Nest Vs Honeywell RTH9580WF Thermostat

Nest 3rd generation and the Honeywell RTH9580WF are well known smart Wi-Fi thermostats. Nest smart thermostat is one of the best selling and most used smart thermostats in the industry. It is also famous for its learning abilities. Does the Honeywell RTH9580WF thermostat stand a chance to compete?

When putting Nest 3rd generation vs Honeywell RTH9580WF side by side the results turned out to be quite surprising. The thermostats are different from one another, and so their features.

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

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Key Similarities

Mobile App and Web Browser Control

Both of these two thermostats offer a lot of mobile connectivity options through their mobile apps. You can control either of them from anywhere in the world.

The iOS and Android apps are old news for most users at this point. The fact that both of them offer a browser-based interface might be more interesting for some users. Here is the review of Nest web interface:

Nest has been doing their best to promote the expanded compatibility. While it looks like Honeywell has always featured this sort of thing to some degree. These new browser interfaces help solve most end-user compatibility issues.

Compatibility with Heating and Cooling Systems

Both thermostats should be compatible with the overwhelming majority of consumer-grade HVAC equipment. Nest, as well as Honeywell thermostat, works with a variety of 24-volt systems. Both thermostats should be compatible with gas or electric heating, heat pump, radiant pipes or forced air network systems.

You can check if Nest is compatible with your heating and cooling setup either by downloading the Nest app or using the browser-based Compatibility Checker.

Setup & Configuration

Nest and Honeywell thermostats can be considered as minicomputer systems controlling your home’s HVAC system. Yet, they still send impulses identical to even the oldest electrical thermostats. This makes it possible to configure both of them to work with antiquated systems as well.

Both units come with quite extensive quick start guides that should have you going in no time. Most users will want to look up information on how to configure their new thermostat. By clicking on the link, you can find the installation guide for Nest 3rd generation thermostat and the Honeywell RTH9580WF thermostat.

Honeywell RTH9580WF Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat - For Air Conditioner

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Key Differences


The Nest’s attractive and intuitive thermostat design has won many awards. It is quite a sleek looking device which will be a cool gadget on the wall at your home.

Honeywell was going for a more sturdy flat design than Nest was. Yet, the Nest thermostat 3rd generation design is nothing revolutionary.

Nest was more than comfortable making it look like the previous two releases. Honeywell redesigned the RTH9580WF thermostat to have more modern programmable unit than their classic rotary dials.

User Interface

Honeywell RTH9580WF does have more like a smartphone user interface. The thermostat contains a large touchscreen display where you can find a lot of information right on the home screen. It includes inside temperature set, outside temperature, humidity, the date, and time.

Nest in other hand contains only the main information on the home screen. It shows temperature set and what your HVAC system is doing (idle, heating or cooling). Nest device does not have a touchscreen. The thermostat controlled by outer ring turning up and down and pushing the front glass panel to confirm operations.

Room Sensors

In the April 2018 Nest introduced their own version of remote room sensors. They can work with Nest 3rd generation and Nest E smart thermostats. Remote room sensors help Nest thermostats to use room temperature readings as a baseline to keep it on the temperature set.

Google Nest Temperature Sensor- That Works with Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E - Smart Home, White
  • Works with compatible Nest thermostats [1]; the sensor tells the thermostat what the temperature is in the room where it’s placed and the thermostat uses that reading to control when the system turns on or off to keep that room the temperature you like.Compatible with select Nest thermostats. Including Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen and Nest Thermostat E.Wireless. Bluetooth Low Energy connection.Long battery life - Works on CR2 3V lithium battery (included) with up to 2-year lifetime.Up to 50 feet range. Allows easy placement..Product note: You can also check your system’s compatibility before purchasing a Nest thermostat with our online Nest Compatibility Checker
  • Put different temperature sensors in different rooms, like the baby’s room or living room
  • Control your Nest sensor in the Nest app; set a schedule and choose which room to prioritize when [2]
  • Compatible with select Nest thermostats. Including Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen and Nest Thermostat E.
  • The Nest Temperature Sensor is easy to set up; just hang it on the wall or place it on a shelf

When using thermostat without room sensors such as Honeywell RTH9580WF, the thermostat would be reading the temperature at the location of the device.

Depending on the location of your thermostat it could state much more different temperature than it is for the entire house. For example, if you place your thermostat too close to the heating source, it will get your entire home a bit cooler. The thermostat will think that your home temperature is higher than it actually is.

Different Buying Options

Some of the buying options are quite different. The Nest 3rd generation learning thermostat comes in two buying options. The standard model contains Nest thermostats with a limited warranty. The other option is a professional version. This option does not include any warranty. A professional technician needs to install this thermostat and provide the warranty.

The Honeywell RTH9580WF only features two different purchasing options. The Honeywell RTH9580WF master carton comes with two thermostats. The consumer-grade retail package comes with a single one.

While some people might complain about the lack of choice, this might make it much easier for consumers to choose which carton they’d like to order.

How Both Thermostat Stack Up?

User Interface

The most obvious differences come in the way of design and user interface. All Honeywell RTH9580WF units feature a linear touchscreen interface that reminds Android tablet.

Nest thermostat does not have a touchscreen. You need to turn the outer ring up when you want a little warmer and down when you want your rooms to be a little cooler. Pressing the thermostat ring towards the wall will get you to more options. Turning ring you’ll be able to select options and pressing ring again will confirm your selection.

Thermostat Design

Honeywell had created RTH9580WF thermostat design to resemble a computer or a tablet screen. Nest’s engineers disagreed with this paradigm when they designed the thermostat. The Nest 3rd generation thermostat looks more like the classic circular Honeywell thermostats, which most people thought of when they heard that word for decades.

