Best Smart Thermostats - SafeWise Buyer’s Guide
A Review of the Top 6 Smart Thermostats of 2017
Smart thermostats are the home automation-lover’s right-hand robot. In addition to providing upwards of 30 percent energy savings, smart thermostats deliver optimal convenience. For instance, if you’re cozy in bed and want your house to be just as toasty when you get up, program your thermostat to fire up the furnace before you wake. Better yet, purchase a learning thermostat that observes your preferences, habits, and household nuances and does the programming for you—so you don’t have to think about it!
Like most products, some outdo others, so use our top six list below to get started on your search for simpler yet more sophisticated living.
What We Love
Where to Find it
What We Love
Highly intelligent (Learning thermostat)
Home automation compatibility
What We Love
Highly intelligent (Learning thermostat)
Comfort boosts don’t affect programming
Second most expensive
What We Love
Highly intelligent (Learning thermostat)
What We Love
Cheaper than Ecobee3
#1 new release on Amazon
Doesn’t include room sensors, smart detection, or compatibility with some home accessories
*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest distinguishes itself within the first seven days of use. That’s because that’s all the time it needs to record your habits, preferences, schedules, and household details (like how drafty your home gets and how long it takes to heat up or cool down) and channel them into precise, autonomous climate control. It’s this attention to detail that allows Nest to determine how far in advance it needs to turn on the heat or A/C, so your home feels perfect at all times. In our opinion, the steep price tag is worth it.
Best For: People who don’t mind spending more for a quality product and who want to sync their smart thermostat with other home automation devices.
Power Company Rebates. Nest’s energy efficiency has incentivized utility companies to become partners. If you live near a Nest partner, you could get a Nest thermostat for free or get a $100 rebate. This type of savings drastically offsets the initial cost of Nest’s third-generation smart thermostat, so it’s worth looking into.
Learning Thermostat. You’re welcome to manually control your Nest thermostat, or leave your heating and cooling up to the device itself; it knows exactly what to do.
Great Reviews. Over 7,000 Amazon customers have rated Nest’s third-generation smart thermostat with an average 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Responds to Your Presence. The Nest thermostat has something called Farsight and lights up when it detects your presence, so it’s easy to see the temperature, weather, and time from across the room. This farsight also enables Nest to go into an energy-saving mode when it knows you’re not home to save you money on utility bills.
Color Choices. Choose from copper, steel, black, and white finishes to match your home’s aesthetic.
Home Automation Compatibility. Nest’s smart thermostat works with all other Nest products (like its smart smoke detectors) as well as Amazon Echo and Alexa. Home automation is convenient, but becomes even more so when you can control your home in one place like the Nest app.
Professional or DIY Installation. Save money by installing your Nest thermostat yourself, or use one of the company’s certified professional installers to help you get up and running.
Humidity Control. Nest keeps your home moist enough so that your skin doesn’t dry out, but dry enough to stave off mold and mustiness.
Alerts. Nest doesn’t just monitor and adjust temperature, it keeps a complete eye on the climate and health of your home. The app delivers filter reminders, inefficiency detection alerts (like if your furnace needs a tune-up), and extreme temperature sensing to prevent fire and freezing pipes.
Expensive. Better technology comes at a premium, and Nest’s smart thermostat is the most expensive on this list, starting at $250.
Schneider Wiser Air
The Schneider Wiser Air offers many of Nest’s covetable features for less, including sleek design, touch screen, and an algorithm that learns your energy habits and preferences to program a tailored schedule. Wiser Air even has an edge over Nest when it comes to readability and digital display. The perimeter of Schneider’s smart thermostat changes color between blue, yellow, and green to signify what it’s doing. Plus, the thermostat displays local weather and weather alerts, so you can control what’s happening inside your home and prepare for everything outside, too.
Best For: People who love the look of Nest, but want more in a digital display (and cost savings).
Learning Thermostat. Like Nest, Wiser Air uses advanced technology to memorize your preferences and nail your ideal climate—all while saving on energy. You can always adjust temperature manually by using the Wiser Air app too, but this thermostat is designed to do everything for you.
Read at a Glance. The large digital face displays weather forecasts, the temperature inside your home, and extreme weather alerts. Plus, the device glows blue to signify cooling, yellow for heating, and green when it’s saving on energy, so you can see what’s happening at a glance.
Comfort Boost. Need a blast of fresh air? Use the Comfort Boost feature to change the temperature of your home for a short amount of time—without impacting your normal scheduling. This is perfect if you’re cooking for company and your house heats up, or you come in from the cold and need to take the chill off quick.
Humidity Control. Prevent damage to your home and mold growth with this handy feature that controls your A/C to remove unwanted moisture from your home’s air.
Great Reviews. Over 80 Amazon customers rated this device with an average four out of five stars.
Color Choice. Choose between black or white to match your home’s design.
Expensive. Schneider Wiser Air is the second most expensive smart thermostat on this list, starting at $210, which is nearly double that of the cheapest option.
Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat
As far as smart thermostats go, Ecobee3 is one of the most advanced on the market, but with a reasonable price tag. Ecobee3’s intelligent programming tailors your climate to your exact needs and energy goals based on thousands of data points like weather and whether you’re home or away. Plus, Ecobee3 has a modern design, provides up to 23 percent energy savings, and comes with an additional sensor to monitor your home’s climate and ensure that it’s perfect in every room.
Best For: People who want the most technology for the best price. (Compared to Nest and Wiser Air, Ecobee3 is typically $10–$50 cheaper and offers most of the same features.)
