Best Smart Thermostats

Home & Kitchen

While modern life continues to get more and more technical, one thing remains true: you can’t control the weather. That does not mean that you have to sit idly by while the weather controls you. In today’s market, everything is increasingly connected and capable. This includes the age-old thermostat. Interestingly, the thermostat is older than the the HVAC systems that they control. Indeed, thermostat can goes back to the 1600s, with the modern iteration of today’s standard thermostat dating back to the 1800s. The average thermostat utilizes a mercury-based thermometer to measure the temperature, and either turning the heat on or off, or the air conditioning on or off, depending on what temperature the mercury level is recording. The science behind the standard thermostat is fairly solid, and has not had much of a need to change. While some more modern thermostats use purely mechanical means, the fundamentals of these systems has not changed. Until now.

The 21st century has introduced us to the concept of the “smart” thermostat. What is so smart about them? These thermostats come with amazing features, including internet connectivity, mobile phone operation, and the ability to learn the schedules and habits of the occupants of a house or building in order to adjust the temperature as needed. HVAC systems can be extremely expensive, and the average consumer is often too busy with work or family to monitor the thermostat setting at all times. That’s where these devices come in. While there are many different devices now clawing for purchase on the market, three devices have proven time and time again that they are the champions of smart thermostats

Third Best Option: Honeywell Wifi Smart Thermostat

Honeywell RTH9580WF Wi-Fi Smart Touchscreen Thermostat, Silver
  • Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately).
  • Customize the screen color to match any décor, Control from anywhere with iOS and Android devices, Simple setup with...
  • Energy Savings: Choose programmable mode to save on annual heating and cooling costs. C-wire needed for proper...

Coming in at third place is not the worst thing in the world. While the Honeywell Wifi Smart Thermostat might be third on our list, it’s by far a very good device. Honeywell is a well-known name in home electronics market, and has been in the thermostat business longer than almost every company out there. Indeed, their first real product was an innovative thermostat for coal furnaces. Since that time, Honeywell has thrived in the thermostat market, and is the primary leader in home thermostats. Recognize the typical, round thermostats in many homes? That’s of Honeywell design. Now, Honeywell is seeking to expand into the new age with their Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat. While not as fully functional as the other two devices on our list, this device is a huge step up from your typical home thermostat.

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is designed to do exactly as its name suggests: connect to the internet wirelessly, and be “smarter” than your typically thermostat. To that end, you can connect to your Honeywell using an iOS or Android device, allowing you to manipulate your home’s heating or cooling from anywhere. The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat will also learn your habits, and slowly begin adjusting its heating and cooling functions to when you would want it to. As the device is connected to the internet, it has limited capabilities of drawing information on outside temperatures and weather patterns. It can send you alerts to your phone letting you know of what the weather will be like, giving you the option of adjusting the temperature in your home accordingly.

The device comes fully customizable, allowing users to set profiles for when they wake, work and rest. This gives you the comfort of knowing that the device will adjust temperature settings as you need it to, without you having to constantly monitor it. Like the nest, the Honeywell also provides users with alerts for extreme conditions, but is mostly limited to extreme weather conditions and filter changes. The Honeywell is strictly low-voltage, and will not work with heat pumps and electric baseboard heating systems.

Pros

  • Relatively lower cost than other smart thermostat systems
  • Mobile connectivity and apps
  • Weather and filter change alerts

Cons

  • Learning capabilities are limited
  • Functions primarily on user-set profiles
  • Does not work with heat pumps and electric baseboard heating

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Second Best Option: Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat

Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor, 1st Generation
  • Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately).
  • Ecobee3 the smarter Wi-Fi thermostat with remote sensor
  • Remote sensors read and deliver comfort where it matters

Most companies behind smart thermostats are fairly new. Ecobee is no exception, and the Ecobee3 is their flagship device. Keep that important factor in mind. As their company was founded on the purpose of designing smart home devices, you can be sure that their engineers are not spread thin with multiple projects across multiple platforms. Ecobee has one focus and one focus only: home automation. The Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat is a testament to their focus on improving the intelligence of your home.

The most important features of any smart home device is wireless connectivity. The Ecobee3 comes with wireless connectivity built in, providing users with the ability to connect to the device through mobile apps. Likewise, any good smart home device must be capable of learning about its environment. The Ecobee 3 comes with one remote sensor, and is capable of supporting 32 of these sensors. The remote sensor is Ecobee’s answer to the problem that most thermostats present: only measuring the temperature in one location. With Ecobee’s remote sensors, buyers can measure both temperature and room occupancy. If you are only occupying one part of the house, the remote sensor will send this information to the smart thermostat, and make adjustments accordingly. Likewise, the Ecobee3 can determine the differences between you and your pets, as well as determine when you are or are not home overall. If, for example, you are at home during a time you have programmed as “Away” for the system, it will detect your presence and make heating or cooling adjustments as needed.

