Smart thermostats are the only way to heat or cool your home in the age of Alexa. A smart thermostat is WiFi-enabled, so you can adjust the temperature of your home at any given moment from anywhere in the world. You can also monitor changes, schedule temperature changes days or weeks in advance, and most importantly, heat or cool your spaces as efficiently as possible. But which smart thermostat is right for you? Here are some of the best smart thermostats available right now.
— Best Overall: Google Nest Thermostat
— Best Honeywell: Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat
— Best for Alexa: Amazon Smart Thermostat
— Best for Large Houses: Flair Puck Wireless Thermostat
— Best Budget: Vine TJ-610E Programmable 5th Generation Smart Home Thermostat
How We Picked the Best Smart Thermostats
For the uninitiated, a smart thermostat is a simple device that performs many complicated tasks to regulate the temperature in your home. Unlike a typical thermostat, these devices are WiFi- enabled, so you can control them easily from a phone, and are an integral part of any modern smart home system. Here are the aspects we considered when picking out the best smart thermostats.
Usability: The best smart thermostats pack plenty of features that make plain thermostats look about as primitive as a box fan. But what good is that if you can’t adjust settings quickly and easily? Not only should a thermostat’s interface be simple, but it should be user-friendly enough for anyone in the house to be able to adjust settings on the fly.
Energy Efficiency: One of the main reasons to invest in a smart thermostat is to not only adjust temperatures easily but more efficiently. You can expect at least some savings month to month, especially if your thermostat uses don’t fluctuate too much. All variables being equal, these devices shouldn’t make your electricity bill higher after installation.
Companion App: Every device featured here has its own companion app so you can adjust settings directly from any smart device. Like the smart thermostat itself, operating it remotely from a smartphone or tablet should be just as easy, without any latency issues or disconnections.
Installation: Like daily usage, installing a smart thermostat should be simple and quick. Occasionally, you may need to break out a drill and measuring tape, but it shouldn’t require advanced technical skills. This goes double for changing out the batteries.
Best Smart Thermostats: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Google Nest Thermostat
Why It Made The Cut: A simple and affordable thermostat with reliability that’s made Google a household name.
— Dimensions: 3.31 inches L x 3.31 inches W x 1.07 inches H
— Weight: 4.9 ounces
— Power Supply: Two AAA batteries
— Amazing energy-saving features
— Works out of the box in most homes
— Sleek and simple design
— Polarizing app
Nest is an industry leader in smart thermostats, especially after the brand was acquired in 2014. Google Nest Thermostat is our clear choice for overall best.
For one, despite its popularity, it still manages to be one of the most affordable smart thermostats on the market. Google Nest is Energy Star-certified, and it's packed full of environmentally friendly features. Not only will it modulate heating and cooling levels in your home, but the Google Nest App (available on App Store and Google Play), the device will also provide you with suggestions to optimize your energy usage and save even more on your bill month to month. To get the full potential out of the best smart thermostat, you will need to acquire the companion C wire but Google Nest is designed to work out of the box in most homes. It’s also one of the most attractive thermostats and isn’t overly designed. Sadly, when Nest was acquired by Google, the thermostat was integrated into the Google Home app, and it lost some of its usability in the process. It’s still fairly user-friendly, but those that remember the original app are still quite wistful about it.
Best Honeywell: Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat
Why It Made The Cut: Honeywell Home T9 Smart thermostat ranks among the best with its gorgeous build quality and user-friendly interface.
— Dimensions: 4.92 inches L x 3.7 inches W x 0.94 inches H
— Weight: 7.2 ounces
— Power Supply: Two AAA batteries
— Monthly energy reports
— Alexa- and Google Home-compatible
— Gorgeous touch screen
— Only compatible with low-voltage homes
— Full potential requires room sensors
When it comes to heating and cooling a home, Honeywell is one of the most popular and dependable brands. Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat is one of the best in its line of smart home products.
You can set it up and operate it in a myriad of ways, including the Resideo App (available on App Store and Google Play), Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Microsoft Cortana, and Samsung SmartThing. Whichever interface you choose, expect some of the best and easiest customization and control when it comes to smart thermostats. You can also control the device using an easy-to-use touch screen. Like any great smart thermostat, you will receive thorough energy reports so you can plan and optimize your energy usage. The downside is that the best Honeywell smart thermostat is only compatible with low-voltage homes. If you want to be able to monitor temperatures from room to room, you’ll need to pair it with Honeywell’s room sensors, which are a little pricey.
Best for Alexa: Amazon Smart Thermostat
Why It Made The Cut: Amazon’s Smart Thermostat features great voice-control capabilities while also being environmentally friendly.
— Dimensions: 3.56 inches L x 3.56 inches W x 0.84 inches H
— Weight: 3.86 ounces
— Power Supply: Two AAA batteries
— Syncs up to other Amazon devices
— Climate Pledge-friendly
— Automatic optimization
— Not ideal for larger homes…yet
— Requires extra hardware for voice control
It’s only natural that the best smart thermostat with Alexa integration is the Amazon Smart Thermostat.
