The Best Smart Thermostat: Reviews And Buyer’s Guide (2018)

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We’ll admit, thermostats aren’t exactly the most exciting products ever, but smart thermostats definitely prove their value and can be greatly beneficial to your house. Nowadays, almost everything can be connected to the internet and has been given the ‘smart’ label. When you think about it, a smart thermostat actually makes a ton of sense. Not only is it possible to regulate the heating and air in your house at the tip of your fingers via your smartphone, but some thermostats even have built-in software that can regulate all the heating and AC for you without the need for programming or scheduling.

Although it is true that smart thermostats generally are a bit on the pricier side, it’s equally as true that they can save both money, time and effort. With a number of different types of smart thermostats and a bunch of different brands and models to choose from, it’s not an easy task to pick the best smart thermostat available. We’ll take a look at six of the best and most popular connected thermostats on the market, with in-depth reviews, a smart thermostat comparison and a detailed description of all their benefits and caveats. First, let’s take a look at how smart thermostats have an impact in our homes and how they work.

What is a smart thermostat and how can it your help your home?

Let’s think about the practical reasons why smart thermostats are – sometimes literally – pretty cool. First up, you don’t need to have physical access to the controller whenever you want to adjust the temperature. Sitting comfortably on the sofa and want to change the temperature? Check. Want to make the room warmer in the middle of the night? Or perhaps you’d like to come home to a warm house and let the thermostat turn up the heat for you? Check, and check. A smart thermostat ensures that all this is only just a swipe away. You can control smart Wi-Fi thermostats via your smartphone, your tablet, and some systems even provide support for voice control. If the smart thermostat supports geofencing, you’ll be able to specify a certain area threshold in your home. If the thermostat doesn’t detect anyone around, it’ll automatically adjust the temperature accordingly. You never have to come home to a chilly home again.

Thermostats have actually been smart for quite a while now, although the more applicable term would be programmable. Most regular thermostats have a bunch of buttons on them and aren’t very user-friendly, but they often have the possibility to program the heating settings for a specific time and date. The only problem is, is that this programming can get quite complicated and is just plain a hassle to configure. If the circumstances in your house vary a lot, a regular thermostat also doesn’t offer much versatility. With their ease of use, that’s where smart thermostats come in.

Although most can definitely appreciate a nice and warm temperature to go sleep, it’s actually beneficial for your health to reduce the temperature slightly before and during your sleep. It reduces the risk of metabolic diseases, allows you to burn more calories during sleep and your body will produce more melatonin, which is considered the most crucial anti-aging hormone in the body. Of course, you can’t regulate the temperature while you’re asleep – that’s when a smart thermostat is more than happy to jump in and do it for you, often completely automatically.

Comfort and convenience are two of the most important benefits of using a smart thermostat and they blend in nicely with other pros such as reduced energy consumption and connectivity with other smart devices.

Saving money with a smart home thermostat, does it actually make a difference?

Manufacturers of smart thermostats often praise their ability to reduce the hefty amount on your energy/heating bills. The vast majority of homeowners don’t bother at all with the programmable settings on a regular thermostat or don’t utilize them in the correct manner. If you’re a person that always remembers to lower the temperature when you leave home and when you go to sleep, a smart thermostat won’t have a huge impact on your bills at the end of the month.

Nonetheless, its energy savings prove to be useful even in cases such as these. Aside from the programming, some smart thermostats tend to go even deeper and overload the users with nifty functionalities that can make a serious difference. The Nest thermostat, for example, can detect when a house is empty – and thus doesn’t need to be heated at all. It’s a simple method, yet extremely effective. Other thermostats provide similar functionality or can be linked with a smart home system or provide compatibility with solutions such as IFTTT (If This, Then That) to configure geofencing. Creating a thermostat routine is one thing – but letting the thermostat itself discover and ‘learn’ the heating needs in your home for itself is even better and provides even more savings. Good for your wallet and good for the environment.

