The wired smoke alarm installation process is far more complicated. These alarms usually come with the option to include back-up batteries.



There are plenty of functional smoke detectors that only cost about €10. If you want some more features, functionality, longer life and quality, you will have to spend more.

A device that uses both technologies mentioned above will be more effective and, thus, a bit pricier. For instance, Google Nest Protect is €129.

Extra features and better quality will pay off if the fire occurs. So, if you can afford to spend more, this might be a good investment. 


Ease of Installation

As mentioned above, battery-powered alarms are the easiest to install, while the wired smoke alarm installation process may require some professional help. 



The amount of maintenance required varies depending on the type of alarm. Generally speaking, safety experts recommend testing your smoke detector once every month or so. It is worth mentioning that battery-powered alarms will need their batteries replaced regularly. 


Best Smoke Alarm Brands

In order to make a more informed decision before buying a suitable alarm, you need to study the options offered by the main players in the smoke detection space. Here are some of them:

First Alert

First Alert sells both smoke and CO detectors, independently and in combination. Their products are reliable, easy to install and have long battery life.

For instance, First Alert Onelink features both a photoelectric smoke sensor and an electrochemical sensor for detecting CO. It comes with an Alexa assistant, so you can speak to your detector to play music, set timers and get weather. 


  • Built-in Alexa assistant
  • Smartphone alerts
  • Safety checks


  • Only compatible with Apple devices

Google Nest

It is probably the leader of smart products brands. Their smart smoke detectors are effective, functional and easy to install.

For example, Google Nest Protect is a combination of a smoke and a CO detector. It connects to your Wi-Fi and lets you monitor your property from your mobile device anytime. Moreover, instead of a low-battery beeping alert, you will get notifications on your phone.


  • Fire, smoke, and CO detection
  • Safety checks
  • Voice alarm
  • 10-year shelf life


  • Higher price


Kidde as well sells smoke detectors and combinations of smoke and CO sensors. Kidde products are a good value, easy to install, and as loud as necessary. 

Kidde KN-COSM-IBA is rather a basic model, but it has some cool features. It can detect smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide. Moreover, it has a back-up battery and indicator lights to warn you of each threat. This can be a big help for people with hearing impairments.


  • Voice alert
  • Back-up battery
  • Indicator lights


  • Battery-operated only
  • Not compatible with smart home technology


A smoke detector can provide an early warning to employees, visitors or household members if it identifies any potential threat, ensuring everybody has enough time to escape to safety.

Moreover, a professional smoke alarm installation service can significantly increase your business security and protect your resources. Depending on your needs and budget you may choose a basic cheap ionization alarm or a sophisticated dual alarm with remote control.

The best smoke alarms have such features as carbon monoxide detection, voice alert, smartphone notifications, remote monitoring, and back-up battery. 

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