Google Nest Thermostat Review
Pros: Accurate, easy to install, great remote access features
Cons: Very app reliant, can be harder to set up a schedule
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|Pros||Accurate, easy to install, great remote access features||Large screen, easy to see at night, simple remote access app||Large screen, easy to read, straightforward programming||App-guided installation, easy scheduling, event settings||Simple design, great customer service|
|Cons||Very app reliant, can be harder to set up a schedule||No backup battery, some feature limitations on app||Poor customer support, nightlight button not illuminated||Difficult visibility in bright light||No backlight, no scheduling, small display screen|
|Bottom Line||If you are looking for an all-around excellent smart thermostat and still trying to save some money, then this is the right choice for you||A well-designed, highly-customizable smart thermostat with an easy-to-read screen and lots of features||A low-cost, high-performance digital thermostat that is accurate, easy to set up, and program but lacks WiFi and a remote access app||A decent quality, cost-effective, smart thermostat that is easy to operate and integrates with Alexa-connected smart devices||This simplistic model lacks higher-order programming and remote access, but it's accurate and economic|
|Rating Categories||Google Nest Thermostat||Honeywell WiFi Smar...||Orbit Clear Comfort||Amazon Smart Thermo...||Emerson NP110|
|Ease of Use (40%)|
|Install & Support (30%)|
|Remote Access (20%)|
|Specs||Google Nest Thermostat||Honeywell WiFi Smar...||Orbit Clear Comfort||Amazon Smart Thermo...||Emerson NP110|
|Colors||Snow, Sand, Fog, Charcoal||Grey, white||White||White||White|
|Learning/ Adaptive Controls||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Dimensions||Diameter: 3.31 in
Depth: 1.07 in
|Length: 3.5 in
Width: 4.5 in
Depth: .88 in
|Length: 5.3 in
Width: 3.25 in
Depth: 1.3 in
|Length: 3.5 in
Width: 3.5 in
Depth: .84 in
|Length: 6 in
Width: 4 in
Depth: 1.5 in
|Works Directly with Alexa/Amazon Echo||Yes||Yes/Hey Google||No||Yes||No|
|Works with Apple HomeKit||No||No||No||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This Google Nest Thermostat is also the perfect option if you already rely heavily on Google/Nest products for your smart home, as it will integrate much more seamlessly than other products.
Ease of Use
Our first metric rated and compared each of these smart WiFi thermostats on their overall user-friendliness and ease of use. We looked at the difficulty in the initial configuration, setting up a schedule, adjusting the current time, changing any advanced settings, and the display. We generally found this thermostat to be quite easy to use but it can be a bit of a pain working through the initial settings and schedule, earning it a middle-of-the-road score.
The thermostat prompts you to download the Google Home app to start the setup process, requiring you to install it and make an account or log in. You can then configure the thermostat through the app after scanning the QR code on the back.
It will guide you through the setup process with a series of questions but there is no way to remotely set up the thermostat for the first time. It will also automatically configure the date and time based on the network you connect to.
Unfortunately, you only set up a schedule using the mobile app and can't make one using the interface on the thermostat itself. We do like that there aren't a ton of advanced settings to adjust and it is fairly intuitive to do so. You can click through and change presence detection, display wake times, sounds, or units, to name a few. We also like that you can set maintenance reminders for your HVAC system based on the runtime, so you never have to wonder when it's time to change your filters or perform other preventative maintenance.
We also found it very easy to adjust the temperature on this thermostat. You simply rotate the outer dial to select the temperature you want, with a nice resistance so you don't overshoot. The temperature is clearly displayed and the background will change color depending on if your system is heating or cooling. It also shows an estimate for the time it should take to hit the target temperature, once the thermostat has learned the thermal characteristics of your home.
The adjusted temperature is then held until a date or selected time or until the next event in your schedule. We also like that this thermostat is available in a variety of different colors — snow, sand, fog, and charcoal — along with a selection of different trim plates. This makes it easier to match the thermostat's appearance to the style of your home. It also has a battery backup in case of an interruption in power.
Install & Support
Our next set of evaluations focused on the physical installation process for each thermostat, as well as how helpful we found the customer support team for technical inquiries during this process. We found the Google Nest Thermostat to have one of the easier installation processes of the group, with a very helpful support team to back it up, earning it an above-average score.
We found their help page to be extremely helpful, most likely circumventing the need to even contact the customer support team. If that doesn't solve it, we have had great success with the support team when it comes to Nest thermostats in the past. They've given us personalized answers to our sample questions asking for guidance on how to install if the old thermostat had been ripped off the wall and the wiring was unknown.
The supplied documentation sends you to the app for troubleshooting. It has great written documentation and short animations to walk you through tricky steps. The baseplate also has a built-in level so you don't end up with a thermostat mounted askew.
We also didn't have any issues with the initial app installation or WiFi connection.
Our next set of tests rated and compared the different remote access capabilities — a cornerstone of any good smart thermostat. We awarded points based on the ease of using and setting schedules with the app, what adjustments you can make from your phone and the level of smart home integration offered by each product. The Google Nest Thermostat again did very well, earning it one of the better scores that we have seen to date.
Overall, we found the companion app for this thermostat to be very straightforward and easy to use. It very closely mirrors the layout of the menus on the thermostat itself, with the addition of some advanced features.
You do need to use the app to set up your schedule, assigning settings for times like "sleep" or "comfort" and then assigning times for those settings. You can also adjust the temperature independently of your schedule by sliding the indicator around or using the + or - buttons.
Our final round of tests scored each of these smart products on their accuracy. We used a calibrated, lab-grade digital thermometer as our control, comparing its reading with the thermostat's displayed temperature multiple times to determine score, with ample time for the measurement on both to stabilize after heating or cooling the room. The Google Nest Thermostat finished with an excellent performance.
We found the Google Nest Thermostat was almost always within a degree Fahrenheit of our control thermometer, with the Nest Thermostat seemingly just rounding to the nearest degree. This thermostat doesn't display fractions of a degree, whereas our control thermometer offered precision to two decimal points. All in all, we think this thermostat is a great option if you are carefully controlling your home's temperature to minimize energy usage and are looking for one of the more accurate thermostats out there.
If you are looking for a top-tier thermostat, then the Google Nest Thermostat is actually a solid value. It offers many of the features prevalent on the premium products while costing a lot less, but it by no means is one of the least expensive options.
If you are looking for a top-tier smart thermostat that will work with your existing Google/Nest products but trying to save some money, then we think this is a great option. It's also a great choice if you are searching for the best but your house requires multiple thermostats, as the savings can really add up if you need to buy 3 or 4 thermostats for your HVAC system.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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