Smoke detectors are devices designed to detect the presence of fire inside buildings or homes. When a fire is started, smoke is formed that generates a series of cloud-like particles that remain suspended in the air. Smoke detectors are capable of capturing these particles and other gases within their sensors and emit loud sound warnings.

In order to be able to choose the most suitable smoke detector, you should take into account a number of fundamental aspects. To make your selection easier, we have searched for the best smoke detectors on the Australian market. To do this, we have analysed and reviewed the studies on smoke detectors and summarised all the information in the following guide.

Key Facts

  • The installation and maintenance of smoke detectors is vital. In both cases, doing this the correct way can save your life in the event of a fire. Luckily, this equipment is inexpensive and very easy to install.
  • The most modern devices (barely over $30), have communication functions that facilitate communication between multiple devices. In other words, the devices can communicate with each other to provide greater protection throughout your home.
  • Smoke detectors are important, especially during the hours of sleep. If a home fire is started during the night, these devices will alert you and potentially save your life. The alarms are specially designed to wake up the whole house, which is a function that is very important to prevent accidents or death.

Ranking: The best smoke detectors on the Australian market

When it comes to your safety and that of the people around you, it’s important to have all the tools and technology that give you peace of mind. To avoid fire-related accidents in your home, it is best to install smoke detectors. To make it easier for you to choose and buy a new smoke detector, we have selected the five best models on the Australian market for you.

No. 1: Nest Protect 3

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Nest Protect is one of the most advanced products currently available on the market. The Nest Protect has a split-spectrum sensor that tests itself automatically and lasts up to a decade. It’s also the first home alarm you can mute from your phone without any extra hardware required. The Nest Protect has the ability to detect both smoke and gas leaks to ensure you stay safe in all situations.

All Nest products talk to each other wirelessly, to ensure that an issue in one part of the house is instantly reported and repeated in all the devices around the home. With the Nest Protect your home will become an efficiently functioning place whilst remaining safe and secure.

No. 2: First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm

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The second product on our list of the best smoke detectors on the Australian market is this smoke and carbon monoxide alarm by First Alert. This is a battery operated smoke detector that features a single button for battery testing and silencing the alarm in the vent of a false alarm. The device is intuitively built with a side-access battery drawer to easily replace the batteries as required. At an affordable price, this smoke detector is a great option for your home and could one day save your life.

No. 3: Kidde i9050 Battery Operated Smoke Alarm

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The Kidde i9050 is a full size, battery operated smoke alarm designed to protect you and your family from the dangers of smoke and fire in your home. The i9050 smoke alarm is powered by a 9V battery which provides continuous protection and security even during power outages to ensure you are always protected.

This easy to install smoke alarm includes a test button to verify the unit’s electronic circuitry, alarm and battery are work properly. This smoke detector is an ionic detector, meaning it detects the presence of smoke particles in the air using electrical currents.

No. 4: Honeywell 5808W3 Wireless Photoelectric Smoke/Heat Detector

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Honeywell’s 5808W3 is a 3V lithium powered, photoelectronic smoke/heat detector with a built-in wireless transmitter. This smoke detector is intended for use with any 5800 Series Wireless Receiver/Transceiver for residential installations as this acts as a central monitoring station.

The transmitter can send alarm, tamper, maintenance (when control panels are equipped to process maintenance signals), and battery condition messages to the central monitoring system so that you stay informed of the status of each detector in your home. The sturdy mounting base allows the detector to be easily installed on uneven surfaces and stay fixed for a long period of time.

No. 5: BRK Electron (FG250B) Smoke Alarm

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This is a basic battery operated smoke alarm that is perfect for use in the family home to keep you and your family safe and secure. This smoke alarm features a hinged cover for easy battery replacement and lighted power / alarm indicator so that you always know the status of your alarm.

This smoke detector has a simple-to-use silencing button and uses 9V batteries to keep it functioning even during power outages, such as during electrical storms. This device comes with a 10 year warranty.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about smoke detectors

Smoke detectors are simple, easy to install, very economical and, best of all, designed to save lives. Many serious accidents in the home are related to fire. Choosing the right smoke detector for your home can be complicated, as there are so many makes and models on the market. To help you with the selection process, we’ve answered some of the most common questions.

