How to Power your Smoke Alarm for a Decade on One Battery

by Barrett

If you’re tired of having to feed new batteries into your smoke detectors, you may want to consider this solution…

It was 2:15am last Wednesday. An annoying electronic chirp tore me out of sleep. Of course, one of my smoke detectors was proclaiming that it needed a new battery. I stumbled downstairs and waited impatiently for the next chirp to identify the cranky smoke detector.


Wait a minute… Didn’t I just replace the battery on that one less than a month ago?

Still half asleep, I ripped the battery out of the unit’s innards, threw the mess on my desk and went back to bed.

The next morning, I sat down with my cup of joe with the intention to order more 9-volt batteries. But something didn’t feel right. I picked up the plump disc and looked at the fine print. It was manufactured back in 2010. Oh… That’s not good.

It was past its 10-year life span, and still going?

Time for a new unit.

10-Year Battery that’s Baked into your Smoke Detector
As I performed my research, I quickly realized that there’s a whole smoke detector product line that features a 10-year lithium battery sealed into the construction. No need to ever replace the battery. One and done!

Some states require this type of smoke detector, but this upgrade seems like a no-brainer for anybody to buy.

I found some chatter online that these 10-year batteries may not actually last you the full decade. I think that’s still okay. If I can get 7 or 8 years of peace at night without ever having to hear a chirp again, I’d say it’s still a huge bargain.

There are any number of 10-year battery models to choose from. I went with a basic unit for my hallway:

Why this one?
(Wirecutter liked it.)


Don’t Forget my Google Nest Protect
For those who are paying attention to my previous thinking on smoke detectors, you may recall my passionate commitment to my Google Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm. (In fact, I recently replaced my original unit which had reached its own end of life.)

So why am I still dabbling in old-school tech, even with an upgraded battery design?

Yes… my Google Nest Protect is our main line of defense, standing guard upstairs outside our bedrooms. I feel that’s the key location in our house, especially for a carbon monoxide detector.

I just haven’t yet committed to converting all of my smoke detectors over to the Nest Protect line. (It’s a bit of a costly project.)

And a twenty-buck solution from First Alert that should last us the better part of this decade felt like an easy move.

An integrated, multi-unit/smart-home set up will need to wait for a future post. Yes, I just bought myself another 10 years. But knowing me, I also don’t think it will take until 2031 to get there!

Stay tuned…