It’s not that uncommon to hear stories of house fires. An active stove or a faulty electronic device is all that it takes to start a flame, and with enough flammable material in the household, it can quickly spin out of control. There’s a reason why an entire department of public service is dedicated to fighting fires - it’s just that common of a problem. However, with the best smoke detectors, this problem can be minimized substantially.
Smoke detectors aren’t new by any means. They’ve been around for a while, and most modern commercial buildings have some form of smoke detection. But even a humble home could use a few smoke detectors installed throughout the house. They’re affordable, easy to manage, and can even save your life if it successfully detects a potential house fire. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and these smoke detectors are one of the best investments you could make towards house safety. Here are some of the best ones available online.
We’re starting off this list with a standard smoke detector. By all means, this isn’t anything too fancy, but it’s got enough going for it that it makes for quite a compelling buy, especially at its price point. You’ve got a simple, sleek design that looks great on most ceilings or walls, especially those that are white in color. Despite its unintrusive design, however, the circular LED in the middle makes it easy to spot even when not activated, so you know exactly where to look.
When the detector finds smoke, it not only sets off an auditory alarm, but it also blinks its red LED light, once per second. This gives both visual and auditory signals, so those with impairments in either sense can still be aware of the situation. The visual LED is especially useful if the smoke is still barely visible, as there are many situations where you won’t even notice the smoke until it’s too late. You don’t need anything fancy to alarm you of a fire, and this detector is a great example of this fact.
Many smoke alarms are, in a sense, black and white. If there’s smoke, the alarm goes off, and if there isn’t, it doesn’t. This may seem like a practical solution at first glance, until you realize that smoke detectors can trigger false alarms. If the condition of the environment is just slightly different from normal, you can bet that the alarm will trigger, even if there’s actually no sense of danger present.
But what if you could fine-tune the alarm to only set off when there’s actual smoke that poses a threat to your home? The X-Sense smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is the solution. It has an advanced display that shows you exactly how much CO levels are present in the air, letting you know exactly how much smoke is in the air at any given moment. You can set it to only go off at a certain level, so you won’t have to worry about waking up to false alarms in the middle of the night.
Advanced digital display
Precise smoke detection
Slightly more expensive than other smoke detectors
Smoke detectors are great for warning you of a potential house fire, but there are limits to its reach. Usually, a smoke detector can only really be effective within a single room, and if another room catches on fire, it won’t be able to detect the smoke until it’s too late. An easy way to get around this is by installing smoke alarms in locations that are likely to catch on fire, such as the kitchen, but even then there’s always the possibility of a fire starting somewhere else at home.
If you can afford it, the ideal solution is to purchase multiple smoke alarms, with one for each room, and multiple for large rooms. This pack of smoke alarms come in a set of 6, more than enough for every bedroom, the living room, dining room, and even the attic or basement of the house. The alarms also come with two options for mounting – plates that have to be installed with tools, and tape that allows for mounting without the need for tools at all. This makes it especially useful for quick installation.
A common issue that homeowners have is that smoke detectors aren’t exactly 100% reliable. Hardwire models that get powered by electricity are useless in the event of a power outage, which may be extremely problematic when the power outage is caused by the fire itself. On the other hand, models powered by batteries run out of power eventually, and if you don’t regularly replace the batteries, you may have a fire start without the smoke detector activating because it ran out of juice.
This smoke detector, however, combines the best of both worlds. When there’s power, the hardwired detector gets its power from your home electricity, guaranteeing that it will work no matter what. In the event of a power outage, however, the backup battery kicks in, which guarantees even further safety. This can give you the peace of mind needed to go about your day without glancing at the smoke detector every now and then, worried if it’ll work when needed or not.
Smoke detectors aren’t meant to be regularly checked up on for battery levels and whatnot – they’re designed to go on for years without you worrying at all. However, in situations where you do need to replace the battery or give it a test, the process can be annoying to say the least. Many battery-based detectors have the batteries installed behind the detector, forcing you to remove it before you can replace the batteries inside.
This smoke detector, however, makes the process much easier. The batteries are stored in such a way that they can be accessed from the side so you don’t have to remove the entire controller. This is great if you’ve already firmly installed the detector in place and can’t be bothered to remove it and reinstall it again. There’s also a neatly and conveniently placed test button for easy deactivation when trying out the alarm itself.
