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Best Smart Smoke Detector of 2020

The Safe & Sound comes with just about any smart feature you could hope for in a smoke alarm.
By David Wise ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Monday August 31, 2020
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After looking at just about every smart smoke detector out there, we bought the 6 best models currently on the market in 2020 and tested them head-to-head all to help you find the perfect addition to your smart home. We installed and connected these alarms to a series of different smart home systems, rating and scoring their overall ease of use, listening to alarm after alarm after alarm in the process. Check out the full review to see which smart smoke detector is the easiest and the simplest to install, which has the most smart home integration, and which one has the most features.

1

Best Overall Smart Smoke Detector


First Alert Alexa Safe & Sound


Editors' Choice Award
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$170.66
(32% off)
at Amazon
See It

Smoke Sensor Type: Photoelectric | Hardwired or Battery Option: Hardwired
Integrated Alexa-enabled speaker
Can connect with many existing hardwired smoke alarm systems
Expensive
More difficult setup process to link accounts

The OneLink Safe & Sound is the smoke detector that does it all. Not only is it a photoelectric smoke detector, but it is also equipped with an integrated carbon monoxide sensor, speaker system, and the Alexa voice assistant built right in. It can interface with a variety of music streaming services — Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio — and your Amazon Alexa account. This allows you to conveniently control other smart home devices, stream music, and even do your shopping all through your smoke detector. The OneLink Safe & Sound can also be connected to a compatible existing wired interconnected alarm system.

Being that you have to link accounts between multiple apps and services, the OneLink Safe & Sound can take a bit of effort to set up. You get a decent amount of bang for your buck given its multi-functional capabilities, however, this smoke detector is on the pricier side. The OneLink Safe & Sound is a great choice if you want an all-in-one smart home solution or if you already have an Alexa or Apple HomeKit based smart home.

It can take a little bit of time to get the Safe & Sound installed and paired correctly.
It can take a little bit of time to get the Safe & Sound installed and paired correctly.

2

Best for Google Smart Homes


Google Nest Protect


Editors' Choice Award
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$120.49
at Amazon
See It

Smoke Sensor Type: Split-Spectrum | Hardwired or Battery Option: Both
Quick install
Seamless integration with other Nest/Google smart home products
Motion-activated night light
Can't connect to existing non-Nest smoke detectors
Pricey

If you currently have a Nest/Google smart home, then it's hard to go wrong with the Nest Protect. This top-tier smart smoke detector features dual sensors to detect both flaming and smoldering fires, as well as an integrated carbon monoxide detector and escape light. It's a breeze to set up and connects with other Nest devices seamlessly, enabling you to do things like configuring your heating system to automatically turn off if it detects increased levels of carbon monoxide.

While the Nest Protect does offer plenty of functionality, it also has a fairly high price tag. This is associated with the fact that it can't interface with other cheaper alarms, so you may need to buy quite a few if you want a multi-alarm connected system. There are also some kinks that should hopefully be sorted out soon with the migration from Nest to Google accounts and the Works with Nest program. It's one of the best smart smoke detectors you can get if you are building a Google smart home or already have other Nest products.

The Protect works in tandem with Nest Cameras or Thermostats  allowing you to automatically record clips if triggered or turn off your heater if increased CO levels are measured.
The Protect works in tandem with Nest Cameras or Thermostats, allowing you to automatically record clips if triggered or turn off your heater if increased CO levels are measured.


3

Best Wireless Interconnected Alarm


Kidde 21026044 Wireless


Best Buy Award
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$36.33
at Amazon
See It

Smoke Sensor Type: Ionization | Hardwired or Battery Option: Battery
Easy to install and configure
Inexpensive
Less intuitive status indicators
No direct smart home integration

The Kidde 21026044 is a great choice if you looked at the Nest Protect or the OneLink Safe & Sound and thought they were far too expensive for a smoke detector. While this Kidde model isn't your typical smart smoke detector, we feel that it warrants inclusion in this review since it allows you to easily and inexpensively add a wireless interconnected series of smoke alarms throughout your home. The cost of this smoke detector is significantly less than the top-tier models and allows you to interconnect up to 24 devices — 18 of which can initiate the alarm for the whole system. The other 6 devices can be strobe lights or relay modules. Given that there aren't any accounts to make or apps to download, the set up is very easy.