While the Ecobee3 is much more limited in its compatibility than the Nest, it still works with most heating systems. The Ecobee3 will work with gas, oil, electric, heat pumps and 2-stage auxiliary heating devices. This limitation is what primarily puts it in second place on our list. However, this device still comes highly rated, and its unique remote sensor system gives it a distinct advantage over the Nest. With a 4.5/5 rating and over 400 customer reviews, the Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat is a crowd favorite, and with very good reason.

Pros

  • Unique remote sensors for temperature monitoring in every room
  • Mobile connectivity and mobile apps
  • Unique and functional learning system

Cons

  • Does not work with all heating and cooling systems

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Best Option: Nest Learning Thermostat (Third Generation)  

Google, T3007ES, Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen, Smart Thermostat,...
  • Auto-Schedule: No more confusing programming. It learns the temperatures you like and programs itself.
  • Wi-Fi Thermostat: Connect the Nest Thermostat to Wi-Fi to change the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop....
  • Energy Saving: You’ll see the Nest Leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy. It guides you in the right...

One of the leading home thermostats that give you full control of your home comes from the dependable, reputable, and powerful brand Nest. The range of thermostats that the Nest company offers are ones that give you total control over the temperature in your home both when you are in it and when you are outside of it. The latest Nest Learning Thermostat, the third generation, offers so many features that it is simply too hard to ignore. 

For starters, with the Nest learning thermostat, you can look forward to neat features like auto schedule. The auto schedule feature learns the different types of temperatures you like in your home and when you like these temperatures. Then it automatically adjusts to give you your ideal experience both when you are at home and when you are not. If you find that the temperature is a little lower or a little higher than you would like, then you simply need to open up your smartphone and readjust it with your Nesst app. That’s right, this Wi-Fi thermostat can connect to a variety of devices including your phone, your tablet, and your laptop. And even if you are not home, you can control the temperature so it is exactly where you need it to be. Speaking of not being home, this is one of the best learning thermostats to use if you spend the majority of your time outside of your home. When you are not at home, you obviously don’t want your Nest Learning Thermostat working. Because of this, you are sure to love the energy saving feature. The energy saving feature is indicated by the Nest leaf that will appear when your Nest is in energy saving mode. All you need to do is set a temperature that you would like your Nest to automatically adjust to when you put it on energy saving mode.

Other neat energy saving features is setting a boundary so that your Nest Learning Thermostat never exceeds that temperature or drops under it. 

With the third generation Nest, having full control over your Nest Learning Thermostat is easier than ever. Not only can you connect over Wi-Fi or cellular data to your tablet, phone, and laptop, but you can sync it up to any home assistant like Amazon Alexa or your Google Home. When you set up your Nest to these home assistants, you can command your Nest Learning Thermostat to readjust all by the use of your voice. In fact, you never have to get up again to adjust the temperature in your home. You simply offer up a command and watch as your Nest Learning Thermostat readjusts itself.

There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to learning how to operate your Nest Learning Thermostat. The same goes for your Nest Learning Thermostat itself. Once you to install your new Nest Learning Thermostat, you can expect for it to understand the patterns in your home temperatures within a week. After a week, your Nest Learning Thermostat will begin to auto schedule your home temperature so that you get the quality comfort that your home and family members desire.

Pros

  • The most advanced learning algorithm on the market
  • Contains 6 different sensors for gathering data
  • Sends alerts for a wide variety of heating, cooling and weather-related issues
  • Mobile connectivity

Cons

  • Negative reviews consistently mention failures with the device properly managing heating units

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Smart Thermostat Buyer’s Guide:

There are a thousand things a buyer could look for when attempting to purchase a new thermostat, and smart thermostats up that number exponentially. However, there are some key smart thermostat features that you will definitely want to examine before making your purchase.

Heating and Cooling Unit Compatibility
This may be the number one most important thing about your future unit purchase that you are going to have to consider. Does your house use electric, oil, gas? Does it have baseboard heating systems or heat pumps? Do you use geothermal energy? All of these matter, and the last thing you want is to buy a system only to discover that it will not work with your homes HVAC system. Make sure you check out both your HVAC system and the compatibility of the device you are going to purchase.

Wireless and Mobile Connectivity
One of the key features of a smart thermostat is its ability to connect wirelessly to the internet in order to download and send data. While these devices do not absolutely need a WiFi connection to work, you are likely going to get less functionality out of them if you are not using them in this manner. When purchasing one of these units, ensure the following two things:
1. Your home has a WiFi network, and that that WiFi network’s security setting is compatible with the device. Check the type of wireless networks that the device can connect to, as well as the type of wireless signals that your device is sending.
2. Determine the connected devices allowance for your wireless router. Many routers have a set number of devices they allow to connect to the internet at one time through the router.

Smart Learning Capabilities
A good smart device is one that is programmed to learn. Before purchasing your device, investigate what the device can do to and what data it collects to learn about your habits. Think about:
1. What and how many different sensory data the device takes in.
2. How long (on average) the device takes to learn behaviors and patterns.
3. What adjustments the device makes based on your habits.

Buying a smart thermostat can be a costly venture. Most will run in the $200 and above range. It’s always important to ensure that you are getting what you want, but also that what you’re getting with work with your home and your needs.

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