Thermostats may be every office’s favorite point of contention, but the one at home should always keep you at the perfect comfortable temperature.
That being said, this often requires some tweaking throughout the year and the day. External temperature, humidity levels, and even your own productivity needs may alter your “ideal” temperature by a few degrees. Some people love tweaking with old school manual buttons, but if you are like the majority of us, you’d be much happier if you get the opportunity to automate that task and cross it off your to-do list.
Smart thermostats may be just one small piece of the smart home revolution puzzle, but they are one of the most impactful ones. The right choice can ensure you always keep your cool without completely destroying your electricity bill – or even just ensure you remain snugly warm even during the coldest part of winter, without having to leave the couch.
Here are our 10 best smart thermostat models for home or office, followed by a short buying guide to give you more information on the features offered by smart thermostats.
Nest Learning, 3rd Generation
Ideal for: Anyone looking for a proven and tested brand or an intuitive interface
Nest was one of the pioneers in the Smart Home market, and they continue to provide some of the most versatile and efficient systems out there, no matter the niche – whether it’s security, pantry organization, or environmental control.
The latest iteration of their thermostat offers an elegant, minimalist design as well as increased compatibilities. As it is meant to be part of the Nest Suite, it relies strongly on the proprietary app, which it uses to activate its geofencing capabilities. However, it also has one of the strongest learning algorithms available for home use and will quickly learn to predict temperature changes and shut-down times, even when you are not carrying your smartphone with you – and should you accidentally leave it behind one morning, it also offers the opportunity to override it remotely.
The auto-schedule options are highly responsive and easy to figure out and will offer suggestions based on past behavior. It also monitors furnace and A/C power cycles and provides notifications alerting you of any changes in them.
The Nest Learning thermostat is also remarkably easy to install, especially if you already have other Nest sensors around the house. The package comes with a screwdriver and screws included and won’t have you running to the hardware store at the last minute. Initial configuration is made much simpler by using its presets; just choose the type of dwelling and heating system, and it will boot up an efficient basic schedule, from which it will continue to learn.
Ideal for: Those who prefer extensive integration and are willing to invest in it
The Ecobee 4 is located quite at the top of the “premium tier” smart thermostats, both in price and in capabilities. If you are a tech-savvy user who is intent on bringing their home straight into the 22nd century, however, this may be one of the cheapest ways to achieve it. If not, you’ll likely still find it to be a worthwhile investment.
First, let’s see its capabilities. The Ecobee 4 is fully responsive to Siri and Alexa’s voice commands, as it acts as a speaker itself, which means that if you are installing a smart home suite for the first time, you can dock a speaker off your total budget. Both the speaker and the touchscreen are fast and highly-responsive, offering none of the glitches and delays that one would expect from a smartphone.
This gadget uses remote proximity sensors in order to adjust usage and activate Eco or Power-saving mode. This is ideal for large families, as it can track several users simultaneously without needing ALL of them to carry their cellphone in their pocket. It can also identify and monitor a home’s or cold spots, and learn to ignore or power them up accordingly.
The Ecobee 4 also offers to the possibility of enhancing its capabilities with a Power Extender Kit. This is included with the standard package but will require an extra C-wire during installation. It is more than worth the hassle, however, as it will power up the device’s ability to interact with HVAC systems without actually rewiring or moving them.
Lux Kono Smart Thermostat
Ideal for: Homeowners invested in lowering their electricity consumption or carbon footprint
Elegant and minimalistic but still hiding large and visible numbers, the Lux Kono Smart Thermostat is a high-value option that favors ease of use over-complicated programming.
Although it is lacking in IFTTT programming options, it responds quickly to voice commands and comes with a dedicated and very intuitive smartphone app. If anyone around the house is fond of manual input, the polished aluminum will look and feel luxurious and will keep it firmly rooted in familiar territory.
The Lux Kono uses geofencing technology rather than remote sensors. If connected to the Wi-Fi, it can be completely operated remotely (even from outside the home) through its very well-design app. We found it was even easier to adjust fans and cooling options than with old school HVAC remotes.
Budget-conscious users will also find the Kono to be a very worthwhile investment; in addition to full usage reports, it offers notifications that predict changes in your electricity bill depending on the chosen settings. The app’s Offers tab (which only works in the U.S.) can notify you about available rebates and subsidies that may match your changes in consumption, and will even enroll you in them automatically if given the right permissions.
Design lovers will also love the possibility of changing the faceplates to match the room’s décor better; there are four standard colors available, and you can also order additional paint-it-yourself plates.