When purchased alone, it’s one of the most inexpensive smart thermostats available. However, Alexa integration requires you to sync this smart thermostat up to a nearby Echo Dot. Granted, if you’re already a fan of Alexa, you likely have at least one Amazon Echo device hanging about. Once set up, expect some of the best automatic energy optimizations, along with easy voice controls. Ever-vigilant Alexa will even turn down the energy usage when you leave the home, which will add up to real savings month to month. It’s even manufactured sustainably and has Amazon’s Climate Pledge certification. And while Amazon claims that eventually, the thermostat will receive updates to make it work better in larger rooms with more than one story, these updates haven’t yet materialized. At least not yet.
Best for Large Houses: Flair Puck Wireless Thermostat
Why It Made The Cut: Flair Puck Wireless Thermostat makes temperature optimization easy from room to room, especially in large living spaces.
— Dimensions: 3.15 inches L x 3.15 inches W x 3.15 inches H
— Weight: 7.83 ounces
— Power Supply: N/A
— Wide compatibility with other smart home brands
— Monitors when you’re away
— Constant firmware updates
— Requires floor vents for every room
Optimizing temperature in big houses can be cumbersome, not to mention, expensive. Flair Puck Wireless is a fantastic smart thermostat for larger homes.
One of the aspects that makes Flair Puck Wireless so great is that it plays so well with others including Honeywell, Google Nest, Ecobee, as well as Amazon Alexa. Like any good smart thermostat, it can tell when you’re away and adjust the temperature on the fly. And like any great piece of tech, the firmware updates are constant, so it only gets better and better. As effective as the Flair Puck Wireless is, to make the most out of it, you need to pair it with floor vents (sold separately) if you want to actually optimize the temperature from room to room. The whole project can quickly become fairly expensive. Still, if you’re going to go big when it comes to adding your HVAC system to your smart home, you could certainly do worse.
Why It Made The Cut: A budget entry that looks as sleek as a device twice its price.
— Dimensions: 3.34 inches L x 4.84 inches W x 1 inch H
— Weight: 6.34 ounces
— Power Supply: N/A
— Install in as little as 30 minutes
— Bright 3.5 inch LCD screen
— Clunky app
If you absolutely must save a few bucks when buying a smart thermostat, Vine TJ-610E Programmable 5th Generation Smart Home Thermostat is a fairly good option.
It installs quickly and easily, in as little as 30 minutes, in fact. Some users were able to get it up and running in as little as 15 minutes. The big bright LCD screen makes for quick and easy temperature monitoring and control, especially at night. You can also control the device using the Vine App (Available on App Store and Google Play). Sadly, the app is fairly polarizing and clunkier than it needs to be, especially if you’re using an older phone. This may be a dealbreaker for many, but its analog control wheel makes adjustments quick and easy. The price point is also incredibly affordable.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Smart Thermostat
It Could Potentially be Free: The power company that provides electricity for your home may have a program that will outright pay for your new smart thermostat or at least offer a partial rebate for it. This is because in general, a smart thermostat can help heat and cool your home much more efficiently, which adds up to savings for your power company and on your end as well. Check with your local utility company to find out whether you are eligible for a free device or a discount, both typically available through a rebate program.
Extra Hardware May Be Required: All of the best smart thermostats featured in this round-up are standalone devices, but that doesn’t mean they will work out of the box. To link up to your home’s HVAC system, you will likely need a C-Wire adapter to take full advantage of your smart thermostat’s capabilities. Luckily, you can purchase a C-Wire along with your new smart thermostat, as manufacturers tend to bundle them together. They’re also not terribly expensive. Always check that a device is compatible with your home’s system before purchasing.
Q: What is the most reliable smart thermostat?
The Google Nest line of thermostats ranks among the most reliable, including our overall best pick, the Google Nest Thermostat.
Q: Are smart thermostats really worth it?
Smart thermostats allow you to optimize heating and cooling in your home, and on average, new users save up to 23 percent on their heating and cooling costs compared to a regular thermostat.
Q: Is the Nest Thermostat still good?
Yes, the Google Nest Thermostat is still good, and one of the most popular offerings on the market, despite its polarizing app.
Q: What is the easiest way to use smart thermostats?
The easiest way to use smart thermostats is with an app on your phone or another smart device through WiFi.
Q: What's the difference between a WiFi thermostat and a smart thermostat?
Both WiFi thermostats and smart thermostats are WiFi-enabled, but only smart thermostats learn about your energy usage to optimize efficiency and savings.
Q: Are all smart thermostats the same?
No, all smart thermostats are not the same. Some pack more features and compatibility with other devices while others do not.
Final Thoughts on Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats are a great way to modernize temperature control in your home, and while these devices are initially expensive, the savings will pay off in dividends. Our best overall pick is the Google Nest Thermostat, because of its price point and easy-to-use functionality. If you use Alexa as a concierge in your smart home, Amazon Smart Thermostat is an excellent choice.
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