The Nest Protect smart smoke alarm is on its second generation, and if you’re not sure which model you have, there are a few things you can do to find out, as well as some significant features that separate the two different versions.

How to Know Which Model Nest Protect You Have

Unfortunately, Nest doesn’t print “1st Generation” or “2nd Generation” on the packaging or on the device itself, so you have to look for other cues instead. Luckily, there are plenty of them.

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Nest has a support page for just this thing, but essentially you can look at the design of the Nest Protect itself to determine what version it is. Things like the shape of the alarm, the mounting plate, the added battery door, etc. are all things that are different between the 1st- and 2nd-generation Nest Protects.

You can also just quickly glance at the serial number. If it starts with a “05,” you have a 1st-generation Protect, and if it starts with a “06,” you have a 2nd-generation model.

The 2nd Generation Nest Protect Has a Better Smoke Sensor

Perhaps one of the most significant improvements the 2nd-generation Nest Protect has over the previous generation is a “split-spectrum sensor,” as Nest calls it.

There are two types of smoke sensors that you’ll find in any smoke alarm: photoelectric and ionization. Each detects different types of fires. Some smoke alarms come with one or the other, while others come with both types of sensors.

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The 1st-generation Nest Protect has a basic photoelectric sensor. The 2nd-generation model still only has a photoelectric sensor, but Nest says that it’s greatly improved so that it can detect other types of fires that ionization sensors normally detect, getting rid of the need to have two separate sensors.

An Improved Smoke Chamber

The 2nd-generation Nest Protect also offers an improved smoke chamber over the previous generation.

Smoke alarms have smoke chambers that cover and protect the smoke sensors to a certain degree. However, many are still prone to letting in small bugs or fibers that can accidentally trip the smoke sensor and create false alarms.

Nest says that the smoke chamber in the 2nd-generation Protect has a much better design than the previous generation, which prevents bugs, tiny fibers, and dust particles from tripping the sensor. This should result in fewer false alarms with the 2nd-generation model.

Self-Testing Abilities

Everyone should test their smoke alarms every few months, but the 2nd-generation Nest Protect can do a lot of the work for you by self-testing its speaker and siren.

The process involves the Nest Protect emitting a short sound and listening to itself with its built-in microphone to confirm that both the speaker and the siren are working.

Better yet, you can choose when this happens every month—like during the middle of the day rather than in the middle of the night.

You should still run a regular Safety Checkup every few months, though. That tests everything, not just the speaker and siren. You can do this by pressing the button on the Protect. If you have a 2nd generation model, you can also run the checkup from within the app. And that brings us to the final significant difference between the two models.

You Have More Control from the Nest App with 2nd Generation Models

While both generations let you manage your Nest Protect from the Nest app on your phone, you have a couple more options for controlling your 2nd-generation Nest Protect.

In addition to being able to run a Safety Checkup right from your phone (instead of having to press the button on the device itself), you also can silence the alarm directly from the app. This is perhaps one of the more convenient features you’ll find on the newer model, especially if you tend to set off your alarm when cooking dinner. Of course, you can also silence the alarm manually by pressing the button on the Protect.

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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