Are you looking for a reliable WiFi-connected smoke detector or fire alarm?
Do you want to monitor your home remotely for smoke and fire emergencies?
You’ve come to the right place.
In this in-depth shopping guide, we’ll review the best smart smoke detectors and fire alarms for your home.
All of the alarms we’ll review are WiFi-connected, which means they can alert you to a fire or carbon monoxide leak through your phone, no matter where you are.
So let’s get started…
What’s In This Guide?
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Best WiFi Smart Smoke & Fire Detectors Compared
Best Connected Smoke Alarm: Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Nest Protect is the gold standard when it comes to smart smoke and fire alarms. The second generation Protect makes huge improvements to the initial model. It works more reliably without any false alarms.
The 2nd gen Nest Protect can detect smoke and carbon monoxide and immediately notify you via voice and phone alerts.
To do this, it uses a special type of sensor that can detect different types of fires to help you respond better to the emergency.
The alarm comes in two options: wired and battery-powered.
1. Split-spectrum sensor
The Nest Protect uses a unique sensor that puts it in a league above other smoke and fire sensors. They call it a Split-spectrum sensor.
The sensor can differentiate between slow and fast fires and alerts you appropriately for each type of emergency. It is also less prone to false alarms which were a problem with the first generation model.
2. Voice notifications and phone alerts
Rather than just beeping to alert you to a fire, the Nest Protect V2 smoke sensor talks to you and tells you which room the fire or smoke is in… like,
“There’s smoke in the kitchen.”
This is more helpful than a simple alarm. Knowing the location can shave a few seconds off your response – and make all the difference.
If it’s just your dinner burning, though, you can quickly hush the alarm using your phone.
3. Self-Test with advance low-battery warning
Nest Protect constantly carries out self-tests to detect any problems and alert you.
You don’t have to worry about that constant chirping or wonder what that blinking light means.
It also regularly checks the battery level and tells you well ahead of time to replace it. Nice.
One nice feature that Nest tucked into the alarm is a night light. Whenever you walk under it, a motion sensor triggers a soft light that lights your way in the dark.
Issues and Concerns
As smoke alarms go, the Nest Protect is a bit expensive. You’ll feel the pinch if you need multiple units.
On the other hand, it offers lots of convenience features to justify the price tag.
The other issue is that installation can be a bit of a chore. Expect to spend at least half an hour – or more if you are installing several. Or you can call a pro to do the installation for you.
The Nest Protect is the Best Smoke and Fire Alarm for You If…
You want the top-of-the-line WiFi smoke and carbon monoxide detector that works reliably and provides plenty of smart home features – and you’re willing to pay a premium for it.
Best Smoke Detector for a Kid’s Room: Kidde RemoteLync
The Kidde Remote Lync Monitor is an Acoustic Detection Device. It detects the sound alarm made by another smoke or fire detector, then alerts you.
It connects to your WiFi and sends you alerts on your phone wherever you are.
1. Leverages existing fire alarms
If you’re like me, you already have 4 or 5 alarms in your home and you don’t want to buy 5 more – you just want to extend the alerts over WiFi to your phone.
The Kidde Remote Lync Monitor solves this problem for you.
It doesn’t detect fire or smoke – it works by listening for alarms given off by your existing CO and fire/smoke detectors. The Remote Lync can detect specific alert patterns for UL-listed smoke alarms made after 1999.
For smoke detectors, it listens for a 3-alarm pattern. For carbon monoxide detectors, it listens for a 4-alarm pattern.
The unit uses white noise filters to detect a ringing alarm even when there is a lot of background noise, which greatly reduces the risk of false alarms (though some customers say they still happen).
2. Remote monitoring
After you connect the Remote Lync to your wireless router and download the companion smartphone app, it will alert you to an emergency at any time, wherever you are.
3. Wide device compatibility
The Kidde Remote Lync Monitor is compatible with iOS and Android devices. This includes smartphones and tablets.
Issues and Concerns
There are quite a few complaints from customers regarding this smoke and carbon monoxide monitor.
