Nest Protect Semi-Pleasant Smoke Alarm

Category: Home & Office
Price: $154.94
Total Reviews: 127 customer reviews
Average Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

I'm not on the best of terms with my smoke alarm. First it fell from the ceiling and went off. Then I left a few pounds of bacon in the skillet for too long and it went off. Then I had this girl over to watch Major League... [Read more]

Top Reviews

Did not detect thick smoke or fire
by Dwayne S. Daughtry (3 out of 5 stars)
January 5, 2015

I recently bought a Nest Protect smoke/carbon monoxide detector battery style. My family was very excited about this new technology. Setup was easy to follow and understand.

However on January 5, 2014 our home experienced a fire with minor smoke damage. The Nest Protect did not send out any alarm. In fact the only alarm that may have saved our home was the old smoke detector sitting on the table in the dining room. It alerted us from 2 rooms away. Again, the Nest Protect never provided any alarm sound or warning at all.

After everything settled. We decided to run a diagnostics test on the Nest Protect. This time we started a controlled fire underneath the Nest device. No alarm or warning sounded despite a prior test was performed to confirm that the product was setup correctly.

I contacted Nest support and spent a long time on hold. Nest informed me they would rush delivery for an immediate replacement. Then transferred to Nest escalation support where I waited on hold for over 20 minutes before being disconnected. That leads me to some concern about Nest as a company and its relationship between customer and issues perhaps with its product.

I am willing to give Nest another try with great reservation and disquietude.
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Four false alarms and counting (but see update, this was a version 1 unit)
by Lou Busch (4 out of 5 stars)
June 19, 2016

Four false alarms from my "bedroom" Protect early this morning. I have some tolerance for occasional hiccups of modern electronics but my wife has none. As I have two non Nest smoke alarms in other parts of the house (that did not alarm) I elected to disconnect the Protect. It is/was on the latest software and is a 2.x product (I read the 1.x had known false alarm issues). It has been mercifully alarm free for the 2 years it has been installed and might have "survived" a single "false" detection and alarm, but not four. Perhaps if there was a way to "dial-down" the sensitivity a bit. But having to get up (at 4 am), get a ladder, push the BRIGHT yellow flashing ring hear a LOUD voice declare I have silenced the alarm not once but three times was just a bit TOO much. False alarms are why most people purposefully disconnected fire alarms. As I still have two (non Protect) alarms in the house I have the time to do some research (again) before purchasing a replacement. It won't be a Nest Protect (or maybe it will, see update).

Update 8/12/16 - after thinking about it for a week, I e-mailed Nest support. They responded within 24 hours and asked a few questions. They determined I had a 1st gen product (I thought it was 2nd gen) and offered to replace it. Within a few days I had the newer Protect installed and operational. Yes, I did have to change the harness and ceiling mount as noted by another poster, but this was a few minute project. That was about a month ago and no false alarms so far. Of course, the original unit went almost 18 months before acting out but I'm cautiously optimistic. Added two stars for the superb service and I'll update again.

Update 11/15/16 - still working and no false alerts. Up to 4 stars now. That's where it stays until there is a way to disable the alarms/alerts "on purpose" for times like my 4 am false "Alert, there is smoke in the hall". Set a time limit, even. Have an option in the app to disable for "X" hours so you can get up after it's light out to fix the %^%$# thing.
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Looking to spice up your life?
by Jason Read (1 out of 5 stars)
February 17, 2015

If you want a boring, traditional smoke detector that sits on your wall quietly unless there is, you know... smoke, Nest Protect is NOT FOR YOU! If you're looking for a smoke detector that will become an important part of your daily life, speaking to and alerting you often (sometimes multiple times daily) about non-existent smoke with a kind female voice followed by deafening tones (and bonus smartphone alerts if you're away), the Nest Protect is a dream come true (unless of course you're dreaming when it goes off)! I never imagined I'd become so intimate with a device I've ignored most of my life. Thank you Nest, for developing a technological marvel that does so much... except reliably detect smoke.

