In our most recent IoT Podcast, Duncan called in to the voicemail hotline with a question about smart smoke detectors. He’s wondering which connected detectors we would recommend. To be honest, this is an easy question. That’s mainly because there are fewer choices when it comes to smart smoke detectors compared to bulbs, switches, locks, and cameras for the smart home.
We don’t think you can wrong with any of the limited options here. So we’ll highlight the choices and offer some decision considerations to make the best investment.
First Alert has offered smart smoke detectors for several years and it has different models depending on the features you want. The First Alert OneLink smoke and C02 detector, available in both battery and wired options, is a good basic choice. These both retail for around $140 directly but I’ve seen them on sale for as little as $115 each at big-box hardware stores, as well as at Target.
The First Alert OneLink Safe & Sound also monitors for both smoke and carbon monoxide, but includes a built-in speaker and Amazon Alexa “inside”. You can also use this to enable scenes and routines with Apple HomeKit devices. Of course, you’ll pay more for these bells and whistles. Direct retail pricing is $240 per unit, although again you can sometimes find this detector elsewhere for around $30 less.
For Google Home users, the obvious choice is the $119 Nest Protect. It too has dual detection monitors for smoke and carbon monoxide
but only and comes in a battery-powered or hard-wired version..You don’t get speakers or a digital assistant, however, it does have a useful light ring. When it’s time to change the batteries, you’ll see the ring turn red. And when you walk under the Nest Protect at night, the light illuminates your pathway automatically.
Folks in Europe have a few other options not found in the U.S. One standout is the Bosch smart smoke alarm that integrates with its smart security system and HomeKit (with an additional controller) for around 70 GBP, And Netatmo offers a dual-radio smoke detector for slightly less money. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, this detector works with HomeKit as well.
We’re not familiar with the X-Sense brand of smoke detectors, but we mention them only because they’re relatively inexpensive. For under $40 each, you can outfit your home with these. They’re not “smart” in the traditional sense (there’s no smart home integration, although they run on the Tuya platform) but they are connected via Wi-Fi radios. This sends alerts to your phone and also lets multiple detectors work as a connected system.
Keep in mind that Amazon Echo devices have a free “Guard Mode” option that listens for the sounds of your existing smoke detectors. When it hears those alerts, the Echo will notify you on your Alexa phone app. Google’s Nest Aware subscription plan offers a similar feature for its smart speakers. These may not be ideal options but they are inexpensive choices if you already have smart speakers in your home.
To hear Duncan’s question, as well as our discussion in full, tune in to the IoT Podcast below.
Updated at 10am CST on January 4, 2022 to add new Kidde option and to correct Nest Protect/First Alert information on carbon monoxide.