In short, a smart thermostat in an investment that is quite similar to solar panels. The entry price is higher, but the savings over the years make up for it. You’ll generally reach the return on investment of a smart thermostat quite soon. In the most optimal solutions, a smart thermostat will pay itself off in less than two years. Do keep in mind that that might take a bit longer under normal use, but that is an impressive achievement nonetheless. Saving 20% on your energy bills? A very bold claim, yet definitely isn’t an exception. Bills that exceed $1000 per year aren’t uncommon, and saving even 20% of such large amounts is significant. A smart thermostat will likely pay for itself sooner than you might think.

Compatibility with HVAC systems

In the United States, smart thermostats can be directly interfaced with your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system and provide controls for all parameters. Most HVAC systems nowadays use a low voltage power supply of 24 volts, which are fully compatible with smart thermostats. If you’re using a baseboard or an electric heating system on a direct line or with a high voltage, it’s best to consult with an electrician to check whether or not it’s possible to install a smart thermostat. However, chances are that a smart thermostat can usually be installed in less than half an hour.

One thing that you do need to check is the availability of the so-called C Wire, the common wire that surprisingly isn’t very common. Luckily, most recently built homes will have the necessary wiring built-in. However, in some cases, an electrician will have to make sure everything is compatible and possibly make sure a common wire can be used.

So what exactly is the C Wire and why is it required?

Because smart thermostats have to connect to your wireless network and often have a bright and large colored display, they also require more power to operate than your average traditional thermostat. That’s where the common wire comes in. Some smart thermostats realize that not everyone has access to the C Wire and give people the possibility to ‘steal’ power from other wires. Although it definitely works, it can have some unwanted side effects such as preventing both the heating and AC system from drawing power at the same time or reduced connectivity via Wi-Fi. In other words, the possibility to use a C Wire is most definitely recommended.

Using multiple zones

Some HVAC systems provide support for multiple zones – perfect if you want to regulate a number of different rooms separately, for example. Luckily, smart thermostats can handle a number of different zones just fine, although they’re only meant and built to control a single zone. If you want to control multiple zones via Wi-Fi, you’re going to need multiple smart thermostats as well. Some thermostats such as the Ecobee3 provide more extensive support for multiple zones than its competitors, by providing remote sensors and better-suited software.

Stage One or Stage Two heating

In terms of heating, there are two different types of furnaces. The traditional and older furnaces use stage one heating (W1). This means that the furnace behaves as a glorified on/off switch. Either it warms up all the way, or it doesn’t. A more efficient type of furnace are those that support stage two heating (W2), sometimes also referred to as multi-stage heating. With multi-stage heating, the furnace can heat up to certain temperatures and won’t have to heat up to the highest temperature but fluctuates instead. It’s a bit on the technical side, but you can easily visualize it by using cars and traffic lights as an analogy.

There are three types of lights in a traffic light: red, orange, and green. Stage one furnaces only know the colors red and green: there is no middle way. Every time a smart thermostat requests an adjustment in temperature, the furnace will work at maximum power and use quite a lot of power every time to achieve the requested temperature. When that happens, the furnace will shut itself off completely. A car would use up a lot of fuel because it has to go at maximum speed to the next traffic light, only to stop once again.

A stage two heater doesn’t have this problem at all and can be compared to an orange stoplight. The modulating thermostat will adjust the water temperature of the HVAC system to a certain temperature. Every time the furnace receives a new temperature request, it can use some of its previously warmed water to heat up the house. In other words, it’s not constantly going either on or off but remains idle while keeping the heat levels at bay. You might think this would actually require more energy to sustain the temperature, but it has proven to be much more efficient than the traditional W1 furnace system.

Enough technical talk, let’s take a look at the six best and most popular devices in the smart thermostat reviews below.

The best smart thermostat on a budget: Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat Wi-Fi UP500W Review

If there’s one expression that fits with the concept of the Emerson Sensi smart thermostat, it’s that looks can be deceiving. The Sensi doesn’t look like a modern, innovative or fancy thermostat from the outside, but under the hood, the Sensi actually packed with a pretty impressive amount of ‘smart’ functions.

