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Nest Learning Thermostat Review Installation & First Impressions



The Nest Learning Thermostat is simple to install and a joy to use after just a few days.

Thermostats are not the sexiest gadgets, but they serve an important job – keeping us and our gadgets cool in the summer and protected from freezing pipes in the winter.

The Nest Learning Thermostat breaks this mold, taking a pinch of iPhone style, a dash of Google algorithm smarts and iPhone connectivity to deliver a Thermostat that is easy to install, easy to use and nice to look at.

After spending 5 days with the Nest Learning Thermostat, I want to share my first impressions of this connected thermostat that learns how you want your house heated and cooled.

Nest Learning Thermostat Installation Items

What comes with the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Nest Learning Thermostat Installation

The Nest Learning Thermostat is simple to install, so simple that it took me less than half an hour to get it up and running. I’m confident I would have finished in 10 minutes if the old thermostat didn’t have a stripped screw that made removal difficult.

Nest Learning Thermostat Installation - 4

Mark the wires and remove the old thermostat.

Before you buy the Nest Learning Thermostat, be sure to check system compatibility. Unlike many WiFI enabled thermostats, the Nest Thermostat does not need a dedicated C, or power, wire. Note that this can cause issues with some systems.

Check Compatibility

The Nest comes with everything you need to uninstall the old thermostat and install the Nest, including a small screwdriver and various wall mounting plates to cover up un-painted areas behind older larger thermostats. The detailed instructions and included wire marking stickers make installation a snap.

Nest Learning Thermostat Installation - 5

Level and wired up.

There is no need for a drill, just use the included screws to screw right into the wall. The back portion of the Nest, where you connect the wires, has a level to make sure you mount the Nest and the wall plate level, which is a nice touch.

Once the back plate is screwed on, you’ll need to attach your wires. If you’ve installed a speaker in your home entertainment center this is no different. These wires contain very low voltage, about the same as your doorbell, so you don’t need to worry about electrical shock. Plus, you’ve turned off the furnace and air conditioner at the fuse box.

Nest Learning Thermostat Installed

Nest Learning Thermostat Installed.

After attaching the wires, push the Nest front on the base and turn the heat and air back on. If the Nest doesn’t light up, make sure the base is fully seated on the wiring plate. I did not seat the bottom of the Nest all the way the first time I connected it.

Sample Nest Learning Thermostat Installation Video

Setting up the Nest

The Nest setup process is simple. I was surprised that I didn’t need any special codes or pairing procedures.

After entering my WiFi password by twisting the dial back and worth like a safecracker, the thermostat connected to my WiFi network and I was ready to set up my account online.

Nest Learning Thermostat Installation - 6

Entering WiFi password on the Nest.

After registering, the website detected a Nest nearby. I don’t know exactly how it did this, but when I went to my thermostat I was asked if I wanted to associate it with the account I created. One tap later and the Nest was all set up and running.

I have not set up any schedules manually, as the Nest will learn my schedule and heating preferences based on every adjustment I make. It already knows the temperature I like in the evening and at night and is catching on to how I want the temperature in the morning.

Nest Learning Thermostat First Impressions

So far I really like the Nest Learning Thermostat. The $250 price is tough to swallow, but the ability to control temperatures with my iPhone or iPad from anywhere I have an Internet connection is pretty amazing. Yes, that includes changing the thermostat from bed.

Nest Learning Thermostat - iPhone app

Nest thermostat iPhone app.

I’m more interested in the learning abilities, which Nest claims can cut 20% off of heating and cooling bills over time. The online tools will show energy use and just how much it costs me to switch from 72 degrees to 70 degrees. According to Nest, the thermostat should help me save enough in two years to cover the cost of the thermostat, plus some.

How Nest Learns

The mobile apps work well, and offer a simple way to see the current temperature, change the temperature, see my schedule and set new schedules. The apps are free for the iPad, iPhone and Android. There is no support for Windows Phone yet.

Nest Learning Thermostat schedule.

The start of my Nest Learning Thermostat schedule.

Stay tuned for a full review of the Nest Learning Thermostat after I’ve used it for a month or two.

If you want to go hands on with the Nest, Lowes stores are now selling the Nest, and select stores now offer in store demo units. Not every local store has the Nest in stock, so you may need to order on or



  1. Ralph

    12/01/2012 at 4:28 pm

    So, after 6 months, what are the impression of the Nest?

  2. eidolon

    01/16/2013 at 1:14 pm

    Had one of these since they came out. Software worthless, support worthless. Failed after 10 months. Took three months to get the replacement…
    Do not buy from this company.

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