Nest 3rd Generation vs 2nd

Nest thermostat is famous for the ability to learn users temperature preferences and set it automatically by using machine learning algorithms. Nest thermostat 3rd generation was released in 2015, which is almost 3 years after the 2nd generation was released.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat - Programmable Smart Thermostat for Home - 3rd Generation Nest Thermostat - Works with Alexa - Stainless Steel

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Nest 3rd generation Learning Thermostat

Yet both the 2nd generation and the 3rd generation are available on the market and it brings the interesting question to the table: how is the 3rd generation Nest any different from the Nest thermostat 2nd generation?

Does it still make sense to consider getting the 2nd generation Nest thermostat? This Nest 2nd generation vs 3rd generation comparison takes into account both model’s key features, each ones’ advantages and disadvantages, similarities, and which one might be the right for your home.

Key Similarities

Both Nest 2 and Nest 3 are Wi-Fi thermostats integrated with learning technology. Both models are also compatible with 95% of 24V HVAC systems. Listed below are the ways both models can be called similar to each other.

  • Display: None of the models have a touchscreen feature, but both are equipped with a 24-bit color LCD display. They both display the time and the current temperature. If a set point is set, it will display how long it will take to reach that temperature. A green leaf also appears when energy-efficient settings are turned on.
  • Learning capabilities: Both are self-learning devices. Any change made to the settings are analyzed and recorded, which means if you maintain a regular schedule, your heating and cooling settings are automatically set. However, you can program the thermostats depending on your preferences as well.
  • Wi-Fi support: Both models can be controlled remotely using any smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, available for both Android and iOS.
  • Home Automation support: Both models are compatible with Google Home and Alexa
  • No C-Wire: Both the Nest 2 and Nest 3 don’t need a C-Wire

Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation T200477

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Nest 2nd Generation Learning Thermostat

Key Differences

It’s questionable whether Nest will continue to sell the second generation of their product, but as of writing, Nest second generation and Nest third generation are both available on the market.

It raises the question which one to buy, and although most people would prefer the newest product to experience new features, Nest has established a reputation of upholding the earlier versions of their products. Let’s not forget that the original Nest 1st generation still receives regular updates, so it should be the same for the Nest thermostat 2nd generation. Having said that, what should trigger consumers into spending more money to buy the third generation Nest?

  • Larger display: Nest thermostat 3rd generation has a larger screen – 3.25 inch vs 2.75 inch. The unit still sports the same size, but the display screen is about 40% bigger than the Nest 2, making it easier for users to check from a distance and easier to navigate to boot.
  • Remote Room Sensors: on March 2018 Nest announced they will start offering remote room senors for their Nest 3rd generation learning thermostats. The room sensors will be able to monitor different rooms at your house to make sure it is up to the temperature set. If you have several sensors, you can tell which one to prioritize at what time. You can pair up to six Temperature Sensors with each Nest Thermostat.
  • FarSight Detection: While both models light up when pass by close to it, the Nest 3 is more sensitive to movement. The Nest 2 detects movement within three feet, while the Nest 3 does so within 10 to 20 feet.

Comparison of Key Features

Being the latest model from Nest, its third generation unit offers some unique features that cannot be seen and experienced in the Nest 2.

Nest 3 has a few good tricks up its sleeves that will possibly convince you to upgrade. Aside from the differences indicated above, here are other important improvements that the Nest 3 received, which the Nest 2 is void of.

  • Heat Sensor: In instances when the sun is directly affecting the temperature inside your home, the Nest 3 will detect this and immediately choose cooling options to lower the heat.
  • Safety Alerts: You will receive alerts from Nest if your home suddenly gets too hot or too cold, or if the temperature changes in a way that it hasn’t recorded before.
  • Enhanced Sensors: The Nest 3rd generation is more sensitive than the Nest 2nd generation, learns and adapts quickly.
  • Automatic Adjustments: In order to conserve energy, your Nest 3 will assess the outdoor weather. If sudden changes are detected, Nest will adjust the schedule and create a better heating and cooling setting.
  • Time-to-Temperature: Your Nest 3 learns the time it takes to cool down or heat up your home, which will show on the screen.

The Basics

It’s the same concept for the Nest 2 and Nest 3: both can fit in the palm of your hand, and coated with black and silver with rings made of stainless steel. It has a glossy finish, and the circular screen on the front activates automatically when it detects movement.

Using the thermostat is easy – you only need to tweak the silver part for the menu to show up, squeezing the dial inwards to choose a choice. The way you utilize the indoor regulator figures out how you’d like your home to be cooled and warmed, and on the off chance that you enable it to do so, it will make programmed changes intended to spare you energy and expenses.

Whether for establishment use or everyday purposes, your Nest unit is intended to profoundly streamline processes that were confusing (and wasteful) found on its earlier models. Along with the dial and screen, you can utilize Nest’s free application to screen and control the device using a stable Wi-Fi connection through your iOS gadget, making the warming and cooling plans for each day of the week.

On the off chance that you have more than one Thermostat (or other Nest items), they can be connected together and so it syncs with the app. In case there’s a power interruption, the Nest has a battery inside that you can recharge. However, you will be unable to access it remotely if the power blackout affects your remote system.


The Nest Learning Thermostat units may be one of the best-designed thermostats there is. The Nest 2nd and 3rd generation do not have many differences aesthetics-wise; the only thing that’s noticeable is the third generation slightly larger screen. Its dimensions are also appropriate that it can fit into any area in your home.

User Interface

You can tell at a quick glance the interface of the Nest 2 and Nest 3 are very different. Noticeably, the third-gen Nest has a bigger screen and its screen quality is far more improved.

Both have user-friendly screens, but Nest 3 learns your habits faster than the Gen 2 does. It also sports a higher resolution of 229 pixels per inch. As a result, readability is more pronounced.

Third-Party Integration

When Nest 2 came out, a lot were happy of the various choices for integration with third-party devices. The Nest 3 still has the same integration features, leaving the Apple HomeKit out of the picture. Here are some of the popular devices compatible with both the Nest 2 and Nest 3:

  • Rheem
  • Philips Hue
  • August Home
  • Google Now
  • Skybell HD
  • Amazon Alexa

For a full list of Nest-compatible devices, check this out.


Installations for both Nest 2 and Nest 3 are pretty easy that most people will find it easy to do it themselves. Here is a video below of how to install the Nest 3.

The process is also the same for the Nest 2. All the tools necessary to complete the installation is included in your Nest device. Additionally, a user manual is given out to each customer. If you’re still unsure, Nest has a support team that can walk you through the whole process.


The second generation Nest is one of the reasons why the brand is among one of the recognized makers of smart thermostats.

However, the third generation Nest raised the bar into what a smart thermostat should be, that is if you’re willing to shell out a couple more dollars. Unlike the Nest 2 that only has three sensors, the Nest 3 has 10, which is a big reason why you may want the new Nest installed in your home.

Google decided to add more sensors for the thermostat to be more efficient and for it to detect temperature changes faster. Homeowners may also appreciate the fact that you can integrate your Nest 3 to a compatible boiler system in order to control the overall cost associated with your hot water.

Nest 3 also has upgrades that you may find useful and enjoyable, FarSight technology being one of them. This allows users to get enough information at a glance, plus the Security Boot technology will also prove useful.

Additionally, Nest 3 connects to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth faster than the Nest 2. While both Nest models are evidently efficient, the Nest 3 is definitely an upgrade worth investing in.

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