Nest Temperature Sensor Review

In this article I’ll be sharing my impressions of the new Nest Temperature Sensor.  The Nest Temperature Sensor is a wireless sensor that is designed to work with the Nest Thermostat to provide remote temperature sensing capabilities.

Nest developed this sensor to address the fact that most rooms in your home are never the same temperature.  The problem is your thermostat can only read the temperature in one location at a time.  Often thermostats are located in a bad spot that is not representative of the temperature of the living space of the house, or the rooms that you really care about.

The Nest Temperature Sensor seeks to address this issue by allowing the Nest Thermostat to read the temperature in one or more remote locations in your home.  You can then tell your Nest which room should be a certain temperature at a specific time of day.

The Nest Temperature Sensor

Pricing

The Nest Temperature Sensor is available in a single pack for $39, or a 3 pack for $99.

Compatibility

The Nest temperature sensor works with the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat or the Nest Thermostat E.  If you are not sure which version of the thermostat you have check out the guide to identifying your Nest thermostat.

If you have a 1st or 2nd generational model then you’ll need to consider upgrading your thermostat in order to use the sensor.

You can use up to 8 temperature sensors with a single thermostat with a maximum of 18 sensors per home.

Specs

  • Model –  T5000SF
  • Size – 1.9 in x 1.9 in x .8 in
  • Weight – 1.6 oz
  • Color – White only
  • Battery – CR2 3V lithium battery (lasts up to 2 years)
  • Sensors – Temperature sensor only
  • Wireless – Bluetooth Low Energy (~50 foot range from thermostat)

Inside the Box

Inside the box is the temperature sensor, mounting screw, and instruction card.

Instruction card

The sensor itself is very small and lightweight.

The battery compartment is on the back of the device along with the mounting hole and the QR code used for the setup process.

Wall mounting is not required, you can simply sit the sensor on a shelf, or table as long as it has a few inches of space around it for airflow.  A magnetic mount like the Nest Cams have might have been useful for providing more mounting options but you could always use some 3M velcro instead.

 

Setup Process

To set up the sensor open the Nest app, click the gear icon, and select ‘add product’.  Then use the app to scan the QR code on the back of the sensor.

Sensor Placement

Next find a spot to place the sensor in your home.  The maximum range on the sensor is about 50 feet.  My thermostat had no trouble detecting the sensor one floor away.

After you find a location the app will test communication with the sensor to make sure it’s within range of the thermostat.

Sensor Configuration

Once the sensor is activated and connected the remote temperature reading will be visible in the Nest app.  From the main thermostat control screen you can toggle between the internal temperature sensor and the remote sensor.

In the Nest Thermostat settings you can configure schedules for the various sensors.  I configured mine to switch to the remote sensor in the evening and overnight so my master bedroom will be the exact temperature I want while I’m sleeping.

Essentially this allows you to choose which sensor has priority at certain times of the day.

Overall Thoughts

So far I’m really pleased with the Nest Temperature Sensor.  The setup is really easy and the sensor is small enough that it will barely be noticed.  I also think it’s going to make sleeping easier since my bedroom will be exactly the temperature I set it to while at night.

At $39 I think the price is a bit high considering it’s only a temperature sensor, but Nest in general is a premium brand that tends to charge a premium price.  The sensor would be a better value if it also included a humidity sensor too which is the one thing I think is lacking.

Although if you’re already spending $250 on a learning thermostat you might as well buy the temperature sensor to get the most out of your investment.

Sam Kear

Sam graduated from the University of Missouri - Kansas City with a bachelors degree in Information Technology. Currently he works as a network analyst for an algorithmic trading firm. Sam enjoys the challenge of troubleshooting complex problems and is constantly experimenting with new technologies.

6 thoughts to “Nest Temperature Sensor Review”

  1. Have you tested the range of the temperature sensor. I was wondering if it would work well in a small two story townhome.

    1. @Tanner – we have a +2600Sqft 2 stories home, and I have 3 sensors spread out across the home.
      So far it works great and no problem at all. Hope that helps.

  2. Is there a point to having the sensor without having the vents open close automatically? I mean if room 1 in my house is always cold & I set that sensor to be at a higher temperature. But, Room 2 is always hot & I set that sensor to a lower temp. The nest will run the HVAC based on the priority. So, if I set Room 1 to a higher priority; then that means that heater runs more & room 2 can become unbearably hot. So, unless I am able to shut off the vent for room2 automatically; the sensor doesn’t make sense. Or, do I have this all wrong?

    1. You bring up a good point. A damper system would be an ideal solution since it won’t sacrifice the temperature in one room for another like you would with the Nest sensor. The downside to the damper system is mostly cost. I was quoted over $2,000 to install a dual zone damper system in my two story home.

      In my use case the sensor is a much cheaper alternative. At night I simply want the system to prioritize the temperature in my bedroom. I don’t really care if it makes the rest of the house hotter or cooler in order to do that. In many homes that may not be an acceptable solution in which case the multi zone system just makes more sense albeit at a much higher cost.

      There are also other technologies out there such as Aeroseal that can address overall home hvac system performance issues.

  3. Can I move one sensor from room to room as needed? For example, during the daytime I spend more time in the living room, and in the evening I want to take it with me to the bedroom.

    1. Yes, no matter where the sensor is located it will be prioritized according to your schedule. If you want you can program your nest to always use the external sensor. The sensor is small and lightweight so moving it would not be a problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *