7 Best Smart Thermostats For Your Home – (Reviews and Guide 2019)

Do you want to save money on your heating and cooling costs? That’s a ridiculous question, of course; everybody wants to save money when they can. A smart thermostat can save you up to almost a quarter of your HVAC energy costs, and in most cases, they will pay for themselves within two years of installation. Additionally, many times you can get a tax credit or rebate for installing one in your home.

But if you do an internet search for smart thermostats, you can quickly get overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices and options. It can be hard to know what smart thermostat you should get; especially because you want to be sure that your new thermostat is compatible with your HVAC system. It also depends on if you are building a new home or just upgrading.

Thankfully, that’s where this guide comes in. It’s going to help you figure out what your options are and what thermostat is best for your lifestyle. First, it is going to cover eight of the best smart thermostats on the market today and give you a brief review of each. It will also give you a quick four bullet points to give you an idea of what each one brings to the table.

After that, you’re going to get an in-depth purchasing guide that will dig deep into what the various options are when it comes to smart thermostat and what they mean to you. You’ll get some basic questions that you should be concerned with and how to judge the importance of those answers.

Hopefully, by the end of the guide, you’ll have your choices narrowed down and able to make a final decision.

Smart Thermostats Reviews

These are eight of the best smart thermostats available today, from the Nest 3rd Generation to the ecobee4.

Smart Thermostats Reviews
  • 4 Customer Rating
  • Nest T3007ES
  • Batteries Required? Yes
  • Batteries: 1 CR2 batteries required.
  • Dimensions: 3.3 x 3.3 x 1.2 in
  • Color: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 1 pounds
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

Smart Thermostats Reviews
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Sensiclassic Wifi Thrmst
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Batteries: 1 AAA batteries required
  • Dimensions: 3.8 x 5.9 x 1 in
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Warranty: 3 years

Smart Thermostats Reviews
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Emerson Sensi
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Batteries: 2 AA batteries required.
  • Dimensions: 3 x 9.7 x 8.4 in
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 1 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years

Smart Thermostats Reviews
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Honeywell TH9320WF5003
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Batteries: N/A
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 3.5 x 0.9 in
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

Smart Thermostats Reviews
  • 4 Customer Rating
  • ecobee3 lite
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Batteries: 1 Lithium Metal batteries required
  • Dimensions: 4 x 1 x 4 in
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 1 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 Year

Smart Thermostats Reviews
  • 4 Customer Rating
  • Honeywell RTH9585WF1004/W
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Batteries: 2 AA batteries required.
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 4.5 x 0.9 in
  • Color: Gray
  • Weight: 1 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year warranty

Nest T3007ES 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeThis shiny black and chrome thermostat has two main parts. The main control unit is designed to be installed to your HVAC system and sits very close to it. It communicates with the thermostat via Wi-Fi. The thermostat is designed to be powered via a mini-USB plug (included) or hard-wired in via the C-Wire.

Right away, this lets you know the flexibility of this unit in that you can have it just sitting on your desk rather than wall mount it; the choice is yours.

The full-color screen with outer dial allows you to control the device manually, but the easiest way to control the thermostat is via the app on your smartphone, or on your connected PC. You can also control the Nest thermostat with the Amazon Alexa or the Google Home voice assistants. Programming is easy and intuitive with the app.

It is worth noting that the Nest thermostats are not compatible with other control hubs, such as Samsung SmartThings or the IFTTT protocol, so if you’re looking for something that will connect to an existing hub, this may not be the unit for you.

The Nest also gives you access to a variety of reports, letting you see how much energy you are using, and how much you have used, and even how your energy consumption compares to other Nest users.

Read Full Review: Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat

Key Features:

• Only compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home Voice Assistants
• A bevy of reports are available allowing you to see how much energy you are using and how much you have used
• The thermostat learns what your desired temperatures are based on your usage to automatically create schedules for you
• The Nest will spot you as you approach, automatically turning on to show you time, temperature and weather

Emerson Sensi-Classic Wi-Fi Thermostat

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeThis thermostat has a sleek white classic look that measures 3.8 by 5.9 inches with a 1-inch thickness. It is powered by 1 AAA battery. The unit can be powered by a C-wire, but that isn’t mandatory unless you are connecting it to a heat-only, cool-only, or using it with the Apple Homekit control hub.