For one, installation and setup can be frustrating. It requires several tries to connect it to your router.
When you’ve successfully set it up, false alarms tend to occur too frequently. This will give you unnecessary anxiety, wondering whether the alarm could be real this time or whether you should ignore it.
This smoke and carbon monoxide detector is best for you if…
You already have plenty of smoke & CO detectors and just want to extend them to your smartphone. You’ll save $100s, too.
Best Smoke Alarm for Apple HomeKit: Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
If you use Apple HomeKit for your home automation, then the Onelink WiFi smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is worth taking a look at.
It has a useful voice alarm that tells you where the emergency is and sends alerts to your iPhone through the companion app.
Unfortunately, like many HomeKit appliances, there are a lot of customer complaints about this device and its integration w/ HomeKit – so I recommend you go with a Nest Protect unless you really must integrate it w/ your Apple systems.
1. Voice alarm w/ remote alerts
Like the Nest Protect, the Onelink alarm uses voice alerts inside the home to tell you what the emergency is and where it is.
This makes it easier and faster to check out the problem.
The Onelink can also alert you via your iPhone or iPad. To do this, just connect it to your wireless router/network and download the mobile app.
You can also integrate it with other HomeKit-compatible devices, too.
2. Connects w/ other alarms
If you are buying alarms for multiple rooms, it’s easy to connect all of them together via Bluetooth instead of WiFi.
If you have a really large home to monitor, you can set up all of the alarms to trigger when one of them goes off – although this can create a distracting and confusing nuisance, so don’t do it unless it’s the only way to be safe.
3. 10-year battery
The Onelink smoke alarm is fitted with a 10-year battery that is is securely sealed inside the unit to protect it from moisture and dust.
Issues and Concerns
This smoke alarm currently has a 70% negative rating (3 stars and below) on Amazon. There are a lot of dissatisfied customers.
Complaints include false alarms, difficulty with WiFi setup, failure to test, terrible app, poor customer service and sudden alarms at odd hours of the night.
Yeah… that last one.
That’s why I recommend (for now) that you buy the Nest Protect unless you absolutely need a smoke detector that is compatible with HomeKit.
This smoke and carbon monoxide detector is best for you if…
You are looking for a HomeKit-compatible smoke and carbon monoxide alarm.
Best Budget Smoke & CO Alarm: First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave
If you want a simple, smart smoke detector that will alert you if your house is about to burn down or there is a carbon monoxide leak, then the First Alert smoke and carbon monoxide detector may be exactly what you are looking for.
For less than $50, you’ll get 2-in-1 protection, a 7-year warranty and compatibility with Z-Wave.
One thing you should note before buying this detector is that this unit only works with a Z-Wave hub and other Z-Wave devices. You cannot connect it directly to your router.
1. Z-Wave compatibility
Set up is fairly quick and easy. Once you have linked it to your hub, you can receive alerts on your phone wherever you are.
You can also connect it to other Z-Wave compatible devices and then trigger certain actions if the alarm goes off.
For example, you can trigger all the lights to come on when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.
Or you can set up the alarm to ring through your connected speakers in case you are asleep.
If you have a connected a smart thermostat, then you can set it up to switch off the AC in case of an emergency.
2. Reliable smoke and CO sensors
This alarm uses a photoelectric smoke sensor to detect smoke and to reduce false alarms from cooking and shower steam.
There are very few customer complaints about false alarms w/ this one.
The detector also comes with a 7-year warranty, which is outstanding for an electronic appliance like this.
The detector is battery operated so you don’t have to hardwire it, saving you time and effort during installation.
Keep an ear for the low battery warning and replace them immediately.
Issues and Concerns
Though false alarms are not common with this unit, some customers have experienced them – usually after several months of use.
There are also a few complaints regarding the batteries. The alarm sometimes beeps a low battery warning even when the battery still contains plenty of juice. Re-inserting the batteries usually solves this problem.
The First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave detector is best for you if…
You want a cheap and reliable smoke and CO detector; or, you are looking for a Z-Wave-compatible smoke alarm.
Best Plug-In Connected Smoke Alarm: Leeo Smart Alert Smoke/CO Remote Alarm Monitor
This alarm works like the Kidde Remote Lync Monitor we reviewed above.
The Leeo Smart Alert does not detect the presence of smoke or carbon monoxide in your home. Instead, it detects when other smoke/CO alarms go off.
It then notifies you immediately on your phone – and can even helps you dial 911.
If you don’t want to pay a small fortune to buy several smart smoke alarms like Nest Protect, then this is a good alternative. You can retain your old smoke alarms but still get some of the benefits of a smart WiFi-connected alarm.
1. Reliable alarm detection
The Leeo smart smoke alarm monitor listens for specific frequencies that are emitted by active smoke and CO alarms.
It is designed to pick up these frequencies even when there is a lot of background noise such as dogs barking.
2. Phone alerts and emergency calls
Once it detects an alarm, the Leeo Smart Alarm quickly sends an alarm to your phone. Right from the phone app (available for both iOS and Android), you can call 911 or cancel the alarm if it’s false.
If you do not respond to the alert, the app has a backup action plan option that notifies your friends or neighbors whom you set up as emergency contacts during installation. This is a lifesaver if you are not near your phone or don’t hear the alert.
It also makes this unit particularly appealing to people who want to monitor vacation homes or are away on long trips.
3. Easy setup
This is a really simple plug-in smoke alarm detector. You plug it into a socket, and that’s it – no need to screw it into the ceiling or hardwire it into the circuit.
Connecting it to your home WiFi network isn’t difficult, either. It takes about a minute.
4. IFTTT compatible
Leeo comes with a nightlight you can use to light up a hallway or room at night. You can change the brightness or color using the smartphone app.
You can also control the light and integrate it with other devices using IFTTT. For example, you can set the light to turn blue when you wake up, dim at night or turn green when it’s about to rain. The possibilities are endless.
Issues and Concerns
One issue mentioned by several customers is a tendency for other sounds to trigger Leeo.
One customer got a false alarm because his robot vacuum was beeping, for example.
Another said the hum of the AC can trigger the alarm.
The Leeeo Smart Alarm detector is best for you if…
You don’t want to buy expensive smart alarms and would rather just monitor your existing smoke and CO detectors.
It is also a good choice for vacation homes and houses that remain empty for extended periods.
Best Smart Battery for A Smoke Detector: Roost PP3 Smart Battery
This isn’t your ordinary fire alarm battery.
In addition to powering your smoke detector for five years, it connects your alarm to your WiFi network and alerts you when the alarm goes off.
It also comes with a smartphone app that can call 911 and alert your neighbors.
1. Low-battery alert
There is nothing more annoying than waking up at 3 am to the incessant chirp of a smoke alarm.
While that reminder is crucial for your family’s safety, it’s irritating.
The Roost PP3 smart battery ensures that your family is safe without the annoying beeps.
It will notify you ahead of time when your battery is running low, so you can replace it before the smoke alarm does its annoying thing.
2. Remote Alarm Monitoring
The Roost smart battery is not a smoke alarm. It contains no smoke or CO sensors.
Instead, it acts as an alarm detector. If the alarm it is inserted into goes off, then it alerts you on your phone.
You’ll need to download the companion app to receive the alerts.
You can also call emergency services right from the app. Alerts can also be sent to your emergency contacts.
The app lets you to snooze the alarm, so if you are cooking and there is plenty of smoke in the kitchen, just press snooze and the battery prevents the alarm from going off.
3. Easy installation
It takes 5-10 minutes to install this battery.
You’ll need to swap out the old battery and put in the new one, download the app and then connect it to your home WiFi network.
Issues and Concerns
WiFi pairing can be a bit tricky, but customer support is very helpful.
For more versatility and convenience, I wish the battery was compatible with IFTTT or with a hub like SmartThings. This would make it easy to customize the alerts however you want.
