Safety is a priority in any household, and a working smoke detector can help keep you safe. It is important to ensure that your smoke detector is always working, which means you may need to change the batteries every so often. Yet, do all smoke detectors have batteries or are there other options available?

All smoke detectors do have batteries. Yet, some smoke detectors are designed to be hardwired into the building and use the electrical supply for power. Such smoke detectors still have batteries as a backup power source in case of an electricity outage.  

Throughout this article, I will discuss the different kinds of smoke detectors and the batteries used to keep them working. I will also provide recommendations for each type of smoke detector for you to consider. Keep reading to learn which type of smoke detector is best for you and your home.

All Smoke Detectors Contain Some Type of Batteries

All smoke detectors have batteries, but they do not all use batteries as a power source. There are three types of smoke detectors:

  • Hardwired
  • Battery-powered
  • 10-year sealed battery

These devices are powered differently, and unless you are required to have a 10-year sealed battery where you live, the option you choose comes down to your preference of which is the most suitable.

Hardwired Smoke Detectors

Hardwired smoke detectors are often the preferred option because they are safe, efficient, and easy to maintain. These smoke detectors are connected directly to the house’s electrical supply. Thus batteries are not required to keep them running. Still, these devices contain backup batteries that will keep them running in the event of a power outage.

Due to the number of house fires before 1992, hardwired smoke detectors have since become the new standard in modern homes.

One great benefit of hardwired smoke detectors is that they can interconnect with other alarms throughout the house.

If this type of smoke detector seems best for your home, I recommend the Kidde Hardwired Smoke Detector (Amazon). Kidde is North America’s most installed fire safety brand, providing UL-certified smoke detectors with a 10-year limited warranty. This hardwired smoke detector uses a 120V power source and includes a 9V backup battery. It also has a front-load door for easy battery replacement, should the need arise.

Keep in mind that a professional electrician must install hardwired smoke detectors because the device needs a connection to the house’s power supply. If installed incorrectly, it may risk damage to the home.

Battery-Powered Smoke Detectors

9V has been the battery of choice in smoke alarms for many years. Many older models of battery-powered smoke detectors have used this type of battery, as they can go for many years without being replaced. In fact, many hardwired smoke detectors contain a 9V as the backup battery for this very reason.

Still, in recent years, AA batteries have grown in usage because they have about three times as much energy as a 9V. These batteries are easy to replace when required and should be replaced every six months. As a good reminder, changing your smoke detector’s batteries is recommended each time you change your clock for daylight savings.

As a reliable yet inexpensive battery-powered smoke detector, I recommend the First Alert Family Gard Basics Battery Operated Smoke Detector. From another highly trusted safety brand, this detector operates on a 9V battery (included) and sounds an 85-decibel horn when it senses smoke. It also features a low battery signal to inform you when the battery needs to be replaced and a conveniently located test button for easy testing.

You may also like to read: Will Taking the Battery Out of a Smoke Detector Stop the Beeping?

The 10-Year Sealed Battery Smoke Detector

While most battery-operated smoke detectors allow for manual battery replacement, some devices come equipped with a 10-year sealed battery smoke alarm. These usually contain a lithium battery, which carries a higher electrical charge than your average alkaline battery. Notably, these come with a higher price tag.

The 10-year sealed battery smoke detector eliminates the need for constant battery replacement. While the batteries die within months in other battery-powered smoke detectors, the 10-year sealed battery lasts for up to a decade. Not only does this eliminate the need to change the batteries in your smoke detector every year, but it also keeps you from hearing a low-battery chirping every six months.

These specialty smoke detectors have become a requirement for the home in some places, such as Chicago, Iowa, and New Jersey. In locations where a 10-year sealed battery smoke detector is not required, they should still be readily available at your local home improvement store, should you prefer this option.

If this is the type of smoke detector that you prefer or your state requires, I recommend the First Alert Ionization Smoke Alarm. It complies with the latest legislation for 10-year sealed battery smoke detectors and features a mounting bracket for easy installation. It includes a 3V lithium battery to provide non-stop monitoring even during a power outage and an end-of-life warning to inform when it is time to replace the unit.

Where and Where Not to Install a Smoke Detector

Regardless of the type of smoke detector you choose, the device should be installed in a central location in a smaller home. It is highly recommended to install multiple units throughout larger homes. Those places may include:

  • Kitchen
  • Bedroom
  • Hallway
  • Basement

Note: Always place smoke detectors on the ceiling for accurate detection.

Keep in mind that smoke detectors should not be installed near the following places:

  • Air Vents
  • Fans
  • Doorways
  • Windows

Such locations will inevitably produce a draft preventing a smoke detector from functioning correctly.

See also: Can Steam Set Off a Smoke Detector?


When considering a smoke detector, the choice is either hardwired or battery-powered. As technology has modernized, so has the usage of smoke detectors and how they are powered. All smoke detectors still use batteries, but only some need them as prevalently as they did in the past. Regardless of choice, however, all homes need a smoke detector as the best option is to ensure a safe life for you and your loved ones.

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