Nest Secure Alarm System Review

Visually appealing and technologically reliable, the Nest Secure system has turned heads in the security world. But is it worth the cost?
Written by | Updated August 14, 2019
image of Nest Secure's logo

Overall Rating

2.8/5
  • Beautiful design
  • Multifunctional devices
  • Weak online security measures
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Last Updated: 4 days ago
We did a mid-year review of all the top home security systems, including new package and equipment offerings, price changes, updated or discontinued features, and the latest customer service reviews. Google Nest held onto its spot in our top 10 thanks to its sleek design and seamless integration with other smart home devices. But it's a limited security solution that might not work for bigger homes. Read our updated review to get all the details about Nest Secure.

Bottom Line: A Good Place to Start for DIY Security

The Google-owned Nest Secure system plays well with other members of the Nest family and then some. It’s easy to live with, tough on intruders, and visually stunning. If you want DIY security and home automation that you can monitor yourself, Nest is a good place to start. But the Nest Secure alarm system and accessories cost a lot more than other security systems we’ve reviewed, and we’ve seen reports of Nest users’ accounts being broken into due to loose password requirements.1

Pros

  • Beautifully designed products
  • Multifunctional door and window sensors
  • Easy to setup on mobile app
  • No contracts
  • Optional professional monitoring through Brinks

Cons

  • Reports of connectivity issues and poor customer service
  • Sky-high initial price and expensive add-ons
  • Recent reports of cameras being breached

Compare Nest Home Security

Base Equipment Cost
Contract Length
Professional Monitoring Option
Smart Home Capabilities
Smart Key Fob
Indoor Cameras
Outdoor Cameras
Learn More
Nest Secure
SimpliSafe
Abode
image of Nest Secure's logo logo of simplisafe home security Abode Home Security Logo
$399 $229 $199
No contract No contract Optional
2 types 1 type 1 type
2 types None None
Check Price on Walmart Visit SimpliSafe Visit Abode

Data as of 8/10/19. Offers and availability subject to change.

Pricing, Plans, and Contracts

The basic Nest Secure system initially costs around $400, more if you want home automation equipment. The alarm system comes with the Nest Guard hub, Nest Detect sensors, and Nest Tag key fobs—a standard lineup for DIY systems at a steep price. That high of a price would make more sense if the basic package came with special smart home components like cameras, light controls, or the smart thermostat and smoke detector that made Nest famous.

On the bright side, you aren’t required to pay a monthly fee or get professional monitoring, so for many, this is a one-time payment. If you want to, you can opt for professional monitoring through Brinks as an extra safety measure.

Optional Brinks Monitoring

Nest Secure lets you set up and watch your system independently, or you can opt for professional monitoring from Brinks. We recommend professional monitoring so you always have someone else keeping an eye out and contacting first responders in an emergency. The rate changes based on your contract length, but you can opt for $19 per month for a three-year agreement or $29 month to month. These prices are pretty standard for the industry.

Tech and Equipment

This family of products is beautifully designed, simple to set up, and controlled by one easy-to-use app. Nest is also good at thoughtful upgrades like two-in-one devices or adding nightlights to motion sensors.

The Nest Secure kit comes with all the essentials.

Nest guard

Nest Guard

The Nest Guard is the brain, keypad, and alarm of the system, as well as a motion sensor.

Nest tag key fob

Nest Tag 

The Nest Tag arms and disarms the Nest Guard with a tap.

Nest detect sensors

Nest Detect

The Nest Detect monitors motion when placed on a wall, or it can be used with a magnet or adhesive strip as a window or door sensor.

The multitalented Nest Guard hub is an alarm, keypad, and motion sensor. You can arm and disarm it through the nine-button keypad on top, the Nest app, Google Assistant, or your handy key fob.

The included Nest Tag key fobs are easier to use than punching in a number on your keypad or fumbling with your phone. More and more security companies are offering these because they make it much easier to arm and disarm your home as you’re coming in with a handful of groceries or kiddos on your arm. If you need more fobs than the two included in the Nest Secure kit, you can order more for $25 each.

