What every best Smoke Detectors has:
- Dual sensors.
- Battery backup.
- Reasonable installation.
ConsumerReports.org tests a variety of stand-alone smoke alarms as well as combination alarms that include both a smoke and CO detector. For smoke detection, only dual-sensor models (both ionization and photoelectric) rise to recommended status. Combination alarms are rated separately for their effectiveness against both hazards.
Amazon.com user reviews are a good place to gain insight on problems that annoy owners but that don't show up in expert tests. Lots of smoke detectors get ample feedback, in some cases hundreds or even more than 1,000 reviews.
HomeDepot.com doesn't have the same volume of smoke alarm reviews as Amazon, but some models have accumulated a few dozen -- and some have feedback from hundreds of users. In addition to providing ratings and written feedback, owners can state whether or not they would recommend their smoke detector to a friend.
Most smoke alarms sold at Lowes.com have accumulated just a handful of reviews, but some have earned much more feedback making the site another worthwhile destination for owner opinions. Owners provide an overall rating, a brief summary review, and state whether or not they would recommend the smoke detector.
TheWirecutter.com tests smart smoke detectors by installing them in a two story home. Focus is on ease of installation and use, though a simulated smoke condition is also created to test "real-life" alert scenarios. A top pick and runner up choice are named, and other smoke alarms tested are briefly discussed.
As the trend toward smart home technology accelerates, technology sites such as CNET have begun to review all sorts of products that connect to the Internet, including smoke, CO and combination smoke and CO detectors. CNET has subjected several models to its typical hands-on testing and shares its opinions in lengthy articles that address both smart functionality, and how well these products work in detecting smoke, fire, and CO.
The staff of ABC News and GMA Investigates delve into the issue of what type of smoke detectors are best. Ionization smoke detectors are found to sound fastest in the case of a blazing fire, but sometimes fail to sound at all in the case of a smoldering one. The findings echo those of a government study that says for best safety, both types should be used in most houses.
Walmart.com is another destination for reviews of smoke detectors and combo units. Pluses and minus are similar to what we see at other sites. Some models have only a little feedback, or none at all, but others get dozens of reviews -- and nearly 100 in some cases.