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Smoke detectors are devices designed to detect the presence of fire inside buildings or homes. When a fire starts, smoke is formed that generates a series of cloud-like particles that remain suspended in the air. Smoke detectors are capable of identifying these particles and other gases with their sensors and emit loud warning sounds.
In order to be able to choose the most suitable smoke detector, you should take into account a number of fundamental factors. To make your selection easier, we have searched for the best smoke detectors on the U.S. market. To do this, we have analyzed and reviewed studies on smoke detectors and summarised all the information in the following guide.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Our Selection: The Best Smoke Detectors on the U.S. Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Smoke Detectors
- 3.1 What is a smoke detector?
- 3.2 What are the regulations on smoke detectors in the U.S.?
- 3.3 What is the international standard for smoke detectors?
- 3.4 What types of smoke detectors are available?
- 3.5 What is a third party or independent laboratory certificate?
- 3.6 What are the basic principles of smoke detector installation?
- 3.7 What maintenance does a smoke detector require?
- 3.8 What are the drawbacks of a smoke detector?
- 3.9 Where should I locate a smoke detector?
- 3.10 What should I look for in a smoke detector?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Proper installation and maintenance of smoke detectors is vital. Both situations–proper installation and proper maintenance–can save your life in the event of a fire. Luckily, this equipment is fairly inexpensive and is very easy to install.
- The most modern devices on the market today (rarely over $30), have communication functions that facilitate communication between multiple devices. In other words, the devices can communicate with each other to provide even greater protection throughout your home.
- Smoke detectors are very important, especially during sleeping hours. If a home fire starts during the night, these devices will alert your family and can potentially save your lives. These alarms are specially designed to wake up the entire house, which is a function that is very important in the prevention of accidents or death.
Our Selection: The Best Smoke Detectors on the U.S. Market
When it comes to your safety and that of the people around you, it’s important to have all the tools and technology that give you peace of mind. To avoid fire-related accidents in your home, it is best to install smoke detectors. To make it easier for you to choose and buy a new smoke detector, we have selected the five best models on the U.S. market for you.
- The Best Smoke Detector With Voice Warning
- The Best Combined Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
- The Best Smoke Detector With Backup Battery
- The Best Phone-Controled Smoke Detector
- The Best Smoke Detector With Silence Button
The Best Smoke Detector With Voice Warning
The Kidde KN-COSM-BA Combination Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Alarm provides two important safety devices in a single unit. This alarm includes a voice warning system that announces “Fire, Carbon Monoxide, Low Battery and Smart Hush Activation.” The voice alarm eliminates any confusion and clearly warns you and your family of a smoke or carbon monoxide danger, or if your battery is in need of replacement.
This technologically advanced combination alarm is battery operated protecting you and your family even during a power outage when many incidences occur. The KN-COSM-BA is an easy to install alarm that is suitable for all living areas and has a 10-year life and a 5-year limited warranty. This alarm uses ionization sensing technology.
Leading authorities recommend that both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms be installed to help insure maximum detection of the various types of fires that can occur within the home. Ionization sensing alarms may detect invisible fire particles (associated with fast flaming fires) sooner than photoelectric alarms. Photoelectric sensing alarms may detect visible fire particles (associated with slow smoldering fires) sooner than ionization alarms.
The Best Combined Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
The First Alert SCO5CN Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm features dual sensors to detect both smoke and carbon monoxide in a single device. A photoelectric sensor detects the smoke most often produced by smoldering fires, and minimizes false alarms from cooking smoke or shower steam.
The advanced electrochemical CO sensor detects carbon monoxide leaks from multiple sources, such as faulty fuel-burning appliances, blocked chimneys, and generators running inside or too close to homes. A loud, 85-decibel siren alerts you to the threat; unique alarm sounds and indicator lights on its face distinguish a smoke warning from a carbon monoxide warning.
This carbon monoxide and smoke detector is battery operated, so you don’t need an electrician for installation. Requiring just two AA batteries and featuring an easy-access battery compartment for quick changes, this smoke and carbon monoxide detector has a single button that allows you to silence a false alarm or test the unit.