What is a smoke detector?

A smoke detector is an alarm system that detects the presence of smoke in the air and emits an acoustic signal warning of the danger of fire in a home or building. There are two types of detection methods used by smoke detectors: ionic detectors and optical detectors. Both are sensitive to combustion fumes, but it is ionic detectors that are more sensitive than optical detectors.

When fire detectors are connected to an centralised system or monitored alarm centre, they are called smoke detectors. On the other hand, an individual device that is powered by batteries and acts independently is called a smoke alarm. In this article, we have chosen to review smoke detectors.

The best smoke detectors, although they have great sensitivity and detect fumes very quickly, don’t jump on anything.
(Source: Andriy Popov: 116953163/ 123rf.com)

What are the regulations on smoke detectors in Australia?

There are different regulations on smoke detectors in Australian homes depending on which state you live in. In general, it is compulsory to install these devices in all residential buildings or homes and it is mandatory to perform regular maintenance of these devices. It is possible for landlords of rental properties to maintain the smoke detectors but it is always recommended to have the devices periodically inspected by a trained compliance specialist.

What is the international standard for smoke detectors?

The quality standard used for the international manufacture of smoke detectors is ISO 7240-7. In the United States, they are manufactured using UL268. In the European Union the smoke detector is manufactured following the manufacturing standard EN 54 part 7, developed by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).

What types of smoke detectors are there?

There are a variety of smoke detectors on the market. As we have seen, smoke detectors can generally be divided into optical detectors (as called photo-electric detectors) or ionic detectors. However, this is a somewhat broad division. In fact, there are many other types of detectors that are commonly found on the market these days.

Below is a table of the different types of smoke detectors on the market and their different characteristics.

Type Function Applications Advantages Disadvantages
Optical They work by means of detecting the optical obstruction of smoke. The alarm is activated when the smoke covers the sensor. They are the most commonly used smoke detector in residential homes. Optical detectors are very economic, easy to install and require little maintenance. They detect fires but do not detect gases.
Photoelectric beam The smoke obscures the projected beam and triggers the alarm. Used in large rooms with high ceilings or large spaces up to 1400m2. They detect fire very quickly and are an easy device to install. They have difficulty functioning in air-conditioned spaces.
Reflected beam The smoke enters a compartment within the device where a beam is reflected to activate the alarm. Detection of latent or slow-burning fires. Suitable for computer or data warehouses. Self-regulating and more resistant to air currents than ionic detectors. Do not detect black smoke as it does not disperse light.
Ionic detectors They work based on the reduction of the flow of electric current formed by ionised o2 and n2 molecules when the smoke penetrates the device. Industrial use and for latent fires. Stable during pressure variations. They’re more expensive than other detectors. They are subject to the IMO regulations on the approval of radioactive devices.
Resistance bridge Based on the resistance bridge principle. Alarm is activated in the presence of smoke particles and moisture on a grid with the electric bridge. Particles increase conductivity and activate the alarm. Used primarily as a carbon monoxide detector. React quickly to the presence of any gas. Alarm can be triggered in water vapor leaks and are excessively sensitive.
Detectors by sample analysis An extraction pump sucks an air sample and analyses it for the presence of smoke. Used in shipping holds. They have no advantages, so they are no longer used. They are not recommended and expensive to install.
Taguchi semiconductor They work by means of a semiconductor crystal with heating resistances. Experimental models Cheap Do not differentiate between gases, vapours and smoke.

What is a third party or independent laboratory certificate?

All smoke and fire detection products must be approved by an independent laboratory (a third party) that certifies the minimum safety and quality of the device, as it is designed to save lives. The third party certificate ensures that the manufacturer meets the minimum manufacturing requirements.

Within the certification, it is required to demonstrate not only the quality of the equipment, but that the manufacturing company has a management plan to ensure that all manufactured products are of equal quality. When buying your smoke detector, you should check that it has the required independent approvals.

What are the basic principles of smoke detector installation?

It is common for a smoke detector to be installed in the kitchen, however this can often be counterproductive, as it will be frequently activated by the smoke when cooking. It is best to install a smoke detector somewhere outside the kitchen, preferably between the kitchen and the living room, on the ceiling and centred, so that it can function properly.

