Best Smoke Alarms in India
Fire hazards are some of the most common hazards that occur in modern times. Sadly, they are also responsible for numerous deaths each year. However, just like many other problems, modern technology has a solution for it.
The solution comes in the form of smoke and heat detectors. Although they are installed compulsorily in western countries, it is not the case in India. However, they are slowly becoming popular as people are becoming aware of this technology.
Down below, we have listed detailed information about everything related to smoke detectors and have reviewed several products that you should potentially buy. You will also find the importance of buying a smoke alarm, different types of smoke alarms, how they work and how to install them and we also have comprehensive buyers guide. Lastly, we have mentioned Our Top recommended Smoke Alarms and FAQ’S
Top 4 Smoke Alarms
Why are Smoke Alarms Needed?
The fire has been one of the major causes of human death since the very beginning. Now that we have discovered ways of being alert, we need to use it properly. Most homes in India don’t use a smoke detector.
This needs to change as fast as possible. Let’s see some stats related to fire accidents
- 75% of deaths in fire-related accidents occur in homes
- 70% of all cases occur at night when people are asleep
- Using a smoke detector can increase the chances of surviving a fire hazard up to 4 fold
- In most cases, it is not the fire that causes death, but exposure to high levels of smoke which in turn causes suffocation
Aren’t the above facts scary? So, we can conclude that you only have minutes to escape a potential fire(considering that you will be awake). Even if you escape, all your worldly-possesions will be burnt down in the fire.
Smoke detectors provide a way to avoid all these circumstances. Most of them are highly sensitive to even small amounts of smoke and provide you vital information that there is a potential fire when it is in its growing stage. This way, you can extinguish it with proper materials. Both you, your family, and your possessions will be safe with minimum damage.
Photoelectric vs. Ionization Smoke Alarms: Which Should You Prefer?
The two most popular types of smoke detectors in use these days are ionization and photoelectric types. Since they are so popular, it begs the question about which one you should prefer. In a US survey, it was proven that 70% of houses use ionization smoke alarms, and 25% use photoelectric ones.
The rest 5% using various other types. This is because ionization types are comparatively cheaper than other brands. But does this mean that they are better? No
Ionization types are useful when the intensity of the flame is very high. For example, the burning of paper, aerosol, grease, etc. are all high-intensity flames. In these cases, the amount of smoke produced will be comparatively less.
However, when the intensity is quite less, ionization types don’t perform well.
During low-intensity fires, smoke produced will be in large quantities, and it will be a few minutes before an actual fire starts. For example, the burning of synthetic clothing, mattresses, electronics, etc.
In this situation, photoelectric smoke alarms perform best. So, to take care of both cases, it is better to use combination smoke alarms.
How Do Smoke Detectors work?
Whenever there is a fire, there will be smoke. This is a basic fact upon which smoke detectors have been made. You might have noticed that most smoke detectors are placed on the ceiling of individual rooms.
This is because it is the first place where smoke heads during a fire. Smoke, being a hot gas, has a very low density, and as we know, lighter objects always float and go as high as possible.
All types of smoke detectors have multiple slits through which the surrounding gases continuously enter and exit. This is common to every type of smoke detector. However, the inside mechanism and detection procedure is what separates them.
Once detection of smoke is done(as explained in the types of smoke detectors), the alarm needs to be triggered to inform the user of a potential fire hazard.
The circuit consists of various components like a transistor, applied voltage divider, LED’s, buzzers, connecting wires, jumper wires, calibrators, and a stable power supply. The working procedure of this setup is quite simple.
The transistor is set a certain voltage, above which it is turned on. In order for this to work, an applied voltage divider is necessary. The work of a calibrator in this circuit is to ensure that the set voltage limit is properly followed.
Suppose the smoke is detected, the mechanism which detects it reduces the resistance in the circuit, which increases the voltage beyond the set point. The transistor is switched on at this point, which gives a signal to the LED and buzzer to switch on.
In this way, the user is alerted of a potential fire so that he can take the necessary action.
