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31 August 2021

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?
Which? Team

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:

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?.

  • 71%

    This is a very good smart thermostat that we're happy to recommend. Although the app can be confusing, it's easy to control the device manually or through the web portal. It also reads temperature accurately and is easy to install.

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  • 63%

    It's certainly not a bad smart thermostat, and the app works well. However, the installation is complicated and it's not as easy to use or as feature-packed as one of our Best Buys.

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  • 61%

    If you're looking for a really modern, well-designed smart thermostat, you may feel let down by this one. The app does work well, but it's not as slick as some others on the market, and it's also missing some standard features that others offer.

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  • 59%

    Overall, this is a good smart thermostat with a useful, well-designed app. However, it doesn't have the features of some other models and it's a pain to use the controls, so overall it ends up with a very average score.

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Table last updated 31 August 2021


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.


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 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 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.