The ambient operating temperature range for this thermostat is 32 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 40 degrees Celsius), giving you absolute control over your climate. You can control the temperature manually from the thermostat itself or via a mobile app.

Wi-Fi is not necessary to install and control this thermostat, although some functions won’t work without it. But if you’re building a home and don’t have an internet connection yet, you can still install this to control your HVAC system so your water pipes don’t freeze.

When you aren’t at home, you can set this Sensi thermostat to send you alerts so you know if the system is malfunctioning. Additionally, it will let you know if it detects extreme variances in temperature and humidity.

Read Full Review: Emerson Sensi-Classic Wi-Fi Thermostat

Key Features:

• Fully compatible with up to 2 Heat/2 Cool conventional systems, up to 4 Heat/2Cool heat pumps, heat-only, cool-only, geothermal, dual-fuel, and gas, oil, or electric systems.
• Compatible with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home Assistant, and Wink hubs.
• The thermostat automatically controls temperature based on your preferences by using geofencing technology to determine your location.
• Manual control available via the wall-mounted unit or via the mobile application

Emerson Sensi-Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeThis color touchscreen controlled thermostat offers a fast in-home installation that lets you start saving money immediately. As a smart thermostat, it uses the proprietary app to connect to your thermostat, letting it know where you are so it can make it your ideal climate. This is done via geofencing, where the thermostat detects where you are in proximity to it so it knows when to start cooling or heating so that you walk into a comfortable home.

The Sensi-Touch is compatible with a wide range of HVAC systems including:

• Up to 2-stage Heat/2-stage Cool conventional HVAC systems
• Up to 4-stage Heat/2-stage Cool heat pumps with and without aux control
• Geothermal
• Dual-fuel
• Heat only
• Cool only
• Gas, oil, or electric systems

The Sensi-Touch is not compatible with electric baseboard heaters or stock millivolt heating systems. Millivolt (mV) systems can be rendered compatible with the use of a 24-volt transformer.

This Emerson thermostat also gives you access to a wide range of usage reports, including daily and aggregate run times for both heating and cooling, total energy consumption, and suggestions for improvement. It also gives you smart alerts to your smartphone that let you know if your home is running extremely hot or if there is a significant humidity variance.

Read Full Review: Emerson Sensi Touch Thermostat

Key Features:

• On average, this thermostat will provide 23% on HVAC energy costs and consumption
• Compatible with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home Assistant, and Wink home control hubs.
• HD color touchscreen with full backlighting allows quick and easy manual control
• Full control also available through iOS or Android smartphone

Honeywell TH3920WF5003 Wi-Fi Touch Screen Programmable Thermostat

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeThis Honeywell smart thermostat offers enormous benefits and costs savings to you as a homeowner housed in an attractive form factor. Fully compatible with a wide variety of voice assistants and home control hubs, this thermostat offers you full control over your home’s climate.

You can control the thermostat from the touch screen if you like, or you can use the proprietary Honeywell Total Connect Comfort App. The application, installed to your smartphone or tablet, allows you to fully program multiple events over a full 7-day week. And because the thermostat learns as you use it, it will automatically make adjustments to your schedule based on your actual usage.

The text on the touch screen offers a full bevy of information at your fingertips, from access to the weather forecast, internal and external temperatures, and the status of your internet connection. You can also receive notifications when the temperature reaches the desired minimum or maximum, as well as notifications about when to change your HVAC systems’ filters and when to change the humidifier pad. The backlight of the screen is adjustable to a multiple of colors to match your décor.

When making a 7-day program, if you want to save the most amount of money, this thermostat will adjust your schedule to correspond with the energy company’s peak rate pricing. This Honeywell smart thermostat was certified as Energy Star compliant on 24 April 2018.

Professional installation is recommended, simply because if you don’t have a C-wire already in place, one will need to be installed. The C-wire not only powers the thermostat but also means that you don’t have to lose the fan-only circulation mode by using a jumper.

