Alexa Guard vs. Nest Aware: Which Add-on Security Service Is Best in 2022?

echo-show-15-pictures
Courtesy of Amazon

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Are you in the market for a home security system? Did you know that you may already own some security products that you aren’t utilizing?

Smart home products, including speakers and displays from Amazon and Google, are engineered to entertain and automate, but Amazon’s lineup of Echo products, and Google’s family of Nest hardware, are both capable of some impressive surveillance skills.

For Amazon, this service is called Alexa Guard. For Google, it’s known as Nest Aware. Both services monitor for intrusion noises throughout your home to send you mobile alerts when a disturbance is detected. Additional features, like emergency hotlines and motion-triggered video storage (Nest Aware only), are available if you sign up for monthly memberships from the two brands.

Is it worth it to stick with your Echo and Nest products for protection? Or should you consider another brand altogether? Let’s take a look at Alexa Guard versus Nest Aware in closer detail to help you decide.

  

Cost and Value

Compared to today’s leading security solutions, both Alexa Guard and Nest Aware offer enough perks to stand toe-to-toe with titan brands like SimpliSafe, Ring and ADT, especially when it comes to pricing.

For starters, the standard version of Alexa Guard is completely free. For no money down, users can expect their Echo products to listen for the sounds of shattered glass and alarm noises.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with clock in bedroom. Courtesy of Amazon

Additional features, including access to Amazon’s 24/7 emergency hotline, monitoring for noises like footsteps and deterrence sounds (dog barks and sirens) when break-in noises are detected, are locked behind the Alexa Guard Plus paywall, but the cost is only $5 per month.

The main drawback when it comes to Alexa Guard though is the fact that there are no video-monitoring capabilities. Relying solely on far-field mics from compatible Echo devices, there’s no way to incorporate motion detection unless you’ve got Guard tied in with a supported third-party system.

And with no way to capture footage from first-party devices, there’s no way to view previously recorded clips either. If visual surveillance is just as important to you as audio, Nest Aware may be a better option.

Google Nest Cam Courtesy of Google Nest

First and foremost, there are two Nest Aware plans, and they’re both going to cost you (no freebies with Google). The standard Nest Aware plan runs $6 per month and uses your compatible device’s mics to listen for intrusion and emergency sounds just like Alexa Guard, but there’s more.

A feature called “familiar face detection” allows Nest cameras and doorbells to send you motion alerts that identify the person at the door. Nest Aware also allows Nest cameras and doorbells to store motion-triggered event recordings for up to 30 days.

Nest Aware Plus ($12 per month) expands video storage to 60 days, allows for 10 consecutive days of 24/7 recording, and allows you to dial 9-1-1 through the Google Home app.

Nest’s video capabilities are clear advantages over Alexa Guard’s lack of visual security functions, and for a pretty cheap price, considering you’re getting an entire set of features that Alexa Guard is simply incapable of delivering.

  

Devices and Third-Party Support

Alexa Guard and Alexa Guard Plus can be used with a number of first-party Amazon devices, as well as several third-party home-monitoring systems.

Any Echo device with built-in far-field microphones can be used, including the standard Echo speaker, the Echo Dot, Echo Studio and Echo Plus. This also includes smart displays like the Echo Show 5, 8, 1, and the flagship Echo Show 15.

Echo speaker Courtesy of Amazon

  
Echo Show 15 Courtesy of Amazon

In terms of third-party compatibility, Alexa Guard can also be integrated with Scout Alarm, ADT Pulse, ADT Control and Ring Alarm systems.

Additionally, Alexa Guard will also work in conjunction with certain smart lighting brands. When Guard is enabled, Alexa will interact with your lights, randomly turning them on and off to make it seem like someone is at home.

Similar to Alexa Guard, Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus are directly compatible with a number of Nest devices. These include Nest surveillance cameras (wired and non-wired), video doorbells, speakers and smart displays.

Google Nest Cam (Indoor, Wired) Long Term Review John Velasco | SPY

  
Nest Hub Max Courtesy of Best Buy

Compared to Amazon, Nest has no current partnerships with third-party home-monitoring companies. If you’re already paying for a security suite from another manufacturer (like the ones that are compatible with Alexa Guard), Guard may be a better platform for you to use.

That being said, there’s little to no setup required for getting your Nest products to start using Nest Aware features. Once you start paying for a plan, the service is automatically applied to all in-network Nest devices.

Alexa Guard doesn’t require much in terms of setup, but whether you’re using the free plan or Alexa Guard Plus, you’ll need to go into the Alexa app to turn on Alexa Guard for whatever devices you want to use the service on.

You’ll also need to make sure manually arm and disarm Guard when leaving and entering your home by saying “I’m leaving” and “I’m home.”

  

WiFi for the Win

While Alexa Guard and Nest Aware are convenient security add-ons, we’d like to think of both services as exactly that — “add-ons.” Another way to look at things is that most consumers aren’t buying Echo Dots and Google-branded speakers as a way to protect the house.

The DIY home security marketplace has seen exponential growth over the last few years, right alongside smart home technology. That’s no coincidence either, as many surveillance companies have shifted away from primitive, hard-lined connections in and out of residences to the more simplistic approach of connecting hardware to WiFi.

Relying on private home networks makes it easier for customers to install security products themselves, and when it’s time to buy a new component — such as a motion sensor or additional camera — getting the new device paired up with the existing surveillance ecosystem takes no time at all.

Amazon and Google’s ecosystem products are one of many peripherals that rely on your WiFi to get up and running, but so do competitive products and services from dedicated home security developers.

  

The Competition

Two great security brands, Ring and SimpliSafe, offer DIY solutions that customers can install and activate in very little time. Both brands allow you to choose from a range of devices, including cameras, doorbells, motion sensors, etc. or you can opt for a pre-bundled starter kit that gets you all the essentials.

While subscription costs vary between both companies, the perks of these monthly or yearly memberships far exceed those offered by Guard and Aware.

For instance, SimpliSafe’s mid-tier Standard Monitoring plan includes 24/7 support from several emergency services, in-home monitoring for leaks and major temperature fluctuations, along with cellular data in the event that your Wi-Fi goes down.

SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera Courtesy of Amazon

The cost? $17 per month. Compare that to Nest Aware Plus, which runs $12 per month, includes 60 days of motion-triggered video clips, but offers no backup options for when your network crashes.

If video recording is crucial, SimpliSafe also offers an Interactive Monitoring plan that adds unlimited video recording for up to 10 cameras. It’s $27 per month, but you also get additional notifications, Alexa and Google Assistant features and a host of other perks.

On top of Ring and SimpliSafe, there are several other DIY security suites that offer impressive products, responsive service and competitive costs.

  

Amazon, Google or Another Brand?

Do Alexa Guard and Nest Aware provide enough benefits? Are both brands reliable enough to be used for a DIY home security solution? In our opinion, Alexa Guard and Nest Aware are excellent services that build an effective foundation for basic home security needs.

Utilizing far-field mics to detect intruder noises is an intuitive use of pre-existing smart product design elements, and when you consider Alexa Guard’s ability to link up with other security devices, and Nest Aware’s cloud storage options for video recordings, it’s not hard to understand why going with Amazon and Google is all some consumers will need for DIY home security.

Then there’s the other side of the coin. While you may spend more with a dedicated home security company, such as Ring or SimpliSafe, you’re purchasing products and services specifically designed for home monitoring, with additional perks to back up the hardware and monthly membership.

There’s really not a wrong choice between the three — Alexa Guard, Nest Aware, or another service — but there’s plenty to consider when choosing.

  

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