Having firmly staked its place as the leader of innovation in the vanilla world of home heating and cooling with the Nest Thermostat, Nest Labs in October 2013 announced Nest Protect, a stylish and smarter way to protect against the dangers of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Like its thermostat cousin, Nest Protect takes the functional-but-formless smoke/CO detector and turned it into a product that's as much a looker as it is smart.

Nest reinvented the thermostat and then turned its attention to fire safety

At its core, Nest Protect detects smoke (and with it, the possibility of fire, of course) as well as deadly carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission kills more than 150 people each year. But Nest Protect is more than an "Oh, crap, it's time to get out" alert system. It's designed to give early warning, before smoke or CO reach a critically dangerous level. And it does so a couple ways. First is with a yellow light, so you can easily see that something's amiss. And then it uses what Nest calls a "heads up" to give you, well, a heads up that there's potential danger nearby. You'll hear a voice tell you that it detects smoke or carbon monoxide, and the location it's detected in. (Provided you've told the Nest Protect that it's in a bedroom or kitchen or wherever.)

If there's a raging fire or serious CO event, however, Nest Protect won't pussyfoot around. That's when you'll get a full-blown emergency alert, including a flashing red light, obvious alert tone, spoken audio warnings and an alert on any connected mobile devices.

Nest Protect aims to reduce false alarms — the sort of thing that leads folks to not use these sort of devices altogether, sometimes to a tragic end. To get rid of a heads up or dismiss a full-blow alarm, all you have to do is wave at the Nest Protect. It also helps you out when all is well with [Pathlight](http://support.nest.com/article/What-is-Pathlight "Nest Protect Pathlight), which spots you as you move beneath it and shines a gentle light in a darkened room.

Nest Protect's biggest down side? It's not cheap. At $129 retail (you sometimes can find it for a little less), Nest Protect is some four times more expensive than your typical smoke detector.

Nest Protect uses six AA batteries in stand-alone use, or it can be hardwired into your home's 120A electrical service, with three AA batteries as backup.

Where to buy Nest Protect

Nest Protect retails for $129, though you can often find it a little cheaper. You can purchase Nest Protect at:

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