One thing that immediately catches the attention is the use of a somewhat dated, non-colored LCD display – just like you’d find in a traditional home thermostat. While the Sensi’s screen is pretty large and it’s quite easy to read off the temperature, the Emerson Sensi UP500W isn’t exactly going to win any design awards. Another plus of the display is that it has great viewing angles, which means you don’t have to stand right in front of the device to get a quick glance at the temperature.

By keeping the exterior smart features to a minimum, Emerson is able to sell this smart thermostat for a significantly lower price than similar competing products. Luckily, the buttons on the thermostat are user-friendly and have thoughtful layouts. Nonetheless, you’ll probably want to regulate the temperature via the compatible Sensi app as it’ll be quicker and easier to use. On the outside, the Sensi is a basic smart thermostat and using the app is the preferred way to go.

Aside from the included app, Emerson has also built-in support for Amazon Alexa, a smart voice assistant. This means that you can give commands to your Alexa devices such as “heat up to 68 degrees” and Alexa will automatically relay this command over to the Sensi smart thermostat. The Sensi is also compatible with Wink Easy Smart Home Features, which allow the Sensi to be connected with a number of other smart home appliances. It can also be controlled via IFTTT.

In terms of smart learning capabilities, the Sensi isn’t as intelligent as other systems. There is no support for geofencing, meaning that the thermostat can’t detect when someone is inside the house. The thermostat purely depends on the user to control it via the app or Alexa. The app, which is available for both iOS and Android, is pretty simple just like the thermostat itself. You can tweak the temperature, get accurate readings and switch between Heat, Off, Cool and Auto settings. The Sensi smart home thermostat provides support for up to four stages of heating (additional stages are used for auxiliary heating) and two stages of cooling.

Because the Sensi has the looks of a regular thermostat, that also has an effect on the installation and the power consumption of the device itself. First up, the screen is powered by a couple of AA-batteries – keep in mind that the thermostat itself still needs power, but significantly less than other smart thermostats. This also means that the common wire is only required if you’re using a cool-only or heat-only system. For every other HVAC system, the Sensi can be powered by siphoning from other wires without any issues. Installation is extremely simple, and you basically just have to replace your old thermostat and connect it to your wireless network – it’s a simple task that shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes. Ease of use thanks to its simplicity is definitely a big plus.

Pros: Great price point, simple installation, decent app, Alexa and Wink integration, user-friendly button control layout, doesn’t always require a C wire

Cons: Isn’t really exciting design-wise, doesn’t offer geofencing, smart learning or other intelligent methods to save money

The budget runner-up: Honeywell Wi-Fi 7-Day RTH6580WF Review

In many aspects, this extremely affordable Honeywell RTH6580WF thermostat is very similar to the Emerson Sensi above. Just like the latter, it has all the looks of a traditional thermostat, except that the Honeywell looks even more dated but carries a lower price tag to make up for it.

Although neither the Sensi nor this particular Honeywell model utilizes an exceptional design, the RTH6580WF looks much more ancient in comparison. The unit uses a clunky button structure and the interface on the display isn’t exactly easy to use. A green backlight is used for the LCD monitor. It isn’t ideal for optimal visibility, but it gets the job done.

In terms of installation, the device can be installed easily. You will need a C Wire though for maximum compatibility, as users have experienced mixed results when siphoning power from other cables.

It’s quite clear that you’ll want to use the companion application for the thermostat to control it. Luckily, the app is a whole different story and is very accessible and easy to use. Honeywell also provides the ability to regulate the thermostat via a web portal, which means you can also control it on your computer. The smart Wi-Fi thermostat is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and supports Wink integration without the need for a Wink Hub.

