Checklist for buying and installing smoke detectors

More than 500,000 fires every year, at least one death due to fire each day in Germany. Invest in a smoke detector because inhaling smoke can be fatal after just two minutes.

We have compiled some information for you that you should consider when buying and installing smoke detectors:


  • When buying a fire detector, make sure that it bears the VdS or DIN certification mark. Products certified with this test mark have been tested under real conditions and have been found to be good.
  • To make installation easy, the devices should run on batteries. Devices with high-quality Lithium batteries work for many years.
  • Recommendable devices have a function that warns you when the battery is low.
  • The device should have a test button for checking the function.
  • Only use optical smoke detectors! They work by sending out a constant light pulse. If this beam of light is interrupted permanently, the beam directs itself onto a photo element to trigger an alarm.
  • When installing, the rule is: one smoke detector in the passageway on each floor as well as in the bedrooms (recommendation by the fire service).
  • Smoke rises, so you should always mount smoke detectors on the ceiling. The distance from walls should be at least 60 cm.
  • Smoke detectors need maintenance too. You should therefore clean the air vents at regular intervals to prevent them from becoming dusty.
  • Smoke detectors must not be painted over. The paint could damage the device or block important openings.
  • A fire detector normally covers a maximum area of 40 sqm. Make sure therefore that you have enough devices.
  • There are places where standard smoke detectors should not be installed. These include: rooms with strong draughts or near to air vents, the apex of the roof, rooms with a lot of steam (bathrooms), dust (workshops) or fumes (kitchen).
  • Wireless smoke detectors or smoke detectors that are part of an alarm system are especially convenient. If a detector triggers an alarm, all of the smoke detectors in the network also sound an alarm.

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