New Nest Thermostat Has Slimmer Design, Even More Energy-Saving Features

© Nest Labs

Just a few months after its first software update and a year after its debut, the popular Nest Learning Thermostat has gotten a full upgrade. The newly announced second generation Nest has a slimmer design and a host of new hardware and software features including more programmable energy-saving features, expanded mobile support and compatibility with even more home heating and cooling systems and, now, humidification systems too.

The already sleek, minimalist design has gotten even more minimalist. The new Nest is 20 percent thinner than the first generation and now has a solid stainless steel casing. Where there was once a sensor grille on the front is now a smooth, almost undetectable lens. Below you can see the difference between the first generation Nest on the left and the second generation on the right.

© Nest Labs

Design upgrades are all fine and dandy, but the hardware has been significantly upgraded too. According to Nest Labs, "the 2nd generation Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with 95% of low voltage heating and cooling systems, including 2nd stage cooling, 3rd stage heating, dual fuel, emergency heat, and whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers." The 2nd generation also has been tweaked to allow for easier installation and in general it seems like the updates are all aimed at making the thermostat even easier to use.

The new Nest also comes with another software update. The major feature of the new software update is special modes for different types of heating and cooling systems that each come with custom features to optimize the energy efficiency of that system. There are now specific modes for energy-efficient radiant heat systems and heat pump systems that allow for the extra time required to get to a specific temperature when creating schedules. For conventional forced air systems, there is now a filter change reminder based on how many hours you've run the AC or heat since a clogged filter can make your system far less efficient.

The Auto-Away feature has been improved to turn on more quickly after it has sensed that you've left the house, more languages have been added and, a biggie for Android users, the mobile app has been updated to support Android tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire in addition to all iOS devices and Android smartphones.

One thing we really like about Nest Labs is its commitment to software updates that improve all Nest thermostats whether new or old. Keeping with that, the 3.0 software will be automatically delivered to all existing and new Wi-Fi connected thermostats.

The new model costs $249 and will start shipping on October 15 while the older generation will still be available for $229.

Tags: Cooling | Energy Efficiency | Heating | Technology

2014 Gift Guide

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK