2018 Best Smart Thermostats Buyers Guide
Compare Smart Thermostats
The nifty and customizable Farsight feature will display your choice of local weather and time, temperature, or an analog or digital clock.
- Learning Capabilities
The Nest thermostat learns when you’re home and when you’re away. It will adjust the temperature in correlation with the outside temperature, general conditions within your home, and Rush Hour Rewards (its energy saving system).
Nest has filter alerts (to help you remember when to change your system’s filter), as well as a Furnace Heads Up. The Furnace Heads Up warns you if something’s awry with your heating system. You’ll receive notifications via the Nest app, thermostat, and monthly report.
- Easy-to-Use App
The Nest app is minimalist and a breeze to use. Simply download it, log in, input the necessary information (like the thermostat location, preferred temperatures, and so on), and you’re on your way to saving money.
- Rewards Program
Nest works with energy companies to offer the Rush Hour Rewards program, where energy companies pay you to lower energy usage during Energy Rush Hours (which are like an energy traffic jam).
- Amazon Alexa Compatibility
Thanks to Amazon Alexa’s verbal command capabilities, you’re able to control your Nest thermostat from a few rooms over—so you can disconnect from your phone and enjoy the downtime.
Despite how great the Nest is, it costs a pretty penny even with the rebates.
- No Wireless Temperature Sensors
Wireless temperature sensors can help regulate temperature more efficiently from room to room. If you have a drafty or large house, a stand-alone Nest may have a hard time keeping the temperature on an even keel.
The ecobee4 provides up to 23% energy savings and comes with an additional sensor to monitor your home’s climate and ensure that it’s perfect in every room.1
- Built-In Amazon Alexa
Forget about having to purchase an Alexa device! The ecobee4 comes fully equipped with its own smart home hub, which allows you to order groceries or connect other smart home devices like lightbulbs, locks, or a doorbell.
- Wireless Temperature Sensor
This subtle little sensor monitors the temperature in a specific room, so if it gets too cold or too warm, the ecobee4 kicks on the HVAC system to keep you comfortable. One wireless sensor is included with the thermostat, but ecobee has additional sensors available for purchase.
- Free Cooling
On cool summer evenings (and if the outside temperature is less than what your thermostat is set to), the ecobee4 pulls in chilly air from the great outdoors rather than using the air conditioner. But this feature only works if your heating and cooling system has a ventilator.
Reviewers stated that the Amazon Alexa has tinny, subpar sound quality.
- Limited Use of Amazon Alexa Programs
Despite the convenience of the ecobee’s smart hub integration, the Amazon Alexa has limited access to programs and software.
The perimeter of Schneider’s smart thermostat changes color between blue, yellow, and green to signify if it’s cooling, heating, or using the energy efficiency setting. Schneider calls this feature Pulse.
- Amazon Alexa Compatibility
The Wiser Air is compatible with Amazon Alexa, so you’re able to change the temperature by simply saying “Alexa, turn the temperature up by two degrees, thank you.”
- Learning Capabilities
Wiser Air uses advanced technology to memorize your preferences and create your ideal climate—all while saving on energy.
- User-Friendly App
You can always adjust the temperature manually by using the Wiser Air app. The app also offers remote control, so you can monitor the temperature from anywhere.
- Adaptive Comfort Boost
With Comfort Boost, you can 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 gets too warm, or if you come in from the cold and need to take the chill off quick.
- Humidity Control
Prevent mold growth and damage to your home with this handy feature that controls your AC to remove unwanted moisture from your home’s air.
Unfortunately, the Wiser Air’s Pulse feature can’t be turned off entirely, but you can dim it.
- Glitchy Software
Reviewers stated that the software occasionally glitches and blacks out, leaving the thermostat with an error message.
In addition to being battery-powered, the Sensi Smart can also be hardwired, so you’re able to choose which is most suitable for your system, lifestyle, and level of patience for installation.
The Sensi can be auto-programmed for each day of the week, so you can tailor the heating and cooling to suit your work schedule and weekend agenda.
If you want to enable the geo-fencing feature, you’ll need to download the app on your phone. That way, the thermostat can sense when you’re within the virtual boundary and begin warming or cooling your home.
- Digital-Inspired Display
The Sensi offers a modern touch with its digital-inspired display, so it won’t stick out like a sore thumb on your wall.
Try as you might, you can’t program the heating and cooling schedule through the thermostat itself. The only way to create an auto-schedule is through the app (via your smartphone or computer).
- No Energy Reports
Despite the energy-saving appeal of geo-fencing, the Sensi doesn’t have energy reports that track the feature’s effectiveness.
The reasonable price of the Honeywell Lyric T5 gives competitor touchscreen thermostats a run for their money.
Once you’ve downloaded the app and established your heating and cooling schedule, the Honeywell Lyric will automatically adapt to your comings and goings.
- Smart Device Compatibility
Honeywell gadgets are chameleons and work with Amazon Echo, 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.
- Digital-Inspired Display
The Honeywell combines the appeal of a modern, digital-inspired display with touchscreen capabilities for a functional, state-of-the-art device.
Much like Nest’s alert system, the Honeywell Lyric notifies you when it’s time to change your furnace filter, and it sends you safety alerts to ensure your HVAC system stays efficient and functions well.
The Honeywell Lyric requires a C-wire connection and won’t work with any other system.
- Glitchy App
Reviewers stated that despite the overall fantastic performance of the thermostat, the phone app malfunctioned and offered subpar performance.
Check for Rebates
Most energy companies offer rebates if you purchase a smart thermostat. These rebates can be anywhere between $50 to $150, and you can likely combine rebate offers too. Tip: Keep a digital and hard copy of the receipt for proof of purchase.
Use Eco-Friendly Settings
Eco-friendly settings not only minimize energy usage (which can reduce your carbon footprint) but also save you money—and who doesn’t need more money? Tip: Most eco-friendly options are marked by a green font, emblem, or ring. For example, Nest uses a green leaf to show you’re using the Eco setting.
Use YouTube for DIY Installation
Smart thermostat companies and tech enthusiasts know that DIY installation doesn’t always go as planned. So before you start hacking away at your wall, check YouTube for user-lead installations, or visit the thermostat company’s branded YouTube channel for tutorials.
Download the App for Your Phone
Imagine how convenient it would be if you were able to change the temperature or eco-settings from your phone. Tip: Before you download the app, check to see if it’s compatible with Android, Apple, or Google devices.
- To verify your HVAC system’s wiring, start by turning off the system’s power—you don’t want to electrocute yourself.
- Next, remove your thermostat’s cover. You should be able to see labeled or different colored wires.
- Check prospective thermostat companies’ sites to see if they’re compatible with your system. Most thermostat companies have resources, like Nest’s Compatibility Checker, to help you find out if the thermostat is suitable for your home.
- Write down or record what wires you see for future reference.