For newbie's, I've included photo instructions for hushing your Nest Protect. If you don't have a screwdriver, or it's 3AM and you can't find it in the dark, a hammer or other heavy object will also do the trick.
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Flawed Product with potential
by D. Howard (2 out of 5 stars)
April 21, 2015

I was prepared to give this product a good review right up until today. Sadly with this type of product it's an all or nothing type of situation. When it worked it was great; provided easy status indicators and acted as a nice pathway light. However; false alarms that we have begun to receive have completely destroyed all faith in the product.

We have the unit in our under 1 year old sons bedroom; and for some reason (after 4 months of use) the alarm decides to tell us there's smoke in his room before activating the full alarm; this happened at 12am at night; so the baby is scared and crying and since we have the wired version there's no real way to shut the thing down. We took it off the wall eventually and placed it in the basement which then went off again at 8am complaining of smoke leaving our poor dog being bombarded with the smoke alarm so had to return from work to turn it off for good.

I cannot recommend this product at this time and would not rely on it for the safety of my home. I use a Nest Thermostat so I generally like their products; but this one has a false alarm issue and it still hasn't been fixed.
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From an Electrical Engineer and Contractor
by dk126 (1 out of 5 stars)
June 8, 2015

I am both an electrical engineer (MS Stanford) and an electrical contractor (based in San Francisco, more than 50 employees). Reading through the other reviews, you will hear "we love Nest" or "we hate Nest." The biggest complaint I continue to hear about is false alarms. If you have a Nest Protect and this hasn't happened to you, you probably think this issue is overblown. However, this is a very real and serious problem. My company has, conservatively, installed more than 10,000 smoke alarms and/or detectors over the past decade. This includes projects of all types. Fortunately, we only installed Nest at three locations - my house (9 units), one of our project managers' house (3 units), and at one customer site (5 units). We've had false positive alarms at 2 of these three locations (all more than once). I personally have returned two out of my nine detectors to Nest and have another one going back soon. I know where and where not to place detectors. Our house has hydronic heating (no air ducts) and only a single gas appliance (boiler). There was absolutely nothing in the three "false alarm" locations that should have set off a photoelectric smoke alarm. After each false alarm, we blew compressed air into the units and re-installed them. The same unit had a false alarm again within a few days. On the last one, I was out of town and one of my employees had to run around and find the unit in alarm, take it apart and remove the battery. Was that the end of the problem? No. At exactly midnight, 12:00, the Nest application on my phone went off with an alarm (not a warning, there are two levels of alert on the system) on the same device. Keep in mind, this device was disconnected earlier in the day (including the battery) but now the system is in alarm on that device? I was out of town, but couldn't take the risk that this was a real fire as houses touch each other in SF. So, I called my employees at midnight one by one until I found someone who was awake and I paid for a taxi to take one to my house to make sure the devices weren't in alarm. They were not, it was just a false alarm from the Nest servers. This same thing happened the next night, again at exactly midnight, but then it stopped (after just those two days).

I'm not going to repeat the complaints of others in detail but these include: The system is very loud, there is no way to "hush" it unlike other mfg's once it's in alarm, and it is time consuming to get to the battery. Is a false alarm better than the opposite condition? Yes, I think it is, but it's also very bad as people will not believe a fire is real. Also, since these false alarms are not occurring due to conditions that normally cause false alarms, such as cooking smoke, chemical vapor, dust, extreme air movement, or similar is this really a case where the detection circuits are too sensitive or is it a case where the electronics are just failing (and these same devices won't go into alarm when there really is a fire)? I don't know the answer to that. Nest has refused my requests to see the root cause analysis on the units I sent back and I'd need to see that before I'd feel comfortable installing these on a project ever again.

