The best smart thermostat is a great way to improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your overall utility spending. That being said, we only selected products that included WiFi connectivity, an easy to use smartphone app, wide device compatibility, multi-day programmability, included installation kits, and enhanced features like AI learning to automatically adjust usage and integrated real-time weather reports.
For this reason, we selected the Honeywell Home Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat as our best smart thermostat. While it doesn’t have a full-color touch screen like other options, it offers all of the functionality you would expect in this age. This Honeywell unit features smart device compatibility, a G wire extension for easier installation in older homes, seven-day programmability, and displays real-time weather.
- 1 Top 7 Best Smart Thermostats Compared
- 1.1 #1 Honeywell Home Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 ecobee4 Smart Thermostat with Built-In Alexa – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat – Best for Complex HVAC Systems
- 1.4 #4 ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat (2nd Generation) – Best Value
- 1.5 #5 Honeywell Home RCHT8612WF T5 Plus Wi-Fi Touchscreen Smart Thermostat – Best Budget
- 1.6 #6 Honeywell Home RTH9585WF1004 Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat – Best for Energy Savings
- 1.7 #7 Honeywell TH9320WF5003 Wi-Fi Touch Screen Programmable Thermostat – Simplest to Use
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Product Category Buying Guide
Top 7 Best Smart Thermostats Compared
#1 Honeywell Home Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: A straightforward smart thermostat that lets you program temperatures for a full week with four periods per day and comes with a G wire extension to provide C wire support. Tech-savvy users will enjoy Alexa compatibility, the proprietary app, and enhanced functionality like real-time weather.
The Honeywell Home Wi-FI 7-Day Programmable Thermostat makes our top pick because it offers the best of both worlds whether you’re tech-savvy or averse. A simplified LCD screen and touchpad are ideal for those used to older style thermostats. But tech-savvy fans will love that you can set a seven-day program and even further program each day into four periods for precise temperature control throughout the day.
This Honeywell thermostat works with WiFi which means you can also remotely manage the temperature and programs through either their proprietary app or by connecting it with a range of smart home assistants and third-party apps that include Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, Bonomi, Wink, and Stringy. Best of all, this thermostat comes with a complete installation kit, including a G wire extension if your existing thermostat wiring doesn’t have a C wire.
#2 ecobee4 Smart Thermostat with Built-In Alexa – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: The original smart thermostat maker creates a solid product with a sleek design that allows for pre-programmed energy usage. Supports multiple smart assistant platforms, offers HomeIQ so you can track energy usage, and comes with sensors to automatically adjust the temperature based on room occupancy.
Many people may know ecobee as the original smart thermostat. The ecobee4 comes with a room sensor and a slick full-color touchscreen. The brand promises quick installation that shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to complete and a kit that includes an extender just in case your existing wiring doesn’t include a C wire. Either through the proprietary app, the touchscreen, or a smart assistant, you can program temperatures in advance.
You’ll love the wide range of smart assistants that are supported by ecobee. Choose from Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, IFTTT, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and Wink. A bonus is the HomeIQ feature which logs energy usage and can be accessed through the app. The ecobee4 also comes with one smart sensor which can be placed in a room for precise temperature control. Based on temperature readings and occupancy, the temperature is automatically adjusted for your comfort.
#3 Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat – Best for Complex HVAC SystemsWHY WE LIKE IT: The Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is ideal for people with more complex HVAC systems featuring components like heat pumps. This Energy Star certified smart thermostat integrates with smart assistants, allows for programming, enhanced functionality that detects humidity and extreme temperatures, and offers a rebate.
Installing a smart thermostat can be difficult if your HVAC system is more complex. And that’s why the Emerson Sensi Touch WiFi Smart Thermostat is a smart option in this scenario. But it’s important to note that this doesn’t come with a G wire extension. It features a large full-color touchscreen display that offers enhanced features such as humidity and extreme temperature detection. Program up to seven days of temperature settings and the circulating fan feature helps to improve overall air quality.
For the tech-obsessed, you’ll appreciate that a wide range of smart assistants are supported. Choose between Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Wink. Or control your thermostat through Emerson’s proprietary app. You’ll also enjoy the geofencing which allows you to regulate temperatures based on your phone’s location in relation to your home. Real-time usage reporting helps you determine where to curb activities and best of all, this Energy Star appliance is eligible for a rebate.
#4 ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat (2nd Generation) – Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: Ecobee isn’t lying when they say that their second generation smart thermostat plays well with others. In addition to offering features we’ve come to expect like multi-day programming, an extension for C wire integration, and room sensor support, this model supports a wide range of smart assistant devices.
The ecobee3 second generation smart thermostat is ideal for people who like choice. In particular, the choice of smart home device support. This smart thermostat is designed to support Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, and web apps like IFTTT. But if you’re not a smart assistant user, you can still use the proprietary ecobee app to remotely control your smart thermometer via WiFi.
Other core features you’ll like include the ability to program temperatures in advance, HomeIQ that logs actual usage for review, and comfort settings that allow you to adjust the temperature based on whether you’re away, sleeping, or in save mode.
