Nest Thermostat Review

Find out what’s hot, cool, and just right with the Google Nest Thermostat in our review.
Best Overall
Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest Learning Thermostat
Pro Bullet Works with most 24V thermostats
Pro Bullet Sports a large, easy-to-read display
Budget Pick
Nest Thermostat E
Nest Thermostat E
Pro Bullet Has subtle frosted glass display
Pro Bullet Costs less for similar features

Google’s Nest Thermostat changed the energy savings game when it debuted in 2011. Now in its third generation, it still makes heating and cooling in your house a breeze. The more you interact with the Nest Learning Thermostat or Nest Thermostat E, the faster it will learn what you like and adjust accordingly.

This learning thermostat is expensive initially but saves money and energy every month with features like auto-away and auto-schedule. At the end of the month, it generates an energy report highlighting how much you saved and how to improve your bill even more. Can your old thermostat do that?

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Learns your preferences the more you use it
Pro Bullet Delivers monthly energy reports
Pro Bullet Adjusts from your phone whether you’re home or away
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Steep initial price
Con Bullet Installation is easy but takes a while
Con Bullet Not compatible with every home

Compare Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat E

The two versions of the Nest Thermostat have the same software and capabilities—the differences are mostly cosmetic.

Product
Price
Auto-away
Auto-schedule
Monthly energy report
Ring color options
High-res display
Learn more
copper nest thermostat with digital display of 70 deg. and green lightNest Learning Thermostat
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Nest Thermostat ENest Thermostat E
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Nest Thermostat similarities

You can control both thermostats manually, through the Nest app, or with your voice using Amazon Alexa or Google Home. They can both sense sunlight, activate fans after turning off the AC, and adjust remotely. 

And both Nest Thermostats have the same energy-saving features.

  • Auto-away changes the temperature when you leave home.
  • Auto-schedule learns your preferences and schedules accordingly.
  • Monthly report shows how you used energy throughout the month.
  • Nest leaf indicates energy-saving temperatures.

Auto-away and auto-schedule

Nest’s connection to your smartphone triggers an auto-away feature that adjusts the thermostat to the best temperature for conserving energy. Whether you’re on vacation or around the block, the auto-away feature adjusts the thermostat to save the most energy and money. 

The auto-schedule remembers when you regularly come and go and creates an estimated schedule for your home’s temperature. It takes about a week for the thermostat to learn your routine. 

Feeling impatient? You can adjust it manually in the Nest App at regular intervals for the first few days to program the schedule.

Monthly energy report

One of our favorite features the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E offer is a monthly energy report. Nest sends an email full of information about energy usage, what’s using it, and how it compares to previous months. 

Because this smart thermostat actually learns, the report becomes sharper and more helpful each month.

The Nest leaf 

The iconic Nest leaf appears on the thermostat’s display when you choose an energy-saving temperature. Think of it like a goal temperature for the best conservation results. It may leave you a little chillier in winter or warmer in the summer.

Third-party compatibility

Both Google Nest Thermostats connect to smart hubs like Amazon Echo and Google Home. It takes only a few minutes to connect Nest to your Google Home. To connect Alexa, look up the Google Nest skill to sync your devices. Once connected, you can change the thermostat and set schedules with your voice. 

Nest Thermostats also connect to home security systems like Brinks and SimpliSafe. If you have other Nest devices like Nest cameras or the Nest Secure system, you can set automations that make your home smarter.

Nest Thermostat differences

The Nest Learning Thermostat is larger, has more wire ports to boost compatibility, and comes in seven finishes to match your decor. 

Although the Nest E  comes only in white, its subtle frosted glass helps it blend in with home interiors. But it’s difficult to read the display from across the room. 

And because the Nest E is smaller, it can't fit as many wire ports—making it compatible with only 85% of 24V systems. Depending on your existing system, you may have to opt for the 3rd generation Google Nest Thermostat for compatibility reasons. 

If readability and design are worth extra cash, the Nest Learning Thermostat is for you. On the other hand, the Nest Thermostat E has the same features for less but without the wow factor.

Farsight

The Nest Learning Thermostat features Farsight, a motion sensor that lights the display when you’re nearby. The wake screen is up to you too. Choose from a digital or analog clock, the current weather, or the home temperature.

How Google Nest stacks up

Product
Price†
Remote temperature sensor
Occupancy sensor
Smart home integration
Learn more
Best overall
copper nest thermostat with digital display of 70 deg. and green lightGoogle Nest Learning Thermostat
Icon Yes  LightAdd-on
Icon Yes  LightYes
Alexa,
Assistant,
IFTTT
Best for voice control
Ecobee SmartThermostat
Icon Yes  LightIncluded
Icon Yes  LightYes
Alexa,
HomeKit,
Google,
IFTTT,
SmartThings
Best for rentals
Honeywell Lyric smart thermostatHoneywell Home T5+
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Alexa,
HomeKit,
Google,
IFTTT
Budget pick
Google Nest Thermostat
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Alexa,
Google,
IFTTT
Best design
Honeywell Home RTH9585WF1004Honeywell Home RTH9585WF1004
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Alexa,
Google,
Cortana,
IFTTT,
SmartThings

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The best smart thermostats share similar automation features that give you control from afar—like a mobile app, automatic scheduling, and self-adjusting technology. Installation is the same across the board too.

