Smart smoke detectors

My old smoke detectors are due for replacement, and I’m thinking of getting smart ones which would work with ST hub. Following NFPA’s recommendations (, I need 9-10 smoke detectors in my modest 3 bedroom split-level house. 10 Nests would come to ~$1000, which got me thinking:

  1. What are the benefits of smart smoke detectors vs. regular ones? I can think of these:
    a. extra actions to notify about alert in remote area, e.g. upstairs bedroom lights flashing when alert is triggered in the basement;
    b. some kind of automation if smoke is detected while nobody is at home, like IFTTT robo-call to local fire department, however it seems to be somewhere in between highly unrecommended and illegal
    c. getting notification while away from home, and then calling fire department yourself - maybe

Based on the above, it seems to make more financial sense to have regular smoke detectors inside bedrooms, and smart ones in the basement (near the furnace) and maybe one in the kitchen (in case somebody forgets to turn an oven before leaving the house).

There is a ton of data out there about home fire causes in US (cooking and heating being top 2 responsible for 70% of all fires). I wonder if anybody has seen a data-driven study/recommendations where smart smoke detectors might be most useful?

  1. I don’t really need to have a conversation with a smoke detector. Maybe there are more reasonably priced ones, without voice, simply sending zigbee or zwave events to the hub? Has anyone tried First Alert 2-in-1 zwave devices? Any other options?


Your forgetting the MOST important feature of a smart smoke detector, advanced notification that the battery is low and not at 2am waking you up! I went with 7 Nest Protects when I just did a major home reno and had to put something in. I am very happy with them, but of course haven’t been able to see if they worked during a real fire/CO situation.

Home depot had them for $79.99 yesterday but today I can’t seem to find them.

Paying that much for Nest Protects just seems silly, this is a nice middle ground. I have the OneLink version that works with my Insteon system. One smart device, all the others are just OneLink smoke detectors. As long as they are linked, I see no real need to have individual smart detectors.

Edit: It’s silly to me since you have to replace all of them every 7-10 years.


I have one and think they are a good deal, and basic Z-Wave integration works fine.

Few issues:

  1. Not sure they have low batter alert. Gotta check.

  2. Can’t trigger or cancel alarm from SmartThings… Only notification.

  3. No direct interconnection with each other (ie, not OneLink compatible).

Issue #3 might not be so bad if #2 permitted use of the alarm by manual trigger (ie, use SmartThings to link them up!, but no…).

Thanks for replies!

Michael, are you saying you were able to link zwave smoke detector with non-zwave ones and you get zwave alert no matter which device goes off?

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9-10 seems high. You need 1 per floor, and 1 per Bedroom. My three story 4 bedroom house has 7. I would guess you will need 5-6.

Most newer wired homes have all the smoke detectors connected through a connecting wire, so all will sound. So in theory if you only care about notifications and not care about what room notification @michaelahess solution should work with a single “smart” detector.

I actually had my Nest Protects go off, and it was a nice warning “Smoke detector, alarm will sound in 30 seconds” made me feel like I was in Star Trek. I am sure other voice alert systems do that too. I also like the Nest since there are multiple ways to interact with them, and if you have a Thermostat the presence detection is nice as well as the night light paths.

Robocall is probably off the table unless you choose to have a monitored solution. My Rachio water sprinklers will turn on if the Nest detects smoke though.


Current fire codes have changed based on observation that smoke in one room often gets trapped just above the door jam and actually doesn’t move into the next room for quite a long time. Consequently current recommendations generally call for one smoke detector inside a Bedroom and one smoke detector just outside the bedroom. This is to wake the person before the inner sensor detects the smoke. I recently had a safety review of my house and new codes require three more sensors than we previously had. Because of this inside/outside bedroom requirement. But this varies from town to town.

Because I am wheelchair-dependent, fire safety is a big issue for me. It is quite likely that one of my housemates would have to help me evacuate the house if I were already in bed.

We actually have two sets of smoke alarms. One reports to a professional monitoring center which is authorized to call the fire department. (Know that if you do look at professional monitoring, you have to look closely – – many are only authorized to call police, not fire.)

We added a second set of interlinked ones with context awareness. With these, whenever anyone goes off, they all go off, and they announce where the fire was detected. That way if my housemate hears the announcement that the fire is in the laundry room he would go one way to reach me, while if the fire was in my room he would go another way. (My room as well as his intentionally have an additional door to the outside.)

By the way, there is an additional kind of device to consider, which is an audio sensor. In United States, smoke detectors are required by law to have a specific beep pattern, and this is detectable by the audio sensor. The audio sensor doesn’t detect smoke itself. But it has Wi-Fi communication and can send messages to us when The alarm goes off. And since the alarms are interlinked, when one goes off, they all go off so you only need one or two audio sensors. There are two brands currently available: Kidde and Leeo.

As far as integrating with smartthings, I personally don’t put anything that would involve life/death safety on smartthings as I just not have found it reliable enough. But there are some functions that could be useful. Probably the most popular is having all lights come on when a smoke sensor alerts. This is both as a secondary alert and to ease evacuation.


I agree that 9-10 seems high.

Another option to explore is having an electrician run wires for hardwired, interconnected alarms and then get conventional devices for which there are then various ways of getting them to communicate with ST (e.g., wiring a relay connected to an open/close sensor, Leeo, Kiddie RemoteLync).

