Product Review: Nest Protect


In 2011, Nest Labs released their first product called Nest, a learning thermostat. The reviews were good, and Nest Labs was congratulated as being the first company to innovate on a product were little to no innovation has recently existed. In 2013 they did it again, releasing the Nest Protect, a smart, wireless-connected smoke and carbon dioxide detector.

Upon hearing of the Nest Protect, I ordered for my house immediately. My house, built in 1900, is not wired for inter-connected smoke detectors. Nor did it have working smoke detectors on every floor and in the bedrooms, which is the recommended home configuration. Nest Protects are not cheap, they’ll run you around $130 a piece. However when pricing out the labor costs of wiring my old house for smoke detectors, the $130 price tag started looking better and better.

Once installed, the Protects have a few new features beyond what a normal smoke detector provides.

Amazing From the Start

The setup for the Protects is unlike any other product I have used. Nest took advantage of the voice feature in the Protect, and a friendly lady walks you through the installation and setup. I found this to be very helpful. The voice directions were easy to follow and allowed you to have 2 free hands for physically mounting the device.

Wave off Impending Doom

They allow you to wave off a pending alarm if you burn your toast by a simple wave of your hand and voice confirmation. I’m not sure of the distance of their motion detector but my parents are already hoping to put one in their 20 foot vaulted ceiling.

Wireless Communication (sans router)

Nest Protects create their own wireless network to communicate across in case of an emergency. Their wifi network covers a 50ft range and is plenty big enough to communicate from my basement to my 2nd floor.

Smart Phone Push Notifications

The Protect also provides push notifications when the alarm goes off. I thought this feature was a gimmick until it actually happened to me. I was able to quickly run home and verify the source of the smoke. Had this been an actual fire, I may have had the opportunity to dial 911 before the smoke was noticeable to someone outside the house.

Fire Location

Once the smoke is detected, each smoke detector goes off and alerts you of the location of the smoke. Detectors can be named and call out their location: “There is smoke in the basement” — possibly giving you the extra information you need to make a safe exit.

Low Battery Notification

I hate the battery-low chirp of a smoke detector. This obnoxious sound, more often than not, happens in the middle of the night when the batteries lose a little power from the cold. Nest has studied this, and their low battery notification happens at times where you’re likely to do more than just pull the plug.

Voice Notification

According to Protect’s marketing and this study, children can sleep through the sound of a beeping alarm. The the Protect your alert is a voice telling you where and what has been detected.

I will continue to protect my house with the Nest Protect and run my furnace with the Nest Thermostat. I find the products to be intuitive, easy to install and very thoughtful. I hope to never have to use the features of the Protect, but if I do, I’m confident that Nest Labs has done their homework in ensuring they will work properly and as advertised.