The Nest Detect sensors can be used as door and window sensors or as simple motion detectors. They have built-in nightlights too—a simple upgrade to safely light your way to the door.

All the reporting and controls go through the Nest app, leaving you in charge of monitoring your system and additional smart devices.

Other Nest equipment that works with Nest Secure

  • Nest Protect

    The Nest Protect is a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector that will alert you by voice or alarm if there’s a problem. Learn more from our full review.

  • Nest Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E

    The Nest Thermostat and Thermostat E save you money and energy by adjusting your home temperatures automatically to your preferences.

  • Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ

    The indoor and outdoor Nest Cams and Nest Cam IQs can help you keep an eye on things at home. Check out our review to learn more about this camera.

  • Nest Hello

    Equipped with facial recognition technology, the camera in the Nest Hello Doorbell can tell your Google Home who is at the door.

  • Nest x Yale

    The Nest x Yale keyless deadbolt allows you to lock and unlock your door from your smartphone.

Nest Compatible Smart Products

  • Google Home
  • LIFX Smart Lights
  • Philips Hue lightbulbs
  • Lutron dimmers and switches
  • Chamberlain garage door openers

Smart Home

The Nest app brings all your Nest smart home devices together in one spot. You can check reports, schedule changes, and control the whole system from your fingertips—and you can always add new devices. You can add and control a Nest Secure kit, camera, or Nest Protect through the same app. The products speak to each other to protect your family in an emergency too. The thermostat can shut off the furnace or forced air if the Nest Protect detects smoke or carbon monoxide, for example.

One of our favorite smart home devices Nest offers is the Nest Hello video doorbell. The Nest Hello snaps clear HDR video of anyone who comes by your home. Plus, you can watch and speak with visitors through the two-way audio on the camera and app. It’s a great way to know if your latest internet purchase has arrived or to check in with the dog walker.

Nest has also teamed up with appliance companies like JennAir and Whirlpool to create products like oven ranges that communicate with your thermostat to keep your house temperature comfortable. Smart capabilities in large appliances like these can keep your kitchen from overheating and even remind you when you’ve left the oven on.

Nest Cams 

Nest has two series of cameras: the Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ. Both come in outdoor and indoor models to keep tabs on everyone coming in and out of your house. All four cameras stream a live feed to your phone in crystal clear 1080p HD and impressive night vision. The audio is some of the best we’ve heard too—we were able to have conversations through the cameras with ease.

For an extra monthly fee, you can get a Nest Aware subscription that gives you access to more footage history and features like Person Alert with face recognition. Read our full review of the Nest Cam IQ to see if this might be a good addition to your security system.

Heads up: While researching Nest Secure, we found reports of Nest Cams being compromised by hackers in early 2019. Several Nest users claimed they heard a strange voice through the Nest Cam’s two-way audio. While Nest itself has not been compromised, these intrusions were the result of Nest’s weak password requirements.2 Learn more about how to protect your home automation from hackers.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Use long, strong passwords
  • Avoid reusing passwords
  • Opt for two-step authentication

Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat 

The Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector put this security company on the map almost a decade ago. Today, these products are still on the market with more smart capabilities than ever.

The Nest Thermostat can adjust your heating and cooling according to your schedule. If you like to sleep in a chilly room, Nest will catch on and drop the temperature automatically. It also has settings like “Away” and “Eco” to save you energy throughout the day.

The Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm knows better than to bother you with chirps or false alarms. It sends alerts directly to your phone, allowing you to cancel the alarm when dinner burns or someone takes a long shower. On the other hand, you’ll know about an emergency if you’re home or away.

Installation 

Nest makes installing a home security system a snap. To get going, just download the Nest app on your iPhone or Android, scan the QR code on the Nest Guard hub, and follow the instructions in the app. Once the Nest Guard is up and running, set up the Tags, then the Nest Detect sensors. If you add new devices down the road, repeat these steps and connect the new devices through the app.