The Best Smoke Detector With Backup Battery
No. 3 on our list is another product from top brand First Alert. Promote greater household safety with the First Alert 9120B Hardwired Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup. This 120-volt AC smoke detector uses an ionization smoke sensor to reliably detect smoke from hot, fast-flaming fires and alerts you with a loud 85-decibel alarm. Designed to be wired directly into your home’s electrical system, this hardwired smoke detector features a backup battery that helps keep the alarm functioning even in the event of a power outage.
The gasket-less mount helps ensure a perfect alignment for easy installation, while tamper-resistant locking pins keep the alarm secure. And thanks to the convenient test/silence button, you can easily check whether the alarm is functioning properly and mute false alarms. This smoke alarm can integrate with up to 12 other First Alert or BRK hardwired alarms and features a latching indicator that identifies which unit triggered the alarm.
The Best Phone-Controled Smoke Detector
With a price tag of over $300, there’s never been a smoke and CO alarm quite like this. Nest Protect looks for fast-burning fires, smoldering fires, and carbon monoxide. It also speaks up when there’s a problem, can be hushed from your phone, and it will even message your phone in case you’re not home.
Nest Protect sends you a message when there’s a problem or the batteries run low. Nest Protect speaks up if there’s smoke or CO and tells you where it is, so you know what to do. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, poisonous gas. Nest Protect tells you where it’s hiding. Usually Nest Protect has its light turned off, but when you walk underneath it, it’s “Pathlight” feature can light your way. Every second counts. The Split-Spectrum Sensor looks for both fast and slow burning fires.
The Best Smoke Detector With Silence Button
Rounding out our list is proof that anyone can afford a smoke detector. This is a basic battery operated smoke alarm that is perfect for use in the family home to keep you and your family safe and secure. The First Alert smoke alarm with silence button allows you to both silence a non-threatening alarm and to test the unit’s functionality.
This smoke detector features a “low battery” alert to remind you when to change the battery and has a missing battery guard to ensure that a battery is placed inside the alarm. The side battery drawer slides open for easy battery replacement. A blinking power indicator on the unit confirms that it is receiving power. The alarm contains an optional pin to lock the battery and unit in place for tamper resistance. It can be mounted on either the ceiling or the wall and can be used in mobile homes and RVs. It includes one 9-volt battery and has a 10-year limited warranty.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are simple, easy to install, very economical and, best of all, designed to save lives. Many serious accidents that can happen in the home are related to fire. Choosing the right smoke detector for your home can be quite complicated, as there are so many makes and models on the market. To help you with the selection process, we’ve answered some of the most common questions shoppers have.
What is a smoke detector?
When fire detectors are connected to an centralized system or monitored alarm center, they are called “smoke detectors.” On the other hand, an individual device that is powered by batteries and acts independently is called a smoke alarm. In this article, we have chosen to review smoke detectors.
What are the regulations on smoke detectors in the U.S.?
What is the international standard for smoke detectors?
What types of smoke detectors are available?
Below is a table of the different types of smoke detectors on the market and their different characteristics.
|Optical||They work by means of detecting the optical obstruction of smoke.||The alarm is activated when the smoke covers the sensor.||They are the most commonly used smoke detector in residential homes. Optical detectors are very economical, easy to install, and require little maintenance.||They detect fires but do not detect gases.|
|Photoelectric beam||The smoke obscures the projected beam and triggers the alarm.||Used in large rooms with high ceilings or large spaces up to 1400m2.||They detect fire very quickly and are an easy device to install.||They have difficulty functioning in air-conditioned spaces.|
|Reflected beam||The smoke enters a compartment within the device where a beam is reflected to activate the alarm.||Detection of latent or slow-burning fires. Suitable for computer or data warehouses.||Self-regulating and more resistant to air currents than ionic detectors.||They do not detect black smoke as it does not disperse light.|
|Ionic detectors||They work based on the reduction of the flow of electric current formed by ionized O2 and N2 molecules when the smoke penetrates the device.||Industrial use and for latent fires.||Stable during pressure variations.||They’re more expensive than other detectors. They are subject to the IMO regulations on the approval of radioactive devices.|
|Resistance bridge||Based on the resistance bridge principle. Alarm is activated in the presence of smoke particles and moisture on a grid with the electric bridge. Particles increase conductivity and activate the alarm.||Used primarily as a carbon monoxide detector.||React quickly to the presence of any gas.||Alarm can be triggered in water vapor leaks and are excessively sensitive.|
|Detectors by sample analysis||An extraction pump sucks an air sample and analyses it for the presence of smoke.||Used in shipping holds.||They have no advantages, so they are no longer used.||They are not recommended and expensive to install.|
|Taguchi semiconductor||They work by means of a semiconductor crystal with heating resistances.||Experimental models||Cheap||Do not differentiate between gases, vapours and smoke.|
What is a third party or independent laboratory certificate?
