Founded in 2010 by two Apple engineers, Nest first wowed the industry with its smart thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat. Since the brand has introduced an array of smart home and home security products, including smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and home security cameras. Nest was acquired by Google in January 2014, and today, all of Google’s home security products are included under the Nest brand.
The Nest Thermostat was groundbreaking when it was first released as one of the first learning thermostats. Currently in its third generation, its ability to intuitively adjust the temperature of your home based on your schedule is still impressive, and makers have added improvements along the way. Nest doesn’t, however, stand out above the crowd quite as much today, since other competitive products have been introduced, such as the smart thermostats from Ecobee.
A Nest thermostat is best for someone who is interested in saving energy and thereby cutting their utility expenses. It’s also great for keeping an eye and controlling a home’s temperature while you’re away. It’s sleek, modern design is a bonus for those who have an eye for stylish smart home products and don’t mind paying a bit more for a smart thermostat than a typical one.
- Energy-saving: The company says that on average Nest thermostats save families 10% to 12% on their heating bills and 15% on their cooling bills. That averages out to savings of up to $145 a year based on typical energy costs.
- Stylish: Nest offers some of the most stylish thermostats on the market. They are sleek and modern, and they’re also available in a variety of colors and finishes.
- Simple to use: From installation to daily use, Nest thermostats are easy to use. They are also compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa so you can control them with your voice if you so choose.
- Cost: The Nest Learning thermostat is quite pricey at $200+. While the company maintains that it pays for itself in two years with energy savings, the upfront cost is significant. The Nest Thermostat E, at roughly $170, is a less-expensive option with most of the same functionality as the Nest Learning Thermostat.
- Limited compatibility: Nest thermostats are compatible with most heating and cooling systems, but not all. While the Nest Learning Thermostat works with about 95% of systems, the more affordable Nest Thermostat E is compatible with only 85% of systems.
Nest Thermostat Tech Features
There are two Nest thermostats to choose from—the Nest Learning Thermostat on which the Nest brand was founded and the less expensive Nest Thermostat E. The primary difference between the two is in the look and design. The Nest Learning Thermostat comes in a variety of colors (seven in all) with a metal, polished finish while the Nest Thermostat E only comes in one color and has a polycarbonate, ceramic-feel finish. The Nest Learning Thermostat also has a high-resolution display and features Farsight, which shows the time, temperature or weather, and is compatible with more heating and cooling systems than the Nest Thermostat E (95% vs. 85%).
Nest thermostat features include the following:
- Self-programming: After installing a Nest thermostat, you use it like you would a traditional thermostat, adjusting it up and down. It then not only learns your preferences, but can also track the times you regularly leave the house and come home, and it creates a schedule based on those factors. It also adapts along with seasons and other changes to always keep your home just the right temperature. When you leave home, it adjusts itself to an energy-saving mode.
- Nest app: Sometimes you want to adjust the temperature in your home manually. Nest thermostats let you control the temperature of your home remotely via their app. You can also use the app to review your energy history and to receive alerts if the temperature in your home seems suspiciously high or low.
- Quick view: Just tap the display and turn the thermostat’s dial and you’ll have a summary of its activity. Here, you can also review your energy history, check out your schedule and otherwise adjust the settings.
- Family accounts: Up to nine people can share a Nest account. Those you include then have full access and can adjust the temperature, receive alerts and change any account settings.
- Farsight: The thermostat can sense when you walk into the room, and when it does, its Farsight technology lights up the display so can see the time, temperature or weather from across the room. (This feature is available only with the Nest Learning Thermostat.)
- Nest Temperature Sensor: Sold separately, these sensors work with the Nest Thermostats to control the temperature of specific rooms. You just place one in a room, and then you can program its temperature specifically via your Nest Thermostat.
- DIY Installation: Installing a Nest thermostat takes a bit of time—about an hour on average—but most homeowners can do it themselves with little trouble. If you’re not into DIY thing, they also have a Nest Pro Works program that will connect you with a trained installer in your area who will do it for you. Once it’s installed, it takes about a week for it to learn your home’s schedules.
Final Word on Nest Thermostats
Nest thermostats provide an easy way to regulate the temperature of your home to not only make it more comfortable but to save money on your electric bill as well. Stylish and easy to use, they’re a solid option for those looking for a smart thermostat, even though they do carry a higher price tag than some other similar choices on the market. If you’re not as concerned about the style factor, the Nest Thermostat E provides a less-expensive option with nearly all the same functionality. It’s important to note that Nest thermostats don’t work with all heating and cooling systems, but if yours is compatible, a Nest thermostat is worth considering.
- No more programming: With Auto-Schedule, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat learns from you and programs itself.
- Home/Away Assist: don't heat or cool an empty home. Home/Away Assist adjusts the temperature after you leave.
- Remote control: Control your thermostat from anywhere using the Nest app.
- Know more, save more Check your Energy History to see how much energy you use and why.
- Look for the Leaf: The Nest Leaf appears when you choose a temperature that saves energy.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.