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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Smart Home

Get a 2nd-gen Nest thermostat for $139

Lowest price ever! It's a refurb, but with the same one-year warranty as new. Plus: a killer deal on a huge pack of LED fidget spinners!

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nest-2nd-gen-angled

Nest

I've always wanted a Nest thermostat, but was never willing to pay $250 to get one. Sure, there's the newer, cheaper Nest Thermostat E, but even that one's $169 -- and somewhat limited compared with big-brother Nests.

If you don't mind a previous-generation model, today's deal is hard to pass up: Home Depot has the refurbished 2nd-gen Nest Thermostat for $139 shipped (plus tax). That's the lowest price I can recall seeing for any Nest ever.

(Before I go any further, let me note that your gas and/or electric company might offer a rebate on the purchase of any Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat -- though it may have to be a new one. That's worth investigating, because you could potentially get close to the same price on the newer, 3rd-gen, Nest. Here in metro-Detroit, for example, DTE Energy offers a $75 rebate, while Consumers Energy offers $50.)

Don't let the "refurb" part bother you; it's manufacturer-refurbished and comes with a full 1-year warranty. Translation: It's literally good as new. And Home Depot even offers a 90-day return policy in case you decide it's not working out for you.

The Nest is noteworthy for two things. First, you can control it from anywhere: bedroom, airport, etc. (There's Alexa integration as well.) Of course that's true of any modern smart thermostat, but I mention it because if you've never owned one, you're in for a treat. It's crazy-handy.

Second, the Nest learns your habits, and will adjust the temperature when no one's around and then again when someone's due home. The goal is to help you save money on heating and cooling costs. Does it really work? I think any programmable thermostat can net you energy savings; this one just requires less programming.

Should you consider an Ecobee instead? It offers one capability the Nest lacks: remote room-temperature sensors. But, man, does it need a UI overhaul; I have to wade deep into the menus just to turn off the HVAC.

One last thing: Make sure the Nest is compatible with your furnace. It should be, but you may need additional wiring, and that can get expensive. A little pre-purchase research makes sense -- though, again, 90-day return policy.

Your thoughts?

led-fidget-spinner

Get 20 of these for 10 bucks. Or 50 for 20 bucks!

Meh

Bonus deal: So help me, I love fidget spinners. Therefore, I love this deal: Today only, and while supplies last, Meh is offering a 20-pack of LED fidget spinners for $10 or a 50-pack for $20 -- plus $5 for shipping on either one.

My thinking: perfect for trick-or-treaters! You will absolutely be the most popular house on the block. Unfortunately, Meh makes no guarantees you'll get them in time for Halloween, only that you "probably" will. 

Amusingly, Meh also points to the three CR2025 button-cell batteries that come with each spinner, noting that you could choose to use them elsewhere -- watches, car fobs, etc. -- and save yourself some battery money. But then your spinner wouldn't light up. (Honestly, that might be preferable.)

I'm in for 50. Totally handing these out on Oct. 31, UPS-permitting. (I need to restore some goodwill after buzzing the neighbors' houses with drones all these months.)