The Roost PP3 Smart Battery is the best choice for you if…
You want an affordable and easy way to connect your existing smoke and CO alarms to notify you when the battery is low and to notify you when there is a smoke or CO emergency.
Features To Consider When Buying a Smart Smoke Detector & Fire Alarm
Not all smoke detectors are the same. Consider these features to help you choose the right one for your needs.
Battery-Powered vs. Hardwired
Battery-operated smoke detectors are the most common. They are cheap and easy to install. Maintenances tasks such as battery replacements are also easy and fast.
Hardwired smoke detectors, on the other hand, require a longer installation process.You also have to switch off power at the mains every time you want to do any maintenance work.
There are two big advantages to hardwired smoke detectors. One is that you don’t have to worry about a dead battery. Most even have a backup battery in case of a power outage.
The second advantage is that hardwired smoke detectors are often interconnected. If one goes off, it triggers all the others as well. This creates a quicker alert system.
But nowadays you can also buy battery-powered smoke detectors that are interconnected wirelessly either via WiFi or Bluetooth.
Most also have long-lasting batteries which can run for 5 to 10 years before you need to get new batteries.
If you already have an old hardwired alarm, it’s easy to replace it with a new hardwired one. If you are installing the alarm in a new place, a battery-operated one will be easier and faster to set up.
Interconnected vs. Stand-Alone
Interconnected smoke alarms operate as a group. If one goes off, all will start beeping. This is great for alerting everyone in the house to the emergency.
With stand-alone alarms, you may not hear the basement alarm ringing, or you could be asleep in the bedroom not hearing the kitchen smoke alarm.
Connected smoke detectors offer more safety and protection.
Finally, consider a smoke alarm that offers extra features. Here are some of the features that are worth paying a little extra for.
- Remote control and emergency alerts. Many modern smoke alarms are WiFi connected. That means you can control them and receive emergency alerts through your phone wherever you are. They are great for watching over your home when you are at work or on holiday. They are also ideal for vacation homes and rental properties.
- Voice hush. Some smoke and fire alarms now allow users to silence an alarm via voice. This saves you the trouble of having to climb up to silence the alarm when the only emergency was your burnt dinner. WiFi connected smoke alarms let you silence the alarm on your phone.
- Silence/snooze button. Because of their sensitivity, most smoke alarms will go off even if it’s just a little smoke from the pot or oven. Get a smoke alarm with a silence or snooze button. You can then disable the alarm – usually for a specific period of 15 minutes – until you finish cooking.
- Central home security monitoring. If you already have a home security monitoring service (or are planning to get one soon), consider adding smoke alarm monitoring. It will give you peace of mind knowing someone is monitoring your smoke alarm 24/7. But nowadays with smart WiFi smoke alarms that can alert you and your emergency contacts via phone to a fire or a CO leak, a central-monitored smoke alarm is usually not necessary.
- Carbon monoxide detection. This one is standard now with almost all smoke alarms. If you have any potential source of a CO leak at homes such as a clothes dryer, furnace or fireplace, get a 2-in-1 alarm that provides both smoke and carbon monoxide detection.
- Location identification. A ringing smoke alarm doesn’t exactly tell you where the emergency is. Interconnected alarms can be even more confusing. Those few seconds spent looking for the source of smoke can result in disaster. Some smart alarms such as Nest Protect don’t alert you to smoke or CO; they tell you where it is;e.g., Kitchen, basement or master bedroom.
Types of Smoke & Fire Detectors
The world of smoke alarms has be completely upturned by smart home technology. Today, it can be really confusing to pick the right one for your home.
There are three basic choices to make when selecting the right smart home smoke / CO / fire detector today: its functionality, its power source and its sensors.
Functionally, there are 3 types of smoke/fire detectors sold today:
- Smoke alarms – These are the traditional alarms that can only detect smoke.
- Multifunction alarms –These are alarms that can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide. Most modern smoke alarms are multifunction.
- Smart alarms –These are smoke detectors that can be connected to WiFi and send smoke/CO alerts remotely to your phone. Some smart smoke alarms can also be paired with smart devices and systems such as IFTTT and Z-Wave.
