Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation Review

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Nest, the smart home-focused company owned by Google, has introduced so many new products and new improvements on its existing ones that it definitely cannot be considered lazy! The Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd generation is among these new products that consumers are paying attention to and, more importantly, buying in numbers. But the Google-owned company isn’t exactly making a revolutionary new product with it but, instead. returning to its roots – and we definitely love it in many ways!

Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation

Nest 3rd generation learning thermostat

As a third-generation smart thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat has several improvements over the previous generations. Many of these are aesthetic improvements, but many more make it truly one of the best of its kind today, so far.

Sleeker look

The thermostat still has the same stainless-steel dial, rounded design, and display style as its older version, but there are also notable changes. The screen is larger by 40% while the unit itself is slimmer at just 1.21” in comparison with the 1.26” profile of the older version. The unit is slightly larger, too, but it’s complemented by the sharper images on the screen (i.e., 229 pixels/inch).

With built-in sensors

The thermostat depends on its built-in sensors in tracking the whereabouts of the people in the house, albeit only in relation to adjusting the settings. These sensors are combined with smartalgorithm, creating a customized, auto-adjusting temperature schedule for the entire day. Google is definitely among the leaders in this field. The schedule is based on the movements detected by the sensors, although manual changes can also be made through the Nest app.

These aren’t the near-field sensors of previous generations, which only picked up on motion activity within a 3-foot range. These are, instead, far-field sensors that pick up on motion activity even further, so that so-called interactions with the unit doesn’t involve actually walking directly by it. The Farsight feature also makes it easier to see the time and temperature from a distance of 20 feet, aside from choosing either an analog or digital mode.

With Family Accounts and Home/Away Assist

These are two new features that contribute to improved performance, especially in energy savings, with proper use of the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd generation. With Family Accounts, each user in your home can set up his or her own Nest account, so there’s no need to share a common account.  When each account has been created, the Home/Away Assist takes over by tracking each user’s location via phone for temperature adjustment purposes.

Emphasis must be made that it isn’t geo-fencing as we know it. But it’s still a useful feature, if only for the thermostat to keep an eye your whereabouts. The unit then automatically turns itself down when you aren’t at home – or when none of the users are at home, for that matter – so you save on energy bills.

With Furnace Heads-Up feature

This is a cool feature to add in the Nest, especially for homeowners with a forced-air furnace system.  By monitoring the automatic shutdown of your home’s forced-air furnace, which usually occurs as a preventive measure against overheating, it also aids in energy bill reduction. You will also get alerts via the Nest app and on the thermostat’s screen display itself.

With automatic scheduling feature

The auto-schedule feature is a handy one for people who don’t want to be bothered by constant thermostat adjustments.

Basically, the thermostat remembers the times when you’re home and the temperatures you prefer during these times, so to speak. According to the manual, it takes about a week for the Nest unit to learn your schedule, but most users say that it only takes a couple of days or so.

After it has learned your schedule, you can choose to opt in or opt out of the Away Mode. We suggest opting in for higher energy savings, although you can still change the temperature using your mobile device or laptop via the Nest app. We found the free smartphone app to be easy to install and use, aside from being an awesome feature for busy people.

Energy Star certification

Of course, energy savings are the main reason for getting the Nest Learning Thermostat. By turning itself off when nobody’s around, and turning itself on based on your preferred settings, you will soon see a significant decrease in your energy bill, usually within a month.

You can also check your energy consumption –how much and where it went – via the Energy History feature. You can also choose the optimum temperature that can result in energy savings, thanks to the Nest Leaf feature, without compromising on your comfort.

The thermostat is also compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, as well as with most home heating, cooling, heat pump, and humidifier systems.  Be sure to check with the nest website for further details.


  • Easy to install
  • Larger display with sharper images
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Compatible with mobile devices as well as apps including Google Home and Amazon Alexa
  • Results in significant energy savings when used properly
  • Automatic scheduling feature
  • HVAC system monitoring with alerts


Final Verdict

The Nest is among our best choices for smart thermostats because of its functional features.  But there’s always room for improvement, especially in a market where competitors are giving consumers smarter features with each generation.

If you are not sure the Nest thermostat is right for you please see my Thermostat Buying guide and comparison chart. 

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