Nest Home Security 2024: Tested & Reviewed

Google Nest’s high-tech products make for great smart home automation, but don’t function as a true alarm system.
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Written by Dalia Ramirez
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Edited by Tina Orem
Assistant Assigning Editor
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Nest Security System
Nest Security System

3.0

NerdWallet rating

 
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3.0

NerdWallet rating

 
Equipment cost
$229.00
Nest is the only provider that doesn't offer an alarm system; this price is for the Nest Hub device.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$34.99 and up
Pro monitoring is offered through ADT at $59.99 per month since this is a camera-only system. Self-monitoring/smart alerts start at $8 per month.

Hazard detection
Add-on smoke/CO detector.
No leak/water protection.
View details

Contents

Google’s Nest cameras, video doorbells and other smart devices are aesthetically pleasing, high-tech and offer dozens of home automation options, especially for Google Home and Google Assistant users, but they don’t provide the kind of protection and alerts that competitors with full security systems offer.

We tested Google Nest’s most popular equipment and appreciated the user-friendly setup and high-quality video features, but during the install we were frustrated by the need to use both the Google Home app and the Nest app, which didn’t easily transfer information. Nest devices are very high quality, but the brand is more tailored for smart home automation than home security.

Pros

Cons

Self-monitoring with smart alerts, familiar face detection and extra video-event cloud storage starts at $8 a month.

No alarm system or door/window sensors available, just individual cameras, doorbells and other accessories.

Highly customizable smart-home automation, including lighting controls and on/off schedules.

Professional monitoring only offered through ADT.

How does Nest work?

Essentially, you purchase the cameras, doorbells and detectors you want, install them yourself or hire a contractor, and then either monitor everything yourself or pay for added monitoring features or professional monitoring from ADT.

In April 2024, Google discontinued its alarm system offering, Nest Secure. Now, the tech company only offers individual products rather than cohesive alarm systems (such as door and window sensors and keypads).

Nest cameras only retain about three hours of video event history on their own. If you want extra video recording features, including facial recognition, glass-break and smoke alarm detection, and the ability to contact emergency services through the Google Home app, you’ll need to buy a Nest Aware subscription, which starts at $8 a month.

If you want professional monitoring instead, you’ll need to contact Nest partner ADT, which will likely also require buying an ADT alarm system (i.e., installing ADT door and window sensors).

Deciding factors

One-time costs

Starts at $99.99 for one indoor wired camera.

Monthly fees

None required.

Installation

DIY. If you don’t want to DIY it, Nest partner OnTech will install doorbells and cameras for you. That service starts at $159.99.

Video monitoring

  • $0 to self-monitor without advanced features.

  • Nest Aware: $8 per month for 30-day event history recordings, familiar face recognition, and smart notifications for sounds from smoke alarms, glass breaking and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Nest Aware Plus: $15 per month for everything in Nest Aware but with 60 days of video event history and 10 days of 24/7 video history.

  • Professional monitoring: $25 per month and up for professional monitoring through Nest partner ADT.

Contract

None.

How much does Nest cost?

Nest equipment

The Nest cameras and doorbells we tested offer two-way audio, meaning you can listen and tap the Talk button on the app to speak through the devices. This can be helpful for addressing people who are at your front door when you’re not home, greeting kids when they come home from school or telling pets to get off the couch while you’re at work. With some of Nest’s older camera models, though, you’ll need to take turns speaking and listening, rather than doing both at once like on a video call.

These are the list prices of some of Nest’s popular home security equipment.

Item

Price

Description

Nest Hub Max

$229

Tablet screen with built-in camera, smart home automations and Google Meet capabilities. No night vision.

Nest Cam (indoor, wired)

$99.99

Indoor-only camera with three free hours of event history built in.

Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery powered)

$179.99

Camera with rechargeable battery that works outside or inside.

Nest Cam with floodlight

$279.99

Outdoor camera with floodlight that can be automated to brighten and dim on schedule.

Nest Doorbell

$179.99

Comes in wired or battery-operated versions for the same price. The battery version can be wired into your existing doorbell wiring, too.

Nest x Yale Lock

$249

Keypad door lock that can be remotely controlled from the Nest app. Requires a Nest Connect Wi-Fi device ($69) to connect to your app.

Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm

$149

Smart smoke alarm that you can control from your phone; it tests itself and can differentiate between smoke and steam from the shower.

Nest equipment bundles

Nest sometimes offers product bundles at a discount. The prices below are list prices of Nest’s popular home security bundles.

Package

Price

Items

Total Security

$99.99

Nest Doorbell (battery), Nest Cam (battery), Nest Hub Max.

