This is a We Own it review!
Nest Protect is part of the Nest series, owned by Alphabet – Google’s Parent company. Nest first started life in 10 as a small startup before being acquired in 2014.
The Nest series has a few different gadgets (Nest Thermostat / Nest Cam / Nest Outdoor Cam). In this review we are only looking at Nest Protect the smart fire alarm – we are also looking at the latest Nest Protect 3rd Generation.
The first thing to point out is that despite everyone calling these ‘fire alarms’ they are actually called a ‘Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector’.
What does the Nest Protect do?
The detectors detect 3 things:
- Carbon Monoxide
Unlike traditional alarms the Nest Protect talks to you and tells you what’s wrong and if you have multiple Nest Protects it tells you where the problem is on all the Nest Protects. For example in the bedroom the voice will say ‘Smoke detected in the kitchen’. The App also alerts you and if a false alarms allows you to silence it.
One brilliant feature is the auto testing. It tests all its batteries and sensors over 400 times a day. Every month it also test the sounds, don’t worry not at full volume just loud enough for you to confirm you hear.
This is great for peace of mind as how often do you REALLY test your normal smoke alarm, if like us probably never.
This is also shown via a green glow light at night, as a visual reminder it’s tested and working.
Finally it has a night light feature called ‘pathway’. This lights up when it’s dark as you pass and goes off when you have – the idea is to light your path.
How does it work & what is the tech?
There are two different versions either hard wired (230V) or battery.
As the name suggests this depends on if you want to hardwire it or use changeable batteries.
The functionality is exactly the same the only difference is how the gadget gets power.
The Nest Protect uses Wifi (Only 2.4 GHz) to connect to the internet as well as Bluetooth to connect to your phone for setup, manual Check-ups and false alarm silencing – you don’t need to leave Bluetooth on all the time.
Thank you to our reader David who told us in the comments the reason Bluetooth is used for silencing false alarms is to prevent disabling from afar as you need to be near the device.
One interesting tech feature is Nest Weave – this is their own connectivity protocol they have developed They are 2.4GHz and based on 802.15.4 radios – thanks to David again for the additional information.
This allows Nest Protect to talk to other Nest Protects and Nest Thermostats, meaning even if the internet goes down they can still all communicate.
One good example is how the PIR, motion sensor, helps tell the Nest Thermostat if the house is occupied or not. Also if the CO is detected the boiler is shutdown.
This is essential as the last thing you want is an internet out safe to stop your smoke alarm going off!
How easy is it to setup?
1) Create a Nest account
2) Install the app
3) Scan a QR code on the device – this sets up the app and is where you put your wifi details
4) Put on ceiling
What’s the connectivity?
Nest Protect connects to all other Nest products. This means if Nest Protect detects Carbon Monoxide it will talk to the Nest Thermostat and turn off the heating. This is because boilers are the most common source of Carbon Monoxide. As mentioned above this is also done via its proprietary mesh network, Nest Weave.
One obvious lacking feature is feeding back the heat temperature to Nest thermostat allowing it to know what temperature other rooms are and adjusting heating as needed.
Nest Protect also connects to IFTTT that is where the extra functionality is added, for example:
IF Nest detects smoke THEN change lights to red – however this of course requires Philips Hue.
They also have their own program ‘Works with Nest’ allowing other smart home tech to use their mesh network.
How much does it cost?
Google Nest Protect costs £99
It’s important to note despite these having added tech you still require more than one for most flats or houses.
What’s it like living with it?
Good – its great to have that piece of mind knowing its working, has been tested and god forbid if a fire broke out when we were not in we would know!
What are our final thoughts?
When it comes to important things like life saving tech we happily pay that little bit more, this is a perfect example. Google Nest Protect gives you regular reassurance it’s working and keeping an eye over you.
It is a shame it’s not connected to Nest Thermostat more and does seem odd – we’re guessing the feedback loop would be too much of a drain on the battery.