There are several factors to consider when you’re picking a new smoke detector.
While most devices look basically the same, there can be some significant differences between them.
In general, ionization-style smoke detectors are better at responding to big fires that are actively flaming. Meanwhile, photoelectric-style smoke detectors are more effective for responding to slower-burning or smoldering fires. Both kinds are fine choices for most homes, though getting a smoke detector that uses both technologies is a surefire (no pun intended) way to protect yourself and your home.
You’ll also want to consider whether you want wired smoke detectors or battery powered smoke detectors. Wired alarms are more reliable in general, and they almost always have a backup battery, in case power goes out. They can be connected together, so that if one alarm goes off, it will trigger the alarms in every part of the house. But, battery powered devices are often easier to install.
Finally, you should consider buying a smart smoke detector, like the Google Nest Protect. These devices can wireless connect with your smart speaker, home security system, and other devices. You can monitor your alarm history and see notifications about low batteries or triggered alarms, even when you are away from home.
We actually have a whole article dedicated to reviewing the very best smoke detectors available for every kind of household. But, in general, we recommend going with an established brand like First Alert, Kidde, and Google.
There are times when you might want to take a leap and get some fancy new gadget from a startup company. But this is not that time.