The First Alert SA710CN is a photoelectric smoke alarm that does a terrific job detecting slow, smoldering fires. It's an ideal low-cost add-on for homes that are already equipped with ionization smoke detectors, which are better for detecting blazing fires -- and experts say that you really need both types for complete protection. Installation is easy, and operation is generally reliable.
Solid, sensitive performance. If your home contains only ionization alarms, which are best at finding fast, flaming blazes, experts say you'll need to add a few photoelectric models, which do a better job warning of slow smoldering fires. Among low-cost photoelectric smoke detectors, the First Alert SA710CN receives positive scores from both owners and professional reviewers. At 85 decibels, the alarm is plenty loud enough to wake sleepers, or warn individuals several rooms away. The smoke detector is sensitive, user feedback says, though some owners think it could be too sensitive, easily tripped up by cooking or other events.
Simple installation. Battery installation is easy with the slide-out battery drawer, which extends from the side of the unit. There's also a guard that ensures a battery is always installed. Finally, a silence and test button lets you confirm that the alarm is working and/or silence any non-threatening alarms. Some user reviews praise the mounting kit, which can match up with most pre-existing screw arrangements. That means you won't have to put additional holes in your ceiling to mount this smoke alarm.
Some battery problems are noted. The First Alert SA710CN is backed by a 10-year warranty, and most owners say it works well over the course of its life span. However, there are some complaints that the smoke detector failed prematurely, as signaled by continuous low-battery warnings, even with fresh batteries installed.
1. Choice magazine
The Australian consumer-review magazine tests 15 smoke alarms. Each model is given a score between 0 and 100, based on how well it detects smoldering fires and active flaming fires. The First Alert SA710CN is included in this latest roundup.
Review: Smoke Alarms Reviews , Editors of Choice magazine, March 2, 2010
2. Consumer magazine
This New Zealand consumer publication tests and ranks smoke detectors, including the First Alert SA710CN. It is evaluated based on its ability to detect smoldering fires and active flames; other features, such as cost and ease of use are also addressed.
Review: First Alert SA710CN, Editors of Consumer magazine, June 14, 2014
About 160 owners have weighed in with feedback on the First Alert SA710CN, contributing to an overall average rating of 4.0 stars out of a possible 5. While most owners are happy, a sizable minority complain about issues with battery usage or continuous low-battery warnings even with fresh batteries.
Review: First Alert SA710CN Smoke Alarm with Photoelectric Sensor , Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2014
A handful of owners have contributed reviews of the First Alert SA710CN, which earns an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. Owners praise this smoke alarm's easy installation and mounting features.
Review: First Alert Battery Powered 9-Volt Smoke Detector, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of October 2014