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Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector review

A far cry from your typical annoying smoke alarm

Nest Protect App running on an iPhone

Editor's note: This review was conducted with the 1st generation Nest Protect. All the features described are also found in the 2nd generation Nest Protect.

My problem was a simple one: I had a smoke detector in my house that went off any time I used the stove or oven. After a 6:45AM false alarm, I decided it was time for a new solution. So I bought the Nest Protect. It promised to give a voice warning at the first inkling of smoke and only resort to the loud, typical alarm if the threat continued or intensified.

Easy installation

The Nest Protect took 10 minutes to set up. Once I had the Protect unboxed, I followed the included instructions to connect it to my home Wi-Fi® network using the free Nest app. Then the Protect went up just like any other smoke detector — four screws held it in place on the ceiling in my living room (which is adjacent to the kitchen).

The Protect at work

With the Protect in place, I went about my life. I was able to use the stove and oven with no false alarms. The Protect worked like a charm. I also found that it had extras I didn’t expect. Built-in light and motion detectors can tell when someone is passing under the Protect in the dark, while a path light illuminates to light your way. At night, when you turn off the lights for the last time, the Protect flashes green to let you know it is working and all is well.

Nest Protect lights up to display its status

App control

The Nest app is sleek, simple, and very cool. I am one of those people who checks that the stove is off multiple times before I leave the house in the morning, so I enjoyed using the Nest app while I was at work to check on things at home. The app also shows the detector’s current status and history. I can even see when the path light illuminated (and I now know that the dog sneaks downstairs for late-night snacks).

Testing the smoke detector

After a blissful week of no false alarms, I decided it was time to set it off intentionally. I climbed on a chair underneath the Nest Protect, lit a candle, blew it out, and waved the smoke at the smoke detector. Within a few seconds, the Protect started flashing a yellow light, and a calm voice told me that there was smoke in the downstairs zone (which includes the kitchen and living room). Since my candle-smoke wafting had been rather vigorous, a few moments later the yellow light switched to red and a loud alarm sounded. I hushed the alarm by pushing the large button on the Protect. It continued to silently flash red for a few minutes, and then switched to green as a voice let me know the smoke was clearing.

Control the Nest Protect using an app

When I checked my phone, I had notifications letting me know that smoke was detected, that the alarm was hushed, and that the smoke was clearing.

Works with other Nest products

If you install multiple Protects in your home, the devices can work together to tell you where any smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. When you pair the Nest Protect with their Nest thermostat, the Protects can send their motion detection information to the thermostat so it can detect when someone is in the house. And, more importantly, the Protect can tell your thermostat to turn off your gas furnace if it detects a carbon monoxide leak.

Nest Protech and Thermostat

The Protect's motion detectors can send information to the Nest thermostat (sold separately), to let it know when people are home or away and adjust the termperature accordingly.

The bottom line

My experience with the Nest Protect was better than I expected – it did all I wanted and more. I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking for a more advanced smoke detector that’s less susceptible to false alarms. It’s also great for anyone who’d like to check in on their house while away.

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