Best Smart Thermostat

If you’re looking to spend over $100 on a “smart” thermostat, know that the $250 Nest is the only one worth your money. Not only does it have the internet remote controllability and data visualization offered by other products in this price range, it goes one step further by actually making adjustments for you.

Last Updated: December 16, 2014
You can now use voice commands to adjust your Nest. Using Google Now on a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can tell the thermostat to change temperature. In the Chrome browser, you can speak commands or or type your preferred temperature into the search box.
Expand Previous Updates
November 12, 2014: Added Quirky's $80 Norm connected thermostat device to the What to Look Forward to section. We'll be interested to see what the first reviews say once the Norm is released in December.
September 16, 2014: Ecobee is back with an updated, more Nest-like version of its smart thermostat now called the Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat. It's $250, but comes with the option of adding remote sensors ($80 for two) to other rooms that will optimize temperature in whatever rooms are occupied. See the What to Look Forward to section for more detail.
August 12, 2014: Honeywell's Lyric is now available, and we will be testing it in the next few weeks. We'll update the guide with our findings as soon as we can.
July 7, 2014: Added CNET's review of the Honeywell Lyric. It's set to hit stores in August, but the early take is that the software is still a bit buggy.
June 24, 2014: Nest just introduced its Works With Nest program so makers of other devices and software from cars to activity trackers will be able to communicate with a Nest thermostat and (ideally) save energy. Mercedes Benz, Logitech, Whirlpool, Jawbone, IFTTT, and, naturally, Google, are the first companies announced, with plans for things like your car letting your Nest know when you're almost home, your Jawbone UP telling your Nest you're awake, and so on. Nest is also opening up its API, which means developers can access to information from a Nest thermostat (like whether it's in home or away mode and peak energy use times) and incorporate it into their apps. Once these partnerships come to fruition we'll check in on how useful they are.
June 10, 2014: Honeywell just announced the Lyric, a $279 thermostat that can be controlled via a smartphone app. It looks a lot like the Nest, but based on the description it doesn't appear like it'll be quite as "smart." While th Nest thermostat uses algorithms to learn owners' heating and cooling preferences and adjust automatically, the Lyric uses geofencing to start or stop heating or cooling. Honeywell's thermostat can also be controlled via the accompanying app to activate different temperature settings, and can respond to outside temperatures and humidity. It's expected to hit stores in August, and we'll be watching for reviews to see how it compares to our current pick.

(If you just want a cheap, programmable thermostat with no bells and whistles that just works, skip to the end.)

First thing’s first, if Nest doesn’t work with your home heating and cooling system, then you probably don’t want it. Considering Nest version 2.0 is compatible with 95% of low voltage heating and cooling systems (and a number of HVAC systems as well), you’re probably in the clear–unless you have some kind of specialty HVAC system. Use this online checking tool to be 100% sure. If your house is compatible, read on. If not, skip to the competition section where we outline some alternatives that may fit your needs.

The Future We Were Promised

The concept of a smart thermostat isn’t new, but the actual product has evaded us for years. Before Nest, companies’ perception of a “smart” thermostat was one that was easier for users to program. As a result, we got these contraptions with color touchscreens that have pop up keyboards, pretty menus, cloud-accessible controls, and data visualization. But for all their fancy features, they all shared the same flaw: they ultimately rely on humans to make the decisions. Nest was the first company to realize that programming itself was the problem and that the only solution was to get rid of it entirely.

The Nest is the only thermostat that actually simplifies your life and improves your happiness by making decisions for you. It does this by learning how you use your home’s climate control system over a one week period and then setting itself accordingly from there on out. It’s also got a motion sensor in it that automatically sets it into power-saving mode when you’re not around. And, thanks to its internet connection, it can also factor in the weather when setting the temperature. Now that’s smart.

Why We Like it

The original Nest debuted a year ago but it was so far ahead of its time that no companies have even come close to matching its functionality. Meanwhile, Nest has released a 20% slimmer, more widely compatible version 2.0 already. It’s often called the iPod of thermostats, an apt comparison considering the fact that Nest was started by Tony Fadell, the head of the team that created the original iPod. But the similarities don’t stop there.

