A smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are two of the least exciting home devices. As necessary as they are for your home, they all have the same function—to release a loud alarm when triggered. The Nest Protect does things differently. A smart, sleek, all-in-one smoke and carbon monoxide detector, it’s one of the most popular alarms on the market.
If you’d like to control your alarm remotely, personalize to your preferences, and feel more protected, the Nest Protect might be a good choice for you. We’ll review the essential features and specs to help you decide if the Protect deserves a place in your home.
How the Nest Protect differs from standard alarms
The Nest Protect is a dual-sensor smoke and carbon monoxide alarm and detects smoke much faster than standard ionization or photoelectric detectors. The Protect stands out because it’s a “split-spectrum” sensor—meaning it detects both fast-burning and smoldering fires more quickly and accurately.
The biggest downside to the Nest Protect is its price. At $99 on Amazon, it’s more expensive than comparable “smart” smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Along with Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi, Nest Protect and any integrated products can also communicate using Thread, a secure, low-power networking technology that can connect more than 250 devices into a single mesh network.
- Omnidirectional microphone
- 2 W speaker
- Six sensors—split-spectrum, electrochemical carbon monoxide, heat, humidity, occupancy, and ambient light (for fewer false alarms)
- 802.11 Wi-Fi connection at 2.4 GHz
- 802.15.4 wireless interconnect at 2.4 GHz
Nest Protect Pros
- Wireless connectivity
- Available in both hard-wired and battery-operated options
- Uses a speaker and calm voice to tell you whether smoke or carbon monoxide was detected, the room it’s in, and its level of danger
- Industrial-grade smoke sensor lasts up to a decade
- Tests itself automatically hundreds of times a day
- Sleek and modern looking, available in black and white
- App integration with other smart devices
Nest Protect Cons
- Expensive at around $99 per unit
- May be outdated in a few years and you’ll have to upgrade
- Reported complications in troubleshooting problems, including Wi-Fi disconnection and locating certain types of routers
How to set up the Nest Protect
The Nest Protect takes a few minutes to install and set up. The company cleverly offers two Protect options—a wired and a battery-operated version. If your current alarm connects to wires, choose the Wired 120V option. If it doesn’t, get the battery option.
Nest provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for installing your Protect and connecting to the app. Many users noted that the installation is quick and painless. If you have trouble, there are also local Nest Pros available for installation assistance. Enter your ZIP code into Nest’s Pro Finder to find local installers. Nest also provides 24/7 customer support by online chat, phone, email, and Twitter by tweeting @nestsupport. We reached out to Nest’s customer service team via chat and were quickly greeted by a helpful team member who was quick to answer any questions we had about the product.
Nest Protect integrations
Through the Nest app and Thread protocol, you can monitor the family of Nest products, including the smart thermostat, indoor security camera, and outdoor security camera, from one app.
You can also incorporate your Protect into your home automation system, as the alarm connects with dozens of other smart devices. Some of the most popular integrations include the WeMo Switch, Philips Hue bulbs, Amazon Alexa, and Whirlpool smart washer and dryer.
After connecting these products, they learn from one another and start doing things for you automatically. If the Protect alarm goes off, you can program your WeMo Switch to turn off; or if your Protect detects smoke, it can turn on your Philips Hue light bulbs. Take your integrations further with If This Then That (IFTTT), which has several Nest Protect recipes. This helps you automate your home and control your Nest Protect with your other smart devices.
Nest Protect User reviews
Since Nest released the Protect, the tech-obsessed and tech-neophytes alike have flocked to try the alarm. Overall, positive reviews note the attractiveness of the design and its ease of use. However, some users had a negative experience with false alarms.
“This was super easy to setup and connect to my network. When/if the alarm goes off not only does it sound like a standard alarm but it alerts us on our phones. This unit exceeded my expectations and when another smoke detector of ours expired I bought a second one of these. They sync up together and both will alert if either one detects smoke or carbon monoxide.” – Zhavron, Best Buy Reviews, August 21, 2016
“There’s a lot that I love about Protect. Before an emergency, the Protect talks you through what is going on – a female voice speaks that it detected smoke and where. And it announces that across all the Protects you have in the house. No need to hear a buzzer off in the distance and try to guess what it is. When the smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) gets thick enough, the Protect rings a loud alarm (long beeps for smoke, short beeps for CO). I like the style of these detectors. All the other First Alert detectors are ugly cheap plastic. And I don’t have to do a bunch of wiring to connect the Protects together (they work on their own mesh network, not dependent on a wireless signal from a router).” – Dan Lebryk, Amazon Reviews, July 23, 2015
“After about a year of using this product without any major complaint, I am now experiencing extremely frustrating “false alarms”, which are triggered anytime, even at night. These false alarms have become increasingly frequent over the past week. The corridor where the Nest is placed is well ventilated, there is no dust. After the alarm was triggered twice in one night, I disconnected the device. I really wanted to like this, but it is sadly much too unreliable and far too expensive.” – Lisa, Home Depot Reviews, May 31, 2016
“Terrible product. Great idea, but after the first false alarm (smoke in the basement!), I became wary. The second false alarm (smoke downstairs!) proved too much. False alarms from two different units demonstrate Nest has a long way to go before this product is consumer-ready.” – Ben, Amazon Reviews, February 21, 2016
The bottom line
We can easily say the Nest Protect is one of the best smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on the market, with impressive technology, smooth functionality, and multiple integrations. If you can pay the $99 price, you’d be amazed at how cool a safety device can be.