Smoke Detectors - Need Advice: Stick with Nest, Move to HomeKit, Return to Dumb?

Cupertino, November 17, 2020

TL; DR - I need new smoke detectors. Do I replace my aging / failing Nest Protects, get another HomeKit option, or just go back to regular old dumb smoke alarms?

The longer version:

Several years ago I went all in on Nest Protects for my house. I had 11 of them, a mix of 1st and 2nd gen units I added over time. I say "had" because one has now expired (reached its 7 year life span), and another I ripped off the ceiling and is now sitting in my desk drawer.

Why did I rip it off the ceiling you ask? Because it false alarmed on me for the last time and couldn't be silenced without pulling the batteries out (full disclosure - this one is a first gen unit circa 2014).

A little background: while they've calmed down somewhat in the last couple of years, my experience with the Protects has been fairly crappy. I went with the Protects because, at the time, I'd also gone in on the Nest Thermostats and Nest Cams and they had functionality I found really appealing. While I still love the functionality and the concept, Nest ended up replacing several way back for false alarming. A lot. In the middle of the night. Usually when guests were visiting. To the point where my then small children were somewhat traumatized (I only half say this in jest - for weeks after a false alarm they would talk in hushed tones about "the scary lady who yells in the middle of the night" while imitating the alarm sounds. It's a wonder my wife didn't make me pull them all down then and there. )

I'd always told myself I'd ditch the Protects the first chance I got, but now I'm here I find myself surprisingly torn. While the false alarms have S U C K E D, the Protects have multiple features I really quite like. Such as:

* App alert - Duh, right? It's a smart device and it's nice to get an alert if we're out of the house and something goes wrong.
* Interconnect - In the event of an ACTUAL emergency, having all of the units go off would be desirable since our house is fairly large and spread out.
* Battery alert - Such a simple thing, but having an app give me a notification that the battery on a unit is about to die is a HELL of a lot better than an obnoxious, hard to find intermittent beep that always seems to start at 2am.
* Pathlight - it seems like a dumb feature on paper, but in the middle of the night it's really quite nice to get a motion-activate light overhead as you're walking through the house.

So what's the smarter option here? Replace the Protects as they age out with new ones and just deal with any false alarms that crop up? Find another "smart" solution that's better (and if so, which one as the OneLink HomeKit models seem to have fairly crappy reviews overall)? Or just say to hell with it and replace them all with plain jane "dumb" smoke alarms (and, if so, which brand)?

Any advice or input greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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