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Google Nest Secure Home Security Review
Nest Secure packs premium features into pretty, but pricey, equipment.
Google discontinued the Nest Secure home security system in October 2020. This review is no longer being updated.
Google Nest has been making some of the coolest tech on the market for years now. Nest cameras, Nest thermostats, and Nest smoke/carbon monoxide detectors all offer innovative features every early adopter can love.
The Nest Secure home security system is just one more piece of the puzzle. It lets you self-monitor your own system, or pay more for the pros to do it for you. And it includes thoughtful features that maintain Nest's reigning status as one of the best smart home security companies out there.
Starter kit price
None OR 36 months
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Data effective 6/26/20. Offers subject to change.
Nest Secure is one of many DIY security systems on the market, but it sets itself apart in a few different ways. First of all, it’s pretty pricey. And second, the technology is so cool you might not mind paying double what you would for the Ring Alarm.
Nest Secure pricing, contracts, and fees
Google Nest Secure on the other hand? Well, it’s still more affordable than the big-name companies, but you’ll get a bigger dose of sticker shock than you would with most other DIY brands.
Nest starter kit components:
- Nest Guard base station
- Two Nest Detect multipurpose sensors (motion/door/window)
- Two Nest Tags
- Power cord
- Mounting brackets and accessories
Total price: $399
Professional monitoring price
Nest lets you monitor your security system yourself for free through a mobile app. But if you want to get the professionals involved, then it will cost extra.
Data effective 9/30/2019. Offers subject to change.
Nest uses Brinks Home Security for its professional monitoring service. Just like everything else Nest, the price is higher than other new DIY security systems but less than you’d see from a more traditional security company.
If you opt for the lower-priced monitoring plan for your Nest system, you do have to sign on for a three-year contract. If you cancel the contract early, you’ll still have to pay a big portion of your remaining agreement.
Nest Secure equipment
The first thing you’ll notice when you pull the Nest Secure out the box is the clean, modern design of the equipment. Everything feels very sturdy and high-quality, which is very reassuring after dropping 400 bucks on this bad boy.
So far, the Nest Secure comes only in this matte white option—which, depending on your home’s interior, can either make it look super sleek or stick out like a sore thumb.
Nest Guard base station
The brain of your Nest Secure is the Nest Guard base station. It controls all your sensors, works with your “Tags,” and ultimately connects your entire system together using your in-home Wi-Fi.
Nest Guard has three separate sentry-mode buttons on the outer rim of the keypad. You can use these to quickly arm or disarm your system with a single touch. Your three options are Disarm, Arm Stay, and Arm Away, which set your Nest Secure to varying levels of protection.
- Disarm means the system is completely shut off—sensors and all—so you won’t be notified of any activity, like doors opening or motion being detected. You will need to enter an eight-digit passcode or your Tag in order to disarm your Nest Secure. (You’ll also still get a notification if your system goes offline because of a Wi-Fi outage.)
- Arm Stay activates your door and window sensors but deactivates motion detection triggers. Most people use this setting to arm their system overnight. It means your system will still protect your home, but it won’t set off the 85-decibel siren when you walk down the hallway to the bathroom.
- Arm Away fully activates your system. If anything triggers a door, window, or motion sensor, the alarm will sound and send notifications to your smartphone. (This will also alert a professional monitoring center if you choose to pay for professional monitoring.)
The Nest Guard base station itself has built-in motion detectors and can register lack of motion as well as regular ol’ motion. If you forget to set the alarm before you leave the house, Nest Secure can tell that no one’s home and it’ll notify you through the app that you forgot to turn on the alarm system.
We’ve had a mixed experience with this feature. We keep getting reminders to arm the system when we’re just chilling on the couch, binge-watching TV shows. Maybe we’re getting a little too comfortable.
The Nest Tag may seem way too simple for a system like the Nest Secure. We expect the best tech from Nest, right? But after over a month of testing, we’re here to tell you we were so wrong to doubt this useful little device. We’re big fans of the Nest Tag.
