How Nest Can Turn Your House into a Smart Home

If you’ve heard of home automation, you’ve probably also heard of Nest. Nest is one of the pioneers in the smart home revolution. Its mission is “creating the thoughtful home: a home that takes care of the people inside it and the world around it.”1

In order to fulfill that mission, Nest created a line of home safety, security, and energy solutions. According to the company, its products—like the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Cams, and Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm—are used in millions of homes in more than 190 countries.2

Get to know Nest products

Nest products use intuitive, innovative technology to improve home safety and energy efficiency. Nest smart home devices are known for their simple, beautiful designs and cutting-edge features that solve common problems in unexpected ways. Here’s a look at how Nest products can help turn a regular house into a smart home.

Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat hit the market in 2011, changing home climate control and energy efficiency. Conscientious homeowners no longer need to figure out how to program a complicated thermostat or remember to turn down the heat before heading out the door. The Nest Learning Thermostat is a smart home device that learns your patterns and temperature preferences. It adjusts when a room—or home—is empty, and according to time and weather. You can also control it remotely via a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Nest Thermostat pros

Since its release, the Nest Learning Thermostat has helped users save nearly eight billion kWh of energy. In addition to lower utility bills, users love the ease of installation and the convenience of controlling everything from an app.

Another favorite feature is the attractive design. The thermostat comes in a variety of finishes like copper, stainless steel, black, and white, to complement nearly any home decor. For homeowners who want more design options, accessories like Wasserstein’s Stainless Steel Wall Plate Cover add extra style.

Nest Thermostat cons

Even though Amazon shows a 4.6-star rating for the Nest Learning Thermostat, there are a few things users complain about. The Farsight feature, which prompts the thermostat to light up and display the current temperature and local weather whenever someone enters a room, was criticized a lot at first. Customers didn’t like that it displayed only the set temperature and not the actual room temperature. To its credit, Nest paid attention to customer feedback and enhanced this feature.

Price can be another point of contention. At around $250, the Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the more expensive thermostats. However, more than 10,000 Amazon reviews indicate that customers are largely satisfied with the results, and many say that this thermostat more than pays for itself in energy savings.

Nest Cameras: Indoor and Outdoor

When it comes to home security, few things make you feel more secure than actually seeing what’s going on at home. The Nest Cam provides this comfort, plus the convenience of home automation features that help stop criminals in their tracks. Nest offers both the Indoor Cam and Outdoor Cam, so you can keep an eye on everything, everywhere. You can check in on kids and pets, and even interact with them no matter where you are. A built-in speaker and microphone let you hear and see so you can tell Fido to get down if he is on the couch.

Nest Cam pros

Customers love the easy installation, crystal-clear picture, and 24/7 recording and backup provided with a Nest Aware subscription. Many people use the Nest Cam as a baby monitor because they like the interactive features and the real-time alerts that send notifications any time their tiny tot moves. Additionally, the non-stop recording action has helped pet owners identify which pet has accidents, and both the indoor and outdoor cameras have caught burglars in the act.

People also love the sleek design and the ease with which they can conceal the Nest Cam. In fact, there are a number of products, like the SummitLink Camouflage Sunflower—made to help users hide their Nest Cams. Another perk of the Nest Cam is its compatibility with so many other smart home devices: in addition to working with other Nest products, this camera works with more home automation products than most others on the market.

Nest Cam cons

The only consistent complaint about the Nest Cam is the required Nest Aware subscription. Users who want recorded playback and Cloud video storage must pay $10–$30 per month for the subscription. Without it, the Nest Cam offers 24/7 live video streaming, but it doesn’t allow for playback and review beyond the most recent three hours.

Many Amazon reviewers also note a banner ad and other high-pressure tactics to encourage signing up for the subscription. For users who hoped their $200 investment would be all they needed to spend for smart video surveillance, the Nest Aware subscription is a sore spot.

Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarm

Nest Protect is where home automation meets home safety. This smart home device can tell you exactly what’s wrong—smoke or carbon monoxide—so you no longer have to guess why the alarm is going off. It also lets you know where the danger is, automatically tests itself, and can last for up to ten years. Best of all, you can silence the alarm with just a swipe on your smartphone.

Nest Protect pros

Overall, Nest Protect has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, and users rave about everything from the companion Nest App to the installation process. Like all Nest products, the alarm is easy to install. One Amazon reviewer reported installing eight Nest Protect alarms in just ninety minutes. People also love that the app allows homeowners to remotely check in and sends instant alerts to the whole family whenever it detects anything dangerous.

Nest Protect cons

There may be only about 200 critical reviews out of over 4,000, but some Amazon reviewers found glitches with the silencing feature. More than one customer reported an inability to silence the Nest Protect if it detects too much smoke. Others disliked that changing their home Wi-Fi network required manually updating every alarm in their home. A few users also reported some device failures after three or four years.

Nest Protect also costs more than the average smoke or carbon monoxide detector, starting at about $100. While many find the convenience and smart device features worth the money, those who experienced issues were frustrated with the price.

How Nest Products can turn your house into a smart home

One of the most progressive things about the Nest family of products is their interconnectivity. All Nest products work with each other and a number of other smart home devices. With the right combination of smart home devices, you could wake up each morning to gentle lighting, the perfect temperature, and the smell of fresh-brewed coffee.

Nest products can work with smart lockssmart lightbulbs, and other smart devices and appliances. Nest has become such a leader in the home automation market that several smart home devices are sold with a special logo that lets consumers know they’re compatible with Nest. This logo program is called Works with Nest and is the cheat sheet you need to turn your Nest Thermostat or Nest Cam into an entire home automation network.

If you’re ready to save money, increase your home’s safety, and get your smart home started, Nest is a great place to begin. Which Nest product are you most excited to try out?

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Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.