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Tired of high energy costs? A smart thermostat can optimize your heating and cooling system to run more efficiently, so you’ll save money on your energy bills. Like other smart devices, you can adjust your thermostat from your phone or tablet or even with a voice-controlled digital assistant like Alexa. Even better? You can program a smart thermostat to cool or heat your home on your preferred schedule. In fact, the smartest thermostats will even “learn” your preferences to program themselves.
“Most smart thermostats are able to recognize when people are home or away, switching to an energy-saving mode when the house is empty and maintaining a comfortable climate when people are home,” says Audrey Monell, president of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning.
Moreover, a well-programmed smart thermostat can help extend the lifespan of your rather expensive HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. “With an optimized HVAC unit, homeowners are also able to reduce their carbon footprint and become more energy efficient,” says Monell.
After extensive research, we have gathered the best smart thermostat for every budget and preference—evaluating their programmability, motion-sensing abilities, smart home compatibility, and more. Regardless of your needs, we’ve got you covered.
One thing to note—before you purchase our pick or any other smart thermostat on our list, you’ll need to ensure your current HVAC setup is ready. A common wire is often required to keep a continuous flow of power from your heating and cooling unit to your thermostat; stay safe and check with a professional electrician before fiddling with any wiring in your home.
The Google Nest Thermostat takes the top spot on our list of best smart thermostats. If you’ve got a common wire (C-wire) installed, it’s an easy DIY project to install. It’s also super simple to program and control remotely on your phone, tablet, or by voice, so you can start conserving energy right away. The bonus? It’s rather attractive—as far as thermostats go—so you won’t mind installing the Nest on your wall.
Why You Should Get It: It’s easy to install and program.
Keep in Mind: Some HVAC systems might require a C-wire or Nest Power Connector installation.
Google Nest has long been at the forefront of the smart home trend. This latest iteration of the popular device is not only simpler to use but less expensive, too, which is why it tops our list of best smart thermostats.
Even if you’re new to smart home devices, the Google Nest makes it easy to dive right in. You can install it yourself in less than a half hour and create a heating and cooling schedule that’s right for your household’s needs. Want to make sure your HVAC system is compatible with Google Nest before buying? Just log into the Google Store to use the Compatibility Checker.
The Google Nest looks elegant—not a word you’d think to use with a thermostat, but it fits the bill. It’s a simple circle with a mirrored display that looks more like wall decor than a utilitarian thermostat. The design is sleek because there’s no need for buttons and switches when you want to adjust the temperature—just swipe the touch bar with a fingertip or handle it remotely with your smartphone, tablet, or even your voice by using Google Assistant or Alexa.
This Energy Star-certified thermostat uses less than 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity each month, so you won’t be running up energy costs just by activating your new smart device. It’s also constructed out of recycled materials, so you can feel good that you’re cutting down on waste as well as your energy bills.
Price at time of publish: $130
Product Details: Programmable: Yes | Motion Sensor: No | Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest
Why You Should Get It: You’ll lower your energy costs and recoup the cost of the device in no time.
Keep in Mind: You’ll need a C-wire to install it, and it’s not compatible with electric baseboard heating systems.
A smart thermostat can save money on your energy bills, but buying a super-expensive device will negate those potential savings. While most of the devices on our best smart thermostats list are indeed reasonably priced, there’s no doubt that the Amazon Smart Thermostat deserves its spot in our Best Budget category.
If you’re looking to upgrade your current thermostat but don’t want a ton of bells and whistles, the Amazon Smart Thermostat is perfect. It does need a C-wire for installation, so check if there’s one in place before you purchase.
You’ll need to download the Alexa app or use an Alexa-compatible device like the Echo to turn on the voice control, as this smart thermostat doesn’t have a speaker or microphone of its own. You can adjust the settings and the temperature with buttons on the device instead, but you’ll likely want to use Alexa to help you program it to your liking.
For a budget-friendly device, there’s plenty of programming capability—you can schedule up to four temperature periods per day. Enable Thermostat Hunches in the Alexa app, and the thermostat will adjust the temperature accordingly if Alexa gets a “hunch” that it’s bedtime or no one is at home. There’s also a humidity sensor and energy dashboard monitoring.
The Amazon Smart Thermostat is Energy Star-certified and is made with technology from Honeywell Home, a leader in the heating and cooling industry for well over a century, so you’re getting an excellent device at an excellent price.
Price at time of publish: $80
Product Details: Programmable: Yes | Motion Sensor: No | Compatibility: Amazon Alexa
Why You Should Get It: It’s compatible with electric baseboard heaters found in older homes.
Keep in Mind: The multiple-wire installation might be too difficult for beginners and DIYers.
If you own an older home with electric baseboard heaters, you might think you’re shut out from the smart thermostat trend. Let us introduce you to the Mysa Smart Thermostat, which is compatible with electric baseboard heaters, electric fan-forced heaters, and self-contained hydronic heaters.
The Mysa Smart Thermostat has a simple design—the digital display clearly shows the temperature with up and down arrows to control the heating and cooling. You can make adjustments right on the device, but you’ll want to download the app to program your thermostat more easily.