The Kidde 21026044 is, however, limited in features compared to other models. If an alarm goes off, it won't send a notification to your phone, and the only way to turn off the sirens is to physically push the button on one of the alarms. It is possible to pair this with a smart smoke alarm listener to add those functions, like the Ring or the Echo Dot using Alexa Guard. If you are hoping to set up a smart multi-alarm system on a budget, then the Kidde 21026044 and a smart listener are your best bet.

The 21026044 is a great way to set up a wireless interconnected alarm system on a budget.
The 21026044 is a great way to set up a wireless interconnected alarm system on a budget.

4

Fastest to Install and Great for Renters


Echo Dot (3rd Gen)


Best Buy Award
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$29.99
(40% off)
at Amazon
See It

Smoke Sensor Type: N/A | Hardwired or Battery Option: Wall plug
Relatively Inexpensive
No need to drill holes to install
Seamlessly integrates with Alexa
Only as good as your existing smoke detectors
Can't remotely silence alarms

If you aren't in the position where you can install a standalone smart smoke detector or don't want to be bothered with mounting one to a wall or ceiling, then you should check out using Alexa Guard through an Echo Dot or other Alexa-enabled smart speakers. Alexa Guard will send you a notification if your Alexa device hears a smoke, carbon monoxide, or other alarm go off, and if it hears glass break. You can then listen to a 10-second recorded clip or drop in on your Echo device to find out what's going on. All you need to do to activate this is say "Alexa, I'm Leaving" once it's been enabled on your device.

Unfortunately, there are limits to how far Alexa Guard will take you. Since it isn't actually connected to your smoke detectors, you won't be able to hush them from your phone in the case of a false alarm. If your electrical power goes down or your Wifi network loses signal, it won't work either. On your way out of the house, it can also be easy to forget to activate it or to disable it through your Alexa. However, this is by far one of the cheapest, easiest, and least invasive options that will allow you to remotely monitor the smoke alarms in your home.

The Echo Dot -- or most other Alexa devices -- can add remote monitoring and smart alerts to your existing system at a very reduced price.
The Echo Dot -- or most other Alexa devices -- can add remote monitoring and smart alerts to your existing system at a very reduced price.

5

A Less Expensive Apple HomeKit/Alexa Option


Onelink Smart Smoke + Carbon Monoxide


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$106.90
(11% off)
at Amazon
See It

Smoke Sensor Type: Photoelectric | Hardwired or Battery Option: Both
Less expensive than other smart smoke alarms
Connects with some existing hardwired systems
Finicky to integrate into other smart home systems
Harder to set up

If you have an Alexa or Apple HomeKit smart home system and don't need to add another Alexa-enabled speaker to your house, then the OneLink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector is a good option. The cost is a bit less expensive than the Safe & Sound and it's a good choice if you are shopping on a budget and already have an existing hardwired interconnected alarm system that you want to add some remote monitoring to.

However, it can be a bit harder to use this alarm as a trigger for other events in your smart home, such as turning on the lights in the case of an alarm. The battery-powered version also lacks a night light. You'll want to make sure that your existing non-smart smoke alarm system is compatible to ensure you get the functionality you want since not all of them will trigger this alarm to send you push notifications in the event of an emergency. With all of these shortcomings in mind, if you're looking for a hardwired smart smoke alarm the OneLink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector is a decent budget option.

This alarm is a good way to add smart features to an Alexa or HomeKit smart home.
This alarm is a good way to add smart features to an Alexa or HomeKit smart home.

6

Ring Security System, Anyone?