As we have seen under types of smoke alarms, the mechanism to detect smoke may be different, but the circuit through which the user is alerted remains the same.
How are smoke detectors Installed?
The first step in installing a smoke alarm is knowing or deciding where it needs to be installed. The installation shouldn’t take more than 2 hours, and anyone with minimal training can do it.
Smoke alarms need to installed on every floor of your house to maximize protection. There are different types of alarms available for each type of floor and room. For the bedroom, there are special smoke detectors that don’t beep when the battery runs out.
This does not disturb you in your sleep. For a kitchen, there are special smoke detectors that also recognize harmful gases in the air and alert you.
As we have already discussed, smoke always rises to the top, so it should always be noted that smoke detectors need to placed on the ceilings. Also, try to place it in the center of the ceiling and avoid the corners where the wall meets the ceiling.
If you have to place the smoke alarm on the walls, try to avoid placing them anywhere below 4 inches from the ceiling. This is known as dead-zone, where the smoke won’t reach.
All smoke detectors come with a mounting plate that is provided to help you mount it on a ceiling. It consists of 2 key-shaped holes to help you hang them. Take a drill and let the drill bit be a bit smaller than the wall anchor to ensure a tight fit.
Place the wall mount with holes on the ceiling and trace out where the holes need to be drilled. Take the screw anchors and hammer them into the drilled holes. Take the screws and place them in the anchors.
Attach the smoke detector to the screws and twist them into place. Finally, tighten the screws to ensure a snug fit.
Types of Smoke Alarms
Heat detectors are the most rudimentary and oldest forms of smoke and fire detectors available. How they function is quite essential. They have a heat sensor, which accurately predicts the temperature of the surrounding air(much like air-conditioners and refrigerators).
The sensor is set at a certain threshold, and as that threshold is broken, it indicates that there is fire. Otherwise, the temperature wouldn’t be so high. So, unlike smoke detectors, the heat detectors don’t alert the user seconds after a fire has started, but once it is apparent that there is a hazardous fire.
This also means that heat-detectors have a meager false-alarm rate. Some of the situations in which heat-detectors are used in modern times are listed down below.
- In situations where the speed of detection is not the prime concern
- In cases where smoke sensors and detectors can’t be used
- In a small and confined space where high-temperature flames are always expected
As the name indicates, ionization type smoke detectors use ionization chambers and ionized material emitting radiation to detect smoke. Their working procedure is quite simple, and this type is usually preferred in most households as it is inexpensive.
Inside the ionization chamber is a radioactive element. The amount is so small that you would need to see it through a microscope. Usually, americium is the element used in smoke detectors.
The ionization chamber is also designed in a simple form. It consists of two metal plates with voltage and the radioactive material between them. The Americum element releases a thing known as the alpha particle.
The components of the air(nitrogen and oxygen) are ionized(separation of electron and proton), and the negative electron moves towards the positive plate and the vice verse happens with the proton.
The small amount of electricity because of this is detected. When smoke enters the chamber, the electricity cannot be detected, and this triggers the alarm.
Photoelectric smoke detectors are the second most popular type of smoke detectors that are in use today. The basic functioning of photoelectric beams can be seen in many different areas of application. Some of them are barcode scanners, security alarms, etc.
The basic principle of working of all these devices and the photoelectric smoke sensor is the same. There will be a continuous beam of light of varying intensity and wavelength being transmitted continuously between one point and another.
When there is an obstruction in this path, it is registered, and an alert is sent to the user.
In a smoke detector, however, the working procedure is quite different. Light rays can pass through smoke even if its moderately thick in nature. To avoid this problem, a variation in the use of a photoelectric smoke alarm has been created.
The two light sensors are placed perpendicular to each other. When the light beam comes in contact with even a small amount of smoke, some of the rays are diverted and hit the perpendicular sensor, which triggers the alarm.
Although ionization smoke detectors and photoelectric smoke detectors are the most widely used forms of smoke sensors, they do come with their own set of cons. By combining the properties and working principle of both these types, a lot of their disadvantages can be taken care of.