Within the certification, it is required to demonstrate not only the quality of the equipment, but that the manufacturing company has a management plan to ensure that all manufactured products are of equal quality. When buying your smoke detector, you should check that it has the required independent approvals.
What are the basic principles of smoke detector installation?
To help you better understand where and how to install your smoke detector, we have created this list with some of the basic installation principles to guide you:
- If the ceiling temperature is above 100 degrees, choose a model approved for higher temperatures. Otherwise it will be continuously triggered by the heat.
- Avoid installing the smoke detector in the kitchen as cooking smoke will trigger the alarm, causing false alarms.
- Do not install the detector in a place with strong vibrations.
- The effect of moisture may affect operation, as such, do not install it in corners or humid places.
- It is recommended to install a smoke detector every 60 square yards.
- If ceilings are high, more detectors should be installed at various heights. This is done to counteract the “smoke cone” effect.
What maintenance does a smoke detector require?
It is important to clean smoke detectors well, as they can be damaged by dust, moisture and dirt accumulation over time. If they become excessively dirty, the alarm may be triggered unnecessarily. The maintenance of the batteries is also another important factor. To check the batteries, test buttons are often included on the devices to make it easier to find out the status of the battery.
What are the drawbacks of a smoke detector?
Continual false alarms may occur due to the poor quality of the detector, but also due to improper installation. Another disadvantage can be the installation process as some models provide all the necessary material to install the device correctly, meanwhile others do not. Batteries can also be a problem, especially if they do not last long or if they require continual checks.
Where should I locate a smoke detector?
Here is a list with some tips on where and how you should install your smoke detector:
- Approved smoke detectors. First of all, we would like to point out that you should only buy approved smoke detectors.
- Electrician. Grid-connected alarm systems must be installed by a licensed electrician.
- The best place to install it is the center of the ceiling. The reason for this is that in the corners of rooms, the air does not circulate well.
- Space between household objects. As a minimum, 12 inches (in) of separation should be left between the detector and any decorative household object, such as a light fitting.
- Avoid false alarms: It is not advisable to place a smoke detector in the kitchen. Instead, use temperature detectors, which detect sudden rises in heat and warn of the risk of fire.
- A smoke detector should be installed in each room: This ensures that all inhabitants are warned of a fire quickly.
- Beware of location: Do not place a smoke detector near electrical appliances or air conditioning units.
What should I look for in a smoke detector?
Among the accessories and features you should look for in a smoke detector, the most common are:
- Remote control mute button, to silence the false alarms quickly.
- Security lights to provide illumination during the alarm.
- Transmission of a warning to a central monitoring station as part of the security alert system.
- Intercommunication of devices via wiring or a wireless system, to connect all devices to each other.
- Mobile application to receive alerts on your mobile phone.
There are many brands and models of smoke detectors on the U.S. market. Choosing the one that best suits the needs of your home is not easy. To help you choose such an important system, we have prepared a guide with the purchase criteria for determining the best smoke detector:
Most smoke detectors on the market are used to detect various types of fires. These detectors react with the particles that form in the smoke from a fire and emit a warning. As a general rule, they detect nothing but smoke, but some may react to steam from boiling water or a shower, but this is a sign of a poor-quality smoke detector.
Other devices have extra functions such as detecting gases such as CO2. These devices are somewhat more advanced and can detect dangerous gas leaks in the house. There are also models that incorporate LED lights twhich are turned on by motion detectors and serve to illuminate at night during a fire.