Front Door Monitoring

$129.99

Nest Doorbell (battery) and Nest Hub (2nd gen).

Nest setup pros

Our first impression: Nest products are beautiful. Google makes aesthetically pleasing, streamlined products that feel luxurious and high-tech.

The setup walkthrough is synced between the Google Home app and a voice assistant on the device itself. Nest equipment is on the pricier side, so this made sense.

The Google Nest Hub.

Here are a few other things we liked.

  • Smooth Wi-Fi connection. This might differ between users, but we had an easy time connecting the items to our network. Other providers, such as Ring, have a more complex Wi-Fi situation.

  • Easy integration for partner devices. The Google Home app gives you the option to set up a Nest device, a “Matter-enabled” device or a device from a long list of companies that work with Google Home. Among competitors, we think Nest had the most straightforward integration setup.

  • Differentiates between people and other motion, and for free. Some home security providers require a paid monthly subscription to send “smart alerts” that can be set to people-only or all motion, but Nest does this for free. You can pay $8 a month to have Nest learn “familiar faces” and send you alerts by name.

  • Viewer alerts. A cool feature on the Nest Hub: The camera light turns green when video streaming is available, and it blinks green when a user is actively watching the live view in the app.

  • Routine setting. Nest devices are made for automated schedules, and they can sync lights, music, camera recording, thermostat settings and more on set routines through the Google Home app. You can even set cameras to turn on when you and your phone leave home, and turn off when you return.

The interface for setting up routines.

Nest setup cons

Here are a few things we didn't like about the Nest setup.

  • Two apps aren’t better than one. Although Nest recently discontinued its Nest Secure alarm systems, you’ll still need both the Google Home app and the Nest app to use all the features on Nest devices. For example, the Google Home setup told us that without the Nest app, we couldn’t get camera notifications, see snapshots or use a Nest Aware subscription. However, we got camera notifications for the Hub through the Nest app, and we got camera and doorbell notifications through the Google Home app. We couldn’t get the camera and doorbell to sync to the Nest app. We could only use the Home/Away location-sensing feature with the Nest app or the Google Home app, not both. Some features, such as “only ring when home,” only worked with the Home app. Confused yet? We were too.

  • Privacy concerns. Throughout the setup process, there were a relatively high number of requests to agree to legal terms, privacy terms, sharing statistics with Google, enabling contact information so the Google Assistant can call people for you, enabling Voice Match so all Google devices can recognize and respond to your voice, enabling “personal results” (which lets Google Assistant tailor actions to your habits), supplemental terms of service for Nest itself — you get the idea. 

Enabling voice match lets Google know it's you talking.

It was significantly more than required from other home security providers we reviewed, and it felt at times like we were signing away our privacy to Google. Some of these features make sense for hands-free smart home automation that tailors to your needs, but many users may be more biased toward privacy when it comes to home security.

Alternatives to Nest

SimpliSafe Security System
SimpliSafe Security System

5.0

NerdWallet rating

 
Get started

on SimpliSafe's website

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5.0

NerdWallet rating

 
Equipment cost
$249.96
Base kit includes one base station, one keypad, one entry sensor and one motion sensor. Sometimes you can get a free Smart Alarm wireless indoor security camera and a free trial of professional monitoring if they're running a promotion.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$19.99
Self monitoring available for $9.99 per month. You can also access basic features with no plan.

Hazard detection
Add-on smoke/CO detector, water and temperature sensor.
View details
Ring Security System
Ring Security System

4.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Read review

on NerdWallet

View details

4.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Equipment cost
$244.95
Base kit includes alarm base station, keypad, door/window contact sensor, motion detector, alarm range extender and free 30-day trial of Ring Protect professional monitoring. Pro starter kit comes with a Wifi router.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$20
Other features/self monitoring available with plans starting at $4.99 per month. You'll need at least the basic plan to arm and disarm your system remotely.

Hazard detection
Add-on smoke/CO detector and listener, flood and freeze sensor.
View details
Abode Security System
Abode Security System

4.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Read review

on NerdWallet

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4.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Equipment cost
$159.99
Base kit includes security hub, key fob and mini sensor for door/window.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$24.99
Self monitoring with extra features is $7.99 per month, but you can also use basic features for free.

Hazard detection
Add-on smoke alarm monitor and leak detector.
No actual smoke/CO detector.
View details
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Methodology

We collect data from providers and do firsthand testing as necessary. Our process starts by gathering information from providers and contacting providers for further information where needed. This information, combined with our specialists’ hands-on research, makes up our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance. The final output produces star ratings from poor (1 star) to excellent (5 stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star. Learn more about our ratings methodology here.
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