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Our homes are becoming increasingly smarter, and as they continue to do so, we’ll continue to see more and more devices with the ability to connect to the internet. Unfortunately, home security systems have historically lagged in this area, but that is quickly becoming the exception rather than the rule.
With the Nest Secure and Abode Home Security Kit, users no longer have to rely on legacy security companies to come in and set up a system, all while charging an arm and a leg. Now you have the ability to create your own security system and customize it to your needs. Let’s take a look at how Nest Secure and Abode Home Security Kit keep your home safe and secure.
Nest Guard (the hub), two small rectangular Nest Tag keychain fobs and two cylindrical Nest Detect sensors.
Only works with Nest.
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Nest Secure is a do-it-yourself smart home system that allows you to place sensors throughout your home strategically. These multi-purpose sensors can notify you when a specific action occurs, say for instance when a door opens and closes or a window is opened. There are also sensors that pick up motion.
Built into the system is a siren which helps in protecting against would-be intruders, which integrates with other devices in the security kit. It doesn’t quite stack up in the features department when compared with Abode Home Security, but it is a good option if you’re looking to get started in the do-it-yourself home security arena.
If you have seen a Nest thermostat, then you know the company’s strong suit lies in product design. Nest Secure is no exception, providing devices that are functional and stylish. The Nest Guard is the hub of the system. It is a small circular device that you can place anywhere in your home without concern about disrupting your decor.
Along with the Nest Guard, you’ll receive two small rectangular Nest Tag keychain fobs and two cylindrical Nest Detect sensors. Your Nest Detect sensors are used to determine when doors or windows (or anything else you can think of) open and close. These two sensors come with magnets tell the hub that an item has been opened/closed.
You’ll discover that the Nest Secure is easy to use, and even offers voice instructions which let you know when a sensor triggers, or how much time you’ll need for the system to arm itself. On top of your Nest Guard, you’ll find an LED ring along with a twelve-button keypad. The keypad remains unless you need to disarm the system, which you do by entering your passcode. The fob comes in handy here as well, as you can use it to disable the system.
The Nest Guard will reveal three buttons for arming (Away/Home/Off), and when you select the appropriate option, you’ll see a corresponding color response. For instance, if you select Away, the Away button will glow blue, while the other two (Home/Off) will glow white. You’ll also notice an info button, which when pressed will tell you the status of any open windows or doors.
The Guard’s LED ring will let you know what actions are taking place based on its color. Green lets you know the system is armed, yellow is indicating a tripped sensor, a blue pulse occurs during setup, a yellow pulse means low battery, and a red pulse is a security alert.
Along the front edge of the Nest Guard is a proximity and motion sensor, while the rear of the device houses a Panic button you can press in the case of an emergency. Doing so will cause an alarm to sound.
The Nest Guard supports 802.11n wifi and Bluetooth technologies. It also provides an 85dB alarm and tamper-detection circuitry. Additionally, the Guard offers an internal battery backup, which can supply power to the device for up to twelve hours if you have a power outage.
Mentioned previously were the Nest Detect sensors, which are multi-purpose sensors that let you know when something has been opened or closed. This sensor is great for windows and doors and can recognize motion from distances of up to fifteen feet.
On the bottom of the Nest Detect is an LED ring with a button. If you press the button until it turns green, the device goes into Quiet Open mode. QO mode lets you open the window or door without setting off the alarm, and ten seconds after you press the button the sensor re-arms itself.
Small pets may set off the proximity alarm, so it may be best to make use of the Reduced Sensitivity setting on the device. You can also use the Tag fob to disable the system when needed quickly. Using the fob circumvents the need to enter a passcode on the Nest Guard.
The Nest Secure system lets you add additional Tag fobs and Detect sensors at any time, but beyond the few Works With Nest devices on the market, there isn’t much else available at this time. Here are a few of the smart devices you can add to your Nest Secure system:
- Chamberlain MyQ garage door opener
- LIFX smart lights
- TP-Link Kasa smart lights
- Lutron smart lights
- Philips smart lights
- Yale lock
Nest Secure does offer professional monitoring. However, it is now through Moni. You can elect to go with a month-to-month subscription or choose a one or two-year subscription. There is also the option to go with a cellular backup so that you have connectivity if your wifi unexpectedly goes out.
