Why Are Some Smoke Detectors More Expensive Than Others?

Jan 5, 2023

We don’t have to tell you that installing smoke detectors is a non-negotiable when it comes to fire safety. These integral devices can help alert homeowners of a potential fire long before its ignition. This will help save lives, reduce anxiety, and protect your home.

But just because every home needs smoke detectors doesn’t mean that every home is equipped with the exact same detector. There are various types of smoke alarms with different features available at diverse costs.

So, why are some more expensive than others? 


Types of smoke detectors

  • 9V Battery Operated
  • Hardwired
  • Lithium Ion Battery Operated
  • Hardwired with Rechargeable Batteries


There are four main power sources used for smoke alarms listed above. The cost of your smoke detector is largely dependent on the type you choose.


9V Battery Operated

9 volt battery smoke alarms are the cheapest option for smoke detectors. Averaging around $25, these detectors are easily installed in any location as they don’t have cables. That said, you will need to change the batteries annually since there is no backup power supply if they die or fail. You will also want to consider whether your home is eligible to use a battery operated alarm, as some codes require hardwired smoke alarms. 



Hardwired smoke detectors get their power from a 120V mains power, but also offer the security of a backup 9V battery. In the case of a power outage, your smoke detector will still function properly. Costing an average of $60, the duality of hardwired alarms make them much more reliable than their battery-only counterparts. Offered in both photoelectric and ionisation models, users are free to decide which model they prefer. 


Lithium Ion Battery Operated 

Lithium ion battery operated smoke alarms are battery powered, but unlike traditional battery operated alarms, these detectors are designed to last for 10 years! Costing around $80 on average, you won’t have to think about your alarm for another decade once it’s installed. However, it’s still important to consider the fact that these detectors rely on one power source, meaning they might not be as reliable as dual hardwired and battery powered alarms. 


Hardwired with Rechargeable Batteries

Hardwired smoke detectors with rechargeable batteries are a great option for reliability. Hardwired to 120V mains power with an additional 10 year lithium ion backup battery, these alarms take convenience and safety to a whole other level. Costing an average of $100, these alarms certainly provide homeowners with a bang for their buck. 


The cost of a smoke detector varies by type, brand, and efficiency. On top of purchasing smoke detectors, you will also want to hire a qualified electrician for the installation. This is especially true for hardwired smoke alarms, which must be installed by a licensed electrician to ensure safety. Having an electrician hardwire a smoke detector into your home is relatively low in cost, and provides you with complete peace of mind.

Our team at AJ’s Electrical are experts in installing hardwired smoke detectors.  If you’re interested in hiring our team to install your new hardwired smoke alarms, contact us today or request a free quote! We can’t wait to hear from you.

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