Which One Is Best for You?

Smart thermostats are not only convenient devices to control your heating and cooling, but they can also help you to save money. By intelligently adjusting your HVAC system, smart thermostats can work more efficiently, and some can even create schedules based on familiar routines.

Google offers two types of thermostats; Nest Learning Thermostat, and Nest Thermostat. On the face of it, the Nest Learning Thermostat is more expensive than the Nest Thermostat— almost double the price. However, both have different features which may benefit some users, and not others.

This in-depth look at Google Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat should give you a pretty good idea of which thermostat is right for you.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of each of Google’s thermostats, it’s worth having a quick look at the obvious differences.

Google Nest Learning ThermostatGoogle Nest Thermostat
DisplayHigh-res display with Farsight to show you the time, temperature, or weatherCrisp display with mirrored glass lens
DesignMetal ring. Turn the dial and press down to adjustRecycled plastic. Swipe and tap the side of the thermostat to adjust
Installation and SetupNest appGoogle Home app
ControlNest app and Google Home appGoogle Home app
CompatibilityWorks with 95% of systemsWorks with 85% of systems (some systems require a C wire or Nest Power Connector)
  • Learns routines and preferences and automatically creates schedules
  • Manually set schedules in the Google Home or Nest app
Schedule setup in the Google Home app
Trim kitIncludedSold separately
Works with the Nest Temperature SensorYesNo
Energy savingsYesYes
Smart savingsYesYes
Works with Nest RenewYesYes
Identifies issues with heating/coolingYesYes
Voice controlYesYes

Priced more affordably, the Google Nest Thermostat is more of an entry-level smart thermostat. It offers many similar features to that of the Nest Learning Thermostat, but some advanced functionality is dropped.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat: Features

Both thermostats will turn down when they detect you leave your home. This is based on the location of your smartphone, allowing you to control the thermostats from anywhere with an internet connection, via the Google Home app.

However, the main difference here is to do with learning your routine and energy savings. The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your temperature preferences and will make changes to your HVAC system so that you remain comfortable, but less energy is used. For example, the heating might lower by a degree, something that’s unlikely to be noticed, but can make a difference to your bills.

The Nest Thermostat doesn’t have this feature and instead relies on the user to create schedules. With both thermostats, however, you can control and adjust the temperature manually.

Another area where these smart thermostats differ is in terms of compatibility with the Nest Temperature Sensor, which is available for $39. The sensor is compatible with the Nest Thermostat E or Nest Learning Thermostat. It can be placed in any room and will link to the Nest Learning Thermostat, allowing you to control the temperature in different rooms. This is particularly helpful if you want to adjust the heating in your home but only in specific rooms. These sensors can be controlled by the Google Home or Nest app and are supported by Google Assistant voice commands.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat: Design

At 3.3 inches wide, the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat are the same sizes. However, looking at both devices side by side, the designs are very different.

The Nest Learning Thermostat features a high-resolution digital display that shows the temperature of your home. The Nest Thermostat, on the other hand, is made from recycled plastic and uses a mirror display, displaying white text when it is on. Similarly, the Farsight display on the Nest Learning Thermostat can sense when you are around and will display useful information like the target temperature or local weather. However, one of the most noticeable design differences is the rotating ring around the Nest Learning Thermostat. This allows you to control the menu system by rotating the metal ring and pressing it to make a selection.

Both smart thermostats are available in a range of colors, however, with the Nest Learning Thermostat, the color change is on the rotatable ring, rather than the unit itself.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat: Compatibility

Both the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat can be installed without a C wire. You can check the compatibility of your home’s HVAC system with each of Google’s Nest Thermostats easily using the online compatibility tool.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is said to be compatible with 95% of systems, whereas the Nest Thermostat is compatible with 85% of systems. Google claims that some systems like heating-only, cooling-only, zone-controlled, or heat pump systems require either a C wire or Nest Power Connector. The Nest Power Connector is a substitute for homes with a C wire and costs $24.99.

Although both smart thermostats can be installed without professional help, it is recommended since each HVAC system has the potential to be different. Google Nest installation can be arranged for $99.

Which Google Nest Thermostat Is Right for You?

There are a few key differences between the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat—the obvious one being the difference in price. However, that difference is somewhat justified by the extra features the Nest Learning Thermostat offers.

Intelligent temperature adjustments, wider compatibility with HVAC systems, and compatibility with the Nest Temperature Sensor tip the scales a little in favor of the Nest Learning Thermostat. But, if these features aren’t a priority for you, then spending a little less on the entry-level Nest Thermostat is an easy choice to make.

The savings on your energy bills may not offset the price difference when deciding between the two smart thermostats. However, you do get more bang for your buck when you invest a little more.

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