Nest makes easy-to-install and easy-to-use smart thermostats, and both the 3rd-generation model and the Nest E are current products that work great. They both work for almost every type of HVAC system and can even control a water boiler for steam heat or hot water. The differences are more than just cosmetic, though.
Nest 3rd Generation vs. Nest E Price and availability
The Nest Learning 3rd Generation is the most capable smart thermostat under the Google Nest brand, and as such, it comes with the highest price. You'll spend at least $249 for the Nest Learning (3rd Gen), though given its age, it isn't uncommon to find it on sale for less.
As for the Nest E, it has a substantially lower retail price of $169. It's also been known to get its fair share of sales and discounts, meaning you could scoop it up for an even lower cost.
Both thermostats are readily available at major retailers across the U.S., so finding one to buy shouldn't be difficult at all.
Nest 3rd Generation vs. Nest E Get smart and save money
The major difference you need to know is that the Nest E doesn't support Nest's Farsight tech. It's the feature that can sense you walking in the door, will wake up the thermostat, and can override any energy-saving settings you might have programmed for the times you're not home. That way, the thermostat can change the temperature of your home to your preferred settings even if it didn't expect you to be home. The Nest E does have a proximity and occupancy sensor, but it's not quite the same and doesn't work nearly as well.
|Nest Learning (3rd Gen)||Nest E|
|Dimensions||Diameter 3.3 inches
Depth 1.1 inches
|Diameter 3.3 inches
Depth 1.14 inches
480 x 480 px
320 x 320 px
Time to Temperature
Heat Pump Balance
Water / Boiler control
Time to Temperature
Heat Pump Balance
Water / Boiler control
|Trim Ring||Polished metal||Polycarbonate|
If you want a simple-to-install and use a smart thermostat that will save you money on your heating and cooling bills, Nest has you covered. Both models are compatible with most HVAC systems, and a combination of the Nest App and your favorite Smart Home Assistant will keep you comfortable while saving potentially hundreds every year.
Three main differences matter between the Nest Learning (3rd Gen) and the Nest E: the look of the unit itself, the number of HVAC systems they are compatible with, and support for Nest's Farsight tech. The first is readily apparent; the Nest E comes in a white polycarbonate shell. It doesn't have any other color options. If you're really particular about your thermostat having a specific look, you might be happier with the Nest Learning (3rd Gen), which has seven color options.
The Nest E's display is also smaller and thus gives less information at a glance than the more expensive Nest Learning (3rd Gen). Though it's worth mentioning that a field-of-view effect makes the Nest E's display look like part of the unit and not a screen, which is a nice touch.
Nest Learning's Farsight knows when you are home and adjusts the target temperature as needed.
Second, Farsight is a Nest feature that's designed to let you know what's going on from across the room. Most people love it for one reason — when they come home, they can see that the Nest knows they are home, has adjusted the target temperature (if needed), and has an indicator that says everything is working as expected. The Nest E lacks Farsight and doesn't have the sensor required to adjust the temperature like that.
This isn't a dealbreaker, though. The Nest E does have proximity and occupancy sensors that tell it someone is at home, so it too can make adjustments. The thing is, you just don't know it from across the room — you'll have to walk over and check or use the app on your phone.
Farsight is a nifty feature, but it isn't absolutely necessary. The Nest Learning's better display and a broader selection of colors might be, however. Your home is an investment and matching any decor is often worth some added costs.
Lastly, the Nest Learning Thermostat works with 95% of 24V heating and cooling systems, while the Nest E only works with 85% of systems. The compatibility level is high for both units. However, depending on what you have in your home, you might only be able to use the Nest Learning (3rd Gen).
Both units use Wi-Fi and can be controlled with an app. You can even set them up with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to initiate voice controls. One final thing to know about both models is that they both lack support for Apple Homekit. If you're using Homekit as your smart home platform of choice, you'll need to go with an Ecobee, which is also an excellent choice.
Nest 3rd Generation vs. Nest E In the end
The Nest Learning (3rd Gen) offers more conveniences and works with a larger range of heating and cooling systems. It can sense that you're home from across the room and changes the temperatures to match your preferences. It even has seven different colors to choose from, so you can pick one that matches your home decor. Overall this is the best pick, especially for those that prefer all of the bells and whistles.
All the conveniences
The Nest flagship
The latest Nest Learning Thermostat works with almost every type of HVAC system, has a display that's readable from across the room, and supports Farsight to help save money by knowing when you're home. It might be too expensive for some, however.
Nest's best value
The Nest E is the least expensive model from the company and does almost everything the pricier models can. It does lack Farsight, and the display is pretty basic, though. It also doesn't work with as many HVAC systems.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Secure your home with these SmartThings doorbells and locks
One of the best things about SmartThings is that you can use a slew of other third-party devices on your system, doorbells and locks included. Since they all essentially share the same SmartThings support, we've focused on which devices have the best specs and tricks to justify adding them to your SmartThings arsenal.
These accessories will upgrade your Blink cameras' security potential
Blink cameras are an affordable way to self-monitor your home, but they won't reach their full potential on their own. These accessories will help you install your cams more easily, enable local storage, improve your battery life, and even disguise them so they can't be spotted easily.
No need to spend $200 on a Nest cam with these affordable alternatives
Nest makes great connected cameras, but they can be expensive, and these days it's easy to find similarly simple security systems for much less.