Unfortunately, Nest Secure does not support either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant through voice commands. It also doesn’t offer support for If This Then That (IFTTT), but Nest does say that these and additional features are coming soon.
If you decide to add a Nest Cam to your security system, when an alarm is triggered, you’ll get an email notification with a link. Clicking on the link will let you go back through captured footage and take a look at what triggered the alarm.
Nest Secure utilizes the same mobile application and web console that other Nest products use. The mobile app is available on both the iOS and Android marketplaces and allows you view your devices on the Nest Home screen. You can tap on the Guard icon which will let you disarm or arm your system as well as see the status of all your connected devices.
You’ll notice a gear icon in the top right corner which will take you to the settings menu. Through the settings menu, you’ll have the ability to enable the Home/Away assist. Using Home/Away allows the system to go into a disarmed or armed state based on the status of other Nest devices. For instance, if your Nest thermostat goes into away mode, your Home/Away assist will arm your Nest Security system.
Installing the Nest Secure system is simple, easy, and quick. If you’re installing a Nest product for the first time, you’ll need to download the application and set up an account beforehand. Now just select the Add Product option from the settings, find and scan the code from your Nest Guard, and Nest Secure will do the rest.
You’ll be prompted to place your Nest Guard in a specific location; then you’ll select your home wifi network, choose a password, and name your device. Once you’re finished setting up, you can create unique passcodes for your security system, and add additional devices like your fobs and sensors.
Installation of the Detect sensors and the fobs consists of scanning the appropriate QR code, then waiting for the application to find and pair the devices. Then you can name them and position them throughout your home as needed.
The Nest Secure system works as expected, reacting immediately when a door or window opens, or if it detects motion. Notifications and alerts show up on your mobile phone, and you’ll receive emails with a video link if you have a Nest Cam connected to your system. When an event is triggered, your phone will receive a corresponding message almost immediately.
Nest’s Secure system is an excellent option if you’re looking to begin your initial foray into smart security. It is easy to set up, simple to use, and integrating other Nest devices into the system is a snap. This system is especially beneficial for anyone who already has a few Nest devices, like a Nest Thermostat or Protect smoke alarm. It’s also designed well, as is the case with all Nest products.
Unfortunately, the Nest Secure does have a few drawbacks that might be a reason for concern. It does not support IFTTT, doesn’t play well with other smart home devices, and does not include support for Amazon Alexa or Google Home. If you intend to expand your smart home network further than just a few Nest devices, you may want to look elsewhere for your do-it-yourself security system.
Abode Home Security
Abode’s Home Security kit if the perfect kit for do-it-yourselfers that expect more out of their system than just the basics. The Abode Home Security system is easily installed, works with both ZigBee and Z-Wave smart devices, and supports Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and IFTTT.
Included in your Abode Home Security kit are a gateway hub, a motion detector/camera combination sensor, two window/door sensors, and a keychain fob. The gateway hub is black and white with an LED status light that will turn red when an alarm triggers. It will also turn yellow if it senses a problem with network connectivity, but otherwise, it will remain off. On the back of the hub, you’ll find a USB port, power connector, SIM card slot, battery backup switch, and a LAN port.
Residing inside the gateway hub is a rechargeable battery that will give you up to twelve hours of power if you happen to have an unexpected outage. Your gateway hub also houses a 93dB alarm that sounds when one of the sensors is triggered when the Abode security system is in Armed mode.
The window and door sensors are bigger than other smart security systems, but they work very well. Your camera/motion detector captures 640×480 photographs when the system is triggered. It offers a ninety-degree field of view and includes a flash to allow for better color photographs in the dark.
Your keychain fob is black and white, as much of the rest of the system, and it offers an Arm Away option that will activate every sensor you have connected to the network. It also has a Home button that enables all your perimeter devices, while deactivating all your interior ones. This way you can move within your home without setting off an alarm, but still, know that Abode protects your home.
