If you’ve been following along in our 12 months of smart home improvements series so far, you’ll most recently have read the article on how to set up your own smart garage, which combines elements of 2 of the 3 pillars of smart home products: Safety and Security and Comfort and Convenience (the third pillar being Energy and Efficiency). Today we go deeper into the Safety and Security realm with a discussion of Safety Sensors & Detectors (like smoke, radon gas, and carbon monoxide detectors). Read on to learn how to keep your family safe from the threat of fire and noxious gases.


Why Install Smart Smoke, Radon Gas, and Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

The reasons to install smart smoke, radon gas, and carbon monoxide detectors should be obvious—they can save your life and the lives of your family members.

If there was a fire in your home in the night, wouldn’t you want a smoke detector on duty?

Odourless gases can be even more heinous. Carbon monoxide, for example, feels like ordinary air to your lungs, yet it kills in silence as your organs are starved of oxygen. One of the deadliest killers there is, carbon monoxide is not to be taken lightly.

Similarly, radon gas stealthily invades your home, bringing along with it deadly cancer. You may never have harmful levels of this gas in your home, but can you really afford not to know? A radon gas detector could be a long-term lifesaver.

These are the reasons to defend your home with an intelligent mix of safety sensors and detectors.


Key Features to Look For in Smoke, Radon Gas, and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Some key features to look for in smart smoke, radon gas, and carbon monoxide detectors include the following:

  • App Based Control – If you’re not at home when smoke begins to appear, you’ll be glad to have an early warning system in place that can notify you of the situation no matter where you may be. This is the benefit of sensors and detectors that have app based control. Smart sensors and detectors give you an immediate warning of the issues they detect, allowing you to take action to mitigate the damage, such as calling emergency services or jumping into action yourself to ensure a positive outcome.
  • Strong Sensors – The best detectors have strong, advanced sensors, such as the Nest Protect’s Split-Spectrum Sensor, which can detect both fast and slow burning fires, or its 10-year CO sensor, which provides a long life of warnings against toxic CO leaks that are otherwise nearly impossible to detect due to their invisibility and lack of odour. Additionally, the best products are capable of detecting multiple issues, such as a single product being able to detect both smoke and carbon monoxide.
  • Easy to Install – While not necessarily a universal quality, many smart detectors are valued for being very easy to install. When choosing which model(s) to protect your home with, be sure to consider whether or not this is important to you. For instance, if a product gives you a choice between a wired-in or battery operated model (with all other things being equal), you must decide whether the extra effort of wiring the device in outweighs the hassle of occasional battery changes.


Some Options to Consider


One of the best safety detectors there is is the Nest Protect Wi-Fi Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm. This easy to install (battery powered) detector is packed with safety features. For example, it can sense the severity of an alert and notify you accordingly. Thus, if a small amount of smoke or CO is detected, it will alert you right away, but not in a panicked manner. However, if the situation escalates, the Nest Protect will go info full-on warning mode, sounding an alarm, flashing red, and even talking to you so you’ll know exactly what’s happening.

One of the ways it can communicate with you is through your smart phone (via the Nest App), which means you’ll be alerted to incidents even when you’re not at home, potentially allowing you to get a head start on calling the fire department.

Other features of the Nest Protect include considerate battery monitoring (as in it won’t wake you up in the night with a low battery warning—it will warn you before things get to that point), both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and it’s even capable of communicating with your other Nest products (like the Nest Cam or Thermostat). 

And this is just a taste of what the Nest Protect can do for you. You can learn more about its many excellent features by visiting its product page at Best Buy.

Note: There’s also a wired in version of this alarm that you can buy, which takes a bit more effort to initially install, but in the long run will save you the trouble of having to change the batteries from time to time.



If radon gas is a concern in your area, you should definitely consider adding the Airthings Wave Wireless Radon Gas Detector to your home’s smart sensor defences. By my understanding, radon gas has a much higher likelihood of being present (at dangerous levels) in below ground basements. This gas is only of significant concern when it reaches particular levels, but such levels may exist in above ground rooms as well, and this is certainly something you’re going to want to know about in your own home.

This gas detector from Airthings has a number of useful features, such as a freely downloadable app that works with both iOS and Android based devices to provide you with radon measurements on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even a yearly basis.

The Airthings Wave will warn you both audibly and visually if the air quality in your home is bad, and it even provides feedback regarding your home’s temperature and humidity levels.

If dangerous radon gas is seeping into your home, this device will give you the information you need to be able to do something about it.

This potentially life-saving product was recently tested by a variety of our bloggers in locations throughout Canada, and the testing resulted in a comprehensive review by Brad Moon back in August. I would highly advise reading that article to learn all about the dangers of radon gas and how you might defend against it.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to keeping your family safe and secure, one of the most important steps you can take is to install the right combination of Safety Sensors & Detectors. I hope that this instalment of our 12 months of smart home improvements series has been eye-opening and helpful to you, but this is only a first step. When it comes to smoke, radon gas, and carbon monoxide detectors, it behooves us all to do additional research and seek out the best possible combination of devices to employ in our various homes. May we all sleep safely at night!

Check out our other great articles in the 12 months of smart home improvement series!

Leonard Bond
Leo enjoys writing about everything from secret agents to tech toys and gadgets to professional hockey. Find his reviews and other product related commentary right here on the Best Buy Blog and his latest hockey rants at www.hockeycontroversial.com.