Amazon recently announced a new Smart Thermostat at an incredibly low price, undercutting Google’s Nest Thermostat by $70. The lower price might put pressure on Google and other smart thermostat manufacturers to lower prices over time. Then again, if Amazon’s solution is lacking in some way, perhaps Nest offers more value even at a higher price? The smart thermostats from Amazon and Google easily handle the most basic functions with controls on the unit that allow immediate temperature adjustments. With smart thermostats, however, more should be expected.
Nest was founded by former Apple engineers in 2010 and began making smart home technology with the launch of the Nest Learning Thermostat. While not the first such device, it was quickly recognized to be among the best. The plan was to continue reinventing unchanged household accessories that were in need of innovation after stagnating for quite some time. In 2014, Google acquired the company, leading to great expectations of what might come next. Under Google, Nest floundered somewhat before a reorganization made it part of Google’s Home division which is shared with its smart speakers and Chromecast. Nest now makes a wide variety of well-designed and reliable products for the home, all of which integrate well with Google Assistant and Android.
In spite of the Amazon Smart Thermostat’s low price, Google’s Nest Thermostat offers extra features, such as a larger color display, better Wi-Fi compatibility, and the option of multi-zone control if using more than one Nest Thermostat. Both systems offer the option to program temperatures to match the user’s preferences and schedule. Each smart thermostat also has the ability to recognize when the homeowner leaves, adjusting temperatures for best energy savings. Being part of the global networks of these mega-corporations, each product offers a smartphone app that allows remote adjustments to be made to the temperature or programming of the smart thermostat. Nest also has a long track record of reliability and user-friendly software, while this is Amazon’s first thermostat.
At a cost of only $60, Amazon’s Smart Thermostat is a great bargain, handling the most basic needs well. This could make it the best choice for smaller homes or those that already have several Amazon Alexa devices. If another $70 is within the budget, however, the value and potential that comes with Google’s Nest Thermostat are probably worth the extra expense. With the ability to add another Nest Thermostat to allow multi-zone control, managing temperatures in a two-story or any large house is much nicer. Amazon doesn’t have this capability yet.
Another concern with Amazon’s thermostat is the Wi-Fi connectivity, which requires the older 2.4 gigahertz signal, which can be a hassle when the smartphone is using the much faster 5 gigahertz band. Nest works with both so the user doesn’t have to get involved with those technical details when setting up the device. Nest has a long history of making user-friendly products and smart thermostats, while Amazon is a bit of an unknown in this category, relying on a partnership with Honeywell to develop the new thermostat. Overall, with the offering of more features, the possibility of expansion to multi-zone temperature control, and the history of reliability and leadership, Google’s Nest Thermostat offers the best value despite the higher cost.