The Honeywell offers up to 7 days of programming but is limited in its program periods to a maximum of four per day. Just like the Emerson above, this Honeywell smart thermostat is quite limited in the ‘smart’ department, as you’ll still have to do all the scheduling yourself. The RTH6580WF isn’t significantly more expensive than a regular thermostat, having the ability to control it on the go more than makes up for it. If you’re not too eager on spending a lot of money on a smart thermostat and just want something to make scheduling easier, the RTH6580WF will surely prove its worth.

Compared to the Sensi, the design isn’t the only thing that differentiates the two. A nifty little feature is that the thermostat will check the temperatures constantly and give you a notification via the app if it’s remarkably low or high. Another large difference is the connection via Wi-Fi.

With all sorts of devices that can be connected to the internet nowadays, good security for your own home network definitely isn’t a luxury anymore. This is where this Honeywell thermostat comes up short, as it doesn’t offer support for complex Wi-Fi passwords. These passwords usually include special characters (such as &#@!…) in order to make it stronger and much harder to guess or crack, but the thermostat can’t recognize these characters. Additionally, the password can’t exceed the amount of 13 characters, which isn’t exactly a lot. If you’re not too worried about people breaking into your home network, this won’t be much of an issue. It’s definitely worth mentioning however that your wireless network simply can’t be optimally protected if you want to use it with this smart thermostat.

Honeywell also seems to have forgotten to mention this caveat in their user manual, which can make the entire process a pain if you’re not aware of the strict password requirements.

Pros: Incredibly affordable, Alexa and Wink integration, smart push notifications

Cons: Very dated design, relies on C Wire despite using a non-colored LCD display, Wi-Fi password security issues

A top contender:  Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, Wi-Fi, 2nd Generation Review

In the world of smart thermostats, Ecobee is without a doubt one of the most popular brands on the market and helped define and set the bar for smart home appliances. The Ecobee3 takes things to the next level, both in terms of hardware, possibilities, and design.

The Ecobee3 isn’t your average thermostat. In fact, it’s not even your average smart thermostat. Instead of relying on an older design, Ecobee wanted to build a system that was both user-friendly to use via a mobile connection as well as providing an intuitive control system for the physical device itself. The Ecobee3 can be best described as a sort of black slate with rounded rectangle corners. It looks fantastic on the wall and its footprint is limited: you won’t need to sacrifice a lot of space on your wall to place this Ecobee smart thermostat. There’s also no need for buttons with the Ecobee3 thanks to the crisp and bright touchscreen display. Some of the user interface elements can be a bit hard to control if you have large hands, but apart from that, the whole experience is fluent and painless.

If there’s one thing that the Ecobee3 absolutely excels at, it’s the countless integrations that it offers with other systems. Just like most other smart thermostats, you can control the Ecobee3 with voice commands via Amazon Alexa. It’s worth mentioning though that Ecobee’s Alexa integration is more extensive and allows for more commands. Ecobee3 is also the first smart thermostat on the market that supports the smart home software kit from Apple, Homekit. This means that you can talk to Siri to give commands to the Ecobee3 directly from your iPhone or iPad. A great plus for iOS owners, but people with Android devices surely aren’t left out as well. Ecobee uses an open API which means developers can freely add integrations with the smart thermostat. Popular platforms such as Control 4, Vera, Wink, SmartThings, and IFTTT are completely supported. The Ecobee3 is friendly for developers, which results in a much wider choice for us consumers.

Although a common wire is required, Ecobee realizes that many homes don’t want to deal with the hassle of laying an extra cable. Luckily, the product comes with a power extender kit out of the box that will ease the process a bit. The smart thermostat supports most types of HVAC systems including two-stage heating furnaces and can even control (de)humidifying processes. Due to the set-up via the touchscreen, keep in mind that it does take a bit longer to install.

The Ecobee3 also provides some smart learning functionalities and uses a special ‘data point’ method. There are hundreds and in some cases, even thousands of these so-called data points that help control the thermostat by itself. For example, the Ecobee can automatically see which type of HVAC equipment you’re using, what the ambient weather is like in the area and how the heating in your house performs normally. By taking all these different data points into account, the Ecobee3 is able to come up with a heating schedule that is adapted well to the current circumstances. After a while, the Ecobee3 will also perform better in this regard because it has learned how the heating in the house reacts.