If you aren’t comfortable using the fob or prefer something a little more secure, you can purchase a wireless keypad for your Abode system that mounts on the wall. It allows you to disarm and arm the system as you come and go and doesn’t require the use of your mobile device to do so.
In addition to the devices included with your Abode Home Security kit, you can also add a variety of Zigbee and Z-Wave components. Here are just a few examples of what can be added to the system:
- Garage door openers
- Door locks
- Glass break sensors
- Light bulbs
- Dimmer switches
- Water sensors
- Security cameras
The Abode Home Security system supports Nest devices, which means you can connect a Nest Thermostat, Camera, or Nest Protect to your system. You’ll also have the option to use Amazon Alexa to control the system via voice command.
Abode provides its users with three options when it comes to monitoring plans. You can change these plans at any time based on your needs. You can select between the following:
- Basic Plan – No cost, unlimited self-monitoring via iOS or Android application, thirty-six hours of cloud storage
- Connect Plan – Monthly or yearly subscription cost, cellular backup, fourteen days of online cloud storage
- Connect + Secure – Monthly or annual subscription cost, 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, ninety days of online cloud storage
You can control your Abode Security system through either an iOS or Android mobile phone or through a web portal which you access through a PC browser. Through the mobile application, you can set your system for Away, Home, or Standby. You can also view live video through cameras, see your event timeline, and check the status of your devices.
If you’re looking for a more detailed view of your system than you’ll find on the mobile app, take a look at the web portal. Abode’s Dashboard offers an overview of all your devices and gives you access to create custom events and manage your notifications.
There is a specific Notification section that lets you set up and configure push notifications and emails that alert you when your system is disarmed or armed, if it goes offline, or if the battery level on your hub is low. You’ll also notice an Automation section that lets you set schedules for arming and disarming your system, as well as a geofencing option that will arm or disarm the system once you reach a certain distance from your home.
Hardware setup is simple. Enter the activation key found on the startup card into the mobile application. You should be quickly connected. Once that is completed, continue through the guide to add additional devices. The guide will walk you through adding door and window sensors, cameras, and your fobs.
With the Abode Home Security system, you’ll receive alerts and notifications immediately if a sensor trips. The siren in the hub is plenty loud enough to thwart would-be vandals, and with the camera in place, you’ll have video and a still image to identify who triggered the alarm.
If you decide that the Abode Home Security Kit is the way to go, you’ll get everything you need to protect your home. You don’t have to worry about a monthly or yearly subscription unless you decide it’s something you need, and you’ll always have the option available.
Don’t forget that Abode supports both ZigBee and Z-Wave devices, so there are plenty of components that can be added to your system. Additionally, the system works with Nest devices, can be controlled with IFTTT channels, and supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice commands. If you’re looking to get into smart home security, the Abode Home Security Kit is a great place to start.
Here is a high-level view of how the Nest Secure and Abode Home Security Kit stack up against one another:
|Nest Secure||Abode Home Security Kit|
|Battery Backup||12 hours||10 hours|
|Glass Break Sensor||No||Yes|
|Outdoor Camera||Yes||No, but works with Nest|
|Included w/ Kit||1 Nest Guard, 2 Nest Detects, 2 Nest fob Tags||1 Gateway, 1 Door/Window Sensor, 1 Motion Sensor, 1 Key Fob|
|Siren||Part of the base station||Part of the base station|
|Cellular Backup||Monthly Fee||Monthly Fee|
|Works With||Works with Nest, IFTTT||IFTTT, Philips Hue, Google Assistant, Works with Nest, Amazon Echo, ecobee|
Both the Nest Secure and the Abode Home Security kit are great systems if you’re looking to get started in smart home security. Both provide quality kits that will protect your home and alert you to any unwanted activity in or around your house.
That said, between the Nest Secure and Abode Home Security kit, there is a clear and decisive winner. Abode is not only cheaper, but it works with ZigBee and Z-Wave devices, supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice controls, and can integrate any Nest devices into its system. Abode Home Security kit is the way to go if you’re looking for a high-quality system to protect your home and loved ones.
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!