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The 2 Smart Thermostats Nest offers - which one should you get?

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

Nest has introduced more than a dozen smart devices over the last decade. This includes video doors, smart speaker, displays, and routers. It really changed the status quo, especially when it comes to the smart thermostats Nest offers.

The smart thermostats Nest has created are available online and this article will go through both of them to help you make a choice between the two.

  1. The Nest Learning Thermostat

  2. The Nest Thermostat

So how do you pick between the two? Let's dig a little deeper and see how you could make that choice. Quick sidenote: there's actually a third Nest Smart Thermostat that is jut like the Nest Learning Thermostat, but with a toned down exterior and a slightly smaller price tag. Check out the Nest E Thermostat.

Before making your final decision, we strongly recommend going through Google's compatibility guide to make sure that the thermostat you picked will be compatible with your home.

Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Thermostat


Learning features and Auto-Schedule

Flexible schedule with Savings Finder


High-resolution with Farsight



Available in multiple metal finishes

Available in multiple metal colors


Works with 95% of systems

Works with 85% of systems

A Premium Smart Thermostat - Nest Thermostat Learning

The Nest Learning Thermostat, the premium smart thermostat from Google, is available for $248 and features a metal band and high-resolution display.

The thermostat's traditional turn dial design allows you to navigate between the settings. You can also press down on it to make a selection. Although it's simple to use, the Nest Thermostat's side controls feel a little more intuitive. (more information in the next section).

This model can be set up using the Nest app, and it can also be controlled from the Google Home App. The Nest Thermostat is compatible with the Google Home app and can also be controlled via voice commands through Alexa and Google Assistant.

The Learning Thermostat comes in seven color options: mirror black, stainless steel, brass, polished, white, black, and copper. If you need to paint or cover old holes, the included trim kit will help.

The high-resolution display features Farsight, which shows weather information and temperature at the time it detects you. This model has a learning algorithm that adapts to your life and makes adjustments for you, ensuring that you are comfortable while also optimizing your energy consumption.

A proximity sensor can be deployed as well and is used to determine whether you are at home or away. Additionally, you could add a Nest temperature sensor to each room that relays the temperature information of that room back to the thermostat and further optimizes its functionality.

Check out the Nest E Thermostat for the same features with a slightly smaller price tag and a slightly simpler look and feel.

A Great Budget Smart Thermostat - Nest Thermostat

The Nest Thermostat is the same shape as the Learning Thermostat and can be used with compatible smart speakers or displays (sold separately).

Google has removed the turn dial from the Nest Thermostat. The new Nest Thermostat now has a touch control strip to adjust the temperature or change settings.

This update is significant, but we wish there were controls on both the right-hand and left sides so we lefties could use it more easily. The controls are still intuitive and responsive and vastly improved on the old turn dial approach.

This model is made of plastic and has a mirror finish. It also comes with different color options than the Learning Thermostat discussed above. It's available in snow (white), sand (rose gold), fog (light greenish/blueish-grey) and charcoal (dark gray). Matching trim kits are available separately and cost about $14 each.

This trim kit doesn't fit with the Nest Temperature Sensor accessory. This thermostat also lacks the high-resolution display and "Farsight", features that are offered by the Nest Learning Thermostat.

The Nest Thermostat was the first thermostat from the company that did not work with the Nest App (the original Nest app that still contains some legacy products such as the Nest Learning Thermostat).

This model cannot be set up or controlled via the Google Home app. It won't also learn your schedule and adjust accordingly. You can set up a program, and it will automatically switch between home or away modes based on the thermostat's proximity sensor.

Overall, this is the budget smart thermostat Nest offers and does all the basics without the additional intelligence that the Learning model offers.

4 Best Nest Learning Thermostat Features You Should Use

The Nest Learning Thermostat is a standard in smart homes for a long time. You may not realize how powerful this tiny gadget is.

Although the Nest thermostat is well-known, not many people are maximizing its potential. Let's see how to get the best out of your Nest thermostat.

1. Nest Thermostat Voice Control with Amazon Alexa

The Nest Learning Thermostat, a Google product is guaranteed to work with Google Home voice control. Did you know you can control your Nest thermostat using Amazon Alexa too?

You don't need to purchase new smart assistants because your thermostat has been changed by Alexa. Don't fret about compatibility if a Nest is purchased but you only have Amazon Echo devices scattered throughout your home.

How to set up Alexa with Nest

If you don't have the Amazon Alexa or Google Home apps, you will need them. After you have these apps installed, open Alexa. Tap Devices at the bottom of your screen. Tap + in the upper right corner. Next, enter Nest in the search box.

The prompt for Google Nest Thermostat should appear on your screen. Tap it. You will see a screen asking you to set up your Nest device using the Google Home app. You can tap the blue Continue icon at the bottom of this screen if you have already done so.

