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Which Nest Thermostat should I buy?

Buying a Nest Thermostat

Nest has consistently received acclaim and recognition as the leading smart thermostat for its broad compatibility, an array of features and high-tech, user-friendly interface. If you’ve narrowed down your smart thermostat search to a Nest thermostat, you prioritize automation, interconnectivity and cost-saving features in your devices. Nest boasts all these qualities, so how do you choose? 

There are two current Nest models to choose between: the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat is Google’s premium smart thermostat and a staple brand in the smart home device market. It includes many smart features, which make it an obvious choice for automation and cost-saving. 

Schedule and preference learning 

The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your preferences as you use it. When you adjust the temperature manually after installing your Nest thermostat, the device learns your habits and preferences. It then integrates this data into a schedule for automatic heating and cooling adjustments. 

The Nest Learning Thermometer is also compatible with Google Nest Temperature Sensors, which can be placed throughout your home to communicate real-time information to your Nest Learning Thermostat on the actual temperature throughout your home. This allows you to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout all rooms. 

Farsight controlled display 

The Nest Learning Thermostat includes Farsight, which allows the thermostat to detect your movement and display relevant information when you’re nearby. You can customize your Nest Learning Thermostat to display the information you find helpful, like the current weather forecast in your area or the time.

Energy usage reports 

One of the significant benefits of installing a smart thermostat is saving money and energy. The Nest Learning Thermometer delivers regular in-app energy reports that summarize your energy and HVAC use to allow you to make informed decisions on your consumption. The information will tell you how many hours total you home in a given month and offer suggestions for where you might reduce usage. 

Compatibility with other devices and apps 

The Nest Learning Thermostat allows you to make adjustments to your temperature settings using either the Nest companion app or the Google Home app. If you’re creating a complete smart home network, we recommend that you use the Google Home app, which conveniently allows you to control all supported devices from one place. 

Nest offers a large selection of smart home network devices, such as the Nest Indoor Camera for Home Security, Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector and the Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell. The Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with all other Nest devices, which allows you to create an integrated smart home system. 

The Nest Learning Thermostat is also compatible with Amazon Echo and Alexa devices. Nest products are not compatible, however, with Apple HomeKit.  

Aesthetics and user experience

The Nest Learning Thermostat comes in seven different finishes, including polished steel, stainless steel, copper, brass and black. It features a metal twist ring and classic turn-dial design, reminiscent of old school thermostats. The dial glides without resistance in whatever direction you turn it, and the interactive, elegant high-resolution display acts as an indicator for your adjustment. You can adjust the temperature manually with the dial, and you can also change these settings using the mobile app. 

The Nest Learning Thermostat comes with a kit containing a white wall plate and patching materials for your wall. You can also consider buying a Nest Learning Thermostat compatible wall plate that matches other elements in your home. 

Nest Thermostat 

Google’s new Nest Thermostat comes at a much lower price than the Nest Learning Thermostat. It features an updated design and lacks some of the features of the Nest Learning Thermostat. However, it’s an economical option with a surprising array of features, making it a solid, budget-conscious smart thermostat choice. 

Temperature schedules 

Unlike the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Nest Thermostat doesn’t include the capability to learn and adapt to your schedule to adjust the temperature automatically to your preferences. 

Despite lacking this learning capability, the Nest Thermostat is by all means smart. It allows you to set a schedule for heating or cooling your home. It also includes a sensor that will automatically switch itself to away mode if you aren’t home, leading to substantial energy savings. 

Energy usage reports 

Just like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Nest Thermostat delivers regular in-app reports on your energy usage so you can make informed decisions about how and when you’re heating or cooling your home. 


The Nest Thermostat lacks some of the compatibility of previous Nest models. It isn’t compatible with the Nest app and must instead be set up and controlled in the Google Home app. Though this may seem limiting, it isn’t a flaw because we recommend using the Google Home app to manage all your Google devices conveniently in one place. 

The Nest Thermostat is not compatible with the Nest Temperature Sensor, unlike its Learning Thermostat counterpart. 

It is, however, compatible with other Nest smart home devices, such as the Nest Hub Smart Display or Nest Audio Smart Speaker.

Aesthetics and user experience

The Nest Thermostat is available in snow (white), sand (rose gold), fog (light green) and charcoal (gray). It’s round, made of plastic and features a touch-control side panel for making manual adjustments to your settings, rather than the metal turn dial of its learning predecessor. 

One complaint about the side panel control design is that it can be awkward to control if you’re left-handed. Left-handed people will find that they must either reach across their body to control the thermostat with their dominant hand or maneuver the thermostat with their non-dominant hand. 

Unlike the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Nest Thermostat doesn’t include a trim kit. If you decide to purchase a trim kit, make sure you’re selecting one made specifically for the Nest. Nest Learning Thermostat kits aren’t compatible with the Nest Thermostat. 

Available Nest Thermostats

Nest Learning Thermostat, Third Generation 

What you need to know: This variation is known for its user-friendliness, array of features, and compatibility with a variety of devices. 

What you’ll love: It’s perhaps its most impressive feature is its ability to learn and adapt to your schedule and lifestyle by learning your habits and routine. It’s widely compatible and elegant and includes a dial control reminiscent of traditional thermostats.  

What you should consider: It’s more expensive than some other smart thermostat models, but its range of cost-saving features will save you money in the long run. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot and Kohl’s

Nest Thermostat

What you need to know: A smart thermostat with a reasonable number of features at an affordable price. Users can control it via the Google Home app. 

What you’ll love: You can control this smart thermostat remotely via the app on your phone. It also allows you to set a heating and cooling schedule, and it includes capabilities for switching directly between home and away modes. 

What you should consider: It doesn’t include all the features that the Nest Learning Thermostat does, but its low price point and compatibility with other Google Nest products make it a solid choice for a smart home integratable, cost-saving device. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Evelyn Waugh writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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