Google Nest Protect smoke alarm review

We’ve all experienced that annoyance: You’re cooking bacon on Sunday morning and the smoke alarm goes off. How convenient it would be to yell, “Bacon!” and turn off the alarm?

We’re not quite there yet, but the Google Nest Protect ticks off just about every other wish-list item you’d want in a smoke alarm, smart or otherwise. Of course, at $120 each, the Google Nest Protect is more expensive than regular smoke alarms. And it might seem like overkill to just handle annoying alerts like smoking bacon or avoiding those low-battery screeches that can drive you crazy at 3am.

If you’re going to invest in a smart smoke alarm (and you should!), Google Nest Protect is the one.

But according to the US Fire Administration, the US has one of the highest fire death rates per capita in the industrialized world, with some 3,000 people killed and 20,000 injured each year. Three out of five of those deaths occurred in homes without a smoke alarm or smoke alarms that weren’t working, often because the batteries had been removed.

Which makes it clear that smoke alarms save lives, but only if they work. In our opinion, being able to silence such annoyances from an app on your phone instead of waving a dish towel or climbing a ladder makes it less likely that you’ll unplug the batteries just to avoid these annoying alerts.

Bottom line: If you’re going to invest in a smart smoke alarm (and you should!), Google Nest Protect is the one. This is why.

what we liked

Simple setup and attractive design.

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Initial setup in the Nest app is easy enough, but Nest Protect isn’t 100% integrated into the Google Home app yet. So at this point, you’ll have to use your phone’s Nest app for most of the interaction. We hope that changes soon.

If you feel the need to connect it with other ecosystems, like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit, you’ll need more work, though we did manage to hack a HomeKit integration using Homebridge, a process too technical for the scope of this review. Alexa requires additional skills to be installed for Nest to work with Alexa. If you only need basic Nest Protect functionality, you can use the Nest app on its own.

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The physical installation was simple and fast. We just removed our existing smoke alarms and installed the Nest and got it working after about a 10-minute setup and test session and some basic drilling in the ceiling for the mounting bracket. (Pro tip: set up Nest Protect prior to mount it as you will need to scan a QR code on the back to add it to your home).

In terms of aesthetics, the Nest Protect looks good. A large center button is framed by a recessed LED ring that glows red, green, yellow, and blue depending on the status of the detector. The speaker grille is discreet, making the Nest a stylish yet unobtrusive addition to the home.

Reliable and clear alerts

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The Nest Protect uses what Google calls a split-spectrum sensor, which uses a traditional infrared photoelectric sensor paired with a second blue LED, to detect slow-burning fires and faster-burning flames.

In our tests, the Nest Protect did a good job of detecting smoke from the kitchen, notifying us that the alarm was about to go off via a calm voice alert that smoke levels were rising. This gave us enough time to get our phone and silence the false alarm. If your phone isn’t nearby, the large center button on the Nest Protect is easy to press to silence it before it turns off. We also tried it with a slow burning paper fire and boy did it work. (Kids, don’t try this at home.)

The entire warning system was well designed and carefully scaled. After the initial chime and a quiet voice warning, the Nest app began pinging our phones with notifications until the siren finally sounded. This is much better than the usual zero to panic that often occurs when smoke alarms go off.

These phone notifications are also useful when you are away from home. Fortunately, we didn’t need to test this, but we could easily see a situation where a remote notification would cause us to immediately call the fire department if no one was home to monitor the house.

Smart connectivity with other Nest products

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The Nest Protect alarm connects to other Nest Protects in your home using its own Wi-Fi mesh network, so if the basement smoke alarm goes off, all smoke alarms go off, even if they don’t detect smoke in the basement. that moment. This interconnectivity is often a requirement for modern smoke alarms, smart or otherwise, so it’s reassuring to know that Nest doesn’t rely on its own Wi-Fi network, which might not work in the event of a fire, but on its own. battery and battery. -Backup mesh Wi-Fi network.

Nest Protect also works with other Google Nest products, like thermostats, cameras, and door locks. In the event it detects smoke, Nest Protect can turn off the HVAC system using the Nest thermostat and turn on Nest cameras to record the event.

As an added safety feature, there’s a Pathlight feature that turns on in a dark room if it detects motion and turns red during an emergency to help you escape.

The Nest Protect comes in a corded and a battery version. The wired option runs on your home electricity, comes with a three AA battery backup, and offers additional occupancy sensors so you can detect if someone is home and send a signal to your smart home to react if they’re not. although this depends on the routines that you configured in the Google Home app.

Both versions self-test their sensors and batteries regularly to make sure they’re working. They also test your speakers and alarms once a month for a period of time that you can set. The ring light on the device indicates its status. If it’s yellow, that means something needs your attention, like a low battery or a malfunctioning sensor. Press the big center button to hear more details, or you can look up this information in the Nest app on your phone.

What we didn’t like

Honestly, apart from the cost, there aren’t many downsides to the Nest Protect. At $120 per device, this is definitely an investment that you’ll need to upgrade every 10 years, as required by federal and state regulations. First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound includes an Alexa smart speaker but is more expensive ($216). The Onelink smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector are cheaper, at $87, but don’t offer as many features as the Nest or its pricier Safe & Sound sibling. We think the Nest Protect hits the sweet spot between the two when it comes to ease of use, reliability, and integration with other devices.

There are reports of the battery-powered Protect draining faster, but we haven’t had that issue so far. We suspect that using lithium AA batteries instead of alkaline will help with this.

Bottom line

Google Nest Protect is a bit pricey, but it’s worth it for the ease of use, the convenience of silencing alarms, and the peace of mind that no matter where you are, you’ll be alerted to what’s going on in your home. . It’s stylish, easy to install, and works well.

Technical specifications

Dimensions 5.3 inches x 5.3 inches
Weight 13.9 oz (battery), 13.2 oz (wired)
Colour White
sensors Split Spectrum Smoke Sensor
10 year electrochemical CO sensor
Temperature
Humidity
ambient light
accelerometer
Microphone
Occupancy (120 degree field of view up to 20 feet)
Battery Battery model: six AA lithium batteries
Corded model: three AA lithium batteries
connectivity Wi-Fi, 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)
802.15.4 (2.4GHz)
Bluetooth low energy
operating temperatures Normal range is 40 degrees F to 100 degrees F
Audio Speaker volume is 80dB at 3ft
Speaker volume is 85 dB at 10 feet
Warranty Two-year limited warranty
Certification Meets UL 2034, UL 217 and NFPA-72 safety standards set by UL and the California State Fire Marshal.
Price

$119

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