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Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen vs Nest Thermostat E

Nest are helping to change the perception of smart thermostats. No longer are they a luxury item as their affordable products are giving homeowners a cost effective solution to make their homes smarter and more energy efficient.

With their latest release, the Nest Thermostat E, you don’t even need an engineer to carry out the installation, which makes getting started that bit easier (and cheaper).

How does Nest’s latest smart thermostat compare with their Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen though? We’ve pitted them against each other to help you decide which one is best for your home.

What is a Smart Thermostat?

Before comparing these 2 Nest thermostats, it would be good to know exactly what a smart thermostat is and how they differ from more conventional thermostats.

Essentially, a smart thermostat is able to connect to the WiFi in your home, allowing you to control the heating from your smartphone or tablet wherever you are. You’ll also be able to monitor energy use around your home to see where you could be saving money.

While all smart thermostats are able to do the above, there are now many different products available with their own unique features. This makes comparing different models an important part of your decision making and why we’ve put 2 of the most competitively priced Nest products head-to-head: Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation) vs Nest Thermostat E.

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)

The third in the line of Nest Learning thermostats, the 3rd Generation model learns the temperature that your home enjoys and programs itself.

The 3rd Gen can not only control the heating in your home but the hot water too as it’s compatible with on/off hot water tanks and Combi boilers.

Nest Thermostat E

Nest’s latest smart thermostat has made the technology more accessible to homeowners than ever before. Once you get your hands on the device, you can be up and running within 60 minutes, without the need for an engineer – something that’s pretty much unheard of when it comes to smart thermostats.


Let’s begin this head-to-head by looking at the features of both Nest thermostats side-by-side:

Specification Nest 3rd Gen Learning Thermostat Nest Thermostat E
Diameter x Depth (cm) 8.4 x 3.2 8.1 x 2.89
Warranty 2 years 2 years
Connectivity Requirements Wi-Fi internet iOS or Android phone or tablet Nest app Wi-Fi internet iOS or Android phone or tablet Nest app
Power Consumption Under 2kWh/month Under 1kWh/month
Sensors Temperature Humidity Near-field activity Far-field activity Ambient light Temperature Humidity Proximity/Occupancy Ambient light
Display 24-bit colour LCD 480 x 480 resolution at 229 pixels per inch 5.3cm diameter High Red 24-bit colour LCD 320 x 320 resolution at 182 pixels per inch 4.55cm diameter High Red
Colours Available White, Copper, Black, Stainless Steel White
Outer Ring Metal, polished finish Polycarbonate, ceramic-feel

What are the Similarities?

Being manufactured by the same brand, as well as both being smart thermostats, there’s a fair bit of crossover when it comes to their features. For example, both can be controlled anywhere, will adapt to the heating demands of your home and ultimately help to save money on your energy bills. Let’s look a little further into what you can expect from both:

Control Anywhere

Monitor and control your smart thermostat wherever you are with a smartphone, tablet, laptop or voice controlled device.

Safety Temperature

When a Nest thermostat is turned off, it will still work to protect your heating system from cold temperatures to prevent the pipes from freezing over. You can even have safety alerts sent to your phone too.

Intelligent Learning

After about a week, your Nest device will get to know how you like the temperature to be around the home. They can even detect when nobody is home and turn the heating off so that you’re not wasting energy heating an empty home.

Energy Saving Features

A leaf symbol will appear on the display screen to let you know when the temperature is at an energy-saving level. The Nest app will also let you monitor your energy usage and help you to identify where you could be saving money.

What are the Differences?

Now that we know what you can expect with both of these Nest thermostats, let’s take a look at the differences and get closer to finding the right one for your home.

Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen) Differences Thermostat E
Available with a choice of ring colours: copper, white and black. Design Blends in with the decor of the home thanks to a more stripped back, subtle design. The screen is covered by a diffuser to help soften the display with a ‘frosted’ effect
Has a ‘learning’ feature which means that after a week of being in your home it will automatically adjust to suit your needs. Ready-to-Go Schedule Has a pre-set schedule straight out the box which you can then adjust to suit your home. After a week of use, it will also learn the habits of life in your home.
Responds to motion and displays the time, weather or temperature automatically. Farsight Feature Doesn’t include the farsight feature
To be installed on the wall unless you purchase a separate Nest Stand Stand Place anywhere thanks to a built-in stand
You can install this by yourself but it’s not recommended DIY Installation Can be installed yourself in 60 minutes or less and all the tools you’ll need are provided.
95% of heating and cooling systems. Compatibility 85% of heating and cooling systems.

One of the most important differences to consider is that the Thermostat E is only compatible with 85% of heating and cooling systems, while the 3rd Gen can be used with 95%. So before purchasing, it’s important to ensure that your system is compatible.

3rd Gen vs Thermostat E: Price

Despite being the latest model, the Nest Thermostat E is available at a cheaper price than the 3rd Gen, as you can see from the table below.

3rd Generation Learning Thermostat E
With Installation £279 £259
Without Installation £219 £199

Depending on where you purchase either thermostat, the cost is likely to vary and you may or may not have the option of including the installation. While the Learning Thermostat is available without installation, it should be installed by a professional, unlike the Thermostat E which can be easily installed yourself.

Learning (3rd Gen) vs Thermostat E: Which Should You Buy?

The Nest Thermostat E gives the impression that it’s a stripped down version of other Nest thermostats but it boasts lots of features of its own. If you’ve been waiting for a cost effective entry into the smart thermostat market then look no further than the Nest Thermostat E, you can even connect it to your heating system yourself, saving on those installation costs.

While the 3rd Gen is an effective thermostat that will help to make your home more efficient, it also has some extra features that aren’t completely necessary, like weather reports and a clock. So, if you’re just after a smart thermostat that you can control anywhere, rely on to keep your home a suitable temperature and help you to save money on your energy bills then the Thermostat E is the ideal choice.

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