Smart Home

6 Smart Detectors That Protect Your Family and Property from Harm

Dann Albright 05-06-2015

Running a smarter, more energy efficient home Save Energy and Money With These Smart Home Devices One of the biggest benefits of a smart home is the energy saving technologies available. As well as saving money, you’ll also be pushing toward a more sustainable, convenient living situation. Read More is a great goal—it saves you money and it’s more eco-friendly. But a truly smart home does more than save money and the environment: it also helps protect you, your family, and your house. These six smart detectors will keep an eye on things so you feel safer when you’re at home or away.


Nest Protect

Nest is known for their smart thermostat How to Install and Use the Nest Thermostat to Automate Energy Savings If you've ever considered getting started with home automation, purchasing a Nest thermostat is the perfect way to start. In just a week of using it, we cut our energy consumption in half. Read More , but they also produce a smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector that integrates into the system (we reviewed the Nest Protect Nest Protect Review and Giveaway Read More last year).

Instead of just sounding an ear-piercing alarm that sends you into a state of panic, the Protect uses a speaker to tell you whether it’s detected smoke or CO, where it is in your house, and whether it’s an immediate danger to you.


And when you’re away from home, you can use the Nest app to get details on what the Protect has detected, both at the moment and for the past ten days, so you can keep an eye on what’s happening in your home.

Buy the Nest Protect from Amazon


Birdi Smart Air Monitor [Broken URL Removed]

The Birdi (formerly the Canary Canary Home Security System Review and Competition Canary is finally here: "the first smart security device for everyone". Is it the last word in affordable home security and monitoring systems, or just another overpriced and glorified webcam? Read More ) is more than a smoke alarm and CO detector; it monitors dust, soot, pollen, temperature, humidity, air staleness, pollution, and particulates, so you get a comprehensive picture of the air in your home.

It sends all of this information directly to your phone—you can also silence the alarm from the app, which will be a huge relief to anyone who has a tendency to burn things in the kitchen.

Birdi can send a wide variety of notifications, meaning it can let you know if there’s a fire in your neighborhood, call someone on a landline with an alert, and even send you an alert if there’s a natural disaster on the way. It’s not just a smoke detector—it’s a full-featured environmental detection system.


Pre-order Birdi from ($120) [Broken URL Removed]

Roost Smart Battery

Don’t want to buy a whole new smoke and CO detector for your home? The Roost smart battery might be the way to go. By using it to power your existing smoke or CO alarm, you can get notifications on your smartphone no matter where you are. You won’t get as many features as you would with other items, but the $40 price tag can’t be beat.


You can monitor a number of different alarms in your house, and Roost will also send you a “replace battery” notification long before the annoying chirping starts.


Pre-order the Roost smart battery from ($40)

First Alert Z-Wave Smoke Detector and CO Alarm

If you’re looking for a smoke detector that works with your SmartThings (or other Z-wave) hub Which Smart Hub for Home Automation Is Best for You? For a while, people thought of the idea as nothing more than a gimmick, but recent product releases have shown that smart home automation is starting to live up to its promises. Read More , the First Alert detector is a great option. When it detects smoke or carbon monoxide, it sounds an alarm and sends an alert to your phone. It can also contact any other number of people (including the fire department) if you’re away.


Integration with the SmartThings system means you can also connect it to your smart lights, outlet, or plugs so that your lights turn on when the alarm goes off.


Buy the First Alert smoke detector and CO alarm from Amazon

First Alert ZCOMBO 2-in-1 Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Z-Wave Combo First Alert ZCOMBO 2-in-1 Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Z-Wave Combo Buy Now On Amazon $34.03

Foobot Air Monitor

The Foobot helps you monitor the air in your home. By reporting on volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, temperature, and humidity, the Foobot gives you an idea of how healthy your home environment is and lets you take steps to make it a healthier place for you and your family.

