Investigation launched as smoke alarms fail Which? fire testsWe reveal Don't Buy smoke alarms and six Best Buys

24 October 2013

Two smoke alarms are under investigation after they failed essential Which? fire tests.

In our test of smoke alarms, 15 alarms were subjected to tests including four fires, but two failed to go off in the time required by the British Standard when exposed to a smouldering wood fire.

You can find out full ratings for the smoke alarms in our latest test - including the Best Buy smoke alarms we recommend - in our smoke alarm reviews section.

Smoke alarms testing video

Watch our video to find out about the test fires we expose our alarms to, and some surprise results in lab conditions.


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 We tested brands including First Alert smoke alarms, Kidde, FireAngel and Ei Electronics. As well as the two Don't Buy smoke alarms we also found six Best Buy smoke alarms - with prices starting from as little as £6.50. 

Which? editor Richard Headland said: 'We advise people not to buy the two FireAngel smoke alarm models that failed to meet the required standard in one of our tests.' 

'If you think you have one installed at home and you’re concerned, you can contact the manufacturer for a free alternative.'

Don't Buys update

Sprue Safety Products Ltd is the manufacturer of the two FireAngel smoke alarms that failed to go off in the parameters required by the British Standard when exposed to a test fire in our tests. 

Sprue has confirmed that it will offer one FireAngel ST-620 alarm (a Which? Best Buy) per household to those who own the SI-601 and/or LSI-601, although it maintains that the Don't Buy alarms are: ‘safe, compliant and do not need to be replaced.’

Which? stands by its test results – which were verified by re-testing the two alarms – and the Don’t Buy status of the FireAngel SI-601 and LSI-601.  

We are investigating why the Which? and Sprue test results for these alarms appear to be different.  If you are  concerned and want the additional alarm, please speak to a Sprue Customer Service adviser on 0800 141 2561. 

If you need our help after this, please do not hesitate to contact us on: 020 7770 7825.

Meanwhile, please do not take down any existing alarms you have and remember to test and clean them regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Our smoke alarm tests

We also tested the sound output of the smoke alarms, to make they're at the required level to wake you up. And we checked that any alarms with escape lights were bright enough to see through smoke at 10m.

To test whether the smoke alarms were overly sensitive, we exposed them to two familiar scenarios that are the cause of nuisance alarms - burning toast and steam from a shower.

Make sure you buy the right type of alarm for your home. You can find out more about the different types of smoke alarm, about placing and maintaining them, and why choosing the wrong type could increase those false alarms.

Smoke alarms reviewed and rated

The full list of smoke alarms reviewed and rated is:

  • Ei Electronics Ei100B Smoke Alarm
  • Ei Electronics Ei3500RF Smart Link Fire Alarm System
  • Ei Electronics Ei3500S Smoke Alarm with Silencer Button
  • FireAngel LSI-601 Escape Light Smoke Alarm
  • FireAngel SI-601 Easy to Silence Smoke Alarm
  • FireAngel SL-602R The Atom  Smoke Alarm
  • FireAngel ST-620 Thermoptek 10 Year Life Smoke Alarm
  • First Alert SA200 Smoke Alarm
  • First Alert SA300 Easy Hush Smoke Alarm
  • First Alert SA700 Long Life No Nuisance Smoke Alarm
  • First Alert SA720 Safe & Sound Smoke alarm with Escape Light
  • Kidde10Y29 Long Life Optical Smoke Alarm
  • Kidde Lifesaver i9040 Compact Smoke Alarm  
  • Kidde i9060 Smoke Alarm with Hush Button
  • Kidde i9080 - Kidde Smoke Alarm with Emergency Escape Light

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