Which Detector Test Kit Should I Buy - Testifire or Solo?

Here at Fire Trade Supplies, we often get asked about the differences between the Solo range of detector testers and the Testifire range. Here we are going to be looking at the features and importantly the benefits of both ranges. Let us start by looking at the newer of the two ranges which is the Testifire.


The Testifire range of detector testers was released as an alternative to the Solo range of detector testers by No Climb Products. The Testifire range was released to help engineers in the field with a single detector tester head rather than the separate smoke detector tester & heat detector tester which was previously available in the Solo range of equipment


The Testifire range of detector testers was designed to suit the widest range of detectors from most manufacturers including Apollo, Hochiki, TYCO & Gent to name a few. The Testifire detector tester head is also designed to accept all types of detectors such as optical smoke detectors, heat detectors and well as multi stimuli sensors.


The Testifire detector tester is certificated to UL standards and is approved by all the leading fire detector manufacturers including Apollo, Hochiki, TYCO & Gent as well as many others. 


The Testifire head is an all-in-one tool which allows the Fire Alarm Service Engineer to test smoke, heat and CO detectors using a single testing device. This is in contrast to the Solo product range where the engineer is required to switch between a smoke testing device and a heat tester.

The Testifire head is available in two models. The Testifire 2000-001 tester head unit has the facility to test smoke detectors, heat detectors and CO detectors from a single testing head unit. The Testifire 1000-001 tester head unit has the facility to test smoke detectors and heat detectors but does not have the capability to test CO fire detectors.

Both Testifire testing heads are available in a number of kit forms. The 2001-001 Testifire kit includes the 2000-001 head unit plus a TS3-6PACK-001 Smoke Capsule Cartridge pack, a TC3-6PACK-001 CO Capsule Cartridge pack, 2 Battery Batons and a Universal Fast Charger. The 1001-001 Testifire kit includes the Testfire 1000-001 head unit plus a TS3-6PACK-001 Smoke Capsule Cartridge pack, 2 Battery Batons and a Universal Fast Charger. Testifire kits are also available incorporating either 6 metre or 9 metre extension poles and a detector head removal tool (see part numbers 6001-0019001-001, 6002-001 and 9002-001).

Quicker Testing

As Testifire utilises only one testing head, the Fire Alarm Service Engineer doesn’t waste time changing testing head units and gets the job done more quickly.

No Re-Alarm

The Built in “clearing” mode within the Testifire head clears the test smoke from the fire detector after testing preventing re-alarms. This is another feature which saves time for the engineer and reduces the cost of the service visit.

Easy Storage & Transportation

As the Testifire uses non-hazardous, non-pressurised capsules it allows for easier and safer transportation. It also means that the capsules and indeed the whole system can be transported via airfreight for export purposes. Smoke capsules can be purchased as a single unit TS3-001, a pack of 3 capsules TS3-3PACK-001 or a pack of 6 capsules TS3-6PACK-001. CO capsules are also available as a pack of 3 capsules TC3-001 or a pack of 6 capsules TC3-6PACK-001.

On Demand Smoke

Whereas the traditional Solo detector tester used a can of compressed gas which acted as smoke, the Testifire uses a non-hazardous, non-pressurised smoke capsule which can be released on demand. This is an automated process and so the risk of detector contamination is very low compared to a traditional smoke canister.

Multi Stimuli

The Testifire detector tester is designed to test multiple stimuli in sequence, simultaneously or sequentially what ever is required by the fire alarm system

Testifire Design Efficiency

Status LEDs allow for visual confirmation of test & unit status. User interface enables simple programming of test type & sequence. Clear cup & vent allows for clear sight of the detector & rapid clearing after the test has been completed. Removable cup allows for testing of larger dome shaped detectors. On-Demand Stimuli – Smoke, Heat or CO (on certain models) can be generated automatically once the detector enters the cup. Heat is forced into a beam and applied directly to the sensors thermistor this allows for faster testing of sensors up to 100oc Adjustable handle allows for easy testing from any angle. Battery powered. The Testifire range of detector testers utilises the existing battery batons.


Solo is the fire alarm industry’s most popular range of detector test equipment. The Solo range is used by thousands of maintenance engineers every day throughout the world to ensure that smoke, heat and CO fire detectors are fit for purpose and ready to activate in the event of a fire. There are tools within the Solo detector test range that are designed for fire alarm engineers, building owners and management companies to provide fast and effective testing in compliance with international codes and standards.

Some of the benefits of using the Solo equipment are as follows: -


The Solo range of detector test equipment is universal and is compatible with most manufacturers including Apollo, Hochiki, TYCO & Gent to name a few. As with the Testifire range of detector test equipment the Solo range can also be set up to test either smoke, heat or CO detection although with Solo this involves the use of different testing units.

The Solo range includes the SOLO 330 aerosol smoke and CO dispenser and the SOLO 332 aerosol smoke and CO dispenser with a larger cup for use with larger detectors with diameter up to 177mm / 7” in diameter. The new SOLO 365 smoke detector tester delivers smoke via the Solo ES3 smoke cartridge offering faster, simpler and cleaner testing. A useful accessory for the Solo 365 is the Solo 372 aspirator accessory which can be used to test aspirators including VESDA and Kidde Airsense. If your using the Solo range then you’ll need a heat detector testing unit as well as a smoke detector tester. There are three heat detector testers in the range, the cordless Solo 460 heat detector tester which uses the Solo 770 battery batons, the Solo 423 heat detector tester which uses 1 110v power supply and the Solo 424 heat detector tester which uses a 240v mains supply. There are several Solo kit packages available to buy, the most popular being the Solo 822 and Solo 823 kits which include both the smoke and heat testing units and extension poles to 6 metres or 9 metres.


Testing with the Solo range of detector test equipment ensures that fire alarm systems are compliant with any local codes and standards.


The Solo range of detector test equipment is light weight and easy to use. The poles are made from pull-wound glass fibre, these are also non-conductive, therefore, if you do inadvertently touch a live cable it will not be transmitted down the pole to the engineer. The poles also give a maximum of a massive 9m reach (29.5ft) which means that almost all fire detectors are within reach ensuring that customers can be fully satisfied that their systems are compliant.


Supported by limited lifetime warranty*


The core Solo detector test product range is UL certificated.


Both options of detector testers have their own benefits with the Solo equipment being slightly cheaper option in the short term with the starter kits starting from as little as £226.98 for the SOLO810-001 starter kit which includes the SOLO330-001 smoke dispenser cup and SOLO101-001 1.13m extension pole which allows access of up to 2.5m (including the height of the engineer) and 1 can of smoke. This allows an engineer to be able to get on the road and start a simple maintenance schedule for a customer and indeed start ensuring compliance with only smoke detection. However, if your engineers are dedicated to testing and require a device that will help to save them time without the need to change from the smoke test head to heat test or change from the SOLO-A5-001 smoke cans to SOLO-C3-001 CO can, we would certainly recommend investing in Testifire kits. These are available at varying price points from the entry level Testifire 6001-001 Testifire Smoke & Heat set which reaches up to 6 metres, right up to the Testifire 9201-001 Testifire Smoke, Heat & CO test head which reaches up to 9 metres. All Solo & Testifire equipment, along with spares and accessories, can be ordered directly from Fire Trade Supplies.

*Limited lifetime warranty does not apply to all products, check terms and conditions or contact us for more information.