Overall and Final Verdict
With a few months of usage under their belt, both the Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat have gotten a lot of use in our new place. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t check the temperature in the house via the app or with google assistant. By combining IFTTT with the Nest products I have been able to greatly expand our smart home. We went from having one RGB light that did silly things to being able to get remote notifications of fires or if our furnace goes out while we aren’t home. That alone was well worth it, when I’m not home there is always a little worry about a fire or pipes freezing during cold winter nights. With the nest ecosystem being so popular it means nearly everyone is working to be in the works with nest list. This can help with interesting interactions like locking your doors for you if you are marked as away or having your house automatically warm up for you when you get close to home.
The Nest Thermostat is what set the bar for smart thermostats and in a lot of ways the competition hasn’t caught up even years later. No one is on this level for aesthetics or overall quality. The smart learning capabilities are also really interesting and are a great turn it on and forget it way to save money in the summer and winter. As someone who works from home, I benefit a lot less from that though, only really taking advantage when we go out of town or when it thinks I’m away while sleeping through the day after my wife left for work lol. I also think Nest has perfected the installation, considering how complicated things can get with not every system being the same, this as easy as it can get for most people.
There are a few downsides and areas that they can improve in Gen 3 though. For starters, a simple software update that allows you to force a temperature hold would be nice. When you have people over or if you manually make a change it can be overridden shortly after if there was a change on your schedule. I think the usage history could use a little work as well, only being able to track 10 days out makes it hard to see how your current usage compares. Long-term storage of that data along with outside temps would go a long way. Last but not least, remote sensors would be huge. Ecobee has proven that people want that functionality. Being able to have temps set to make it comfortable in other rooms beyond the one with your thermostat would be great and it could also help track home and away better.
The Nest Protect was also impressive yet I hope I never really have to take advantage of it. The comfort while away is my favorite feature, but in the event of a fire having it tell you which Nest Protect (and where) is picking up the fire would be huge. It helps you and your family get out safely. I think the Protect as well as all of Nests new products could be brought into the Nest Thermostat ecosystem better by integrating temperature sensors into them. Imagine if you could track temps in each bedroom and on each level of your house. Beyond that my only issue with the Nest Protect was a cumulative cost when outfitting a house with them. Using Ohio as an example with a newly built house you have to have one on each level, one in each sleeping room, and one outside of each sleeping room (think hallways). For my house, we would need three for the bedrooms, one for the hallway, one in the basement, and one in the living room. With an MSRP of $119 that can really start to add up! That said I think that is money well spent. If nothing else one paired up with cheaper units will at least get you the remote notification.
So its tax time, should you run out and pick up a Nest Protect or a Nest Thermostat. I would highly recommend the Nest Protects, being able to call the fire department right away if there is a fire while you aren’t home is worth the high investment cost. The Nest Thermostat is also a good buy but I do think that it does lack some functionality that power users might need. If you have a large place or multiple levels with one HVAC system I think a system with remote sensors may also help you more. But you would be giving up the huge Nest ecosystem and not getting a Thermostat that looks/feels as good as the Nest. If the $249 price tag is scaring you off I don’t blame you. Nest does have the Nest Thermostat E that is $169 and in most states you can also get rebates back from your utility company as well that can knock the price down or in the case of the Thermostat E model almost make it free.
*long term update* Our Nest Protect failed 3 years in before even the original batteries died. This is a year past the warranty ends and ti seems to be a relatively common issue. I would no longer recommend the Protect at all.