In addition to its designers, the Nest also borrows its user interface from the once ubiquitous clickwheel found on every iPod. Grab and rotate the entire body to navigate through lists, click it down to select. Lest there be any skeptics among you, CNet’s Lindsey Turrentine writes that “[her] kids can’t stop touching the thermostat to explore the menus, and they instantly understand how Nest works.”

The GUI is similarly intuitive. The display background glows red when the heat is on, blue when the air conditioning is running, and stays black when it’s off.

Once it’s installed, setup is a breeze.
Installing it is almost as simple — assuming you know your way around a screwdriver. It comes with all the necessary tools, parts and hardware. All you need is about 15 minutes to take down your old thermostat and match the right wires to the right holes. There’s even a dedicated website to aid you in the setup process. All the reviews we read indicated that everyone but the most tool-averse among should be able to install it without outside help, but should you need it, installation service is available for $120.

Once it’s installed, setup is a breeze. By all accounts, it shouldn’t take more than a week of preliminary manual adjustments for the Nest to learn your usage habits. From there on out, it’s pretty much a set it and forget it product. You can still make occasional manual adjustments on the thermostat itself or remotely through its smartphone apps/web app if you so desire. If the Nest determines those adjustments are truly random, the Nest will ignore them, but if you make them with any sort of regularity, Nest will take that into account and do them for you. For example, if it notices you’ve been turning up the heat a couple extra degrees the last several times it rained, Nest will automatically raise the heat for you whenever rain is in the forecast.

Another parameter Nest learns is how long it takes for your house’s furnace/air conditioner to go from setting a desired temperature to actually achieving said temperature. It then incorporates this information into its schedule.

Other features include a wide-range motion detector that puts the Nest into energy-saving mode if it doesn’t detect any movement over a long period of time. On the original Nest, this was set at 2 hours but Nest 2.0 can adjust this figure based on your family’s usage patterns. There’s also a proximity sensor so the screen only turns on when you’re standing in front of it.

Finally, it comes backed with a 2-year warranty–just in case something goes wrong.

The Apps and Website

One of the best features of the Nest has nothing to do with the hardware itself, but rather how it presents your temperature and energy usage data on its app and website. Unlike apps for other thermostats, which usually don’t do much beyond allowing you to make adjustments, the Nest has charts that help spell out Nest’s learning process and your own usage patterns (you can also adjust any learned patterns that you disagree with through the web or iPad app interface).

From here, you can look at your last 10 days’ worth of usage data that shows you exactly when and why your heater or AC was running. For example, if the AC was running extra-high on a particularly sunny day, then a little sun icon appears next to that day’s time usage bar (the second page of Ars Technica’s review has some great screenshots and explanations of how this works). The only complaint that reviewers had was that you could only access the previous 10 days’ worth of data in detail at any given time.

Who Else Likes it?

As far as independent reviews go, this is probably the best-reviewed product I’ve ever encountered.

CNet’s Lindsey Turrentine gave the Nest 2.0 5 stars (exceptionally rare by CNet standards) in her review, Second-gen Nest zeroes in on perfection writing, “Within a week of installing the first-generation Nest Learning Thermostat in my house last spring, I decided to buy my review unit rather than return it to the company. When a tech journalist pays $249 for a thermostat, you know it’s a special kind of thermostat.”

The rest of these reviews are about the original Nest, but considering they’re almost exactly the same aside from size and compatibility differences, we feel confident applying them to the new Nest.

Jacqui Cheng from Ars Technica, a self-proclaimed thermostat aficionado who has previously owned multiple $100+ smart thermostats, says of her Nest 1.0, “My personal metric for whether a home modification was a good purchase is whether I want to take it with me when I move. In this case, I do—desperately. It would be hard to go back to a ‘normal’ thermostat after having become attached to the Nest’s capabilities.”

