If you’ve ever used the business end of a broom to “persuade” a loud, malfunctioning smoke detector to quiet down, then you’ll appreciate Nest Protect. Instead of flying into full alarm mode at the first sign of smoke, these smart smoke detectors calmly alert you via voice and send you a push notification when smoke or carbon monoxide is in the air. If you just forgot the oven hood fan, or lit some candles nearby, you can tell the Protect to relax with your phone; no standing on chairs and pushing a button for 15 seconds.
These devices also come with the highly cultured habit of self-testing their batteries and sensors. Never again will you have to stare up at that inscrutable blinking red light and wonder “Does that thing have my back?”
How does it work?
Many smoke detectors are limited by the type of sensors they use. Ionization sensors can more quickly detect fast-burning fires, while photoelectric sensors are better at picking up slow-burning flames. Most home fires are of the slow-burning, smoldering variety. Nest Protect uses a proprietary Split Spectrum sensor, which is technically a photoelectric sensor that promises to also catch fast-burning fires more quickly. It also detects carbon monoxide, so you don’t have to worry about multiple devices in each part of the house.
Built-in sensors in the Protect also detect heat, humidity, room occupancy, and light levels. They can even function as motion activated nightlights, softly illuminating when you walk near them at night. In an emergency, they glow red to help light the way.
The Protect smoke detectors can also connect to each other. For about a decade hardwired, interconnected smoke detectors have been required by most building codes. In larger homes with multiple rooms, it’s important that if one alarm goes off in the house, they all go off. Nest’s smoke alarms provide this kind of connection but they can do so wirelessly, so you don’t have to spend money hardwiring each of them together.
Just like other smart home devices, the Protect lets you see what it sees when you’re away. If you’re out of earshot of the alarm you’ll still get a notification on your phone when the Protect senses something amiss. Combine Protect with Nest Cams and you can instantly pull up a live video of your home to check things out.
Finally, the Protect smoke detectors will also connect with a few other smart home devices to make it even better at getting your attention and mitigating the danger of a fire or carbon monoxide event. Paired with Philips Hue bulbs, the Protect can be set to flash the lights in the house in an emergency. A Nest thermostat can also respond by shutting down the furnace, which firefighters say is one of the first things they do when arriving at a house fire to prevent its growth. Now that’s a smart smoke detector.