Nest Secure Review

This 2-in-1 home security and automation system is powered by Google and offers smart features and technology.

SecureScore™: 7.8 /10
View Packages
7.8 SecureScore™
How We Review
Customer Service
Features & Technology
Ease Of Use
How We Review
  • Wide variety of home security and smart home devices available
  • Integration with third-party devices
  • Subscription plans are inexpensive and feature rich
  • No contracts
  • System works well even without added subscription plans
  • Easy installation
  • Professional installation service available
  • Centralized app control

  • High upfront payment
  • Nest Aware is priced on a per-camera basis
  • May be overwhelmed with product selection

Getting to Know Nest

You probably recognize the name Nest from the popular smart thermostat that helped to bring smart home automation into the mainstream. Nest does more than just their thermostats, however. They have a full range of products that work together, including home security equipment.

Due to their experience in the smart home market, they have developed a device ecosystem that works seamlessly with each other. The feature sets combine innovation with excellent quality of life benefits, and broad third-party integration options give you a lot of customization options.

They have a strong focus on user-friendliness, from the installation to the management of your devices, which has earned them high customer reviews. The hardware often has clever and intuitive functionality, such as the contact sensor that also doubles as a motion detector, depending on where you install it.

Their hardware also has learning capabilities to learn your routines, what your friends and family look and sound like, and many other details. It processes all this information in the background to ensure that it’s operating in a way that works with your lifestyle and needs.

The Lineup of Features and Tech

No Rush Arming and Disarming

Some home security systems give you mere seconds to get to the keypad and disarm it before it starts going off. The Nest Secure system allows you to set a custom time, and you get a reminder on the countdown during this process. If you leave the house and forget to turn it on, the system sends a reminder.

Scheduled Disarm Times

The Nest Tag key fobs can be scheduled to disarm your system at certain times of the day. This feature is useful for letting someone like a dog walker into your home only when they should be there. Remote disable functionality lets you deactivate lost Tags.

Smarter Alerts

The Nest Aware subscription plan helps your Nest cameras become more intelligent. They can learn the difference between your family and strangers, and when activity is expected at the house. You get notifications that are relevant and a reduction in false alarms. It also offers intelligent identification based on audio.

24/7 Recording

Another feature with the Nest Aware subscription is continuous recording of the video stream. You can get up to 30 days of video for review, depending on the plan tier you select.

Encrypted, Cloud-based Video Storage

Nest keeps your recordings safe and available through a cloud-based service that uses AES 128-bit encryption and two-step authentication.

Integrated Smart Home Ecosystem

The biggest advantage of going with a Nest system is the sheer amount of integration that’s available, with their own products and third-party equipment. For third-party hardware, the Works With Nest label shows you the available options.

Voice Alerts

You don’t have to decipher beeps or chirps to figure out what’s going on. You get told by a human-like voice so you can easily understand the notification.

Nest App

Nest’s powerful app gives you a centralized control panel on your mobile device or web browser. You customize the types of alerts and their priority for each device, giving you full control over your home security and home automation. You get a timeline view of video clips, along with having the capability to make your own clips or time lapses out of your history.

Is it Easy to Use?

Most Nest products are straightforward to install, with an emphasis on automatic setup and configuration. Everything is designed to just work without a lot of extra steps, and the company has achieved this goal with Nest Secure and their home automation products. Being able to use a single app for controlling and configuring all of your Nest products simplifies management and expansion of your smart home ecosystem.

If you prefer professional installation, Nest does offer this service for a fee.

The Customer Service Experience

Nest has been at the smart home game for a while, so they have a solid set of customer service resources available. The website is your first stop, with its extensive set of self-help articles, guides and a full Nest community. If you don’t find the answers you need there, you can call via phone, message them on Twitter, or send them an email.

Stacking the Value

Nest’s biggest strength is in its customization potential. When you look at the value of the Nest Secure Home Security System, you need to consider the upfront cost of the base system, the customizations for your home and whether you want an on-going subscription for video surveillance. You don’t need to have an active subscription to use your security system, but you get several value-added benefits for a low cost.