Read Full Review: Honeywell TH9320WF5003 Wi-Fi Touch Screen Thermostat

Key Features:

• Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT home control hubs.
• Smart and programmable with a full 7-day range with multiple events per day
• Thermostat adjustable via the touchscreen on the base or with the proprietary Honeywell Total Connect Comfort App
• For full control, this thermostat must be installed using the C-wire

Ecobee3 lite 2nd Generation Smart Thermostat

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeThis ecobee thermostat is a smart choice for any homeowner that is looking to save money on their heating and cooling costs. It’s estimated that you can save up to 23% every year on your HVAC energy use and corresponding costs. This could allow the ecobee3 to pay for itself in less than 2 years.

You can control the ecobee3 smart thermostat from nearly any smart device, from your Apple Watch to a Pebble smartwatch. The proprietary ecobee mobile app is available on both iTunes and Google Play.

Ecobee3 thermostats are compatible with a wide range of HVAC systems, including:

• Up to 2-stage heat/2-stage cool conventional furnace and air conditioning systems with a single accessory. Also supports single speed fan control
• Up to 4-stage heat/2-stage cool heat pumps with a single accessory. Can be installed on both air-to-air and geothermal heat pumps
• Up to 2-stage heat boilers with a single accessory (but requires C-wire to be present)
• Up to 2-stage heat/2-stage cool dual transformer (boiler and air conditioning) with a single accessory. Also, support single speed fan control. Requires a C-wire connected to the air handler, not the boiler.

Ecobee3 thermostats are not compatible with DC voltage HVAC systems like those found in recreational vehicles. They are also incompatible with millivolt (mV) systems (wood stoves and fireplaces) or high voltage electric baseboard heaters.

This smart thermostat is also compatible with nearly every smart home hub on the market. You can connect it to Amazon Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and even Wink, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit. You can also create macros using IFTTT.

You can also connect the ecobee3 to up to 32 remote sensors around your home. This means that instead of getting readings from just one location to adjust your thermostat and energy use, you can now adjust for your entire home and how people move in and out of different areas.

Read Full Review: ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat

Key Features:

• Alexa voice assistant built-in for easy voice control of your thermostat and more
• Optional Room Sensors allow you to keep track of the most important rooms and measure occupancy and temperature.
• Control your ecobee thermostat from anywhere using an iOS or Android device.
• Compatible with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, and other control hubs.

Honeywell RTH9585WF1004 Wi-Fi Smart Programmable Thermostat

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeThis Honeywell smart thermostat has an interface that is a little busier than the sleek round interface of the ecobee and Nest smart thermostats, but that’s because it gives you more information at a glance.

The home screen will let you see the date and time, temperatures of both indoors and outdoors, as well as the humidity. The emphasis here is to give you all of the information you could need or want at a glance, rather than make you look for it.

Control of the Honeywell smart thermostat is handled through the Total Connect Comfort application, which is available on both iTunes and Google Play. The app itself is very intuitive and makes it easy to control your thermostat. It has the ability to control multiple thermostats.

As with most smart thermostats, you don’t have to manually program the Honeywell right out of the box; although you can if you want. Instead, what happens is that the thermostat will use an algorithm to see what your pattern is for how you set the temperatures and go from there. It quickly learns your habits, in other words, and then goes from there. Of course, there is still the option for you to make your own adjustments and override the thermostat on your own.

Like other Honeywell smart thermostats, you can pick the background color so it matches best with your décor. It also sends customizable alerts when your air filters need changing and when the temperature and/or humidity has an extreme shift.

If you have kids who like to make adjustments to the thermostat because they are allergic to sweaters, then you will appreciate the ability to lock the thermostat. The Honeywell also advertises that the thermostat can maintain a one-degree accuracy on the set temperature. You can adjust this range to be broader if you don’t like your HVAC system running that frequently.

In the event that your internet connection goes down, the Honeywell will still operate as a regular digital thermostat. However, you’ll have to make adjustments manually at the screen instead of with the app of course.

Read Full Review: Honeywell RTH9585WF1004 Smart Thermostat

Key Features:

• Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT home control hubs.
• Smart and programmable with a full 7-day range with multiple events per day
• Thermostat adjustable via the touchscreen on the base or with the proprietary Honeywell Total Connect Comfort App
• For full control, this thermostat must be installed using the C-wire

Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat w/included Room Sensor

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeThe ecobee4 smart thermostat is an amazing choice for the smart homeowner. A step up from the already great ecobee3, this thermostat adds in a built-in Amazon Alexa and multiple integration possibilities to the table. This thermostat doesn’t just work well, it also looks amazing, which is a change from the earlier clunky looking ecobee thermostats.

