In case you're not up on the latest and greatest in home thermostat technology, you may not be familiar with Nest. They're the company who created what is probably both the smartest and most user-friendly home thermostat system on the market. Well, they're at it again. Now, Nest has come up with Nest Protect, a home smoke detector and CO alarm that is just as far ahead of the competition as is its thermostat sibling.
Although we all know that smoke detectors can save our lives and those of our families, generally most of us interact with smoke detectors only when we show our imperfections in the kitchen. The trouble is, once they remind you that you've burned your dinner, they won't stop without some major intervention from you.
You also may have heard from your smoke detectors in the past when they've run low on batteries and chirped incessantly until either you've deal with the problem in spite of, say, vaulted ceilings and no store of nine-volt batteries in the middle of the night. (Or, and this is reported by a reliable source, when crickets crawl into them and set them off; this is mostly a hot, dry climate problem.)
This is the genius of Nest Protect. Instead of bursting your eardrums with a piercing, non-specific tone, when Nest Protect detects something in your home, it talks to you. For example, it might say, “There's smoke in the kitchen” or “Emergency. There's smoke in the bedroom.” Once you hear that, you don't have to beat it senseless with a stick to stop it. Instead, it has a motion-sensor, so all you have to do it wave at it to silence it—from up to eight feet away. This is their “early warning” feature. Now, in case of a full-scale emergency, it will skip that and sound a full-scale alarm. It actually knows the difference. The detector works just as effectively against carbon monoxide leaks and has the different levels of alarms for them, too.
Each night when you turn down the lights, the Nest Protect “Nightly Promise” shows a green glow. This lets you know it just checked the batteries and that they're just fine. This also means you're safe from the middle of the night battery issue.
Like everything that Nest makes, too, Nest Protect will talk to you through your smartphone or tablet, about needing batteries and everything else. This way you can deal with issues as they arise and at your own convenience. If you're not home, it'll let you know what's happening in case of an emergency.
The main drawback of Nest Protect as it compares to other smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is that it costs more than most: $129. You can buy other units for between $20 and $50. However, some wireless models do cost $70-$80 without nearly as much functionality. And you can use Nest Protect in conjunction with the rest of the Nest system, which will undoubtedly continue to expand.
This is an exciting development in home safety technology. Check it out!