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The Nest Thermostat has become one of my favorite smart home gadgets

Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen in Heat Mode
Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen in Heat Mode (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Ever since I picked up my first Google Home in early 2017, I've been sort of addicted to making my apartment as "smart" as can be. My place is outfitted with either a Google Home or Smart Display is almost every room, the majority of my lights have Philips Hue bulbs in them, and the iRobot Roomba 690 (opens in new tab) is in charge of making sure my floors stay as clean as can be.

Among all of the smart home tech I've been picking up here and there, my favorite one so far has quickly become the Nest Learning Thermostat (opens in new tab). The latest version of the Learning Thermostat has been out for quite a while (well over 3 years, to be exact), but I just got around to installing one this past December. By nature, a thermostat shouldn't be exciting at all. However, Nest somehow managed to make the Learning Thermostat something that puts a smile on my face more often than it should.

More than anything else, the Nest Thermostat makes my life easier.

The whole purpose of smart home gadgets is to make our lives easier and more convenient, and that's something Nest really nailed on the head with the Learning Thermostat.

One of the biggest reasons the Nest has worked so well for me is that it's something that kind of just works in the background and does its own thing. I'll still walk up to the Nest and manually turn the heat up or down since that's something that's become a habit over the years, but the beauty of the gadget is that you don't need to do that. If I'm working from my office and get a little chilly, I can tell the Google Home Hub on my desk to crank the heat up a couple of degrees. Nest has learned that I usually turn the heat down to 62°F when I go to bed at night, so it does it for me. When I wake up in the morning, I find that the furnace is already turning on since Nest has learned around what time I typically get up and crank up the heat.

The Learning Thermostat obviously needs some time to study your manual usage before it gets to the point of doing these things for you, but when it does, it's pretty damn magical.

I love my Hue bulbs and Roomba, but sometimes I question if they're actually making my life easier. Am I saving time by opening an app on my phone to turn a light off when I could walk over and do it myself? Couldn't I vacuum myself and get the floor clean sooner than having a robot do it that likes to bump into literally everything? There are still benefits to this tech, but they aren't without their faults. With the Learning Thermostat, on the other hand, I've yet to question its usefulness.

Something else that's really stuck out to me over the last few months is how conscious it's made me about cutting back on energy costs whenever I can. When I was using the dumb thermostat that came pre-installed in my apartment, I got into a habit of setting at 68°F in the morning and just leaving it there all day until I went to bed. With the Nest, I'm actively making sure it's set to an Eco Temperature and only turning the heat up higher when I absolutely need to.

Not only does this give me a little sense of accomplishment seeing a bunch of Eco Leaves in my Nest app on the days when I was conserving energy, but it's also made a noticeable impact on my monthly energy bill. My apartment stays comfortable, I'm saving money each month, and I have a lot more flexibility over controlling my thermostat thanks to its companion app and tie-in with the Google Assistant.

Plus, seeing results like that with my energy usage isn't too shabby, either.

If you live in a house or apartment where you have permission to replace the thermostat, I can't recommend enough that you give the Nest a shot. It's regularly on sale, a lot of utility companies have rebate offers with them, and it'll easily pay for itself in no time at all.

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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