It even has gadget veteran David Pogue singing its praises: “Goodness knows there are cheaper thermostats. And there are other learning thermostats with color screens and Internet connections. But they don’t have the sensors that let them self-adjust. They don’t look like pieces of art. They’re sold and packaged for contractors, not humans.”

Kevin Tofel at GigaOm echoes his peers saying, “Given that I already have a smart thermostat, you’d think I’d pass on the Nest. But after I return the review unit, I may spend the money on one anyway.”

The review from Consumer Reports (login required) was one of the only negative ones we found. They gave it a mere 74/100 rating, which is pretty good, but far from great by their scale (the top scoring Venstar ColorTouch Series T5800 got 96 points). Unfortunately, they don’t tell you anything about their testing process so it’s difficult to analyze their reasoning behind the lower score, but sadly, I think it might have to do with the Nest’s lack of touchscreen controls. They were very impressed with the pretty touchscreen interfaces found on some models and gave them all scores of higher than 90 points. This, to me, is missing the point entirely. The other touchscreen models need the touchscreen interface so they can be programmed more easily. The whole point of the Nest is that it doesn’t need programming.

Popular Mechanics didn’t appreciate the hands-off concept behind the Nest. Here’s what senior tech editor Glenn Derene had to say in his review:  “I find myself frequently checking in on it and second-guessing its intentions. When I hear the heat kick on, I run to the Nest and examine its current setting. Do I really want the temperature to dial up to 72 degrees F? Now I’m not sure.” But I don’t interpret that as a dig against the Nest itself. It seems like more of a personality incompatibility issue. Glen makes it clear that he likes to have control over what’s going on in his house and that it makes him uncomfortable when the Nest makes decisions for him. If you are like Glen and like to keep track of and control your environment, then a learning thermostat is not for you.

Some Minor Drawbacks

All in all, the Nest is one impressive gadget. But nothing is perfect. First of all, if you’re the kind of person who would rather have a touchscreen keyboard and the ability to show photos on a tiny color screen, then the Nest is not for you. It’s designed to be the simplest climate control system, not the most fully featured. That said, this shouldn’t be a problem for most people. I think Jacqui Cheng put it best in her review: “it’s not enough to just throw a ton of features at a thermostat if it’s not also painfully easy to use.”

If you want to be able to control everything from doors to lights to climate control from one app, you have to look elsewhere for the time being.
Another bit that’s hard to swallow is the $250 price tag. Especially if you have a larger home that requires multiple comfort zones, which would require multiple units. Theoretically, it will pay for itself in the long run with energy bill savings but it’s still a significant upfront cost.

Reviewers also complained that Auto-Away mode could often activate when you don’t want it to. After all, it’s not unlikely for people to spend 2 hours in their house in a room without a thermostat. The latest firmware claims to have improved Auto Away by letting it adjust to your family’s unique habits, but none of the reviews we read tested the revised feature.

The Nest is also not ideal for smart home enthusiasts who want more than just heating and cooling control. If you want to be able to control everything from doors to lights to climate control from one app, you have to look elsewhere for the time being. Although they haven’t announced any intention of doing so, it’s worth noting that Nest could feasibly expand their machine-learning concept beyond the thermostat into a house-wide home-automation system in the future.

The only problem that could potentially be a dealbreaker for some homes is its rechargeable battery. That’s because in certain heating and cooling systems that lack a “C” wire, the Nest can only charge itself when the heat or A/C is actually running. Problem is, you can go days without needing either in more temperate climates. Marco Arment, the software developer behind Instapaper, found that after installing the Nest, he would often hear his furnace pulsing as a result of Nest trying to draw more energy from the system. Of course, this could be fixed by installing a “C” wire, but that would require hiring an electrician which could be more money and hassle than it’s worth.

The Competition

Consumer Reports says that the Venstar ColorTouch Series T5800 is the best thermostat you can buy. They gave it a 96/100. We believe they are very wrong.

