Tech Gadgets Logo
Search
Close this search box.

4th gen Nest Thermostat review

WhatsApp
Facebook
Twitter
Email
Print

Table of Contents

Erin L

Erin L

nest, thermostat, new, 4th, review, how to, whats differenceIt took a lifetime for us to upgrade our thermostats and give them smarts, now in the space of just a few years, thermostats are evolving at a rate almost as fast as our smartphones. Nest, one of the best know smart thermostat manufacturers, has just released its new 4th generation Nest Thermostat. With a new look and some big changes, is this the time to bring a smart but pricey thermostat into your home?

Nest Learning Thermostat
4

Summary

Overall, I like the new Nest thermostat. I think the new design is really attractive. While it may not be as smart as the Learning Thermostat, it’s still dead simple to program using the Google app. The scheduling and voice control also worked really well.

Pros

  • Great Design
  • Easy to program
  • Works well
  • Can use from anywhere
  • App is easy to use
  • More affordable

Cons

  • Doesn’t work as well with older furnace wiring
  • Side touch interface is clunky
  • No Touchscreen

See my hands-on video review

New Nest Thermostat 4th generation: What’s new & different?

It’s important to understand the newest Nest Thermostat known as the 4th generation is a budget version of the previous Nest Learning Thermostat. It’s got a different look and a much lower price. But with that lower price comes some tradeoffs. One of the most notable differences between the new 4th generation Nest Thermostat and the 3rd gen is that new look. Slimmer and more modern looking, the mirrored display gives it a whole new glow. The mirrored display is also supposed to use sensors (soli monitoring tech) to react to you when you stand in front of it… but I had some issues with that. More later…

New Nest Thermostat 4th generation: What’s new & different?

There’s also the price tag. Where the 3rd gen Nest Learning thermostat would have set you back about $329, the new version is a much more affordable $179CAD.
Nest also appears to have dumped the ‘Learning’ from the name of this iteration; and that’s because more of the onus is now on you. But we’ll get to that too
The new trim kit (which is pretty nice actually with its flared plate) is specially made for the 4th generation Nest Thermostat also now sells separately from the unit, which likely also contributes to the price drop.
The latest Nest Thermostat will show you the current temperature on its display and it can also detect humidity levels.

nest, thermostat, new, 4th, review, how to, whats difference

Why get a smart thermostat?

Nest’s sales pitch by the way is that getting a smart thermostat can help save you an average of 10-12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills. It’s not the kind of savings you see on the first month probably, but the kind that adds up over time, and possibly even offsets the cost. The other major advantage of a smart thermostat is that it offers control from anywhere in your house or the world via the Google Home app and your smartphone and you can ask Google to adjust the temperature with your voice. This makes it great for travelers or folks who want to keep an eye on a second home, cabin or cottage.

New Nest Thermostat app, interface & new controls

The new 4th generation Nest Thermostat has a new app interface and it operates a bit differently than the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat.
For starters, it doesn’t use the previous Nest Thermostat app; it uses Google Home only.
The controls on the device itself are also different. In gen 3 you used the ring around the outside of the thermostat and a push gesture to make adjustments. The 4th generation Google Nest Thermostat is controlled by tapping and swiping on the side of the unit; no more moving parts.
This interface isn’t my favourite, but it is better than dealing with wee buttons like you do on most traditional thermostats.

3rd gen Nest Learning programs itself; 4th generation needs you to do the work

Nest’s 3rd generation Learning Thermostat has learning in the name because that’s a key component of what it does; it learns your schedules and habits over time and can adapt your heating or cooling and maximize efficiency by turning down when you’re asleep or away.
The new 4th generation Nest Thermostat needs you to program it and give it an initial idea of schedule, but it can also let you create three temperature shortcuts to make things quicker.
The new 4th generation Nest Thermostat also does not work with Nest in-room wireless temperature sensors.

My 4th gen Nest Thermostat experience

The 4th generation Nest Thermostat was not super easy for me to set up; I don’t have a C-wire in my home heating configuration and while the app initially told me I did need one, I was able to speak to a Nest rep by phone who told me it was not actually necessary and I was able to successfully get the device working but with some limitations.

nest, thermostat, new, 4th, review, how to, whats difference, c wireUsing Nest Thermostat with older furnaces: Do I need a C-wire?

While the new Nest Thermostat will work with older furnaces, this one does recommend installations where a C-wire is present. Without a C-wire the Nest has some limitations:

  • Reduced battery life
  • Motion sensing will be disabled
  • Occasional disconnection from Wi-Fi
  • Unexpected activation of heating or cooling

I was able to get my Nest connected to Wi-Fi and working fine on my own with my vintage 2-wire furnace connection, but after a few days I was getting a message that read, “Disconnected from Wi-Fi; install C-wire,” and I realized the motion sensing was not working; I had to tap the thermostat to view it each time. The display was also not brightening fully.
Since I’m all about having the latest technology in the house, I decided it was high time to upgrade the furnace wiring.

