How Does Nest Temperature Sensor Work?

Nest thermostats are excellent devices for controlling the temperature of your home or apartment. You may have also heard of the Nest temperature sensor, a different product that works with the thermostat. 

The Nest temperature sensor connects to a compatible Nest thermostat and sends accurate temperature information. You can connect a Nest sensor to a Nest thermostat through the Google Nest smartphone app, available on iPhones and Androids.

If you have a Nest thermostat and are considering buying a Nest sensor, read this helpful guide. It will discuss the Google Nest temperature feature and all the most important things you need to know about Nest temperature sensors.

How To Use the Google Nest Temperature Feature?

To fully understand how a Nest sensor works, it’s essential to know how the Google Nest temperature feature on the thermostat works. Thankfully, the process is simple.

When you have a Google Nest thermostat, it senses the temperature of the room it’s in. Based on the temperature of that room, it will heat or cool the rest of the home. You can change temperature settings directly on the thermostat or by using the Nest app for specific models (like the Nest Learning Thermostat).

Since the thermostat controls the temperature of the entire home based on the temperature of the room it’s in, it’s not always the most accurate. That’s where the Nest temperature sensor comes in handy.

Nest Temperature Sensor: All You Need To Know

Below are the most important things you should know about the Nest temperature sensor, including how to set up and use it.

The Sensor Easily Connects To Your Nest Thermostat

First and foremost, the sensor connects directly to your thermostat via a Bluetooth connection. As a result, you don’t have to worry about connecting it to anything using cables. Plus, it uses a battery and doesn’t need to be plugged into the wall, so there are 0 wires involved!

Connecting a Nest sensor to a Nest thermostat through the mobile app is easy. Here is how to do it:

  1. Go to the Google Nest app on your IOS or Android device.
  2. Navigate to “Add Product.”
  3. Remove and scan the QR code that comes attached to the sensor.
  4. Once the QR code is successfully scanned, follow the on-screen instructions and place the sensor in the room you intend to keep it. Drill it into the wall if you wish.
  5. Connect the sensor to the thermostat. If you only have one thermostat, it should connect automatically.
  6. Choose a room name for the sensor. Different options will appear on the screen, such as “kitchen” or “hallway.”
  7. Wait for the devices to fully sync.

Right away, the thermostat should be able to pick up the sensor’s temperature. 

You Can Connect Multiple Sensors to a Thermostat

Another perk of a Nest sensor is that you can set many of them up with a single thermostat, which is handy if you have many rooms in the home that need their own sensors. Each thermostat can connect to six sensors, so you can place them in different rooms around the house for greater accuracy.

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Since each room could have a slightly different temperature, it’s a good idea to have multiple sensors connected to the thermostat. 

Read: Which Saves More Money: Ecobee Or Nest?

The Sensor Provides Greater Temperature Accuracy

Thermostats alone don’t always heat or cool the home evenly. 

For example, let’s say you have a Nest thermostat downstairs at the back of your home. In that instance, the thermostat will base the temperature settings on the temperature in that part of the home. Since the downstairs of your house could have a different temperature from the upstairs, the home may not have an even temperature.

Having a sensor solves this issue because you can give the thermostat more accurate information from different parts of the home. This is great if you have a large home or multiple floors but only one thermostat.

If you want the best accuracy, place the sensor in a room you frequently use to ensure the temperature is always right. Examples may include a kitchen or living room.

Read: Nest Or Ecobee Thermostat. What To Choose?

The Sensor Doesn’t Work With All Thermostats

Before you purchase your first Nest sensor, it’s essential to be aware that it won’t work with all thermostat models. 

The two models that are compatible with a Nest sensor are:

  • Nest Thermostat E
  • Nest Learning Thermostat (third generation)

If you have a different thermostat to the ones above, a Nest sensor won’t be compatible.

Read: Why Nest Thermostat Turns Off By Itself – Troubleshooting Guide

It’s Easy To Control

Changing the sensor’s settings is super easy once you have access to a smartphone and the Google Nest app. You can go to the thermostat and choose the sensor connected to it through the app. From there, you can see and change settings (such as the room name of the sensor and technical information).

Another thing to consider is the sensor’s schedule. Each sensor needs to be set up with a schedule to function correctly, as it lets the thermostat know when it should communicate with it. You can control the schedule through the app in the same way you access other settings.

For example, you may want the schedule to work for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. All of this can be set up in the Google Nest app!

Read: Nest E24 Error – Troubleshooting Guide

Placing Your Nest Sensor in the Right Location

Earlier in this guide, I briefly mentioned that you could place a nest sensor on the wall if you wish. However, you can also put it on a table or other flat surfaces if you don’t want to drill a hole in the wall. 

Some things to consider before placing your sensor in its permanent location include the sensor’s height and distance from the thermostat.

Installing the Nest sensor at chest level is recommended for the best results. Since temperatures can vary depending on the height, placing your sensor too low or high can have an overall negative impact and may give the connected thermostat an inaccurate reading.

Additionally, Nest sensors have ranges of around 50 feet (15 meters), so you mustn’t place yours too far from the thermostat. If it’s further away than 50 feet, it won’t be able to communicate with the thermostat and won’t function properly.

How Does Nest Sensor Receive Power?

A Nest sensor receives power through a 1CR2 3V lithium battery. There is no way to plug it into an outlet for power, so you must replace the battery if it dies. Thankfully, you’ll know if the battery is running low because the app will notify you. All you need to do is remove the battery cover and replace the old battery once it’s dead.

It’s good to always have a spare battery available in case the sensor runs out.

Pros and Cons of Nest Temperature Sensors

Now that you know how a Nest temperature sensor works, let’s look at these devices’ main pros and cons.


  • Sleek design. Nest sensors are super sleek and can blend in easily. They’re also small, so they won’t draw too much attention.
  • Greater temperature accuracy. Using a sensor is more accurate than using a thermostat by itself because you can place it in a different room.
  • Easy set-up process. You can set your Nest sensor up in minutes, and it’s super easy.
  • Fully controllable through the Nest app. You can control the sensor from your smartphone at home or on the go.


  • Only compatible with a select few thermostats. Unfortunately, you can’t just connect the sensor to any thermostat. You must have a compatible Nest product.
  • Batteries must be changed. Although the batteries should last long periods, replacing them can be a pain.

Read: What House Insulation Is The Best To Keep Mice Away?


A Nest sensor works by connecting to a Nest thermostat in another room. As a result, the thermostat receives more accurate information and can work more efficiently. Nest sensors are compatible with the Nest Thermostat E and 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat.