Best Smart Thermostat
Today, the wave of smart technology has swept into the industry, allowing users to adjust heating settings remotely through internet connected devices.
With multiple players now in this industry, you now have the option of selecting the best fit for your needs. Before purchasing one, you’d have to consider your needs, budget, your smartphone, how they (your smart thermostat of choice) integrate with smart-home systems, and your preferences. What exactly has seen smart thermostats gain in popularity over the years?
Smart thermostats save you a ton of work and cost by learning your routine. With your routine firmly in mind they are able to adjust and schedule temperature changes to suite you. This means that temperature is adjusted without your having to walk over to the device at every instance. It also means that the devices switch off when they are not needed and witching on right before you return, adapting to your schedule.
To put it simply, the best smart thermostat will ensure that you remain comfortable at home. It will also limit your household budget by reducing one of the major power drains in your home – the HVAC system. With so many products now in the market, there’s an understandable uncertainty when it comes to purchasing a good smart thermostat that offers adequate value for money. What follows is a roundup of some of the best smart thermostats in the market today.
TOP PICK: Nest Learning Thermostat
Age is but a number. Now in its third generation, the Nest Learning Thermostat has continued to excel. Nest combines a wonderful design with an easy to use interface, energy efficiency, compatibility with a number of smart home systems, and smart learning capabilities.
Over the years, Nest has evolved from a very basic smart thermostat to a more comprehensive smart home system. This system allows Nest Learning Thermostat to work in tandem with a number of other smart home products from its archives (like its security cameras and smoke detectors), as well as other third party products. It is no surprise, then, that it is both compatible with the Google Home smart speaker and Amazon’s Echo. This wide range of compatibility makes it a very flexible addition to your smart home.
Nest features a simplistic design that is aesthetically beautiful. The simplicity of its design translates into a very easy interface. This simplistic external design betrays the complexity of the system itself. Plenty of sensors are included in this system, making it the smartest thermostat available. Importantly, connection to your phone is seamless, the app is solid and easy to navigate (again), and voice controls are great.
Nest is a little pricey but gives great value for money. It is also great to note that software improvements over the years has done well to carry pioneer users (first generation buyers) along. The lack of support for external sensors may be worrisome but that should be changing soon. Another drawback may be that Nest Learning Thermostat can only function to full capacity when in the company of other Nest products. Still, it undoubtedly takes top place in this review.
RUNNER UP: Ecobee 4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat
Ranked number one by some of the topmost tech review sites, the fourth generation of the Ecobee is just about slightly edged out in our rating. While Nest is great at hugging all of the attention (and for good reason) the Ecobee has garnered its fair share of loyalists.
With its latest iteration – the Ecobee 4 – Ecobee has elevated its game into previously unchartered territory. It harbors Amazon’s Alexa within its bowels, directly built into it, without over inflating its cost. Its stunning premium design is a testament to its ever improving functionality. A thermometer, proximity sensor, and an ability to place its sensors in multiple locations in the home makes for a truly premium experience.
Much like the Nest, it enjoys compatibility with a vast array of smart home products. The Ecobee is also very much compatible with other smart home devices like Samsung’s SmartThings, Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem and Wink. We should note that its compatibility with Apple’s HomeKit gives it an advantage over the Nest 3, for those interested in Apple’s system.
What gives? The Ecobee 4 requires a C-wire to operate. Although the included “Power Extender Kit” tries to solve this problem, it feels much better when you actually have a C-wire. It is also quite on the pricey side, about the same price point as the Nest Learning Thermostat. But with its stunning design, built-in Amazon Alexa, and HomeKit compatibility it just about falls short of first place.
SECOND RUNNER UP: Honeywell Lyric Round Thermostat
Closely following Nest and Ecobee in the smart thermostat industry is Honeywell. It is no surprise then that the Honeywell Lyric Round ranks third on our list. With a similar shape to Nest and quite similar physical controls, Honeywell Lyric Round overtakes Nest with support for Apple’s HomeKit smart home system.
The device does fall a bit short on design when compared to the two devices ranked above it, but it is definitely not a bad design. And its display is equally beautiful. As smart goes, the Honeywell Lyric Round is a quick learner, quickly mastering your routines in a few days. And it takes off from there, easing the burden of constantly adjusting your room temperature. As well as the HomeKit platform, the Lyric Round is compatible with SmartThings and Lutron.
However, the HomeKit isn’t the easiest smart home system to configure. Throw in the difficulty with configuring Honeywell’s geofencing and you’ll have some difficulty setting things up. Even when up and running, its geofencing feature (for automatic detection of home and away) is not the most reliable. The Lyric boasts a great Android/iOS app for remote control, though, and is super easy to control using Siri. With a great thermostat to boot, it sure is close to the top.
TOP BUDGET PICK: Honeywell Lyric T5
Honeywell makes our list again. This time, for its budget smart thermostat. With a rather smooth integration with both Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit (Siri) the Lyric T5 is sure to serve you well enough without blowing your budget out the water. As per sophistication, it does fall well short of the top three on this list and doesn’t offer some of the fancier features offered by those.
Interestingly, one of the major issues with the more expensive Lyric Round – geofencing – does not surface here. The Lyric T5’s geofencing feature works perfectly, meaning that Home/Away sensing is great. The Honeywell Lyric app is generally easy to use and synchronizing it with your Lyric T5 is seamless. The app functions on both Android and iOS and can be used to create your schedule remotely.
With its geofencing, you are assured that there won’t be any power consumption from the T5 in your absence. The T5 is a very programmable thermostat and is a go with a number of third party integrations. However, it isn’t compatible with the likes of IFTTT or Samsung’s SmartThings, or even Google Home. Hopefully these will come along sometime soon.
Sporting a poor display and design, it is evident why it still lags behind the likes of Nest. But these can well be overlooked if you are on a budget, with a cost well below Nest’s. Budget or not, the Lyric T5 is a great smart thermostat to have in your smart home.
BEST SMART THERMOSTAT BELOW $100: GoControl Thermostat
As the smart thermostat industry continues to expand, lower budget thermostats are now readily available. If you do not hope to shell out up to $100 for a smart thermostat, there are a number of options out there. Each with their limitations. From this large pool, we take the GoControl as our pick.
While there are “smart” thermostats for half the price of the GoControl, there are incredibly few that offer as much as it does. It is very much compatible with standard HVAC systems as well as heat pump HVAC systems. The GoControl also works fine with Amazon’s Alexa.
Its one major limitation, though, is that it works best with a smart home hub. This means you’ll need something of the ilk of Samsung SmartThings hub to make the most of it. Learning your schedule is also not as smooth as you’ll get with other higher end smart thermostats. However, for the cost, it is the best smart thermostat you can lay your hands on.