Consumer Reports liked the Venstar for its big, 4.3-inch screen saying that saying that its “colorful, interactive touch-screen display makes it easy to program settings for each day of the week. Its programming prompts are simple and clear, and its screen is easy to see.” They also appreciated its ability to display photo slideshows when in standby mode. But we think this is a poor reason for choosing the Venstar over the Nest since you don’t need a big screen if you have a good app like the Nest does, and putting photos on a thermostat is stupid. Unfortunately for Venstar buyers, it won’t work with internet-enabled apps unless you drop an extra $72 on a Wi-Fi card on top of the $170 street price. At that point, you’re looking at a thermostat that costs the same as the Nest, but with worse apps and no automation capabilities. (It’s also worth noting that the Venstar will not work at all without a C-wire; at least the Nest can draw power through other sources in a pinch).

Wired also recently reviewed the Venstar and gave it a less than stellar 6/10 rating citing a convoluted setup procedure involving manual firmware updates via SD card transfers and the fact that the Wi-Fi module sticks out of the side as a few of their major complaints. Ultimately, they liked the Nest better stating, “if you’re looking for serious thermostat intelligence, the Nest wins the day. The ColorTouch can’t do things like sense your presence in a room, monitor your habits, or learn how quickly your furnace heats or cools the house. Nor can it determine when you’re away and adjust the climate accordingly.” Popular Mechanics‘ Scott Neumyer also took issue with the Venstar’s firmware update procedures in their review but later updated to note that firmware versions 2.06+ can now update over Wi-Fi. In the end, the reviewer decided that he really liked the Venstar despite its flaws, but he also noted that this was his first experience with a device of this kind so take his opinion with a grain of salt.

Not Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $340.
As opposed to the Nest, the Honeywell Prestige HD should be installed with the help of a contactor, which can push the price to upwards of $500. It also lacks the set-it-and-forget-it ease that the Nest is praised for.
Of all the competition out there, the Honeywell Prestige HD comes the closest to pushing the Nest off of the podium. it has a separate “portable comfort control” unit that you can take with you from room to room. In addition to being a remote control, it also contains a thermostat of its own that lets you set the temperature to the room you’re currently in. That way you don’t have to boil to death in your tiny, fast-heating office while your central heater tries to heat the entire living room to 70˚F. It’s an effective and cheap way of dealing with the multiple comfort zone problem–assuming you don’t lose remotes all the time like I do. But remember–the Nest can do this with a remote control…your phone.

Consumer Reports loved it, giving it an excellent 95/100 rating citing its HD display and “ease of use” as major selling points, but given their strange love for the Venstar, we’re taking CR’s work in this category with a grain of salt. For example, it doesn’t offer the same set-it-and-forget-it convenience of the Nest. You still have to program it by hand.  And like the Venstar, adding internet controllability is going to cost you, about $85 to be exact. Not to mention having to hide yet another hideous modem-looking thing. It’s also very expensive even without the internet connection. Although you can buy it through Amazon resellers for about $340 and attempt to install it yourself (not recommended), you’re technically supposed to get it through a licensed contractor who must install it for you. According to Farhad Manjoo, writing for the New York Times, the whole setup can run north of $500. Yikes!

Consumer Reports also liked the Ecobee which also has built-in internet controllability and is versatile enough to be used with most HVAC systems. But Brian, Sweethome’s editor, had one for a while before Nest and noted the touchscreen and app was buggy/laggy and a chore to use and program. It’s also expensive. Consumer Reports liked it, even though we found it nowhere near as great as a Nest, and they gave it a 94/100. To Brian, that is, as he put it, “insane.”

The Budget Pick

Budget Pick
*At the time of publishing, the price was $70.
It runs on AA batteries and has a black-and-white display, but the Lux 9000 is a decent budget pick if don't mind losing Wi-Fi, smartphone apps, and energy use monitoring. It's easy to set up and will adhere to whatever schedule you set it to.
For those on a budget who just want to save some energy, the Lux 9000 series of programmable thermostats are your best bet (the number changes depending on where you buy it from; on Amazon, it’s the TX9000TS). They cost only $70, which means Wi-Fi, smartphone apps, and energy usage monitoring are obviously out of the question. That being said, unless you’re buying a Nest, there’s not a whole lot to gain in terms of real energy-saving functionality from adding a color display and internet controls.