Typically, smoke detecting devices incorporate 15V, AA or AAA batteries. They are low-power devices, so they can operate for years without the need to change the batteries. Some more advanced models run on independent batteries and these models can function for up to 10 years without issues.
The problem with smoke detectors with a separate battery is that the battery cannot be recharged or replaced, so after 10 years of life, it will be turned off and you will have to replace the entire device. Most devices will emit a warning sound at least 30 days before running out of battery.
Ideally, you should choose a smoke detector system that can be connected to other devices. Some models can connect only to models of the same type, meanwhile others can be synchronised with other detectors (of gases or particles) to provide a more secure system.
Most smoke detectors on the market do not require any type of wiring for installation. However, there are certain models that must be connected to the Internet or telephone cable to issue warnings directly to an emergency center in the case of a fire. These models are more expensive and should be installed by professionals.
To silence an annoying or false smoke alarm, you may choose a device with a mute or pause button. These buttons allow you to stop the signal without having to completely deactivate the device. This option is important because it avoids the problem of not remembering to plug it in again after a false alarm.
On today’s market, you will find the mute function on almost all smoke detectors, along with other features such as functions for recalibrating the sensor or checking the battery status. These buttons are usually large, allowing access from the floor, for example, using a broom stick. This allows convenient access without the need to even use a ladder, and avoids dangerous use of furniture to reach the buttons.
Smoke detectors can be optical or ionic. The first type have a lens that detects the changes generated by smoke in the light and are the most used and most economical models. They are present in many homes, are easy to install, hardly need any maintenance and you can get them for less than $30.
Ionic detectors are sensitive to humidity and small particles suspended in the environment during a fire. They are usually faster-acting and also economical. There is a varies range of models available and certain models come highly-recommended because they also detect CO2 and gases, which gives you much more complete protection and safety in your home.
Good Morning, Control Red Watch are on duty for our 1st day. It's Tuesday, so that means it's Test It Tuesday! #testittuesday So don't forget to test your smoke alarm and those of family, friends or neighbours that are unable to test theirs #firesafety #saferhomes pic.twitter.com/Bs1O9CX7b9
— Lincs Fire & Rescue (@LincsFireRescue) July 16, 2019
One of the aspects customers often question is how complicated it can be to install a smoke detection system in their home. Although it depends, to a large exten, on the type of detection system, as a general rule, installation is very simple. Often you won’t even need to screw the detector to the ceiling, just stick it on with secure tape.
For configuration of simple models, you just have to turn it on and check that it works well (you can do this by burning a sheet of paper in a safe place, such as the bathtub or sink). If you’ve chosen a more complex system, you’ll need to hire an electrician to install it.
This is a complex and important factor to consider. An overly sensitive detector will go off with any smoke or steam. This will end up being a problem, as it will be triggered by the smoke produced when cooking or even by steam from the bathroom. These false alarms will become very annoying and you will be less likely to react quickly in the case a real emergency.
The best smoke detectors, although they have a high sensitivity and detect smoke very quickly, do not jump at the first sign of an anomaly. If you are not sure about this factor, look at the reviews or comments of users to find a suitable model for you.
The alarm is one of the most important elements of the detector. Together with the detection system, the alarm will be decisive, since it will be the only way you will know if there is a fire in your house. Do not consider any model with a weak or inaudible signal as it is critical that you immediately hear your smoke detector.
The intensity of the alarm is usually indicated by the manufacturer. Most smoke detectors have an alarm sound of 85 decibels or higher, which will be more than enough to wake up the whole house in case of a fire.
A smoke detector can save your life. These devices detect the particles that form in smoke and emit a loud warning sound to alert you to danger. Normally, just one smoke detector is not enough for the whole house, especially if it is a large house. It is preferable to have one smoke detector per room, except for the kitchen, where it is advised to install it in the hallway or outside the kitchen.
On the Australian market there are a variety of models of smoke detectors to meet many different needs and budgets. There are those systems with greater sensitivity, connectivity to your mobile phone and different types of alarm sounds. In this article, we have selected the best models on the Australian market and explained everything you need to know to choose the right one for you and your family.
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(Source of featured image: Sorapong chaipanya: 107342813/ 123rf.com)