Ring Smart Smoke Alarm Listener


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$34.99
at Amazon
See It

Smoke Sensor Type: N/A | Hardwired or Battery Option: Battery
Easy to set up
Inexpensive
Must have existing Ring system to function
Limited features

If you already have a Ring home security system, instead of having a separate smart smoke alarm, you may want to consider adding the Ring Alarm Smoke and CO Listener. To be clear, this doesn't negate the need for a smoke alarm at all, but it does allow you to add remote monitoring at a much lower cost than pretty much any other option on the market. There are no tools required, so it's extremely easy to set up, making it another good choice if you don't want to drill any holes in the wall.

However, you do need to at least have the Ring Base Station for this to function. Also given that it is only a smart listener, you won't have the option to silence the alarms remotely. It's a great budget option if you already have a Ring system but it probably isn't reason enough to go out and buy one in the first place.

The Ring Smoke Alarm Listener can only be used if you already have an existing Ring Security System.
The Ring Smoke Alarm Listener can only be used if you already have an existing Ring Security System.

Why You Should Trust Us


Our expert smart smoke detector reviewer, David Wise, has been professionally reviewing and testing consumer electronics and smart home products for over four years. He has formal training as a mechanical engineer and is an avid DIYer. He brings this experience to the design and implementation of our side-by-side smart smoke alarm testing process.

We installed these products in a variety of different places to conduct side-by-side testing. We integrated them into various smart home systems, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa, to try out all their different features and functions. In addition, we rated and compared the amount of time and effort required to install and configure each product and awarded points on their ease of use and different smoke detection abilities.

We tested all the best smoke alarms out there  including both smart and standard options.
Installing the mounting plate for the OneLink Smart Smoke + Carbon Monoxide using the included drywall anchors.
Trying out the different color options on the Safe & Sound.

Analysis and Test Results


We divided our testing and review process into a series of different ratings. The standout performers in each metric are discussed in the following sections.

Ease of Installation and Setup


The first thing we considered when evaluating performance is the time and hassle it took to install. Right off the bat, the Echo Dot/Alexa Guard and the Ring Smart Smoke Alarm Listener stood out to us as being particularly easy to set up, especially if you have already been using Alexa or had the Ring Security System installed. You just need to plug in your Echo Dot and walk through the prompts, then enable the Guard Feature and you're all set. The Ring Smart Smoke Alarm Listener is similar, as you just need to scan a QR code and do a quick test and you're finished. However, your Ring Listener will need to be mounted close to your existing smoke alarms.

The Ring Smoke Alarm Listener must be installed in close proximity to your existing alarm.
The Ring Smoke Alarm Listener must be installed in close proximity to your existing alarm.

The Kidde 21026044 is also very easy to set up because it doesn't require you to download any apps or create an account. You do need to attach the mounting plate with a pair of screws but all you need to do to configure the interconnected alarm system is pick a combination of the 8 switches on the back and they will automatically link to any other smoke alarm with the same combination selected.

The wireless interlink capabilities are one of our favorite features of this alarm.
The wireless interlink capabilities are one of our favorite features of this alarm.

The hardwired smoke alarms, like the OneLink Safe & Sound or the 120 VAC versions of the Nest Protect and the OneLink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector can take a bit of extra effort to install, particularly if you don't already have wired smoke detectors in place. You will most likely need a professional electrician to run the circuit for you if this happens to be the case. Nevertheless, you should also be sure the power is turned off before you install any hardwired products and carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions. Some of these products can even be wired into compatible non-smart interconnected alarm systems, which can allow you to add some smart features to an entire system by only replacing a single unit.

The OneLink Safe & Sound includes a wiring adapter that can make install a breeze if you already had certain types of First Alert alarms installed.
The OneLink Safe & Sound includes a wiring adapter that can make install a breeze if you already had certain types of First Alert alarms installed.

The battery-powered versions of the OneLink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector and the Nest Protect are very easy to install and set up, though it does take a little extra time if you need to download the app and create an account on your phone. Once you do that, your phone can usually detect the new device and walk you through the setup process.

