Top 5 Smart WiFi Smoke Detector Reviews

A house fire is one of the deadliest dangers you can face. In far too many cases, the victims who succumb to a fire never even wake up before it’s too late. Early warning systems such as smoke detectors have saved many lives and may even be a legal requirement under some circumstances in parts of the world.

The days of the dumb, standalone smoke detector are numbered. There is a new wave of smart and connected safety devices that will fit wonderfully into any automated home. Here I have collected some of the most promising ones for review. The ones that I think are the best are highlighted first, the other reviews are just sort of in any order.

Best Overall: Nest Protect WiFi Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Yes, this is a product from the same company that brought us the learning thermostat. Nest has made quite a name for themselves as a relative newcomer to home automation.

Like the learning thermostat, this product sports modern styling we’ve come to expect from tech startups in every industry. It looks pretty nice; you better just hope that your home doesn’t somehow clash with the Apple-like white color scheme.

As you can tell from the name, this is more than just a smoke detector. This can also detect carbon monoxide. Although it is talked about less often than smoke inhalation-related death and injury, carbon monoxide is no less dangerous, especially since carbon monoxide is odorless, so there really is no way to know it’s present without a sensor. One well-known case is that of the daughter of Chris Andersson. Thanks to an apparent water heater installation error she died within 30 minutes of carbon monoxide exposure. A sensor that detects this gas can help to prevent these sorts of accidents.

Nest has really thought the feature set of this detector through. First of all, the alarm propagates over the internet. The detector connects to your router and you will receive a notification on your phone if the alarm goes off or the battery is low. It’s also the first ever alarm that can be shut off remotely via the phone.

It’s not just an alarm either, the specific location of the detected fire will be reported. So if the sensor in the kitchen goes off you’ll know.

The Nest Protect has a split-spectrum sensor that can tell the difference between fast and slow- burning fires. The carbon monoxide detector is good for 10 years, by which time I suspect most of us would have put in newer sensors anyway.

The Protect is absolutely packed with sensors. There’s the aforementioned split-spectrum sensor as well as a heat, humidity, occupancy, light, and sound sensor. You can see these readouts from the app, of course.

The Protect can switch off your heating system via the thermostat in an emergency. These units also test themselves. This is a true evolution of the smoke alarm.

For the sheer amount of technology this item packs in a tiny package, and the long list of smart functions, I can’t help but find this to be the best and most desirable product in this category. If you already have a Nest thermostat then you have even more reason to go this route. This is highly recommended.

Most Innovative Pick: Leeo Smart Alert

The Leeo Smart Alert is instantly an attractive product simply because it costs much less than the Nest Protect, but at what price? The Leeo certainly looks the part of a high-end tech product. Once again we have something in “gets dirty immediately” white. I find that ironic given the dirty job that the device must do.

The Leeo provides both smoke and carbon monoxide detection. Well, actually that’s not true – it listens for alarms from your existing “dumb” detectors and then it sends alerts to your smartphone. More importantly, it makes decisions on what to do next based on your response to that alarm.

It will provide you with local emergency numbers, and if you don’t respond quickly enough to the alerts the Leeo will phone a backup number, usually that of a friend or family member.

The other neat thing about the Leeo is that it is not a straight replacement for backplate-mounted smoke alarms the way that the Nest is. This simply plugs into an empty outlet. There’s no installation.

What’s the advantage of this? Well, if you already invested in several detectors, this is by far the cheapest way to turn them all into connected units. The way the system is set up, it listens for the beep code standards of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, so other noises will not set it off.

Customers report that it works reliably, so you are not likely to get false alarms. I have to say that this is just a genius idea. Even if you don’t already have detectors in your home, this plus a few “dumb” standard alarms is still a cheaper option than buying several Nests.

Onelink Smart Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Detector

Wow, this and the Nest Protect sure look like they were made almost exactly the same, which is to say they both look pretty good. Unlike the Nest, this unit is HomeKit-enabled, which means it works with Apple’s home automation standard.

It shares a lot of neat features with the Nest, which is probably its only real competition. You can silence the alarm from your iPhone or iPad, you can also test it from there. The battery is not removable and is sealed in. It also talks, telling you what it has detected and where. All alarms will interconnect and will go off together, telling you where the fire is.

While the alarms use WiFi to send you notifications, they form a unique Bluetooth mesh to talk to each other.

This all sounds great and on the surface this may look like the perfect HomeKit-specific alternative to the Nest protect, but the truth is this device has a lot of issues.

I see complaints about the (sealed) battery dying after only a month. I see complaints about false alarms and the fact that this only picks up slow fires, not the fast ones the Nest can also see. Based on the many, many serious complaints, I can only say that this guy is not yet ready for prime time.

First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm

This smoke and carbon monoxide alarm from First Alert is basically the only Z-wave detector that I spotted. That means you’ll need a Z-wave hub in order to make use of this product, but if you are already invested in Z-wave you should already have one.

This alarm is UL certified with a very nice seven-year limited warranty. There is no wiring since this is Z-wave wireless and battery operated. You can hush it remotely using your Z-wave app and get notifications when it detects something.

No much more to say than that. If you are a Z-wave fan your options are limited, but this First Alert alarm seems to do the job and it’s pretty affordable too.

Reviews Conclusion

I’m surprised by how few smart smoke detectors I could find. It seems that for now this is a pretty limited market. I suppose it’s because most people would like to spend the minimum they can on safety stuff like this, as long as it conforms with their local building code or other laws.

It’s a pity because the really good ones can do so much more than simply tell you there’s a fire; I for one would feel much safer knowing that there was a sensor system that can warn me that my home is in danger, even if I were miles away. If you have your priorities straight, then investing in these home automation devices first is the most sensible thing you could do.