Nest Protect Installation Review

Nest Protect is undoubtedly the best looking and most modern smoke and carbon monoxide detector on the market at the moment. It has a sleek design, can connect to your smartphone and is extremely reliable. It’s for this reason that they have been selling in great numbers the world over, but how easy are they to install and use, and can you just swap your current alarm for a new Nest Protect?White Nest Protect Installation

Installing the Nest Protect

In theory, this is a very easy installation, and the video shows how it can be done all in a matter of seconds. However, it’s not quite that straightforward if you are using the wired version. There is a world of difference between fitting the wired and battery-powered models, and you can find out more below:

Battery-Powered Installation

This is as easy as the video makes out. All you have to do is remove your existing alarm and the chances are the Nest will be able to just clip onto your existing framework. Even if it doesn’t, the backplate it comes with is very easy to attach and removing your current device should just involve taking out a couple of screws.

Wired Installation

The wired installation is MUCH harder than the battery-powered version. This is not just because you will have to do some circuitry, but also because of the design of the device. You should either seek expert guidance or have knowledge in dealing with electrical wires before you embark on this task.

The box comes with connector blocks which aim to make the installation much simpler, as you can connect the Nest wires to those in your ceiling easily enough. Unfortunately, that is where the convenience ends.

The main problem is the size of all of the bits and pieces and how that relates to space in your ceiling. The Nest comes with a “smart plug” which inserts into the back of the device to connect it to the power. Despite the name, this is one of the worst pieces of design I’ve seen in a while. Quite the contradiction on such an elegant piece of kit.

The plug protrudes completely out of the back of the detector meaning you need enough spare room for it to fit as well as space for the plug to rotate around and not catch on any wires. So, unless the cavity in your ceiling is truly vast, you are likely to run into some problems. The not-so-smart plug will either not be able to fit in the cavity at all or it will catch on its own wires as you rotate the device.

Nest Protect “Smart” Plug

This is a massive oversight, and enough for me to recommend not buying the wired version at all. Save yourself a tonne of hassle and just terminate the wires for your detector so you can install a battery version of the Nest instead!

Note: if you live in an apartment block, make sure you don’t need to have a detector linked up to the block’s fire safety system! In this case, you are better off avoiding the Nest altogether.

Installing the Nest App

The app has undergone a great deal of refinement as the company itself has grown and expanded into numerous different home improvement markets, and it is as efficient as you would expect. The instructions tell you to link the app to your Protect(s) before installing it onto the ceiling. However, I would recommend doing the opposite. You want to know that the Protect is right for your property before you remove the battery tag and render it unable to be returned.

If you do all the software installation and registration before putting it on your ceiling, and then find out it doesn’t fit or work (see above installation issues), you may run into trouble when trying to get a refund. Once the installation is done, the device is easy to take back off the ceiling in order to complete the set-up.

Other than this, you shouldn’t have any problems as the app is easy to use.

Using the Nest

With any alarm, you don’t actually want to it set off because this means you’re doing a great job not starting any fires! However, there are a couple of features that offer you peace of mind on a daily basis.

Firstly, it allows you to receive notifications on the move, so if something were to happen while you were away or out of the house, it will warn so you can arrange help or alerts others. This is a valuable asset to set you at ease, especially when going on holiday.

Secondly, you are able to check that the alarms are functioning without needing to press the device itself. This is very useful if you are unable to reach the device. You can perform the test from your phone and, as you should be checking your alarms at least once a month, this represents a great amount of effort saved.

The Pathfinder is a light which is motion sensitive and can illuminate at night to help you see where you are going in the gloom. If you don’t want it, it can be switched off and is automatically disabled for alarms set to bedroom mode. If your Nest is in the hall, for example, it can act as a great little light for when you need to navigate quietly to the bathroom whilst others sleep.

Another feature of the light ring on the Nest is that when it senses the lights going out in your bedroom, for example, it will flash green. This is a really nice little feature which lets you know that you are protected as you go to sleep and that there aren’t any issues that it can detect. Though a small and simple feature, this is one of the best-hidden secrets about the device.


Buy the battery version. The Nest Protect is a great system, it is intuitive, modern and looks great. Just buy the battery version! The installation of the wired version is not only a hassle but is near impossible if the cavity in your wall isn’t big enough. You won’t know whether yours is until you have bought the device, unscrewed your existing one, and screwed the new backing plate onto the wall. The battery model offers exactly the same benefits and none of the drawbacks, allowing you to enjoy what is clearly the best smoke and carbon monoxide alarm on the market.

You can buy the Nest Protect on Amazon.

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