Tired of waking up to cold mornings in the dead of winter or coming home to the sweltering heat of summer? While conventional HVAC systems allow for basic climate controls in your residence, a smart thermostat really ups the ante. Once connected and connected to Wi-Fi, the best smart thermostats can be customized to suit your lifestyle, from the temperature to the time of day. With your preferred mobile device, you can adjust the temperature on the fly, monitor energy efficiency, and enable vacation settings for when you’re out of town. Plus there’s all the majesty of voice assistant controls from top artificial intelligence (AI) peers like Alexa and Google Assistant.
In this roundup, we break down the best smart thermostats you can run and take today, with brands like Ecobee, Nest, and Honeywell.
- 1 Take a look
- 2 Best Smart Thermostat: Ecobee SmartThermostat
- 3 Best budget smart thermostat: Google Nest Thermostat
- 4 Best Smart Thermostat for Google Home: Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen)
- 5 Best HomeKit Thermostat: Honeywell Lyric
- 6 Best Smart Thermostat for Window Units: Cielo Breez Plus Smart AC Controller
- 7 Research and Buying Tips
- 8 Can I install a smart thermostat myself?
- 9 Do I have to have special wiring to install a smart thermostat?
- 10 Do I need room sensors?
- 11 What is the best smart thermostat app?
- 12 What’s the best Amazon smart thermostat?
- 13 What is the best smart thermostat to save money?
- 14 How we test
- 15 Editors’ Recommendations
Take a look
Best Smart Thermostat: Ecobee SmartThermostat
There are many reasons to love the Ecobee Smart Thermostat. For starters, the installation process is pretty straightforward. Even if you don’t have a C wire, Ecobee has you covered with an included power extension kit. Plus, the installation instructions are easy to follow and the installation process is quick.
The smart thermostat has a sensitive touch screen with a clean interface. It also has built-in voice control via Alexa, like the previous Ecobee. However, with SmartThermostat, Alexa can play podcasts, playlists, news, and music from services like Spotify (and it actually sounds good). You can even use your thermostat for features like Alexa Calling, Messaging, and Drop In. However, if you don’t like Alexa, Ecobee is also compatible with other platforms like Apple HomeKit, Google Home, SmartThings, and IFTTT.
Theit also comes with a SmartSensor. If you have hot or cold spots in your home, the sensor can help level things out and make your home more comfortable.
Read our full Ecobee SmartThermostart review
Best budget smart thermostat: Google Nest Thermostat
Available in snow, sand, fog, and charcoal colors, the Google Nest Thermostat is Google’s latest mid-tier offering, one step behind its core learning model (shown below). Capable of Alexa and Google Assistant controls, the redesigned thermostat features a mirrored display and touch controls on side maps instead of the physical settings dial from the previous E model.
With the Google Home app, you can adjust the temperature, create custom routines, monitor HVAC usage, and more. There is even a routine function that can be paired with other smart devices. For example, saying a voice command like “good morning” can close your smart blinds, tune your Google Nest Hub to your favorite morning podcast, and set your to its ideal temperature at 10:00 am. All of these great features can be had for just $ 130, which in the world of smart thermostats isn’t bad at all.
Read our full Google Nest thermostat review
Best Smart Thermostat for Google Home: Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen)
We really like the Nest Learning Thermostat because of its learning capabilities. After installing the device and setting the desired temperature, the thermostat does the rest. Nest takes note of how you move around the house during the week and adjusts the various temperature settings based on the time of day and your habits. With the third-generation model, a new set of sensors called Farsight makes this even more accurate.
Far Sight detects when you enter or pass a room up to five meters away, a significant improvement over previous models. Plus, up to 10 additional sensors can monitor temperatures in other rooms, further optimizing your heating and cooling. You can control the temperature from a much greater distance thanks to a 3.25-inch screen, half an inch larger than previous models.
Like any good friend, your device will offer suggestions designed to save you money. Your ability to adjust your home’s temperature half an hour before you get home from work only furthers your intuition.
Best HomeKit Thermostat: Honeywell Lyric
Simply put, Honeywell Lyric takes advantage of your location and local weather forecasts over Wi-Fi. The circular device will anticipate possible changes in temperature and compensate for the weather while offering a number of shortcut settings for easy programming and operation.
