First Alert Z-Wave smoke and carbon monoxide alarm 3-pack review

First Alert Z-Wave smoke and carbon monoxide alarm 3-pack review
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This device offers an affordable connected alarm with a good pedigree of reliability. Among First Alert’s smart offerings is the battery powered 2nd Gen Z-Wave Combo. This combines the smoke alarm with a carbon monoxide sensor as well, also a must have for any home using gas appliances. Lets take a look at the details in First Alert Z-Wave smoke and carbon monoxide alarm 3-pack review.

What’s Included

  • 1x – First Alert Smoke/CO Combo Alarm
  • 1x – Mounting Hardware
  • 2x – Mounting Screws with Anchors
  • 2x – AA Batteries
  • 1x – Owner’s Manual

Pros & Cons

✔ Z-Wave Plus
✔ Ring Alarm Support
✔ Photoelectric Smoke Sensor
✔ CO Sensor
✔ Battery Powered, no wiring

✘ No WiFi
✘ 7 year sensor life

Specs – First Alert Z-Wave smoke and carbon monoxide alarm 3-pack

  • Z-wave compatible smoke and carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Product Dimensions (LxH): 5 x 2 in.
  • Product Weight: .52 lbs.
  • Works with the Ring Alarm Security Kit (not included)
    • Requires Ring Alarm to Work with Ring
    • Receive real-time notifications in the Ring App when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected
    • Automatically notifies Ring professional monitoring team to dispatch emergency responders to your home (requires Ring Protect Plus)
  • Certified for use with Nexia Home Intelligence and other 3rd party Z-Wave systems. (NOT WINK compatible)
  • Mute button, mutes unnecessary alarms immediately. Test alarm function with same button.
  • Tamper resistant – locks alarm to mounting bracket to prevent removal of battery and/or alarm.
  • End of life timer, alarm chirps when it is time to replace it.
  • 2 AA batteries included. Save 33% on annual battery replacement costs vs. other smoke/CO combo alarm brands that use 3 AA batteries.
  • Meets UL217 & UL2034 Standards.
  • Operating Voltage: 3V (Two 1.5V AA) Battery Powered
  • Audio Alarm: 85dB at 10 ft.
  • Wireless Range: 131.24 ft.
  • Wireless Frequency: Z-Wave 500 Series
  • 7 Year Limited Warranty.

First Alert Z-Wave smoke and carbon monoxide alarm 3-pack review

Design

The First Alert Z-Wave Combo Alarm includes: an insect screened photoelectric smoke sensing chamber, electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor, 85dB horn, supervised 3V (2 AA batteries) power supply, full function test switch and a silence feature. This combination alarm operates with 3rd party, certified Z-Wave devices enabled with the First Alert protocol and the basic command class required by all Z-Wave devices.

Sensor

The smoke sensor is a photoelectric type, which helps reduce false positives from cooking, steam, and other normal activities. Both the smoke and CO sensors will trigger the alarm in the same way, with each illuminating the corresponding LED on the face of the alarm.

Loud alarm

The alarm itself is a fairly loud 85dB. While less than a burglar alarm it’s fairly standard for smoke detectors which are trying to get your attention, not scare you off.

The sensors are rated for 7 years, which is a little less than some higher priced models which often offer 10 years. Of course, at this price it’s not a huge downside to replace them after that long.

Installation

Installation was a piece of cake.

Adding the alarm to your smart network involves closing the battery compartment while depressing the test button. This put it into pairing mode, and the SmartThings app recognized it and paired with it right away. You can see the status of the alarm and track the battery level right in the app.

Turning it on involved pushing the battery compartment closed and testing it out. It worked and it is loud! The alarm is rated to 85dB. Mounting it was easy with the provided mounting bracket and screws that work just like every other smoke alarm I have ever seen.

I then setup a “notify me” home automation in the smart things app to send me alerts via text message when the alarm goes off.

Z-Wave Integration

The Z-Wave Plus connectivity is the other major selling point here. This makes adding the device to your network easier as you can use the QR code on the bottom to aid in the inclusion process. The Combo alarm only uses the Basic command class which doesn’t define any specific functionality. As such you’ll want to check if your Z-Wave controller supports these properly or you may have limited functionality.

How to Z-Wave Setup?

Z-Wave Inclusion Process

  1. Slide battery door open.
  2. Insert batteries checking the correct orientation.
  3. Press and hold the test button. Keep it held down as you slide the battery drawer closed. You may then release the button.

Z-Wave Exclusion Process:

  1. Slide battery door open.
  2. Remove and re-insert batteries checking the correct orientation.
  3. Press and hold the test button. Keep it held down as you slide the battery drawer closed. You may then release the button.

Things to note:

  • The alarm will remain awake for 30 seconds on inclusion.
  • The alarm supports one association group with up to 1 node, and sends its alarms to that group.
  • The alarm supports configuration parameter #1, which has a size of 1, a default value of 0, and when set to 1 causes the device to send double alarm messages.

Resetting the device:
If the device is powered up with the test button held down for 10+ seconds, the device will reset all Z-Wave settings and leave the network. NOTE: The device will not remain awake after resetting and will go into standby mode.

First Alert Z-Wave smoke and carbon monoxide alarm 3-pack customer review

Great addition to ring ecosystem

Bought two of these to connect to our ring alarm. Both work great after a little confusion on how they display in the ring app once set up. Once I connected one device, and it showed two devices in the ring app which was a little weird; “First Alert Fire & CO2” & “First Alert CO2”. I was confused and deleted one of them. It deleted both of them. I tried to re add the device and couldn’t get it to add to my ring app. I tried multiple troubleshooting steps and couldn’t get the detector to connect to my app.I set up the second device and again it added two devices to my ring app. One for Fire and co2 and another device labeled co2. I then renamed one to “Downstairs Fire” and the other to “Downstairs CO2”. I exchanged the first device and renamed the new device(s) to their location and Fire or co2. I have not had either go off so don’t know what happens on the app when one goes off as of yet but both show connected on the ring app.

By tex29 at Best Buy

Alternate of First Alert Z-Wave smoke and carbon monoxide alarm 3-pack

First Alert Onelink Safe and Sound (Hardwired)

If you’re looking for a smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector that has tons of functionality, your best option may be the new Onelink Safe & Sound. Out of all the detectors we tested, this one has the most features, including push notifications, a built-in Bluetooth speaker, customizable night light, and Amazon Alexa functionality—yes, that’s right, it lets you give voice commands directly to your smoke detector.

Overall, this smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector is packed with smart features and does its main job well, alerting you immediately with push notifications if it ever goes off. However, it’s quite expensive, and a lot of the features that command its higher price seem kind of unnecessary. If you like the idea of using your smoke detector to play music or as an Alexa device, you can feel secure that this device will protect your home and family, but if the extraneous features don’t appeal to you, there are cheaper, equally reliable options, such as the Nest Protect.

During our testing, the Onelink Safe & Sound pushed out smartphone notifications as soon as the detector went off, and it was easy to silence alarms via the app. Both the voice announcements and speaker quality were impressive, but the Onelink app itself isn’t the best, crashing fairly frequently. Additionally, this smart smoke alarm was a challenge to install—it was nearly impossible to clip into the mount, and once you do get it in, it probably won’t come off.

Pros

  • Built-in Bluetooth speaker
  • Alexa-enabled
  • Customizable night light

Cons

  • App crashes often
  • Difficult to install

Editor’s recommendations