Good smoke detectors warn you early when there’s a real fire and give you time to escape, but shouldn’t go off every time you singe the fish fingers. As our smoke alarm buying video above explains, there are three types of alarm – including two varieties of smoke alarms, and a heat alarm. Read on for more information about the different types of alarm and how to decide which is best smoke alarm in UK 2021 for your home.
Use our smoke alarm reviews to discover the models that passed stringent Which? tests.
Top 10 Best Smoke Alarm in UK 2021
1. Google Nest Protect Smoke Alarm
The Google Nest 2nd Generation smoke alarm wired design is easy to install (though it may take a bit more work since there is no room in the back of the housing to hide the wire).
It’s also easy to set and control, and once everything is in order, it puts your mind at ease. The device is equipped with a Split-Spectrum sensor, an electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor, a heat sensor, a humidity sensor, an occupancy sensor (120º field of view to 20 feet), and an omnidirectional microphone paired with a speaker.
The siren can produce up to 85 dB sound power, and the LED ring can produce RGB colors for visual warning. The alarm can detect both fast-and-slow-burning fires and it also warns users in case of carbon monoxide intoxication. Furthermore, you can use the Nest app to silence the alarm or stay up to date with your house’s status even when you’re away.
It also notifies you when the battery goes low or if there is some sensor failure. Lastly, the device runs routine tests (to identify any problems) and can connect with other Nest devices in the house, working together to prevent unfortunate accidents.
2. FireAngel WHT-630Q Radio-Interlink Heat Alarm
This smoke alarm is compact, durable, and very easy to install. It’s also equipped with a long-lasting internal battery that doesn’t need your attention during the specified lifespan (or at least most of it).
Since each device can be wirelessly interlinked with up to 50 others, it’s easy to cover the safety of a large home, from top to bottom. Once one alarm is activated, they will go on, using a pattern that specifies the emergency (heat, carbon monoxide, or smoke).
In addition, it’s easy to identify the source, as you can silence all alarms but the initiating one. These alarms are fitted with Thermistek technology (it constantly monitors for an increase in the rate of temperature change), which allows them to react two times faster than other conventional heat alarms.
This is why they are best installed in the kitchen, where a large majority of house fires begin.
3. Kidde 10SCO Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
A combination alarm if you’re concerned about CO as well as fires. The voice alarm will tell you which concern has been detected, so you know how exactly you need to react.
When dangerous levels have previously been detected, but the threat is still there, the peak level memory will give you voice and LED notifications which encourage you to act. If there is a false alarm, and you safely know there is no threat, a hush button will allow you to temporarily silence the alarm.
There is also a test/reset button, so you can keep on top of the manual checks to ensure the sound is still working. The actual alarm is nice and noisy, although we will say that the voice is a little quieter and it can be hard to make out what it is saying, but the alarm is the most important thing.
When the time comes to change the battery, a front-loading battery compartment makes the switch easier. This will save you having to disconnect the entire unit and refit it. Fitting it for the first time is simple though, as all you need to do is screw the plastic backplate to the ceiling and then pop the smoke detector on to the backing.
It was one of the most prone to false alarms when we tested it, and other reviewers comment similar things. But if you want a 2 in 1 and something easy to look after, then it is an alarm from a reliable brand which is worth a shot.
4. Aico EI141RC Mains Ionisation Smoke Alarm
A mains smoke alarm, but with a 9V battery backup in case of a power cut. We love how this alarm is connectable with up to 20 other alarms, so if one sounds, they all sound to give you strong alert power.
Fitting is a doddle, thanks to there being plenty of holes in the base plate, so you can match them up with any existing holes to ensure less mess. When the alarm goes off, it is nice and loud, so even if you only have one or two in your home, you should be able to hear them throughout the house.
It has a whole host of 5* reviews no matter where you look, so there is no denying that it is a trustworthy product. You can test it or silence it using just one button, so it is easy to keep on top of.
Changing the battery is a little bit of a pain as the model is so clunky and difficult to get back onto the plate, but once done, you shouldn’t have to touch it again for quite a while.