This is exactly what combination smoke detectors do.
Ionization types work best when the intensity of smoke is very high, and photoelectric work best when intensity is low, but the amount of smoke can be suffocating.
In this way, combination detectors can take care of both situations. Sometimes a detector can sense fire, as well as harmful gases like carbon monoxide,sulphur dioxide, etc. These are called combination detectors. So while buying, beware of this difference.
The projected beam smoke detector is the least used type of smoke detector in modern times. However, this isn’t an indication of its effectiveness. The working principle is also a bit similar to a photoelectric smoke detector.
The design is like a projector or an enlarged barcode scanner. The device continuously emits invisible light beams, and once the direction of the light beams is distorted by smoke, the alarm rings to alert the user of smoke.
An Aspirating smoke detector is one that is slowly rising in the popularity charts. The working principle is quite simple. It consists of pipes, a testing chamber, a light sensor, and a receiver.
A sample of air is drawn from the surroundings and passed through the bore pipes and into the testing chamber. A light emitter is located in the chamber, and it passes light beams through the sample air. If it does get distorted, it indicates the presence of smoke in the surroundings and alerts the user.
The type of smoke alarm is the most important factor that you need to decide upon before buying one. The popular ones are ionization and photoelectric type. Each has its own set of advantages that have already been discussed in one of the previous sections.
To ensure that you are well covered under all circumstances, it is better to use a smoke alarm that is a combination of both the popular types. Also, the kitchen in every household needs to be equipped with a smoke alarm that can also detect toxic gases like carbon monoxide. These toxic gases will cause explosions and fire outbreaks.
There are two kinds of power sources through which a smoke detector may be used. One is the normal battery power, and the other is a hard-wired power system. The installation of hardwired power systems is quite tough, and hence it is done by experts during the construction of the house itself.
They also consist of backup batteries that will be used if the power goes out or the electric circuit has been destroyed during a fire.
The battery type, however, is the most used one due to the cost-effectiveness and ease of installation. But, you do need to replace the batteries from time to time in order to ensure safety.
If you decide to use the normal battery power type for your household, the backup provided by the battery will be of utmost importance to ensure that it is functioning properly and keeping you safe. Battery backup is dependent on individual smoke alarms, but most batteries need to be replaced twice a year on average.
The smoke alarm itself notifies you of low battery by chirping sounds, buzzer, or an LED in bedroom smoke alarms. If you want longer battery life, you should opt for Li-ion batteries as they can last up to 10 years. However, they do cost more than other battery types.
Smart or not
Smart smoke alarms are the newest type of smoke detectors in town. They have a unique set of features that set them apart from all other smoke alarms. These premium features, however, come at a premium price tag, as the cost of these smart gadgets is way more than normal smoke alarms.
All the alerts and controls are present on your phone to allow ease of use. The alarm also notifies you of some problems when you are away from your home. But, this technology is quite new and doesn’t work perfectly every time. So, at the moment, it is better not to buy smart smoke alarms by paying that hefty price tag.
In the western world, it is compulsory to have smoke detectors installed in every house. This is a rule implemented by the government of that country. The regulations also specify what types to use, when to replace it etc.
In India, however, there is no such rule, but in the near future, there might be some.
If it does come into play, it will follow the guidelines set by the west, and hence it is best to follow them while purchasing one for ourselves.
Interconnection is nothing but connecting each and every smoke detector in the house such that if one is triggered, all the others will be triggered at the same time. These types of smoke alarms prove to be vital in a home having multiple floors as people in all areas of the house will be alerted.
In hardwired smoke alarms, interconnection is easy and implemented in most cases. In battery-powered smoke alarms, wireless connections need to be put in place. This, however, has its own issues as all the smoke alarms need to be of the same company.
Alert type refers to the way in which a user is made to know about a potential fire hazard. There are a number of ways to do this. Some of the most common ones are beeping, buzzers, chirping, LED lights, sirens, etc.