Despite its comparatively skimpy features-set, the Lux managed to earn a Consumer Reports “Best Buy” title as well as the adoration of hundreds of Amazon reviewers. Of the over 340 Amazon user reviews written, over two-thirds are 5-star reviews and only 35 were below 3-stars. Reviewers such as Vine voice member S. Singh appreciated the Lux’s easy setup process and intuitive touchscreen interface. It even has a copy button that lets you duplicate your settings from one day to the next. Sure it’s only got a black and white display and runs on AA batteries, but what can you expect for $70?

What to Look Forward to

In June, Honeywell introduced the Lyric, a $279 thermostat. Honeywell has clearly taken some cues from Nest for their latest thermostat: The Lyric also has a round, minimalist design, and a few similar features like a proximity sensor and the ability to adjust temperatures based on outside weather. But it’s also different in some crucial ways: instead of using algorithms to learn the owner’s heating/cooling preferences, owners have to tell the Lyric what to do. It knows whether the owner is home or away based on the location of their smartphone and will shut down to conserve energy if no one is home, or turn on when he or she is a set distance away. This is the same idea that GE’s new Quirky + Aros “smart” air conditioner uses, and we don’t think this is nearly as useful or efficient as Nest’s approach.

On the positive side, Gizmodo said installation was “generally foolproof.” And then there’s the possibility is that you’ll be able to control it via Apple’s forthcoming Home app for iOS 8 since Honeywell was announced as a partner (while Google-owned Nest was not). CNET has also gotten a look at the Lyric and they found its software to be somewhat buggy. “While the Lyric has a ton of potential, the app needs some major updates to make its usability and performance on par with the Nest,” they say. Now that the Lyric is available, we will be testing it ourselves. But based on these early reviews it’s not looking like it’ll be unseating the Nest as our pick just yet.

Nest also introduced its Works With Nest program in early summer. It means makers of other devices and software from cars to activity trackers will be able to communicate with a Nest thermostat and (ideally) save energy. Mercedes Benz, Logitech, Whirlpool, Jawbone, IFTTT, and, naturally, Google, are the first companies announced, with plans for things like your car letting your Nest know when you’re almost home, your Jawbone UP telling your Nest you’re awake, and so on so that the heat and a/c are only on at the most necessary times. Once these partnerships come to fruition we’ll check in on how useful they are.

Nest is also opening up its API, so developers will be able to make apps that will have access to information from a Nest thermostat (like whether it’s in home or away mode and peak energy use times). There are a lot of exciting possibilities, so we’ll have to see what developers come up with.

Ecobee is back with an updated, more-Nest-like version of its smart thermostat now called the Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat. Like Nest, it has built-in climate and motion sensors that will tell the Ecobee if you’re home and adjust accordingly. Unlike Nest, it has touchscreen controls, and (in addition to iOS and Android apps) a web interface where owners can delve more deeply into their home’s energy use stats.

But the main way the Ecobee could stand out from our main pick is with remote sensors (up to 32 of them) that a homeowner can put in any room that will give the thermostat even more accurate information about what’s going on in the house. That includes the temperature–it’ll optimize the temperature in rooms you happen to be in–and whether you’re home. That way if you’re in, say, a back office or bedroom, the thermostat won’t think you’re “away” just because you haven’t passed by the thermostat  in a while.

CNET says it’s “fairly intuitive” to use once you install it. But the installation has an extra step Nest doesn’t–it requires a power extender kit to be installed inside your HVAC unit to keep the thermostat powered. The Ecobee3 is $250, and two-packs of sensors are $80 apiece, so depending on big your house is and how accurate you want your thermostat, it could get pretty expensive. But we’re very interested in how far Ecobee has come and we’ll plan to try it in our next round of testing.