You have three tier options for a Nest Aware subscription. The first tier is $5 per month or $50 annually, which covers 5-day video history, 24/7 continuous recording, intelligent alerts and, clips and time lapses, and custom activity zones. The second tier and third tier offer the same feature sets, but one increases the video history to 10 days for $10 per month or $100 per year, and the other offers a 30-day video history for $30 per month or $300.

This pricing is on a per-camera basis, and you only need the Nest Aware plan if you have Nest security cameras. If you’re only using the home security system, then you won’t need to purchase these plans. You do have the option of getting professional security monitoring via Nest’s partnership with Brinks. This 24/7 professional monitoring plan will have highly trained professionals reach out to you to verify alarms, contact the police if they don’t get a response, and will talk you through emergency situations.

You also get cellular backup for this service so you are protected even if something happens to your Wi-Fi. You can choose between two plans. You either pay $19 per month with a 3-year agreement, or you pay $29 per month with a month-to-month agreement.

Nest sometimes offers equipment specials when you’re buying a complete security system or multiple pieces of hardware. However, you’re otherwise responsible for the full upfront cost of this equipment.

The Goods

The Nest Secure alarm system is a full set that costs $399. It includes the Nest Guard, which is the base station and motion detector, two Nest Detect sensors for your walls, doors or windows, and two Nest Tags. The Guard base station gives you keypad control for arming and disarming the system, and it also acts as the hub for Nest devices to connect to, and offers motion detection sensors.

The Nest Detect sensors have a clever design that changes the way it works based on the installed location. It acts as a contact sensor when you have it on windows and doors. If you install it on the wall or the door, it also functions as a motion sensor.

The Nest Tags are key fobs that give you automated arming and disarming for your system. You don’t have to rush to the Nest Guard station and punch in a code. Instead, you can wave the Tags over it for a seamless experience.

Add-on Equipment

Nest leverages its experience in the home automation industry to present a wide range of customizations that function on their own or alongside the Nest Secure Alarm System.

Nest Protect – $119 for 1, $329 for 3, $614 for 6

This smart smoke and CO alarm has many quality of life features that elevate it beyond your typical smoke detector. It tells you in plain English where the danger is and syncs with all other Nest Protect smoke detectors in your home. You can turn off a false alarm with your smartphone through the Nest app.

One of the most useful features is its ability to distinguish steam from smoke. You won’t have to deal with an alarm constantly going off because it’s too close to your bathroom shower. During an alarm, it also lights up to help you find your way to safety. You can test the entire system through the app and the Protect self-tests.

You can get the Protect as a battery operated or hard-wired detector.

Nest Thermostats – Starting at $169

Nest’s flagship product line is the smart thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E offer smart control over your home’s climate. You can control the thermostats from anywhere through the app. The learning features adjust to your schedule and temperature preferences so you save money and stay comfortable all the time. The Nest Thermostat E has additional energy saving technology so you can continue to reduce your energy costs. It also has a design that blends in with your interior décor, rather than standing out. You can supplement your thermostat with additional temperature sensors.

In some cases, your utility company may offer rebates on smart thermostat purchases.

Nest Hello Video Doorbell – $229

This video doorbell works well with your security system. You get another video view of your home right from the front door, which can be valuable in the event of a break-in or another problem. You install it where your existing wired doorbell is and this is one of the few Nest products where you’re probably better off with professional installation.

24/7 live streaming is available, with HD quality video in 4:3 aspect ratio. A 3-hour snapshot history lets you check out what happens when you’re not viewing it live. The alerts let you know if it sensed motion or saw a person. If you have a Nest Aware subscription, the video doorbell also lets you know if it recognizes a person as a family member or known friend.

You can talk to the people at your door with the two-way microphone or use prerecorded messages to communicate quickly. It also integrates with Google Home Mini, which announces visitors when they arrive at your door. Set quiet times for when you’re sleeping and you don’t want to receive notifications.

