Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms aren’t glamorous, but they’re a necessary part of maintaining a safe home for your family. We’ve looked at some of the best alarms out there, from ‘dumb’ but dependable solutions to gadgets that integrate into your smart home setup perfectly.
Now, admittedly, such alarms aren’t the most exciting of gadgets to purchase. They’re incredibly useful and important but they’re rarely the kind of alarm that’s going to excite your tech-loving mind. Even the sexiest of smoke alarms can’t compete with a shiny new smartphone. Still, it’s wise to buy the right kind of smoke and carbon monoxide alarm for your home. They’re often the first (and sometimes only) heads up you get in the awful event of a fire or carbon monoxide leak. It’s not worth the risk to live without one.
We’ve focused on battery-powered alarms rather than hardwired solutions, although we’re sure to note of when you can opt to hook the alarm up to the mains. Your ability to do so depends on how your home is configured, so bear that in mind when you make a purchase.
Regardless of your situation, here are the best smoke and carbon monoxide alarms out there.
Best All-Rounder: Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm ($129)
Nest is probably an already familiar name to you if you have an interest in smart home technology, so it’s unsurprising that the Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm is the best alarm on the market.
It hooks up to your Wi-Fi, providing you with phone alerts if the alarm goes off or if the batteries are running low. More importantly, it speaks to you too — telling you when it detects smoke and warning you that the alarm is about to go off. By giving you that moment to take the information in, it’s perfect for those times when cooking up a meal has caused some smoke and a regular alarm would be fooled into thinking this is a big issue.
In all cases, Nest also maintains a log so you can check back on what may have occurred in the past. On top of that, it acts as a subtle nightlight to illuminate the hall when you pass by and even integrates with the Nest thermostat to act as an occupancy sensor—that way you can use the Nest energy saving features even if your thermostat is located somewhere that it can’t see household activity very well.
It’s a far pricier option than a regular basic smoke/carbon monoxide alarm, but such features make it worth the premium price tag. A hard-wired variety is available for about the same price as the battery version.
Best For Alexa Integration: First Alert Onelink ($206)
Keen for all your tech to work nicely with Alexa? In that case, the First Alert Onelink is the alarm for you. The alarm itself is a conventional but effective smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. It provides remote notifications to your phone, as it tracks carbon monoxide levels at all times. The moment it detects a problem, notifications are sent, with an 85-decibel alarm activated alongside a voice alert. It’s suitably effective stuff.
Where the First Alert Onelink gets even smarter is with its Alexa support. It doubles up as a smart speaker, so you can enjoy all the benefits of Alexa while being protected. It’s possible to ask to play music, catch up on the news, check the weather, or control your other smart home devices. Just what you’d expect from a smart speaker.
The downside? Well, it’s only available in a hardwired capacity so if you need a battery dependent alarm system, this isn’t it.
Best “Dumb” Solution: First Alert Interconnected Wireless Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Combo Alarm ($50)
Not everything in your home needs to be “smart” to be useful. Buy a First Alert Interconnected Wireless Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Combo Alarm and you get the best of both worlds. The alarm wirelessly interconnects with other First Alert interconnected devices so that they all issue an 85-decibel siren when one detects smoke or carbon monoxide.
A voice alarm is also activated with 11 programmable location settings available so you can be told exactly where the danger is. It’s worthwhile buying a couple of the devices for your home, with it possible for you to connect up to 18 First Alert enabled alarms, easily protecting your home.
Best Addition To Existing Smoke Alarm Setup: Leeo Smart Alert Smoke/CO Remote Alarm Monitor ($130)
It’s likely that you already own at least one existing smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, and you might simply want it to do a little bit more than before. In which case, buy the Leeo Smart Alert Smoke/CO Remote Alarm Monitor. It’s a smart addition to your existing setup because it monitors all your alarms for you.
The Leeo itself isn’t a smoke or carbon monoxide detector. It’s a, well, detector detector. The moment it hears an alarm go off, it alerts you via your phone, as well as immediately offers up some local emergency numbers. If it doesn’t get a response from you, it also calls your emergency contacts for backup, thereby potentially saving your life. It has a nightlight feature too which is perfect for illuminating the way during a fire. There’s IFTTT support too, for if you want a visual notification of when the carbon monoxide levels have changed at home.
It’s all super simple to set up via a free app for either iOS or Android. Plus, you simply plug it into a spare outlet so there’s no need for batteries or hardwiring.
Best Budget Choice: First Alert Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector ($30)
If you’re on a budget or simply not fussed about having a fancy alarm, then the First Alert Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector is a solid alternative. It does exactly what you could need and not much more.
The battery operated device sports an 85-decibel siren in the case of smoke or carbon monoxide events. There’s no interconnectivity, voice warnings, or frills. It’s not the most exciting form of technology, sure, but it does the job well at a low price.