17 Comments
  • If someone tells me how to wire it to 2-pipe fan coil Whalen Heat/Cool unit, I will send that person $100 bucks! Seriously I will
  • Have you tried a Google search for that? I'm not being snarky. I searched right now and found some forums that may help. Just yesterday I got mine to work on an ancient millivolt system, so anything's possible.
  • Yes. I know it's possible but no one has any directions. I just don't have an extra day to spend trying to wire it without any help who can assure me that it will work. I know I need to take the unit apart and rewire it, then buy transformer/relay switches to convert everything to 24v
  • @kolyan2k are you in a condo or apartment? Just wondering. I'm thinking of getting one and I also have a fan coil unit. searched on the google, nest site to confirm and it shows all my wiring in my condo has the requirements to install a nest.
  • Condo, the unit is from 1970s and it's 120v. Called manufacturer and they said even if I wanted to install any digital thermostat I would need to take out all internals and rewire it (I can do it if I had some good directions) and then need to buy special transformers with relays to convert 120v to 24v (4 converters I believe needed, $50 each)
  • I can do it with out directions too, but spending $200 on converters, then Nest, then need to spend like half a day trying to wire it. If it doesn't work I would be super pissed and on top of it you can actually damage the system if you rewire wrong
    Would love to get find someone who done it or knows the system, so far no luck
  • check youtube. they have videos for just about everything. That was how I figured out how to wire a power adapter to the smart thermostat since there wasn't a c wire. It has worked great for around six years now.
  • One feature I like on mine is something I never thought of. I get a notification on my phone when my camera goes offline, and that is usually due to a power outage. So I know when my house doesn't have power remotely, and can make plans if it doesn't come right back on.
  • I do not like the way you can not adjust the ECO temps any way you want. BUT I have used the schedule to do the same thing and to turn off ECO. Otherwise, I like it in my home and it works as advertised.
  • I had a smart thermostat installed by my enegy company, while it is useful i do not think it really saves me a lot of money. sure it is not the nest, it is some thing I have not off before, but it works fine, it allows me to turn the heating on about 10 mins before I walk though the door.
    I pay a couple of quid extra on top of my bill per month for 3 years, which to be honest don't even pay for the unit itself never mind the fitting. so I thought ok I would go for it. Not so much to save money but to have a muck around with.
    I am pretty sure I would not have got one outright be it nest or any other.
    It is a gimmick that can be useful. i am still a bit unsure about security with it, but i can disconnect it from the net if I have problems and I can still use it as a normal thermostat. As for the nest, I know a couple of people who have had them, one of them have had 5 in the last 4 months, the thermostat itself seems to just stop working for some reason, I wonder if there is a reliability problem or just a batch. So far the one they have now is fine, his wife was ready to scrap it all and go back to a normal thermostat, at this time of year you can not afford to have problems with heating.
  • I have a house and three shops on my property. I have 4 Nest thermostats. Two are second gens and two are Nest-E. I had to use transformers to hook the to E series to the 220V heaters in two of my shops, but that was easy. My energy supplier was giving $100 rebates on all of them, so it was a no-brainer. A total of $400 off upfront!
  • I'm trying to smarten up my house, too, and I considered smart bulbs. I like the idea of being able to turn lights on or off with my phone or voice, but when I really thought about it, I realized that most of the time, it would be much quicker and easier to use the wall switch, and the remote control aspect would really be an occasional convenience. And on top of that, if you use a smart bulb, you effectively lose the use of the wall switch and can only control it remotely (If you turn off the switch, the bulb will not have power and loses its WiFi connection, so no remote control possible). For this reason, I opted for smart wall switches. It's really the best of both worlds. 90% percent of the time, I just hit the wall switch as I normally would. But for those times when my hands are full or I forgot to turn off a light in another room, I can just tell Google to do it. And I can still use cheap dumb bulbs, so if one burns out, it's a 50 cent replacement. I'm very happy with this setup.
  • Love my Eufy Robovac, esp the way it just cleans away whilst I'm at work. Never quite got the concept of Nest as I never adjust the thermostat in the hall! I have the central heating set to go on and off as usual then each radiator has an individual thermostat anyway.
  • Curious, do you have both central heat/air? I've been wondering if it's worth it to get a Nest in New England if it will only be used in the Winter because I don't have central air.
  • Yep returned 2 nests for 2 ecobees with remote sensors. Really happy I did, the units are much simpler to program and the remote sensors are necessary is a large home. The nest and ecobee are similar otherwise I find.
  • you have to watch those smart thermostats. the one I have I got before alexa came out but since then, it became compatible with it. it is too easy to make adjustments by voice and if not careful, any savings you gain could be lost real quick. That actually happened to me when I got my electric bill a couple of months ago. kinda got carried away with being too comfortable. used to be too lazy to get out of the recliner and change the setting on the thermostat but using voice commands means you can stay in the recliner.
  • See, me? I feel differently.
    I purchased one for my mother in Minnesota as a Christmas present and installed it with no problem after passing the preliminary test to see if the house was compatible.
    It worked great for the first month. Then, with the temperatures dropping into -20° to -40°F, an error popped on the screen and it forced the furnace to shut off. I looked up the error code and it said the way to fix it was to add a dedicated power wire to run to the unit. I'm thinking "huh?" So much for that "easy installation" I was promised.
    Rather than risking the unit fail again for some other unknown reason and turn my mother into a popsicle, I decided to uninstall it and return it. I just can't trust it.