If you’re installing the Nest Detect in a corner, grab a tape measure, Phillips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, and 3/32 in. drill bit to help you mount it. These door, window, and motion sensors can be installed with adhesive strips or magnets in most other places.

Customer Service

According to customer reviews, Nest’s support skills are a mixed bag. Most of the support on the Nest website is designed for users to help themselves. The support page provides guides for installation, troubleshooting, and compatible products.

Several customer reviews reported distracted service reps, faulty connectivity, and a lot of frustration. When we checked in August 2019, customer reviews on Trustpilot were overwhelmingly bad—10% gave five-star ratings, another 11% ranked Nest between two and four stars, and a whopping 78% gave only one star.3

You can reach a customer rep through online chat, phone, or Twitter. They also have online forums called the Nest Community where you can ask questions and get answers from experienced users and smart home enthusiasts. It’s helpful to have so many online resources when you have questions but it doesn’t feel very personal.

Pro Tip: If you’re nervous about spending a lot of money on Nest, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you decide within 30 days of setting up your Nest Secure that you don’t like the system, you can return it to Nest for your money back.

Nest Secure FAQs

Is there a way to record video from my Nest Cam?

Yes, but it requires a subscription to Nest Aware—a service that stores all the footage from your Nest Cam, Nest Cam IQ, and Nest Hello for up to 30 days. Plans start around $5 a month.

Do I need to have a certain router to use Nest Secure?

Yes—some Wi-Fi routers are incompatible with Nest products. Be sure to check your model before purchasing a Nest system.

How much is Nest Secure per month?

If you want your system professionally monitored, you can pay for a three-year contract with Brinks at $19 per month or pay month-to-month for $29.

Has anything changed since Google bought Nest?

Earlier this year Google integrated Nest into its hardware family. Not much has changed about Nest’s hardware, but the two companies have teamed up to create the Google Nest Hub with the goal of making homes smarter and home automation more accessible. The partnership means you can log in to your Nest and Google accounts with the same credentials, and there will be more compatibility with third-party products.

Important things to know about Nest’s partnership with Google.

  • Google is inviting users with Nest accounts to migrate to one Google account that will manage both Google and Nest products. Users that choose not to migrate may not have access to new products, updates, and services.
  • Google stopped accepting new “Works with Nest” connections on August 31, 2019. Connections with third-party devices will be managed using the Works with Google Assistant platform instead.
  • If you currently use your Nest devices with Amazon Alexa, you may not have to switch to Google Assistant. Google is currently working with Amazon to migrate the Nest skill that works with Alexa.

How Nest Secure Stacks Up

Nest SecureFrontpointVivintSimpliSafe
image of Nest Secure's logoFrontpoint logoVivint logologo of simplisafe home security
Lowest Monthly Monitoring Price$19.00$34.99$29.99$14.99
Starter Equipment Price$399$69*$599$229
InstallationDIYDIYProfessionalDIY
Learn MoreView PackagesView PackagesView PackagesView Packages

Data effective 08/13/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
*Up-front equipment price with 3-year contract.

Conclusion 

We won’t sugarcoat it, Nest Secure is expensive and could improve its customer support and internet security. But it’s nice that you can choose how to spend your money with self-monitoring and professional monitoring options. That said, if you want Jetsons-level security and home automation that’s easy to set up, it’s the system to start with. And now that Nest is owned by Google, we expect to see even more options for connecting devices.

How We Reviewed Nest Secure 

This Nest Secure review is the product of in-depth research and discussions with security experts. We evaluated the most important factors, industry standards, and flaws in the Nest Secure system. Our goal is to deliver a helpful and impartial review to help our readers. See our methodology page to learn more about our evaluation process.

Written by Katie McEntire

Since 2013, Katie has written marketing copy, long-form posts, reviews, and blogs. She began her career as a writer and reviewer with the mission to recommend only the best products for her readers. She’s designed tests, evaluated products, and written reviews on a range of subjects such as appliances, power tools, and software. Today, she applies these research and writing skills on the SafeWise team to explore the world of home, auto, and internet security. Learn more

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