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Best Nest Thermostats

Updated June 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 10 Models Considered
  • 8 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 120 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best Nest thermostats

    Last Updated June 2018

    When it comes to keeping your home as comfortable as possible, getting the temperature right is key. After all, there are few things as unbearable as a house that’s too warm in the summer or too cold in the winter. That’s why a good thermostat makes all the difference — and it’s not just about how your house feels, either. The right thermostat can actually help lower your energy costs, too.

    In recent years, smart thermostats have become extremely popular because they can save energy, lower your heating and cooling costs, and take all the guesswork out of maintaining a comfortable temperature for your home.

    When it comes to smart thermostat brands, Nest is the leader of the pack. Their thermostats are as high-tech as they come, and provide a wide range of helpful features that make them extremely user-friendly. But Nest offers several different models, so it can be difficult to figure out which option is the best fit for your home.

    Through the Nest app, you can remotely control your thermostat whether you’re on vacation and want to save money or are on your way home, and want to ensure the temperature is comfortable when you get there.

    At BestReviews, we can help you choose the ideal Nest thermostat for your house. We purchase all our own products, so our recommendations are completely unbiased.

    We also conduct field and expert research to get to further insight into the top Nest models, so we can pass along all the info you need to make the most educated shopping decision.

    Ready to buy a Nest thermostat? Check out the matrix above for our top recommendations.

    For general info on choosing a model, continue reading our shopping guide.

    Nest thermostat considerations

    What type of HVAC system do you have?

    Nest thermostats are compatible with a wide variety of heating and cooling systems, but not necessarily every individual model. Here’s a general list of HVAC systems that aren’t compatible with Nest thermostats:

    • Systems that use wired remote sensors.

    • Highly proprietary or custom systems.

    • Micro-controller based systems without a common wire.

    • High impedance systems.
       

    Also, Nest may not be compatible with certain types of hardware, such as zone relay panels or control panels, if they lack a common wire. Systems with gas valves may also require a common wire.

    If you’re not sure what type of heating and cooling system you have, or what hardware is installed, remove the cover from your current thermostat to examine the wiring. Your system probably won’t work with a Nest model if your current thermostat uses thick, stranded wires that are connected by wire nuts — these probably indicate that the system is wired for 110V or 120V, not supported by Nest.

    If you’re still unsure, contact a HVAC professional to evaluate your system.

    Keep in mind that if you have different heating and cooling systems, you may require a separate Nest thermostat for each one.

    Looking for a common wire

    Nest thermostats require an HVAC system with a common wire, or C-wire. A C-wire is a low voltage wire that provides constant power to HVAC equipment.

    They are usually blue or black in color, but if you don’t see one when you examine your wiring or aren’t sure whether you have one, consult with an HVAC professional to examine your system and install one if necessary.

    A Nest thermostat keeps a record of how much energy you save in the Energy History tab of the app, so you can see when you use more energy and look for ways to reduce your consumption.

    Staff
    BestReviews

    Features

    Ring color and finish

    A Nest thermostat’s appearance isn’t nearly as important as its performance, but you’ll still probably want a model that coordinates with your home’s decor.

    Some Nest models come with ring housing in a range of colors, including white, copper, black, and stainless steel. However, other models are only available in a single color.

    You’ll also find some models with rings that have a polished, metallic finish, while others have a polycarbonate finish that resembles ceramic.

    Display

    While all Nest thermostats have clear, easy to read displays, some models are equipped with a frosted display that blends in with its ring for a seamless look.

    Others offer a high-resolution color display, which are extremely user-friendly, and provide the time and exterior temperature or weather in addition to information about your home’s interior temperature.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Nest thermostats can work in conjunction with Nest smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your home as safe as possible.

    Energy star certification

    All Nest thermostats can help you save energy and money, but only certain models have earned Energy Star certification, which means they meet strict energy efficiency criteria established by the U.S. Department of Energy or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    If energy efficiency is important to you, it may be worth the added expense of investing in an Energy Star-certified Nest model.

    Learning capabilities

    Nest thermostats are designed to automatically turn themselves down when you leave your home to save energy.

    However, some models have learning capabilities which allow them to learn what temperature you prefer and your schedule, so the thermostat can maintain a comfortable temperature for your home without you manually making adjustments.

    These learning models can even detect changes in your routine, and automatically adjust the heating and cooling schedules based on your new habits.

    With a Nest thermostat, you can save an estimated average of $131 to $145 annually on energy costs.

    FAQ

    Q. Do Nest thermostats require professional installation?

    A. Nest thermostats are relatively easy to install, and usually take about 30 minutes to set up. However, if you’re not comfortable with DIY projects, you can find HVAC professionals who are trained to install Nest products.

    Q. Will a Nest thermostat really save money on HVAC costs?

    A. Because Nest thermostats automatically adjust themselves, they can save a considerable amount of energy, which translates to savings on your heating and cooling costs. According to two independent studies, on average, a Nest thermostat saves between 10% and 12% on heating costs and 15% on cooling costs.

    Q. How does a Nest thermostat help with HVAC maintenance?

    A. Through the Nest app, a Nest thermostat can alert you when your furnace or other HVAC equipment is experiencing issues, so you can have the problem corrected before the entire system fails. It also reminds you to change your forced air system filters regularly, so they don’t get clogged and affect the system’s performance.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jeff
      Jeff
      Editor
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Michael
      Michael
      Writer