The answer depends on your lifestyle, climate?and patience
Credit: Gado Images
The Nest Learning Thermostat is a web-connected, smart thermostat from Nest, a division of Google. As you set the temperature in your home and make changes, it automatically learns about your routines and programs itself. No more fiddling with a clunky interface on a traditional programmable thermostat ? second only to the old-school VCR in terms of annoyance and lack of usability ? Nest promises to do it all for you, with AI!
The thermostat, though, costs at least $150 ? sometimes more. You can get a credit from many utilities, but it?s still pricey. So is the Nest Learning Thermostat worth it?
What?s Your Day Like?
That depends on your lifestyle. If you have a predictable routine, a traditional thermostat might do just fine. Program it to turn the AC off when you leave for work and back on when you get home, and you?re fine.
But if you need to turn the AC on at noon every Friday when you work from home, set the temperature lower every weekday evening at 9pm, or make other specific or fine grained changes, the Nest Learning Thermostat might be for you. Using the Nest app or web interface, you can design a custom scheduled that can be as specific as you want. You can determine the temperature setting for every hour of every day if that?s what makes you happy.
Or if you just can?t be bothered with programming a thermostat (and updating the program with the seasons), it might help as well. Again, the thermostat is designed to program itself, so you don?t need to enter a program at all if you don?t want to. As the seasons change and you start making more manual adjustments, the Nest thermostat will adjust too, altering its schedule to meet your new heating/cooling needs.
Smart Home Connections
If you want voice control via Alexa or Google Home, the Nest thermostat can deliver. It integrates easily with smart speakers from both companies, and you can ask for things like setting a specific temperature, turning the heat up and down, etc.
The Nest thermostat plays well with the Google Home and other smart speakers. Credit: Gado Images.
Likewise, if you want web control, Nest is great for this too. You can pull up the Nest app on your phone and make changes to your thermostat setting from anywhere. If you?re on your way home, for example, and want the house to be cool when you get there, you can pull up the app before you leave work and set the temperature lower. You can even control it from certain wearables, like Fitbit smart watches.
Consider Your Climate
And if you live in a balmy climate like Florida and want more advanced features, you might consider the Nest thermostat too. It has features, such as Cool to Dry, which use the thermostat and your AC as a giant dehumidifier. This is great if your home gets uncomfortably humid, or if you?re concerned about mildew and humidity related damage.
Likewise, if you live in a place like California where the nights are chilly and the days are balmy, the Nest can help as well. The Heat/Cool setting allows the thermostat to heat your home if it gets below a certain temperature, but switch to AC and cool things down if they get too hot. It?s a great fit if you?re constantly having to switch between heat and air conditioning, especially during the Fall months.
Google claims that Nest users save enough on their energy bills to pay for the thermostat within a year. Unless your life is perfectly predicable ? or you love fiddling with little knobs and 1990s-era one-line digital displays ? it might be a better fit than a traditional thermostat for you, too.
Of course, there are situations where it doesn?t work as well, too. If you don?t want to spend the money or can?t do the installation yourself, your old-school thermostat may be fine. And if you just have heat in your home, it might be overkill to use a Nest thermostat, since you can?t access Cool to Dry, Heat/Cool, and other advanced features.
In the end, the value of a Nest thermostat really depends on your unique situation. If you want and can use the smart features, it?s a great thermostat to buy. But if your old-school thermostat works fine for you ? or you live in a place with a very consistent climate ? you might be able to stick with what you have and do just fine.