Google Nest Learning Thermostat Review (with PROS and CONS)

By Naila Syifa
Updated July 2023

Google Nest Learning Thermostat Review (with PROS and CONS)

A smart thermostat allows you to control the temperature of your home from anywhere using your smartphone or hands-free voice commands. Some models also offer a geofencing feature, which can detect when you're away from home and automatically adjust the temperature to save energy.

Going beyond such basic features of a typical smart thermostat, Google Nest Learning Thermostat offers much more than that. As a learning thermostat, it can learn your schedule and preference and automatically adjust the temperature to your liking, saving you from the hassle of having to program it manually. At a price starting from $199.99, it offers extensive features and compatibility with a wide range of heating and cooling systems.

However, Google Nest Learning Thermostat does not come without drawbacks. If you're looking to purchase this smart thermostat, let's first take a closer look at its design, system compatibility, and features, as well as the pros and cons of each consideration aspect.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

No More Manual Programming

✓ Auto-schedule, geofencing, energy monitoring
✓ High resolution display with Farsight and Nest Leaf
✓ Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
✓ No C-wire required (in most cases)

#1 Design

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Pros

Google Nest Learning Thermostat has a minimalist design with a sleek, circular shape and a simple interface. It is available in multiple metal finishes: stainless steel, white, black, copper, polished steel, mirror black, and brass. The wide color variation allows you to choose one that fits your home decor, but keep in mind that different finishes come with different price tags.

With a 5.3cm diameter and 480x480 pixels resolution, the display is big enough to show you the temperature and other information clearly, but not so big that it takes up too much space on your wall. It also comes with a Farsight feature, which automatically wakes up the display when your presence is detected across the room. This is a major improvement as earlier models require you to be right in front of the device to see the display.

The Nest Leaf will appear when you choose a temperature that saves energy. This is a useful feature that can guide you towards energy-efficient temperature settings, ultimately helping you save money on your monthly energy bills.

Other than the device itself, the package also comes with an optional trim plate that you can install to cover up holes or marks left by your previous thermostats. An optional steel plate is also available if you have an electrical box.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Cons

One downside to the Google Nest Learning Thermostat's design is that it does not support touchscreen controls, which may be less intuitive for some users. Controlling the thermostat physically is done by turning the dial and pressing the edge of the ring.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat also does not come with an external sensor, unlike its competitor product Ecobee. If you need one, you need to purchase the Nest Temperature Sensor separately for around $37.

#2 System Compatibility

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Pros

According to Nest, their Learning Thermostat is compatible with 95% of heating and cooling systems. It is designed to work with major 24V systems, including gas, electric, forced air, heat pump, radiant, oil, hot water, solar and geothermal. It can control:
Heating: one, two, and three stages (W1, W2, W3)
Cooling: one and two stages (Y1, Y2)
•  Heat pump: with auxiliary and emergency heat (O/B, AUX, E)
Fan (G)
Power (C, RH, RC)
Humidifier or dehumidifier (HUM, DEHUM)

Typically, a high-tech thermostat will require a C (Common) wire to supply power. However, the Nest Learning Thermostat is equipped with an internal rechargeable battery to bypass the need for a C-wire. Therefore, even if your home doesn't have a C-wire, the Nest Learning Thermostat may still be compatible with your system.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Cons

Even though the Nest Learning Thermostat contains an internal battery sufficient for the majority of homes, some HVAC systems in some houses may consume too much power to rely solely on the battery. Therefore, in 10-15% of installation cases, a C-wire may still be required.

Additionally, even though the internal battery automatically recharges while plugged into the wall, there is a possibility that the battery may not last long enough during a power outage or when there are wiring issues. So, your thermostat may suddenly stop working in such cases.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is also not compatible with high-voltage HVAC systems. If your old thermostat is marked as 120V or 240V, or if it has thick wires connected with wire nuts, then you have a high-voltage system.

To check your system's compatibility, visit the Nest Compatibility Checker.

#3 Features

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Pros

Google Nest Learning Thermostat has a wide range of features that make it stand out from other smart thermostats. Here are some of its most notable features:

Auto-Schedule. The thermostat learns your schedule and temperature preferences and automatically adjusts the temperature accordingly. Just use it for a week and change your temperature when you wake up, go to bed, leave the house, and come home. After some time, it will automatically create a schedule based on what it has learned. This means you don't have to worry about programming it manually. However, you can always create the schedule manually if you prefer.

Home/Away Assist. This feature uses sensors, geofencing, and Wi-Fi to detect whether you're home or away. When you download the Nest app, the device syncs with the app to follow your phone's location. When it detects you're away from home, it will automatically adjust the temperature to save energy. You can also turn on the Away mode manually, for example when you go on vacation.

Remote control. You can control the thermostat from anywhere using the Nest app.

Voice control. The Google Nest Learning Thermostat works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control it hands-free with your voice.

Energy History. You can see how much energy you use and when, and learn how to use less to save money on your energy bills.

Home report. You can get a monthly email report packed with energy info and tips to help you save energy.

Safety temperature alerts. You can get an alert on your phone if your home gets dangerously hot or cold, or when there are potential issues with your HVAC systems.

Sunblock. The light sensor can prevent the thermostat from turning on and off due to exposure to direct sunlight.

Time-to-Temperature. You can know how long it will take for your system to reach your desired room temperature.

Other features include airwave, system match (early-on, heat pump balance, true radiant), weather aware, advanced fan control, cool to dry, thermostat lock, furnace heads-up, filter reminder, system test, and software updates over Wi-Fi.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Cons

One downside to the Google Nest Learning Thermostat is that it has a three-degree temperature swing, which means that you won't get precisely the temperature that you set. If you set it to 20, it might end up anywhere between 17 to 23.

Learning also takes some time. It takes about a week for the Nest Learning Thermostat to learn your schedule and preferences, so you may need to adjust the temperature manually during that time. If you have unpredictable schedules or if you often come and go at different times, the learning process may take longer. Additionally, some users reported the thermostat employs the learned knowledge without confirming or asking you, so you may find it automatically adjusting to a temperature you don't prefer.

Another potential drawback is that when setting the daily schedule manually, you can only set 1 hour in between. For example, you cannot set a schedule with 64 ºF at 10 PM and then 60 ºF at 10:30 PM. It has to be 64 ºF at 10 PM and then 60 ºF at 11:00 PM. Other thermostats can be set with 30 mins or even as low as 15 mins gap.

Final Thoughts

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat offers a sleek design, compatibility with most HVAC systems, and extensive features for your comfort and energy efficiency. However, it is pricey, not touchscreen, may require a C-wire for some cases, has a three-degree temperature swing, may take some time for learning, and only allows for one-hour gap between temperature schedules.

If you like to read more about Smart Thermostats, check out our other relevant guides here:

Best Smart Thermostats in Singapore

Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium Pros and Cons Review

Ecobee vs Nest: Smart Thermostats Comparison

Ecobee vs Honeywell T9: Smart Thermostats Comparison

Don't miss out on tech

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest tech trends and guides on the best gadgets around.