The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your behavior and temperature preferences, creating an automatic schedule. It's also compatible with most HVAC systems, works with voice assistants, and features premium materials. But compared to the base Nest Thermostat, you're not getting a lot more for the extra money aside from Temperature Sensor support, trim kit, internal battery, and an additional year of warranty coverage.
- Learns your behavior
- Farsight technology
- Compatible with 95% of HVAC systems
- Works with Nest Temperature Sensor
- Works with Google Assistant
- Made from premium materials
- Internal rechargeable battery backup
- Notably more expensive
- Smaller display than the Nest Thermostat
Smarts for less
The Nest Thermostat has many smart features, like its more expensive sibling, but its learning functionality is not as extensive. It also works with voice assistants and features most of the same sensors as the Nest Learning Thermostat, missing only those needed for Farsight and support for the Nest Temperature Sensor. It's also missing the metal casing and internal rechargeable battery, but the real downside is that it's not compatible with quite as many HVAC systems as the Learning Thermostat.
- Larger display
- Auto-away mode, scheduling suggestions
- Works with Google Assistant
- Cheaper than the Learning Thermostat
- Will work with most heating and cooling setups
- Fun color options
- No internal-rechargeable battery
- Does not include trim kit
- Compatible with 85% of HVAC systems
- Does not work with Nest Temperature Sensor
While the Nest Learning Thermostat has a few advantages over the cheaper Nest Thermostat, the base model is likely the right choice for most people. Both options are some of the best smart thermostats on the market and are incredibly easy to install. Each offers a convenient smart app and voice controls right out of the box through Google Assistant and Alexa. You can even use Nest thermostats with Siri/HomeKit through Homebridge with a plug-and-play solution like the HOOBS Starter Kit.
With a few simple steps, both Nest options can reduce energy consumption and help you save with a Wi-Fi smart thermostat. As with anything you're going to wire directly into your home, you'll want to check the compatibility of both thermostats to make sure they'll work with your heating and cooling system.
Nest Thermostat vs. Nest Learning Thermostat: The breakdown
Some would say in the most important ways, the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat are the same thermostats. All things being equal — besides the design — the most significant difference is the price. The Nest Thermostat is around $100 less than the Learning Thermostat's base price while delivering most of the same features, and with various sales throughout the year, that gap could be much broader.
Honestly, the single most significant advantage that the Nest Learning Thermostat has over the Nest Thermostat is HVAC system compatibility. Spending less money on the Nest Thermostat won't do you any good if it doesn't work with your system, so you should check compatibility beforehand. But there's a good chance that both thermostats will be compatible. Unless you need Farsight, which lights up the Nest Learning Thermostat's display to show you information when the thermostat detects that you're nearby, or Nest Temperature Sensor support, I'd be hard-pressed to recommend the Learning Thermostat over the Nest Thermostat.
|Nest Learning Thermostat||Nest Thermostat|
|Price||From $208||From $109|
|Finishes||6 (metal)||4 (plastic)|
|Backup Battery||Yes (internal rechargeable)||Yes (replaceable AAA)|
|Trim Kit||Yes (included)||Yes (not included)|
|Temperature Sensor support||Yes||No|
|Learns habits over time||Yes (automatic adjustments)||Yes (suggestions only)|
|Works with Amazon Alexa||Yes||Yes|
|Google Assistant support||Yes||Yes|
|Amazon Alexa built-in||No||No|
Nest Thermostat vs. Nest Learning Thermostat: Which should you buy?
Given the similarities, unless you need Farsight or a thermostat with a metal casing, and assuming that it's compatible with your HVAC system, get the Nest Thermostat. It's less expensive while providing most of the same features as the Learning Thermostat. And honestly, it'll likely blend into the rest of your home better, assuming that's something you want.
If you like the styling and color options available for the Learning Thermostat, want full-blown learning functionality, or the Nest Thermostat doesn't work with your system, then, by all means, get the Learning Thermostat. But unless you need to take advantage of one of its capabilities and need the extra year of warranty, pick up the base Nest Thermostat. You can also check out all of the best alternatives to the Nest Learning Thermostat if you decide that Nest's offerings won't meet your needs.
A premium thermostat with a premium price.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is a great thermostat that will learn about your heating and cooling needs as you use it. But it's also pricey compared to the similarly-capable Nest Thermostat.
Smart for less
Almost as good for a lot less.
The Nest Thermostat doesn't have every bell or whistle as the Learning Thermostat, but it has most of them — and at a much lower price. It would be nice if it had the same compatibility as the Learning Thermostat and the premium finishes, but it is still the best for most.
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