The data point system sounds great on paper, but they tend to be overridden by the included additional sensor. Every regular Ecobee3 comes with a sensor in the box, that you can place in another room. This allows you to check the temperatures not only in the living area but in a second room as well. You’re also free to install more sensors yourself as they’re available to purchase separately. Adjusting the temperature can’t be done on a per room basis, so if you want to raise the temperature, the Ecobee will raise the temperature of your entire place. If your HVAC supports multiple zones, you could always install multiple thermostats. The data points and the sensors don’t get along all the time, so that definitely needs some tinkering from the user in order to set it up for maximum performance. The Ecobee3 does support geofencing out of the box and it’ll know when you’ve left the house. It not as accurate as Nest’s home-away feature, but it’s more often correct than wrong. The more sensors you place, the more accurate Ecobee3’s automatic learning capabilities become. However, even with the included single sensor, the smart capabilities generally work out pretty well.

Another small benefit is that Ecobee3 offers three years of warranty on the thermostat, which is considerably longer some of the competitors in this round-up. Users appreciate the mix of design and functionality as it holds the coveted spot of the best-rated smart home thermostat on Amazon.

Note: Ecobee also offers a Lite version of the Ecobee3 thermostat with the same functionality but it doesn’t include the remote sensor. If you don’t want to check the readings in multiple rooms, the Lite version can save you a couple of dozen bucks off the purchase price.

Pros: Great looking design, support for Homekit and tons of other integrations, can use sensors to monitor multiple rooms, above average ‘smart’ capabilities, extra cabling included for C Wire, the extensive warranty period

Cons: On the pricier side, automatic learning process and scheduling for maximum savings still needs some tinkering

The smart pioneer: Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation Review

When Nest first introduced the Nest Learning Thermostat in 2011, the popularity of smart home devices really started to take off. Fast forward six years and Nest has already released the third generation of their smart thermostat and remains to be an absolute pioneer in the industry by providing the best learning capabilities on the market.

The design of the Nest is simply exceptional. Nest, which has been acquired by Google/Alphabet and thus receive a lot of support from the tech industry, thought that thermostats don’t have to look boring. Instead of going for a traditional rectangular shape, Nest simply redefined what it meant to have a good-looking thermostat. The exterior is completely circular: there are no hidden buttons and no extra wires on the outside, everything is built into this compact and fantastic looking rotating circle.

And if you’re not too keen on constantly showing the temperature on a relatively large screen, you can just choose between one of the many different clock faces. You can also display the weather at all times, although you can’t display both the weather or time and the temperature simultaneously.

You might wonder how you actually control the thing, and the user experience is just as innovative as its design. The glass display can simply be clicked but isn’t a touchscreen. Instead, you can just use the exterior ring to control the many different aspects that the Nest thermostat has to offer, and click on the display whenever you want to select an option. Heating up a room has never looked this cool.

The nest is the self-proclaimed learning thermostat, and it’s actually the only smart thermostat available that can make this claim true. It requires very little input from yourself, but you can always take a look at the scheduling or adjust the temperature via the smartphone app or its many integrations with other platforms. The app is a just a breeze to work with, by the way, as it very quick, simple to use and features a great layout.

Nest supports Google Home, Alexa and a ton of smart home software kits – connectivity is a huge plus, although it does miss Apple Homekit support. Aside from all the open standards that can be used across all brands of smart thermostats, it’s worth mentioning that the Nest ecosystem is something that can be applauded as well. Although Nest originally started selling thermostats only, they recently expanded their horizons with smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and security cameras. All these Nest products can ‘talk’ to each other, and if a Nest outdoor camera sees you enter the house, it will relay a message to the thermostat to increase the temperature if needed. This is just one of many examples of how the Nest ecosystem comes together.