Finally, I would like to tell you that the incidence of problems with Nest Protect is way out of proportion to problems with smoke alarms from any other mfg. We've had no more than a handful of issues with detectors from any of the other brands over the years and in almost all cases we were able to identify the issue. There were some failures, obviously, but nothing on the order of what we have personally seen and what I continue to read about regarding the Nest Protect.
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Unreliable to the point of being dangerous.
by I. Rogers (1 out of 5 stars)
February 15, 2015

I went all out on our home and upgraded everything to the Nest line of products; 10 smoke detectors and 2 thermostats. I'm one of those early-adopter types striving to create a fully "connected home". The past year has been a massive disappointment; I had high hopes for these products but they are just too unreliable to install in your home. I am uninstalling every piece of Nest gear and sending back to the company.

Shortly after installing the Nest Protect units, we started getting "false positives". We started getting these about once every two weeks, driving my family absolutely up the walls. Time after time, the Protect system would wake up our family in the middle of the night, and we'd have to run around the house to find the right unit, climb up on a ladder and "hush" the system.

After 5-6 of these annoying events, we contacted the Nest company to complain. They have replaced about six of the units, some more than once. The false alarms continued. When a friend was watching the house, she couldn't get the alarm to stop, so she had to yank the units down and put them in the garage just to get some rest. More units were replaced, but it the false positives continued. Nest claims some units are overly sensitive, which leads to false positives. In our experience, over half the units we've had (from a variety of sources; Amazon, directly from Nest, and Home Depot) triggered a false positive.

The terminal event occurred last night. My wife and I were at a close friend's wedding, and our babysitter called to let us know the alarms were going off. This time, she couldn't get the unit to "hush". The alarms went off for over an hour late at night, and the babysitter had to take the kids out of the house and sit in her car for an hour just to get a break--- Nest literally ran my kids out of their own home. We apologized to the wedding party, jumped in the car, and sped home. Nest ruined a night we'll never get back; when an overpriced, defective technology has that kind of control over your life, something is wrong.

Nest products are unsafe due to the high number of false positives. We have had approximately 15 false positives in the last six months from almost every device in our home. I urge everyone to consider Protect as a "neat gadget", but please don't put your family's safety in their hands. Nest's marketing department wants you to believe the "old school" smoke detectors were unsafe because people took the batteries out. I find that comical, since my Nest Protects have spent a good portion of their life outside or in the garage in an attempt to silence the alarms and get some sleep.

On a related note, their thermostats are great, until they lock up randomly and turn your heat or A/C off. This happens from time to time--- perhaps once every six months. Not a big deal? It was 21 degrees outside last night and our main Nest unit "froze" about 10pm. Terribly unsafe. Nest claims this happens "during upgrades" that the push out on their own schedule. I guess their strategy is to hope that nobody relies on the thermostat to work consistently? What would have happened if I didn't notice the thermostat was off? Burst, frozen pipes, most likely.

The whole Nest concept is great; replace antiquated smoke detectors and thermostats with "smart" new technology. However, they failed to realize that a consumer's thermostat and smoke detectors MUST WORK RELIABLY, 100% of the time. Nest's products are 99% reliable, but that 1% failure rate is unacceptable for products that are relied upon to protect your home, family, and property. Buyer beware--- these products are not ready for prime time, and frankly put your family in more danger than traditional, "old fashioned" technology.
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Initial Problems with my Nest Protects now seem to be fixed...
by RLTaylor (3 out of 5 stars)
January 4, 2015

July 4, 2015 Update: I am upgrading my previous "1 Star" and "NOT Quite Ready for Prime Time" feedback review to 3 Stars. The most recent Nest App upgrades have made for a big improvement in the ability to configure, manage and integrate my First Generation Nest Protect into my home network. Although I think that Nest rushed this product to market with way too many bugs and initial problems, my two Nest Protects are now functioning as initially advertised. Thanks, Nest, for finally addressing these problems, and for not abandoning the 1st Generation Nest Protect.

