The first-generation Nest Learning Thermostat made its debut in 2011, helping jumpstart the connected home device market that is now a multi-billion dollar industry. The company has since been acquired by Google for $3.2 billion, and two iterative updates have been released in addition to a connected smoke detector and three different home security cameras. Despite Nest’s broadened scope, the current third-generation Nest Learning Thermostat is still widely viewed as the best in the business. On Thursday, however, Nest is unveiling a brand new smart thermostat that doesn’t aim to be the best. Instead, the company has an entirely different goal in mind with the Nest Thermostat E: Build a thermostat for the masses.
Nest says that over the past six years, its Learning Thermostats have collectively saved more than 14 billion kWh of electricity. That’s enough energy to power every single home in New York State for 100 days. Now Nest has its eye on an even more impressive milestone: 100 billion kWh saved.
Reaching that milestone won’t be easy with a $250 smart thermostat that mainly appeals to tech savvy users. That’s why the company created the new Nest Thermostat E. It’s still a sleek device and it still packs all of the learning features found in Nest’s flagship thermostat, but it ditches the metal housing and high-resolution display in order to drop to a more attainable price point. At $169, the Thermostat E is priced in line with other mid-range smart thermostats like the Ecobee3 Lite, but it carries the weight of the Nest brand behind it.
“In 2011, we reinvented the thermostat category to make it easy for people to save energy,” Nest co-founder Matt Rogers said. “Fast forward six years: Nest owners have saved more than 14 billion kWh — the equivalent of providing electricity to all the homes in New York State for over 100 days — and now we are bringing beautiful design and proven energy saving capabilities into even more homes. To do that, we needed to simplify. The more subtle look and feel of the Nest Thermostat E will seamlessly blend into any environment. It’s everything our customers have come to know and love from Nest thermostats with a renewed focus on user simplicity and control.”
That note about the Thermostat E blending into any environment is an interesting one, and it speaks to the market Nest is addressing with this new product. The Nest Learning Thermostat is designed for the type of person who wants technology to be a focus in his or her household. Most people don’t want a thermostat to be a focal point in their homes, however. The idea of a smart thermostat that can trim energy bills by 15% is appealing, but the $250 price tag and attention-grabbing design might not be.
The Nest Thermostat E is far more subtle, with a frosted glass display and a plastic ring instead of the high-res screen and stainless steel construction from the higher-end model. The plastic is coated to feel like ceramic and the frosted screen looks very cool when it’s on, but the thermostat blends into its surroundings when it’s not in use.
Nest was able to cut costs entirely on the hardwire side. That means all of the learning features that make the company’s flagship thermostat so great are also available in the Thermostat E. Additionally, the device has a new “basic schedule” option that can be selected during setup, which the company says will offer a good balance of comfort and savings.
The Nest Thermostat E is available for purchase beginning today for $169 on the Nest website and from partner retailers like Amazon. Orders start shipping tomorrow, September 1st. The new model is also still eligible for all of the same discount programs as the flagship model, including Nest’s own Rush Hour Rewards program, which pays enrolled users $40 annually for automatically helping to reduce the electrical grid during periods of high usage, as well as any additional programs that might be available through local energy companies.