Which Nest thermostat should I buy?
Which Nest thermostat is best for my home?
A smart thermostat is designed to manage your household temperatures and keep you comfortable with minimal participation on your part. The intelligent device can learn your preferences shortly after installation and create an automatic heating and cooling schedule that maintains various household zones at your ideal temperatures. The thermostat can even turn down the heat or air conditioning system when it senses no one is home, all while saving energy and money.
For over a decade, Nest products have been at the forefront of household energy-saving devices. Google Nest’s two thermostats — the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat — top the list of best home smart thermostat systems on the market today. So, the question is: which Nest Thermostat system should you buy? Here, we list the features of each model so you can decide.
What does the Nest Learning Thermostat do?
The current Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation) is Google’s premium thermostat product featuring a classic turn-dial design with an elegant high-res display encased in a metal twist ring used to raise or lower the temperature manually. The device is available in seven different color finishes: brass, mirror black, stainless steel, polished steel, black, white and copper.
Learns your preferences
During the first few days after initial installation, the Nest learns your daily behavior and temperature preferences with minimal input and creates an automatic schedule. The Thermostat develops a unique program for each temperature mode, one when set to Heat, another when set to Cool, and a third for both heating and cooling.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with most HVAC systems, and it works with Google Assistant and Amazon's Echo Alexa. However, the system is not compatible with Apple HomeKit.
Farsight detects your presence
The 3rd generation Nest includes Farsight, a feature that enables the Thermostat to detect movement up to 20 feet away. When activated, the Thermostat’s face displays one of several options according to the setting you selected beforehand: The Thermostat’s current temperature, the target temperature, the current weather and forecast for your area, an analog-style clock or a digital-style clock.
Room-temperature sensor support
The Nest Learning Thermometer recognizes the Temperature Sensor, a small, battery-powered accessory sold separately that can be placed in different rooms of the house. The devices feed more accurate temperature information for each room to a Thermostat located in an area that might be hotter or colder than everywhere else in the house. The sensors also allow you to monitor and maintain the temperature of a specific room.
Nest app or Google Home app
The Nest Learning Thermostat (and the Nest Thermostat E) can be controlled by either the Nest app or the Google Home app once the device has been set up. You may also use simple voice commands to adjust temperatures when Google Home (via your smartphone) is connected to any Nest thermostat.
The Google Home app is convenient because all supported devices such as Nest Cameras, Nest Protect, Google Nest Audio, Google Nest Hub and many others are controlled from a single app.
The monthly Nest Home Report summarizes your energy use, safety events and more for all the Nest products in your home. It shows how many hours you heated or cooled your house and lists any heating system-related alerts which occurred during the month. If you have a Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, the report will summarize your safety history showing you information about the Heads-Up and Emergency Alerts for the month.
Compatible with all Nest products
The Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with the Google Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera, Nest Secure Alarm System with Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera, Nest Hello video doorbell and Nest × Yale Lock.
What does the Nest Thermostat do?
The Nest Thermostat has the same rounded shape as the Learning Thermostat but without the metal turn-dial casing. Made of plastic with a mirrored finish, Nest offers the model with different color options than the Learning Thermostat. The Nest has a touch-control strip on the right side for adjusting the temperature and making other settings changes.
Like its more costly sibling, the Nest Thermostat has a host of smart features, but learning functionality is less robust. It does not learn your schedule over time for making adjustments. You can enter a schedule, and the device will automatically switch between home and away modes based on input from the Thermostat's built-in proximity sensor.
Three significant feature differences distinguish the Nest Thermostat from its sibling the Nest Learning Thermostat.
- The Farsight feature with a high-res display characteristic of the Nest Learning Thermostat is missing.
- The Nest Temperature Sensor accessory is not supported
- The device can only be set up and controlled in the Google Home app and does not work with the original Nest app.
The Nest Thermostat also lacks the Learning Thermostat Trim kit (to cover up old holes or paint), internal battery and the additional year of warranty coverage (two years) included with the more expensive model.
What is Nest Thermostat E?
Google no longer sells the Nest Thermostat E directly, but it can be found at other retailers under $200. For that reason, we include it here.
The Nest Thermostat E is an outstanding smart thermostat that is easier to set up than the more expensive Nest Learning Thermostat, and it has many of the same features. It has the same shape, but it's made from plastic and is available only in white.
The Thermostat E works with Google Assistant and Alexa, but the all-white display can be challenging to read from a distance. The model supports fewer HVAC systems than the other two Thermostat products, and it does not support such features as two-stage heating and cooling.
Nest thermostat products
Our take: A thermostat that learns your temperature preferences with minimal input and creates an automatic heating and cooling schedule.
What we like: Compatible with most HVAC systems, works with Google Assistant and Alexa and supports Nest Temperature Sensors.
What we dislike: More expensive than other models, and it is not compatible with Apple HomeKit.
Our take: A less expensive smart thermostat with many of the same features of the more expensive Learning model. Ideal for the budget-minded homeowner.
What we like: Controlled with the Google Home app and automatically switches between home and away modes.
What we dislike: Does not support the Nest Temperature Sensor accessory or the Farsight motion detector.
Our take: An excellent smart thermostat that is easy to set up and boasts many of the same features as the more expensive Nest Learning Thermostat.
What we like: Works with Google Assistant and Alexa.
What we dislike: Supports fewer HVAC systems than the other two Nest products, and it is discontinued.
Jeffrey Harper 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.
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