I had first generation Nest Protects I eventually returned because there were too many false alarms - one while we were on vacation. I ran wiring myself to interconnect the basement detector with three second floor devices where I had access from the attic. I’ve got a ZCOMBO for the first floor where I couldn’t run a wire.

You can check with your local fire department for specific requirements and recommendations on how many detectors you need and the best locations for them.


Yet more options: Roost. They have a battery that does the alarm listening feature and calls you, and they just announced their own line of detectors.


Usually they are in the hall right outside the bedrooms, for me that is the “one per floor”. But it will depend on layout, 2 floors of mine have no doors so the smoke should travel to the detector fairly quickly (and it did when we caught some popcorn on fire on the stove). There is also a requirement to have CO2 detector on all bedroom floors(?, might be one per floor). The Nest maybe overkill but it makes for CO2 detection in every room.

.[quote=“JDRoberts, post:7, topic:48200”]
As far as integrating with smartthings, I personally don’t put anything that would involve life/death safety on smartthings as I just not have found it reliable enough.

I agree, with Nest-Manager the integration with a protects is a “nice to have all my data in one place” but never meant to save a life.

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San Francisco:

Smoke alarms are legally required to be present inside every bedroom or room in which someone sleeps. An additional alarm must be present in the area directly adjacent to the sleeping areas. This means that if you have a four-bedroom house, and all of the bedrooms are accessed from a second-floor hallway, you need to have a smoke detector in each bedroom and one in the hallway outside the bedrooms.

This is the new “smoke might not travel pass the door jam” requirement. Because we have bedrooms on opposite sides of the house, we had to add smoke alarms to get them on both sides of the doorway.

The z-wave one ironically can’t communicate with other onelink capable devices. The Insteon smoke bridge speaks onelink, thus it works with all 7 of my first alerts, some have co2, some don’t, some have voice to tell me what room is smoking, some don’t. I really like the mix and match.

It’s too bad the z-wave lacks that basic function. There are bridge devices that detect the signal of one going off that I believe will link to onelink, or it may have been the other way around. I’m sorry I don’t exactly remember. I know I tried to go down the z-wave path first, then found the Insteon solution, since I had a hub already, was easiest for my needs.

It may have been Kiddie that had the bridge device, IIRC they were for talking between hardwired and wireless detectors, may or may not be a way to go with some research…

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The detectors offered by Roost seem to be rebranded models from Universal Security Instruments (USI) Electric.

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One of the Best Buy deal of the day items for today is a Leeo. $29.99.


Here is Bosch’s plans for integrating smoke detectors:

“In autumn this year, the company plans to debut new motion and smoke detectors to expand its security lineup. The company discloses the future versions of the door and window contact solution in the press conference. The smoke detector will sound the alarm if a window or door is broken open when the occupant is absent. Users will no longer need a separate alarm system for home security.”

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Wow–that’s not technically legal in the US if the devices are sold as residential smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are not supposed to do other kinds of alerts because that might delay a smoke alert.

You can have a security system that also reports smoke alarms, but the smoke detector itself is only supposed to be a one function device. (Well, two now that they can also do carbon monoxide alerts.)

Of course there’s a lot of details that go into that particular code (legal code not software code) so they may be OK with this. But it’s a little tricky.

If I had to guess, my guess is that this is a marketing person misstating what the system actually does. There’s probably a speaker system put into the same box that holds the smoke detector. The smoke detector will only sound its alarm for smoke. The speaker system can play notifications from either the smoke detector or other detected events from other devices. That would be legal. But in the US you can’t have anything that delays the smoke alarm siren from sounding for a residential system.

That will all get sorted out as they go through the certification process. I think the end result will be fine. But the early description is not.


Hey, I see this is the Leeo deal of the day again. I’m trying to read up but can’t find much. Is this compatible with smartthings? And how does it compare with the first alert? Lowes has the first alert for $40 and I have 10% off…

So I have two now, both are working with ST, sort of. They have to go through IFTTT. One will turn on my fan when it senses high humidity and turn off when it goes down. One updates it’s led color for various weather conditions and the other for a specific door being open or not. You can use the temp sensor, humidity sensor, CO2 or Smoke alarm, and lights (RGB) for input/output. There’s a delay with IFTTT so it’s not as quick as a native ST implementation.


The Leeo is an acoustic sensor, not a smoke detector. On its own, it does not know that there is smoke. Instead, it is programmed to listen for the specific acoustic pattern that smoke detectors in the US are required to make by law. So you have to use it with a first alert smoke detector or another smoke detector.

The point of the Leeo is that it has Wi-Fi capability. So if you already have a houseful of nonnetworked smoke detectors, you can put in one or two Leeos, and they will send a Wi-Fi notification when they hear The smoke detectors go off. This is why the product description says it “works with” smoke detectors.

Works with most smoke and carbon monoxide detectors manufactured after 1996; temperature/humidity, microphone and ambient light sensors; downloadable iOS and Android app; adjustable night-light

Leeo also has an IFTTT channel so you can get indirect integration with smartthings that way.

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@JDRoberts and @michaelahess Thanks guys. I finally read more into it. Just seems like waaaayyyy too many fail points that could happen going this rout. What’s your take on smoke and CO2 alarms in general? Do you guys know if the first alert ($45 dollar one) any good? Or should I go with something like a nest?

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