Fire protection guide Smoke detector check

Smoke detectors can be real lifesavers. Find out where to install them and what to look out for when buying.

In this part of our ABUS fire protection guide, you will find answers to the following questions:

There are many smoke alarms - but what are the differences? And which smoke detector is the right one for you? Here is a brief overview:

Optical smoke alarms trigger the alarm as soon as smoke enters the measuring chamber of the detector - they therefore detect the visible smoke particles. They are unsuitable for kitchens and bathrooms because water vapour and cooking steam can trigger false alarms. More about the optical smoke detector RWM160

Smoke detector with heat warning function  additionally analyse the temperature changes in the room. Therefore, they are also suitable for use in kitchens and bathrooms. More about the RWM250 with heat warning function

In addition to stand-alone smoke detectors that are not networked with each other, there are radio smoke detectors: If a smoke detector triggers an alarm, the alarm also goes off in all others that are within radio range. If you live in a large flat or house, you will notice the fire hazard - no matter which room you are in. More about the radio smoke detector RWM165

Radio smoke detectors or smoke detectors that are  part of an alarm system  offer special convenience: For example, you can connect our wireless smoke detector FURM35000A to the Smartvest alarm system. In the event of fire smoke or an unusual rise in temperature, the alarm tone warns you via all wireless smoke detectors that are integrated in the network and via the Smartvest control centre - a push message via app or email also informs you of smoke development when you are on the move.

Discover smoke detectors from ABUS © ABUS

Approval mark: When buying, look for the test marks of VdS, DIN or TÜV/Kriwan. Products certified with these test marks have been tested under real conditions and found to be good.

Quality label Q: The independent Q-label guarantees special durability, increased safety and more ease of use: through extended test criteria for the permanently installed battery with at least ten years of service life, the quality of workmanship, fewer false alarms and resistance to environmental influences.

Features: Stiftung Warentest tests smoke alarms according to the following criteria (weighting in descending order): Reliability of the alarm, alarm volume, handling, robustness and declaration. These criteria can help you when buying: Your smoke alarms should have a loud warning tone of at least 85 decibels, be easy to handle and reliable. Recommendable devices also have a warning function when the battery is running low. A test button for regular function tests helps you maintain the detectors.

  • Mount the fire detectors centrally in the room on the ceiling - maximum room height 6 m.
  • The distance to the wall should be at least 60 cm. 
  • Mount the smoke detector horizontally.
  • One smoke detector covers a maximum area of 40 m². Make sure you have a sufficient number of devices. 
  • The smoke detector obligation in all federal states prescribes fire detectors in the following rooms: Children's rooms, bedrooms, corridors. We also recommend installing them in boiler rooms, living rooms or other rooms with electrical appliances. 
  • Smoke detectors with heat warning function are suitable for rooms with strong draughts (air shafts, roof tops, bathrooms, kitchens and workshops). 
  • With our magnetic mounting set for smoke alarms, you can easily install your new everyday helpers - without screws, dowels or drilling.
Rauchmelder befestigen ©ABUS

Many smoke detectors have a push button or test button. When you press the button, a loud beeping sound should be heard - this is how you test whether the batteries are still full and whether the fire detector is working properly on some models.

Fixing smoke detectors ©ABUS

In case of a false alarm, you can mute some smoke detectors with the activation button. However, false alarms are often an indication of soiling of the smoke chamber by dust, insects or dirt. Clean off the dust regularly, at least twice a year, with a hoover. From the outside, you can wipe your fire detectors with a dry dust cloth once a month. For detailed information on your smoke detector model, consult the operating instructions.


The smoke detector obligation in all federal states also stipulates that smoke alarms must be serviced once a year. You can find out who is responsible for this in our ABUS check on the smoke detector obligation.

Step 1 ©ABUS

There are smoke detectors with fixed and replaceable batteries. With fixed batteries, the battery life is also the life of the detector. So if the detector warns of a low battery level, you should dispose of it. In most cases, these detectors have a service life of ten years. The nationwide smoke detector obligation stipulates that the little lifesavers must be replaced after ten years - so the smoke detector service life fits exactly into the time window.

Detectors with replaceable batteries are often cheaper to buy. Depending on how long the batteries last, you will have to purchase new ones and replace them at regular intervals.

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