Although the Nest isn’t the most affordable thermostat on the market, its learning capabilities are quite exceptional and make up for the higher price. There’s no need to fiddle with the settings or set-up complicated schedules: the Nest does it all for you and it works exceptionally well. The thermostat itself features a built-in occupancy sensor and it’s capable of detecting people in a house, even from further distances.

When you install a Nest thermostat, it’ll stay relatively idle for the first week of operation and will just observe. It will learn your patterns when you wake up, learn when you’d like a higher temperature when you leave for work… – it takes it all into account and creates the best possible schedule for you and your family. This learning capability always improves as the thermostat continues to learn every day. Because of this constant learning function, its smart functionalities are truly unrivaled.

The two largest caveats of the Nest are its high price point and the inability to install remote sensors to check the temperature in other rooms as well. However, as the main thermostat, not a single competitor performs better than the Nest in this regard. This smart home thermostat will provide you with the most savings on your energy bill, and it even sends you a monthly email detailing how much energy and gas you have saved.

Pros: Provides the best hassle-free smart learning experience, exceptional design, great Nest ecosystem, plenty of connectivity integrations

Cons: A tad expensive, no support for Homekit or remote sensors

An old-school smart approach: Honeywell RTH8580WF Programmable Color Touch Thermostat Review

The Honeywell RTH8580WF is an older, but very small and compact thermostat with an embedded touchscreen. Honeywell products are known for their excessive amount of buttons, but this smart thermostat is completely controlled via the touch display.

The RTH9580WF excels at nothing but provides very decent performance. There’s support for Amazon Alexa and Honeywell’s own apps. Unfortunately, their smart thermostat system is less open compared to others and it misses many integrations with other smart software. You will need a common wire for the installation as the touchscreen draws a lot of power.

Reading information off the thermostat at a quick glance works great and the Honeywell provides you with plenty of information at all times. You can view the current temperature, the preferred temperature and you’ll also see the date, time and weather status outdoor at all times. This is quite a difference with other smart thermostats where you have to look through many different menus before you find this information.

Another benefit the Honeywell Color Touch thermostat is the ability to choose your own background color for the display. That means you can make sure the thermostat corresponds quite nicely with your interior. If you’re also afraid that children might tinker with it and adjust the settings, the Honeywell provides plenty of restriction options to prevent that from happening. Good thinking and we can imagine this is a feature that is used quite often.

Unfortunately, this smart thermostat doesn’t provide any self-learning capabilities or automatic settings based on your environment: you’ll have to do the scheduling yourself. There are some useful presets, but it’s still not as user-friendly as the Nest or the Ecobee3. The device is also on the pricier side and slightly more expensive than a Nest thermostat. Although the RTH8580WF does its job well, the high price point doesn’t feel completely justified. If you like having a bunch of information displayed on the screen though, you’ll really like this thermostat.

Pros: Compact, lots of information available on the touchscreen display, the background color can be adjusted to fit in your interior, provides locking mechanisms to prevent people from changing the temperature

Cons: Doesn’t look great, expensive, disappointing amount of integrations, no self-learning capabilities

Smart, stylish and affordable: Honeywell Lyric T5 Review

The Lyric T5 is without a doubt Honeywell’s most innovative thermostat and their first true innovating device in the market. With a sleek, rectangular compact design and its promises to provide an automatic schedule based on your location, the Lyric T5 definitely manages to gather a lot of attention.

Honeywell uses a non-colored touchscreen, which allows you to control the thermostat. Even though it is on the smaller side, it works pretty well. Granted, the interface does look a bit dated and isn’t exactly an eye-catcher, but the nice hardware design makes up for it. The Lyric T5 smart home thermostat provides support for Amazon Alexa and is also compatible with Apple’s Homekit – a huge plus if you’re a big fan of using Siri to control your appliances and smart home systems.