Nest Connect – $69

As the name implies, this device acts as a bridge between the Nest Guard base unit and the Nest Detect sensors. The ideal scenario for this piece of equipment is ensuring coverage throughout a larger home. It also has battery backup in case your power goes out.

Nest x Yale Lock – $249

This smart deadlock complements the rest of the security system. It interfaces with the Nest Connect or the Nest Guard. You can use the app to remotely lock and unlock it, as well as creating unique passcodes for people in your household. The smart lock tracks when people enter and leave your property. It’s also tamper proof and automatically locks when everyone is away from home. The lock lets you know when the battery is low and has a charging option in the event of a power outage.

Nest Security Cameras

Nest’s has a line of four security cameras. Their shared feature sets are:

  • 24/7 live streaming video
  • Phone alerts
  • 1080p HD video quality
  • 3-hour snapshot timeline
  • Night vision
  • Wired
  • Premium housing material with glass lens
  • Speaker and microphone
  • WI-FI connection

Here are more details on the individual camera types

Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera – $199

This outdoor home security camera is weatherproof and has a 130-degree field of view. If you want a closer look at activity during the live stream, you can zoom with 8x digital zoom. It includes several types of mounting hardware, including wall anchors and a mounting magnet.

Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera – $199

The indoor version of the base-level Nest security camera is designed to be as simple as possible to set up. The magnetic stand gives you a lot of angle options and doesn’t require a lot of work to get it where you want it.

Nest Indoor and Outdoor IQ Cams

The IQ security camera range is the higher end option with intelligent monitoring. It knows whether the moving object it detects is a person or not. These cameras have a 4K sensor, 1080p HD quality streaming and a close-up tracking view that delivers the details you need with 12x digital zoom.

If someone comes within 50 feet of the sensor, it takes a picture and sends you a notification. The camera is tamper resistant so a criminal can’t damage it and prevent it from working correctly. The power cord is hidden to prevent that avenue of attack.

The speakers and microphone have noise and echo suppression to improve the audio quality of the stream and communication. A powerful network chip keeps the cameras connected to your Wi-Fi. The mount for the IQ cameras provides 360-degree rotation, and infrared LEDs ensures that you’re covered day and night.

The outdoor version of this cam has an IP66 weatherproof rating and daytime HDR. It’s $349.

The indoor version has Google Assistant built-in and costs $299.

The Last Word

Nest made a mark in the smart home world with its thermostats, but it’s expanded far beyond that. The Nest Secure home security system is a user-friendly and robust solution with nearly limitless customization and expansion potential. In addition to Nest’s own products, widespread third-party integration allows you to bring in the smart home technology you prefer.

Reviewed By
Travis Goodreau
Safety and Security Advisor
Travis is a retired Burglary Detective, having tallied 5,000+ burglary and theft cases throughout his career. He also served as an Arson Investigator, where he cracked the case of a serial arsonist, and made the arrest and prosecuted the would-be bomber of ABC-7 Studio in LA. We couldn’t be happier to have him as a Safety and Security Advisor. Learn more about Travis here
Written By
Andrew Garcia
Lead Security Editor
As Lead Security Editor, Andrew strategically guides SafeHome and the resources we publish. He holds a BA in business, and has 10+ years of experience in content development. Today, Andrew edits and publishes articles, guides, and other resources to meet our rigorous standards. Learn more about Andrew here

Not sure which system is right for you?

Take this quick and easy quiz to find out!

Start the Quiz


  1. Avatar Molly says:

    Very disappointed with Nest. The third time a camera has faulted in 5 months.

  2. Avatar Scott K says:

    Google ruined NEST – while the equipment maybe ok – you need software to control it. Google bought Nest and ruined it. They cut off access to the open interface (so no other software can control your equipment), which stopped any competition. And the forced integration with your Google account (and access to all your data). In addition to a loss of functionality. Research the controlling software before buying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.