Motion-sensitive temperature display at night. Responds well to most remote programs, including Alexa. Can be installed by experienced homeowners.
Software performance can be variable. Larger display shows set temperature, not real temperature. Difficult to troubleshoot.
The thermostat learns homeowner's preferred settings over time. Relatively easy to install. Customers report significant energy savings.
Professional installation required to extend warranty. Better for homes than commercial buildings. Some shorting and shut-offs reported.
You get most of the benefits of having a Nest smart thermostat, including a slim, sleek design and easy installation.
Motion-sensitivity is a little less responsive than the 3rd Generation Nest. Lacks feature to control hot water boiler.
Automatically upgrades itself over time. Maintains an energy use record. Very easy to install with online instructions.
Some Wi-Fi connectivity issues reported. Learns user's average routine, but can become "confused" if changed. Switch from cooling to heating mode unreliable.
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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.
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.
Ready to buy a Nest thermostat? Check out our top recommendations.
For general info on choosing a model, read our shopping guide.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nest thermostats can work in conjunction with Nest smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your home as safe as possible.
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.
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.
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.
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