Google smoke Alarm

Against my contractor’s advice, I chose the Nest Protect for my smoke and carbon monoxide detector and installed one on each floor. I love them! Here’s why. 

These attractive smoke alarms keep me and my family safe without unnecessary noise and fuss. Plus they do other cool things that your average alarm can’t do. I wouldn’t have thought that a smoke alarm would improve my quality of life, but these do!

Core Functions

The Protect uses technology that detects smoke and carbon monoxide (CO), an invisible but deadly gas. Smoke doesn’t always mean fire, and Protect knows this. 

I’ve had a few warnings from burnt toast and whatnot. Protect has a nice loud voice that calmly and politely tells you it senses smoke, and what you can do to prevent the noisy alarm from sounding. I pulled out my phone, pressed a button, and opened a window. Problem solved. Protect can also tell the difference between smoke and steam, so your shower won’t set it off. Whew. Smart alarms are a huge improvement over the old dumb alarms.

When the alarm goes off, it gives you a verbal message telling you exactly what the problem is and where it is. Smoke in the kitchen. Carbon monoxide in the basement. Get too fresh air. When there’s danger, you’re in no mood for a guessing game. Everything is in plain language just like you need.

Phone alerts

If you leave the stove on and go for a hike, your house could go up in flames. Sure your old alarms would go off, but you’d better hope you have good neighbors. With Protect, you’ll get phone notices about whatever’s happening, so you can triage the situation on the go. That’s a little more peace of mind.


The Protect features a motion activated light that is bright enough for me to walk through the house safely at night without turning on another light. It’s also dim enough that it doesn’t wake anyone else up. It’s subtle, and effective. Perfect for the job. You might not think that’s not really a safety feature, but it sure makes navigating the stairs a lot safer. Plus… How do I say this tactfully? My wife really doesn’t like getting woken up by bright lights. It’s a safety issue in more ways than one!

This may surprise you, but Pathlight is my favorite feature. Frankly, this feature alone is worth the price of admission. I’ve bought uglier ceiling lights for more money, and these are super-functional to boot.


Protect comes in two styles: battery and wired. I chose the wired for a couple of reasons. First, I liked the idea of an always-on alarm that didn’t require servicing. The backup battery is supposed to last more than two years if continuously connected to the power supply. Even in the event of a power outage, the backup is supposed to last for longer than a day. It might last longer, but Google customer services didn’t have a clear answer.

Before I got this Nest set, I had these battery powered units that would BEEEP intermittently at night to warn you the power was running low. I spent too many sleepless nights stalking the elusive chirps from a unit with a dying battery… somewhere. And once I’d find it, and climb a chair to replace the batteries, the cheap plastic clasp mechanism would crumble in my hands, making it impossible to get the new batteries to stay in. Never again.

That said, the battery option on the Protect seems great. Simple installation and phone alerts when a battery is running low. You know exactly which unit needs replacement and you can still get a good night’s sleep.

Are there any downsides?

So why’d my contractor steer me away? Well, the Nest Protect is expensive, hi-tech, and relies on smart phone integration for management. I’ll give him expensive compared to the cheap low-tech ones I used to use, but I haven’t had any problems after 2 years. I live in my phone, so your mileage may vary. 

I’m not sure I’d recommend it to my aging parents who aren’t as quick with a smartphone. But I wouldn’t necessarily steer them away either. The core safety functions are really the key in the event of danger, not the technology.

So keep your family safe. Get a Google Nest Protect (or three if you want a discount), and see if they don’t change your quality of life, too.