Nest's long-awaited temperature sensor is here at last

Nest now has a temperature sensor to accompany its Learning Thermostat and Thermostat E.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
2 min read
Josh Miller/CNET

Nest just introduced a temperature sensor accessory to accompany its Learning Thermostat and Thermostat E. The new Nest Temperature Sensor is available for pre-order starting today on Nest's online store -- a single sensor will set you back $39 (roughly £25/AU$50 converted); a three-pack costs $99 (£70/AU$125 converted). Nest also plans to bundle its thermostats with temperature sensors after they officially hit stores in April, for anyone looking to purchase the two devices together, although there's no word on pricing yet. 

It may not seem like it, but this small accessory is a big deal in smart-thermostat-land. One of Nest's main thermostat competitors, Ecobee, already includes a remote temperature and proximity sensor when you buy the $249 Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat (£190/AU$330 converted). You can also purchase the sensors separately in a $79 two-pack (£55/AU$100).

The thermostat in your home has its own built-in temperature sensor. It uses this reading as the baseline temperature throughout your home and adjusts the heat and/or air conditioning accordingly. 

While this approach can work fine, particularly in smaller homes, your thermostat might not provide an accurate overview of the temperature in certain rooms. Multi-level homes, or homes leaking heat or A/C through poorly insulated doors and windows, might find a remote temperature sensor particularly useful. 

Put up to six Nest Temperature Sensors throughout your home, name them and schedule them as needed. Maybe you want your home's temperature to be optimized for your baby's nursery at night -- and for your kitchen when you're cooking dinner. Basically, they allow your thermostat to use different rooms as the baseline temperature reading rather than whatever temperature the sensor in your thermostat picks up. 

One CR123 battery powers each sensor and should last for up to two years, according to Nest's Director of Product Marketing, Maxime Veron. 

Nest's smart home just keeps on growing

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There's a distinct different between the Nest Temperature Sensors and Ecobee's version, though. Ecobee's sensors also have proximity detectors, which help your thermostat know whether you're home or away. Nest's new sensors, in contrast, can only determine temperature and don't contribute to its Home/Away Assist feature. Home/Away Assist is designed to grab info from sensors in various Nest products, in addition to your phone's location, to automatically adjust the temperature and other settings on your behalf. Given that both products cost about the same, I'm disappointed Nest didn't include its temperature sensors as part of Home/Away Assist.   

Still, we plan to try out a Nest Temperature Sensor as soon as possible to see how easy it is to set up and how it works in the Nest app. Nest says its Temperature Sensor doesn't currently work with Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands like, "Alexa, what's the temperature in the nursery?"

Nest on Wednesday also announced the retail availability of the Hello doorbell and the Nest x Yale lock. Read all about it here, as well as how the Hello and other Nest products won't be sold on Amazon.

Watch this: Nest's subtle Thermostat E blends in, but still stands out