- Fires are a common domestic disaster that can cause bodily harm, death, and property loss.
- Smart smoke detectors provide real-time notifications to your smartphone when smoke is detected, even when you’re not at home.
- Smart smoke detectors have better sensors to prevent false alarms and can send alerts to your phone when the battery is low.
- Smart smoke detectors can identify the precise location of a fire, allowing for safe escape routes.
- Smart smoke detectors can be integrated with other smart home devices to increase safety and convenience.
Fires are among the most common domestic disaster. They also cause more severe implications than other common domestic disturbances, including bodily harm, death, and property loss. Most domestic fires happen accidentally, which is why a smart smoke detector is so important.
For example, due to a short circuit in household appliances or a cooking session gone wrong. However, it can be intentional, such as in cases of arson.
Given the disastrous consequences of fire outbreaks, it is advisable to have an early warning system like a smoke detector. The device alerts homeowners of smoke and possible fires via a loud alarm, thus enabling them to rush to safety and call emergency services.
Traditional smoke detectors have a reputation for sometimes triggering false alarms and having annoying low-battery sounds. As a result, some companies have introduced smart smoke detectors to make up for the shortcomings of older smoke detectors.
Despite being better than older versions, many homeowners are unwilling to shift to them. That is why we took the initiative to highlight some reasons for switching to these smart devices. Read on for more details.
Reason #1: Real-Time Notifications
One of the biggest shortcomings of traditional smoke detectors is that they are only helpful when someone is on the property. If a traditional smoke detector goes off when you’re at work or out running errands, you will only find out when you receive a call from your neighbors or get home to find firefighters trying to put out the blaze.
On the other hand, smart smoke detectors can send notifications to your smartphone via Wi-Fi when they detect smoke in your house. Such alerts allow you to call someone to check what is happening and notify the fire brigade — even when there’s no one at home.
Additionally, some devices can alert first responders directly, increasing the chances of preventing significant property damage.
Reason #2: Remote Control
The screeching sound of a smoke alarm can be extremely irritating and disorienting. That is especially true when dealing with older smoke detector models. Such devices require users to physically turn them off by pressing the reset button or removing the batteries.
However, when you have a smart smoke detector, you do not have to worry about scampering to find something to step on to reach and silence the smoke detector. You can remotely turn off a beeping smart smoke alarm via your smartphone. This is convenient, especially during a false alarm.
Reason #3: Reduced Risk of False Alarms
Traditional smoke detectors are often triggered by false alarm situations, including:
- Overcooked food smoking up the kitchen
- High humidity conditions
- Dust collection within the unit
Frequent false alarms can easily desensitize property owners and cause them to lower their guard, thus increasing the risk of you ignoring a genuine fire outbreak.
Smart smoke detectors have better sensors to prevent false alarms. For example, humidity sensors limit the number of false alarms by detecting steam caused by showers. Others have sensors that differentiate between smoke from a burnt meal and hazardous fumes.
Another irritating feature in traditional smoke detectors is the low battery warning system, which produces an annoying high-pitched sound to indicate the need for a battery change. Older smoke detectors also require manual testing to determine whether the device remains functional.
A smart smoke detector will send an alert to your phone when the battery runs low. Some also have self-diagnostic mechanisms that evaluate the conditions of the smoke sensors and send notifications to your phone when they detect any flaws.
Reason #4: Precise Identification of Hazardous Zones
Older smoke detector models do not inform you of the exact location of a fire. That means you might inadvertently stumble into a room engulfed in flames when trying to escape, preventing a safe exit.
On the other hand, smart smoke detectors are excellent at informing homeowners of the precise location of a fire. A smart system will identify which detector triggered the alarm and notify you to avoid the area.
This allows you to find safe passageways out of the house without inhaling smoke or passing by burning objects.
Reason #5: Integration with Smart Home Systems
Smart home devices make domestic living more convenient and comfortable by handling mundane tasks. For example, smart lighting systems automatically turn on when you enter a room and turn off when you leave, which conserves energy and lowers your utility bills.
Smart smoke detectors can be connected to other smart devices in the home to make your life easier and increase the home’s security. For instance, they can notify an automated HVAC system to shut off a property’s ventilation to prevent smoke from spreading.
This can increase your chances of leaving your home unscathed during a fire and delay the spread of the fire long enough for first responders to arrive and put it out.
Communication between smart smoke detectors and a smart security system can ensure that all exits from a property remain open to provide escape routes for people in different building sections.
Lastly, when a fire breaks out at night, you can avoid running around in the dark by having a smart lighting system that automatically turns on the lights, allowing a safe exit from the property.
The Best Smart Smoke Detectors
The reasons highlighted above should be enough to convince you to switch to a smart smoke detector. You stand to reap significant benefits. Next, we’ll recommend three of the best options you can buy today.
Google Nest Protect
The Google Nest Protect is the best smart smoke detector on the market. The device has a split spectrum sensor that combines technology from ionization and photoelectric sensors to improve its ability to detect smoldering and scorching fires.
It also has a carbon monoxide sensor with a guaranteed 10-year lifespan. The Nest Protect notifies property owners of fires via the Nest Protect app and voice alerts. The alerts indicate the location of the fire or smoke and its severity.
The device also has an LED light ring that displays different colors, depending on the situation. For example, it lights up red in emergencies and yellow during minor fire incidents. The LED lights also illuminate pathways at night.
