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Smart smoke detectors have been available for years, but many come across as overly complicated—not to mention expensive. With its new Smart Detection line, Kidde aims to provide advanced alarm capabilities without throwing out the more familiar parts of its popular smoke and carbon monoxide detection devices.
There are two smoke/CO alarms in this collection. The first, reviewed here, is the simpler of the pair: It’s a straightforward smoke and carbon monoxide detector that can connect to your Wi-Fi network (2.4GHz only) and Kidde’s mobile app. The form factor is identical to older Kidde models. If you have an existing Kidde device on your ceiling or wall, the Smart Detection devices can use the same mounting bracket and the same wiring.
Note, however, that these new devices are exclusively available as hardwired units; the old-school battery-powered option is not available, presumably due to the higher power requirements of the wireless radio. They do, however, contain a sealed lithium-ion battery for backup power. It’s rated to last 10 years, after which time you’ll need to replace the device altogether.
Is this Kidde alarm easy to install?
Installation is straightforward, although Kidde’s app doesn’t do the best job of walking you through things, referring you to the dense, printed manual if you need to wire the included four-prong connector to your electrical system. The good news is that wiring is easy: just one black and one white wire, plus an optional red wire if you have interconnect wiring (every alarm must be wired to the same circuit). This allows multiple units to sound the alarm if any one unit detects a problem. Oddly, the units do not support wireless interconnection like the Nest Protect line, which seems like a big, missed opportunity.
After connecting the Kidde Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm to hardwired power, setup involves scanning a QR code on the reverse of the unit, connecting to it via Bluetooth, and installing a firmware update once you’ve connected to your Wi-Fi network. Only a few basic settings are available in the app, including options to notify you if the device goes offline or reaches its end of life. Options within the “property settings”—which are delivered by the app, not the device, include the ability to disseminate weather alerts.
Alerts can be delivered via push notification, SMS text, email, or some combination of the three. Each of these features worked well in my testing, and while the unit was slightly slow to respond to a live smoke test, the alarm was piercingly loud—and fairly easy to shut off after testing (with a button press or via the app).
Kidde’s new alarms can connect to both Alexa and Google Assistant devices, but this is of limited utility; namely, to let you check on the status of the alarm and little else. It doesn’t sound an additional alarm if one of your connected products go off, nor does it let you silence alarms with a voice command.
Is this Kidde alarm a good value?
You can ignore the $116 list price on Kidde’s website. This Home Depot exclusive sells for $70, which is much more reasonable in comparison to (slightly) more capable options like the Nest Protect ($119). At this price, the device is a decidedly reasonable investment, especially if you already have hardwired Kidde detectors that are ready for replacement.