January 4, 2015 Review (original): I have a rather significant (and growing) investment in home automation. Nest Thermostat, GE Link light bulbs, various Phillips Hue lamps and bulbs, two Wink Relay wall-mounted control centers and a Wink Hub, managed AC power outlets, and (now) two Nest Protect CO/Smoke detectors. All of these WiFi connected devices work flawlessly for me---except for the Nest Protects, which have been nothing but trouble since acquiring. The idea behind the Nest Protect is great. But I think the software for the Protect is still very much a work-in-progress. The management services from Nest lack many features for re-setting the configuration and management of the Protects, in particular, and this has become a source of frustration for both me and the Nest support staff who have attempted to resolve the continuing inability to get my two Protects persistently connected to my home Nest/Wink system. I have 30+ years experience as an IT manager, and I think I know my way around the basics of home WiFi routers/gateways...but I must conclude that the Nest Protects are not quite ready for prime time. My two Protects are, for now, pretty much serving me as extremely over-priced, standalone Smoke/CO detectors.

Your experience may be completely different. But, my advice is that you risk problems with purchase of the current generation of Protect detectors---much more so than any of the other Nest/Wink devices that are offered.
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This was interesting to try, but ultimately a very big disappointment.
by Ben Stein (1 out of 5 stars)
August 27, 2014

I've had one of these installed for a few weeks now and had no issues until early this morning, when it went off for absolutely no reason whatsoever, yelling about smoke that did not exist (not even in the slightest). It was more difficult to silence than I expected. This prompted some research, and it turns out that others have reported the same problems. Nest's advice online is to clean the unit, but I was about to install three more of these, and then three more - and I can't imagine spending time once a week or so (on average) removing a smoke detector from the ceiling somewhere in my home and cleaning it with canned air because it just panicked everyone in the house for no reason.

Calling them will get you a very gracious support person, 24x7, but there's nothing they can do except offer a replacement, or a way for you to return the unit(s) you have for a refund. There is no real fix for the issue. The gentleman I spoke with said that the sensors in these devices just do this sometimes, and that they are working on it. My impression is that Nest is effectively playing sensor roulette with its customers. Sometimes you get a good one, sometimes you don't, and it may be weeks or months before you know what you have.

IMO, Nest is operating outside of its depth here. They seem to have consumer aesthetic interests well in hand, but have not effectively addressed the physics of in-home smoke detection. The unit I have mounted is coming down, and all four are going back for a refund. What a waste of time!
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I go out to the hallway and do my best to detect smoke
by Rudy (2 out of 5 stars)
June 3, 2015

A Smoke CO detector has a very important job in our homes right? I assume Nest knows this. I admit the "techiness" of these attracted me to them but I also assumed they were sophisticated in detection and in their software. I don't think that's true. I have 4 of these units. 3 battery powered and 1 AC powered. Last night about 12:20 am or so, I hear an unfamiliar chime sound. A few seconds later the detector in my bedroom tells me there's smoke in the hallway. I have to say few things can make me jump up but this did! The detector in the hall is 15 or so feet away from my bedroom detector. I go out to the hallway and do my best to detect smoke. Nothing but I can't assume the detector is wrong. Maybe it's more sensitive than my nose I think. Well, 2 or three minutes later the ring goes blue and fades out and the messages stop. OK. I'm not going back to bed though. I keep checking. After 1/2 an hour I assume it falsed and I'd deal with it in the morning. 2 minutes after I get in bed while my eyes are still open I can see the detectors yellow light lighting up the hallway and the messages start again. I still don't want to be "that guy" and check again for smoke upstairs and down. Nothing. About 5 minutes after I go into the bedroom again convinced the unit is falsing, the thing just goes off, the ring is red and the thing is basically tell me to run for my life. That would be fantastic in an emergency. It's awful when the unit is in error. So I hit the button on the hallway unit and thankfully it's silenced. Glowing red to tell me something may be wrong but at least it's quiet. I live in a town house with neighbors on both sides and I was freaking out at freaking them out if all 4 of these things started screaming FIRE! Yes, I know they don't scream fire. So I pull the init off the wall and pull the batteries. Oh need a philips screwdriver to do that. Terrific. So it goes limp and I put it away for now. I look at the manual online, I certainly was wide awake now, and they mention dust can cause this. I've seen other detectors chirp when they get dusty but I guess Nest decided to be safer than sorrier and figured it would just alarm. I can see the dilemma. Nest sells something that has the job of possibly saving a life so it's sensitive and integrated. Fine. That being the case it's incumbent on Nest to come up with better error handling. I can think of a couple of ways they can do that but that's not my job. I'll just mention dual sensors and a comparator. More cost, but this is a premium product. So I blow all 3 units out with air and I'll see what happens. My biggest fear is the units will false when I'm out of town and freak my neighbors out. I have visions of firemen kicking in my doors while I'm out of town. The app worked but my understanding is an alarm can only be silenced if you physically push the button on the unit that initiates the warning. I understand the reason for that so OK. I have never participated in a class action lawsuit but if one comes up for these, I'm in. I don't say that lightly. The damages awarded should be a full refund. I think I'm just going to be safe and replace these in the next couple of weeks. I'll tell you one thing. When they voice tells you there's smoke in the house, I can't imagine ANYONE ignoring it so that part is a good idea. I'm very disappointed.
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Expensive, but maybe worth it (updated)
by Mark Colan (3 out of 5 stars)
January 2, 2015

