For the past half-century, smoke alarms have crossed the line between “essential life-saving product” and “shockingly obsolete nuisance.” But if you’re willing to spend a little more money, you can now buy a smart smoke alarm. These internet-connected alarms can send remote alerts to your phone, integrate with other smart products, and turn off with simple voice commands.
But smart smoke alarms cost over $100. They’re not cheap, and like typical smoke alarms, they expire after a decade. So are smart smoke alarms worth the money?
What is a smart smoke alarm?
An average smoke alarm has few functions. It makes a terrifying squeak when it detects smoke, it chirps when the battery is dead, and if you’re lucky it has a snooze button.
Smart smoke alarms offer all three of these features with some nice tweaks. They can send alerts to your phone when they detect smoke or carbon monoxide (even when you’re not home). And in the event of a false alarm, you can temporarily disable smart smoke alarms from your phone or voice assistant.
Interestingly, Google’s Nest Protect will warn you before an alarm goes off. The built-in speaker tells you there’s smoke in a room, giving you time to prepare your ears or Disable the alarm clock.
And when you install smart smoke alarms in your home, they automatically form a networked system. This means all of your alarms will go off at the same time, and interestingly, your alarms can tell you which room has smoke or carbon monoxide.
I just need to clarify two things. First, you don’t need to buy smart smoke alarms to have a connected system. Battery powered alarms from brands like Kiddie offer connectivity features. And if your home’s hardwired alarm system isn’t networked, an electrician can do the work for you.
Also, smart smoke alarms aren’t “better at detecting smoke” or whatever. They use the same components as any regular smoke or CO alarm. The only real difference is that smart smoke alarms are more convenient, send remote alerts, and integrate with your smart home.
Google Nest Protect – Smoke Alarm – Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Alarm – Battery Powered, White – S3000BWES
Google’s battery-powered Nest Protect alarm detects both smoke and carbon monoxide. It offers smartphone or voice assistant control and automatically connects to other Nest Protect alarms. Nest Protect works with Google Assistant or Alexa.
Smart home integration could help in an emergency
We love finding new ways to automate smart home devices. For example, a smart motion sensor in your bathroom can control a series of smart lightbulbs. But what if we used a smart smoke alarm for home automation? That’s a crazy idea, isn’t it?
Well, maybe it’s not that crazy. In an emergency, your smart smoke detector could automatically turn on your lights, unlock your front door, shut down your HVAC system, and set off your outdoor security camera alarms.
Those who are tech-savvy could find further integrations with IFTTT or other protocols. Maybe you want your neighbors to receive a text message when the alarm goes off and you’re not home – the possibilities are endless.
These are certainly small things, but they could save someone’s life in a house fire. Just try to avoid false alarms if your smart smoke alarm is connected to anything objectionable, such as: B. the alarms of your outdoor cameras.
They are cheaper than professionally monitored alarms
You’ve probably figured it out by now, but smart smoke alarms don’t come cheap. A single Nest Protect costs $120, which is about what you’d pay for a four-pack of basic “combo” smoke alarms. Old-fashioned ionization alarms cost even less money, and if you’re a homeowner your local fire department can provide them for free.
It doesn’t help that smoke detectors only last 10 years. By the way, this is not an arbitrary rule. All smoke alarms have a 10 year expiration date to comply with regulations. Smart alarms like the Nest Protect really stop working on their 10th birthday – something that early customers will attest to.
But here’s the thing; Smart smoke detectors can send you alerts when you are not at home. They offer serious peace of mind. And in the past, that certainty was only available to those who could afford a professional surveillance service.
Professional surveillance services, also known as home security services, typically cost around $25 to $80 per month for basic intrusion, fire, and smoke monitoring. And that’s after paying $300-$600 for the gear. A smart smoke alarm is a much cheaper option.
A quick side note: ADT can integrate its home security systems with Google Nest products. If you already have a professional security system in place, Nest Protect could still be a valuable addition to your home.
Onelink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector | Battery powered | First alert
First Alert’s Onelink alarm detects both smoke and carbon monoxide. It’s battery operated, offers control from your phone or voice assistant, and automatically connects to identical Onelink alarms. It also works with Alexa and Apple HomeKit.
Should You Buy a Smart Smoke Alarm?
Intelligent smoke detectors offer more security and convenience than simple smoke detectors. They can send you notifications when you’re not home, alert you when an alarm might go off, or even integrate with your other smart home devices.
But smart smoke alarms don’t come cheap. You need serious money if you want to buy more than one of these things. While I certainly think a smart smoke alarm is worth the investment,
For what it’s worth, you can get smoke alarms remotely without buying a $120 smoke detector. Your Nest speakers, cameras, and doorbells can alert you to fire alarms if you subscribe to Nest Aware, which costs $6 a month (and includes a bunch of other features). Amazon Alexa products offer similar features when you join Ring Protect Plus for $10 a month.
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