Nest’s learning thermostat stands out with its sleek look, monthly energy report, and long-term savings. 

If you’d rather save money up front, brands like Ecobee and Honeywell have products that give Nest a run for its money. But if you want a thermostat with style and a couple extra features, Google Nest is where it’s at.

Before you buy a Google Nest Thermostat 

Before jumping into a big purchase like a smart thermostat, there are two things you should consider. 

First: compatibility. Check your current thermostat to see if it’s compatible with Nest or any other smart thermostat you’re interested in. Compatibility is based on voltage, so look for a number between 20V to 30V. Many thermostats land around 24V. Nest has a compatibility checker to make the process easier. 

Second: your energy bill. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to save energy, but make sure you’re spending enough on your current bill to warrant a big purchase like this. On average, Nest Thermostats save up to $145 per year after a couple years, but this varies for individuals.1 Energy companies across the country also offer rebates up to $100 to customers who install a smart thermostat. 

"Works with Nest" integration change

In 2020, Google transitioned from “Works with Nest” integration to “Works with Hey Google,” so some smart home gadgets are dropping the “Works with Nest” compatibility. Philips Hue was one of the first to go, pulling the virtual plug on November 2020.

Installing Nest

It takes only a screwdriver and some patience to install a Nest Thermostat. Before you buy, make sure your current thermostat is compatible with Nest’s wiring.

What’s in the Box

  • Display 
  • Base 
  • Trim plate
  • Screws
  • Instructions
  • Wire labels

Start by turning off your HVAC system, then remove the old thermostat. Label the wires with the included wire labels and place the base and faceplate on the wall. Both Nest models have a level to keep things straight. 

Now slide the wires into the labeled tabs of the base. Once they’re all fitted, screw the base and faceplate to the wall and snap on the display. 

From here it’s all digital. You’ll use the Nest Thermostat display to connect to Wi-Fi and the app. Then select language and temperature settings. If you want to connect to your Amazon Alexa or Google Home, that adds a little more time but saves stress later. 

Google Home: If you sign into Nest using your Google account, your Nest Thermostat should pair to Google Home automatically. Otherwise, it takes only a few steps to connect Nest to Google Home

Amazon Alexa: Alexa can learn a skill that connects to Nest products like the smart thermostat. Just download the skill from Amazon and you’re good to go! 

Final word

With Nest, it takes money to save money, but you can find discounts through your local energy provider if you know where to look. 

While they're expensive upfront, the Nest Thermostat E and the Nest Learning Thermostat are an investment that can save you hundreds of dollars over the years. They pay for themselves in convenient features and send reports on how to save even more. It doesn’t hurt that these smart thermostats are beautifully designed either. 

And while you can find similar features in other smart thermostats, their connectivity to smart speakers, security systems, and other products like Nest cams is unmatched.

Nest Thermostat FAQ

While it varies by household and how you use your Nest Thermostat, independent studies have shown up to 12% savings on heating and up to 15% on cooling.1 

Check with your local energy provider to see if you can get a rebate for your new smart thermostat. We’ve seen discounts up to $100 that help you save on the thermostat itself. 

Nope! Unlike Nest cams or the Nest Secure system, there’s no monthly subscription tied to Nest Thermostats. But monthly fees are required for Nest Aware, an optional service that boosts features. 

Yes. It takes about an hour to go through the hardware and software setups, but even new DIY-ers can handle installing a Nest Thermostat. If you’d still prefer professional installation, you can find one through Nest

The best temperature changes depending on the season and when you’re home. During the cooler months, set your thermostat to around 68° F while you’re home during the winter and 78° F during the warmer months when you’re home. If you go on vacation during cooler months, set it to 55° F to keep your energy usage low while you aren’t using the thermostat.2

How we reviewed the Google Nest Thermostat

We got our hands on a Nest Learning Thermostat, and we took notes on installation and standout features (good and bad). This isn’t the first smart thermostat we’ve reviewed, so we compared it to similar products to see if Nest really is best. We also checked other reviews and installation videos to see how this learning thermostat worked for others.

We combined everything we learned about the device, its competitors, and customer reviews to create this comprehensive guide to both versions of Google’s Nest Thermostat. Check out our methodology to learn more about how we conduct reviews on SafeWise.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

  1. Google Nest Help, “Nest Thermostat Technical Specifications.” Accessed November 24, 2021.
  2. Energy.gov, “Thermostats.” Accessed November 24, 2021.

Disclaimer

*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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