Nest Protect Smoke and CO Monitor Review

It’s pretty obvious that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are an essential part of any house, but what may not be as obvious are the benefits of having smart smoke and CO detectors. While regular detects simply sound off if they detect dangerous levels of smoke or CO, smart detectors can alert you via a mobile notification, so you can always monitor your home’s environment no matter where you are.

In this review I’m checking out Nest Protect, a smoke and CO monitor from Nest. I’m typically a fan of Nest’s products, be it an indoor or outdoor camera, a security system, or even a video doorbell, so I certainly have high hopes for the Nest Protect. I’ll be judging it based on its design, features, installation process, and app before recommending it to you or not. Let’s get started now!

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Nest Protect
Nest Protect
Nest Protect

The Nest Protect smoke and C.O detector will tell you when there's an emergency with spoken messages through Google Assistant. 

Nest Protect Design

Nest Protect
Nest Protect

In my opinion, Nest Protect looks more like a speaker than it does a smoke and CO monitor, which makes sense as it is a speaker. Still, it’s not your typical smoke detector, with a rounded square shape and tons of speaker holes on its face. The entire device is a little over five inches long, but don’t let that fool you. It has an 85-decibel siren built in, about as loud as a passing diesel truck or snow blower. Connecting to the Nest app via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you’ll also get a mobile notification if the sensor goes off.

As far as durability goes, the Nest Protect works in temperatures from 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can either power it by battery or hardwire it into your home. If you choose the former option, you’ll use six AA batteries, the Energizer Ultimate, and Lithium batteries. I love that Nest gives me some installation options, because people tend to have very hard opinions on battery vs. hardwired. Me? I’m more of a battery man, but as you know, I’m all about choices.

Nest Protect Features

Nest Protect
Nest Protect. Photo provided by Nest.

Now I want to show you what the Nest Protect can actually do, which definitely goes above and beyond your typical local smoke detector.

What Can Nest Protect Sense?

Of course, the main object of the Nest Protect is to detect smoke and CO, but things are a bit more complex than that, sensing:

  • Slow-burning fires: Sure, ionization-sensing does lead to more false alerts, but it can also help detect slow-burning fires.
  • Fast-burning fires: Photoelectric sensors can detect fast-burning fires, more common when it comes to house fires.
  • Temperature: A sudden rise in temperature is a good indicator of a fire to come, helping you prevent a fire instead of just alerting you when there is one.
  • Humidity: This feature lets Nest Protect tell the difference between steam and smoke to reduce false alarms.
  • Occupancy: Occupancy is measured through PIR sensors which measure body heat, so the sensor can tell when you walk by, which will come in handy when it turns on light for you in the dark— more on this in a second.
  • Ambient light: Nest Protect can tell when your home’s lights are off so it can turn on the correct lighting— again, more on lights in a few paragraphs.

Can Nest Protect Test Itself?

One of the most amazing things about Nest Protect is that it tests itself not just once a day, not just twice a day, but a whopping 400 times a day to make sure its batteries and sensors are working correctly. Of course, if the batteries are low, you’ll be notified via the Nest app. It will also test its speaker and horn once a month in a feature called Sound Check. And don’t worry about the loud noise— the entire test lasts five seconds, and you can even schedule it for when you’re not home if you really hate loud noises.

Keep in mind that Nest Protect has been certified by both Underwriters Laboratories as well as the California State Fire Marshal, so it’s been tested and tested again for safety. Another cool feature is that you’ll be able to create an emergency contact in the Nest app, so if an alarm does go off, you can easily reach help at the touch of a button. You can put you local fire or police department, or the number of an individual.

What Do My Nest Protect’s Light Colors Mean?

Now, let’s go back to that light, a key feature of Nest Protect. In the center of the detector’s face is the Nest logo, surrounded by a circle of LED light. But this isn’t just for aesthetics. The light has different colors for different meanings, so you can get an update in the quickest, easiest way possible.

Here’s what each color signifies:

  • Green— At night, your Nest Protect will light up green if its tested itself and the batteries are charged, a feature Nest calls Nightly Promise.
  • White— If you’re passing under your Nest Protect and all the lights are off, it will give you a Pathlight so you can see better.
  • Yellow— If you burn toast, the sensor will light up yellow but will not sound, ideal for reducing false alarms.
  • Red— As is the standard, red signifies an emergency.

Nest Protect also has a voice for alerts, but if you want to silence it, you can easily do so from your phone.

Nest Protect Smart Platform Integrations

While you won’t be able to vocally command Nest Protect, it does integrate with smart home products from a bunch of different companies, including:

  • LIFX
  • Philips Hue
  • SkyBell
  • Logitech
  • Harmony
  • Wink
  • Nexia
  • abode

and others. You’ll be able to connect all your Nest Protects to each other, meaning that they can talk to each other during an alert so if one alarm goes off, they all go off. That’s important because it makes sure that you hear the alarm, even if the fire or dangerous CO levels are in another room. And that’s it for features!

The Nest App

Photo of Nest Aware Mobile Application provided by Nest

The Nest app is where you’ll control and monitor your Nest Protect, viewing smoke and CO levels, battery and sensor statuses, and the date and time of your sensor’s last self-test and Internet connections. You can also do a Sound Check, silence your alarms, set up smart platform integrations, and add an emergency contact.

While the app has a 3.8 on the Google Play store, iPhone users only gave it a 2.1 on the Apple store. Now, Apple only lets you see three reviews, and none of them mentioned Nest Protect specifically. Honestly, I didn’t have many issues with the iPhone app myself, but this is definitely something to keep in mind regardless.

Get Best Offer
Nest Protect
Nest Protect
Nest Protect

The Nest Protect smoke and C.O detector will tell you when there's an emergency with spoken messages through Google Assistant. 

Recap of Nest Protect

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Nest Protect as your smart smoke and CO detector, but it’s not for everyone. Let me break it down for you.

I’d go with Nest Protect if you’re looking for…

  • Battery-operated
  • Smart platform integrations with LIFX, Philips Hue, SkyBell, etc. 
  • Voice and color-coded light alerts

But avoid it if you wanted a smoke and CO detector that has…

  • Highly-rated iPhone app 
  • Integrations with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant 
  • Siren louder than 85 decibels 

That’s it for me! If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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