To help you better understand where and how to install your smoke detector, we have created this list with some of the basic installation principles to guide you:

  • If the roof temperature is above 37.8 degrees celsius, choose an approved model for higher temperatures. Otherwise it will be continuously triggered by heat.
  • Avoid installing the smoke detector in the kitchen as cooking smoke will trigger the alarm, causing false alarms.
  • Do not install the detector in a place with strong vibrations.
  • The effect of moisture may affect operation, as such, do not install it in corners or humid places.
  • It is recommended to install a smoke detector every 60 m2.
  • If ceilings are high, more detectors should be installed at various heights. This is done to counteract the “smoke cone” effect.

What maintenance does a smoke detector require?

Fire detection systems require adequate maintenance to ensure proper operation. Optical detectors require more care than the rest as the camera with two optical devices should be kept clean at all times.

It is important to clean smoke detectors well, as they can be damaged by dust, moisture and dirt accumulation over time. If they become excessively dirty, the alarm may be triggered unnecessarily. The maintenance of the batteries is also another important factor. To check the batteries, test buttons are often included on the devices to make it easier to find out the status of the battery.

What are the drawbacks of a smoke detector?

Smoke detectors have few disadvantages. They are of course devices that can save your life, however in poor quality models, “false alarms” may occur frequently. Smoke from the kitchen, a cigarette or even steam from the bathroom can trigger detection which can become very annoying for everyone in the house.

Continual false alarms may be due to the poor quality of the detector, but also due to improper installation. Another disadvantage can be the installation process as some models provide all the necessary material to install the device correctly, meanwhile others do not. Batteries can also be a problem, especially if they do not last long or if they require continual checks.

Depending on the quality of the smoke detectors, they will offer you better features and some additional functions.
(Source: Andriy Popov: 104194298/ 123rf.com)

Where do I place a smoke detector?

The size of the house or room where the detector is to be located will be the main aspect to determine the number of devices required along with a few other factors. Only trained professionals can install some smoke detector models and they should not be installed close electrical sources.

Here is a list with some tips on where and how you should install your smoke detector:

  • Approved smoke detectors. First of all, we would like to point out that you should only buy approved smoke detectors.
  • Electrician. Grid-connected alarm systems must be installed by a licensed electrician.
  • The best place to install it is the center of the roof. The reason is that in the corners of rooms, the air does not circulate.
  • Space between household objects. As a minimum, 30 centimetres (cm) of separation should be left with any decorative household object, such as a light fitting.
  • Avoid false alarms: It is not advisable to place a smoke detector in the kitchen. Instead, place temperature detectors, which detect sudden rises in heat and warn of the risk of fire.
  • A smoke detector should be installed in each room: This ensures that all inhabitants are warned of a fire quickly.
  • Beware of location: Do not place a smoke detector near electrical appliances or air conditioning units.

What should I look for in a smoke detector?

Depending on the quality and price of a smoke detector, it will offer you better features and some additional functions. For example, it is common to include a pause button to stop the alarm if it is triggered by mistake. It is also important to have battery test and check systems.

Among the accessories and features you should look for in a smoke detector, the most common are:

  • Remote control mute button, to silence the false alarms quickly.
  • Security lights to provide illumination during the alarm.
  • Transmission of a warning to a central monitoring station as part of the security alert system.
  • Intercommunication of devices via wiring or a wireless system, to connect all devices to each other.
  • Mobile application to receive alerts on your mobile phone.

Shopping Criteria

There are many brands and models of smoke detectors on the Australian market. Choosing the one that best suits the needs of your home is not easy. To help you choose such an important system, we have prepared a guide with the purchase criteria for determining the best smoke detector:

  • Functions
  • Battery
  • Connectivity
  • Mute function
  • Type
  • Installation
  • Sensitivity
  • Alarm

Functions

Most smoke detectors on the market are used to detect various types of fires. These detectors react with the particles that form in the smoke from a fire and emit a warning. As a general rule, they detect nothing but smoke, but some may react to steam from boiling water or a shower, but this is a sign of a poor quality smoke detector.