#5 Honeywell Home RCHT8612WF T5 Plus Wi-Fi Touchscreen Smart Thermostat – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: Being budget-friendly doesn’t have to mean limited functionality and Honeywell proves that point with this smart thermostat. From multi-day programming, multiple smart assistant device support, geofencing technology, and AI functionality, Honeywell’s T5 has more than enough to improve your energy efficiency.
You might think that a limited budget means you shouldn’t expect too much from a smart thermostat. But Honeywell proves that’s just a myth with their T5 smart thermostat. First, you’ll love the sleek design which will make your home feel modern as soon as it’s installed. Preprogram up to seven days of temperatures and take advantage of the alert system that notifies you when it’s time to replace your air filter or if indoor temperatures are extreme.
For the tech-obsessed, you’ll like that multiple smart assistant devices are supported. Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant are all supported. Geofencing allows you to automatically adjust temperatures based on your phone’s proximity to your home. Best of all, you can get money back as Honeywell’s T5 is an approved device for several rebate programs with local utilities.
#6 Honeywell Home RTH9585WF1004 Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat – Best for Energy SavingsWHY WE LIKE IT: If your energy supplier’s pricing structure is confusing, then a smart thermostat that can use their pricing to adjust your energy consumption is key. Honeywell’s smart thermostat also offers preprogramming, smart assistant support, alerts, and a customizable full-color touchscreen display round out its features.
Anyone who’s ever looked at their utility bill knows that energy pricing can be confusing, to say the least. If there was a way to plan your energy usage based on that pricing, life would be easier. The Honeywell Home RTH9585WF1004 Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat gives you control over your energy bills by allowing you to enter peak rate pricing and adjust your usage accordingly.
There are other common features you can expect from this Honeywell model including multiple smart assistant device support. Choose between Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, and Microsoft Cortana. Additional standard features you would expect include seven-day programming, real-time weather readings, alerts that notify you when it’s time to change filters, and the ability to customize your touchscreen from a range of colors.
#7 Honeywell TH9320WF5003 Wi-Fi Touch Screen Programmable Thermostat – Simplest to UseWHY WE LIKE IT: Honeywell’s TH9320WF5003 smart thermostat is perfect for the tech-averse who want to improve their home’s energy efficiency but in a simplified form. You’ll enjoy core features like seven-day programming, energy savings mode, and a full-color touchscreen that’s easy to read.
Not everyone is comfortable with smart technology that features a complicated setup process or too many features. If this sounds like you, then the Honeywell TH9320WF5003 Wi-Fi Touch Screen Programmable Thermostat is a great way to ease into the world of smart technology without being overwhelmed. While meant to be installed professionally, this model offers a simplified entry into the smart thermostat category. Program up to seven days of temperature settings in advance and use their proprietary app to manage the temperature remotely.
The simplified display panel features full color with large easy to read print, making this an ideal option for older homeowners. Additional features like external temperature and internal humidity readings add enhanced functionality.
How We Decided
Smart thermostats have been on the market for years now, but as technology has advanced, so have they. Aspects like WiFi connectivity and proprietary apps that allow you to control your thermostat from anywhere in the world are standard at this point, but there are a host of other features that can set the various options apart from each other. We started by looking at additional access options. Specifically, how many ways could you control your thermostat remotely? At a minimum, every smart thermostat on our list comes with a proprietary app that is supported both on Apple and Android devices.
But the next question is, can this thermostat work with smart home assistant devices? Except for our final entry, the Honeywell TH9320WF5003 Wi-Fi Touch Screen Programmable Thermostat, all of our selections support multiple smart assistant devices and many of them are compatible with third-party web applets like IFTTT. The benefit of this is that you can streamline your smart home experience so that you aren’t toggling between apps to control all of the devices in your home.
The next important feature you should consider with a smart thermostat is programmability. Every smart thermostat on our list supports multi-day programming with up to seven days that can be preset. In some cases, you can pre-program segments within a day for enhanced customization and control. But within this feature, some standout models like the Honeywell Home RTH9585WF1004 Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat will even allow you to enter the precise rate pricing from your energy provider and adjust usage based on that information.
Finally, we looked at the installation process for these smart thermostats. By default, smart thermostats require a C wire which provides continuous power to them. But with older homes, a C wire may not be a standard component. So, we prioritized thermostats that included G wire extensions in their installation kits. This extension allows you to easily upgrade your home’s existing wiring to make it compatible with smart thermostat requirements. Except for the Honeywell Home RCHT8612WF T5 Plus Wi-Fi Touchscreen Smart Thermostat, all of the other entries on our list come with a G wire extension.
Other considerations that you might find helpful include AI learning and geofencing. AI learning can go by a variety of names depending on the manufacturer. But this references a smart thermostat’s ability to not just log actual usage but rely on that data to automatically adjust the thermostat without needing to be programmed or manually prompted by a homeowner. And geofencing is a great option for people who don’t want to return to a cold or hot home in the summer or winter. Where available, we outlined these value-adding features in each product overview.