Quirky is hyping up its latest connected device by proclaiming the coming “death of the thermostat,” which is obviously overblown. The Norm is an $80 device that hangs on your wall (suspiciously like a thermostat, some might say) and can be controlled via the Wink mobile app. Owners can create heating and cooling schedules from the app and track a household’s energy consumption, much like the Nest, Lyric, Ecobee3 and others. The Norm, however, lacks a display, which does set it apart. We’re not hopeful it can compete with something like the Lyric or Nest, but we’ll be interested to see what the first reviews say once the Norm is released in December.

Wrapping it Up

At the end of the day, we picked the Nest not because it has the most features, or because it’s the best deal, we picked the Nest because it will make you happy. Once you’ve set it up, that’s an entire aspect of your domestic life that you no longer need to worry about — it doesn’t even need batteries. It’s exceedingly rare that futuristic products such as the Nest Thermostat come onto the market fully formed but as you can see from the glowing reviews, Nest pulled it off, then turned around and made it even better in version 2.0. It’s certainly not cheap, but it is definitely worth it.

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  1. Lindsey Turrentine, Second-gen Nest zeroes in on perfection, CNet, October 2, 2012
    Within a week of installing the first-generation Nest Learning Thermostat in my house last spring, I decided to buy my review unit rather than return it to the company. When a tech journalist pays $249 for a thermostat, you know it's a special kind of thermostat.
  2. Jacqui Cheng, A thermostat that learns? 3 months with the Nest, Ars Technica, August 2, 2012
    My personal metric for whether a home modification was a good purchase is whether I want to take it with me when I move. In this case, I do—desperately. It would be hard to go back to a "normal" thermostat after having become attached to the Nest's capabilities.
  3. Farhad Manjoo, Home Thermostats, Wallflowers No More, New York Times, December 7, 2011
    You control the device by turning a wheel on its circumference, and you engage its main button by pushing on the face. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated; once you touch it, it will be obvious how to use it.
  4. Glenn Derene, Nest Thermostat: Long-Term Gadget Test, Popular Mechanics, January, 2012
    I find myself frequently checking in on it and second-guessing its intentions. When I hear the heat kick on, I run to the Nest and examine its current setting. Do I really want the temperature to dial up to 72 degrees F? Now I’m not sure.
  5. Marco Arment, Undocumented Nest incompatibility with single-stage wiring,, December 17, 2011

Originally published: May 25, 2013

  • breedm

    I think the 3M/Filtrete Radio Thermostat at least deserves a shout-out. It’s a programmable thermostat with wifi capability for cheap! It’s far from perfect and won’t knock the Nest of it’s pedestal, but it gets your foot in the door with connectivity, and it’s got a robust API which is great for the DIY/programmers.

    • Michael Zhao

      Thanks for pointing that out. I did some digging and it looks very intriguing at that $100 price point, but it also no longer seems to be available. When I go to their website, the buy now link directs me to the Home Depot home page:

      Also, it’s only being sold at inflated prices via third party sellers on Amazon.

    • Jools

      I’ll second the Radio Thermostat; I’ve been using the 3M version for several years. It’s not a learning ‘stat, but you can edit the 7-day schedule online or in the Android/iOS apps (half the burden of programmables) and store separate “summer” and “winter” schedules. You get 4 setpoints per day. The schedule is synchronized with the cloud service, but stored locally on the thermostat in case of a connectivity failure. The company documented the REST API for writing your own control
      software on a PC on your local network, too. They even support a snap-in
      module for ZWave, if you’re into that.

      The app gives you remote setpoint/fan/heat/cool controls and reports temperature. If your phone’s on the same network as the thermostat, it talks directly to it instead of routing through their cloud service. Otherwise, the app tells you the last time it “saw” the thermostat online. I’ve used that info on vacation to figure out whether my house had power during severe weather.

      While the CT30 was rebadged by a number of companies, the current model seems to be the Radio Thermostat CT50. It’s on Amazon and

  • Phillip Levinson

    My question and I have seen a lot of this around if my system would work with Nest 1.0 is there any reason to spend 250 on the 2.0 when I could spend 190 on the original? As far as I know the original has gotten all the firmware/software updates the 2.0 has its just not as thin and the adjustment ring is a bit different.

