Nest vs Honeywell Smart Thermostat: Which is Better?

Can't decide between Nest and Honeywell? We compared them for you.
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Last updated: May 05, 2021
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Can't decide between Nest and Honeywell? We compared them for you.

If you have been looking for the best and affordable smart thermostats, you will come across Google’s Nest and Honeywell’s WIFI thermostats. They are among the best in the market today and are relatively affordable. This Nest vs. Honeywell thermostat comparison will help you make the final choice so that you will have the best device for your home.

Thermostats used to be really dumb until smart technology such as AI came along. Now, having a Nest thermostat E or a Honeywell T9 ensures that you can control your HVAC using your phone from anywhere, and it can even tell when you’re home or not to help save on energy costs.

When it comes to choosing between these two high-end brands, however, you have to go a bit deeper than standard functionality.

Brands comparison

Nest vs Honeywell Smart Thermostat: Which is Better?If we’re talking about sheer dominance and history, Honeywell far outpaces Google Nest. Honeywell’s first programmable thermostat was the 1906 Jewell, which featured a clock that allowed it to automatically turn down the heat at night. Since then, the company has been a market leader in creating heating controls such as thermostats, sensors, among others.

Google Nest, on the other hand, started as Nest Labs which was founded by two former Apple engineers in 2010. The startup created the Nest learning thermostat, an AI-powered self-learning thermostat using sensors and WIFI to be the smartest thermostat then.

Google acquired Nest in 2014 and incorporated it into its nest of smart home devices by 2018, effectively creating a whole ecosystem. The Google Home Hub now became the Google Nest Hub after extensive restructuring, giving users a seamless experience with all of the companies home electronics.

With this short background, it is easy to understand what has been happening in the smart thermostat market. Smart thermostats weren’t really a thing until Nest Labs came along, and the market exploded once Google acquired Nest and the smart home became a reality.

Honeywell followed Nest’s footsteps with their smart WIFI thermostats. However, the company’s extensive expertise and experience in the market led to the Honeywell T9 becoming the best smart thermostat of 2020 and 2021 thanks to its unique features like remote room sensors.

When it comes to customer reviews, both Honeywell and Nest thermostats perform very well. They achieve the same functionality, although in slightly different ways. Prices and features are also comparable, which means that the ultimate decision will boil down to personal preferences.

However, you should know that as of 2020, the Honeywell thermostats are licenced under Resideo, a publicly traded company that spun off from Honeywell.

Google Nest vs Honeywell: Comparing Popular Models

The easiest way to get a grip on the Google Nest vs Honeywell battle is to have a feature-by-feature comparison of the most popular models from the two brands. That way, we can zoom in on the minute differences that truly give these two amazing devices their essence and unique personality.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation vs Honeywell Home T9 WiFi Thermostat

Google Nest Learning ThermostatHoneywell Home T9 WiFi Thermostat
SensorsTemperature, humidity, proximity, motion, ambient light, magneticTemperature, humidity, motion, smart room sensor
BatteryLithium-ionAlkaline
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Nest app, iOs or Android mobile deviceWi-Fi, Honeywell home app, iOs or Android mobile device
Voltage20-30V24V
Touch screenNoYes
Smart integrationsGoogle Assistant, AlexaGoogle Assistant, Alexa, IFTTT, Cortana
Heating stages32
C-WireOptionalMust-have
Dimensions3.3” x 3.3” x 1.21”2.6” x 2.6” x 0.77”
Warranty1-year1-year
VIEW ON AMAZONVIEW ON AMAZON

Design

The third-generation Nest Learning Thermostat is a circular device that comes in six fantastic colors to match any interior. It features a high-contrast HD digital screen to display information such as the weather and time. This display is not touch-enabled, but it does use very intuitive button controls.

Nest vs Honeywell Smart Thermostat: Which is Better?On the other hand, the Honeywell T9 is a more compact white rectangular device featuring a touch screen display for more intuitive controls. Both of them fit neatly onto your existing HVAC controls, but the Nest comes with its own trim plate to help hide any leftover holes in your wall.

Installation

Installing both the Honeywell T9 and the Nest Learning Thermostat is easy and straightforward. However, the Honeywell thermostats require a common wire/C-wire.

A C-wire is the wire on the C-terminal on your wall plate (that’s mostly a blue wire on your wall plate) which is installed on most modern HVAC installations to help to provide power to ther thermostat whenever the system is operational. Thus, a C-wire eliminates the need for batteries or external power.

If you don’t have a C-wire in your system, you will have to go install a C-wire adapter first as explained in this video or contact a qualified HVAC technician to do it for you.

The third-generation Nest learning thermostat will use C-wire for power if you already have one installed , but it will also work without it thanks to special technology. In any case, it is advisable to have the C-wire installed  because not having one can add unnecessary power strain on your HVAC system.

Features

Both the Nest and Honeywell T9 are some of the best smart thermostats today. They allow you to use your tablet or smartphone to program the devices, set temperature preferences, view usage data, and more.

The Nest Thermostat uses Google Assistant natively, while the T9 can be controlled with Amazon’s Alexa. However, please note that the T9 doesn’t come with Alexa built-in, but only responds to other Alexa devices such as Echo devices, Ring camera, the Fire TV Cube, and more.

The Honeywell T9 does have a very special feature because it comes with an additional room sensor. This device can be placed in a separate room where it can sense the room’s climate and occupancy status and help the T9 heat or cool it as required.

Connectivity

Both the Nest learning thermostat and the Honeywell T9 have excellent connectivity to your home WIFI network. Once connected, Nest smart thermostats allow you to use your Google account or Nest account to control the device remotely or join it with other smart devices.

The Honeywell T9 is a little more involved because you have to register an account at mytotalconnectcomfort.com. You will then receive an email to activate the device for remote access.

You will have to manually register the thermostat’s MAC ID and device code to the account, as well as download a separate app for Apple or Android to access the devices remotely.

Compatibility

Just like your old thermostat, both the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Honeywell T9 are compatible with most 24V HVAC systems used in the US. They allow you to use the same wall plate, and wiring system, with the only major differences being the presence or absence of a C-wire.

The Nest 3rd Generation thermostat is slightly more advanced, though, because it has connections for up to 10 wires. This allows it to control additional functions such as humidity and cooling, which the T9 currently cannot do. Honeywell did release the T10, which has this functionality and more.

Reporting

Both the Honeywell T9 and the Google 3rd Gen Nest thermostats give you access to detailed energy consumption reports through their smartphone apps. They help you to track your energy usage and optimize it through occupancy monitoring and temperature control. Nest even claims that it can save you up to 15% of your energy bills, which is significant.

Climate Scheduling

Unlike the traditional “dumb” thermostats, smart thermostats like the Nest and Honeywell T9 have a scheduling feature that allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. They also use their motion sensors to tell when you’re at home or in the room and adjust the temperature accordingly.

In addition, the T9’s remote sensors allow it to adjust the climate on a room-by-room basis.

Nest vs Honeywell Smart Thermostat: Which is Better?Learning Capabilities

As the third generation of the Nest range of smart thermostats, the Nest Learning Thermostat is so-called because it actively learns from your daily habits instead of just relying on its motion sensors. Thus, it can turn down the energy consumption to Eco mode when it knows you’re not home to save more energy, which is why it has an Energy Star rating. The Honeywell T9 doesn’t have this feature.

Google Nest Thermostat E vs Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 Programmable Thermostat

Google Nest Thermostat EHoneywell Wi-Fi 9000 Programmable Thermostat
SensorsTemperature, humidity, proximity, motion, ambient light, magneticTemperature, humidity,
BatteryLithium-IonLithium
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Nest app, iOs or Android mobile deviceWi-Fi
Voltage20-30V24V
Touch screenNoYes
Smart integrationsGoogle Assistant, AlexaGoogle Assistant, Alexa, IFTTT
Heating stages23
C-WireoptionalMust-have
Dimensions3.2” x 3.2” x 1.1”3.5” x 4.5” x 0.88”
Warranty1-year5-year
VIEW ON AMAZONVIEW ON AMAZON

Design

The Honeywell 9000 is a color touchscreen programmable thermostat that looks like a tablet for your HVAC system. The large device is an intermediate budget option for those who are looking for smart, intuitive controls to their HVAC system at home without having to splurge unnecessarily.