Just like most other smart thermostats, you’ll need to have access to a common wire for installation. Placing the thermostat on the wall is fairly straightforward and you won’t encounter any hiccups there. The touchscreen is responsive and the interface works fluently. Just like all other thermostats, you can use the app to create a 7-day programming schedule to get to most out of your thermostat and save a considerable amount and the end of the month.

The Lyric T5’s major unique selling point aside from the price is the inclusion of geofencing and even a form of geolocation. Instead of using a built-in sensor such as the Nest, the T5 connects with your smartphone to achieve geofencing. When the smartphone is connected to your network, the Lyric T5 will know that you’re home and adjust the settings. The same can be said when you leave the house. The companion app of the T5 also uses your smartphone’s GPS functionality, and the thermostat can even start heating up if you’re approaching your home. Although this form of geofencing works, it’s not perfect.

It depends on your smartphone, which means you’ll have to run the Lyric app in the background in order for the geofencing to work on an automatic basis. That means you’ll have less internal memory available for other smartphone applications you often use, but this shouldn’t be an issue with more powerful smartphones. Because it runs in the background, it will also have a negative effect on your mobile’s battery life. Overall, it works, but it’s not ideal as you’ll have to do a lot of tinkering for it to work with multiple people and you can always forget to run the application on your smartphone in the first place. Luckily, the device does provide some shortcuts and you can indicate when you’re leaving the house. It’s not as great as an automatic sensor as you’ll still need to do some pressing on the thermostat itself or open the application, but it’s a nice feature to have nonetheless.

Aside from the automatic programming based on your location, the Lyric T5 provides limited smart capabilities by adjusting the temperature based on the weather information it receives. If the geofencing fails and you haven’t set-up a schedule yourself, the ‘smart’ functionality is severely limited. However, considering this thermostat costs almost half as much as the other automatically learning systems, there isn’t much reason to complain.

For a device that is very near the $100 price point, the price-quality ratio is simply excellent and very hard to beat.

Pros: Very inexpensive, nice-looking design, responsive touch controls, geolocation capabilities, support for Homekit

Cons: Geolocation depends on your smartphone, misses some commonly used integrations

Conclusion – The Best Smart Thermostats

As you’ve probably noticed, smart thermostats come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and possibilities. All smart thermostats connect to your wireless network, but not all provide automatic learning capabilities or geofencing. The Nest Learning Thermostat, Ecobee3, and the Honeywell Lyric T5 definitely have an advantage here but are generally pricier as well. If you’re a bigger fan of traditional thermostats and you just want to be able to set up a schedule via an application or Alexa, it’s worth taking a look at the other two Honeywell thermostat systems and the Emerson Sensi. The latter is considered the best choice and manages to combine price and performance very well, but the cheaper Honeywell can be recommended if you’re on a stricter budget. The Honeywell Color Touch thermostat is definitely tougher to recommend, mainly because the company has a much more attractively priced thermostat, which offers more functionality: the T5 under their Lyric sub-brand.

Let’s start with the two most popular smart learning thermostats available: the Nest and the Ecobee3. Both are priced similarly and in terms of functionality, they’re pretty evenly matched. The Nest is definitely the smarter thermostat of the two, providing excellent geofencing capabilities and a fantastic integration with other Nest products. Its design is also user-friendly and easy to use. However, the Ecobee3 offers more flexibility with a number of integrations and the support for remote sensors is a huge plus if you want to check and/or control multiple rooms.

Surprisingly, the Lyric T5 can give the Nest and the Ecobee3 a run for their money in many aspects. A striking design, good app, and integration for Homekit make sure that the T5 is a worthy contender for the top spot in terms of functionality. The geofencing capabilities of the T5 are rather limited as the feature is dependent on a smartphone to work, but it’s really tough to ignore the excellent price-quality ratio provided by the T5.

In short, if you want the absolute best learning performance, the Nest won’t disappoint you. The Ecobee3’s strength is the use of external sensors and plenty of connectivity options. Honeywell’s Lyric T5 is a great device with more limitations but has a very attractive price point to compensate.


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