Best Smart Thermostat

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018​

Nest dominates the thermostat market, but there are so many smart thermostats to pick from. We’ve reviewed them all.

BEST SMART
THERMOSTAT 2018

BOTTOM LINE

A solid choice for many users, the Nest Learning Thermostat will learn the temperatures that you like and automatically adjust itself in the future. It comes with an app that lets you control the thermostat when you’re away from home.

PROS

Designed to save you time and money, this Nest thermostat will actually predict your behavior based on past events to turn the heat or AC up and down as needed. It’s compatible with various devices and will even work with Alexa.

CONS

This thermostat isn’t compatible with all brands of AC and heating units. You may have some troubles with the app or with the thermostat detecting when people are home too.

BOTTOM LINE

Compatible with heating and cooling units from different manufacturers, this thermostat has a maximum load capacity of 1.5 amps. It allows you to use WiFi to change the temperature while you’re at home or at work.

PROS

Thanks to a schedule function, this thermostat lets you select a temperature range for your home for up to seven days in the future. You can connect via WiFi or use Alexa to control the thermostat.

CONS

A handful of users had problems connecting the thermostat to their units via WiFi. Some claimed that it worked better as a standard thermostat than a smart thermostat.

BOTTOM LINE

GoControl gives you an affordable way to control the temperature of your home with this thermostat, which is compatible with Alexa. It is compatible with various heating and cooling systems from different manufacturers.

PROS

A voice control feature lets you connect your Alexa and control the thermostat with the sound of your own voice. It works with both two-stage and three-stage heating and cooling units.

CONS

The batteries in this thermostat may not last as long as you would like. Some customers registered complaints about the manufacturer’s poor customer service too.

BOTTOM LINE

This thermostat allows you to control the temperature of your home with any linked device. It also features warnings that alert you to any potential problems quickly.

PROS

Program options let you control the temperature of your home up to a week in advance. You’ll also notice warnings that pop up when your internet connection goes out or other problems occur.

CONS

Some customers had problems registering their thermostats online. Other users had issues connecting the thermostat to their home networks.

BOTTOM LINE

Certified by Amazon for use with Alexa devices, this smart thermostat can significantly reduce your energy bills. Not only does it work with most devices, but it works with separate room sensors too.

PROS

This thermostat can reduce your energy bills by 20% or more each month. It comes with everything needed for installation and connects to both Android and Apple devices.

CONS

If you experience a power failure, you may have a hard time rebooting the thermostat. A few users found that they couldn’t connect the thermostat to certain Android devices.

Shopping Guide for the Best Thermostat

No matter where you live, you probably have higher heating and cooling bills than you would like. Energy providers base your bills on the amount of power that you use every day. If you still have an old thermostat, the chances are good that you pay more each month than you should. The best smart thermostats for 2018 are models that will help you get your bills down to a more manageable level. To help you find the top thermostat for your own home, you can look at our list of the top five options and read the detailed product reviews found here on this page.

Before buying any of the models on our list though, we highly recommend that you learn more about these electronic devices. You can find out exactly what a smart thermostat is and what some of the benefits are of installing one in your home. Our shopping guide also tells you how much the top smart thermostats for 2018 cost and what features the best models have in common. Adding a smart thermostat to your home can help you get your energy bills under control and still feel comfortable every day of the year.

Shopping Guide for the Best Thermostat - WITH TEXT

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Selection Criteria

Though using a smart thermostat can significantly cut down on your heating and cooling bills, you must spend some money up front and take some time to install that unit. We know that you might worry about the cost, which is why we took cost into consideration when picking out the best units. Since we know that many shoppers today use Alexa devices and similar units, we also looked for models that are compatible with those devices.

We started our search for the best smart thermostats for 2018 at Amazon. Not only did we use this site because it gave us access to customer reviews, but we also looked at Amazon to see which thermostats it certified as working with Alexa units. Though some of the top thermostats won’t work with those devices, most of the ones on our list will work with both Android and Apple operating systems.

You can download a handy app to check in on your home while at work or on vacation. That app also lets you adjust the temperature before you come home. Make sure that you look at the chart of the best thermostats on the top of the page and our product reviews before looking at all the other information we found for you.

Selection Criteria

How You Can Control a Smart Thermostat

  • Via an app on your phone or tablet
  • With voice devices
  • Through the buttons on the thermostat itself

Nest has a great reputation in the world of smart thermostats because it was one of the first manufacturers to offer those products for sale. Its Learning Thermostat is the most modern version of the technology that it designed and the most updated model for 2018. Once you connect the thermostat to the WiFi network in your home, it will track down the most current weather information for your area. With one touch of a button, you can find out what the temperature will be later in the day. You can also use the thermostat to adjust the current temperature in your home by a single degree at a time.

