Review: Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd gen


Table of Contents

Erin Lawrence

Erin Lawrence

Nest learning thermostat, how to, review, worth it

The Nest Learning Thermostat has been making waves in the smart home technology sector since 2012. Now owned by Google and onto its 3rd generation, the newest model adds a few additional features that may make the expensive thermostat worthwhile for you. This is everything you need to know about the third generation Nest Learning Thermostat.

Is a Nest Learning Thermostat Worth It? Read & Watch the review:

Nest Learning Thermostat: What’s in the box

Inside the Nest Learning Thermostat box, you get the thermostat itself, which is a sleek looking circular faceplate with the brains inside, plus the base where your wires will go into. There’s a few of options for wall mounting it, and screws and a screwdriver are part of the package.

Nest learning thermostat, how to, review, worth it

Installing the Nest Learning Thermostat

I’ve tried to install A LOT of smart thermostats in my home. I’ve only had success with one: this one. My house and my furnace are older and use a 2-wire connection which is not compatible with a lot of newer smart thermostats. The Nest is the only one I’ve been able to successfully hook up.

Following the instructions in the Nest app, the installation is really simple; all you need to do is note where your wires are connected into your current thermostat, and copy that to the Nest thermostat base. With your wires connected, just click the faceplace into place and it will start up. I had mine installed in about 5 minutes.

Nest learning thermostat, how to, review, worth it

 Nest Learning Thermostat Promises

One of the reasons why the Nest thermostat has become popular is its Auto-Schedule feature that learns your daily cooling and heating routines and then makes a schedule for you. You’re able to make adjustments if it’s not ideal, but it’s great for folks who want to leave their thermostat on auto without having to fiddle with the temperature.

If you want to save some energy, set the thermostat to turn down overnight, then come on shortly before you wake. If you’re going to be away for a stretch, you can also lower the temperature. The great thing about Nest is that even if you forget to turn the thermostat down before you leave, you can adjust it from anywhere inside the Nest app.

Smart connectivity and voice control

Nest learning thermostat, how to, review, worth it

If you have other Nest Devices like the Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor security camera or the Nest Protect smoke/CO alarm, the Nest Learning Thermostat can automatically communicate with them. Take things a step further if you want. Create a movie watching routine where it turns the heat up a notch, adjusts your smart lights, and turns on the popcorn maker.

How Nest Thermostat Works

While you can control every facet of the Nest Learning Thermostat using the app, there’s also on-device controls. Using the outer ring you can adjust temperature or change settings too.

As the name hints, the Nest Learning Thermostat learns about your house and your habits and can help you save money on energy costs. In its learning period, it takes note of when you hike or lower the temperature or when people are home or away. That data  optimizes your energy use, keeping you at a comfortable temperature when you need it, and adjusting for lower energy use when you don’t.

What’s the Nest leaf all about?

How will you know how well you’re doing? When you see a green leaf shown on the device, you’re at an energy-saving temperature level.

You can also keep track of your past energy usages through the Nest Home Report that is sent to you each month.

Unique Features of Nest Learning Thermostat

Using Safety Mode to prevent frozen pipes

One of the main reasons I need this device is for the Safety Mode feature. As a constant traveler, I’ve come home twice to a dead furnace in winter. I’m glad that didn’t lead to pipes freezing, but I probably won’t be that fortunate in the future.

Safety Mode will activate the even if it’s set to off, before it goes below a pre-set temperature and this can keep your pipes from freezing.

You’ll get a push notification and once temperatures return to normal levels, another notification will let you know.

Nest learning thermostat, how to, review, worth itHome & Away + Eco Mode

The third generation of the Nest Learning Thermostat is an improvement from previous models.

It’s always had the Home/Away feature, which uses motion sensors to detect whether you are still in the home. If you’re away, it will switch to Eco mode, helping you to conserve energy.

In previous generations, the sensor might not be able to detect you if you’re in other parts of the house, causing the system to switch to Eco mode automatically while you’re still home. But, this new model uses geofencing to sense if you and your phone are home. Once you leave with the connected phone, it switches to Away mode.

Furnace Heads-Up

Furnace Heads-up is a new feature that helps you keep track of your furnace’s power cycles. If there are any abnormalities, the Nest alerts you of the system issues.


This feature changes how the device wakes up. In previous models, you had to be directly in front of the device for it to wake up. Now, it will wake up as soon as you enter the room.


With the time-to-temp feature, the Nest Learning Thermostat will tell you how long it will take to get to your home to your desired temperature.

Sunblock feature

If your Nest is located in a place that gets a lot of direct sunlight, it won’t interfere anymore with the temperature settings. The Nest uses what’s called the Sunblock feature to prevent the system from turning on or off due to the heat from ambient sunlight.

Set filter reminders

Filter Reminders can help you keep track of when to change your system’s air filter.

Other thermostats have filter alerts that will remind you at set times: for instance, once a month, every six months or once a year.

Nest thermostats use how often your system runs to estimate when you need a Filter Reminder. So if you don’t turn cooling on much in the summer, you may go months without a reminder from your Nest thermostat. But if it’s a very cold winter and the heating runs a lot, you may get reminders more often.

Nest learning thermostat, how to, review, worth itEach time you change your system’s air filter, you should reset Filter Reminders so your thermostat will know when to send the next one.

Filter Reminders are not on by default, but you can turn reminders on with the Nest app or the thermostat.And by the way, filter Reminders will appear on your Nest thermostat’s screen, but not in the app.

How to control Nest with voice

Nest Learning thermostat works with Google or Alexa digital voice control. Just say things like, “Alexa, what’s the temperature in “thermostat name”? or “Set thermostat to 19 degrees.” I found the digital assistant compatibility worked very well and made it easy to make adjustments without getting up.

Adjust display preferences

Plus, on the Nest device, the screen display can be set to the current or target temperature, the weather, a clock, or be off.

Results: can you see energy savings?

To the nitty gritty: what have I noticed after several weeks using the Nest Learning Thermostat in my home? To be honest, not a lot yet.

In reality, a Nest Thermostat is a long term play for most homeowners. You’re not going to see dramatic energy savings in a week or even a month. Over a year, maybe. A couple of years, definitley, it will add up.

But there are a lot of other great reasons a Nest Learning Thermostat is a smart play: the Safety Mode is a huge one. The automatic adjustments and Eco Mode mean you don’t have to nitpick your heating and cooling. Plus the ability to remotely access the Nest Learning Thermostat is a big bonus.

Nest learning thermostat, how to, review, worth it

Overall review: Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat third generation is a small step up from previous generations. With improvements like geo-fencing in the Home/Away feature, Safety Mode to keep pipes from freezing, and energy reports, you can keep tabs on youre energy use more effectively or let the Nest do its thing!

I found it really easy to set up and worked where no other smart thermostat has in my home. I can’t really find any cons to the Nest Learning Thermostat. I imagine some people will complain that the price is too high, and they may be right. It will take you years before this gadget pays for itself—though if it’s able to alert you just once about a potential freeze in the house for example, it will likely pay for itself in deductible money.

Overall, I’m really glad to have a Nest Learning thermostat I my house. It feels like a solid insurance policy and one that should pay big dividends in the long run. I’ll have to report back in a year or two on overall energy savings.

Shop Nest Learning Thermostat at Best Buy the Google Store, or find one on Amazon:

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Erin Lawrence

Erin Lawrence

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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