Nest Thermostat E vs. Nest Thermostat: What’s the Difference?

Nest has unveiled it’s latest addition to its smart thermostat lineup, known as the Nest Thermostat E. The original Nest Thermostat is still available and will continue to sell alongside the new model, but what does the Nest Thermostat E bring to the table? Here’s what you need to know.

It’s $70 Cheaper

The biggest kicker is that the Nest Thermostat E is only $169, which is $70 cheaper than the original Nest Thermostat.

Smart thermostats are expensive. The flagship Nest Thermostat model is priced at a hefty $250, which isn’t exactly affordable (though you can get rebates on it). So Nest wants to cater to those who might want a smart thermostat, but don’t want to shell out a ton of money for one.

Granted, $170 still isn’t super affordable by any means. However, it’s a step in the right direction for smarthome products in general, since price has been one of the biggest barriers to entry.

It’s Made Out of Plastic Rather Than Metal

The Nest Thermostat E is so much cheaper partially because it’s not made out of metal like the original model is. Instead, it’s made out of polycarbonate, which is a plastic-like material that’s much stronger than typical plastic.

Thankfully, though, it still utilizes the familiar spin dial that wraps around the device, just like the original model has. So you still get much of the same control functionality with the cheaper Thermostat E.

The Frosted Display Is Meant to Blend In with Walls

Along with the cheaper materials that the new thermostat is made out of, the display has a frosted overlay that gives text and graphics a warm glow effect, as well as the ability for the whole device to blend in with white walls.

Apparently, this was a huge focus for Nest with the Thermostat E. They wanted to design it in such a way that you would essentially forget it’s there. After all, the point of the Nest Thermostat has always been to learn your habits and change the temperature settings automatically so that you don’t have to worry about it.

It Has an Inferior Display

For a lot of consumer electronics, a lower price usually means a lower-quality display, and that goes for the Nest Thermostat E. Instead of the 3rd-gen Nest Thermostat’s 2.08-inch 480×480 display, The Nest Thermostat E only has a 1.76-inch 320×320 screen.

Thankfully, though, display specs really aren’t that big of a deal when it comes to smart thermostats, since you’re not looking at it for even remotely as long as you look at your phone’s screen. But, if pixel density is your thing, you might want to look elsewhere.

It Doesn’t Support “Farsight”

The 3rd-gen Nest Thermostat has a feature known as Farsight, which wakes up the thermostat’s display when it detects that you’re nearby and shows you info based on what you want to see.

You can choose what appears when this happens, like showing the time and date, the weather, the room’s target temperature, or its current temperature.

Unfortunately, the Nest Thermostat E doesn’t support Farsight. However, it still includes the same motion-sensing technology so that it knows if someone is home or not.

It Doesn’t Work with as Many HVAC Systems

The flagship Nest Thermostat model is compatible with around 95% of all HVAC units, but that number drops to 85% with the Nest Thermostat E.

This is mostly thanks to fewer wire terminals on the new model. Unlike the 3rd-gen Nest Thermostat with its ten wire terminals, the Nest Thermostat E only has six. So it’s possible that it won’t work with more complicated HVAC setups. However, you can use Nest’s compatibility tool to find if your system will work.


Other than the above, the Nest Thermostat E will have all the same features as the 3rd-gen Nest Thermostat, including being able to control it remotely from your phone, as well as control it with your voice using Alexa or Google Assistant.

Images from Nest

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.