Ecobee4 thermostats are compatible with a wide range of HVAC systems, including:

• Up to 2-stage heat/2-stage cool conventional furnace and air conditioning systems with a single accessory. Also supports single speed fan control
• Up to 4-stage heat/2-stage cool heat pumps with a single accessory. Can be installed on both air-to-air and geothermal heat pumps
• Up to 2-stage heat boilers with a single accessory (but requires C-wire to be present)
• Up to 2-stage heat/2-stage cool dual transformer (boiler and air conditioning) with a single accessory. Also, support single speed fan control. Requires a C-wire connected to the air handler, not the boiler.

Ecobee4 thermostats are not compatible with DC voltage HVAC systems like those found in recreational vehicles. They are also incompatible with millivolt (mV) systems (wood stoves and fireplaces) or high voltage electric baseboard heaters.

This smart thermostat has a touchscreen that is quick to respond and is intuitively easy to use. It also comes with a remote room sensor with room to pair with up to 32 sensors in total. These sensors incorporate motion and proximity detectors to tell if someone is in the room allowing the primary thermostat to automatically adjust and learn about when to heat or cool.

Connection to your home Wi-Fi is a breeze; all you have to do is download the ecobee app through iTunes or Google Play and follow the on-screen instructions. Once this is done, you can now use the mobile app to fully control your thermostat. You can also control it from your laptop or desktop, and in some cases, the full app on your pc or mac is a better interface.

Read Full Review: Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat

Key Features:

• Alexa voice assistant built-in for easy voice control of your thermostat and more
• Optional Room Sensors allow you to keep track of the most important rooms and measure occupancy and temperature.
• Control your ecobee thermostat from anywhere using an iOS or Android device.
• Compatible with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, and other control hubs.

Smart Thermostats Comparison Chart

ItemBatteries Required?Batteries DimensionsWeight
Nest T3007ESYes1 CR2 batteries required.3.3 x 3.3 x 1.2 in1 pounds
Sensiclassic Wifi Thrmst No1 AAA batteries required3.8 x 5.9 x 1 in13.6 ounces
Emerson SensiNo2 AA batteries required. 3 x 9.7 x 8.4 in1 pounds
Honeywell TH9320WF5003NoN/A4.5 x 3.5 x 0.9 in9.6 ounces
ecobee3 liteNo1 Lithium Metal batteries required4 x 1 x 4 in1 pounds
Honeywell RTH9585WF1004/WNo2 AA batteries required. 3.5 x 4.5 x 0.9 in1 pounds
ecobee4Yesecobee44 x 1 x 4 in1 pounds

Smart Thermostats Buying Guide

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeNow that you’ve read about eight of the best smart thermostats available to you and why they are set above the rest, this guide is going to help you narrow down your options. If you’ve seen some options that caught your eye you have a starting point. However, there may be a case where everything looks good and you need to start at square one.

Section One: What makes a smart thermostat smart?

A smart thermostat is more than just a thermostat with a fancy color screen or touch controls. It also takes more than just being connected to Wi-Fi or being controlled from your smartphone. Those are all parts of it, but it’s more than just that.

Does programmable equal smart?

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeFirst, smart thermostats are programmable. In most cases, a thermostat has either a full 7-day programmable option or in some cases a 5-2 day option. The seven-day option means that the thermostat is able to be programmed individually every day, not that there’s only one program for all seven days. The 5-2 day means that there are 2 programs: one during the five day work week, and the other during the two day weekend.

In most cases, each set of programs will also have four events. These events are when the thermostat adjusts the temperature. For example, the four events could correspond to you waking up, then leaving for the day, then coming home, then going to bed at night. For higher-end smart thermostats, there are more than four events, and some only have two events: when the room is occupied and when it isn’t.

That’s one reason why smart thermostats are smart. They are able to determine from sensors whether or not a room is occupied. If it is, then the room is cooled or heated to a set temperature. If it isn’t, then it’s set to a money-saving temperature. Some can even detect activity levels. For example, let’s say that you have the temperatures set during the summer so that when a room is occupied, the ideal temperature is 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, when the room is unoccupied, the ideal temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So when you enter the room, it’s at 80 degrees. The thermostat detects you and turns the air conditioning on high until the temperature reaches 78 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point the air conditioning lowers to the first stage and continues to cool until the ideal temperature is reached. If it’s during the winter, then the opposite will happen, with the thermostat stepping through the various stages of heat until the ideal temperature is reached.

