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5 reasons why I love the Nest home security system

Heads up!

Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.

In a nutshell:

Why do I recommend the Nest Secure system after installing and using it?

  1. Easy setup
  2. The Nest app is intuitive to use
  3. Customizable and expandable
  4. Four ways to disarm
  5. Easily grant access to family and friends

My parents are retired, but they don’t exactly just sit around the house. They travel frequently and are active in their community. Recently, they started to think about getting a security system.

I encouraged them to consider alternatives to a pricey subscription service. It was about this time that the Nest Secure Wi-Fi based home security system was introduced.

Dave and the Nest Security System

I own two Nest products and was bullish on their first foray into security. So I decided to install the system in my parents’ house to try it out. Read on to see why I recommend this system – and why my parents decided to keep it.

What's included

  • 1 Nest Guard hub and motion detector
  • 2 Nest Detect door/window sensors with motion detection
  • 2 Nest Tag key fobs for easy disarming of system
  • Adhesive strips and screws for installation of sensors

1. Easy setup

I own a Nest Thermostat and Protect smoke detector. I’ve come to expect their products to be extremely easy to set up and install. The Nest Secure system is no exception.

I set this system up for my parents, mostly so I could evaluate it. But there’s no question they could have handled it themselves.

A note about the phrase “set up.” I use it deliberately rather than “installation.” That’s because installing a system conjures images of drilling holes and running wires. I didn’t have to do any of that.

All you have to do is follow the simple instructions in the app. In fact, you could throw the included written instructions away. Here are the steps for setting up the sensors:

Step 1

Scan the code on the back of the first device. The app will guide you through the set-up process.

Step 2

The app even offers specific advice on where to set up each device, and the range of coverage provided by motion detectors.

Step 3

Peel off the strip on the back of each sensor to expose the adhesive strip. (You can also screw them into the door or wall if you prefer – hardware is included.)

Step 4

Press the sensor onto the door, along with the corresponding magnet. The app will prompt you to test it after installation to make sure it works.

2. The Nest app is intuitive to use

The smartest companies in the smart home space understand that it’s all about the app. If the app experience stinks, no one is going to use your product.

Nest gets this as well as any company. So not surprisingly, their app is excellent. A single app controls all of Nest’s products. So if you already own a Nest product, the Secure system is a great option.


The app’s home screen lets you arm and disarm the system, as well as showing you the status of doors, windows, and motion detectors.

In addition to the easy setup instructions, the app is a breeze to use for tweaking your system. It’s very intuitive to use after you’ve completed the setup.

After we got the system set up in my parents’ house, I sat down with them as we walked through the various settings in the app on their iPad. Once they understood all the system’s capabilities, they felt confident enough to start using it right away. My mother surprised me when she told me the next day, “We’re using it every time we leave the house, and overnight too.”


Need some help? The app offers access to videos that show you how the system works.

3. Customizable and expandable

A home security system is only useful if you’re willing to use it. Nest Secure’s many customization options allow the system to work the way you want it to.

For instance, each of the door/window sensors also has a built-in motion detector. We put one sensor on the door that enters the side of my parents’ garage. But my parents didn’t want to trigger the alarm when they drive the car into the garage.

No problem! We simply deactivated the motion detector in the garage sensor. You can do this with all the sensors. You can even adjust their sensitivity to keep small pets from setting them off.

Garage status

You can customize each sensor to turn motion detection and the pathlight (it’s like a motion-detected nightlight) on or off.

Another cool feature: you can customize the time you have to leave the house when arming the system, and how long you have to disarm when you return. My parents don’t have to feel rushed or panicked while leaving or returning home for fear of triggering the LOUD alarm in the base unit.


Don’t panic! You can customize how long you have to disarm and arm the system.

If you need more sensors, you can add them. We bought another sensor for the front door rather than relying on the motion sensor in the base unit. We were concerned about my parents’ black lab setting it off if someone rang the doorbell (he tends to jump up in that situation).

4. Four ways to disarm

If you’re concerned you won’t be able to remember your system’s code, not to worry – Nest Secure gives you four ways to disarm the system when you enter the house:

  • Punch your code into the base unit The code is customizable, and you can generate dedicated codes for different members of the family.
  • Swipe the key fob The Nest Secure starter pack includes two. Set one up in the app, put it on your keychain, and tap it on the base unit to disarm.
  • The Nest app Open the app and it will quickly give you the option of disarming.
  • Door sensor buttons If your system is armed when you’re home, but you want to run out to grab the paper or let the dog out, there’s an easy way to avoid triggering the alarm. Simply press the button on the door sensor.

Silencing the alarm

Tapping the included key fob on the base unit is just one way to disarm the system.

5. Easily grant access to family and friends

There are a couple of people that have spare keys to my parents’ house: myself and their neighbor. We’ll both occasionally need to get in the house when they’re gone. Their neighbor will get their mail and any packages that get delivered. And I might need to check on the house if they’re out of town.

So how do we get in without setting off the alarm? Easy. I have my own dedicated code to disarm the system. I simply punch it into the keypad on the base unit in the entry way.

The neighbor has one of the two included key fobs. We set it up in the app, assigned it to her name, and now she just has to tap it on the top of the base unit when she enters.

If either of us enters the house and disarms the system, my parents will get a notification that lets them know who entered.

David's home screen

I have my own dedicated passcode, so I can disarm the system with a code that’s easy for me to remember.

I also have access to the system on my phone. The Nest app lets you invite other people such as family members to have limited or full access to the system. So if they’re out of town and the alarm gets triggered, I’ll get a notification, so I can get over to the house and see what’s up or call the police.

The bottom line

OK, so I’m obviously pretty impressed with this system. But what do my parents think about it after having lived with it for a while?

“I love it,” my mother told me. “It’s really easy to use. We were just going to use it when we went out of town. But since it’s so easy, we’re using it every time we leave the house and at night too.”

I doubt Nest’s marketing team could have written a better response.

Any questions?

Feel free to ask questions in the comments section and I'll answer them. Or you can give one of our advisors a call at 1-800-555-7088 to talk about Nest, smart home gear, or anything else we offer.

To read about more Nest-compatible products, check out our article, What works with Nest?

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