The “Nest” name encompasses an expansive line of home automation and monitoring products made by Google. The Nest family includes multiple thermostats, indoor and outdoor cameras, a doorbell, a smart smoke detector, and more.
Nest thermostats are identifiable by their distinctive circular design. They are easy to set up and easy to use. Nest prices range from $130-$250, but local utility discounts can knock upwards of $100 off (check with your local utility company to see if you’re eligible). Each thermostat has slightly different features and HVAC compatibility.
These features set Nest thermostats apart from the competition:
- Built-in features to push you (or your schedule, or temperature settings) towards energy savings
- Support for temperature sensor accessories (Nest Learning Thermostat)
- Automatic schedule-learning algorithm (Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Thermostat E)
- Eye-catching design
- Maintenance/issue alerts
- Nest Home Report summarizes your energy usage and compares your usage with previous months
- Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings
- History of continued product development and improvement by Google
Current Nest models
Nest Learning Thermostat
Note: The current Nest Learning Thermostat version is often referred to as the “3rd gen.” model
Nest’s flagship model offers the widest support for HVAC configurations and accessories, support for room temperature sensors, and a schedule-learning algorithm that tries to take the guesswork out of setting up an energy-saving schedule for your thermostat.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is available in several different finishes including black, brass, and polished steel.
This less expensive model trades the twist-ring for a touch strip, the color screen for a simpler display, and instead of the “learning” algorithm it has something called “Savings Finder”, which attempts to nudge the scheduled settings you’ve come up with towards something slightly more energy efficient in ways you (hopefully) won’t notice.
Like the flagship model, the Nest Thermostat comes in a variety of finishes including Sand, Charcoal, and Snow.
Nest Thermostat E
The “E”, with its frosted display and somewhat more limited HVAC accessory support, was Nest’s initial entry into the lower end of the smart thermostat pricing spectrum. The Nest Thermostat seems poised to take the E’s place, but the E is still available as of this writing (January 2021).
Like the flagship model, the “E” includes the “learning” algorithm and support for Nest’s room temperature sensors. Like the budget Nest Thermostat, it lacks certain HVAC accessory support.
The “E” is unique among Nests and smart thermostats in that it has a frosted display, giving everything it displays a sort of hazy look, which is meant to be reminiscent of a watercolor painting.
Major Nest hardware releases
Current-gen models are marked with a *
- Nest Thermostat G4CVZ 
- Nest Thermostat E 
- Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd gen) 
- Nest Learning Thermostat (2nd gen) 
- Nest Learning Thermostat (1st gen) 
For more details on what differentiates each generation (and releases within a generation), see chart in Nest’s Wikipedia article.