Learning your preferences

Smart ThermostatAnother mark of smart thermostats is that they can actually learn about your preferences when it comes to heating and cooling. What happens is that you will initially set a program into your thermostat for your seven days and what you think your ideal temperatures are. But let’s say that you have your ideal temperature during the summer set at 76.5 degrees Fahrenheit for when you’re there and it’s set for 81 degrees Fahrenheit when you aren’t there. You also have your times set for 6:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m.

So as the week progresses, you decide that you’d actually like it a little warmer in the morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., and you manually adjust the temperature through your phone to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, you start to leave the house at 7:30 a.m. because of construction traffic on your way to work.

What will happen is that your smart thermostat will begin to learn these patterns and automatically adjust your temperature settings so that in the mornings when you wake up, your room is warmed up to 78 already before you open up the app on your phone. Additionally, your thermostat will start the changeover to you not being at home a half-hour earlier.

The same thing will happen at night if your schedule changes or your desired temperature changes. This can even happen if you change your schedule just one or two nights per week. Let’s say that you start hitting the gym three evenings a week and don’t come home until an hour after your set changeover time. Your thermostat is going to learn that and schedule things accordingly without you having to do it.

If you have a family, it’s also going to learn about their preferences as well. Thankfully, as a parent, you have the ability to override things if your kid gets home from school and sets the temperature to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Your thermostat will take note of the extreme difference and notify you through the app, letting you manually adjust the thermostat back to a reasonable temperature. You can then send your kid a text about messing with the thermostat without permission.

To Wi-Fi or Not to Wi-Fi

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeFor the most part, your smart thermostat is going to need to be connected to the internet. In some cases, this is because your control unit is connected wirelessly to the sensor. It could also be because you have multiple sensors installed around your home to give you broader control over the climate. The Wi-Fi is also needed so that you can control the thermostat through your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Some thermostats are only compatible with certain types of wireless protocols. It’s important that you check to see if your internet and router are going to work with your chosen smart thermostat. For example, you want a moderately fast internet connection. You don’t need the fastest fiber optic gigabyte speed, but you do want at least a connection that gives you an upload rate of 256 kbps and a download rate of 1 Mbps. This is so you don’t run into clogs or lag with your other bandwidth using programs.

A smart thermostat will transmit about 20-40 megabytes per month with moderately heavy usage and for the most part, doesn’t use a lot of bandwidth at any given time. If you have a normal cable internet package, you should be fine. But you are going to want a wireless setup to use your smart thermostat.

This might get a little technical, but when you look at your wireless router, you want something that has support for the 802.11g and 802.11n wireless protocols. In most cases, modern wireless routers have something called 802.11g/n which is fine. You also want to be sure that your wireless router has dual-band support and operates at 2.4 GHz. Again, most modern routers operate at a combination of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, but as long as you have the 2.4, you’ll be fine.

For security, you also want your router to support static IP addresses or dynamic IP addresses with Wireless Encryption Protocol in either 64 or 128-bit protocols. You can also use WPA1 or WPA2 encryption. This ensures that when your router and your smart thermostat are talking, nobody else can hack into it and break into your network.

If you own a Mac, then your choice for a router is even simpler. The best option is to choose an Airport Express which comes standard with all of the features above.

Now that you know what makes a smart thermostat smart, it’s time to explore some of the questions you’ll need to ask as you narrow down your options.

Section Two: Asking the Right Questions

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeQuestion One: How many rooms does your home have? What is the square footage to be climate controlled?

For the most part, the more rooms your home has, the more climate zones you’ll want to have control over. A climate zone is a subdivision of your home that s heated or cooled separately from other areas. As an example, your bedroom doesn’t need to be heated when you’re in the kitchen and dining room. Likewise, when you’re in bed, you don’t need the living room to be kept warm.

Knowing how large your home is as well as how it is set up for zones will influence what kind of smart thermostat you’re going to get. Because if you’re going to rely on sensors to control the other zones, you can get just one thermostat. However, in some cases, you will need multiple thermostats because your HVAC system has multiple systems, each controlled individually.