Some users have commented that it looks like Nest is taking design cues from Honeywell’s past. While Honeywell seems to be taking cues from Google, which is the parent company of Nest. Some users will prefer the Nest device because it reminds the thermostat they grew up with, so they won’t need them to relearn any gestures.

Other users may prefer the interface paradigm used on the Honeywell RTH9580WF. It makes them feel like they’re using a device they’re already comfortable with. One style isn’t better than the other. They’re different, and user preferences will have a lot to do with which one is best for any specific application.

To compare by yourself both thermostats you can find more detailed Nest 3rd generation thermostat review here:

Here is the Honeywell RTH9580WF review video:

Customizing User Interface

Honeywell went much further with their design paradigm than some users might even realize at first glance. There is an entire menu dedicated to setting various color scheme configuration options. Honeywell even put out a flier that does nothing but explains how to set these options.

Users who like to have control over every possible setting will like that they can change quite a lot related to the interface. Nest’s engineers went back to an era of click wheels. In the other hand, Honeywell’s engineers went back to the display settings found in the Windows 95 Control Panel.

Compatibility with Heating and Cooling Systems

Nest learning thermostat support operation without a C-Wire out of the box. Though your mileage may vary based on the specific type of HVAC equipment you have installed. Many users have reported that they do get satisfactory use out of a standard 24VAC system connected to a Nest thermostat. They also don’t suffer from any of the problems related to power stealing. This is because Nest units use a low amount of electricity.

Honeywell’s documentation specifies that a C-Wire is required to use the RTH9580WF. At times Honeywell engineers promoted the fan wire hack as a solution to this problem. However, no one should attempt to operate a Honeywell RTH9580WF thermostat with this hack. You need a G-Wire to control your house fan. You also don’t want to give this up in spite of the fact that Honeywell does claim to support this.

If you have a C-Wire, then the two thermostats are on equal footing. Nest’s 3rd generation thermostat win out if you have to install one without an extra power wire. You may wish to consider other options like the Venstar Add-a-Wire if you would prefer to use the Honeywell RTH9580WF. Yet, Nest still wins in this category in a head-to-head comparison.

Compatibility with Smart Home Systems

The Nest 3rd generation thermostat is compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Unfortunately, there is no support for Apple HomeKit at the time of writing this article).

The Honeywell RTH9580WF thermostat is a clear winner when it comes to voice control. If you prefer to be able to talk to your thermostat, then you’d be more comfortable with Honeywell’s design. Simply saying “Hello Thermostat” is enough to activate the speech interface. They designed it so that the synthesized voice will greet you after activating it.

Here is the video how the voice activation looks in practice:

You can alter the temperature by stating temperature in degrees and the thermostat will adjust itself. Honeywell doesn’t claim compatibility with any Apple products. But if you’ve used Speakable Items or Siri you’ll get used to using their speech system very quickly. Both systems currently only offer full speech support for the English language.

Learning Capabilities

The Nest 3rd generation thermostat is not able to recognize the voice commands. But, it might learn your routine much faster. If you have a habit of always setting the temperature to a specific level at a specific time of the day, then it will learn that.

It also automatically detects when you’re away from home, and then it will automatically adjust the temperature. It will save on power by using internal motion sensors and your mobile app location (if you have it activated) to detect movement in your abode. Nest products continue to learn as long as you consistently use them. They will always adjust behavior to what you’ve been doing.

Nest uses cute leaf badge icons that you might like if you’re doing your best to cut back on power usage. Small leave icon appears on the interface to reward you when you choose energy efficient settings. This is a good way for many people to know when they’re saving energy. It looks like Nest takes it in this category as well, but some users might find this sort of cute behavior to be pedantic and childish.

Those who don’t like it will prefer Honeywell’s device. Honeywell RTH9580WF units don’t learn the same way as they monitor your Wi-Fi network rather than your behavior.

You’ll need to input your schedule manually first. Then the thermostat will adjust itself automatically to follow your settings.

Honeywell RTH9580WF doesn’t have motion sensors. Therefore, you’ll have to lower the temperature yourself each time you leave the house if that is off your schedule. This means you can expect the Honeywell RTH9580WF to keep track of when you’re at work. But any unscheduled absences have to get programmed in separately.

Climate Scheduling

Each Honeywell RTH9580WF unit allows you to create up to four different schedules. Nest’s 3rd generation products divide the day into multiple time periods, which might be useful for those coming and going quite a bit. Every individual day of the week and going into months worth of time can ultimately be sorted by many time areas. The name might be a bit confusing, as these don’t refer to the time zones used for setting clocks.

You might find this an unnecessary feature because the Nest unit already learns your patterns and knows when you’re not in the home. While the way that Honeywell’s engineers set things up is technically more limited. It might be easier to work with especially for those who work a regular job. You might look at this as a push between the two, which thermostat wins in this category depends on what you need to use them for.

Final Verdict

Majority of users might like the Nest 3rd generation thermostat better, because of the learning capabilities, remote room sensors support and more discrete interface. Also, for the fact that it doesn’t necessarily need a C-Wire to work.

That being said, there are a few specific reasons why it isn’t a clear total winner. Users who want to control their thermostat with voice commands without purchasing extra devices such as Amazon Echo. Also, who want an interface that matches what they use on a mobile device will like the Honeywell RTH9580WF better.

While it does have a few more settings in the way of colors and other unrelated niceties, it might be easier to configure for many users because of the liberal application of linear menus.

If you need simplicity for a lower price most likely will be happier with Honeywell RTH9580WF thermostat. If you are looking for the more advanced thermostat – Nest 3rd generation most likely would be a better choice.

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