The Mysa app allows you to set heating and cooling schedules, monitor humidity levels, and survey your energy usage remotely from your phone. It also hooks up to various smart home platforms so you can set up voice controls for your Mysa.
The Mysa Smart Thermostat requires multiple wires for installation; experienced DIYers can tackle it thanks to an online guide and videos that walk you through the process, though you might want to hire a professional installer for peace of mind.
Price at time of publish: $139
Product Details: Programmable: Yes | Motion Sensor: No | Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit
Why You Should Get It: It has flexible programming and usage reports.
Keep in Mind: It requires a C-wire for installation.
There are several Energy Star-certified devices on our best smart thermostats list, but the Sensi Touch thermostat nabs the spot for Best Energy Saving device because it can conserve up to a whopping 23% of energy in your home. This means you’ll save more on utility bills over time when you program the smart thermostat to heat and cool your home efficiently.
The Sensi has a sleek display that makes it easy to see all your home’s heating and cooling data at a glance—everything from room temperature to humidity level to the current time. You can access the menu and settings with the touch of your finger on the device itself, but you should connect to it via the Sensi app if you want to really unlock this smart thermostat’s energy-saving capabilities.
Use the app to set your heating and cooling schedule, view energy usage, and even set reminders for swapping out your filter or scheduling a service appointment for your HVAC system.
A C-wire installation is required to connect the Sensi to your home’s HVAC equipment. If you’ve got one in place, you can use the app to help determine the right wiring configuration and guide you through a DIY installation.
Price at time of publish: $170
Product Details: Programmable: Yes | Motion Sensor: No | Compatibility: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, Vera
Why You Should Get It: It’s great if you live with family members with different heating/cooling preferences.
Keep in Mind: You’ll need to buy multiple sensors if you want the full benefit of this smart thermostat.
Whether you live with family members with different temperature preferences or simply don’t need to cool or heat every room in the same way, the Honeywell Home T9 is the solution.
You can connect remotely via the Resideo app or by syncing the T9 with your preferred digital home assistant. The Smart Room sensors offer a wide range (up to 200 feet) and are easy to install (battery-operated, no hardware needed). One room sensor comes with the device, but you can (and should) purchase additional sensors for each room where you want to control the temperature.
You can adjust the temperature settings for all the rooms via your phone or by voice control. It’s an ideal setup for larger homes with multiple floors; if you spend more time in one area of your home, you can adjust the heating and cooling accordingly.
If keeping track of all those different room temperatures seems labor intensive, remember that this is a smart thermostat. You can set the Auto Home/Away Scheduling so that your heating and cooling are automated daily, which means you also save energy and money automatically. It’s even easy to install on your own, and there’s even a power adapter to use if there’s no C-wire.
Price at time of publish: $180 Product Details: Programmable: Yes | Motion Sensor: No | Compatibility: Vera, Amazon Alexa
Why You Should Get It: It combines energy-efficient heating and cooling with home security.
Keep in Mind: You will need to pay a subscription fee for monitoring services.
The Ecobee is one of the smartest thermostats on our list because of its motion-sensing capability that not only heats and cools your home efficiently but also provides home security.
The SmartSensor casts a wide-eyed 120-degree angle view of your home so that when there’s movement (up to 16 feet away), it knows to begin warming or cooling the space. It uses the power of geofencing technology to recognize when your home is empty or someone’s home—even if it’s not you and your family.
The Ecobee doubles as a home security system, thanks to door and window sensors (purchase separately, though a two-pack comes in the bundle if you purchase on Amazon). The Ecobee’s advanced sensor technology notifies you of break-ins or fires—it can “hear” the sound of a smoke alarm and will alert you with a notification on your smartphone or tablet.
It does require a Smart Security subscription plan, and at $10 a month for 24/7 monitoring, we think it’s worth it. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa, or you can control it through Apple IOS and Android devices. Like many other options on this list, it’s completely programmable and you can set up different temperature profiles to suit your home.
Price at time of publish: $220
Product Details: Programmable: Yes | Motion Sensor: Yes | Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, If This Then That
Why You Should Get It: It’s truly a set-it-and-forget-it device.
Keep in Mind: Room sensors are available for purchase separately.
The Google Nest Learning Thermostat is one of those smart devices that can get even smarter as time goes on. How? When you install it in your home, its first task is to learn your schedule and temperature preferences, and then it will program itself for peak energy efficiency. Give it about a week to get to know your household’s heating/cooling needs, and it will help you stay warm/cool in the most efficient way possible season after season.
The Home/Away Assist function sets the Google Nest Learning Thermostat to an optimal temperature when you’re away from home so that you’re not unnecessarily heating or cooling off the space. Pair it with the Nest Temperature Sensor (purchase it separately), so it can “learn” exactly how you like the temperature to be in a certain room of your home.
Whatever you do, the Google Nest will learn your behaviors and mimic them to conserve energy and save money. Are you away on vacation, or did you fall asleep and forget to adjust the temperature accordingly? The Google Nest will do it for you. Feel like changing things up a bit with your temperature settings? You can do so on the device itself or remotely from a phone, tablet, or another connected device.