This is the first step in knowing what type of smart thermostat you’re going to need, especially if you have high or line voltage heating.

Question Two: Do you care if your smart thermostat tracks your movements?

Smart thermostats rely on a lot of tools in order to learn about you and what your preferences are. And these tools are more than just the adjustments you make to the temperature at specific times. Some smart thermostats have motion detectors and cameras installed in them so they know when you’re in the room. That lets them track room occupancy, which in conjunction with the manual adjustments you’re making on the thermostat, gives the controlling program more to work with.

Some smart thermostats also use geofencing, which is to say that they use your phone’s location to determine how far away from the thermostat you are. This lets the thermostat know where you are, so it can combine that with your programming preferences. For example, most geofencing lets your thermostat know when you’re 250 feet away and also five miles away.

When it detects that you are within five miles, the thermostat starts to adjust the house’s climate to your preferred “at home” temperature. And when it detects that you’re leaving and now more than 250 feet away, it starts to let the home warm up or cool down to your preferred “away” temperature.

Some people worry about smart devices being able to track you because they worry about hackers or government agencies tracking them for nefarious purposes. If this bothers you, then you should consider a smart thermostat without proximity detection or a geofencing capability.

Question Three: How reliable is your internet connection?

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeSmart thermostats rely on an internet connection for several reasons. One of the most important is that it lets you make adjustments on the fly instead of having to be at the actual unit. If there’s no internet access for the smart thermostat, then there’s no way for your phone or smartwatch to be able to control it.

Another thing that wifi thermostats do is use the internet to send you alerts when something has gone drastically awry, like the humidity in your home is suddenly at 86%, or the temperature has risen to 90 degrees. These alerts reach you wherever you are, so you can get home and fix the problem, whatever it is.

However, it’s also important that you know how reliable your internet connection is because some smart thermostats aren’t hardwired to your HVAC system. Instead, there’s a control unit that is hardwired to the air controller and it communicates with the thermostat. In these cases, they rely on a wireless connection. However, if you’ve had problems with Wi-Fi dead spots in your home, this can create problems for your smart thermostat and its ability to talk to the controller.

Finally, you might wonder what happens to your smart thermostat if it loses its internet connection. Well, in most cases, your smart thermostat just loses its ability to be smart. It will usually just function as a programmable thermostat with a really neat interface, although you’ll no longer get updates to the outside weather and forecast.

Question Four: What type of HVAC system do you have?

This is a very important question because most smart thermostats have very specific compatibilities. For example, there are a few smart thermostats that are compatible with high-voltage electric baseboard heat. As well, if you have a Franklin-style stove that operates on a thermostat, you’re going to have to look around to find a smart thermostat that will work with you.

For some millivolt (mV) controlled heating systems, there are ways to make them compatible with some smart thermostat manufacturers. For some like Emerson, you can install a 24-volt converter that will bring them into compatibility with their line of smart thermostats.

When it comes to HVAC systems, they fall into different categories. One of the most important is knowing how many stages your system has, and whether that is for the heating side or the cooling side. When talking about stages, they generally run from single stage to four-stage for heat and single-stage to two-stage for cooling.

What a stage means is that your HVAC system runs at a certain percentage of maximum. For single-stage HVAC systems, this means your heat and ac are either all the way on, or all the way off. As you introduce more stages, then the system runs at reduced power. This helps you to save energy costs and correspondingly, saves you money.

For example, let’s say you have the thermostat desired temperature set during the summer for 84 degrees Fahrenheit when you aren’t home, but it is set for 76 degrees Fahrenheit when you are. So when the changeover happens, the thermostat signals to the air conditioning to run at full power until the temperature reaches 79 degrees. At that point, it reduces the power and begins running the air conditioner at a lower setting, gradually bringing the temperature to the desired 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can see that by reducing the amount of power that the air conditioner is using, that the system is drawing less energy. It also helps ensure that the system doesn’t drastically overshoot the desired temperature; in this case, bringing the temp down to 75 or 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also important that you know if you have separate heating and cooling systems or if you have a combined system like a heat pump. In most cases, this is going to impact how you’re going to be able to install your smart thermostat.