Available in multiple finishes, this thermostat is the only one we found that allows you to pick a finish that will match the design of your home. It has a clean and bright display that you can clearly see from anywhere in the room and a Nest app that you can download to almost any device. This app also allows you to change the temperature and adjust the thermostat’s settings when you’re not at home. It will eventually learn how to adjust itself based on the settings you picked.

Smart Thermostat Review Nest Learning Thermostat

What is a Smart Thermostat?

A smart thermostat is an alternative to a traditional thermostat. Standard models typically feature a temperature dial at the top that shows you the current temperature of your home. You’ll need to manually adjust the temperature each time you want to change it. Smart thermostats feature a digital screen and can work with both furnaces and AC units. You can also use these systems to adjust the temperature in each room of your home after connecting the thermostat to sensors that you place in different rooms. Smart thermostats come with different features that can include:

  • Scheduling: Smart thermostats often come with a scheduling feature that lets you set up a schedule up to a week or longer in advance.
  • Setting prediction: Certain models actually learn how to predict your behaviors and the temperatures that you would like. This type of thermostat will then adjust itself based on what it thinks you want.
  • On the go use: Thanks to the apps that you can now download from top thermostat manufacturers, you no longer need to be home just to adjust your home’s temperature. You can use the app to monitor the thermostat’s settings and check the current temperature before making any changed you need.
What is a Smart Thermostat

Other Features of a Smart Thermostat

  • Sensors that detect and monitor the humidity level of your home
  • Apps that you can use on a tablet or computer
  • Compatibility with home security and smart home systems
  • Warnings that alert you to potential problems and issues
  • Touchscreen designs

A sensi is a type of teacher who will guide and support you, which is why Emerson chose the Sensi name for this smart thermostat. It actually guides you in the future and helps you make your home feel more comfortable. The bright display that you see on the front shows you the current temperature and the temperature that you set. You can also use this display to see the date and time as well as any of the settings that you can use. It allows you to select an auto on feature that automatically turns on the heat or cold air and an auto-off feature that shuts the thermostat off when it reaches your desired temperature. You can also set the thermostat to work with your AC unit or your furnace.

Convenient buttons on the base of the unit also add to its ease of use. One button turns on the fan, while the other lets you switch between modes. You can use the third button to create a schedule for the thermostat. This lets you tell it what temperature you want for your home every day of the week. You can even tell it when to bring the temperature up or down on an hourly basis.

Smart Thermostat Review: Emerson Sensi WiFi Thermostat ​

Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

  • Utility rebate: Depending on the model that you buy, you may qualify for a rebate from your utility provider. Many providers offer rebates or discounts because smart thermostats will keep customers from wasting energy.
  • Save money: The average cost of your energy bills will vary based on the temperature outside and other factors like the size of your home. If you want to save money, you should install a smart thermostat. You’ll notice an almost instant reduction in your bills the first month after you install it.
  • Get alerts: Honeywell and other manufacturers send you email alerts when the thermostat detects problems in your home. Those alerts will help you see when the temperature suddenly rises or drops and can help you identify problems with your system.
  • Make changes while away: The biggest benefit of installing a smart thermostat is that it will let you make changes when you’re away from home. You can actually adjust the temperature when you’re on your way home from work or while you’re relaxing on vacation.
  • Humidity level: Many models will also let you keep track of the humidity level in your home. This is helpful for those with allergies or pets and those who grow indoor plants.
Benefits of a Smart Thermostat - WITH TEXT

Many of the smart thermostats that we saw connect to the electrical system in your home. This can make it difficult for you to install and set up the thermostat on your own. This model from GoControl is one of the only thermostats we came across that runs on a separate battery. As long as you follow the included chart, you can easily connect it to your furnace and/or AC unit without connecting it to your electrical system. You can quickly remove the faceplate from the thermostat and swap out the battery later.

We like that this is a more basic model that is easier to use too. You simply press the mode button to access the different modes and the fan button to automatically turn on your fan. The two arrow buttons on the opposite side of the display allow you to turn the temperature up and down just one degree at a time. A digital display in the center of the thermostat is bright enough to see from several feet away. Designed for both heat pump and standard HVAC systems, this thermostat will work with both two-stage and three-stage heating and cooling systems.