Onelink Smart Smoke & CO Detector
The Onelink Smoke and CO Detector offers the consumer the option of buying a hardwired or battery-powered device which is ideal if you do not want to overhaul the whole home smart system. The battery-powered version utilizes battery cells that can last up to five years.
This smoke detector can differentiate between smoke and carbon monoxide, saving you money by eliminating the need for a separate CO detector.
Like other smart smoke detectors, it alerts homeowners of fire via the Onelink app, even when away from home. The device utilizes photoelectric and electrochemical technology to detect smoldering and blazing flames.
Lastly, Onelink’s Smart Smoke and CO detector has a color-indicator ring that lights up green when powering up, red during hazardous situations, yellow when the battery runs low, and blue when pairing. The smart smoke detector uses these colors in place of the beeping sounds often associated with traditional smoke detectors.
Kidde Wireless Smoke Detector
- Photoelectric sensor technology
- Operates on a 10-year lithium battery
- 85-decibel alarm announces a hazard when detected
- Ambient Light Sensing feature establishes a day/ night cycle
The Kidde Wireless Smoke Detector is the best mid-tier smart smoke detector. The device is pocket-friendly and has all the features of a decent smart smoke detector.
For example, it sends alerts to your phone and utilizes voice alerts to raise an alarm during fire accidents. Additionally, the Kidde app allows users to test whether the device is working from any location.
The device has a sealed lithium battery that lasts 10 years, meaning you do not have to replace it throughout the detector’s lifespan. Lastly, the device is compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, supporting voice commands.
How to Choose a Smart Smoke Detector
As noted earlier, smart smoke detectors are not as popular as they should be. Therefore, most consumers looking to buy a smart smoke detector may not be familiar with the factors distinguishing one brand’s device from other competing devices.
Below is a checklist of factors that can help you buy a smart smoke detector that suits your property:
- Fire Detection Method
- Notification Methods
- Power Source
- Range of Operation
Let’s have an in-depth look at each factor.
You can buy a smart smoke detector for as low as $40. However, the cheaper the device, the fewer smart features it will have. Therefore, even though a decent smart smoke detector can be pricey, it is advisable to purchase one that costs at least $100 to enjoy all the benefits.
Fire Detection Method
Smoke detectors work based on two mechanisms: ionization and photoelectric methods. Ionization smoke detectors contain some radioactive substance sandwiched between two electrically charged plates.
The radioactive substances allow current flow between the two plates by ionizing the air. During a fire, smoke interrupts the current flow, triggering the fire alarm.
On the other hand, photoelectric smoke detectors have a chamber containing a light source and a light sensor, whereby the light source emits a light beam towards the light sensor.
When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the direction of the light beam by providing a surface from which the light gets dispersed. Once the light beam gets interrupted, the smoke detector triggers the alarm.
Generally, ionization smoke detectors are better at identifying blazing hot fires, while photoelectric smoke detectors are better at spotting smoldering ones. Most smart smoke detectors have photoelectric smoke sensors, meaning when you get them, you also have to buy smoke detectors that use the ionization method to increase safety.
Alternatively, you can buy a smart smoke detector that incorporates both technologies in one device. However, such smart smoke detectors often cost more than those using only one detection method.
All smart smoke detectors can send notifications to your phone. However, you should check whether the smoke detector you’ve chosen has voice alerts.
Such alerts are beneficial to people who often panic during emergencies. For example, some smoke detectors alert occupants about which rooms are affected by the fire, cautioning them to use safer alternatives to exit the building.
Similarly, some smart smoke detectors warn occupants against returning to the affected rooms. This is especially important, as people often instinctively rush back to burning buildings in the hope of salvaging important documents or valuables.
Lastly, people with considerable budgets can buy smart smoke detectors that can send alerts to first responders like firefighters and emergency medical teams. This feature is handy during huge fire accidents that often knock out occupants before they can exit the building or call 911.
Smart smoke detectors can either be battery-powered or hardwired. Battery-powered smoke detectors tend to be isolated so that one alarm going off does not trigger other smoke detectors in other rooms. However, some smart smoke detectors bypass that problem through wireless connectivity.
On the other hand, hardwired smart smoke detectors are connected to a property’s electrical grid. That means they work within an integrated system, and all sound the alarm when one goes off.
Ultimately, battery-powered smart smoke detectors are easier to install and replace. However, hardwired smoke detectors have a better warning system and do not require regular power source replacement.
Range of Operation
The ideal smart smoke detector should be multifaceted. It should detect smoldering and blazing fires. It should also monitor and detect carbon monoxide emissions.
Carbo monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas emitted from fireplaces. Its physical properties (colorless and odorless) make it fatal as you can inhale it for several hours unknowingly.
Prolonged exposure to CO can cause unconsciousness or death in worst-case scenarios. We recommend buying a smart smoke detector that includes a CO sensor, even if it means spending a few extra bucks.
Traditional smoke detectors have been saving lives for over half a century. However, it is time for people to embrace smart smoke detectors as they are better suited to work within today’s infrastructure.
They also make life more convenient by dealing with issues like low-battery chirping sounds, which are often annoying. Overall, buying a smart smoke detector will be a valuable addition to your home’s smart system.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©r.classen/Shutterstock.com.