Nest Learning Thermostat Review 2020

This thermostat is excellent for Google enthusiasts but not our top choice overall.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Compatible with other Nest products
Auto-schedules
No motion detection in sensors

So many users love the Nest Learning Thermostat. While we like this one, we see it more as the best Google Nest–lover’s thermostat than the best thermostat on the market, period. It’s also terrific if you live by a consistent, clockwork-like schedule. But if you want something more flexible or would like the best remote sensors available, we’d recommend something else.

We’ve got more to say if you’re ready to jump on in.

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Nest Learning Thermostat reviews
Many Nest Learning Thermostat reviews date back to when the product was first released. This newer review includes some product updates you may not see in other places.
Nest Learning Thermostat price and details
ProductPriceLearn more
Nest Learning Thermostat$249.00View on Amazon

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 08/28/2020 11:00 MST) Full disclaimer

Nest Learning Thermostat features

This smart thermostat is best with consistent schedules.

Nest thermostat on wall

Do you live by the clock? Then you’ll get along great with a Nest Learning Thermostat. This programmable thermostat “learns” your schedule, so the more consistent it is, the easier it will be for your thermostat to keep up.

If your schedule varies a lot, it’ll be harder for the thermostat to follow. You’ll spend more time making manual adjustments. Or you can turn the Auto-Schedule setting off if you don’t want the learning part of this smart thermostat.

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Current temperature
A major complaint reviewers had about this Nest thermostat in the past: it didn’t display the current temperature. Since the product’s release, the current temperature has been added to the screen. It’s shown as a tiny number on the side, though. The big number onscreen is the target temperature your thermostat is trying to reach.

Here are some other Nest features we love in this thermostat.

Geofencing

You can use the Home/Away feature to adjust the temperature when you leave home. It’ll track your phone and change the settings when you’re out of the house to save you money on heating and cooling. And when it sees you’re headed back, it’ll adjust again so that everything is as you like it when you walk through the door.

Add up to 10 family members to the Nest Learning Thermostat settings.

You can add up to 10 family members to the Nest Learning Thermostat settings. That way, the thermostat will use geofencing to wait until everyone is out of the home to drop or raise the temperature.

Color customization

You can choose from multiple colors for the outer ring of your thermostat. Pick from any of these options:

  • White
  • Black
  • Mirror black
  • Stainless steel
  • Polished steel
  • Copper
  • Brass

The Nest Learning is fairly nice-looking, as far as thermostats go, and it’s fun to customize the ring to match your home’s decor.

Other features

The Nest Learning Thermostat has a crazy amount of modes and settings. Here are a few you might be interested in.

Nest Learning Thermostat settings:

  • Eco Mode: can save you energy by adjusting settings when you’re away from your house
  • Furnace Heads-Up: detects problems with your air heating system
  • Farsight: shows you helpful info like the weather, time, or date (only available in 3rd gen thermostats)
  • Time-to-Temperature: shows you how long it will take for your home to reach a new temperature
  • Sunblock: ignores/compensates for direct sunlight shining on your thermostat when taking the temperature
  • Seasonal Savings: saves you energy and money during the winter and summer through efficiency adjustments

Some of the settings and features cross over; they do similar things. In spite of our research, we aren’t always sure where one feature ends and another takes over.

Nest Learning Thermostat pricing

This thermostat costs a pretty penny, though it can potentially save you $ on heating and cooling.

This thermostat typically costs about $249.00* on the Google Store and Amazon.com. That’s a little bit more than we like to see for a thermostat.

Happily, you don’t have to pay for a subscription to use the cool features. And the smart settings on the thermostat can potentially save you money on your energy bill. That means that, if used correctly, the Nest Learning Thermostat can pay for itself over time.

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Google Nest Thermostat E
If you want a Nest smart thermostat, the Nest Learning isn’t your only choice. The Nest Thermostat E is similar to the regular Learning Thermostat. But the Nest E is cheaper, looks a little different, and won’t work with as many heating and cooling systems as the non-E version. It doesn’t have Farsight either.

View on Amazon

Sensors

Your thermostat will pick up the temperature (and any human movement) in the room in which it’s placed.

Nest Learning Thermostat Sensor

If you want to monitor the exact temperature in other rooms, you need to buy Nest Temperature Sensors. These sensors run at about $39* apiece. They detect the temperature in whatever room you place them and relay that info back to the thermostat itself.

Unfortunately, the sensors don’t have motion or occupancy detectors. They can’t tell if someone’s in the room or pick up on your movement to help the thermostat learn your schedule. So if you want more motion sensors, you need to get more thermostats. That’s a lot of moolah.

Nest left out an important remote sensor feature.

Overall, we’re surprised that Nest left out this important remote sensor feature—especially considering that its competitor, Ecobee, includes it.

*Amazon.com List Prices (as of 08/28/2020 11:00 MST)

Nest Learning Thermostat home automation

The connectivity on this smart thermostat is average.

This thermostat works with Google Assistant–controlled products, although it doesn’t have a built-in voice assistant like other thermostats we’ve seen. It also works with Amazon Alexa through the Nest Thermostat Alexa skill.

It doesn’t work with Apple HomeKit, though, so if you’re all about that Apple smart home, this thermostat won’t fit into your dreams. The Nest Learning Thermostat also doesn’t support Zigbee or Z-Wave.

App

You don’t have to use the physical thermostat interface to control your home temperature. In fact, you must use the Nest app for some thermostat functions.

In the past, users said that the app layout was so different from the thermostat face, it was confusing. But it looks like the app is now more in line with the physical thermostat for a more seamless experience.

Nest Learning Thermostat installation

You can install this Nest product on your own, but it’s not easy.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is, theoretically, self-installable. It even comes with a screwdriver to make setup as easy as possible.

However, an HVAC system can be complicated, and we’ve heard from a lot of people that this thermostat isn’t easy to wire. You also have to remove your old thermostat, which can be a pain.

Unless you have previous experience with heating and cooling controls, we suggest hiring a professional. (Google can help you find an installer through a service called Nest Pro.)

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C wire
The Nest Learning battery is supposed to pull power from existing wiring. You shouldn’t need a C wire, but according to Nest, there are exceptions.

If you do install it yourself, know that entering the account password is tedious: you’ll turn the outer ring to spell it letter by letter.

Recap: Is the Nest Learning Thermostat good?

This thermostat is our top choice for a Google-connected home or a very structured life.

If your home is already connected with Google and Nest products, or if you have a set schedule, this thermostat will be easy to link to and use. But if you’re an Alexa buff or lead a more flexible life, another thermostat (like the Ecobee) might suit you better—especially if you want the best remote sensors money can buy.

To learn more about our thoughts on thermostats, check out our review of the best smart thermostats.

To see more Google Nest products, check out our reviews of Nest Protect and Nest Secure.

Is your house ready for a Nest Learning Thermostat?

To connect with your thermostat, you need a good internet connection and data plan.

Recommended internet plans

Here are some of our favorite internet plans for smart home use. The more Google Nest (or another brand) smart products you have, the more download speed you’ll need.

Recommended internet plans for smart thermostats
ServicePlanPriceDownload speedDetails
Verizon Internet - Fios GigInternet 400/400$59.99/mo.*400 MbpsView Plans
AT&T FiberInternet 1000$60/mo.940 MbpsView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip charges
for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip. fee. $10/mo equip. fee applies

Recommended mobile plans

A smart thermostat without its app is nothing. To stay connected to your thermostat even when you’re away, you’ll want a good phone plan with enough data.

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