Pete Sucheski

With old-school design and high-tech performance, the Nest Learning Thermostat learns from homeowners’ manual settings to eventually respond automatically to their heating and cooling needs. It also offers tips on saving energy and displays a green leaf when savings are being optimized. Priced under $250.

  1. How It Works After a simple, initial set-up, the Nest learns from the homeowner’s habits and settings. Manually override its learned program by rotating the outer ring to adjust the temperature. The display turns blue when cooling and red when heating. Within a week, the Nest has created a personalized schedule.
  2. Auto-Away This feature uses embedded sensors to detect when the house is empty and adjusts the temperature settings down to save energy, then recalls the day and time(s) of day going forward.
  3. Ultimate Control Wi-Fi enabled, the Nest can be controlled by any Web-connected device. Pushing down on the outer ring opens a menu including initial settings (which can be changed) and the owner’s energy-use history.