Since Google acquired Nest along with its Learning Thermostat in 2014, the company has overseen the introduction of two new generations of smart thermostats.
While both the second and third generations of the Nest Thermostat retain the defining features of the first, there are also significant differences from the original system.
If you are looking to add a reliable Smart Thermostat to your automated cooling systems and heating systems for home temperature regulation, you can’t go wrong with these two. The trick is in deciding which of them is best for your needs.
What’s the difference between Nest 2nd vs 3rd generation? The most obvious difference is the presence of new sensors.
Compare Nest Thermostats: Second Generation vs Third
|Smart ThermostatModel||Nest 2nd Gen||Nest 3rd Gen|
|Product Dimensions||6.5 x 6.5 x 3.2 in||3.3 x 3.3 x 1.2 in|
|Screen||LCD 320 x 320||LCD 480 x 480|
|Unique Features||Auto-away||Farsight Technology|
|Furnace Heads Up||No||Enabled|
|Auto-Adjust||Auto-schedule present||Auto-schedule present|
|Cool to Dry||Enabled for HVAC||Enabled for HVAC|
|Warranty||One Year Warranty||2 Year Limited|
Key Differences & Comparison between Nest 2nd vs 3rd Generation
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Capabilities. If you have decided on getting a Nest thermostat but aren’t sure whether you should go with the second generation system or the third, you should compare their capabilities. One such difference is in the heat sensor and the inclusion of new sensors on the third-gen system.
This feature is applicable to both thermostats but the Sunblock technology on the third generation thermostat is more sensitive to when sunlight heats the thermostat. When this happens, the system automatically lowers the heating level. There are also additional sensors on the third generation thermostat.
Two new sensors are featured on the 3rd gen thermostat as well: A sensor for Farsight detection that lights up the display based on your proximity to the system and, for users who reside in Europe, a heat link that can be connected to your heating system and gives you more control over when your heating starts and stops.
- Performance. Another equally important aspect in which you can compare Nest 2nd vs 3rd Generation is their performance. Both systems are compatible with humidifiers and dehumidifiers for precise control over the humidity of the room, heat pumps for both emergency heat and auxiliary control.
With the auto-away feature, both thermostats are capable of turning the temperature down to save energy. It is no wonder that the Nest thermostat is the first smart thermostat with Energy Star certification. It has been proven to cut a significant amount of your heating bills.
The key differences lie in the delivery of alerts via the Smartphone app when there is a problem with your heating system, which works in conjunction with the Furnace Heads Up feature on Nest 3.
- Design. When it comes to the design of the Nest 2 and 3 (third generation), there are differences even though they both bear a striking resemblance. They both have the same circular shape but the Nest 3 thermostat is slimmer, smaller, and lighter. It measures 3.3 x 3.3 x 1.2 inches while the Nest 2 measures 6.5 x 6.5 x 3.2 inches.
The LCD screen has a 480 x 480 resolution on the Nest 3 and is 2.08 inches in diameter while that on the Nest 2 has a 320 x 320 pixel display and is only 1.75 inches in diameter. Both screens are enclosed by a silver ring. This means the third generation thermostat screen, when combined with Farsight technology is more readable from a distance.
Aside from those differences, they are essentially the same. They are both equipped with the signature capability for learning your heating and cooling preferences and automatically scheduling connected systems to reflect that. They are also both compatible with one to three stage cleaning systems, and one to two-stage cooling systems.
- Accessories and Price. Differences also exist between second-generation vs third with regard to accessories. The major one, which we have earlier alluded to, is the third generation thermostat’s compatibility with a heat link. Otherwise, they are both compatible with Alexa Voice control and both have iOS and Android compatibility.
As expected, the Nest 2 costs around fifty dollars less than the Nest 3 on most Internet vendors.
Nest 2nd Generation Review
This system is slimmer and smaller than the first generation of Nest Learning thermostats. It is circular in shape and surrounded by an outer silver rim. Nest 2 features a 1.75 inches wide LCD display with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels.
It comes with the signature ability to learn your preferred heating and cooling habits and the Auto-away feature. It is compatible with most three-stage heating systems and two-stage cooling systems and can be remotely controlled over a Wi-Fi connection with the iOS or Android app.
Nest 3rd Generation Review
The third generation Nest thermostat continues the slimmer and smaller design trend of its predecessors. It retains the circular shape but features a larger 2.08 inches wide LCD screen with a 480 x 480 pixel resolution.
It adds the Farsight Detection sensor to the Humidity, Near-field activity, Ambient Light, and Far-field activity sensors. It is also compatible with a heat link system, which can be connected to a Nest HVAC system or others.
Nest 2 vs Nest 3 – Our Verdict
That is our comparison and review of Nest second generation vs third thermostats. They both have positive customer reviews and are smart thermostats – each is capable of learning your temperature preferences.
Both of them also have an easy-to-understand installation process, iOS and Android compatibility for remote control, and are compatible with third-party devices.
When you compare them the major differences between them is the inclusion of a Farsight Detector and Furnace Heads Up on the third generation.
This is also reflected in the price difference between the Nest thermostat 2nd generation and Nest 3. We believe the additional features are worth the extra $50 and you should buy gen3 instead of gen2.