If you need to replace your smoke detector or Carbon Monoxide (CO2) Monitor, The Nest Protect might be a good bet. This nifty two-in-one device comes in two flavors: Wired (meaning it receives its power vie hard wiring) and Battery-Operated. Fret not, the Wired version still allows you to pop in a couple of AA batteries as a battery back up just in case you lose power.
The Nest Protect is a well-built device aimed squarely at killing two birds with one stone. As its name suggests, the Nest Protect indeed protects you by monitoring for heat, smoke and CO2. It can send pre-alarms before going into a full alert, enabling you to silence it manually, or remotely via your phone.
Like the rest of the Nest family of products, the Nest Protect is a “Smart” device that uses your WiFi Network, enabling remote access via a web browser or the free Nest app available in the Apple Store or in the Google Play store. What’s the value in being able to log into my smoke detector/ CO2 monitor, you ask? Well, there is a value in being able to know when there’s a potential fire event, especially when you’re not home.
Additionally, by being able to remotely manage your Nest Protect, you can run diagnostic tests to ensure it’s working optimally, ascertain whether or not the batteries are working, and view a log of any alerts and activity the device has detected over the last month. I, for one, appreciate that I don’t have to listen to random chirps from my CO2 detector smoke alarm in the middle of the night.
The “Smart” technology isn’t the only thing that adds value to the device, though. For one, if your device detects smoke, it does so on more than one level. Meaning it can better discern if it’s a minor smoke incident or a fast burning fire. It can also detect when smoke levels decrease.
Then, there’s the actual alarm part: It talks to you instead of just blaring incessantly. The Nest Protect tell you what if it perceives is the problem, and where it’s detecting the problem. If you determine it’s not an issue, you can simply press a button on the device to stop it from alerting you—unless it deems it as a serious threat.
Nest also thought about integration in an intelligent way. If you install more than one Nest Protect in your home, say one on each level, they can communicate with each other in order to relay potential dangers to you. For example: Imagine you’ve installed two Nest Protect devices, one in your upstairs hallway, and another one in the kitchen–both devices can talk to each other and alert you in both locations that the smoke level is increasing in your kitchen. If you’re not home, or, say, just outside talking to a neighbor, an alert notification on your smartphone could be critical. Nobody likes burnt fish and collard greens, and a burning kitchen would be considerably worse.
I also like that the Nest Protect glows different colors for different events. It will glow green when it detects the lights go off in the room in which it’s installed, letting you know that it’s checking itself to make sure everything is copacetic before you go off to sleep. The Nest Protect also has the ability to function as a motion-sensitive night-light, emitting a soft white light when it detects motion in a dark room. Perfect for navigating a darkened abode in search of a midnight snack.
At $99, the Nest Protect was a little pricier than I would prefer, but I believe the features made it a valid purchase when coupled with the fact that the old smoke detector dated back to the 90s and the plug-in CO2 monitor looked suspect. Also, as a note, CO2 monitors tend to go bad within 10 years, so I was likely cutting it close with the existing plug-in monitor that came with my house. Replacing both my smoke detector and CO2 monitor with quality products would likely cost the same if not more—and Nest Protect is shockingly enough not the most expensive “smart” two-in-one option on the market (at the time this article was written), though that isn’t saying much.
After purchase, installation was easy, as was connecting my Nest Protect to my WiFi network. Connecting my app was also painless, though I don’t use my Nest app nearly as often as I use my Ecobee3 app—but, a smoke detector/ CO2 monitor is pretty much supposed to sit silently until it’s needed—so I don’t have an issue with that. It doesn’t hurt that the Nest Protect is much nicer to look at than a typical detector/monitor, either. Plus, if my Nest Protect lasts the 10 years of its lifespan, I’ve paid roughly $10 a year for a sound product and peace of mind (the Nest Protect costs $99). As I’ve had absolutely no issues with it since I installed it, the Nest Protect earns a 5 out of 5.0