Section Three: What Features are Important and Why?

Best Smart Thermostats ReviewsFeature One: Smart Hub compatibility

Do you have a voice assistant in your home? And by voice assistant, do you have Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant? If you do, then you want to make sure you get a smart thermostat that s compatible. In some cases, smart thermostats are actually coming with Alexa and Google Assistant built right in. That’s because you can then use vocal commands to adjust your heat instead of your phone or computer.

That’s right, you can actually tell Alexa to turn the heat up in the bedroom if you’re going to bed early. Or tell Google to turn on the air conditioning in your home office so you can get some work done.

But smart hub compatibility goes beyond just voice assistants like Alexa, Google, and Cortana. Smart thermostats are also part of the huge Internet of Things and combine with other smart gadgets to turn your home into a truly smart home.

There are home control hubs such as Apple HomeKit or Samsung

SmartThings that connect your thermostat to your lights and even your curtains and television. And then you can pair everything up with an IFTTT app.

IFTTT stands for IF This Then That, and is essentially a chain of events that you have set up. For example, you can set up an IFTTT app that you call movie time, where the lights dim to 30 percent, the thermostat is set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and your television and home theater system come on and are set to your preferred movie watching settings. The first time you tell Alexa to do that and everything happens without you fumbling for five different remotes is the first time you truly realize what it is to be in a smart home.

So, if this is the type of experience that appeals to you; if you like the idea of being able to control the heat and thermostats in your home just by talking out loud, you want to be sure that your smart thermostat is compatible with the smart hub you’re looking at.

Feature Two: Setting up Zone Heating

One of the best features of a smart thermostat is that it learns to anticipate when you’re going to be in your home. And this is how it saves you money, but not expending energy when it doesn’t need to. After all, there’s no sense in spending money to cool the house in summer if you’re at the gym or at work.

Now expand this idea. What if you didn’t spend money to heat or cool your entire home? After all, there are times when you want your bedroom to be nice and toasty in the middle of winter, but you don’t need the living room to be 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Who are you keeping it warm for, the television?

That’s where zone heating and cooling comes in. By using sensors or multiple smart thermostats, you can begin to create individual profiles not just for your home, but for different rooms in your home. That means that when you’re in bed, your heat pump is spending energy to keep your bedroom warm, but not spending energy keeping the rest of the house warm. And then in the morning when you get up, the heat starts in the kitchen and the bathroom.

A smart thermostat can track where you are in the house, usually through proximity sensors in the thermostat units or in the sensors. And then they learn and create a profile so they know that in the mornings you don’t spend any time in the family room, but rather the entire time in the kitchen and dining room. And that in the evening, you rarely spend time in the kitchen after 6 p.m., but instead spend time in the dining room and in the living room.

And as these profiles grow and become more refined, then you begin to use less energy in areas you don’t need to. And that saves you money. In some cases, a lot of money.

Feature Three: Geofencing

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeGeofencing is a way for your smart thermostat to set up a boundary where when you’re inside of that boundary, you’re home. And correspondingly, when you’re outside that boundary, you are away. This means that when you’re home, the thermostat sets the temperature to something that you like, usually corresponding with the preset programs that you’ve already made. When you aren’t home, then the thermostat lets your home stay warmer (or colder during the winter) so that you’re not spending unnecessarily on heating or cooling.

Geofencing is great when you tend to come in and out and have more than four events on your programmable thermostat during the day. It keeps you from having to tell Alexa to change the temperature when you get home or remembering to use the app on your phone.

This feature uses your phone as your locator and that means you need to keep it with you at all times. For most people, this is not an issue, but it is something you should be aware of.

Another part of geofencing you need to be aware of is how many accounts a particular smart thermostat can keep track of. For example, Nest thermostats support multiple locators. The Nest thermostat has two settings in this mode: Home and Away. When it detects that the last account has left the geofence area, the thermostat goes into away mode. Likewise, when it detects someone coming into the area, it goes into home mode.

One of the best things about the Nest thermostat is that the Away/Home modes work for the entire family of Nest devices including cameras and security systems. It also doesn’t require that you have individual permissions or logins for members. You simply assign one account to every member in your household and then assign one device (smartphone usually) to that account. Nest then uses Wi-Fi and cellular data to keep track of where each account holder is.