If you are planning to install smoke alarms in all rooms, a low-intensity alert is enough, but if it’s a large building, high-intensity alerts like sirens are needed.
Some newer models of smoke alarms come with a display that gives out various types of vital information like ambient temperature, the purity level of the air, toxic gases in the air, etc.
While these can be useful, the added cost for these features is not worth the information they give. It is still early days in this technology, though, so improvements are imminent.
1. Kidde Battery Operated Smoke Alarm – Best All Round Smoke Alarm
Kidde is one of the oldest companies in the world, which specializes in fire safety. They were started in 1917 and have introduced many innovations in the smoke alarm sector. One of the most notable things is that they were the first to produce a combination smoke alarm that can detect both fires as well as poisonous gases.
Today, they are the biggest company in the smoke alarm sector and are present in many countries across the globe.
The product that we are reviewing here is the best seller in its category in India, and that’s why it is the most recommended product too. It consists of all the necessities you would need from a smoke detector, and since it is from such a reputable brand, the quality is assured.
Down below, we have listed down all its major features, advantages, and disadvantages that a typical consumer needs to be aware of.
- The smoke alarm is of the battery type, and it consists of a 9-volt battery that is included in the package
- The operable temperature is up to 100-degree centigrade, and the maximum humidity it can sustain is 85%
- The smoke alarm is of ionization type, making it suitable for high-intensity flames
- It weighs just 0.62 lbs and has a dimension of 5 inches width with 1.5 inches height
- It has a red LED bulb for low battery warning and smoke warning
- The company is providing a whopping 10-year warranty for all the components
- It can be mounted on ceilings or walls as required
- Since it is battery operated, the installation procedure is quite easy
- The design is nice and compact
- The maximum sound output that a user can hear from a distance of 10 feet is 85 dB.
- It has a test button as well as a low battery warning
- It isn’t a combination type and hence isn’t suitable for low-intensity flames
- There is no option for interconnection of different smoke alarms
2. Triumph Gas and Heat Detector – Best Use in a Kitchen
Triumph designs is an Indian company that is specializing in a variety of areas. They produce everything from barcode and biometric scanners to road barriers. They are headquartered in India but sell their products in over 50 countries around the world.
Producing smoke and has alarms is just one of their many operations
The smoke alarm listed by us here is one of the products with the highest ratings in this category. They also boast of meeting not only Indian standards but also international standards for smoke alarms.
This smoke alarm is also unique on this list because it is the only kitchen specific smoke. However, that is not its only unique feature. All the other important features, pros, and cons are listed below for more information.
- The product is hard-wired and needs to be connected to an electric circuit using a package provided wire and plug
- The initial setup is effortless, and the company claims that it takes less than 2 minutes
- It has two separate LED indicators, the red one for toxic gas leakage and the green one for excess heat indication
- Works on a 230 volts, 50 Hz power supply and consumes less than 1 Watt power
- The product is made from industrial grade materials and not consumer grade like other smoke alarms
- The sensitivity is quite high and can detect gases even at 500 particles per million
- Heat detection sensor is set for 55 degrees centigrade
- Meets even international certifications like UL and CE
- The company provides 1-year manufacturing warranty
- Easy setting up procedure and low power consumption
- High in quality as it is made from industrial grade materials
- Two separate indicators for different situations
- High sensitivity for gas leakage
- International organizations even certify it for quality
- The one-year manufacturer warranty is quite low
- The design isn’t very pleasing to the eye
3. First Alert Hardwired Smoke Alarm – Best Premium Smoke Detector
Unlike many other brands on this list, the First Alert is a brand that is solely focussed on manufacturing fire safety equipment like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, etc. They are a US-based brand and have been in existence since 1958.
The innovative products that they released over the years are also why they are so well known today. They are known as a premium brand as the quality of their products is always a notch above the rest. Needless to say, the prices are also premium for their products.
The product whose review we are doing is the costliest on this list due to its high quality. Although the features and specifications list might blow everyone away, the value for money proposition is what pushes it down the list.