5. FireAngel ST-622 Optical Smoke Alarm
FireAngel is a popular, trusted brand when it comes to smoke alarms. Their products are even recommended and used by over 90% of the UK’s Fire Service.
This one has Thermoptek technology, which essentially means it can detect both smouldering slow fires and a rapid rise in temperature, which signals a fast fire.
If the end of life alarm is beeping, and you are off to bed but will buy another one tomorrow, you can use the Sleep Easy function to silence it for 8 hours in order to get some shut eye. It can also be silenced for around ten minutes in the event of a known false alarm until you’ve used the extractor fan and tea towel to waft the smoke away.
You get a battery with the purchase, which should last for around ten years. It is worth noting that this battery is not replaceable, so when it does start to go, you’ll need to buy a whole new unit.
It is suitable for positioning in the bedroom, living room, hallway, landing and dining room, making it nice and adaptable. Whether it will last the full ten years is definitely another matter, but the price isn’t extreme so it shouldn’t be a bother if this isn’t the case.
6. Netatmo Smart Smoke Alarm, 10-Years Battery life, Connected Smoke, Self-Testing, No Hub Necessary
Netatmo is a great brand when it comes to smart home equipment, and this Smart smoke alarm is more affordable than its similar rivals if you are on a bit of a budget.
Real-time alerts can be sent straight to your connected smartphone, so even if you aren’t at home, you’ll be notified of any issues. When you are at home, you’ll clearly be able to hear the 85 dB alarm from 3m away.
False alarms can also be silenced from your phone. This is handy if you’re in the middle of frying a steak and don’t want to leave it unattended, or can’t reach the alarm to turn it off without trying to press it with the end of the mop/standing on steps.
It is battery operated, so there is no wiring to worry about when you fit it. Just stick it to the ceiling, and download the app to get it all set up. The Netatmo app is compatible with all iOS and Android devices. Bear in mind that it doesn’t work with smart speakers, however, but does with HomeKit.
The ten-year battery should last for the full replacement deadline period, and as it is a standalone product, you don’t need any fancy smart hubs or controls to get it working, or any of Netatmo’s range of cameras/sensors.
Do bear in mind it is not a carbon monoxide detector as well like some other smart sensors are.
7. FireAngel SB1-R Smoke Alarm
For six quid, this budget smoke alarm has a lot going for it. Its optical technology will detect slow smouldering fires and raise the alarm, allowing you and your family to escape before it’s too late.
Where do you put smoke detectors?
The FireAngel SB1-R smoke alarm is perfect for the bedroom, living room and landing (but not the kitchen). It runs on a 9v battery, which will need replacing annually. The device has a 10-year product life and comes with a 3-year guarantee. As with all the smoke alarms detailed here, it is certified to BS EN 14604: 2005.
8. FireAngel ST-622T
The FireAngel ST-622T uses an optical sensor, which is perfect for detecting most types of household fires. Plus, it has a clever built-in technology that checks for any sudden rise in temperature which triggers enhanced sensitivity. This allows the device to raise the alarm for both slow smouldering fires and fast flaming situations. The manufacturer claims this smoke detector will respond twice as fast as a standard alarm. The sealed lithium battery should last 10 years – which is also the length of the guarantee.
Easy to install smoke alarm
There are no wires to connect with a battery detector making it quick & easy to install. Plus, with this model, you won’t need to replace the battery, although you must still check the alarm regularly.
The FireAngel ST-622T smoke alarm is a quality device. Great technology, good price and a long guarantee make this device it a great choice for most homes.
9. Fireangel Ht-630
Kitchens & garages need the best heat detector. A good smoke detector is a necessity for most rooms in your house, but not the kitchen or garage. Here, you will need a heat detector and the FireAngel HT-630 does the job. Almost two-thirds of household fires start in the kitchen. For less than £20, it makes complete sense to install an early warning alarm.
Where should you use a heat detector?
