The Nest Thermostat is to home heating and cooling what the smartphone is to the rotary telephone. In 2010, a couple of former Apple engineers — Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers — formed Nest Labs. The goal? Make a home thermostat that didn't suck, could save you money, and be something that you would actually want to stick to your wall. In 2011, the Nest Learning Thermostat, the first of the company's products, was born.

Nest is a simple but brilliant thermostat

At its core, the Nest Thermostat is, as the name implies, a home thermostat. It toggles the heating and cooling in your home. If you're cold, you turn the heat up. If you're hot, you turn the air up. But Nests's real power comes from its connectivity. Nest ties into your home Wifi to connect to the Internet, as well as your mobile devices — and even other Nest devices in your home.

Like so many good products — and especially first-generation tech products — Nest isn't cheap. At launch, Nest was rightly compared to the iPhone. Nest was simple. Nest was beautifully designed. Nest did things in a way so that you weren't starting from scratch, that you didn't have to relearn how to heat and cool your home. Really, the only hurdles for purchasing a Nest Product were the underlying heating and cooling equipment, not being afraid to do some minor electrical work, and the ability to shell out the $249 for a single thermostat. Like we said — the Nest Thermostat isn't cheap.

Owning a smartphone isn't a requirement for owning a Nest Thermostat, though it does make the experience more enjoyable, and certainly more flexible. Nest works with Android smartphones and tablets as well as with iOS devices — the iPhone and iPad. But you also can control it remotely via a web browser. The Nest Thermostat is smart enough to talk to other Nests in your home. If you've given it your ZIP Code in setup, your NEST Thermostat will know your rough location and know what the weather is like. Nest also pays attention — learns, really — your habits. Do you like it warm at night while you sleep? It'll help find the right temperature setting. Are you gone all day but forget to turn down the heat? Nest will learn that, too, and adjust to an "away" status. It'll recognize when you return home and wake things up again.

Or, our favorite, is when you use Nest to remotely turn on the heat or air on the way home, arriving and a perfectly comfortable house.

In addition to the Nest Thermostat, Nest Labs also has also released a $129 combination smoke/carbon monoxide detector, dubbed the Nest Protect.

In January 2014, Google announced it would purchase Nest Labs for $3.2 billion, and the deal was closed a few weeks later.

Where to purchase a Nest Thermostat

You can purchase a Nest Thermostat at:

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.