nest, thermostat, new, 4th, review, how to, whats difference, c wire

C-wire installation for Nest Thermostat

Adding the C-wire is about more than just adding one single wire. It involves having a master electrician with a specialization in furnaces and HVAC come to the house and run new wires. The electrician that came to my house widened the opening for the thermostat and cut a second hole in the wall that is now hidden behind the baseboard. He then ran a new 5-strand wire from my hallway to the furnace. All told this job took about 2 hours and cost about $300, if you’re thinking about having it done.
The C-wire now provides more reliable power to the Nest Thermostat, and also gives me control for fan-only operation, something I didn’t have before, and if I ever added air conditioning or a humidifier, I now have the connections for that too, thanks to that 5-strand wire.
After installation of the C-wire thanks to my wiring upgrade, I was able to get more reliable power, motion sensing worked, and the display started functioning at proper brightness.
But when I went to reconnect the Thermostat to Wi-Fi, no dice. The furnace technician stuck around to help me for an hour and we tried many things including numerous re-sets and re-connection attempts to no avail. Eventually it was time for him to get to other jobs.

nest, thermostat, new, 4th, review, how to, whats differenceTrouble getting connected: remove your old thermostat from Home app!

After another hour of trial and error, checking my Wi-Fi, and ensuring the Home app was up to date I was out of ideas and called Nest’s help center.
We went through several troubleshooting steps, to no avail; the app seemed to be skipping the entire Wi-fi configuration process.
I finally asked if my old Nest Learning Thermostat I was using could be the culprit. Assured I wouldn’t lose all the ‘learning’ it had done, I removed it from the Home app, and started the setup process with the new Thermostat over again. This time I did get an option to connect to Wi-Fi, and the rest of the setup continued without issue. Yay!
Bottom line here; if you’re having trouble with your set up and you have a previous Nest Thermostat make sure you remove it from the app. If you need help, you’ll be glad to know I did get pretty quick, and very helpful and patient customer service from their helpline.

nest, thermostat, new, 4th, review, how to, whats differenceProgramming new Nest Thermostat

Now to making it work for me and my home!
Programming the Nest Thermostat is a bit different; you choose one of three pre-set but changeable modes: Eco, Comfort and Sleep. Comfort is the most comfortable (generally highest) temperature; the one you’d keep it set to while you’re home. Sleep drops the temp lower overnight to save heating costs while you’re under the covers. Eco mode is a lower temperature/ energy efficient mode; good for use when everyone’s out of the house.nest, thermostat, new, 4th, review, how to, whats difference
Your Google Nest thermostat can automatically switch to Eco Temperature after it senses that nobody’s home to help save energy. You can also manually set your thermostat to Eco Temperature anytime, even when you’re at home. You’ll know that Eco Temperature is active when you see ‘Eco’ on your thermostat and in the Nest or Google Home app. When you first install and set up your Nest thermostat, you can decide what temperatures your system will drop to when your thermostat is manually or automatically set to Eco mode.

Using the Google Home app to control Nest Thermostat

Using the Google Home app was easy. I was able to change temperatures, check humidity and set and adjust my schedules. The app also lets you adjust your temperature shortcut preferences and look at your energy use. In the calendar section of the Home app, you can set schedules so the furnace will automatically adjust temperatures for you. Programming it was straightforward.

Voice control works great

The other feature I really love about nest thermostat is the voice control and compatibility with the Google assistant. I loved being able to double check the temperature in my home just by asking the assistant, and then calling for an adjustment if I needed to warm things up. I found the Google assistant was very responsive and easily able to control the thermostat any time I asked.
New touch controls are a bit clunky
When I was using the Nest Thermostat I found I didn’t like the slide and tap controls as much as the manual ring dial on the 3rd generation. The tapping was awkward and takes some getting used to.

nest, thermostat, new, 4th, review, how to, whats differenceDoes Nest Thermostat save money?

It’s too early in the game for me to judge energy savings; I’ve only had Nest running for a few weeks. But since I can track my energy use over time now, I will have to update this in a year or so to see if the difference is noticeable.
Also Nest looks for ways to help save by suggesting tweaks to my schedule – for example, a small change to your sleep temperature. You can accept the suggestions right in the Home app. I haven’t seen any of these yet, but again it’s only been a short time.

Overall review: Nest Thermostat 4th generation

Overall, I like the new Nest thermostat. I think the new design is really attractive. While it may not be as smart as the Learning Thermostat, it’s still dead simple to program using the Google app. The scheduling and voice control also worked really well.
Downsides? I definitely did notice reduced performance with my older furnace wiring, but upgrading it resolved my issues completely. I also don’t love the tap control interface on the side of the device, and there’s no touchscreen.
Given that this new Nest Thermostat is $150 less that the Nest Learning Thermostat, it’s now much more affordable for folks who want to upgrade to a smart thermostat system. The all new 4th generation the Nest Thermostat sells for about $179.99CAD and you can get it from Best Buy and Amazon.

**A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgetsCanada & TechGadgetsInternational is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

2 Comments

  1. สล็อตเว็บตรง on November 17, 2023 at 7:00 am

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across
    a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit
    the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy that I stumbled across this during my
    hunt for something relating to this.

  2. David on January 12, 2023 at 9:25 am

    Hello,
    How about Dual fuel setups? is it compatible with a Gas furnace and Heat pump in a dual energy setup at home?

  3. […] for a rock-bottom price, the Amazon Smart Thermostat strives to tick all the basic boxes of those $100+ smart thermostats for a lower price. Amazon also promises the best of Alexa integration, and ehile that’s great for […]

Leave a Comment





Author's Recommendation

Sign up to our mailing list to get access to gadget news and Giveaways!