Product Category Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
If you’re thinking of upgrading your home’s heating and cooling controls to a smart thermostat, one of the most important features is going to be how you can connect to it. Even the most basic model designed for modest budgets will rely on a WiFi connection and can also pair through their proprietary apps so that you can remotely manage your home’s temperature from anywhere.
- Device Compatibility
While most smart thermostats come with a proprietary app, another major benefit to consider is additional access options. Can you control your home’s temperature through a web browser or can you integrate it with an existing smart home assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant? Using a web browser can give you a bit more freedom and minimize your reliance on your mobile device. Likewise, smart home assistant integration reduces the total number of apps that you need to use daily for a more streamlined experience.
One of the biggest benefits of a smart thermostat is that you can program the temperature. Depending on the model and your budget, some smart thermostats will offer a wide range of options within this feature. This can include creating programs that allow you to set specific times to automatically raise or lower the temperature to help reduce energy costs while also ensuring that you return home to a comfortable environment. Additionally, some smart thermostats are designed to support zoning which guarantees that you’re not wasting money heating or cooling parts of your home that aren’t frequently used. However, all models allow you to override a program.
- AI Learning
Not all smart thermostats have this feature but some are designed with artificial intelligence in mind. Once installed, these types of thermostats take note of the average energy consumption over time — such as a week or two. Based on this data, the thermostat will begin to automatically adjust the temperature without needing to be prompted by the homeowner. This is ideal if you’re the type who is forgetful and only remembers to adjust the temperature when you feel warm or cold.
- Display Screen and Controls
Display screens can vary with smart thermostats from simple LCD monitors with touchpads to full-color touch screens. The version you choose is going to be up to your personal preference and budget. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that a full-color touchscreen smart thermostat is going to cost more than a model that only offers an LCD screen or a touchpad.
- Additional Controls
Functionality that goes above and beyond simply raising and lowering your home’s temperature and simple programming will usually come at a cost. These functions can range from humidity detection to displaying the real-time weather in your area, to geofencing that automatically raises or lowers the temperature when your phone is detected within range. Again, these features may not be necessary for everyone, but it’s good to know that they’re possible.
While installing a smart thermostat can be a fairly straightforward process, the experience can be made harder if your existing wiring lacks a C wire. This is a common issue for older homes. Many models offer installation kits that include a G wire extension. This allows you to create the C wire connection which provides continuous electricity to your smart thermostat. This workaround saves you the trouble of hiring an electrician to upgrade your home’s existing wiring. However, keep in mind that for some smart thermostats, installing a G wire extension can cause override issues that limit your ability to control your HVAC’s fan outside of the control panel.
- I don’t have a smart assistant but I want to pre-program my smart thermostat with my other smart devices?
Integrating a smart device with a smart assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant is the easiest way to use one platform to control all your smart devices. But even if you don’t have a smart assistant, you can use third-party programming systems like IFTTT (If This Then That) to create simple programs that trigger an action when specific conditions are met. Before you purchase a smart thermostat, make sure that third-party pairing to platforms like IFTTT is supported.
- I’m thinking about installing a smart thermostat by myself. Is this a good idea?
Most smart thermostats are fairly easy to install as a DIY project. But determining whether or not you should install it yourself or hire the pros is going to be dependent upon your HVAC system and the wiring coming to the existing thermostat that you want to replace. These are great DIY projects if you have a standard HVAC system such as radiant, gas, oil, electric, propane, oil, or forced air. These devices are also designed to work with multi-stage systems. However, installation can get overwhelming if you have a complex multi-stage HVAC system that includes multiple components such as ventilation, dehumidifiers, or heat pumps. But the other major issue will be if your existing thermostat features a C wire, also known as a continuous wire. A continuous wire brings a constant flow of electricity to the thermostat, which is essential for a smart thermostat. But older homes may not have this feature. So, if your existing thermostat wiring doesn’t natively support a C-wire, or your HVAC is a complex multi-stage system, it’s best to bring in the experts.
- Why should I consider upgrading to a smart thermostat?
Second to your mortgage or property taxes, energy costs tend to be one of the most expensive parts of homeownership. Leaving your thermostat too high or low when no one is home, or not properly adjusting the zones on your HVAC system can mean you’re wasting money either heating and cooling an empty house or areas of the home that see the least traffic. A smart thermostat can help control your home’s energy consumption by adjusting the temperature to reduce energy consumption during low usage times such as during the day Monday through Friday when most people are at work. Plus, with features like geofencing and programmability, you don’t have to worry about returning to a home that’s an icebox in the winter or a furnace in the summer.
- Smart thermostats have expensive upfront costs, how can I know this is right for me?
A smart thermostat can indeed be a real upfront investment since they do cost significantly more than a traditional thermostat. But, when you consider how much you can save in energy costs over time, this technology truly does pay for itself. Plus, being able to remotely manage your home’s temperature gives you increased functionality that you can’t get with a traditional thermostat.
Also why not check out:
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- Ecobee vs. Nest: Find the Right Smart Thermostat For You and Your Home
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