Home Automation

My Nest Protect Review – Time to Ditch Your Old Smoke Alarm?

(Last Updated On: January 26, 2017)

The 2nd generation Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector comes with a variety of features.  You can operate it through a mobile app and you can use it with other connected home devices such as the Nest Cam, Nest Learning Thermostat and IFTTT.

It does not look like the traditional smoke detector.  The company has made sure that the Nest Protect is beautiful to look at.  Nest Protect is available in white or black, and has a mesh cover made out of stainless steel.  The squarish form factor with the rounded edges definitely separates it from the usual boring old smoke detectors.

Not a lot of people like to stare at their smoke detectors all day, and this is why the connected features that Nest has put in makes all the difference.  What are these?

Key Nest Protect Features

Six-color LED ring.  The power button has a ring of LED lights that light up in different colors depending on the status of your Nest Protect.  When you are setting up or testing your Protect, it turns blue.  It turns yellow if there is a potential carbon monoxide or smoke-related emergency, then turns red if there is a real threat.

Voice alarms.  Aside from the red or yellow LED lights, the Nest Protect also gives out voice alarms when it detects a threat.

Pathlights.  Nest Protect also doubles as a nightlight.  When you walk under a Nest Protect unit, it will automatically turn on a faint white light.

Sensors. There are a variety of sensors that help Nest Protect do its job.  These sensors detect electrochemical carbon monoxide, heat, occupancy, ambient light, and humidity.  It also has an omnidirectional microphone that picks up sound.  The smoke sensor now has a split-spectrum sensor that can detect both fast- and slow-burning fires.

Easy setup.  Everything you need comes in the box.  There are two versions of Nest Protect available.  One is the wired version, which you can plug into 120 V power outlets.  If your ceiling does not have an available power outlet, you can choose the battery version.  The battery version, meanwhile, gives you all the flexibility when it comes to placement, but it does need six AA batteries that you would have to change over time.  The plugged in version allows you to minimize the pesky battery changes and still work during a power outage because of the backup batteries that it had.  The Nest Protect is pretty much plug and play.

Mobile app.  If you still do not have the Nest App, then download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.  Make sure that you remove the plastic tab from the batteries, key in your Wi-Fi credentials and you are good to go.

The mobile app is designed to be intuitive.  The main screen allows you to do a safety check to give you the peace of mind that your Protect is connected and working.  It also shows the protect history.

When the Protect detects smoke, it will sound a voice alert, then a siren.  It will also send you notifications on your phone that tells you there is a threat and where it has been detected.  You can check the alert using the app and then gives you a way to silence the alarm on your phone.

Integration.  Nest Protect works with Nest Cam.  When it detects a threat, the camera will automatically turn on and record the event.  You will get an e-mail from the Nest Cam with a link of the footage.

Nest Protect also works with IFTTT devices such as Philips Hue LED and Lifx.  For instance, you can set your Philips Hue to turn red when there is a threat.

Certification. Nest Protect has been tested and certified by the Canadian Standards Association, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and the California State Fire Marshal.  That should give you a pretty strong idea of how safe it is.

It is certified to comply with these standards:

  • UL 217: Single and Multi Station Smoke Alarms
  • UL 2034: Single and Multi Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms
  • CSA 6.19-01: Residential carbon monoxide alarming devices
  • NFPA-72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code
  • CAN-ULC-S531-02: Standard for Smoke Alarms

Nest Protect Features at a Glance

 Nest Protect (Battery)Nest Protect (Wired)
ColorBlack or WhiteBlack or White
Dimensions (hxwxd, inches)5.3 x 5.3 x 1.55.3 x 5.3 x 1.5
Weight (ounces)13.913.2
Split-Spectrum SensorXX
Electrochemical carbon monoxide sensorXX
Heat sensorXX
Humidity sensorXX
Occupancy sensorXX
Ambient light sensorXX
Omnidirectional microphoneXX
2-watt speakerXX
85dB hornXX
6-color ring XX
Wi-Fi ConnectivityXX
Bluetooth ConnectivityXX
Power6 AA Energizer Ultimate Lithium120V AC connector with 3 AA Energizer Ultimate Lithium backup batteries

What’s inside the box?

Nest Protect is very easy to install, with the setup only taking a few minutes.  Nest provides you with everything you need to get going out of the box.

Nest Protect – Battery Version

  • 6 Energizer® Ultimate Lithium “L91” AA
  • Backplate and screws
  • User’s guide and welcome guide
  • Two-year limited warranty for the hardware

Nest Protect – Wired Version

  • 3 Energizer® Ultimate Lithium “L91” backup AA batteries
  • Backplate and screws
  • User’s guide and welcome guide
  • 120V AC connector
  • 3 wire nuts
  • Two-year limited warranty for the hardware

What’s to Like Abou the Nest Protect

  • Smart Notifications: The LED lights and voice alarm really makes the Nest Protect a great product.  The LED lights give you a visual warning to alert you of carbon monoxide or fire so that even if you have your headphones on or watching TV, you would still know.  Meanwhile, the voice alarm allows you to easily understand what it is detecting.  You no longer have to remember what a red flashing lights or yellow flashing lights mean.
  • Plays Well with Others: If you have several Nest Protect units around the house, then you would love how the Protect is also able to communicate with other units.  If one senses smoke, then all the other Protect units will also sound.
  • No WiFI Required: Also, Nest Protect can work as a smoke and carbon monoxide detector without Wi-Fi.  This helps you stay safe even when the Wi-Fi is off or if you do not have connection to the Internet.
  • Easy to Communicate With: You can silence the alarm using your smartphone and it is very responsive.  However, the Nest Protect will not silence the alarm if it thinks that there is too much smoke or carbon monoxide.

Before you buy…

There are some other smoke and carbon monoxide detectors out there that you might want to consider.  There’s the Kidde Worry Free AC Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector and the OneLink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm.

All of these detect heat, smoke and carbon monoxide, and basically offer some sort of integration. OneLink works with Homekit, Kidde Worry Free works with other devices from the same manufacturer, while Nest Protect works with other Nest products and IFTTT.

Kidde is the most affordable but it does not give you phone alerts unless you have RemoteLync, which would mean an additional $80 spend.

Nest Protect Alternatives to Consider

ModelNest ProtectKiddeOne Link
PriceCheck hereCheck hereCheck here
Phone alertsXRequires RemoteLyncX
Fire PhotoelectricPhotoelectricPhotoelectric
Carbon monoxideXXX
Battery lifeMulti-Year10 Years10 Years
Voice alertXXX
IntegrationWorks with NestWorks with other Kidde productsHomekit-enabled


The final say on the Nest Protect

Put simply, the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector delivers.  It looks great so you would not mind it being very visible and it detects smoke and carbon monoxide and tells you about it in a number of ways.

The second generation Protect also has a number of improvements over the original.  However, if you already have the original Protect, the second generation product really does not give you that many reasons to upgrade.  Aside from being able to turn off the siren using your app, the second generation Protect works pretty similar to the first one.

If it is your first time to get a connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector, then by all means get the Nest Protect!

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Nest Protect
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About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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