View your Energy History—along with other programming settings on your phone or the device display—and keep track of just how much this smart device has learned about your energy needs.
Price at time of publish: $199
Product Details: Programmable: Yes | Motion Sensor: No (temperature sensor sold separately) | Compatibility: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Nest
Why You Should Get It: The informative color display can be adjusted to match your home decor.
Keep in Mind: You’ll likely need a C-wire for installation.
Some of the best smart thermostats are more modest in design, but the Honeywell Home Smart Color Thermostat likes to show off how smart it is. The Honeywell’s colorful digital display not only shows the indoor temperature and humidity level but also the outdoor temperature and humidity. Adjust the mode and settings with the touch of a fingertip, and raise or lower the temperature manually using the up or down buttons.
At 3.5 x 4.5 inches, this Honeywell Home smart thermostat is by no means intrusive on your wall, but if you’d prefer it to blend in with your wall or complement your home decor, you can change the color of the display to fit in with your decor. Not every smart thermostat can do that, which is why the Honeywell Home gets recognized as the device with the best display on our list of best smart thermostats.
Yes, you can download the app to control and program everything remotely, but you might find yourself heading to the touchscreen display on this Honeywell quite often instead. Keep forgetting to check your energy usage reports? Don’t worry; the Honeywell will email you so you can see how well your new smart thermostat has optimized your heating and cooling. How’s that for smart?
Price at time of publish: $169
Product Details: Programmable: Yes | Motion Sensor: No | Compatibility: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Cortana
Smart thermostats are the smart move for conserving energy and saving money on your heating and cooling costs. The Google Nest Thermostat tops our list of best smart thermostats for its simple installation and even easier programming capability. The bonus? It looks cool and sleek, so it’s time to upgrade that ugly beige or white box that you’ve currently got installed on your wall.
Smart thermostats offer a more hands-off approach—quite literally in the case of voice-controlled thermostats—to heating and cooling your home. While most will allow you to control them remotely, look for ones that offer programming capability. You can set up multiple temperature schedules so that heating or cooling is automated for your home, allowing for energy-efficient comfort 24/7.
The ecobee SmartThermostat has add-on motion sensors to detect your presence in a room and adjust the temperature accordingly. However, motion sensors are not the only way a smart thermostat can automatically change its settings.
“Some smart thermostats are able to determine the location of users’ phones, telling the HVAC system when the homeowner is home or away,” says Monell. “This automates the process of turning on and off the HVAC unit and allows for more accurate programming.”
“When sourcing the appropriate thermostat, always make sure you look for features compatible with your home and systems applications,” says Anthony Perera, Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Air Pros USA. “After that, it's personal preference based on the needs or desires of the consumer.”
Most of the devices on our list of best smart thermostats are compatible with various digital assistants and operating systems. Some of the devices are linked to apps that you can download for either iOS or Android, then connect to Alexa or Google Assistant, for example, to set up voice controls.
Monell also advises checking on the overall compatibility of your new smart thermostat with your existing HVAC system to avoid disappointment. “Homeowners will also need to know if their system is a single or two-stage unit,” she says. “Some smart thermostats only work with single-stage units.” An electrician can help you figure it all out.
“Smart thermostats provide better scheduling ability and intuitive temperature adjustments, especially when you’re away from home,” says Perera. He notes that some devices can even diagnose when there’s something amiss with your HVAC system.
Plus, there’s the ultimate convenience of controlling everything remotely. “All of these benefits can lead to improved unit performance and efficient cooling/heating, which ultimately save you money through lower energy and utility bills,” he says.
“Installing a smart thermostat can be intimidating and tricky at times,” says Monell. “We advise a professional technician to do so, but if you’re an experienced DIYer, it’s possible.”
If you’ve got the experience, and are familiar with DIY projects as well as the wiring and HVAC system of your home, you may go ahead with the installation: thread the wires through the backplate of the new thermostat, and attach it to the wall with screws.
Insert each labeled wire into its matching connector, and once it’s all attached and pushed in flat, turn the power back on at the circuit breaker, before programming the thermostat according to the manufacturer's instructions. If your new device is completely different from the old one (or you relocated it), it’s likely you’ll need to patch and paint the surface.
Yes, because they automatically make your heating and cooling system work more efficiently. According to the US Department of Energy, you can save 10% on energy costs by setting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees from the usual temperature for eight hours daily. A smart thermostat can automate the heating or cooling schedule for you so you can start saving that money right away.
For example, when heating your home in the wintertime, you can keep the thermostat set to around 68ºF when you are home and awake, but you can lower the heat—or install one of the devices on our best smart thermostats list and let it do it for you—when you are away from home or asleep (and under warm covers).
Barbara Bellesi Zito is a freelance writer from Staten Island, New York, covering all things home and lifestyle for Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, and other digital publications. To compile this list of the best smart thermostats, Barbara researched a variety of devices from top brands based on their programmable settings, compatibility with digital assistants and smart home platforms, price, and energy efficiency. She also consulted Audrey Monell, president of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning, and Anthony Perera, founder and chief growth officer at Air Pros USA.
"Programmable Thermostats." Department of Energy.
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