Honeywell Lyric T5
Ideal for: Anyone who needs to keep things simple for the time being
The Honeywell Lyric T5 is, in many ways, still a work in progress. However, it is definitely a promising one, and will probably grow to be one of the best smart thermostats available once full IFTTT compatibility is added.
The device itself looks quite more similar to traditional thermostat controllers, while still keeping the key high-tech elegance required. This was made in hopes of making the Lyric more appealing to smart home beginners, as it is more likely to make new converts than to please techies. Large numbers and a bright white-on-black display will also keep it comfortable even for the elderly or the colorblind.
This model uses geofencing in order to control heat, cooling, and fans, although it does not work with humidity detectors. However, Honeywell does offer some of the best humidity detectors and HEPA filters in the market, and those can be controlled alongside the thermostat via Honeywell’s proprietary app. This can also be used to control the wide range of Honeywell’s sensors and controllers, such as its Wi-Fi Water Leak, Freeze Detector, and Surveillance system.
The Calendar feature offers extensive customization options and yet manages to look simple enough to keep initial setup anything but daunting or time-consuming.
Nest Thermostat E
Ideal for: Anyone who can’t quite go for the Nest Learning model yet, but still wants high quality
Significantly less expensive than the Nest Learning model, the Nest Thermostat E still offers almost all of the same options and functions.
This model was designed to provide a much more accessible entry window into the Nest ecosystem, and we expect it to accomplish just that. Its minimal white design, clear and modern numbers, and ease of installation will bring high-tech capabilities to your home environmental control without making you feel like you need to recruit a Star Trek engineer. However, it uses the same geofencing technology to adjust your home’s temperature to your presence quickly. By connecting to your Wi-Fi, it can also take into account external weather conditions, even if it won’t display them on your wall.
While the Nest E does not include the machine-learning capabilities of the Learning, it still does a pretty good job of regulating a standard home HVAC setup. Fewer wires and more plastic also make it great for homes with children. In addition, it responds well to voice commands, whether spoken directly to one of Alexa’s smart speakers or to the app.
Bosch Connected Control Thermostat
Ideal for: Anyone looking for reliability and real-life technical support
Bosch has been around far longer than any of the brands on this list. It is, after all, one of the biggest names in the home appliance market. Traditional and experienced as they are, they have not snubbed the emerging smart home market, and are making a serious bid for it with their Bosch Connected line.
As they are not a tech company, their Control Thermostat lacks compatibility with IFTTT, Google, and Apple assistants. However, they make up for this with the opportunity of providing true proprietary controls and superb cooling and heating capabilities – and, apps aside, isn’t that what a thermostat is supposed to handle?
The Connected Control thermostat offers a large touchscreen, reminiscent of a car’s Bluetooth and navigation interface. It is quick and responsive and offers all setting options exactly where one would expect to find them. In addition to tweaking heat, cold, and fan speeds, this screen can also show weather alerts, energy consumption reports, and clocks (either digital or analog).
Adjusting the temperature is not only easy but also remarkably fast: no more enduring the sweltering heat for 10 more minutes after arriving home earlier than expected. It should be noted that this model does not work with either geofencing technology or remote motion sensors and instead relies completely on the programming schedule you set for it (and any immediate manual settings).
Ideal for: Budget-minded fans of simple beauty
Self-adjusting algorithms and energy efficiency are usually the sole playground of premium brands. However, theSimple has been quietly offering Alexa-oriented high-tech gadgets for lower prices for a few years.
Their Smart Thermostat is one of the brand’s best letters of introduction. Designed for the under-40 crowd that cares as much about the environment as about lowering their bills, it is fully EnergyStar Certified and offers above-average Eco-friendly settings.
The machine-learning capabilities can offer both scheduling and energy-saving suggestions. You can either manually approve them when setting up the initial calendar or you can simply set it to Auto and wait for the green leaf to appear. It will indicate whenever you are saving electricity and money.
Operation is simple through either its proprietary app or using Alexa’s voice commands. Temperature and humidity targets can also be set directly via the touch screen: we found it worked quickly and without lag, although the minimalist icons can be hard to figure out at first.
Installing a theSimple thermostat will not necessarily require recruiting an electrician, although it is not exactly something you can do in 5 minutes. This model requires a C-wire and comes with its own C-wire kit included. They have also made a series of walkthroughs and guides available to show how best to install it. However, it still requires you to set aside the afternoon to watch, learn, and install everything.
Honeywell Smart Thermostat
Ideal for: Those looking to upgrade their Lyric T5
The original purpose of Honeywell’s upgraded Smart Thermostat was to allow its customers to completely delegate environmental control tasks around their upgraded home. Through a series of smart algorithms and proprietary Smart Response timers, they have managed to achieve something quite close.