No. 1 Best Seller. Ecobee3 is the number one best seller on Amazon in the smart thermostat category.
Learning Thermostat. Ecobee’s DataRhythm Technology keeps tabs on your schedule, local weather, preferences, and more to keep your home a perfect ecosystem for your family. Plus, it pulls in outside air whenever possible to maintain proper temperature with the least energy usage.
Senses Occupancy. Ecobee3’s sensor knows when you’re home and away, so it nails energy efficiency and personal comfort every time.
Great Reviews. Over 1,500 customers have rated this smart thermostat with an average 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Humidity Control. Ecobee3 controls the moisture levels in your home, so it’s never sticky or too dry.
Professional or DIY. Install this yourself (it’s compatible with 95 percent of heating and cooling systems) or get help from a certified Ecobee expert.
Home Automation Compatibility. Ecobee3 Lite works with Amazon Echo’s Alexa voice commands, so you can tell it what to do from across the room. It’s also the first smart thermostat to work with Apple HomeKit, so you can streamline this product with dozens of other compatible home automation devices.
Simple Display. Other smart thermostats have better readability (featuring changing lights and icons), but Ecobee’s is pretty rudimentary in that regard.
Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat
Ecobee Lite has everything we love about Ecobee3, except room sensors, occupancy detection, and integration with ventilators, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers. That being said, Ecobee3 Lite is usually $30 cheaper than its suped-up superior and still offers 23 percent energy savings.
No. 1 New Release on Amazon. Customers on Amazon love this device and it’s the most popular new smart thermostat in its category.
Great Reviews. Ecobee3 Lite is new, but it already has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on about 40 reviews.
Learning Thermostat. Ecobee’s DataRhythm Technology uses thousands of data points to maintain ideal temperature, humidity, and energy efficiency at all times.
Affordable. If you don’t care about additional sensors or occupancy detection, bring home this device for less.
Humidity Control. Ecobee3 Lite is programmable to control the humidity in your home, so it’s always comfortable and healthy.
Professional or DIY. Install Ecobee3 Lite yourself (it’s compatible with 95 percent of heating and cooling systems) or hire a pre-approved Ecobee expert to help.
Home Automation Compatibility. Ecobee3 Lite works with Alexa voice commands through Amazon Echo as well as Apple HomeKit. This allows you to control all or most of your home automation devices in one place.
Missing Features. Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t include occupancy detection to optimize energy efficiency when you’re not home, room sensors, or compatibility with humidifiers and ventilators.
Honeywell WiFi Smart Thermostat
Honeywell has over a dozen smart thermostats, but we chose the WiFi touch screen smart thermostat as our favorite for a number of reasons. For one, Honeywell’s WiFi smart thermostat has fantastic reviews on Amazon, an affordable price tag, and convenient features like seven-day manual programming for your home.
Best For: People with home automation products from a number of manufacturers.
Great Reviews. Over 150 customers gave Honeywell’s WiFi smart thermostat an average 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Reasonable Price. Honeywell’s smart thermostat is one of the cheaper on the market, starting at $160, and you get a fair amount of features for the price.
Seven-Day programming. Depending on how you look at this, it could be a pro or con. On the plus side, this seven-day programming allows you to customize heating and cooling settings week by week.
Home Automation Compatibility. Honeywell benefits from its status as a huge company that manufactures products for a number of brands. Essentially, Honeywell gadgets are chameleons and work with Amazon Echo/Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Panasonic smart home monitoring systems, WeatherBug Home, Iris, Yonomi, Samsung SmartThings, and so many more. Having a Honeywell smart thermostat enables you to mix and match home automation products.
Cost-Savings Calculator. Every home is different, but Honeywell has a cost savings calculator to determine how much you could save on energy with its thermostat.
Not a Learning Thermostat. You need to program your own temperature settings into this device and learn about your energy usage from its monthly summaries; it won’t do it for you.
Sensi Smart Thermostat
Every single smart thermostat we’ve featured above runs the risk of not being compatible with your home’s existing electrical—except Sensi. This smart thermostat uses batteries, so you don’t have to worry about wires. Plus, Sensi comes with huge energy savings potential, a fast 15-minute setup time (half that of others), and a reasonable price tag.
Best For: Budget-conscious shoppers who want optimal energy savings for the lowest price.
Up to 33 Percent Energy Savings. Sensi claims to save its customers 33 percent on energy bills, which is by far the largest margin on this list. Since it’s already cheap to purchase and cuts down on energy costs, Sensi is ideal for money-conscious homeowners or renters.
No. 1 Best Seller. Other smart thermostats on this list are best sellers on Amazon, but Sensi is the number-one most popular smart thermostat on the giant e-commerce website. In short, it’s very popular.
Seven-Day Scheduling. Set your own week-by-week energy programming based on your schedule.
Cheapest. Of all the smart thermostats on this list, Sensi’s is the cheapest, starting at $120.
Home Automation Compatibility. Sync this smart thermostat with Amazon Echo and Alexa voice commands as well as Wink.
Electrical Compatibility. Sensi’s thermostat uses batteries and doesn’t require a c-wire, so it works with more HVAC units than other brands.
Not a Learning Thermostat. Sensi is not a learning thermostat, so you have to set all of your energy programming yourself.
The day where we control our lives from our smart devices is here. That once sounded like the premise of a sci-fi movie, but having this technology is a dream come true—not a nightmare. Home automation devices like smart thermostats allow for energy savings, convenience, and insight into your energy usage. We hope you weigh the pros and cons of these top brands above to find the best solution for your life.
Interested in more ways to make your home more modern? Explore other top home automation products you may use throughout your home.