First Alert Review
         

First Alert is a retailer of home security products, with an emphasis on fire safety and surveillance. They are well known for inventing the first consumer smoke detector in 1964. They now offer a variety of home security and protection equipment, such as fire extinguishers, video cameras, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, and safes.

Summarization (3.5 Stars)

First Alert has a large selection of home safety equipment, but they do not provide certain security services, like 24-hour home monitoring, emergency dispatch, product installation or home automation.
First Alert offers comparable pricing and a variety of home security equipment options. Their equipment is self installed, making First Alert a great choice for someone who is comfortable with DIY, but not for someone who wants the convenience of a professional installation.

Cost (Five Stars)

First Alert is exclusively a retailer for home security products. This means you can purchase items such as First Alert carbon monoxide sensors, wireless security cameras, fences, and heavy-duty doors from their online store or at retail stores like Target and Ace. Prices range from affordable low-end options to pricy commercial-grade hardware. Here are some product categories and their corresponding price ranges:

  • Smoke Alarms: $10.99 – $154.99
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarms: $19.99 – $154.99
  • Fire Extinguishers: $19.99 – $229.99
  • Security Cameras: $64.99 – $799.99
  • Security Chests: $29.99 – $189.99
  • Gun Safes: $199.99 – $1,199.99
  • Cash and Security Boxes: $15.99 – $54.99
  • Fire, Water, and Theft Protection Safes: $49.99 – $1,349.99
  • Security Doors: $139.95 – $429.95

Monitoring Services (N/A)

Since First Alert only sells security equipment, they do not provide professional monitoring services. If you are seeking a home security system that provides 24-hour security services, emergency dispatch, and internal monitoring, you will need to look elsewhere.

Sensors and Detectors (Five Stars)

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors are two of First Alert’s premier products. They currently sell 33 different models of smoke alarms. They use various types of sensors, including dual sensing for carbon monoxide detection, ionization, and photoelectric. Contractors can also purchase basic smoke alarms in bulk quantities of 48 units. First Alert sells 23 different carbon monoxide alarm models, which are powered by batteries, hardwire connections, or AC adapter plugins. Water damage can be extremely expensive to repair, so it’s important to invest in water alarms. First Alert carries a water sensor three-pack, which will play a loud siren once it detects flooding.

Home Automation (N/A)

First Alert does not currently sell products that allow you to automate environmental functions, such as lighting, remote locking systems, appliances, and thermostats.

Mobile Access (Three Stars)

The majority of First Alert products cannot be linked to a dedicated mobile device app. The product lines that do support some form of mobile access are the Family Surveillance Cameras with LCD Monitors, some First Alert wired camera systems, and the SmartBridge camera systems. The wireless Family Surveillance Camera can be used as a baby monitor, streaming video and audio to an LCD monitor with a range of 750 feet.

The First Alert wired security cameras stream video is ready for both web and mobile app viewing, however a specific app is not listed on the system specs. SmartBridge camera models stream video directly to the free SmartBridge app, which is available for Android and iOS platforms. First Alert’s mobile access is limited to live camera feeds, and it does not support real-time alerts, status snapshots, or additional web access.

Control Equipment (Two Stars)

As described in the previous section, there are only a few products that use cellular monitoring. While First Alert sells products like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, safes, and fire extinguishers, they do not carry control equipment like key remotes, panic buttons, medical dispatch devices, two-way intercoms, wireless keypads, or alarm panels.

Installation and Setup (Three Stars)

The products sold by First Alert are meant to be installed by the customer. If you are not comfortable with DIY installation, then these products might not be a good fit for you. Most of the items have linked instruction manuals on their product pages. For example, while browsing a listing for the waterproof fire safe, you can click on the “Manuals” tab to find installation and setup instructions. You can purchase surveillance system window decals and yard signs from First Alert.

Surveillance (Four Stars)

First Alert has a variety of surveillance options, including home and office camera systems that can operate both outdoors and indoors. Some of these models come with LCD display receivers, like the Digital Wireless Recording System, which use live streaming and backup video to SD cards. However LED receiver solutions like these have location drawbacks, since they require you to remain within a 500-foot range of your camera to view live streams. The higher-end SmartBridge systems stream video onto the web and record with DVR, allowing you to backup footage and view it from anywhere with the smartphone app.

Three surveillance systems have pan and tilt functionality – the 4 Channel and 4 Camera Wired DVR System; the 8 Channel System and 4 Camera System; and the 8 Channel and 8 Camera System. Many of the Digital Wireless and SmartBridge models have infrared motion detection triggers.

Support Services (Three Stars)

Customers can reach First Alert by calling 847-991-4385 during their office business hours, which are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time on Monday through Friday. The company also has a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Company Info
  • Name: First Alert
  • Location: Aurora, Illinois
  • Founded: 1992
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation: Yes
  • BBB Rating: A+
  • Phone: (630) 851-7330
  • Website: http://firstalert.com/
  • History: First Alert was founded in 1958 by BRK Brands, Inc. This company actually invented the first smoke detector, which hit consumer markets in 1964. In 1992, First Alert was sold to T.H. Lee and Associates, a private equity firm. They were sold once again in 1998 to Sunbeam Corporation, a company known for their home and kitchen products, such as coffee machines and waffle irons. By 2005, Jarden Corporations acquired both BRK and First Alert. Since then, First Alert has launched new carbon monoxide detectors and Tundra fire extinguishers to keep people safe in emergency situations.

Pricing

Monitoring Packages: First Alert does not offer any home security monitoring packages.

Equipment Pricing: First Alert has an extensive catalog of home security products, too many to list here. These are some product highlights chosen from the “Most Popular” listings in each category:

  • Smoke and CO Protection Bundle: $39.95
  • Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Alarm Bundle: $55.98
  • Rechargeable Home Fire Extinguisher: $34.99
  • Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray: $29.95
  • Onelink Battery Operated Smoke Alarm Twin Pack: $84.99
  • Digital Wireless Indoor / Outdoor Camera, 500-foot Wireless Range: $129.95
  • .39 Cubic Foot Waterproof and Fire Resistant Chest: $49.99
  • 10.6 Cubic Foot Fire Resistant Digital Executive Gun Safe: $1,999.99
  • Deluxe Cash Box with Money Tray: $19.99
  • 2.1 Cubic Foot Water, Fire, and Theft Digital Safe: $329.99
  • Cambridge Security Storm Door: $349.95
  • Two Story Escape Ladder: $34.99

Upgrades: There are no upgrade options available for First Alert products. They are sold as listed.

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