Emergency Detection


The Nest Protect has a multitude of sensing capabilities, including a split-spectrum smoke sensor for fast and slow-burning fires as well as a carbon monoxide sensor. The OneLink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector and the OneLink Safe & Sound both have photoelectric smoke sensors and electrochemical carbon monoxide sensors. Photoelectric sensors are generally better at picking up smoldering fires, where ionization smoke sensors are faster at picking up flaming fires.

The Nest Protect has split-spectrum sensing to give you the best shot of an early warning for both common types of fires.
The Nest Protect has split-spectrum sensing to give you the best shot of an early warning for both common types of fires.

The Kidde 21026044 only has an ionization sensor for smoke, so for full protection, you will need to get to make sure you have a separate carbon monoxide sensor. Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association recommends you have both ionization and photoelectric sensors in your home for maximum protection, so consider supplementing your system with separate with photoelectric alarms.

The Kidde 21026044 makes it extremely easy to set up an interconnected system.
The Kidde 21026044 makes it extremely easy to set up an interconnected system.

Other Features


The wired version of the OneLink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector, the Nest Protect, and the OneLink Safe & Sound all have an integrated nightlight. We do like the fact that you can set the light on the Nest Protect to activate with a motion sensor, rather than just being on all the time at night like the Safe & Sound. The OneLink's light, however, does give you the option of changing its color.

You have the full spectrum of colors available when it comes to selecting your nightlight with the Safe & Sound.
You can customize the brightness of the light on this alarm or even turn it off entirely.

The OneLink Safe & Sound also includes an integrated wireless speaker with the Alexa voice assistant built right in. You can stream music through it or perform other common Alexa tasks, like setting an alarm or timer.

This smoke alarm gives you all the features of an Alexa device and a Bluetooth speaker  built right in.
This smoke alarm gives you all the features of an Alexa device and a Bluetooth speaker, built right in.

We like that you can hush any false alarms on the Nest Protect or the OneLink models through their respective apps. You can silence all of the Kidde 21026044 interconnected alarms by pressing a hush button on one alarming unit.

Smart Home Integration


One of the benefits of having a smart smoke detector is the ability to integrate it into your existing smart home. Unfortunately, you are a little more limited with these products when it comes to interfacing with third-party products, like Hue Lights or WeMo smart plugs, especially with the end of the "Works with Nest" program and the lack of IFTTT integration for the OneLink alarms. However, this changes all the time, so you should always double-check that you can actually use the smart features you want to before you buy anything.

The Nest Protect connects to the Google Home ecosystem and has a handful of smart functions accessible in the Nest app. For example, you can select certain cameras to start recording and create a clip if the alarm is triggered or have Nest turn off your heating system if it detects elevated levels of carbon monoxide. That is roughly the limit in terms of other functions, at least for the time being.

The Nest app also keeps a log of any triggered alarms.
It's very easy to integrate the Protect with your other Nest devices.

The OneLink Safe & Sound has all the smart home features an Alexa-enabled speaker would, allowing you to control a myriad of third-party smart items by voice command. It is also Apple HomeKit compatible. The OneLink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector will connect to both of these home automation systems as well but you are fairly limited if you are trying to set up an alarm to trigger other events. However, you can check the status of the smoke detector by asking Alexa. The Echo Dot will send you a notification through your Alexa app if it thinks it heard an alarm sound but only if it has been placed into Guard mode.

You have to set Alexa to away mode to receive alerts if an alarm is triggered.
Alexa will send you a push notification if it thinks it heard an alarm or if it thinks it heard breaking glass  depending on how you configure it.

Conclusion


Hopefully, this review was able to help you identify the perfect smart smoke alarm for your home, whether you are looking for a top-tier all-in-one smart solution or a basic low-cost listener. Also, make sure to check your local rules and regulations, as well as the National Fire Protection Association guidelines, when it comes to the number of alarms and their placement in your home.

David Wise