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Which? Best Buy smoke alarms

by Matt Stevens

Best Buy smoke alarms sound in time for you to escape a fire, are loud enough to alert the whole family and aren't prone to nuisance false alarms.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Every smoke alarm we review and rate is put through tough fire and smoke tests, so that we can help you avoid buying a smoke alarm that doesn't go off in time to let you escape from a house fire, one that fails to sound loudly enough to alert the whole family or worst of all, one that fails to detect smoke.

Our independent tests go the extra mile to ensure that the Best Buy smoke alarms we recommend meet British Standard fire tests. And we don't just reveal the best in our reviews. We also look to highlight Don't Buy smoke alarms that don't go off in time or fail to sound at all, as well as the nuisance alarms that sound every time you burn the toast.

  • Our four fire tests are about precision: we make sure each test-fire is lit in exactly the same way, and that the smoke alarms' response times are accurately timed down to the last second.
  •  We also burn toast and simulate the steam from your bathroom, to check that each smoke alarm isn't over-sensitive and prone to false alarms.
  • We reveal the smoke alarms that don't sound loudly enough to alert those with poorer hearing, or have lights you can't see at 10 metres in smoke - Best Buys are the quickest to sound models that do best all round.

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How we uncover the best smoke alarms

  • We subject smoke alarms to four carefully-controlled fires - including fast-flaming ones fuelled by plastics and solvents, as well as slow and smouldering wood and cotton fires. We do this in a smoke chamber and time the smoke alarms responses to the second, so you can be sure your smoke alarm will go off in time.
  • Using a fully soundproofed (anechoic) chamber, we test the smoke alarms to ensure they're louder than 85 decibels - the equivalent of a lawn-mower.
  • We assess the instructions and install the alarms as you would, then change the batteries to see if they're simple for you to use.

Smoke alarm reviews you can trust

Models from the biggest smoke alarm brands on the market are tested in the Which? test lab - including Nest Protect, Devolo, FireAngel, First Alert, Kidde and Ei Electronics - and we've discovered that even the most trustworthy names can drop the ball.

Which? is independent - we work for you, the consumer, so you can be sure that our product recommendations are influenced only by our test results. We don't take advertising and we buy all the products that we test ourselves, so our advice helps you to make the right choice first time and avoid costly mistakes.

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