Smoke Detectors Buying Guide

Smoke detectors are so crucial to have in our homes because they can save lives, keep our families and pets alert, and prevent injuries during a fire. They are especially helpful when you're asleep and may not be aware that a fire is nearby or engulfs your home. Smoke detectors give us a warning and some time for us to escape a potentially deadly catastrophe. Unfortunately, many people today have yet to properly install smoke alarms in their home. This guide is designed to help you find the best ones on the market, provide some essential information about fire safety, and keep your family protected.

What to Look for in Smoke Alarms

Believe it or not, fires take place everyday even when we don’t see it. Having smoke alarms properly installed in your home will give you a better chance of getting out safely and also helping your family members and pets out in time as well. When shopping for a smoke alarm, there are several things to look out for. A few things to consider include the following:

Multiple Functionality

Smart smoke detectors can often monitor for high levels of carbon monoxide and serve as a night light. If you want the most bang for the buck on the costlier smart smoke detectors, then make sure it provides added functionality.

Sensor Type

There are three sensor types – photoelectric, ionization, or dual. You'll want to check with your state's regulations to be sure you get the right sensor type.

Battery Life

Most smart smoke detectors will have 10 year battery life in conjunction with being hardwired. Some options however, will require changing the battery every 6 months (recommended) to 12 months to ensure your smoke detector is functioning properly.

Smart Features/Compatibility

You'll want to check if the smart smoke detector can send alerts to your phone, control the alarm sound, test the alarm from your app, monitor battery levels, and more. Monitored smoke detectors can be connected directly to the local fire department.

Smoke Alarms

Sensor Type
Source Of Power
Additional Functions
Smart Features
Amazon Rating
Best For

Additional Fire Safety Tips

Know where to install smoke alarms

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your house, in every bedroom, and outside every sleeping area. Most fire alarms have an effective range of 35ft. Fire alarms should be mounted on the ceiling or high on the walls, where smoke will collect and can effectively set off the alarm in the event of a real danger issue.

Test your smoke alarms regularly

Smoke alarms won’t work if the batteries are dead. Be sure to check the battery levels of your smoke detectors frequently to avoid alarm failures.

Practice Fire Drills

In the event of a fire, you’ll want everyone in your household to be on the same page and know what to do. Create a fire escape plan and practice it a couple times a year, going over safety precautions such as low crawling to avoid heavy smoke inhalation.


There are so many smoke detectors out there with a plethora of features and options — it can be overwhelming to select the right one for your budget and lifestyle. Having any smoke alarm is better than having none, but it’s also nice to know that there are different ones out there for you to choose from.

Before buying any smoke detector, it’s smart to be informed of the different variables and weigh out the pros and cons between various devices so that you can feel confident that your purchase will serve its purpose and protect your family, pets, and home during any potential fires.