Other devices have extra functions such as detecting gases such as CO2. These devices are somewhat more advanced and can detect dangerous gas leaks in the house. There are also models that incorporate LED lights that are turned on by motion detectors and serve to illuminate at night during a fire.

It is common for a pause button to be included to stop the alarm if it is triggered by mistake.
(Source: Andriy Popov: 103822567/ 123rf.com)

Battery

Typically, smoke detecting devices incorporate 1.5V AA or AAA batteries. They are low-power devices, so they can operate for years without the need to change the batteries. Some more advanced models run on independent batteries and these models can function for up to 10 years without issues.

The problem with smoke detectors with a separate battery is that the battery cannot be recharged or replaced, so after 10 years of life, it will be turned off and you will have to replace the entire device. Most devices will emit a warning sound at least 30 days before running out of battery.

Connectivity

Ideally, you should choose a smoke detector system that can be connected to other devices. Some models can connect only to models of the same type, meanwhile others can be synchronised with other detectors (of gases or particles) to provide a more secure system.

Most smoke detectors on the market do not require any type of wiring for installation. However, there are certain models that must be connected to the Internet or telephone cable to issue warnings directly to an emergency center in the case of a fire. These models are more expensive and should be installed by professionals.

Mute function

To silence an annoying or false smoke alarm, you may choose a device with a mute or pause button. These buttons allow you to stop the signal without having to completely deactivate the device. This option is important because it avoids the problem of not remembering to plug it in again after a false alarm.

On todays market, you will find the mute function on almost all smoke detectors, along with other features such as functions for recalibrating the sensor or checking the battery status. These buttons are usually large, allowing access from the floor, for example, using a broom stick.

Type

Smoke detectors can be optical or ionic. The first type have a lens that detects the changes generated by smoke in the light and are the most used and most economical models. They are present in many homes, are easy to install, hardly need maintenance and you can get them for less than $30.

Ionic detectors are sensitive to humidity and small particles suspended in the environment during a fire. They are usually faster and also economical. There is a mixed range of models available and recommended because they also detect CO2 and gases, which gives you a much more complete protection of your home.

Installation

One of the aspects customers often question is how complicated it can be to install a smoke detection system in their home. Although it depends to a large extent on the type of detection system, as a general rule, installation is very simple. Often you won’t even need to screw the detector to the ceiling, just stick it on with secure tape.

For configuration of simple models, you just have to turn it on and check that it works well (you can do this by burning a sheet of paper in a safe place, such as the bathtub or sink). If you’ve chosen a more complex system, you’ll need to hire an electrician to install it.

Sensitivity

This is a complex and important factor to consider. An overly sensitive detector will go off with any smoke or steam. This will end up being a problem, as it will be triggered by the smoke produced when cooking, by a cigarette or even by steam from the bathroom. These false alarms will become very annoying and you will be less likely to react quickly in the case a real emergency.

The best smoke detectors, although they have a great sensitivity and detect smoke very quickly, do not jump at the first sign of an anomaly. If you are not sure about this aspect, look at the reviews or comments of users to find a suitable model for you.

Alarm

The alarm is one of the most important elements of the detector. Together with the detection system, the alarm will be decisive, since it will be the only way you will know if there is a fire in your house. Do not consider any model with a weak or inaudible signal as it is critical that you immediately hear your smoke detector.

The intensity of the alarm is usually indicated by the manufacturer. Most smoke detectors have an alarm sound of 85 decibels or higher, which will be more than enough to wake up the whole house in case of a fire.

Summary

A smoke detector can save your life. These devices detect the particles that form in smoke and emit a loud warning sound to alert you to danger. Normally, just one smoke detector is not enough for the whole house, especially if it is a large house. It is preferable to have one smoke detector per room, except for the kitchen, where it is advised to install it in the hallway or outside the kitchen.

On the Australian market there are a variety of models of smoke detectors to meet many different needs and budgets. There are those systems with greater sensitivity, connectivity to your mobile phone and different types of alarm sounds. In this article, we have selected the best models on the Australian market and explained everything you need to know to choose the right one for you and your family.

If you liked this article, please leave a comment or share it with your friends and family to find the best smoke detector on the Australian market.

(Source of featured image: Sorapong  chaipanya: 107342813/ 123rf.com)

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