Having said that, if you want the best product and are willing to spend loads, this is the one you should choose. Here are its specifications, pros, and cons
- It is a wired smoke detector, meaning you will have to plug it into a socket to run it. It does, however, consist of a backup battery in case the power goes out
- It has both smoke and harmful gases detecting capability which isn’t found in most other smoke detectors
- It can be interconnected to up to 12 other smoke alarms so that when one has triggered the rest of them are also notified
- The maximum voltage that it will work on is 120 volts
- The test button and the silence button are combined into one button
- It has a tamper-proof battery case for emergencies
- As you would expect, it is certified by all major organizations regarding its working
- The company provides 7-year comprehensive warranty for all parts
- All the components are made from high-quality materials
- It is manufactured by one of the most reputable brands in this sector
- It is multi-functional as it can detect both smoke and poisonous gases
- The additional battery(which is tamper-proof) backup in case of power cuts can be useful
- Certified by all major organizations
- The price to performance ratio isn’t the best
4. Walnut Innovations Smoke Sensor – Best ValueForMoney Smoke Alarm
Walnut innovations are a relatively new company that is changing the way we use mechanical and electrical products daily. They are based out of India and have a broad portfolio of products. They are also in the field of electronic home automation.
They have won many awards for their innovative approach.
The smoke sensor that we are reviewing here is one of the most cost-effective smoke alarms in India. It is one of the few photoelectric types available at this price point. Here is the detailed specifications list along with pros and cons
- It uses both sound and flashes for alerting users. The sound level is 85 decibels, which is quite high at such cost
- It is completely battery operated, and the battery rating is 9V
- It has a photoelectric sensor and can detect smoke from all angles
- It is suitable for all types of rooms
- It has all the usual test button, silent button, and low-battery warning system
- It has a dimension of 5*1 inch, making it quite compact
- It is a very cost-effective product
- Even at this low price, it has all the basics that any user would need
- It is versatile and compact in nature
- The build quality is quite poor
- The company isn’t very well-known
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Many Smoke Alarms To Install?
A normal household usually has 2-3 floors. It is better that there is a smoke alarm on each floor of the house to give maximum protection and awareness. Also, there should be additional smoke alarms in bedrooms and kitchens as these areas are more prone to fire than other parts of the house.
2. How and When To Test Your Smoke Alarm?
It is recommended that you test your smoke alarms every month to be sure. First, inform all the family members that it is a test and not a real alarm. Then tell one of your family members to stand as far away as possible from the smoke alarm inside the house.
Most companies provide a built-in test button to handle it, but if it is not provided, use a little bit of smoke to trigger it. The siren should be heard in each corner of the house.
If the noise is faint or unhearable, the batteries should be replaced.
3. How to Know When The Battery is Low?
Most modern smoke detectors have built-in alerting mechanism when the battery is about to die. Some produce sounds to warn the consumer while others blink lights. The status of the battery of a smoke detector can also be found out by testing it once in a while, as described in the previous question.
4. What is Smoke Alarm Chirping?
Chirping is nothing but one of the most widely used sounds by smoke alarms to notify users about the low battery situation. Chirping is also sometimes used as a siren when smoke is detected.
5. What Is The Life Span Of a Smoke Alarm?
With continuous and proper battery replacements from time to time, a good smoke alarm should last anywhere between 5-10 years. However, sometimes the smoke detectors malfunction due to various factors like manufacturing defects, physical damage, etc. In situations like this, they would need to be changed.
Now we have come to the end of a very long and detailed article about everything you would want to know regarding smoke alarms. In India, they are slowly becoming favorite day by day as many people are getting to know the effects of fire.
Hence, it is the right time to buy one. We have listed down all the best products in descending order for your convenience and have mentioned the USP’s along with what kind of users should buy them. Kidde Battery Operated Smoke Alarm and First Alert Hardwired Smoke Alarm are our top pick.
I hope this article has been helpful enough in your pursuit to buy a functional smoke alarm.