The Best Basic Smoke Alarm

The Best Basic Smoke Alarm

Our pick

First Alert SA511CN2-3ST Smoke Alarm with Voice Location

First Alert SA511CN2-3ST Smoke Alarm with Voice Location

The best basic smoke alarm

Available in a two-pack, these alarms can interconnect so that they all sound at once. They also tell you which room the fire is in.

Buying Options

$75* from Amazon
(pack of two)
Buy from Walmart
(pack of two)

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

This UL-certified alarm comes in a two-pack, and the units (and any additional ones) can interconnect so that if one sounds, they all sound, which can give you additional time to identify the problem and evacuate. This wireless-connection setup is internal to the alarms and does not require a phone app. You can also designate each unit by location, so if an alarm is tripped, all of them indicate which room the hazard is originating from. The First Alert SA511CN2-3ST is the only model that combines all of those features in one bundle—and at a price that’s just slightly above average for the category, it looks to be a good value. Also, because it has a voice alert rather than a beep or a tone, our interviewed experts told us that it’s more apt to wake a sleeping child.

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Also great

First Alert SCO501CN-3ST Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location

First Alert SCO501CN-3ST Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location

Same, with an added CO alarm

Similar to our pick but also equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm, these photoelectric devices with voice alerts can interconnect and allow you to identify threats by location.

Buying Options

$43* from Amazon
$66 from Zoro

*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.

If you’re shopping for a smoke alarm and don’t already have carbon monoxide alarms installed, we recommend using the First Alert SCO501CN-3ST Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location on each floor. This photoelectric alarm is identical to our main pick save for an added carbon monoxide alarm, which detects CO from broken or improperly installed fuel-burning appliances such as some furnaces, dryers, or water heaters. That feature adds notable cost, with a single unit priced a little less than the two-pack of our top pick.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

First Alert SA511CN2-3ST Smoke Alarm with Voice Location

First Alert SA511CN2-3ST Smoke Alarm with Voice Location

The best basic smoke alarm

Available in a two-pack, these alarms can interconnect so that they all sound at once. They also tell you which room the fire is in.

Buying Options

$75* from Amazon
(pack of two)
Buy from Walmart
(pack of two)

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

Also great

First Alert SCO501CN-3ST Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location

First Alert SCO501CN-3ST Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location

Same, with an added CO alarm

Similar to our pick but also equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm, these photoelectric devices with voice alerts can interconnect and allow you to identify threats by location.

Buying Options

$43* from Amazon
$66 from Zoro

*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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