Review: Nest Protect smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector

4.4/5 - (63 votes)

In this review we look at the Nest Protect smoke detector, a smart smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector that is full of sensors and can be operated and monitored via an app.

What is Nest Protect smoke detector?

Nest Protect is a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, but smart. And smart in this case means that the device can be controlled and monitored by means of an app and that the detector can also check itself. In principle, the Protect only needs to be supplied with power via the supplied batteries (or cable) and thus protect your house and the people in your house. Ease of use and safety are central to this. Incidentally, there are not only sensors for smoke and carbon monoxide. The Protect also has a microphone, a heat sensor, a motion sensor and a moisture sensor. The price of 119 euros can therefore be explained.

Nest Protect smoke detector – Design

The Nest Protect is a real Nest product. We see this immediately reflected in the design. This has been thought about, not only for safety and mounting, but also for a premium look and feel. The Protect looks sleek and the LEDs provide an extra smart look. However, the LEDs are also useful. For example, there is a motion sensor in the detector so that the LEDs light up when you walk past the device in the dark at night. The light output is not great, but enough to quickly find your way to the bathroom or the light switch. The LEDs also color when testing and setting the Protect.

Nest Protect smoke detector – Installation

If you don’t already have the Nest app, it will need to be downloaded and you will need to create an account to start using the Protect. This is childishly simple and we like to see that. Remove the tab to activate the batteries, indicate in the app that you want to add the Nest Protect and the detector is paired with the app in a few simple steps. With your smartphone, scan the qr code on the back of the Protect, enter the password for your WiFi network and the Protect will be connected to your WiFi network. We have not encountered any problem; the Protect was immediately ready for use.

As we are used to from Nest, the assembly is also a piece of cake. After all, ease of use is central. Everything you need is included; an attachment for the wall or ceiling, including four screws and plugs. Drill four holes in the wall or ceiling, screw on the attachment and screw in the Protect. A child can do the laundry.

In use

What can you actually say about a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in use? After all, you do not want to experience that the device works, but you do want to be sure. Fortunately, Nest Protect smoke detector has built in a handy test function. The Protect itself checks whether the sensors are working, the batteries are still working, WiFi is working, the voice is working and the alarm itself is still working. This is done by means of a built-in microphone, so that the Protect itself can hear whether the alarm is still working. You can set to have the detector tested once a day (at a specific time). If something goes wrong, you will immediately receive a notification. You can also manually test the alarm by pressing the large button in the middle. So good thought has been given to operation and safety; you can assume that the detector works.

The app is an important part of using it, although you won’t find many options for Nest Protect here. Of course you will immediately receive a notification on your mobile device when the alarm goes off, but the app itself is only for checking and for one-time installation. In the app you can first set the Protect to your own liking.

Nest Protect smoke detector

For example, it is possible to set the time of the sound check, you can indicate whether the alarm can be switched off via the app, you can use the motion sensor to activate the auto presence mode and you can name the room in which the Protect is located. With Nest Sense it is possible to use the LEDs of the Protect to display a light path in the dark when someone passes by, you can show a green glow when the light is turned off to show that the device is functioning properly, and you can you turn on the steam control so that the Protect does not go off when you take a long and hot shower. It is also possible to activate the ‘watch out’ function, so that you first receive a signal when the carbon monoxide level rises.

Via the app you can immediately carry out a check to see if the Protect is still working properly. In addition, there is a button to view the history and you can immediately see when the various sensors and functions were last tested. It is important that you open the app every now and then to see if the Protect is still working and to run a test. According to the manufacturer, the second-generation Nest Protect will last ten years, so you are in the right place with this detector for the time being.

Nest Protect smoke detector

By the way, there are two models of the Nest Protect V2; the wireless version with batteries (which we have) and a wired version that requires a power point. The operation is exactly the same. If you have multiple Protects, they can be linked via the app and you can therefore set the alarm to go off in multiple places.


Of course we tested how the alarm works when something is actually wrong. We released some simulation smoke at the detector and let the alarm do its job. Of course a loud alarm will go off and you will receive a notification on your smartphone, but it is striking that the voice has more effect when you are at home). A female voice tells in a calm and controlled way what is going on, where the problem is occurring (you have indicated where the reporter is) and what to do next. So it becomes immediately clear what is going on and where to look for the problem. Especially for children, this calm tone and explanation is better than a loud siren, which only increases the panic.

Nest Protect smoke detector

Nest Protect smoke detector Integration with smart home products

You can also connect the Protect with the Nest Thermostat and have the boiler switch off automatically when carbon monoxide is detected. Via Works with Nest, Apple’s HomeKit or IFTTT you can link Nest products, including the Protect, with other smart home devices. For example, thanks to Works with Nest, you can make the Philips Hue lights flash or switch on when the alarm goes off. This way you can find your way out just a little faster.

Nest Protect smoke detector – Conclusion

All in all, we have to say that the Nest Protect is a lot more advanced than the average smoke and / or carbon monoxide alarm. The device is very user-friendly, easy to assemble and install and also tests itself regularly so that you know that everyone in the house is safe. The additional functions of the LEDs also provide an extra sense of security and once the alarm goes off, a calm voice ensures that you know what to do, what is going on and where the problem is. 119 euros is a lot of money for a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, but the Protect is packed with sensors and useful functions that actually add value and increase the feeling of safety.