Buying your First Fire Alarm for your collection

I know the majority of people here own Fire Alarms already, But I’m writing this so first timer’s on the forum know what collecting an alarm is like.

Getting your first alarm is very exciting. Most likely you will keep this forever!

But, getting your first alarm can be a hassle, especially with all of the loopholes involved.

But before I recommend a few alarms, We need to know who and where NOT to buy from.

Don’t buy an alarm from these sellers/services listed below.

  1. Any Ebay sellers listed in This thread.

  2. Something that looks like These.
    Fire Alarm Siren Security Horn Buzzer 12VDC 24V Sound and Light Fire Warning Strobe Siren UHPPOTE Wired Emergency Fire Alarm Station 9-28VDC Conventional Dual Action Manual Call Point
    These are NOT real alarms. They are fake alarms targeted at first timer’s for their really cheap price. These alarms are meant to look like a BG-12 and a Spectralert Classic. The real versions are these.

    See the difference?

  3. Anything over $100. Its too much. Don’t Bother.

  4. Anything from Amazon. Amazon’s Fire alarm page has stuff, But it is mostly Overpriced or Fake. Don’t bother.

Now, What is a great starter alarm?

Well many collectors have differing opinions. Many will say, “Get a BG-12 and a Spectralert Advance!” But it is entirely your choice. Every collector has their own likes and dislikes. So it is up to you.

Good starter alarms are conventional ones, They will do their job just with a power source, Nothing else. Stay away from Addressable/Sync required products. Newer Simplex devices can have these, so It’s a good idea to run it thru the TFP Simplex Model Number Checker. Also stay away from devices that are not 12 or 24 Volts DC because they require a special power source that is not common.

Find something that currently fits your needs. Most likely you won’t have your Dream alarm right away. Find an alarm that you can afford and looks visually appealing to you.

Now, where do you get you first alarm? Most collectors use Ebay for their fire alarm shopping.(But there is many others too.) Ebay is a great place to look for an preferred alarm. The alarm you want might not show up, Especially if it is a rare device.

Just want to go random? There are many Fire alarm Mystery boxes out there. This is when the seller puts in random alarms and ships it to you. I have also compiled Ebay links for fire alarm searches.

$1-25 on Ebay

$1-50 on Ebay

$25-75 on Ebay

I hope this helps you with your collecting!

Once you are done, Check these out!

Wiring your alarms

Thinking about getting your first panel

Mod Edit: Apologies for not moving this sooner, I’ve gone ahead and moved this post to the guides category for you!

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I suppose those devices technically aren’t the best when it comes to first alarms, but I have both of those & I’d say they’re not that bad (though as you said the real thing is probably arguably better).

Don’t forget staying away from non-24VDC devices at first since they require special ways of powering them.

Added that part! That was something important that I left out.

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Actually, they are targeted at unknowing business owners needing a quick replacement and non-US market installations

I’m actually surprised that the one in the Youtube video has what looks to be a fairly bright strobe, but yes, building owners will of course go with whatever’s cheapest, just like 99% percent of consumers these days, though I’m not sure they’re the intended target.

Could be the reason, I don’t know what the real reason is. I’m not selling these.

I was looking at the reviews for these and I found that people actually installed these to pass Fire Inspections. (But its not UL listed?! How the…)


It is listed here because a lot of new collectors (and I mean a lot ), fall for this “Scam”. (Well it is but also not. It depends on many things. I just don’t like using the word.)

Like I Said before, There are many alarms that are way better and at the same price.

Also hard to tell, but the lens of the candela needs to be 6 inches below the ceiling if the ceiling’s less that 8ft above the floor.

9/10 Fire Marshals are not gonna ask to see the UL sticker; but if your building burned the insurance company can give you a hard time and if it was a newer system, the warranty’d be void. They might blend right in and they might go unnoticed for a very long time until someone tells the fire marshal. They are fire alarm shaped objects, but I have that Amazon pull station. It does it’s job for my personal home alarm system. I also kept the key on my work keyring, sure the day will come when I start seeing those. A collection is what you make of it; if someone wants to buy a generic device that’s on them. I did, because I didn’t want a Fire-Lite pull station hooked up to a DSC panel, that’s sacrilege in my mind.

The Amazon Description states that the alarms are Not UL listed. But I get what you are saying.

Like I said in the guide, It’s your choice of alarms. I put it there so if people want a quality alarm, that’s one of the things to consider. It’s not required by anyone. (Collector’s I mean, not code.)