Best Smart Smoke Detectors 2018

Product Use case Rating
Nest Protect Best Overall 9
Roost Battery 2.0 Best Budget Option 9
Roost RSA-400 All-In-One Budget Option N/A

There’s nothing more critical than having a working smoke detector in your home. Its loud, piercing alarm should wake you if there’s smoke or fire, so you and your loved ones can safely escape, or put out the fire. Smart smoke detectors go a step further, as they can send an alert to your smartphone if they sense something amiss. That way, if you’re at work, or out of town, you can call the fire department or a neighbor check on your house, to see if everything is OK. Another benefit of a smart smoke detector is that you can temporarily silence the alarm from your smartphone — so there’s no more trying to jab the Silence button with a broomstick after you set it off while cooking a steak.

Our favorite smart smoke detector is the Nest Protect. It's the most full-featured alarm, blaring out a loud siren and telling you where the problem is. It works with a lot of other smart home systems, and even performs self-checks every month. However, if you don't want to spend more than $100 on a smoke detector, then check out the Roost Smart Battery. This 9-volt Wi-Fi connected battery costs just $35, goes into any smoke detector, and alerts your phone when the alarm goes off.

Latest Smoke Detector News & Updates (May 2018)

  • OneLink's newest device, the Safe & Sound ($249, available June 1), looks to take on the Nest Protect. This smoke and carbon monoxide detector send an alert to your smartphone, and will tell you the type and location of the fire or condition. But it will be able to do more than alert you; it will have a 10-watt speaker and have Alexa built in, so you can use it to play music, listen to audiobooks, and access Alexa's thousands of skills. (It's also compatible with Apple's HomeKit). However, it won't come cheap: The Safe & Sound—which will require a hard-wired connection—will cost $249, and be available June 1 on Amazon. Fortunately, OneLink will also sell two versions without Alexa built in; one that's hardwired, and one that will run off battery power. Pricing and availability for the latter two have yet to be announced, but expect them later this year.

While Nest’s smoke alarm is the most expensive, it’s the most comprehensive, too. It detects both smoke and carbon monoxide, and when it does pick up something, it will not only sound an alarm, but will also tell you in what room the alert is coming from, and the nature of the alert. An LED ring on the bottom of the alarm also changes color, giving you a visual cue.

The Nest Protect comes in both wired and battery-powered versions. If you have more than one in your home, and one goes off, the others will too, alerting you to the location of the fire.

The Nest Protect also works with a wide range of smart-home devices. For example, in the event of an emergency, the Nest can automatically turn on your lights, making it easier for you to get out of your house

What Owners Are Saying

On Amazon, the Nest Protect has an average rating of 4.5 stars from nearly 5,000 reviews.

Among verified purchases, many complimented its performance, but acknowledged its high price. “In particular the lack of things like low battery chirps, random chirps for errors, etc, was worth an almost 100% premium for me over getting more cheap detectors,” said one reviewer.

The Roost battery is the best — well, only — option for those who already have smoke detectors, and want to make them “smart.” That’s because the Roost battery, which is Wi-Fi- enabled, sends an alert to your smartphone when the siren goes off. The second-generation battery looks and acts like the original, but has a much easier setup process.

Through the app, which can accommodate a large number of connected batteries, you have the option to silence the alarm for up to 2 minutes, and automatically send an alert to someone else. Additionally, you can link the Roost battery to other smart-home products through IFTTT, to, say, turn on your lights when the alarm goes off.

The battery is designed to last up to five years, and will work with any smoke/CO alarms that use a 9-volt battery, which includes hard-wired alarms with a 9V battery backup.

What Owners Are Saying

The original Roost Battery has only about 200 reviews on Amazon, where it gets an average of 3 stars. Among the top comments, several praised Roost’s customer service in troubleshooting issues.

This device is pretty innovative, and a super easy, super cool way to connect up your alarm monitoring,” wrote one person.

There are no smarts in the Roost RSA-400 smoke detector itself; rather, it uses Roost’s smart Battery to connect to your Wi-Fi and alert your smartphone when it detects a problem. The RSA-400 uses both ionization and photoelectric sensors to detect fast flaming and slow smoldering fires, carbon monoxide and methane gas. The RSA-200 ($59) operates similarly, but can detect only smoke and fire. Both models require a hard-wired connection.

What to look for in a smart smoke detector

Fire and smoke detection sensors. All smoke detectors use one of two types of sensors to detect fires. Ionization-type sensors are best at detecting fast-burning fires, while photoelectric sensors are generally better at alerting you about smouldering, or slow-burning fires. You should have both types of alarms in your house. Smoke alarms such as the Roost RSA-400 and the Nest Protect are designed to pick up both types of fires.

Carbon monoxide and other gas detection. Even if you don't have a fire in your home, you can be suffocated by carbon monoxide. A good detector should also protect you against this.

Hardwired vs. Standalone. If your home has hardwired alarms, they will all be interconnected, so that if one goes off, they all will go off. Hardwired alarms also receive their power from your home, and only use batteries as backups. Standalone detectors run on batteries alone, so they may need to be replaced more often, and cannot signal each other in the event of an emergency (the Nest is an exception to this). However, it's a lot easier to mount standalone smoke detectors where you need them.

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