Easy to replace batteries
Conveniently placed test button
Not the best-looking smoke detector in the market
Best Smoke Detector Buyer’s Guide
Smoke detectors are very important to get right because you’ll be relying on them to keep you safe from a potential house fire. Here’s what you need to know to ensure you buy the right one.
What is a smoke detector?
A smoke detector is a device that can detect smoke or carbon monoxide levels in the air. When enough carbon monoxide or smoke is detected, the detector activates an alarm or signal, usually in the form of an audible siren or a visual LED blink. The signal itself can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Why is it important to have a smoke detector?
It saves lives
When getting a smoke detector, this is probably the first thing that comes to your mind - the safety of you and your household. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night, only to find out that a fire has engulfed most of your house, and you have no way out of your room. It’s a nightmare-like situation that nobody should ever have to experience, but it does happen.
With a smoke detector, however, this can be prevented. The alarms are often loud enough that you can hear them from downstairs or from the other side of the house. You’ll immediately be notified of the situation, giving you more time to react and even stop the fire itself, if you have the tools to do so.
It saves money
Even though you mainly want smoke detectors to save your life and others, it’s also useful to help save money in the event of smaller, less damaging fires. Even if the fire may not be strong enough to burn down your house, it could easily damage furniture, appliances, and the like, which will add up to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in replacement fees. Again, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get a smoke detector for this reason only, but it’s a nice bonus to have when it also keeps you and your household safe at home.
Tips when using a smoke detector
Install them in potentially hazardous areas
Smoke detectors are affordable enough for most people to be able to buy at least one or two, but not everybody may not have the spare funding to cover their entire household. In situations such as this, it’s best to prioritize areas in the house that are likely to start a fire, or areas that you don’t want a fire to start in no matter what. A great example of this is the kitchen - with a stove and oven being very common culprits of house fires, a smoke detector is essentially a must-have in this room.
Alternatively, you can install them in rooms that you want to ensure never catch fire. If you have a baby, for example, you definitely want a smoke detector installed in their room so you’ll know immediately while you’re not in the room with your baby.
Cover every room
We mentioned earlier that not everybody can install smoke detectors in every room, and while you can make some adjustments to minimize the risk of undetected smoke, it’s best to install detectors in every room if you have the money. No matter how small the chances are, it’s never impossible for a room to catch fire, and even the most unsuspecting of rooms can be the place where a house fire starts.
As such, you’ll want to cover every room in your house. Even the smallest of pantries and storage rooms should be covered. If just one room gets engulfed in flames, it may already be too late to stop the fire without calling the fire department. Every second matters and you want to be informed as soon as a fire starts.
Use multiple alarms for larger rooms
Smoke detectors can detect smoke and carbon monoxide in the air, but there are limits to how far it can reach. Essentially, it can only detect air that passes through it, and in larger rooms, it can take a while before a fire from one side of the room gets detected elsewhere. Now, this problem isn’t exactly a common one, as most households have rooms that only need one smoke detector to be covered, but if it’s a large enough space, such as a garage or a two-story living room, then you’ll want to evenly space enough smoke detectors within it to ensure no area goes left unchecked.
Smoke detector price range
Smoke detectors do vary somewhat heavily in price, at least in a relative sense. Some detectors can be as affordable as $20 per unit, whereas others can cost double or more at $50 each. These detectors all sound alarms when detecting smoke - the difference lies within the additional features, such as a digital display or advanced smoke detection.
Best Smoke Detectors FAQs
Q: Do I need a smoke detector?
A: While you can definitely go about your day without one, a smoke detector ensures you’ll be aware of smoke or fire if you’re at home the moment it happens, potentially saving you and your home.
Q: Are smoke detectors reliable?
A: While some models are prone to false alarms, most fire alarms do work when smoke is present. You can always test them before installing them to ensure they work.
Q: How do smoke detectors detect?
A: There are many different ways smoke detectors detect smoke, but a common method involves detecting small particles in the air. If there are enough particles, it considers the air to be smoked, thus triggering the alarm.
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