We love technology, so it’s of no surprise that we try and cram it into pretty much everything: Need a smart coffee machine? You can get one. Need clever self-watering plant pots? You guessed it… It’s a well known fact that we like to make things smart and with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) we are seeing thousands upon thousands of new products, with new levels of connectivity and complexity: Check out the likes of Kickstarter or Indiegogo and count how many IoT or smart products are seeking funding.
Today, I am taking a look at the Nest Thermostat – the third generation of smart learning thermostats from Nest, an innovating home technology company that state they can make our homes safer and more thoughtful when it comes to looking after those in it.
Now many of you may think “What’s the point of a smart thermostat?”, well, the gist is, the Nest thermostat learns not only from your behavior, but also from your presence and the immediate environment conditions, to provide you with a cosy home, whilst saving energy in the process (thus cheaper energy bills). Before I go into too much detail, let’s see the tech specs
|The Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with many central heating systems, including:|
Size and weight
|Built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery|
|Less than 2 kWh/month (including Heat Link)|
|Multi-zone homes You can control up to 20 thermostats per home.|
|Nest in two homes You can control Nest Thermostats in two locations from one Nest account.|
Like most Nest products, the Smart Thermostat is a clean, simple box, which slides open to reveal the Thermostat and accessories.
Inside the box you have the Nest Thermostat, Nest Heat Link (to connect to boiler), power adaptor and cable, and a wall mount surround.
The thermostat itself is a very clean design with a large display. There are different colours available, however I opted for white.
The back of the thermostat you have the connectors to the base and micro USB for power. Once you have settled on how you power the device, you connect these parts together. You also have the ability to mount it all the base, should you want to.
The Nest Heat Link is a relatively unexciting white box, which connects directly to your boiler. This can either be done yourself if you are a DIYer, or you can have it installed by a professional electrician/plumber. This will normally sit out of site.
The Nest Thermostat can be mounted to a stand if you wish to move it or you do not have the option to wall mount. Note, the stand is not included and would cost an additional £35.
So the app itself is fairly straightforward. It combines all other Nest products together, which makes sense, as they have the ability to interact and it keeps everything under one roof. Turning the heating up or down is as simple as pressing the arrows and when it is actively heating, the background goes orange. You can access all the settings such as eco mode, scheduling and Nest Sense from the app. It is available on both Android and iOS devices.
Performance and Testing
Installing the Nest thermostat isn’t as straightforward as one would think; there are a number of factors that effect how simple it is to set up, such as the boiler type, number of zones, location, existing thermostat… the list goes on. Whilst it is entirely possible to install yourself via the comprehensive installation guide included with it, I opted to go with a professional installation using one of Nest’s many approved engineers. The installation itself went smoothly, with an incredibly friendly and efficient engineer, who also provided a quick demo on how to get the most from it. Having had some new radiators installed, the engineer also recommended that we opted for the mains power on the opposite side of the room to the older thermostat, as otherwise it’d think it was much warmer than it was.
Once setup, it starts doing its thing straight away – you can twiddle with various settings, eco mode, scheduling etc, but out of the box it will check the current outside temperature and adjust your inside temperature accordingly, so that you have a nice warm and cosy home. It takes 2-4 weeks for it to learn about your behaviour such as when it is too hot and you turn it down, or when it is too cold. It’ll then use this knowledge to set appropriate temperature thresholds and work out how long it takes your home to reach the desired temperature. With my house, which is a turn-of-the 20th century build with a combi-boiler, it didn’t take long for it to create a heating schedule. Considering I had it installed a few months before the new year, it easily coped with the winter temperatures and I rarely felt cold – which was common with the old, analogue thermostat that had a fixed regime!
The interface itself is incredibly easy to use, with its large dial to move between the settings or adjust the temperature. The great thing about it being smart, is that it is connected to your WiFi network, so with the free to download and use Nest app, I was able to control everything about it from my smartphone, whether I was at home or not! What I really like, is that there are numerous integrations available for it, so you can tie it in with third party apps or devices. In my case I hooked it up to my Google Home, which meant I could raise or lower the temperature of my home using my voice. I also managed to hook it up to my LIFX bulbs, so when I was out of the house, the Nest app would turn the lights on and off, to make it look like someone was home.
The Nest Smart Thermostat has been installed for a number of months now and since then I have switched energy providers, so it may take a bit longer to see any true energy savings. That said, our monthly bills were less in terms of usage for the same period last year, which can only been seen as a success.
The app is on point in terms of functionality and responsiveness. It ties in nicely with other nest products such as the Nest Outdoor Smart Camera and easily allows you to add in other integrations.
The Nest thermostat has a clean, sleek design with a nice bright display and intuitive controls. It has numerous shell options so you can choose a colour to suit. It has the option to be wall-mounted using the power from the old thermostat or you can opt to use the supplied plug to power it. I acquired the Nest stand, which meant I could pretty much use it anywhere in the house so I could test different locations to see how it affected the overall levels of comfort.
The app itself is well thought out and integrates with other Nest products nicely. It has a plethora of options that you can tweak to best suit your requirements.
At £219 (£279 including professional installation), it is £40 dearer than the Hive thermostat – probably the biggest competitor to Nest’s, and it is an additional £35 for the stand. It is worth noting that there are numerous sale events throughout the year, which can include free installation or a decent discount. This is quite a price for a thermostat, however considering the features and the accessibility, I’d say it is definitely worth it.
So having used the Nest Smart Thermostat for several months now, I have yet to come home or wake up to a cold house. Even when the weather has been ridiculously cold, my home has been lovely and toasty. The schedule learning was a bit hit and miss at first, but once we turned this off, to keep the house a nice constant temperature for my baby, it was perfect. I love the ability to control the thermostat from anywhere and integration with other devices such as my Google Home is fantastic. Overall, I’m thoroughly impressed and would recommend this product to anyone. Whilst it is tricky to compare multiple smart thermostats in reality, as opposed to on paper, I am happy to dish out our top award.
Big thanks to Nest for sending this over.
- Nice design
- Great install experience
- Wide compatibility options
- Many integrations available
- Intuitive controls
- Takes a little while to get the best settings to suit your home
- Bit pricey compared to competition