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Nest Thermostat Review – Top 3 Reasons to Buy One

I have to admit I was a major hater when the Nest first came onto the market.  The houses I build and remodel are not the target market for this device.  I’m building houses that are the Toyota Prius of homes compared to most homes in Austin, TX (which are more like inefficient 80’s Buick’s).  But, I get lots of inquiry’s about these from clients and the Nest has made a big splash with good marketing.  The premise is pretty cool, they are basically taking the old school ugly wall wart thermostats and making an iphone looking version.

The good looks are nearly enough to justify the price.  Consider that the standard Thermostat I use in my houses is the Honeywell Vision Pro, it’s a great Thermostat but it’s not attractive and it runs about $115.  Before the Nest came along if a client didn’t like seeing the ugly T-stat we’d run a remote thermostat sensor from the space we want to control and hide the thermostats in a closet somewhere.

Two Thermostats hidden in a Pantry in a house I completed last year.  They have a remote temp sensor in the living space. 

We used two Honeywell VisionPro 8000 units.  One for the main HVAC, and one for the Party unit!

Sorry tangent, back to the Nest.  I’ve installed four Nests in houses that I’ve remodeled over the past year and I thought it was time for me to do a review for my readers.  I asked one of my clients to do a little Q and A and here’s the dialog.

Q1.  Overall how satisfied are you with your nest?
A.  We’re very satisfied with it.  There were a couple of things i didn’t love about it when we got it, but software updates have taken care of those issues.

Q2.  Considering your house is vastly better built/insulated than prior to your remodel, is the Nest worth the upgrade vs a standard $120 programmable t-stat?
A.  I’m not sure about the cost/benefit.  I think it would be worth it for someone who might not otherwise program their thermostat.  For us, even the programming doesn’t make a huge cost difference since I am home during the day (otherwise we might be changing the temperature for the daytime when the house might be empty).
Q3.  Do you often control it via your iPhone/iPad?
A.  I occasionally control the temp using my phone or the iPad.  Usually just when we’re cold and want to turn the heat up a little.  It’s also nice to be able to adjust it from out of town if I forget to change the setting before we leave.

The Nest is really easy to connect to your wifi network.  

Q4.  Does it ever frustrate you that it’s gotten your temperature “wrong”?
A.  I did find the ‘learning’ part a little frustrating.  For example, at some point it applied a setting I had put in only to a certain day of the week.  So i ended up setting it using the iPad

Q5.  Is it as easy/intuitive to use as the hype?  
A.  It is pretty easy to use.  You can definitely figure it out without reading any instructions.  

Thanks to my client for taking the time to answer these questions!  I think that really brings some insight.  So let’s wrap this up with my top 3 reason’s to buy a Nest and my final Yeah/Neah conclusion.

Top 3 Reason’s to buy a Nest Learning Thermostat
1.  It’s sexy (and isn’t super expensive at $250).  The cost delta is $135 more compared to a good Honeywell Vision Pro programmable TStat like I usually use and those aren’t particularly great looking.
2.  iPhone/iPad connectivity.  I can see how having that connection could be helpful and cool. 
3.  Intuitive Programing and/or it will program itself.  This is their main selling point in ads I’ve seen.
My clients tend to be pretty tech savvy people so they want to control/program themselves.  But, I think you could buy this for a non-tech person and by learning their routine it could end up saving decent money over time by not over cooling/heating the house when people aren’t home.

Bottom line, if you think it’s cool buy it.  If you don’t, stick with a good $115 model and hide it in your closet if you don’t want it out for people to see. 
Matt Risinger
Risinger Homes in Austin, TX

PS If you do decide the Nest Thermostat is for you, consider buying your Nest from this Amazon link.  I’ll get a small percent of the sale and that helps support my growing family and my blogging habit!  Thanks, Matt