You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Are the more expensive smoke alarms the safest?

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
An investigation of 15 of the most popular smoke alarms costing between £9 and £160 has revealed a wide variation in the time it takes for them to sound off.

Campaign group Which? undertook four types of fire test, including smouldering wood, solvent, plastic and cotton fires.

A total of 15 smoke alarms, meeting the British Standard and with the Kitemark were put to the test and worryingly, one alarm at the upper end of the price range, failed to sound at all in two of the fire tests performed.

As such, it is now listing the Devolo home control smoke detector (£50 for the alarm and £110 for the control unit) as a ‘don’t buy’. A Devolo spokesperson said it was concerned by the results as the alarm had passed standard safety tests at two certified test labs.

In the Which? tests involving smouldering wood, two approved examples of the First alert SA300Q (£13) and the EI Electronics Ei3500S (£16) took more than nine minutes to trigger.

In contrast, the fastest alarm tested in this category was the Nest Protect Smoke+ Carbon Monoxide Alarm (£100), which was more than four minutes quicker to sound with the same type of fire.

The table below reveals the results:


Which? said that according to the official safety testing method – which measures the amount and thickness of smoke that is required to trigger the alarm – these response times are fine and all of the products tested met British standards.

However, the campaign group said the consequences of a slow-to-sound fire alarm could be significant as every moment may count in a house fire when it comes to getting out to safety.

As such, it’s calling for a new, tougher standard that only rewards models sounding more quickly.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “People will be surprised to see such a big variation in response times from alarms that are currently classed as being safe and which pass the standard. We want to see stricter testing criteria because every minute counts in a fire.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Are you a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage?

Look no further, get the help you need by searching for your perfect mortgage

A guide to switching energy provider

All you need to know about switching from one energy supplier to another.

Which ISA is right for you? A round up of the six products available in 2017

From cash to innovative finance to lifetime, here's our guide to the ISA products available to savers this yea...

Guide to buy-to-let tax changes

In late 2015, former Chancellor George Osborne announced a range of  tax measures aimed at landlords, which t...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Five fund tips for a 0.25% interest rate environment

With interest rates stuck at a record low 0.25% and expectations rates could fall to close to zero, here are ...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Investing your money

Alliance Trust Plc gives you smart insight into how to invest your money

Money Tips of the Week

  • RT @j_g_henderson: It's been an interesting couple of weeks for stock markets, and on @YourMoneyUK Nick Dixon sets out his six golden rules…
  • RT @j_g_henderson: It's been an interesting couple of weeks for stock markets, and on @YourMoneyUK Nick Dixon sets out his six golden rules…
  • RT @j_g_henderson: It's been an interesting couple of weeks for stock markets, and on @YourMoneyUK Nick Dixon sets out his six golden rules…
Read previous post:
House raffles may be illegal, Gambling Commission warns

House raffles, where properties are given away as prizes to the winner, may fall foul of gambling rules, according to...