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Best Smart Smoke Detector of 2021

The Safe & Sound comes with just about any smart feature you could hop...
Credit: David Wise
By David Wise ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 12, 2021
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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 today 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


Onelink Safe & Sound


Onelink Safe & Sound
Editors' Choice Award
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$250
List Price
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. In addition to being a photoelectric smoke detector, it is also outfitted with an integrated carbon monoxide sensor, speaker system, and the Alexa voice assistant built right in. It has the ability to tie-in with various music streaming services — Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio — as well as your Amazon Alexa account. This means you have the ability to intelligently manage other smart home devices, stream music, and even do your shopping all through your smoke detector. The Onelink Safe & Sound can also be combined with a compatible existing wired interconnected alarm system.

It can take some effort to ensure a smooth setup between multiple apps and services because it can require you to link up your accounts. And though you get a lot of bells and whistles with this product and its multi-functional capabilities, it will cost you — this smoke detector is on the pricier side. If you want an all-in-one smart home solution, the Onelink Safe & Sound is a solid purchase and a great addition to an existing Alexa or Apple HomeKit based smart home.

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

2

Best for Google Smart Homes


Google Nest Protect


Google Nest Protect
Editors' Choice Award
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$120
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, we recommend 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. The setup is simple and integrates with other Nest devices seamlessly, with convenient features like configuring your heating system to automatically turn off if it detects increased levels of carbon monoxide.

While the Nest Protect does offer a lot of functionality, it comes with a pretty steep price tag. If you couple that price with the reality that it isn't compatible with other, less expensive alarms you might already have, you may end up needing 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...
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.
Credit: David Wise

3

Best Wireless Interconnected Alarm


Kidde 21026044 Wireless


Kidde 21026044 Wireless
Best Buy Award
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$36
List Price
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 decided they were way outside of your budget. While this Kidde model isn't your typical smart smoke detector, we feel it warrants inclusion in this review since it allows you to simply and economically add a wireless interconnected series of smoke alarms throughout your home. This smoke detector is much cheaper than the top-tier models and allows you to build your system 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. Since you don't need to make accounts or download apps to connect, these detectors are simple to get set up.

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. You can get around this and sync it 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...
The 21026044 is a great way to set up a wireless interconnected alarm system on a budget.
Credit: David Wise

4

Fastest to Install and Great for Renters


Echo Dot (3rd Gen)


Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
Best Buy Award
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$39.99
(20% 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...
The Echo Dot -- or most other Alexa devices -- can add remote monitoring and smart alerts to your existing system at a very reduced price.
Credit: David Wise

5

A Less Expensive Apple HomeKit/Alexa Option


Onelink Smart Smoke + Carbon Monoxide


Onelink Smart Smoke + Carbon Monoxide
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$86.43
(28% 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 to which you want to add some remote monitoring.

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

6

Ring Security System, Anyone?


Ring Smart Smoke Alarm Listener


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 straightforward 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...
The Ring Smoke Alarm Listener can only be used if you already have an existing Ring Security System.
Credit: David Wise

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...
Installing the mounting plate for the OneLink Smart Smoke + Carbon...
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...
The Ring Smoke Alarm Listener must be installed in close proximity to your existing alarm.
Credit: David Wise

The Kidde 21026044 is also straightforward 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. Still, all you need to do to configure the interconnected alarm system is pick a combination of the 8 switches on the back. They will automatically link to any other smoke alarm with the same combination selected.

The wireless interlink capabilities are one of our favorite features...
The wireless interlink capabilities are one of our favorite features of this alarm.
Credit: David Wise

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. Either way, be sure the power is turned off before installing any hardwired products and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Some of these products can even be wired into compatible non-smart interconnected alarm systems, allowing 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...
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.
Credit: David Wise

The battery-powered versions of the Onelink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector and the Nest Protect are straightforward to install and set up. However, 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...
The Nest Protect has split-spectrum sensing to give you the best shot of an early warning for both common types of fires.
Credit: David Wise

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 photoelectric alarms.

The Kidde 21026044 makes it extremely easy to set up an...
The Kidde 21026044 makes it extremely easy to set up an interconnected system.
Credit: David Wise

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...
You can customize the brightness of the light on this alarm or even...

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

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. Still, 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...
Alexa will send you a push notification if it thinks it heard an...

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