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Best smart smoke detectors 2020: Reviews and buying advice

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Best smart smoke detectors 2020: Reviews and buying advice

The concept is simple: A smoke alarm that tells you there’s a fire nearby is a great, but a smoke alarm that tells you there’s a fire no matter where you are is even better. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are one of the most useful categories of smart home gear on the market, mainly because they offer a clear advantage over “dumb” versions of the same product. And if you have a second home or travel frequently, the additional peace of mind they can provide is invaluable.

Once installed and powered up, you download the relevant app and connect to the device wirelessly. Then, when the alarm goes off, not only do you receive an audio alert—many include helpful voice instructions instead of just a siren—your smart phone also tells you what the problem is (whether it’s smoke or CO, which alarm was activated, and sometimes even the severity of the smoke). Many smart smoke detectors hook into additional smart home gear and IFTTT, so you can get even more clever by having the lights start flashing if smoke has been detected, for example. Perhaps the biggest benefit of a smart smoke detector: No more hunting down midnight chirps, since you’ll also get phone-based notifications about dying batteries.

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Here are our picks for the best options on the market today.

Updated September 15, 2020 to add our X-Sense Mini wireless interconnected smoke detector review. While this isn’t a smart detector per se, we thought it worthy of your attention because its interconnected nature will make sure everyone in the house is alerted to smoke danger, and it’s very inexpensive at about $80 for a three-pack.

Best smart smoke detector

The Nest Protect is one of the most mature smart smoke alarms on the market, and it’s a no-brainer of a choice if you want one of the most sophisticated and reliable smart smoke detectors out there. Alarms are varied, integrated lighting is color-coded based on the type of threat, and the product includes helpful voice alerts when activated. In testing, our phone was alerted almost immediately, and the app couldn’t be simpler to master. If you have additional Nest gear at home–such as a Nest thermostat–things get even savvier, as you can configure the Protect to shut off your ventilation system if it detects smoke, a potential life saver.

At $119, the Nest Protect isn’t cheap, but pricier options are out there. In this case, though, the outlay is worth it.

Best smart listener

Leeo has turned off the servers for its Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight, so the second-generation Roost Smart Battery wins this category by default. Install this battery in your conventional smoke detector, and it will send a push notification to the contact list you set up in its app, so you can take action even if you’re away from home.

What you should know about smart smoke detectors

For the most part, smart smoke alarms tend to work almost identically. The device installs on the ceiling or high on the wall (typically replacing an old-school smoke alarm in the same location), either using batteries or in-wall power. Most of the smart smoke alarms we evaluated are available in either format and cost the same. When shopping, pay close attention so you don’t end up with the wrong type.

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