[UPDATE: see end of review]

Our conventional smoke detectors were expired and needed replacement. I did not like them because of the frequent false positives, usually in the middle of the night, with heart-stopping beeps that instill panic.

The Nest system has yet to make false alarms, but these usually happen in the very humid weather, and we have not been through them with Nest yet. I will update this review when I get experience in very humid weather.

Our existing system was hard-wired, and it was very easy to use the existing wires to install Nest. It is also easy to set up.

The Nest will play a chime and a pleasant voice informs you of what the problem is and which location, UNLESS it is a critical level of smoke. For CO detection, I am told that if you have the Nest thermostat installed, the Nest Protect will tell the thermostat to turn off the furnace, which is a common cause of the CO. We do not have the thermostat, but this is a useful feature.

There is a blue LED ring light around the Nest button that lights when it is dark and motion is detected (such as me walking around in the dark). This is handy and somehow comforting.

If your system is connected to the Wifi, the unit can make notifications via email or to your mobile when there are smoke or CO events. Events such as smoke or CO detected, or even events like detecting someone walking around, are logged on the Google-run server. This allows you to monitor your house from afar, with full history. If you are inclined to be suspicious of Google (I am not), it also means that Google could, and perhaps does record all events, including for example the times the night light is turned on by motion detection.

The Nest has long battery life. You do not have to proactively replace batteries like you do each year with a conventional unit, because the Nest monitors battery state and will tell you when the battery is running low. The Nest will tell you to replace it after seven years, whereas conventional smoke detectors usually specify replacement after ten years (and they do not tell you when that time is up).

Yes, it is a bit expensive, but if I get startled out of a deep sleep less often, it will be worth it.

UPDATE 7/21/15

We have had three Nest Protects fail by giving repeated false alarms. The usual causes are humidity or dirt. The units are less than a year old, and it has been dry weather, so this is probably a defective sensor. They replaced each unit promptly when I reported a failure. Still, it's a hassle to have to remove the old one, install a new one, and return the old one (or be charged for a new unit for not returning it).

Also, I learned that they now have a significantly revised unit, including the sensor unit. However, they refused to send new units despite having had three failures out of eight units.

Having three fail seriously erodes my confidence in the product, so I changed this review from four stars to three.

I got a call from Nest Protect tech support. A change in policy allows them to replace the version 1 replacement units, only, with version 2 replacements. So they are sending me three v2 units to replace the replacement v1 units. I feel a little better about the purchase, but I'll wait to see how the system does before changing the stars back to 4.

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