Geofencing is a great feature for families or individuals with sporadic schedules. It lets you come and go and never have to worry that your home is going to be sweltering or freezing when you get home out of schedule. Each smart thermostat works with geofencing in different ways and with different ranges.

Here’s a brief chart with an overview of the three smart thermostat brands discussed in the wifi thermostat review section

Brand Plusses Minuses
Nest ·         Support for multiple accounts

·         Integrates seamlessly with other Nest products

·         Conflicts with schedules and learning features.

·         Geofence radius is not adjustable

·         Does not work with IFTTT

Emerson Sensi ·         Easy to use with or without scheduling ·         Does not have multiple account options

·         Geofence radius is locked to 3 miles

ecobee ·         Works exceptionally well with IFTTT ·         Uses a “hold” system that interferes with your scheduled events
Honeywell ·         Completely adjustable geofence radius with Honeywell app

·         Supports multiple accounts and users

·         Can only use smartphones, tablets are not able to be used

Keep in mind that if you want to use geofencing and you have a smart hub to control other home devices, it can be worth it to use that as the geofencing controller rather than the smart thermostat itself. That way you don’t have to interrupt any pre-programmed events in the thermostat and instead you can let the smart hub control when things activate and deactivate.

Feature Four: How much Information do you want?

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeSmart thermostats are meant to keep you informed, and there are several ways they do this. The first is from the actual display on the thermostat itself. You should ask yourself how much you want to know when you look at the display.

For example, some smart thermostats like the Honeywell will give you a lot of information at a glance. They’re going to tell you the outside temperature as well as the inside temperature. They’ll let you know the humidity levels, what the status of your internet connection is, and what the weather forecast is for the immediate future.

Is this information that you want to know when you look at your thermostat? As well, you should look at how the information is displayed. A Honeywell and an ecobee will give you much of the same information, but the way it is presented is as different as night and day. Likewise with the Nest smart thermostat. The design choices might not seem like a huge issue, but you’re the one who is going to have to look at it multiple times every day. Make sure you get a smart thermostat that you like to look at, otherwise it might as well not display any information at all.

Another type of information that smart thermostats will give you are usage reports. Smart thermostats keep track of everything that has to do with the temperature and the energy consumption of your HVAC system. How deep do you want to drill down into that information?

Do you want to know that you used x number of kilowatt-hours of electricity on June 6th of this year and how that compared to other Nest users in your area? What about how that energy usage compared to last month or even last year. How do your heating and cooling usage compare to other users with the same outside temperature?

These are all things that your smart thermostat can tell you, and they offer you ways to adjust your usage so that you can save even more money. While some people like to know this stuff and like to track how they compare to other users, you might not be as invested in this. The choice is up to you, but it’s definitely something that you should look into.

Feature Five: The App

Best Smart Thermostats For Your HomeVirtually every smart thermostat is controlled primarily by an app on your smartphone. Yes, you can adjust temperatures and set programs from the thermostat itself, but that’s not how the manufacturers want you to do it. They want you to use the app and that’s where you find most of the settings that let you truly control your smart thermostat.

So you have to decide how well you like their smartphone application. Because just like you are the one who has to look at the smart thermostat every day, you are also the one who has to use the app to control it.

Download the Honeywell Home App and poke around to see how you like it. Download the ecobee app to see. It’s important that you run them through their paces. Are the buttons too small? What about the colors and interface options? Navigate through the various menus. Are certain features difficult to find?

These are all questions and things that you should be asking because the more difficult an app is for you to navigate, then the less likely you are to use it. And if you aren’t using the app then you aren’t using your new smart thermostat to the best of its abilities and that means you’re not saving as much money as you could be.

Also, some smart thermostats are able to be controlled via an app on your desktop computer. Take a look at that control feature and see how much you like that. It might be that you love the desktop app but loathe the smartphone app. In that case, you have a hard decision to make.

Conclusion

No matter what size home you have or how many people you have living in it, there’s always a way for you to save money on heating and cooling costs. Smart thermostats are one sure fired way to make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Not only will they reduce the total amount of energy you’re using, but they’re also going to change where and when you’re using it, keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you ask the right questions and figure out what the most important features are for you when it comes to a smart thermostat. With that information in mind, you’re sure to get the best smart thermostat for your home.