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How to tell which Nest thermostat you have

Nest thermostats look similar and share similar software, but there are some important differences that you’ll need to know for troubleshooting, installation and more. You can look at the display, the base, the Heat Link or in the Nest app to find out which Nest thermostat you have.

Here are a few ways of telling the difference between each Nest thermostat. The easiest thing to do is to look at the display.

Differences in the ring and display 

The table below shows key differences between Nest thermostats.

Nest Thermostat E

3rd-gen
Nest Learning Thermostat

2nd-gen
Nest Learning Thermostat

nest thermostat front view nest thermostat gen 3 front view nest thermostat 2nd gen front view
4.6 cm illuminated screen
diameter
8.25 cm illuminated screen diameter 7 cm illuminated
screen diameter
Sensor behind Nest logo Sensors hidden behind
smaller opaque window
Sensors hidden behind
smaller opaque window
White plastic ring Stainless-steel ring: can
also be coloured copper,
white or black.
Stainless-steel ring
Integrated stand (included) Stand sold separately Stand sold separately
 

The 3rd-generation Nest Learning Thermostat’s stainless-steel ring can be different colours such as copper, white or black. If you have a thermostat ring that looks like one of these, you have a 3rd-generation thermostat.

nest thermostat 3rd gen copper

nest thermostat 3rd gen white

nest thermostat 3rd gen black

Copper

White

Black

 

About the 2nd-gen Nest Learning Thermostat in Europe 

The first Nest thermostat available in European countries was the 2nd-gen Nest Learning Thermostat. Heating systems in Europe are very different from those in the US and Canada, and we wanted to deliver the best possible experience and energy savings from the start. So we took the time to design and engineer an entirely new version of the Nest thermostat.

Differences in the thermostat base 

If looking at the display isn’t enough to tell you which thermostat you have, you can also pull off the display and look at the base. You should be able to tell straight away. See the table below for key differences between the different Nest thermostat bases.

Nest Thermostat E

3rd-gen
Nest Learning Thermostat

2nd-gen
Nest Learning Thermostat

nest thermostat e with stand

European style base for 3rd generation Nest Thermostat

nest thermostat 2nd gen base

Integrated stand

No bubble level

Oval display connector

 

Blue spirit level

Oval display connector

Smaller Nest logo

Yellow spirit level

Rectangular display connector

Large Nest logo

Differences between Heat Links 

You can also see the difference between each thermostat’s Heat Link.

Nest Thermostat E

3rd-gen
Nest Learning Thermostat

2nd-gen
Nest Learning Thermostat

 Nest Thermostat E Heat Link

3rd gen Heat Link

2nd gen Heat Link

Grey fabric cover

Two status lights

White plastic body

Three status lights

White plastic body

One status light

Width 11.7 cm x depth 2.2 cm

Height 11 cm x width 11 cm x depth 2.8 cm

Height 10 cm x width 10 cm x depth 2.9 cm

Displays and bases of different thermostat models aren't compatible

  • As long as the thermostat base is from the same model, generation and country/region as the thermostat display, you can swap bases and displays.

  • Because of different hardware designs, the displays and bases of various Nest thermostat models are not interchangeable even though they may look similar. The display connector and system wire connectors vary from model to model. Please see the first two sections in this article for more details.

    WARNING: Attempting to connect parts from different Nest thermostat models may damage your thermostat as well as your system.

  • The display connector on the thermostat base is different for all three generations of the Nest Learning Thermostat. In addition, the connectors for the system wires are different between thermostat models.

  • Note: 3rd-gen Nest Learning Thermostats come in several colours. All 3rd-gen display colours will work with any 3rd-gen base.

Parts from different countries aren’t always compatible

Some countries use high-voltage wiring for thermostats while others (such as the US and Canada) use low-voltage wiring. Nest designed different thermostats for high- and low-voltage system wiring. High-voltage and low-voltage Nest thermostat parts are not compatible.

WARNING: Any attempt to connect low- and high-voltage Nest parts may damage them as well as your system. Do not mix and match these bases and displays, even if the thermostats are the same model and generation.

You can tell which type of base you have by looking at the wire connectors:

  • Low-voltage wiring: six or eight connectors, labelled with letters like Y1, W1 and C.
  • High-voltage wiring: two connectors, labelled with T1 and T2 or not labelled at all.

Low-voltage wiring

High-voltage wiring

Six or eight connectors, labelled with letters like Y1, W1 and C.

Two connectors, labelled with T1 and T2 or not labelled at all.

Example:

thermostat e base

Example:

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