The Nest Learning Thermostat is the only thermostat that programs itself. During its first week in your home, the Nest learns when you're home and what temperature is most comfortable for you, and it programs itself accordingly.
The founders of Nest Labs designed iPods and iPhones for Apple before beginning their own Silicon Valley startup, and they hope their innovations will catch on with the iPod generation. The parallels between Apple products and the Nest thermostat are easy to make. The Nest, which is actually sold in Apple's stores and on its website, has no physical buttons or switches – unless you count the circular thermostat interface itself, which you can twist and press to adjust temperature and navigate menus. This focus on attractive design, intuitive self-programming and simple operation has earned the Nest our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for programmable thermostats.
The Nest digital thermostat is the easiest thermostat to program because you never actually program it. When you install the Nest thermostat, it will remember every time you turn the temperature up or down. When you start adjusting the temperature, an orange screen pops up and tells you it's learning. This learning process builds a custom schedule around you and your lifestyle.
Once the week has gone by, the Nest will have programmed itself for every day of the week. If your weekly schedule is predictable, Nest will match your routine seamlessly. If your weeks are more sporadic, the Nest will have a little more work to do. If, after the first week, you diverge from the schedule and adjust the temperature, Nest will learn from your changes and reprogram itself once it notices a pattern. If you want to set the schedule yourself, you can press the screen and navigate the menus.
The Nest can sense when you are home and react without you touching it. Through the 150-degree motion sensors, Nest has a wide-angle view of the home so it knows when to set itself to Auto-Away. It even has a humidity sensor and when indoor humidity is low, Airwave technology can cut cooling costs up to 30 percent. This technology shuts off your AC a few minutes early since your AC continues to run cold air 5-10 minutes after it's off. The Nest makes it easy to go green. When the green leaf lights up, you know that you are saving energy, which in turn saves you money.
The Nest houses a circular screen that has a 1.75-inch diameter, so it's a smaller screen than the rest of the thermostats we've looked at. Comparing screen size is almost pointless, however, since this smart thermostat follows an entirely new concept, in navigation and aesthetics. The small screen complements the sleek, understated design that fits with any household plan. The Nest has reflective sides to blend in with any wall you install it on.
The ring around the Nest gives you basic overall control of the thermostat. You can use it not only to change the temperature, but to set a new schedule for yourself. The screen isn't big but it is a touchscreen and you can use it or the ring to make any changes to the schedules it has already set. The screen is backlit and the device has a level built into it so everything is straight.
Nest offers to have a professional install the thermostat, but it's simple enough and the website offers so much direction that you can do it yourself.
One of the only drawbacks of this programmable thermostat is that it only offers two stages of heating and one for cooling. Many heating and air conditioning systems work on two stages of heating and one stage of cooling, but if your HVAC system offers higher multi-stage heating and cooling, you will have to find another thermostat.
The Nest offers the most convenience of any thermostat. You can adjust your heating or cooling schedule from your mobile phone, tablet or computer – all you need is internet access. The Nest uses Wi-Fi to transmit the savings data to your account so you can see exactly how much you are saving, view your schedule and check how much the heater or AC has been running. The Wi-Fi also will network between other Nest digital thermostats. So if you have multi-level housing that has a Nest thermostat on each floor, they can work with each other to make sure the house is always at a temperature that will keep you comfortable and save you money.
The Nest will notify you when you need to change your air filter or if the AC or heater are malfunctioning. These notifications will appear on any device you have linked to the Nest.
If you ever want to override the Nest's self-programmed schedule, it's easy to do so using the thermostat itself or from your Nest online account. That means if you decide to come back early from a vacation, you can access your mobile account to make sure the house is the perfect temperature before you get there.
Sensors built into the Nest not only monitor humidity, they monitor the temperature, light and movement. The Nest will adjust the temperature automatically whenever it detects these changes in the environment. Each time it adjusts, it will send a report to your account.
Nest offers a five-year warranty on this high-end thermostat. The Nest website is loaded with information regarding their product and how to use it. There are also installation videos on the site in case you install it yourself.
The Nest comes with installation documents in addition to the videos. You can contact anyone on the Nest team through email or a phone call, although we received a quicker response with an email.
The Nest's ability to program itself makes it the best programmable thermostat you can install in your home. It quickly learns your preferred temperature and programs itself to your schedule, and it senses motion, light and humidity to constantly fine-tune its settings and create a comfortable living environment, wasting no energy in the process. Nest lets you see how much you are saving and adjust the temperature right from your mobile phone. And while it does only support single-stage cooling, the Nest's advanced learning technology provides convenience and energy savings you won't get from any other thermostat.
The sensors on this thermostat react to light, temperature, movement and humidity.
The Nest thermostat isn't compatible with multi-stage cooling systems.
Nest is the best and most efficient programmable thermostat. It learns and adjusts to your lifestyle and will program itself after just a week.