Goto Site Map Page |  Skip Navigation and read main content

Dedicated to Quality & Safety in Housing & Construction©  Since 1961

graphic: ABI 55th Anniversary

Connect with “The Gurus of How-To”  &
Support Public Radio.

BBB Online logo Accurate Building Inspectors ® is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors Accurate Building Inspectors ® is a member of the American Institute of Architects
Accurate Building Inspectors ® is a Division of Ubell Enterprises, Inc.

Licensed: New York (NY) & New Jersey (NJ)

Toll Free: 1-800-640-8285

1860 Bath Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11214-4616

Product Education

Consumer Guides
Product Education

 Fire & Smoke Detectors

A basic overview of the benefits and drawbacks of current smoke and fire detection technologies for the home.

Comparison Chart


Sources:
- Chart is based on “Silent Alarms, Deadly Differences”, ASHI Reporter, June 2013
- Smoke Detector: Smoke Detector
- Ionization Detector: Ionization Detector

Photoelectric Ionization
Pros • Very effective for smoldering fires*
• Very effective for synthetic materials fires
• 15 to 50 minutes faster in a smoldering fire then ionization smoke alarm
• Less prone to nuisance alarm
• 4% failure rate


• Cheaper cost
• 30-90 seconds faster in fast flame fires*
• Very sensitive for burnt toast
Cons • Higher cost ($5 - $15 more that ionization smoke alarm)
• Not sensitive for burnt toast
• 55% failure rate
• 15 to 50 minutes slower in a smoldering fire then photoelectric smoke alarm
• Very prone to nuisance alarm
• Not effective for synthetic materials fires

* The vast majority of residential fire fatalities are due to smoke inhalation, not the actual flames.




Recalls

FEMA.gov Listing: Smoke Detector Recalls
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: CPSC.gov Database