Nest Labs is an American company the produces home automation technology. It is marked by its Wi-Fi-enabled devices with the capacity for sensor-driven self-learning and easy programmability. Founded in 2010 in California, Nest makes security cameras, smoke detectors, thermostats, and other security systems.
The Nest Learning Thermostat was introduced in 2011 as the company’s first product, and it made some pretty bold statements about what it could do, including claims that it could cut energy consumption by as much as 10%. Through a more intelligent heating system, Nest claimed its thermostat could make your home more heating-and-cooling efficient, and that they could do it remotely via Wi-Fi.
Former Apple engineers Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell founded Nest in 2010, and, by 2014, their products had caught the eye of Google. Though Nest still operates under its own name, it is technically considered as part of the Google hardware department.
Nest Thermostat is a Learning Thermostat
Now in its third iteration since its introduction in 2011, the Nest Learning Thermostat has grown incrementally over its generations, only marginally improving its classic look and functionality over time.
The 2018 model does offer a slightly larger display screen (229 pixels per inch, which is about 25 percent more than previous generations) and a slimmer profile, as well as a few new features.
For one, the new sensor is supposedly better at picking up your activity as you enter a room, as well as reading the indoor temperature more accurately and providing weather forecasts. Plus, the Nest Thermostat now offers voice integration with the help of Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant.
- Auto-Schedule: No more confusing programming. It learns the temperatures you like and programs itself.
- Wi-Fi Thermostat: Connect the Nest Thermostat to Wi-Fi to change the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop.
- Energy Saving: You’ll see the Nest Leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy. It guides you in the right...
Moreover, according to CNET, it also integrates with Nest's Temperature Sensor, which was released in 2018. These sensors work like a cordless phone system in that the sensors all run off from one mothership, the Nest Thermostat. They will read temperatures in any room in your house and they can all be controlled from one spot.
Just like the original Learning Thermostat, the 2018 version uses sensors as well as a proprietary algorithm to auto-adjust home and away temperatures as well as a temperature schedule for day and night. Plus, you can still control room temperature manually and adjust the thermostat remotely using the Nest app. You can do the latter anywhere there is Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity.
Nest Learning Thermostat Features
There are essentially two parts to the Nest Learning Thermostat. There is the thermostat itself, which senses the ambient temperature, and the heating function, which communicates with the furnace and calls for heat. The basic set of technologies has remained the same since 2011.
As stated, the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat doesn’t offer a ton of new stuff, but there are a few fresh new features to go over. The biggest change is probably the updated sensors, and, whereas previous iterations used only near-field sensors with an approximately 3-feet range to detect activity, this 2018 model adds in a long-range sensor called Farsight.
Farsight displays the current temperature and time when it detects activity from up to 20 feet away. The nice thing about it is that you don’t have to be on top of the thermostat in order to read it.
You can also connect up to six Nest Temperature Sensors to one Nest Thermostat. Simply set up a sensor in a room, wait for it to connect to Wi-Fi and give it a name through the Thermostat. As with all Nest processes, the procedure is easy and intuitive.
Moreover, Family Accounts and Home/Away Assist has changed to allow the Nest Thermostat to be controlled by multiple family members. Once it is set up, the Nest accounts will become aware of each family member’s cell phone, and will adjust the temperature of the house according to their proximity.
All that being said, these features are not revolutionary, and, while self-aware thermostats were once a new and exciting idea, there are now a few brands on the market that can do everything the Nest can do. For instance, Ecobee and Honeywell both offer smart thermostats.
Nest Can Lower Your Power Bill
As one review suggests, the 3rd Generation Nest Thermostat “successfully blurs the lines between home security, automation, and climate control.” But, the fact is that by learning your behaviors and tracking your whereabouts, over time it can save you a bundle on heating costs.
Plus, the thermostat is super easy to install, with an average installation time of about 20 minutes. Moreover, its user-friendly, intuitive design makes you want to use it more, and you can change settings quickly and easily. Plus, you can control it at the thermostat interface or from the mobile app via a Wi-Fi connection.
The Nest Thermostat will slowly pull power from the existing wiring in your house, so when it is installed or after a power outage, you may need to let it charge for approximately 30 minutes. That may seem like a long time to wait, but consider that you will likely never need to replace the Nest’s battery, as you would with other products like the LUX/GEO or the Emerson Sensi.
