The Nest Protect still remains one of the only smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on the market.
Having a smart smoke detector is probably the only device that you’ll buy and hope to never have to use.
Today we’re going to look at the Nest Protect and see if it is still worth buying in 2020.
Nest Protect Setup and Installation
In the box you’ll find the smoke detector, the ceiling plate that it connects to, and necessary wiring hardware.
This does come in a battery only version as well, if you wanted to place the Nest Protect somewhere that isn’t already wired for a smoke detector. The one I’m testing is the wired version.
Before you even plug it in you’ll set it up on your phone, because you need to scan the QR code that is placed on the back of the device.
Very easy instructions, as you’ll just download the app, sign in with a Nest or Google account, and add the device.
Note: it will do an audio test to make sure that the speakers work, which will be very loud. So you should plug your ears or maybe put it under a pillow or something.
Once you’re all set up in the app, you’re clear to install it.
The instructions are very clear and straightforward, and If you’re reasonably savvy around the house you should be able to install this by yourself in about 10 minutes or so.
If you’re not comfortable with doing any electrical work (since this does require connecting wires) you can always get an electrician to do it.
Assuming all went to plan, you should never have to really interact with the Nest Protect ever again, just like you probably don’t interact with your regular smoke detector.
Nest Protect Features
I’m going to quickly just go over all the selling points, and then I’ll comment on the ones that I was able to encounter.
- Split Spectrum Sensor – detects fast / slow burning fires
- Tells you where the alarm is going off if you have multiple in your home
- Can alert you with a natural voice first before making a lot of noise
- Hush from your phone
- Phone alerts
- Battery updates on your phone – no chirp
- Wired and wireless versions
- Pathlight function
Now I was able to test the main functions by just cooking up some smoky bacon and presenting the smoke the smoke detector.
It did indeed first alert me in a natural voice that it was detecting smoke, it also popped up as a notification on my phone that it was detecting smoke, and then I was able dismiss it all from my phone.
I will admit that it started beeping pretty quickly after the natural voice alert. So quick in fact that it was already beeping before I was notified on my phone.
This is rather unfortunate since I was hoping for a more immediate notification on my phone, instead it was about a 15-30 second delay.
In the best case scenario this means you would have to endure the beeping for about 15 seconds or so before being able to turn off the alarm on your phone.
Worst case scenario, there’s a fire in your home and you may know about it for 30 seconds, assuming you are out of hearing range of the regular alarm.
This is probably the main reason you would want this device. Not having to get a step ladder and climb up to turn off the smoke detector while also having your ears pierced with that noise is super convenient.
The pathlight feature was actually a great idea, as it lights up the ring when the area around it is dark. If you have your smoke alarm somewhere you may commonly walk by in the night, it will make those trips a bit easier on the eyes.
I was fairly frustrated at how long it took for the settings to update though.
The pathlight function can be set to be off, on when dark, and always on.
These are pretty standard settings, but what wasn’t standard is that it took a very long time for any changes to go into effect.
I’m not sure why it takes literally hours for changes to this feature to go into effect, but it does. Perhaps a software update will change this down the line, but in any case, don’t be worried if it’s not responding right away to your changes.
Nest Protect Ecosystem and Compatibility
Since this is a Nest Product, you would assume it works with Google Assistant and the Google Home ecosystem natively.
However Google has positioned Nest in it’s own little walled garden.
The Nest Protect pretty much just works and talks to other Nest Products, and isn’t even able to be added to the Google Home app.
You can understand why it may not work with Alexa or Siri, since those are competing ecosystems, but it not working with Google Assistant is strange.
Like I mentioned before, ideally you would never interact with this device. You’ll change the batteries once in a while, and aside from that you’ll live a normal safe life.
I also don’t think you would really be shouting at Alexa or Siri to hush the alarm if there’s a fire or a bunch of smoke. Obviously first you’ll put the fire out, and then you’ll just quickly dismiss the alarm.
Usually I would tell people not to buy devices that are locked to a single ecosystem. You never know how it will be supported in the future and if possible, buy devices that are ecosystem agnostic.
But for the Nest Protect, I was perfectly ok with it living in its own little app on my phone that I would hopefully never have to open, and if I did, it wasn’t frequent and ultimately I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
All of this brings us to the golden question.
Should you buy the Nest Protect?
The Nest Protect is $119, which is reasonably priced, and about the same as its competitors.
I think the only reason you wouldn’t get the Nest Protect over the One Link smoke detector is if you are heavily invested in the Alexa or HomeKit ecosystem, and you would prefer to keep it all like that.
Otherwise, if don’t care about ecosystem compatibility, or you have an Android phone, the Nest Protect is a must have for your smart home.
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