    • Michael Zhao

      Not really. It’s a bit smaller, which is nice. Thinking in the long term though, it would probably add an extra couple years of firmware support. In general, when buying new, it’s a good idea to get the most up to date model.

      From another perspective, if you’re already spending $190 on a thermostat, an extra $60 probably isn’t too much to pay for peace of mind.

  • DonutATX


    Sorry for spamming y’all on the launch site and twitter, but I am really hoping for some information.

    Before I drop $500 on these beauties, does anyone have ANY information on their home automation road map? When can I use their software to control NEST locks, NEST sprinklers, NEST modules for lights, etc? I have asked Nest, but they are really quiet, which is vexing.


    • The Tech Whore

      Nope, just thermostats. They haven’t mentioned anything about expanding into the home automation market. It would be pretty awesome if they did.

    • DK

      This is actually the biggest problem I have with the Nest, not even mentioned in this review. Do not assume that the ability to program is coming–it’s been asked for by MANY. There are hacks to get around it (screen scraping basically), but at this point it’s deliberate that Nest has not released it.

      I will NOT be buying a Nest for this factor alone. I don’t need this system to guess when I’m away, it’s very easy for it to know with 100% when I’m on vacation and 95% accuracy for just about everything else–all because of social networking. The guess work that Nest dose now is nonsense. Sure it works for “most” but it’s inferior for others. We’ll look back at it one day and laugh.

      • Jason Rossitto

        “We’ll look back at it one day and laugh.”

        You mean like when we look back at the first iPod?


  • DK

    The auto away is more than a minor inconvenience–it’s an ideological battle ground from the Nest corporation. There are so many ways that “auto away” could be engineered in a way that it was MUCH more accurate, but because Nest has purposely not released an API for programmers to access, they’re keeping it a “closed system” and we are stuck with what Nest gave us… which is a system that we’ll laugh at one day.

    I have my meetings, work schedule, vacations in a calendar… There’s no way Nest should have to guess when I’m away. TripIt, Google, there are endless ways Nest could augment the sensor information with actual real life confirmed information that I’ve already provided. Nest is setting themselves up to be the iPhone when the Androids are chugging away with less glory.

  • Marcy Holmes

    I wonder what your opinion is about the amazon reviewers who had their unit fail and lock their heat or a/c on. That makes me a little nervous.

    • Edge Trio

      I originally purchased the 1st generation of the Nest Learning Thermostat and the only thing I didn’t like about that version was how far it protruded from the wall. On my final day for the return policy of the 1st gen model, the 2nd gen was already being advertised to be released soon. I didn’t hesitate to uninstall the 1st gen model to send it back and pre-order and wait on the 2nd gen. The 2nd gen thermostat’s profile in my opinion is perfect for the look and style I desire in my home. It makes my home appear a little more modern but not too much. The installation was easy (a video instruction can be found here – ) and it looks great just as with the 1st gen. I noticed a $35 drop in my $120 per month power bill. I have a 2200 sq/ft home w/ three bedrooms and two baths that’s occupied by only myself and my wife. My AC system is a basic single stage AC and a two stage heater and I hooked up six wires: O, R, B(C), W2, G, Y. I live in beautiful Florida and the AC runs at 82 during the day and 78 at night. I’m hoping for about the same performance if not better with the 2nd gen Nest. I’ll admit I did try to go with a programmable Honeywell thermostat which ended up not being compatible with my system while waiting on this order. So my options were to keep my pre-order with the 2nd gen Nest or keep the old thermostat from over ten years ago with no features. I’m glad to have decided to go with the 2nd generation Nest Learning Thermostat. It truly is best programmable thermostat around today.

  • Tyler Williams

    I work for a HVAC contracting company that installs HVAC system in new homes.

    More and more frequently, I am seeing homeowners replacing the thermostats that came with their homes with NEST’s, only to have the heating system in their home no longer work and requiring the original thermostat to be re-installed.

