Best Nest thermostats

Jennifer Blair

Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature is much easier when you have a user-friendly thermostat. You can't get much more user-friendly than a smart thermostat like those from Nest, which offer a wide array of high-tech features to make controlling the temperature in your house extremely simple.

But Nest has several different models, so it's important to choose the best thermostat for your home. That means figuring out which model is compatible with your HVAC system, whether you prefer a model that requires professional installation or allows for DIY installation, what type of display to look for, and what other features will make the thermostat as easy to use as possible.

If you're overwhelmed by all the options, our convenient shopping guide can help you choose the ideal Nest thermostat for your home. We've also included a few product recommendations to make shopping entirely stress-free.

Considerations when choosing Nest thermostats

Compatible HVAC systems

Nest thermostats are compatible with many heating and cooling systems, but it's important to check whether they can work with your specific HVAC system. In particular, Nest thermostats won't work with HVAC systems that feature wired remote sensors, high impedance systems, micro-controller-based systems that don't have a common wire, and proprietary or custom systems.

For compatibility with Nest thermostats, certain hardware types like zone relay panels and control panels must have a common wire. HVAC systems that feature gas valves usually require a common wire, too.

If you're unsure what type of HVAC system you have or whether it's compatible with a Nest thermostat, consult with your HVAC technician.

Professional vs. DIY installation

Most Nest thermostats are fairly easy to set up, and take less than a half hour to install. Homeowners who are comfortable with DIY projects can usually handle installation with the provided instructions.        

However, some models are slightly more difficult to set up, so unless you have a great deal of experience with HVAC systems you may prefer having your thermostat professionally installed. Just make sure that you choose an HVAC specialist who's trained to install Nest thermostats.


Housing color

Nest thermostats have a ring around the outer edge, which is available in a variety of colors to suit most decor styles. You can choose from black, white, silver, copper, and stainless steel. Some models are also available in different finishes, such as a polished metallic finish or a polycarbonate finish with a ceramic-like look.


Nest thermostats all feature clear displays that make it easy to monitor and control the temperature in your home. Some models offer high-resolution and color displays, though, which provide additional information, such as what temperature and weather you can expect outside.

Learning capabilities

Nest thermostats are able to automatically turn down the temperature inside your home when you leave, to save energy. Higher-end models, though, are actually able to learn your temperature preferences and schedule so it can keep your home a comfortable temperature without you having to adjust it.

Energy star certification

If you're really concerned about saving energy and lowering your utility bills, choose a Nest thermostat that's earned the Energy Star certification. These models have been tested, so you know they meet the U.S. Department of Energy's energy efficiency standards.


Nest thermostats usually range in price from $169 to $259 for individual thermostats. Basic models fall on the lower end of the range, while those with learning capabilities and high-def color displays are the most expensive options.


Q. How much money can I expect to save on heating and cooling costs with a Nest thermostat?

A. According to Nest, the average homeowner saves 10% to 12% on heating costs and 15% on cooling costs. That usually translates to an average savings of $131 to $145 per year.

Q. Do Nest thermostats offer warranty protection?

A. All Nest thermostats include a warranty. However, some models only offer one year of protection, while others offer two. You're also able to purchase an extended warranty with two or three years of additional coverage if you have your thermostat professionally installed.

Nest thermostats we recommend

Best of the best: Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation

Our take: A smart thermostat that can amount to significant energy savings and coordinate with other smart home devices and apps.

What we like: Large, bright display is visible from across the room. Has learning capabilities so you don't have to program it. Works with Alexa for remote control, too.

What we dislike: Some owners experience software performance issues. Displays set temperature rather than the actual temperature. Troubleshooting can be a challenge.

Best bang for your buck: Nest Learning Thermostat, 2nd Generation

Our take: Offers many of the most important features that 3rd generations models do at a more affordable price point.

What we like: Boasts a slim, attractive design that works with most decor styles. Automatically adjusts temperature when the house is empty, to save energy. Easy installation can be done in as little as 30 minutes.

What we dislike: Motion sensitivity feature doesn't work as well as it does for 3rd generation models. Doesn't offer controls for hot water boilers.

Choice 3: Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation (Professional)

Our take: An ideal smart thermostat for use in apartments or housing units. Works well with most smart home systems.

What we like: Offers learning capabilities for increased energy savings and many users notice dramatic energy savings. Installation is fairly simple.

What we dislike: Requires professional installation for extended warranty. Isn't the best fit for commercial buildings. Some users experience issues with shorts and shutdowns.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.