A smoke detector is one of the most important forms of home security that you can own. This simple device detects the presence of smoke or fire in a house and is credited for saving thousands of lives every year.
Smoke detectors come in many different sizes and shapes, and their features can vary a great deal, depending on the model and the manufacturer. However, there are two basic types of residential smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectric.
Ionization detectors are the most common type of smoke alarms found in homes today. They work off an electrical current, which is created by the movement of ions and electrons between two internal plates. In the event of fire, the smoke enters the interior and disrupts the current, thereby setting off the alarm sound.
Photoelectric detectors use light technology and sensors. Inside these alarms, there are light beams that radiate at a 90-degree angle from built-in sensors. When smoke enters the alarm’s interior, it interrupts these beams of light, triggering the sensor. The makes the alarm to emit a loud beep.
If your home does not have a properly-functioning smoke detector, you need to invest in one; otherwise, the property, as well as your family, will remain at risk.
The following are the best smoke detector systems available in the market today:
This talking alarm utilizes ionization-sensing technology, and it comes with both carbon monoxide and smoke sensors. Unlike most smoke detectors out there, this alarm produces four different voice warnings: carbon monoxide, fire, low battery, and smart hash activation announcement – which chances of any confusion by clearly warning you and your family of the presence of carbon monoxide, smoke, or if the alarm’s battery requires replacement.
Its three AA batteries mean that you don’t have to worry about any power outages. The alarm also comes with a battery safeguard to ensure that you don’t mount it without the batteries installed.
Kidde KN-COSM-IB Hardwire Combination
This talking combo alarm combines two essential safety devices in a single unit: ionization smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm. Its patented Nighthawk electrochemical sensor is one of the most advanced carbon monoxide sensing technology available. It also makes four different warning announcements: carbon monoxide, fire, low battery or Smart Hush Activation – eliminating any confusion and helping speed up reaction time.
Being hardwired, this alarm can be easily connected with other alarm systems in the home.
First Alert SA320CN Double Sensor
This smoke alarm uses both ionization and photoelectric sensors – allowing you to realize the benefits of both of these two fire-detecting technologies. Aside from helping detect both flaming and smoldering fires, its dual sensors help minimize false alarms by recognizing the difference between real fire emergencies and non-threatening situations.
Kidde i9040 Fire Sentry
Measuring just 4 inches in diameter, the Kidde i9040 is a highly compact, battery-operated smoke alarm that offers continuous protection, even when there are power outages. Being smaller and more discrete than regular smoke detectors, this alarm is a perfect choice for blending your home’s décor or for smaller rooms. It also provides a range of user-friendly features that make it quite easy to install, troubleshoot, operate, and maintain the alarm system.
BRK Brands 9120B
The 9120B from BRK Brands is a top-quality smoke detector, which features an open mounting design for easy installation and maintenance. It uses an ionization sensor that helps detect fast flaming fires quickly. The detector can be connected with up to 18 other compatible devices (12 compatible smoke detectors and six other compatible devices such as horns, bells, repeaters, or door closers).
How to Install a Smoke Detector
(a) Mark the spot on the wall, ceiling, or any other place where you need to install the detector.
(b) Use the instructions provided with the alarm to install your smoke alarm. For most smoke detectors, this means fastening a back bracket into the wall using the supplied screws.
(c) For the battery-operated smoke detector, you need to ensure that the batteries are fully charged before mounting. Hard-wired smoke detectors would require you to call in a professional to connect them to the wiring inside the walls of your home.
(d) Finish by placing and snapping the main body of the detector into place.
How to Choose the Best Smoke Detector
When it comes to buying a potential life-saving item like a smoke alarm, it is not enough to pick the cheapest model out there. Instead, it’s recommendable to invest in the most reliable device.
The smoke detector you are going to buy should be UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) tested and rated. UL tested and rated alarms are put through vigorous testing in all possible scenarios to prove their reliability.
Although hard-wired smoke detectors are relatively expensive, they tend to be more reliable – as they provide earlier detection and can revert to a battery backup in the case of a power outage.
This is a 120VAC, wire-in smoke detector that comes with a 9V battery back up. The detector also combines both ionization and photoelectric technologies for broad and more effective detection against flaming and smoldering fires.
The Firex i4618 is another great hardwired smoke detector that comes with lots of user-friendly features, including battery backup, a large mounting base, easy-access front-loading battery pull tab, dust cover, centrally located Hush/Test alarm button, and pre-stripped wiring harness with easy off cap.
This smoke detector can be interconnected with 24 other compatible devices – 18 of which can be initiating.
Kidde i12040 120V AC
This AC powered, hardwired smoke detector meets all UL requirements, and guarantees reliable protection from the dangers of smoke and fire. It features a 9V battery backup and a unique “Hush” feature, which you can use to silence nuisance alarms. The detector’s tamperproof locking pin helps deter alarm tampering or theft.
First Alert SA305CN
This smoke alarm’s stand out feature is the long-life 9V lithium battery that offers years of reliable service. Actually, it’s sold complete with a 10-year battery life warranty.
Other wonderful features include optional pin for locking the battery and the detector in place (for tamper resistance), silence/test button for silencing non-threatening alarms, power indicator to show you if it’s receiving power, side battery drawer for easy battery replacement, “low battery” alert, and an enhanced smoke gathering design.
This is a wireless smoke alarm that uses radiofrequency to interconnect with other alarms. If you are worried about the high cost and hassle of rewiring your home that comes with alarm installation, this smoke-detection unit is a perfect option.