News - 2016042602 - 7 devices to help your smart home guard against fire

A simple goal -- knowing when your smoke detector sounds even when you're not home -- is certainly obtainable. There are devices for sale now which can tackle this task, though the other features and the price vary wildly from device to device.

That's why we created this overview of seven connected home safety products so you can choose the best gadget for your particular needs. Here you'll find popular solutions like the Nest Protect to retrofit options such as the Roost Smart Battery as well as interesting alternatives like the Leeo Smart Alert, all of which can make your smart home safer by providing remote notifications when your smoke alarm kicks into action. For an in-depth look at the types of devices, be sure to also check out this smoke safety buying guide.

Nest Protect (second generation)

The most popular and best smart smoke detector on the market right now, the $100/£89 Nest Protect uses a split-spectrum sensor that supposedly helps it sense smoldering fires faster and it combines that smoke detecting prowess with helpful smarts. In practice, the Nest Protect responded to smoke almost as quickly as an ordinary Kidde smoke detector.


The Nest Protect is a popular option.

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Once the alarm sounds, you'll get a push notification, and you can use the app to silence the alarm in the case of burnt toast. The Nest Protect will also help you avoid those annoying low battery chirps with notifications when it's time to replace your AAs. We found the smarts useful when we tested the Nest Protect, and recommend it readily to anyone looking to replace your dumb old smoke detectors with a smart upgrade.

Read CNET's full review of the Nest Protect (second generation)

The First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke and CO Alarm has a lot of potential, but its smart features aren't helping.

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First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke and CO Alarm

A competent, if not better pure smoke detector than the Nest Protect, the First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke and CO Alarm has a lot of potential as a smart device. It has the pedigree of First Alert for the basics, and integrates with Apple's HomeKit for Siri control. Except, none of those smarts actually proved useful.

Both the push notifications and in-app silencing of false alarms were too slow to be helpful. TheHomeKit functionality is bare-bones -- you can really only use Siri for a status check and you can't integrate this smoke alarm with other HomeKit devices in any meaningful way. At $120 (£80, AU$165) for the hardwire version and $110 (£75, AU$150) for the battery powered, this First Alert smart device isn't worth it.

Read CNET's full review of the First Alert OneLink Wi-Fi Smoke and CO Alarm.

The Halo Smart Labs Halo Smoke Alarm might bring competition to Nest.

Halo Smart Labs

Halo Smart Labs Halo Smoke Alarm

Right now, if you want a smart smoke alarm, the Nest Protect is our clear cut recommendation since the First Alert alarm is such a bust. But strong competition for Nest could be on the way. The upcoming Halo Smart Labs Halo Smoke Alarm not only has Nest-like smarts -- push notifications, in-app silencing, voice alerts -- it'll also monitor and alert you to extreme weather situations.

We're looking forward to testing Halo when it hits the market in the next couple of months, to see how useful that weather-monitoring feature actually is. The Halo Alarm also works with Lowe's Iris smart home system, so it could tie into your larger smart home seamlessly. The Halo+ (with weather monitoring) will cost $130 (£90 and AU$170). You'll also be able to buy a smart Halo alarm without weather monitoring for $100 (£70 and AU$130).

Read CNET's first take of the Halo Smart Labs Halo Smoke Alarm.

The Kidde RemoteLync Monitor does not detect smoke itself, but it does detect the alarms of another smoke detector.

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Kidde RemoteLync Monitor

If you have a big home and don't want to spend the money replacing all of your smoke detectors with smart ones, a device that listens for smoke alarms, like the Kidde RemoteLync Monitor, would help you cover your home with smart smoke safety more efficiently. Plug the Kidde Monitor into a wall, and it'll listen for the specific frequency of smoke and CO detectors and send you an alert when it hears them.

You won't get the extra convenience of being able to silence false alarms with an app, but a single Kidde Monitor, in a central hallway, can hear every alarm on a floor, making whole home smoke smarts much more obtainable. The competent US-only Kidde RemoteLync Monitor costs $100 (£70 and AU$130). We'd whole-heartedly recommend it if it had the range to effectively cover a whole home. As it stands, it does a great job at hearing one floor.

Read CNET's full review of the Kidde RemoteLync Monitor.

The Leeo Smart Alert listens for other alarms, and also is a fun nightlight.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Leeo Smart Alert

As with the Kidde Monitor, you plug the Leeo Smart Alert into a hallway outlet and it listens for the frequency of smoke and CO detectors. Like the Kidde, it has enough range to competently cover one floor and it'll send you a push notification if it hears something. The Leeo Smart Alert also doubles as a fun color changing nightlight.

Leeo's app even records sound once it hears an alarm, but we didn't find those audio clips useful when we tested Leeo. All I could ever hear was beeping, not what was actually going on. Still, Leeo listens well enough to be worth your consideration; it works with online rule maker IFTTT; and though it initially cost $100, the company recently cut the price of the US-only Leeo to $50 (£35 and AU$65).

Read CNET's full review of the Leeo Smart Alert.

The upcoming Mydlink Smart Alarm Detector can connect with other devices and IFTTT.


Mydlink Smart Alarm Detector

Both Kidde and Leeo are competent at what they do, but we've yet to have a smoke alarm listener wow us. Hopefully, the upcoming Mydlink Smart Alarm Detector will be able to do just that. It's the same basic concept as the Leeo Alert and the Kidde Monitor. It costs $60 (£40 and AU$75) and connects with other D-Link connected devices as well as online rule maker IFTTT.

Read CNET's first take of the Mydlink Smart Alarm Detector.

Instead of replacing a smoke detector, Roost offers a battery that adds smart tech to existing detectors.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Roost Smart Battery

And now for something completely different. Roost gives your old smoke detectors retrofit smarts with a Wi-Fi connected 9V battery. It looks and works just like any other 9V, except that it'll send you a push alert when your smoke detector sounds. Roost's rated to last 5 years, and you'll avoid midnight chirps with this product as you can check it's life at any time with its app. It'll also alert you when the battery's running low.

If your smoke detector is battery powered, you can even silence false alarms with the Roost app, but you'll lose that functionality if you use Roost in a hardwired smoke alarm with a battery backup. Complete with an IFTTT channel of its own, Roost is a less expensive way to smarten up every smoke detector in your home. The battery itself costs $35 (£25, AU$50) with $15/£10/AU$20 replacement battery packs.

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