Also, the Nest Thermostat has grown into a bit of a control center for homes with multiple smart devices, combining products like smoke detectors, security cameras, and temperature sensors into one easy-to-manage technology collection. The upshot is that by automating many of these processes, you can more granularly control their power consumption, thereby lowering your power bill.
Plus, you will receive Monthly Nest Home Reports showing your energy consumption as well as tips on how to lower costs even further, as well as a green leaf icon that shows when you are in energy-saving temperature zones.
There’s Always Nest Help When You Need It
You can easily contact Nest customer support through live chat, social media, phone, and email. And now, with the addition of Google Assitant and Amazon Alexa, you are even more connected to the help you may need, not that you will likely need it.
And while you can spend a little time setting up a weekly schedule to fit your needs, the smart thermostat is more than capable of learning your habits by tracking every time the temperature is adjusted. After about a week, it will have learned your routine, and will automatically start and stop heating according to your schedule.
Plus it will monitor humidity, light, movement, and temperature to adjust the schedule on the fly and send updates to your phone or by email. It can even monitor when you need to change air filters or when devices malfunction. It works with heating systems and AC, and will allow fans to run after the unit shuts down, capturing the last bit of heating or cooling in the line.
The Nest thermostat also integrates well with others, and it can be used with heat pumps and furnaces, as well as radiant and two or three-stage heating. Plus, the Nest Learning Thermostat is more than capable of controlling dehumidifiers, whole-home humidifiers, and fans, and you don’t need professional help to install it.
Other Features of the Nest Thermostat
The other neat thing about the Nest Thermostat is that the temperature sensor allows for a 1-degree temp change window. This means that heating and cooling systems will only be called if the ambient temperature is 1 degree cooler or warmer than the target temperature.
While this may be seen as not very sensitive, it is money-saving, and the wide windows allow for temperature fluctuations in draftier houses without constantly calling for the heating and cooling systems. There is also a handy pin-locking code that can be set, which prevents others from messing with the settings without permission so that you are never surprised by your heating bill.
But wait. We may have gotten ahead of ourselves here, as you can use the System Match feature on the Nest website to help you determine if their product will work with your existing wiring. This will ensure that your investment won’t go to waste.
When you do buy the Nest Thermostat, installation is super-fast and easy, and the kit comes with a screwdriver and a built-in level. It should take about 20 minutes for your new Nest Learning Thermostat to be up-and-running, though the company recommends professional installation if you have a dual-fuel system, a built-in dehumidifier, or a whole-home humidifier.
Nest Thermostat Wrap-Up
With each new iteration, the Nest thermostat gets a little sleeker, easier to use, and comes with more features. And, while it is not groundbreaking enough to warrant moving from a 2nd generation Nest Thermostat, it is a great choice is you are looking to save some coin by getting into the smart thermostat game.
Plus, its iPod-inspired click wheel-like design is satisfying and intuitive to use. Its round design, comprised of durable brushed metal and glass, is elegant and won’t collect unwanted dust and dirt. The turn-and-click control scheme does get complicated when inputting a Wi-Fi password, but that is pretty much a one-time deal, and the 24-bit color, 229 pixels-per-inch screen more than makes up for it.
Another nice feature is that the current temperature is always displayed in the middle of the thermometer in large digital numbers, so it is easy to see, even for those with vision impairments. And for those who are wary of connecting to the internet, Nest now allows for two-factor authentication through the Nest app so your info will always be protected.
So, if you want a smart thermostat that is easy to install and operate, will save you money, is easy to read, and can be controlled remotely, look no further than the Nest Learning Thermostat. What was a great thermostat in 2011 is still great in 2018, and it now comes with design choices, an improved mobile app, and new features.
Sure, you will sacrifice zonal heating, but the Nest thermostat works with most heating and cooling systems, it automatically learns your routine, you can install it yourself, you can join other smart devices to it, and you will never have to replace its battery.
Plus, it looks great and you can even lock the program settings with a PIN code to stop others from messing with them. This is useful if you are away from home a lot, at the office, or in an apartment setting where you want to regulate the temperature. Sure, it costs about twice as much as some Wi-Fi thermostats, but it should last a lifetime and you will actually enjoy using it.