    Unfortunately, I only work in the office and don’t have a lot of HVAC knowledge or experience (so maybe someone else could get more specific) but essentially the NEST isn’t compatible with all heating systems. The problems I have seen is mostly with “zone” systems which uses dampers to allow for different heating levels to different areas of the house. From what I’ve been told by our service department, the NEST is not compatible with the Honeywell zone controller (HZ311K is the part number) that is used for the zone systems that my company installs.

    Basically, before you spend the $250 on a new thermostat, consult with an HVAC professional about whether or not the NEST will be compatible with the HVAC system in your home.

  • Todd Kuipers

    I recently took my Nest gen2 thermostat off the wall (after 11 months) and replaced with the Lux mentioned above. After months of wifi failures, and poorly timed temp regulation failures (i.e. going on vacation and having the Nest fail), I couldn’t take the risk any longer. Any device that rates wireless connectivity over temperature maintenance is kinda nuts.

    I troubleshot this thing to death (many hours spent), specifically trying everything on this forum thread (, and nothing produced reliable results. At minimum I would wait until the Nest crew fix their 3.5.1 implementation.

    That said, the Lux 9000 took me <15 minutes, from getting the package, through programming a full 7 day schedule, to hookup, to firing the furnace. Well worth the $60.

    • curationary

      Why didn’t you change to a different router, that router was not supported according to the link yo gave. Stay with popular wifi routers can help to avoid this type of compatibility headache.

      • Todd Kuipers

        A new router with the device capacity I need = $200+. A new thermostat that doesn’t change it’s compatibility on a firmware update, and has a design bias towards connectivity over battery levels when -30F isn’t unusual = $60.

        I’d prefer a house with heat than trying to match a regularly changing compatibility list. How there is a compatibility list at all is bizarre – if you’re rated to use an IEEE spec, use an IEEE spec.

  • JustinD

    Michael, do you have any information as to why Amazon has stopped stocking this themselves? For the last week and a half or so they’ve only had it from overpriced 3rd party sellers. Is there any chance that stock is low because Nest is readying a 3rd generation of the hardware?

  • Alain Tremblay

    I bought an ecobee 3 and I definitely recommend you take a look at it as an alternative to Nest. It is as smart, but more predictable (the algorithm doesn’t try to guess what you want, yet is sophisticated enough to get increased economy)

    Remote sensors are a GREAT idea.

    • tony kaye

      Consumer Reports also liked the Ecobee which also has built-in internet controllability and is versatile enough to be used with most HVAC systems. But Brian, Sweethome’s editor, had one for a while before Nest and noted the touchscreen and app was buggy/laggy and a chore to use and program. It’s also expensive. Consumer Reports liked it, even though we found it nowhere near as great as a Nest, and they gave it a 94/100. To Brian, that is, as he put it, “insane.”

      Maybe when we refresh we’ll look at the 3.

  • sophistroland

    I just purchased and installed an Ecobee Smart Si. At $140 (what I purchased it for on Amazon), I think it is a much better deal than the Nest. The Smart Si is a previous generation thermostat (around first generation Nest), but gets any updates to the web portal and app. The app and web portal were recently updated with the introduction of the Ecobee 3. When I read through a bunch of HVAC professional forums, they talk about how bad the programming is for the Nest, especially when you have a heat pump. It has much better lock out functions for your auxiliary heat and more user control, but is still a learning thermostat. It does not have a touchscreen, but I don’t plan on touching the screen. I do that in the web portal or the app. The display itself is a color LCD with the indoor and outdoor temp and pulls up the current weather for your area, but it is a small display.

    • tony kaye

      We talked about the Ecobee above

      Consumer Reports also liked the Ecobee which also has built-in internet controllability and is versatile enough to be used with most HVAC systems. But Brian, Sweethome’s editor, had one for a while before Nest and noted the touchscreen and app was buggy/laggy and a chore to use and program. It’s also expensive. Consumer Reports liked it, even though we found it nowhere near as great as a Nest, and they gave it a 94/100. To Brian, that is, as he put it, “insane.”

      I wrote just below this comment, we’ll likely take a look at the next gen model. If it’s better, it will be the top pick.