The Smart model may come with a slightly larger price tag than the Lyric T5, but the differences in performance and looks amount to 10 times the difference.
The first noticeable change is the much larger and brighter control touchscreen; clear and legible numbers and a very responsive LCD setup provides an instant view at the home’s conditions, even for the visually impaired.
Thanks to its Wi-Fi connectivity, the Honeywell Smart can connect instantly with Alexa voice commands and provide current and upcoming weather updates. It can also take into account the difference between the desired settings and current conditions and calculates the amount of time required to reach its goals accordingly. The result? When operating in Scheduled Mode, it will begin cooling or warming up your home at the exact moment required to ensure it’s comfortable when you arrive, preventing any waste of energy or time.
Finally, the device offers you the possibility to change the background colors of its display with 9 different options, ensuring that its brightness will not disrupt your home’s décor choices.
Emerson SensiTouch Smart Thermostat
Ideal for: Tech-savvy users in flats and smaller homes
The simple packaging and smooth plastic edges may make the Emerson Smart Thermostat appear like a simple gadget meant to control lights and volume. However, this is deceiving; anybody with an appreciation for software will be quick to recognize that this gadget hides major automation prowess.
Reliant on geofencing and temperature sensors alike, the SensiTouch monitors and learns your temperature preferences as it’s being used and takes into account both your stated schedule as well as any impromptu changes made into it. It can quickly learn how to hit that sweet, comfortable spot even before you realize it was missing. This information is also used to detect any applicable rebates and tax cuts you may qualify for, which will immediately pop up in the companion app.
The hardware may be unassuming, but it’s still efficient. The display is bright and easy to see, while the Wi-Fi antenna detects and connects to your home network quickly.
Installation is remarkably easy. If you already have a C-wire installed, you will only need 30 minutes from the moment you start unpacking.
Vine Programmable Thermostat, 2nd Generation
Ideal for: Renters or frequent movers
One of the best things about Vine’s Smart Home gadgets is that they have not gone the way of the now-defunct video platform. However, they do keep largely the same target audience, and therefore provide a great option for anyone who can’t afford the time and hassle of a professional installation on a co-op, dorm, or one-year-lease. It was created to work with 24-VAC heating and cooling installations, which is the most common standard used in American and Canadian buildings. However, it also offers a compatibility chart that will take away much of the guesswork when adapting it to other technologies.
The Vine Programmable Thermostat is budget-friendly and very easy to install and uninstall. However, it still offers all the capabilities expected of its niche. The gadget itself is made from shock-resistant, light plastic and packs a potent night light and superb touch screen.
The Energy Savings mode and Calendar feature are both incredibly intuitive, especially if accessed from the app. It offers weekly programming and can divide each day into up to 8 periods. The interface is similar enough to standard Google or Apple Calendars to need explanation and can be worked remotely. If you set up an access code, you can also override any command or completely change the schedule from anywhere.
What Can a Great Smart Thermostat Offer You?
If it were a matter of simply adjusting the temperature according to a set schedule, the chances are you don’t need smart home capabilities. Most basic thermostats now come with programmable schedules, which, although they may take a while to tweak to perfection, are good enough to keep most people happy in a standard office. However, smart thermostats go above and beyond these capabilities by enabling autonomous learning algorithms, adding geofencing capabilities, and remote sensors.
AI Algorithms are now offered by most high-end smart thermostat models. They can learn from the tweaks you initially make to figure out and predict your temperature preferences throughout the day – even those that you are not aware of. They are also continuously adapting themselves to new patterns of behavior. This will allow them to become progressively more efficient as seasons change.
Geofencing capabilities were mostly designed for smart alarm systems, but they offer great customization options for temperature control. In a nutshell, what geofencing does is use your phone’s GPS capabilities to tell whether you are at home, approaching home, or leaving it. This can be used to ensure no A/C capabilities are wasted on an empty house, or to return to an already warm and cozy home every day, even if your schedule changes.
Remote sensors will monitor the way you move around the house to detect whether you are home or away. They offer an alternative to geofencing that does not require you to carry your home around. However, depending on the layout or size of your home, they may accidentally detect you as “away” if you stay sitting for too long.
What Else Should You Look For?
Although all the models included on this list can be considered top choices, there will definitely be some that adapt to your lifestyle and tastes better. When it comes to usability, you will want to privilege something with a friendly and intuitive app. Large and clear displays are usually easier to read and to figure out, but not everyone feels colorful digits blend in with their home’s ambiance. Finally, if you already have smart home gadgets installed around the house, it’s best to choose a fully compatible system. Some Smart thermostats work better with Apple Home or Alexa, while others offer better integration with IFTTT (IF This Then That) programming suites.