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Nest thermostat vs other smart thermostats

The Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation) is the most expensive thermostat we’ve tested, so how does it compare to rivals like Hive and Honeywell?

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Owned by Google, the Nest Learning Thermostat is designed to adapt to your routine, setting your heating automatically. This could be a useful feature, but it doesn’t necessarily make it a better thermostat than other, cheaper options.

With a minimalist circular design in different colour options, it certainly has aesthetics in mind. It can manage both your heating and hot water, and comes with a child lock to stop small fingers fiddling with settings and a motion sensor that lights up the screen as you pass. As well as learning to anticipate your schedule, you can also programme it in seven-day blocks or enable the GPS tracker to switch itself off when you leave the house.

But how does it match up to its competitors? We took leading smart thermostats to the Which? test lab to see how they compared on specs and performance.

Go straight to the top performers with our Best Buy smart thermostats.

Nest vs Hive, Tado and other smart thermostats

So what separates all the main smart thermostat brands? It’s mainly down to features. The table below shows what each one offers:

  Hot water Installation Compatible with Extra features
Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen) Optional extra Professional recommended Google Home Learns your routine, GPS tracking, frost protection
Heatmiser SmartStat Optional extra Professional only N/A GPS tracking, frost protection
Hive Active Heating 2 Optional extra Professional recommended Hive Hub, Amazon Echo GPS tracking, frost protection
Honeywell Lyric T6 No Professional recommended Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Echo GPS tracking, frost protection
Netatmo Thermostat No Self or professional Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Echo Learns your routine, frost protection
Salus iT500 Yes Professional recommended N/A Frost protection
Tado Smart Thermostat v3 Yes Self or professional Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Echo GPS tracking, frost protection, weather responsive

Found the specs you want? Now see how the smart thermostats shaped up in the lab.

Only logged-in Which? members can see the results below and find out if any smart thermostats beat Nest. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.

72%
£179.00
Reviewed

As the name suggests, the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation learns your routine, so unlike other smart thermostats, you're not tied into setting regular schedules. This makes it an interesting model, but you need to know that it's easy to set up and use before you commit to installing it in your home. To find out if this smart thermostat is worth investing in, read our full review.

71%
£150.00
Reviewed

Netatmo claims that its Netatmo Thermostat can save you up to 37% on your energy bills by learning and adapting to your daily routine. This could be a great feature for those who want a more hands-off smart thermostat, or it could make it tricky to use. For our expert verdict, read the full review.

71%
£135.00
Reviewed

Hive, the smart thermostat from British Gas, has upped its game in the style stakes with the Hive Active Heating 2, offering a sleek square design and different colour options to suit your taste. It's not just the aesthetics that have been updated though, so do the extra features make this smart thermostat a Best Buy? Find out in our full review.

63%
£135.00
Reviewed

The Honeywell Lyric T6 smart thermostat has won awards for its design, and the minimalist curved lines would certainly look stylish in your home. Does it impress just as much with its performance though? Read the full review of this smart thermostat for the Which? expert verdict.

61%
£92.00
Reviewed

If you're on a budget, you might be tempted by the Salus iT500's relatively cheap price tag. It could be a great alternative to other pricier smart thermostats, but is it accurate, easy to use and full of interesting features? We took it to our test lab to see if this smart thermostat can compete with the best. Read our full review to find out more.

61%
£80.00
Reviewed

Heatmiser promises that upgrading your current system to its SmartStat smart thermostat is a quick and easy process. We set up all smart thermostats in our lab, so did its installation really go smoothly? Find this out, and much more, in our full review.

59%
£145.00
Reviewed

Tado is so confident that its Smart Thermostat v3 will save you money that if offers a money back guarantee if it hasn't cut your energy bills within the first 12 months. This might be a tempting offer, but if your smart thermostat is complicated to set up and use, doesn't have helpful features and can't read temperature accurately, it may not be worth it. So how did this smart thermostat fare in our tests? Read our full review to find out.

Nest

A leading brand in smart homes, Nest designs products that are intended to make your home safe and comfortable, and anticipate your needs.

Nest is owned by Google, so all its products are compatible with Google Home, as well as other products such as Fitbit smart watches and Philips Hue smart lighting. There’s even the option to bring home a free Google Home Mini when you purchase a Nest thermostat.

Nest might be best known for its smart thermostats, but there are many more products in the Nest family. You can add to your collection with security cameras that send live videos to your phone, a doorbell that records in HD, smart alarm systems, a lock that can be opened remotely and smoke and CO alarms that test themselves automatically.

Hive

British Gas’s brand Hive is also one of the main smart thermostats on the market. Now on its second generation, the updated Hive offers a more aesthetic, modern interface and can now control a multi-zone heating system.

Like Nest, Hive also offers a range of devices that you can incorporate into your smart home. You can buy the Hive View for a livestream of your home, smart lighting, plugs you can schedule to switch themselves off at certain times and sensors that alert you to doors and windows opening while you’re away. They’re all connected with the Hive Hub, which is installed at the same time as your thermostat.

Honeywell

Honeywell has a whole range of both wired and wireless thermostats at different price points, including the simple Single Zone Thermostat, the more feature-filled T6 range, and the Evohome, designed to manage your home’s multi-zone heating system.

It also offers other heating products, including an underfloor heating controller, thermostatic radiator valves and temperature controls. You can also install an Evohome security bundle, with a selection of intrusion sensors, sirens and security cameras.

Tado

Tado launched its smart thermostat in the UK in 2013. It’s concerned with saving energy and cutting down your monthly bills, and even offers a money-back guarantee if you haven’t made savings.

Tado just focuses on energy and home environments, with a smart thermostat for heating and a smart climate assistant for controlling air conditioning. Both are compatible with a range of smart home systems, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

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