This will take you to the Google Nest skill. Click Allow To Use. You will need to connect your Google account to the skill and give it permissions. To do so, click the sliding button to the right of turn on access for your home's information.

Next, under Select devices that can be connected to Amazon Alexa tap the sliding button that reads Allow Amazon Alexa access, control, and use your thermostat data. Tap Next.

Sign in to Google and you will be linked to your Google account.

To find the thermostat, tap Discover Devices after this step is completed. Next, tap Setup Device. You can add your Nest to a Group by clicking here. If you don't want to use it, skip it.

Click Continue to see a screen indicating that your thermostat has been linked. You can change the temperature setting by saying "Alexa, raise it by 2 degrees."

2. The Nest "Fan Wire Trick"

This tip may be useful if your Nest thermostat has power problems but does not have a common wire. Most Nest thermostats have a fan wire that is used for recirculation.

Many people do not use the recirculate function when using their thermostats. The fan automatically turns on when the heat or AC is on.

If you do this, you can switch your "fan" wire from a green wire to a "common" wire. If your Nest is experiencing low voltage or battery problems, this will allow you to give it a little more power. If the AC or heat is on, the fan functionality will be lost if the fan wire is moved.

How to do the fan wire trick

Turn off the thermostat's power at the breaker. It's essential as you will be dealing with 120V home current. If you attempt to disconnect or connect wires, this current can cause serious injury if it is not shut off first.

Once you are certain that this is done, take the Nest thermostat off the wall plate. Locate the wire that connects to the Nest's "G" terminal. This wire is typically green but may be different depending on where you live.

Next, locate the control board for your furnace. You should also ensure that the HVAC system is turned off at this breaker. You will find the Nest mounting plate wires labeled similarly on the control board.

The wire attached to the "G" terminal should be moved to the "C".

After that, you can turn the power off and check that it worked.

Navigate to your Nest thermostat settings and locate the Equipment Tab. You can view which terminals have been connected by opening the Equipment tab. You are ready if a connection is indicated at terminal C.

There are many other methods to accomplish this. Our trick is simpler and does not require you to buy any additional items.

3. Advanced Settings: Save Money and Energy

Sunblock is recommended for Nest Thermostats that are exposed to direct sunlight.

Sunblock is for thermostats that are in direct sunlight during the day. A thermostat located near a sunny window will likely be a few degrees warmer than other rooms in the house.

The Nest will adjust your temperature accordingly if the reading is incorrect. The Sunblock feature can be enabled in the Nest app's settings to adjust for temperature differences and maintain the correct temperature.

Open your Nest app and tap Sunblock. Then, use the slider to activate the feature.

Airwave can be used to recirculate cool air from your fan

Airwave switches off your AC compressor and leaves your fan running. Airwave allows cool air to circulate throughout your home, without the need for additional power consumption from your AC compressor.

The compressor is the AC component that consumes the most energy. You will spend less energy if you consume less. To activate this feature, open Settings and tap Airwave. Next, tap the slider to activate it.

4. Use Home/Away Assistance

Nest thermostats have a Home/Away Assist function, which is one of the best features. Nest's motion-sensing technology is integrated and an advanced algorithm can learn when you are away.

Nest can even determine the temperature you prefer to maintain your home at different times of the day. This feature is great for those who live alone or have a consistent daily schedule.

This feature can be activated by going into the Nest thermostat's settings menu and selecting Home/Away Assistance. To activate this feature, tap on the slider.

Next, you can set the thermostat's behavior when you are at home and the Nest's behavior when you're not. You can also set eco Temperatures, which are temperature thresholds you specify for heating or cooling.

So which Nest Thermostat should you choose?

Both thermostats work well. Before you buy, be 100% sure to evaluate your needs. The Nest Learning Thermostat is a premium device with a more robust design and more built-in intelligence. The Learning thermostat comes in a variety of colors, has a trim kit, and features advanced features like the Farsight feature, the learning algorithm, and compatibility with an optional Nest Temperature Sensor accessory. All of these capabilities also mean that it has the potential to save money by saving energy.

The Nest Thermostat's new model is significantly cheaper than the Learning Thermostat. The new Nest thermostat features a mirrored design with four different color options and a newly designed side control thermostat interface. The thermostat and trim kit is not included in your purchase and neither does it come with the Farsight feature or learning capabilities. The Nest Thermostat's new version is a great option if you have a seriously tight budget. It costs over $100 less than the Learning Thermostat.

Having said that, we would recommend the Learning thermostat, only because it comes with the ability to save money over time and also ensure that the HVAC in your home is used optimally. By increasing the time-frame of comparison to a few years, we argue that the Nest Learning Thermostat would be the better smart thermostat Nest has to offer.

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