The thermostat has three standard modes: one for when you sleep, one for when you leave the house, and one for when you arrive, all of which you can adjust using the mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
TheIt will adjust accordingly to save you the maximum amount of money, but if you prefer to work out of the box, you can set custom settings to suit your home. Honeywell makes three of the five thermostats that work with SmartThings, including the Lyric. Like the new Nest, it works with Alexa, but it can also work with HomeKit, which is something we can’t say about Google’s Nest Thermostat.
Read our full Honeywell Lyric review
Best Smart Thermostat for Window Units: Cielo Breez Plus Smart AC Controller
Smart thermostats aren’t just for homes with central HVAC systems. Thanks to companies like Cielo Breez, those of us who are stuck with window air conditioners, air conditioners on casters, and mini-splits now have smart options to keep the house comfortable in the summer. The Plus works its magic through four infrared sensors that are built into the thermostat. These sensors interact with the infrared signals produced by your portable AC and remote control, effectively learning the infrared language of your AC brand. All you have to do is mount the Plus module in the room your air conditioner is in, connect to Wi-Fi, and your smart controls are up and running.
Additional capabilities for Alexa and Google Home allow you to control your ACs with simple voice commands or with your Alexa and Google Home apps. You can even set temperature and humidity triggers that will automatically turn on your AC when things get too hot. The icing on the cake with this non-HVAC expert is that once you’ve registered your, you can use the thermostat offline to control power, fan speed, and temperature. Your bandwidth will be happy for sure.
Research and Buying Tips
Can I install a smart thermostat myself?
Yes. If you have a little basic DIY knowledge (enough to install a basic light fixture), you can install most smart thermostats, provided you have the correct wiring setup. Here’s how to test your thermostat.
Do I have to have special wiring to install a smart thermostat?
Yes and no. Most smart thermostats require a common wire (C wire), which allows a continuous flow of 24 VAC power to the thermostat. If you have an older home, it may not have a C wire. Some thermostats don’t require a C wire, others, like the Ecobee SmartThermostat, include an adapter for homes that don’t have a C wire. You can also run a wire between your heater and thermostat or buy a separate adapter if necessary.
Do I need room sensors?
It depends. Typical thermostats measure the temperature of the home in one area of the home, such as a hallway or entryway, and use that measurement to heat or cool the entire home. Room sensors are more specific. They measure the temperature in a specific room, such as a bedroom or basement, and adjust the temperature based on that individual area. If you have a relatively large home, or if you have some rooms that don’t heat or cool as well as others, room sensors can help to better heat or cool your home. On the other hand, if you live in a smaller space or in an open area, the sensors in the room are probably not necessary.
What is the best smart thermostat app?
This depends on how advanced you want your system to be. If you want a simple and clean app where you can schedule your heating and cooling and perform basic functions, the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort app is a good choice. However, if you are looking for something with more features, you may prefer the Nest app.
What’s the best Amazon smart thermostat?
Amazon sells our pick for the best overall smart thermostat, the Ecobee SmartThermostat. Take a look at some of the best smart thermostat deals to save money this holiday season.
What is the best smart thermostat to save money?
A smart thermostat can save you 10-25% on your heating and cooling costs. Ecobee claims its thermostats save up to 23%. Our tests found that the Honeywell color thermostat reduced total energy consumption by 15%. How much you’ll save depends on a variety of factors, including how you use your smart thermostat, your heating and cooling preferences, the climate, your HVAC system, insulation, the age of your home, and more.
How we test
Successful smart thermostats aren’t determined solely by how well they regulate temperature; their overall costs and the rate at which temperatures change also play a role. When we run our tests, we monitor performance levels, how easy the thermostat is to use, the installation process, and whether it saves you money.
There’s a learning curve to figuring out exactly how your smart thermostat works, but once you find out, you’ll see how it can benefit you. We study how steep the learning curve is and how well the device can detect people entering and exiting. Many customers also see the thermostat as the “command center” of their smart home ecosystems. With that in mind, we tested to make sure the thermostat communicates and connects well with other devices.
We made sure to use voice commands when testing thermostats because we wanted to make sure they were responsive, whether they were compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. We also usually check to see if the thermostat is energy efficient and saves your house money and how much you will need to interact with the device after you start learning your usual routines.
While we try to test all thermostats in Tips Clear lab or an employee’s home, we can’t get to all of them. In that case, we do extensive research online before recommending a product.
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