Nest announced the original cheaper model of its smart thermostat - the Thermostat E - in the US in August 2017, followed by a reengineered model for Europe and the UK in September 2018.

This feature focuses on how the UK and European model of the Thermostat E compares to the company's more expensive Thermostat 3.0. For those in the US, you can read our separate feature specifically comparing the US models.

Design and display

  • Thermostat E: 81.6 x 94.4mm (with stand), 408g
  • Thermostat 3.0: 81.6 x 81.6mm, 206g
  • Higher resolution display on Thermostat 3.0

The Nest Thermostat E and Nest Thermostat 3.0 both have a circular design and a solid build quality but that's about as far as their similarities go in terms of design.

The Thermostat E has a white, ceramic-feel polycarbonate finish and a built-in stand, while the Thermostat 3.0 has a metal, polished finish available in stainless steel, black or copper colour options. The 3.0 is also predominantly wall-mounted with an optional stand sold separately.

The Thermostat E has a 1.7-inch frosted display offering a 320 x 320 resolution for a 182ppi. It is designed to blend into its surroundings rather than be a focus point in a room, and it can be placed anywhere in any room you choose as long as there is a power socket.

The Thermostat 3.0 meanwhile, has a 2.1-inch high-res colour display with a 480 x 480 pixel resolution for a 229ppi. It is designed to stand out in the room, offering features like Farsight, which allows users to see the time, temperature or weather all the time on the display.

Both devices come with a Heat Link, allowing the two thermostats to connect to your boiler. The Thermostat E has a battery-powered Heat Link with a built-in temperature sensor that replaces your existing thermostat, while the Thermostat 3.0 has a wired Heat Link that connects to your boiler.

Features

  • Many of same features on both
  • Thermostat 3.0 has Farsight and hot water control
  • Thermostat E comes with pre-defined schedule

The Nest Thermostat E and the Nest Thermostat 3.0 offer almost all of the same features. They both allow you to control your heating with your smartphone from anywhere, they both turn themselves down when you're out and they both offer energy saving options.

The two thermostats can also be controlled using Google Assistant and they both learn from your routine and adjust themselves accordingly, helping you save energy and money.

The Thermostat E comes with a pre-defined schedule out of the box, which is made up of data from the Nest Thermostat 3.0's users. It can be changed of course and the Thermostat E will still learn from your routine and adapt itself. The Thermostat 3.0 doesn't come with a pre-set schedule but it still offers scheduling as a feature.

The Thermostat 3.0 offers Farsight however, while the Thermostat E doesn't. Farsight lights up the Thermostat 3.0's display to show you the temperature, weather or time and users can choose between a digital or analogue clock face. The Thermostat E meanwhile will have a grey display when off, and information with a soft glow that adapts to the room's conditions when on.

The only other difference in terms of features between the Thermostat E and the Thermostat 3.0 is the latter offers hot water control for those with a separate water tank, while the Thermostat E doesn't.

Hardware and requirements

  • More sensors on the Thermostat 3.0
  • Both require Wi-Fi, Nest app and compatible heating system
  • Both have built-in rechargeable battery
  • Thermostat E doesn't need professional installation

The Nest Thermostat E features a temperature sensor, humidity sensor, proximity and occupancy sensor and an ambient light sensor. There is also an additional temperature sensor in the Heat Link.

The Thermostat 3.0 has all the same sensors as the Thermostat E, as well as a near-field activity sensor and a far-field activity sensor. The Thermostat 3.0 requires professional installation however, while Nest says the Thermostat E can be installed by the user in around an hour.

Both thermostats require a Wi-Fi connection and the Nest app on a phone or tablet. Users can control up to 20 Nest thermostats per home and Nest thermostats in three locations from one Nest account.

In terms of compatibility, both the Nest Thermostat E and the Nest Thermostat 3.0 are compatible with most heating systems including combination boilers, heat only boilers, zoned systems and heat pumps (heating only).

The Thermostat 3.0 is also compatible with domestic hot water tanks, which the Thermostat E is not. There is a compatibility checker on the Nest website here.

Price and conclusions

  • Thermostat E: £199
  • Thermostat 3.0: £219 (plus professional installation)

The Nest Thermostat E costs £199 and it can be installed yourself. The Nest Thermostat 3.0 costs £219 but it requires professional installation which is an additional cost.

The two thermostats are similar in terms of features in the UK and Europe. They both learn from your routines and schedule to help you save money and energy and they both offer remote control and compatibility with Google Assistant.

The Thermostat E has more flexibility when it comes to placement thanks to its built-in stand and battery-powered Heat Link and it doesn't require professional installation, which is a huge bonus. It is also the more subtle of the two in terms of design.

The Thermostat 3.0 meanwhile, has some fantastic finish options with a brighter and sharper display and it offers the option of hot water control, which might make it the preferred choice for some, despite its higher price tag and installation requirements.