Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation Review

Thermostats are as old as air conditioning. Even though most people with HVAC understand the benefits of installing a thermostat, the recent shift to home automation and connectivity has given birth to a new set of smart thermostats that not only make your home more comfortable but also more energy efficient. Today I am doing a detailed review of the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd generation  and hopefully, I will answer all your questions about this smart knob-like thermostat.

What is the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation?

The Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd generation comes from Nest Labs, an automation company formed by former Apple engineers, Tony Fadell, and Matt Rogers. The company’s maiden success led to the acquisition by Google that has given it room to grow into the extremely impressive product it is. This, among many other reasons, has led to its fame and reliability.

nest smart thermostatDesign and Appearance

If you are sentimental and cherish your knob thermostat, you will find the Nest quite fulfilling. The smooth bezel and bright digital screen form the perfect marriage of yesterday’s analog thermostats with modern smart thermostat look.

A motion sensor lights it up when you pass by, and you can read the current temperature without pressing any buttons. The backlight is also as expressional as the intuitive design. The Nest learning thermostat 3rd generation will light up blue when running on ‘cool’ mode, give a warm orange glow when you are warming up and a black background with white text when it is running on idle.

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How to install Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation

If you had another thermostat, this would be easy as removing the old unit, threading the wires right and screwing the nest into place. It even comes with a free screwdriver to help you achieve this.

If your system had no C-Wire, you have two options

  • You can run the Nest on the lithium ion battery
  • Use the power extender kit to run your own C-Wire.

You can also check out how to wire a wifi thermostat without a c wire here.

Even though this 3rd generation Nest is compatible with up to 95% of the AC systems, it won’t do you any harm to run a compatibility test before buying. You can find the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd generation.

If you are good to go, you will find that the thermostat will pick up and adapt to your system quite efficiently unlike other thermostats that have you disclose your HVAC system during the configuration run.

Notable Features

A thermostat that can learn

Nest’s selling point is the learning feature. Well, in my opinion, this feature deserves all the hype and glamor. A programmable thermostat is good at saving money – if you are patient enough to create the right schedule for your week. Nest’s learning capabilities do away with the need to meticulously schedule the different temperatures for different times.

nest thermostat main features

It might take time, but the Nest will learn that you like your house at 70degrees in the early evening of the weekdays, and you are always away on the weekends. All you have to do is fiddle with the settings for a whole week and let it learn your schedule.

The most interesting thing is that you can make a one-time change without confusing the entire system. If you are in one Saturday and want the AC on, choosing 70 degrees won’t make the smart thermostat unlearn that you are normally away on Saturdays. You will have to be home for two or three Saturdays to achieve this.

Like any form of intelligence, it takes some time to gather fact and act on them. Don’t waste your time benchmarking and complaining about how inaccurate the Nest has been in the first few days. Just give it time to learn your schedule and you’ll love the convenience.

A power saving auto away option

You can use the Auto-Away feature to put the HVAC in a lull whenever no one passes by for the next two hours. This is quite efficient if the thermostat is in the hallways and you are quite the busy house. This feature frustrated me when I sat down for a Star Wars Saga marathon only to come about to a cold far, far away galaxy five hours later.

No problem though, you could skip this anti-lazy feature and let the thermostat use Auto-Away at the time it thinks you are away. If you always leave for work at 8.00AM, the nest learning thermostat 3rd generation will go on away mode a couple of minutes after 8.00AM and wake just before you get back home.

The green leaf

nest leaf systemWell, it’s hard to explain this, all I know is the green leaf kicks on when you are saving energy. If you would like to find out more, head over to  Nest Labs’ official explanation. You can monitor your energy savings and your entire power consumption using the Nest thermostat app.

Speaking of the Wi-Fi App…

Think of the App as an extension that lets you control and monitor your home from a distance. You can send commands straight to the thermostat from the Android, iOS or PC application and set the conditions right whenever you think the thermostat’s intelligence isn’t up to the task.

You can use the app to:

  • Change the current temperature
  • Edit your entire schedule
  • Check your energy consumption history
  • Receive monthly reports with tips on how to better your energy saving

The Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t just a cool feature that makes the Nest futuristic and accessible over the web. It means that you will never have to worry about software updates since the manufacturer can push them over the internet. Google are good at software updates, expect to benefit a lot from these.

You needn’t worry about hackers hijacking your HVAC. The Nest uses secure connections that are fully encrypted and private. Remember to choose and change your pin often and always associate it with an email address for recovery – just in case you forget it.

The Nest 1st Generation, 2nd Generation or 3rd Generation

You might be torn between saving money on the first or second generation Nest or just going with the latest. Well, here are the facts. The first generation Nest is rare to come by now – unless you are buying second hand or from the few remaining sellers who still have them. You can check out a couple of these at Amazon.

The second and third generation Nest learning thermostats are more common. I’d advise you to go for the latest as you will not only be buying the best hardware but also maximum support. This doesn’t mean first and second generation buyers are lost. You will still be receiving software updates.

I, however, think it would be better to pay the extra $50 or so for the third generation Nest.

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Three Reasons Why You Should Buy the 3rd Generation Nest

  1. It is slimmer than the first-generation and has a 40% larger screen than the second generation Nest.
  2. You can either use AA batteries to run the thermostat or run a C-Wire to avoid the agony of swapping batteries
  3. A FarSight sensor makes it more sensitive. It will detect motion in an up to 20 feet radius

nest thermostats save energy

So, are You Decided?

If you’ve come this far, you must be serious about buying that smart thermostat. The Nest learning thermostat 3rd generation will give you something smart and beautiful that you can still control by twisting and pushing a knob. How cool? Couple this with its learning ability and you have the ultimate thermostat for your busy schedule.

If you can’t make your decision, you can check out my thermostat comparison page or head over to my top picks to get an idea of what other thermostats are on the market.

If you think this detailed review was all you needed, why no head over to Amazon and make it happen. You can either buy the third generation here or save some bucks on the second generation Nest here.

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