Nest vs Honeywell Smart Thermostat: Which is Better?The Google Nest Thermostat E also precedes the Nest Learning Thermostat, being somewhat more affordable and bearing less functionality. Compared to the Honeywell 9000, though, the Nest E is a very capable thermostat with a more laid-back design. It features a frosted display that blends well into the background while the Honeywell 9000 remains conspicuous and bright.

Installation

Just like other Honeywell thermostats, the Honeywell Wi-FI 9000 requires a C-wire to work properly. It relies on this wire for power, although it does have a battery that gives it about 24 hours of auxiliary power after a blackout after which it loses its settings.

If you lack the common wire on your wall plate, you will need to install it first before proceeding to install the Honeywell 9000. On the other hand, the Google Nest E doesn’t require a C-wire to work properly.
It can work without one thanks to its battery and external power supply, but a C-wire is generally recommended if you have it already installed.

Features

In terms of features, the Honeywell Wi-FI 9000 offers digital climate control that can be customized to fit every room. It also comes with an energy efficiency program pre-installed which lets users save energy in more ways.

In contrast, the more advanced Nest Learning thermostat learns from your habits and recommends settings for energy savings. It also determines whether you’re home or not to help save you more energy.

Connectivity

The Honeywell Wi-FI 9000 is just that, a Wi-FI thermostat that connects to your home network which enables it to work seamlessly with other devices such as the Apple Homekit, Alexa devices, Google Home (now Google Nest), SmartThings from Samsung, Harmony from Logitech, IFTTT, Wink, among others.

However, Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat has far more connectivity options including Apple/Android apps, the proprietary Nest Sense algorithm to connect to other components of your HVAC system, and inbuilt Google Assistant. Plus, its FarSight technology allows it to light up whenever it “sees” you through its inbuilt motion sensor, which is a big plus.

Nest vs Honeywell Smart Thermostat: Which is Better?Compatibility

The Honeywell Wi-FI 9000 is being continuously improved. It is currently compatible with a full range of smart devices from brands such as Amazon, Samsung, Logitech, Apple, and many more.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is only compatible with other Nest devices and Amazon’s Alexa. Despite being an extensive ecosystem, it locks out other third-party devices due to its compatibility restrictions.

Reporting

The inbuilt learning feature in the Nest thermostat allows it to compile and present energy usage reports monthly. This is very helpful in saving on energy costs, which is why the unit has a green Energy Star. On the other hand, the Honeywell Wi-FI 9000 can only offer inbuilt presets for energy saving but does not give detailed energy usage reports.

Climate Scheduling

The Honeywell Wi-FI 9000 offers a 7-day scheduling feature to put in your presets for that period. You only need to set it once a week and let the presets run their course. You can also customize a special Vacation Mode to have special times for climate control in place until you’re back.

On the other hand, Nest has more advanced programming capabilities. It allows you to set preferences, but it also learns from them and offers better suggestions to help save on energy costs. This capability also makes it much more convenient compared to the Honeywell 9000.

Learning Capabilities

The Honeywell WI-FI 9000 touchscreen thermostat has no learning abilities, so it relies on user presets to function. On the other hand, the Nest Learning thermostat only requires user inputs for the first few weeks after installation, after which it learns your preferences and schedule to help work out a more suitable, cost-efficient plan

Final Thoughts

Pioneered by former Apple Engineers, the Google Nest thermostat is now in its third generation. Termed the Nest Learning Thermostat, it has been pushing the boundaries of what thermostats can do. Honeywell is following closely behind with groundbreaking remote sensing technology, making these two brands the top contenders for the best smart thermostats today.

When you compare these two side-by-side, the Google Nest is clearly a superior choice. It doesn’t require a C-wire, which makes it easier to install. It is also more stylish and classy, especially the latest generation which looks more like a modern work of art.

On the other hand, the Honeywell thermostat is more about robust functionality. The more advanced T9 is elegant, but its real advantage comes from its use of remote sensors to better modulate the climate in different rooms. Its precursor was the Wi-FI 9000 thermostat that still remains one of the best programmable thermostats out there.

Knowing this, it should be easier to make your choice of which is the better smart thermostat for you from the Nest vs Honeywell thermostats. Whichever one you choose, you will be making the right step forward towards smart HVAC control for your home and thus more energy savings.

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