You can also categorize a smart smoke alarm by its power source:
- Battery-powered smoke detectors – These are the most common. They are usually powered by a 9V battery that requires regular replacement. Others are powered by longer lasting 120V or lithium batteries.
- Hardwired smoke detectors – Instead of a battery, these alarms are hardwired into your home’s electrical circuit. That means they don’t need battery replacements. Most hardwired smoke alarms come with a backup battery.
Finally, there are four kinds of sensors used in most smart smoke/fire detectors:
- Ionization sensors –These sensors use an ionization chamber to detect small amounts of smoke. If even a little smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the ionization process and sets off the alarm. Ionization sensors are good for fast burning fires which produce little smoke.
- Photoelectric sensors –These sensors use light beams to detect smoke particles. When smoke scatters the light, it triggers the alarm. Photoelectric sensors are better at detecting slow smoldering fires which produce more smoke. Nest Protect uses a special type of photoelectric sensor called a split-spectrum sensor that can detect both fast and slow fires.
- Audio sensors — Some smart fire detectors actually listen to other alarms, then alert you to their status. It is important that the sensor filter-out white background noise and be able to distinguish alarm patters of many devices.
- Combination sensors – These sensors contain both ionization and photoelectric sensors to detect all kinds of fires. They are the best for protecting your home from a fire.
Where To Install A Smart Smoke Alarm / CO Detector
When installing smoke detectors, your goal should be to cover the entire house. Any smoke arising from any corner of the house should be detected by a nearby alarm.
Here are the installation guidelines provided by the National FireProtection Association (NFPA):
- On every level of the house.
- In every bedroom or sleeping area and the hallways immediately outside the bedrooms.
- In large rooms and main living areas such as the living room and kitchen. Be careful to locate the alarm at least 10 feet away from directly above the cooking area.Smoke or steam from cooking can cause false fire alarms.
- In the basement ceiling at the bottom of the stairs.
- For a house with multiple levels, install a fire alarm at the top of every stairway leading to the next floor.
As a rule of thumb, smoke detectors should always be placed high (smoke always rises).The ideal position is on the ceiling away from a cooking appliance, AC ducts, and windows.
If you install the smoke detector on the wall, make sure it is at most a feet away from the ceiling.
If you have pitched ceilings, install the alarm within 3 feet of the apex but not directly at the apex. The alarm should be at least 4 inches down from the very top of the apex.
Smoke Alarm Installation and Maintenance Tips
The first step is to pick the right kind of smoke alarm. At the very least, you should get combination alarms (ionization and photoelectric) that are interconnected either physically via wire or wirelessly.
It’s up to you whether you want a smart alarm though we highly recommend it. If you don’t want a smart alarm, get a smart alarm monitor. It monitors the smoke alarm for you and alerts you if it goes off. It’s cheaper than a smart smoke alarm.
Then follow the recommended placement tips. We’ve mentioned them in the previous section. Here are some more installation and maintenance tips.
- Do not install the smoke detector near a window, AC vents or anywhere near a draft. It will interfere with its function.
- Regularly check your smoke alarms for any obstructions such as dust and clean them as instructed in the manual. Never obstruct a smoke alarm by painting over it or putting a sticker on it.
- Test your smoke alarms at least once every month. Most fire alarms have a test button you can use to check whether the alarm is still working easily. If the test button doesn’t work, you’ll have to use actual smoke. Light a couple of matches and hold them under the detector but keep them far away enough to avoid burning it.
- When testing a smoke detector, have a family member stand at the farthest point to check whether it can be heard from far away.
- If you have the normal 9V batteries, replace them once or twice a year. Some batteries need replacement after 5 or 10 years. Check your manual for instructions. Regardless of the type of batteries you are using, if they sound weak or don’t work during the monthly test, replace them immediately.
- Always use interconnected alarms from the same company to ensure compatibility.
- For better smoke alarm monitoring and control, get a smart smoke alarm or a smart smoke alarm monitor.