The Nest Tag works well for the exact reason we were skeptical about it: it’s basic. It’s so simple to arm and disarm your Nest Secure using these little silver-dollar sized key fobs—especially when you’re walking in with an armful of groceries and a tiny human on your hip.
Because each Nest Tag is assigned to the system individually, you can add or revoke access through the Nest app, and you don’t have to give out or change passcodes. And if you lose your keys, you can just deactivate that Nest Tag. It’s the ultimate temporary access solution for babysitters or dog walkers, and it gives you total control.
Nest Detect sensors
The Nest Detect sensor is about as close to perfect as a home security sensor can get. Nest combined door and window sensors with motion detectors, which we’ve never seen anywhere else—ever.
That means you don’t have to put up both entry sensors and motion sensors all over your house. This little device does both and covers all the territory you need.
Nest Detect special features
Motion detection isn’t all the Nest Detect sensors can do. Of all their unique features, two of our favorites are Pathlight and Quiet Open.
Nest borrowed the Pathlight feature from its Nest Protect device. Pathlight uses the Nest Guard’s motion detection feature to sense when someone walks by and then it triggers a night-light-esque LED light to guide your way. Pretty handy for midnight snackers like us.
The real marvel is that Nest was able to add both motion detection capabilities and an LED light to one tiny sensor. The Nest Guard still fits in the palm of your hand.
If you have a dog that loves to test how many times you’re willing to get up and open the door for them, then Quiet Open is for you. It’s the ultimate pet-friendly feature.
The Nest Detect sensor has a deactivate button on its top that temporarily deactivates the sensor so you can open the door without setting off your entire alarm system. Plus, it deactivates only the sensor you touch, so the rest of your house stays fully protected.
One more thoughtful feature of Quiet Open: the system automatically reactivates when you close the door again. No buttons, no voice commands, no passcodes.
You get access to Nest’s mobile app just by purchasing the Nest Secure system. We know that seems obvious, but most security companies make you sign on for a subscription before they give you access to the mobile app.
Nest’s mobile app lets you control your security system and any other Nest devices you might have. You can monitor each sensor, assign names, and activate or deactivate your system all from the security screen.
Nest makes some of our favorite cameras on the market. It’s always among the first to come out with innovative new features, like 4K image sensors and facial recognition.
Notice one thing though: Nest doesn’t have any truly wireless (also known as wire-free) cameras. Their cameras are wireless, meaning they work on Wi-Fi, but you still have a power cord to deal with.
If you want a wire-free camera that you can put anywhere, we recommend checking out an Arlo model.
To get access to all of Nest’s cameras best features, you need an additional subscription called Nest Aware.
You’ll need a Nest Aware subscription if you want access to cool features like facial recognition. Plus, you’ll need one if you want more than three hours’ worth of cloud storage.
If you don’t want to pay for Nest Aware, you’ll still have access to features like night vision and two-way audio. You just won’t get that sweet AI tech.
Data effective 6/26/20. Offers subject to change.
You have two Nest Aware plans to choose from. What you pay depends on how much cloud storage you want, and whether or not you want only event-based videos or you want 24/7 continuous video recording.
- 30 days’ worth of event-based recordings: $6 per month
- 60 days’ worth of cloud storage, plus 10 days' worth of continuous video recordings: $12 per month
We recommend Nest Secure for anyone already using Nest technology or looking to up their security game without being too concerned about budget. It’s a streamlined security system that offers advanced, practical features unlike those of any other home security system out there.
That being said, it’s not for everyone—especially if you’re looking for a budget-friendly security option for your home. Nest Secure is pretty. But it also costs a pretty penny.
Hit us up in the comments below with any questions or concerns about Nest Secure. Or if it doesn’t seem like the right security fit for you, check out our Best Home Security Systems review.