Nest Heats Up with 3rd-gen Learning Thermostat

As the temperature starts cooling down, Nest is heating up smart homes with the third generation of its Learning Thermostat. Available today for $249, this connected thermostat features a larger display, improved graphics, and a few other improvements over earlier generations.

The display on the 3rd-gen Nest has a display that's 40 percent larger than the previous version--not that it was hard to read. There's less of a bezel around the circular 480 x 480 color LCD. A new feature called Farsight makes it easier to see on-screen information, such as the temperature or weather, from across the room. Furnace Heads-Up, also new to this version of the Nest, will look for odd shutoff patterns with your furnace, and alert you if there are any issues (this feature will also be rolled out to first- and second-gen Nests later this year).

MORE: Best Smart Thermostat 2015 - Heating and Air Conditioning

As with previous generation Nest, this model integrates with other smart home devices, both from Nest and third parties. For example, if you have a Nest Cam (formerly DropCam), you can have it automatically turn on or off when the thermostat goes into Away or Home mode. Or, if you have it integrated with the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home remote, it will automatically change the temperature when you start watching a movie. Of course, one of the smart home systems it can't connect to is Apple's HomeKit.

We found the Nest to be one of the better smart thermostats, and with the improvements to the newest generation, should be as enticing as ever for those looking to bring their heating and cooling into the 21st century. At $249, though, the third-gen Nest is about the same price as our favorite smart thermostat, the Ecobee3. Nest is also dropping the price of its second-generation thermostat to $199, if you want to save a little more green.

Editor's Note: This post initially stated the price of the Nest 3rd gen as $299, and was updated to reflect the actual price of $249.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.

  • animere
    FYI It is only $249 not $299
  • jdiz4riz
    Give me Homekit and remote sensors and we'll talk...
  • beingbenjamin
    I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but the number and similarity of all these ecobee post strain credulity... as if many were sent here to comment thusly.
  • jarmik
    Seems like a minor change... still behind competition
  • Isarian

    The price is $249, not $299.
  • beingbenjamin
    Okay, mea culpa on my prior comment. Even if all the Ecobee posts are inauthentic, I just looked at it, and WOWZA, it looks so much better! Room sensors! That's all I ever wanted with Nest! Right now I have to use a separate app called Skylark to geofence my house. So I don't use auto-away because I got tired of getting hot when I watched a movie or an hour long TV show. I may be selling my Nest v2 and getting an Ecobee very soon!
  • Ser Pounce
    My original reply was removed, as Tom's Guide is checking into the influx of ecobee comments, so I'll try to repost my thoughts here again.

    I had held off on getting a Gen 2 Nest for a couple years, as it was certainly due up for a refresh. While I waited, I found the ecobee and it was definitely the right thermostat for me for a couple of reasons:

    1 - Room sensors. This is the #1 differentiator between the Nest (and any other smart thermostat) and the ecobee. If you're spending upwards of $300 on a thermometer, I assume you have more than 1 room in your house. And often times the thermostat is not in the most important place (its in a hallway or dinning room, etc). If you want to make sure your newborn is comfortable you have to guess to over/under heat based on how their room feels. This should be nothing more than a software update for the Nest, so I don know why they do not add the feature..but even if they do, you can get the ecobee and 3 sensors for the same price as just this new Nest Gen3.

    2 - Homekit support. I know this one isn't for everyone, but it certainly was important for me. I use a lot of apple products between my wife and I and, in her case, its the only way she isn't overwhelmed by technology. The beauty is there is nothing, other than again software, that prevents the ecobee from being used by other systems. It has an open API and is integrated with things like IFTTT, etc. So its a bit more "future proof" as you cannot get HomeKit certified unless you meet rigorous security standards.

    Which brings me to 3... security. If you use HomeKit or not, you know that the hardware and encryption is certified to be extremely extremely secure, who wouldnt want that for all their home automation.

    Overall, I think that from a cost/features perspective, those looking at the Nest should also look at the ecobee. It was definitely the right decision for me.
  • ikomrad
    I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but the number and similarity of all these ecobee post strain credulity... as if many were sent here to comment thusly.
    You are not imagining it. I've been researching smart thermostats for the last couple of days and recent Ecobee3 posts are everywhere. It's like the announcement of the Nest 3rd gen scared them, and they reacted with marketing campaign. A literal army of people paid to post positive reviews of the Ecobee3.