Nest Thermostat: Its Not For Techies

wpid-nest_thermostat.pngNote: This is about the second generation Nest. Google announced a newer one earlier this month with bigger screen and a more sensitive light sensor. As far as I can tell, those are the only differences.

We bought a Nest thermostat on Black Friday last year, and now that I’ve had it for about a year I feel like I can update you on it. I’ve been through a winter and a summer, as well as spring (which for review purposes is really close enough weather wise to fall) and know how well it does in varying seasons. Indiana has some pretty crazy temperature swings, from well below freezing in the winter to near 100 in the summer so it’s been through a lot.

Why Nest

When we moved into our house almost two years ago, the thermostat was located in the back of the house near the bedrooms. I’m sure this made sense for the people who lived there before, but it didn’t make sense for us. We don’t do most of our living in that part of the house, it doesn’t make sense to base the temperature off that part of our house. We wanted to move it to the living room.

With the Nest being in the living room, I wanted something that would look nice since I’d have to look at it every day. This gave us two main options. The Nest and the Honeywell Lyric. I also considered the Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostat, even though it’s not nearly as sleek looking, because it had so many options. All three options were around the same price and none of them connected natively to our SmartThings system. We picked Nest because it had better reviews, and we figured Samsung owns SmartThings and Google owns Nest and Google and Samsung work together pretty well. Certainly compatibility will come soon. (Spoiler alert, it didn’t.)

Pros

Before I get into all the things that I don’t love about the Nest, let’s start with what it’s good at.

  • It looks great. Like I said, one of my main priorities was that the thermostat look nice, since it would be in my living room. And it does. It looks amazing.
  • IFTTT Integration. I’ll list out some of the problems I have with the thermostat below, but using IFTTT allows me to get around some of this (the Honeywell WiFi has this as well). Although I really hate having to route through a third party.
  • Nest Sense. Nest Sense is one of the “smart” features of Nest. It detects things like when people are in the room, and if the thermostat is in the sun (causing a false reading).
  • Full auto. You know how in cars with automatic temperature control, you can set it at 70 degrees and basically leave it there all year? If it gets too hot, it’ll cool. If it gets too cool, it’ll heat. The Nest can do that as well. In the spring and fall, when it’s 80 during the day and 50 at night, I can set the thermostat to full auto and it’ll just take care of the rest.

Cons

You want more of your energy history than this? Too bad.

You want more of your energy history than this? Too bad.

But there are some things that I really wish the Nest would do better.

  • More Integration. There’s a whole list of things that Work With Nest. But the major SmartHome systems are missing from the list. WeMo, Iris, Wink, they’re all missing from the list. I have a feeling Nest wants to be the hub that everything runs off of. It’ll be interesting if it ends up working with Apple HomeKit.
  • More data. I love seeing the reports on the energy I use. It helps me make smarter choices around the temperature of my home. But I can only see a week’s worth of data, and then it’s gone. Poof. No more. Maybe Nest can open up that data so I can use IFTTT to write it to a Google doc?
  • Let me choose the temperatures. Nest sense is awesome, especially when paired with Auto Away to adjust the temperature when you’re not home. Or it was over the winter anyway. In the summer, the auto-away has a minimum temperature of 76 degrees. With the humid summer we had this year, at that temperature the humidity in our home was over 55%. We also tend to keep our home at 72 degrees while we’re home. And that kind of swing takes a lot of energy. So we had auto-away off all summer. Let me choose my temperature range Nest, I’m pretty sure I know what I want.
  • Humidity sensing. Speaking of humidity, the Nest measures it. It can kick on the AC to dry the air, but only if humidity reaches above 70%. You can’t customize this at all. Again, Nest, let me decide these things. Set your defaults and let me adjust from there.

Overall

The Nest Thermostat is probably a great option for a lot of people. If you just want something that takes as little interaction as possible, this is a great choice. But if you want fine control, a variety of variables, and integration options, this isn’t’ for you.

Disclaimer: I bought the Nest Thermostat on my own and receive no compensation for this review. Amazon links are affiliate links.

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