Updated: June 8, 2015

Smoke Detector Reviews:

There are two types of smoke alarm sensor technology: photoelectric and ionization. Ionization alarms are better at detecting flaming fire conditions, such as paper fires and those fed by flammable fluids. Photoelectric alarms are better at detecting smoldering smoke conditions, such as bedding and upholstery fires that often kill sleepers. A dual sensor alarm is the best choice covering both types of technology. The perfect solution is the First Alert Dual Sensor Remote Control Smoke Alarm SA302 ($40) which uses a 9 volt battery as its power source. Comes with a remote control alarm silence and test and it does an automatic daily self-check test. The First Alert 10-year Lithium Smoke Alarm SA10YR is another favorite of ours for around $35. Has an ionization sensor only, which leaves you suspectible to detecting smoky fires. Its non-replaceable lithium battery spares you from changing a battery each year.


Best Smoke Detector:

A no frills model is the Kidde Basic ($7). This ionization model is perfect for sensing high flame fires, but less capable at detecting smoky fires. Reviews still say the First Alert Dual Sensor is the best for bedrooms since it has a photoelectric sensor as well for sounding alarms during slow, smoldering fires. If you have kids, you know they can sleep through almost anything most nights. The KidSmart Vocal Fire Alarm ($70) may be a solution for kids who are capable of sleeping through the normal smoke alarm sound. The Kidsmart is a photoelectric sensor that lets parents record a message in their voices that will sound as the alarm when a fire occurs. Since it's only a photoelectric detector, you will want to install a ionization alarm as well. We found Smokesign.com to have the widest selection of smoke detectors/alarms online. Target, Kmart, Home Depot and Sears are great sources for smoke alarms too. RECOMMENDED - We suggest you browse the best selling smoke alarms online here.

How often should I test my smoke alarm/detector:

Experts say test your smoke detectors at least once every 3 months. Replace the batteries once a year on a specific date (birthday, daylight savings time change days, etc.). Something that is consistent and marked on your calendar so you don't forget. It only take a few minutes to change the batteries on a smoke detector and those few minutes could save a life. Never disable a smoke alarm for any reason. You may sometimes hear a repetitive sound from the smoke alarm when the batteries are going dead, that just means it's time to replace them.

Smoke Alarm Facts:

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that while 94% of homes in the U.S. have smoke alarms, more than 1/3 of these detectors don't work due to faulty batteries (missing, dead, or disconnnected). Almost 1/2 of the nations fire deaths happen in the 6% of homes that don't have smoke/fire alarms. Per the Consumer Product Safety Commission, you are twice as likely to die in a home without smoke detectors as you are in a house with smoke alarms. These are startling #'s that need to be taken seriously. The fact that some older apartment complexes don't have adequate smoke detectors is a shame, but as a tenant you can ask to have them installed by law. If you get your kids involved in a yearly smoke alarm test, it will ensure they are prepared in case of a fire when the alarms due sound. Keep the routine simple and get them out of the house in the easiest and fastest manner possible. Top rated smoke detectors here.

Where is the best place to put a smoke detector:

Smoke alarms should be placed in every room of a house (that includes basements and attics) and in hallways. Replace alarms every 10 years to maximize your safety. Dust your smoke alarm monthly to keep dirt from blocking the sensor. Remember that every second counts when a fire is in your home. Having properly maintained smoke detector equipment could eventually save you or your family members lifes. Figure that you need at least 5 smoke alarms throughout your house or apartment at $35/each plus batteries, so you are talking about $200 over 10 years to keep your family safe from fire. Plus you will get a discount on your home insurance if you have working smoke alarms.