Although it doesn’t have a smoke detector, the Foobot will give you a great overall picture of the air quality in your home.

Order the Foobot from Amazon

[Obsolete and Discontinued] Foobot, Indoor Air Quality Monitor, Compatible with Alexa, Nest, and IFTTT [Obsolete and Discontinued] Foobot, Indoor Air Quality Monitor, Compatible with Alexa, Nest, and IFTTT Buy Now On Amazon

Halo WX Smoke Detector

The Halo WX packs two types of sensors—ionization and photoelectric—into a single smoke detector, giving you more protection than most other alarms. According to Halo, an ionization sensor could take up to 50 minutes to detect a smoldering fire, which means you might not have enough time to get to safety.

The Halo WX also detects carbon monoxide, uses visual and voice alarms instead of beeps, and even provides tornado alerts.

Pre-order the Halo WX from Indiegogo ($100)

A Cheaper Option

All of these options are great, but putting down $100 or even $200 on a smoke detector might not seem reasonable. If it doesn’t, you could take on a DIY smoke detector with an Arduino using a sensor like this SainSmart MQ7 4P gas tester for carbon monoxide detection or the CG312 MQ2 smoke / gas sensor.


At $9 and $10, you could save a lot, and by combining these sensors with a Wi-Fi shield or module (one of the coolest Arduino components 8 More Cool Components For Your Arduino Projects So, you're thinking about getting an Arduino starter kit, but wondering if some basic LEDs and resistors is going to be enough to keep you busy for the weekend? Probably not. Here are another 8... Read More you can get) you could probably come up with a way to get most of these features.

The Future of Smart Home Monitoring

Smart home tech is growing quickly and has started to improve just about every different part of your home—and air monitoring is no exception. These six options are great ways to make your home safer and keep a closer eye on what the air in your house is like.

Would you consider using a smart air monitor? Have you used any of the ones listed above? Share your thoughts and experiences below!

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Johnny
    July 31, 2016 at 11:52 am

    CO is the problem, not CO2

  2. ADS
    May 9, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    READ folks! These detectors detect CO (carbon monoxide) not CO2(carbon dioxide). The first one is lighter than air and the second is heavier (but not applicable to the detectors listed here anyway).

  3. albator
    December 22, 2015 at 3:57 am

    CO is different from CO2

  4. Anonymous
    June 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I too have heard of the concerns as stated above, but I also have heard that the detection of CO2 sensors are so sensitive that a high mounting location will trigger before the situation becomes dangerous in the low areas. Where as a smoke detector should be placed high due to the faster rate a fire can make the area dangerous. I don't know if this is accurate or not, just what I have heard.

    • Dann Albright
      June 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      While I haven't looked into this issue specifically, that seems pretty reasonable to me. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Anonymous
    June 6, 2015 at 10:40 am

    The problems I see with these all in one devices is that CO2 is heaver than air and settles in low places and may not be detected properly if the detector is too high up. Conversely, smoke and combustion by products caused by a fire or something smoldering rises to high places and may not be detected properly if the detector is mounted too low. Pollution detectors should probably be mounted mid way between high and low as that is where you normally breathe the air, But could likely be set to function well enough in either the high smoke detector location or the low CO2 location.
    I have always been told to install the smoke detectors high up and just outside the door to a bedroom, in a hallway, above the top of a stairway, on the kitchen ceiling on the side opposite the stove and other high places. While CO2 monitors should be mounted near the bottom of the wall in bedrooms, at the bottom of stairwells and in the basement. Is there any discussion of these concerns for any of these devices?

    • Dann Albright
      June 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      This is a valid concern, though I haven't heard any discussion about that from the manufacturers. I'm not sure what they would suggest to deal with this problem, but I'm sure it's something that they've thought of and discussed.

      Mike's comment above suggests that the CO2 detectors are sensitive enough that you can mount them on the ceiling, and this seems like a reasonable way to go about solving the problem.

      Thanks for your comment!