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Are Smart Smoke Detectors Safe? 3 Main Benefits + Tips

Are Smart Smoke Detectors Safe

According to the US National Fire Protection Association, home fires in America cause about 2620 deaths, 11030 injuries, and $7.2 billion in property damage each year.

Modern home security systems have since added smart smoke detectors to their product line-ups to alleviate this ongoing problem.

But are smart smoke detectors safe?

Smart smoke detectors are safe. These devices go off when they detect subtle changes, such as increased temperature or carbon monoxide levels. These detectors are programmed to monitor homes constantly and send instant alerts to homeowners and local fire departments during emergencies.

Installing a smart smoke alarm is arguably a sure-fire way to improve your home security system.

But that said, are there cases where these detectors may not produce the expected results?

Read on to learn more about these devices and where they work best.

What Is a Smart Smoke Detector?

A smart smoke detector is a device that can communicate with connected devices when it detects smoke or rising temperature.

You can integrate them with a pre-existing home security system, allowing you access via your favorite smart devices.

This device allows you to remotely monitor emergencies, receive instant notifications, and shut off the alarm using voice commands.

The Types of Smart Smoke Detectors

There are several types of smart smoke alarms, classified by how they detect smoke. The main ones are:

  • Ionization detectors
  • Photoelectric detectors
  • Dual-sensor detectors

Ionization alarms use radiation to detect smoke, while photoelectric detectors use infrared light to achieve the same result.

You may think, “So, which of the two is better?”

According to the US Fire Administration, ionization smoke alarms are more effective at detecting smoke from flames than photoelectric detectors.

Conversely, photoelectric alarms detect smoke from smoldering fires faster than ionization smoke alarms.

The two also have different limitations.

For example, if an ionization smoke detector is close to your kitchen, chances are you’ll get a false alarm when cooking – these devices can easily detect fumes or steam in the air.

On the other hand, a photoelectric detector may sound off if you install it in a dusty room.

Long story short, none of the two is better than the other. 

Because of that, it’s best to equip your home with both types of smoke alarms, or better yet, use a dual-sensor detector to get the best of both worlds.

Are Smart Smoke Detectors Worth It?

Are you considering a smart smoke detector in your home?

Do you want to know how they match up against traditional smoke alarms?

Wonder no longer!

Let’s dive in and see what smart smoke alarms offer. 

Faster Detection of Fires

Smart smoke detectors are ultra-sensitive, thanks to the advanced photoelectric and ionization smoke-sensing technology they use.

Unlike standard smoke detectors, which go off when there’s too much smoke in a room, smart smoke alarms detect the tell-tale signs of fire — like a drastic increase in temperature — and send notifications to the relevant parties.

That’s quite a significant upgrade!

A timely notification allows you more time to take precautions, like stepping out to call the local fire department before things get out of hand.

Also, it doesn’t make sense for your alarm to become triggered after you’ve already inhaled a lot of carbon monoxide!

You might also like: How accurate is the Ecobee humidity sensor?

Constant Monitoring and Automatic Alerts

Smart smoke detectors offer round-the-clock monitoring.

With batteries that can last up to five years, these devices come in handy if you’re a traveler.

They keep your home security system on high alert. 

If you’re on vacation and receive a phone alert, you don’t have to cancel your trip – the smart smoke detector automatically notifies the local fire department for you!

In other words, a smart smoke alarm provides an unrivaled peace of mind.

Pro Tip: To make the most of their 24/7 monitoring features, always ensure your smart smoke alarm and home security systems are configured to send notifications to the relevant authorities in case of an emergency.

Reliability and Battery Life

Undoubtedly, using a standard smoke alarm comes with the challenge of replacing its batteries several times a year.

Besides, most of these traditional detectors don’t alert you to the remaining power level. 

Smart smoke detectors have batteries that last much longer – as I mentioned earlier, they can serve you for up to 5 years.

Also, a smart alarm can show you its power level through a smartphone app, so you don’t have to be caught off-guard during a fire emergency.

Key Takeaway: A smart smoke detector is a worthwhile addition to your home security system.

Are Wireless Smoke Detectors Safe?

Based on the discussion above, we can say that a smart smoke alarm offers more convenience than a conventional one.

However, how does a smart detector rack up against a standard one in terms of safety?

From a safety point of view, here are the primary selling points of a wireless smoke detector: 


A smart smoke alarm offers the reassurance that it’s working correctly; you can monitor its battery, sensor, and Wi-Fi connection using an app. 

This feature allows you to fix it immediately, preventing the hassles that come with realizing your home is on fire, but the alarm hasn’t gone off.

Safety While You’re Away

As long as you’re not home, it doesn’t matter how loud your smoke alarm gets.

Although your neighbors may hear the sounds and intervene, there’s no guarantee that they’ll always be there to help. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to have a system that can immediately notify you and the authorities of any emergencies, whether you’re home or not – we’ve already discussed how this happens.

Placement Matters

Like traditional smoke detectors, the placement of a smart smoke alarm makes a difference.

According to a 2017 study published in the Fire Safety Journal, both ionization and photoelectric detectors tend to produce sound levels below 75 dBA (decibels), considered the waking threshold level.

In other words, these devices may not produce a sound that’s loud enough to wake those at risk, especially individuals with hearing impairments.

So, how can you address this?

The study also reports that setting these alarms at lower frequencies (520 Hz square wave) can alert more people by:

  • Transmitting sound loudly and effectively
  • Producing sounds that most people can hear – many people tend to develop hearing loss at higher frequencies

More Is Better

These smoke alarms are also more effective when installed in all rooms.

If you only place them in hallways and a few bedrooms, anyone on the other end of the house won’t hear it.

That could happen even if you leave all doors open.

As a rule of thumb, its best to install smart smoke detectors in the following places:

  • All bedrooms
  • Outside all sleeping areas
  • The kitchen
  • The basement

The following video explains this in more detail:

Pro Tip: Always place your smoke detectors at least 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) away from ceiling corners. Avoid placing them near windows, fans and vents, cooking appliances, unfinished attic, in the garage, or the bathroom.

The Best Smart Smoke Detectors

If you need an upgrade to your home security system, I recommend these smart smoke alarms from Amazon:

Google Nest Protect

This smart smoke alarm detects smoke and carbon monoxide.

It tells you the room the alert is coming from and offers a visual cue, depending on the seriousness of the threat. 

It works with various smart home devices and automatically turns on lights during an emergency, making it a great choice.

Reading tip: Can Google Home / Nest Be Hacked? 6 Dangers + 10 Tips

First Alert Onelink Smoke Alarm

Similarly, this device detects both smoke and carbon monoxide.

On top of that, it’s compatible with Alexa, so you can use voice control to set timers, play music, or get weather data. 

Additionally, this smoke detector lets you track its battery level to keep you in the loop, so you can replace it when necessary. 

Bottom Line

Without a doubt, home fires come with devastating consequences, ranging from the destruction of property to the loss of life.

Because of that, it’s critical to have a home security system that detects threats and notifies you or the authorities instantly.

This is where a smart smoke alarm steps in.

Smart smoke detectors are convenient and safe to use.

They come with features that enable you to monitor the overall status of your home, pinpoint the sources of alarms, and notify local emergency response teams even when you’re away, making them a significant boost to your safety.

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