The heat detector works differently to a smoke detector, sensing significant temperature increases rather than smoke. A FireAngel HT-630 heat detector is perfect for kitchens and garages.
What causes false alarms on smoke detectors?
False alarms have no benefit to anybody. The chances are that burnt toast will trigger a standard smoke alarm. However, a heat detector in your kitchen will avoid false alerts and keep the family safe.
The 10-year battery, product lifecycle and guarantee make the FireAngel HT-630 heat detector perfect for your kitchen and/or garage.
10. Kidde Firex KF20
The Kidde Firex KF20 is a mains powered (with battery backup) smoke alarm. The optical sensor is best suited for slow smouldering fires such as electrical problems or that posed by foam-filled furniture or bedding. Plus, a smoke alarm with an optical sensor (as opposed to ionisation alarms) is less likely to be triggered by steam or cooking.
The right smoke alarm for home renovations & extensions
A mains wired system has the advantage in that, if one sensor is triggered, all alarms in your home will sound. If you’re asleep at the top of the house and a fire starts in your kitchen, you will still hear the alarm. For most new builds and renovation projects, this type of system is a building regulation standard.
Mains powered smoke alarms need replacing too
You must replace your smoke alarms every 10 years. If you have the wires in place this is reasonably straightforward. The Kidde Firex KF20 Optical Smoke Alarm is perfect for replacing old mains powered alarms or to meet building regulations for extensions and renovations.
How to buy the best smoke alarm in UK 2021
Which smoke alarm should you buy – ionisation, optical or heat alarm? Find out how to choose the best smoke alarm for your home.
How much do you need to spend to buy a good smoke alarm?
Our tests of smoke alarms show that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great value. You can buy an excellent Best Buy smoke alarm for under £20 and we’ve seen alarms that have failed our tests that cost much, much more. Buying a pricier model may mean you’re getting extra features – such as a 10-year battery, an emergency light or even smoke alarms that link wirelessly to each other.
What’s the best type of smoke alarm for my home?
Ionisation smoke alarms Ionisation alarms ionise the air between two electrodes. These are positively and negatively charged, creating a small current inside the chamber. Smoke particles change the balance of the current. When this happens a signal is sent to the integrated circuit and the alarm sounds. These alarms are more sensitive to smaller particles of smoke produced by the flaming stage of fires than optical alarms, and more easily triggered by cooking – causing false alarms.
Optical smoke alarms Optical (or photoelectric) alarms are light sensors. They contain an infra-red LED which, every few seconds, pulses a beam of light into the sensor chamber to check for smoke particles. As smoke enters, the infrared light is scattered onto the photodiode light receptor, triggering an alarm. They detect the larger smoke particles from slower smouldering fires.
What are smart smoke alarms?
Smart smoke alarms are designed to sound the alarm when they detect smoke, as a conventional smoke alarm would. But the unique selling point of a smart smoke alarm is the ability to send alerts to your phone when there’s a fire. This could be critical if you’re out when there’s a fire. All of the smart smoke alarms we’ve tested are optical models.
Some smart smoke alarms are much better than others at letting you know when there’s smoke around, both in terms of how quickly they detect smoke and the methods they use to let you know. Some smart models sound an alarm on your smartphone and through the alarm itself when triggered – this is the most helpful kind of smart alarm. Others will sound the alarm through the alarm unit itself, but then send texts or emails to your phone, rather than sounding an alarm on your phone. So if you’re out of your home and not near your phone when the messages come through, you’ll have no way of knowing the alarm was sounding.
Smoke alarms are important for the safety of your home, so they are a must-have. However, it takes a bit of research to understand which model suits your needs the best smoke alarm in UK 2021.
For instance, if you have a large home, you will want interlinked units that can communicate with each other.
On the other hand, if you want to keep an eye on your home’s safety even when you’re away, you may be better with a few smart units that can send regular reports and alerts.
In the end, the choice you make will stick with you for at least a few years (many units are designed to last about 10 years), so it’s crucial that you do thorough research.
Start by reading our reviews and don’t forget about the buying guide – it is very helpful!