Smart Thermostat Review GoControl Thermostat

Signs That You Need a Smart Thermostat

A big sign that you need a smart thermostat is when you notice an increase in your energy bills despite spending more time away from home. When you buy and install a new thermostat, you can get email alerts that tell you when the unit has a hard time keeping your home at the temperature you selected or when sharp temperature changes cause the device to work harder than it did before. Other signs that you could benefit from a smart thermostat include:

  • You or your spouse just bought an Alexa device or a similar unit and want to get more use out of it.
  • The old thermostat that you have in your home has a hard time controlling your furnace and/or air conditioner.
  • You spend a lot of time traveling away from home and want to check in on your energy uses while on the go.
  • Your energy provider offers new discounts or rebates for owners in your city who invest in smart thermostats.
  • You want to keep your home at the same temperature during the day or night and have loved ones who like adjusting the temperature. Some devices come with locking features that let you set and lock all the features and settings.
Signs That You Need a Smart Thermostat

WARNING

If you want to use Alexa or any other voice-controlled product with your new thermostat, you must purchase that device separately. Even those certified by Amazon will not come with that device.

The bright and easy to read digital display on this Honeywell smart thermostat is just one reason why we placed it on our list of the top models for 2018. That display functions as a touchscreen and lets you use one touch of your finger to access any setting or mode. The home screen shows you the current temperature inside your home and the temperature outside. It also shows you the current humidity level both inside and out. When you want to adjust the temperature, simply click on the arrow icons on the screen. This lets you adjust the temperature to any setting right away. You’ll also see options for viewing the settings, accessing all the modes and turning on the fan.

Honeywell makes one of the only smart thermostats with a programmable schedule setting too. When you click the schedule on the home screen, you can view all the settings you selected for the following week. You can change the temperature of your home every hour or every hour based on the temperature outside. Honeywell also gives you access to the thermostat’s settings with an app you can download to any Android or Apple device or with an Alexa device connected to the thermostat.

Smart Thermostat Review Honeywell Smart Programmable Thermostat

What to Look for in a Smart Thermostat

Compatibility
Depending on the age of your home, you may have a modern HVAC system that works together, but you may also have an AC unit created by one manufacturer and a furnace that came from another company. Before spending money on a thermostat, you should make sure that it is compatible with your HVAC system and with both your heating and AC units. If the thermostat will not work with those products, you’ll either need to replace one of the units or buy a new thermostat. Manufacturers will typically list information about the products and units that their thermostats will work with online.

Automated Settings
One thing you may want to look at is whether the thermostat comes with any automated settings. Automated settings are features that the thermostat will automatically switch to when needed. A good example is a heat and cool setting. When the temperature in your home drops too low, the thermostat will automatically shut off the AC and turn on the heat to bring your home up to the temperature that you want. Automated settings also come in handy when you live in a region that experiences both warm and cool weather in the same season.

Remote Use
You’ll also want to look at whether you can use the thermostat remotely and how you can use it away from home. Most companies give you access to an app that you’ll download to your phone or a similar device like a tablet. You can then create an account on that app and link it to your thermostat. When you use your username and password, you can log in on other devices and gain access to the thermostat. Remote use allows you to adjust the temperature when a cold front passes through while you’re on vacation or when the humidity level climbs too high while you’re at work.

Wiring
We could easily write 500 to 1,000 words or more just on how you would wire a smart thermostat into your electrical system. You will find tips on installing the unit in the included booklet that comes with the model you buy. We recommend that you take a look at the required wiring that the manufacturer says you need before you make a purchase though. This lets you know if you have the right type of wiring before you get to work. It can also help you decide whether you would have a professional install the thermostat for you.

What to Look for in a Smart Thermostat - WITH TEXT

While this shopping guide focuses more on smart thermostats, we included a few programmable options too. A programmable thermostat does everything a smart model does but also has a scheduling or programming feature. This feature lets you create a schedule and tell the thermostat what temperature and settings you want to use every day of the week. Some models will even let you change the settings on an hour by hour basis for those days when you’re away from home.

If you want a smart thermostat that works quickly and is easy to see, the ecobee3 might be your best choice. The digital screen on this one is quite bright and allows you to check the temperature quickly while standing on the opposite side of the room. This display also shows you whether the thermostat turned on your AC or heating unit and the percentage of moisture currently in the room. Compatible with most heating and cooling devices found in homes today, this thermostat is also compatible with Alexa and is certified by Amazon. When you connect it, you can use Alexa to control the thermostat.

Depending on the temperature of your home and the standard settings that you use, this thermostat can reduce your average heating and cooling bills by 20% or more. When you connect it to the WiFi network in your home, the thermostat will monitor the temperature in your home and the weather outside. It can then recommend the right settings for you. You can use this thermostat in temperatures as low as 32-degrees and as high as 113-degrees Fahrenheit. It also works with sensors that you can purchase separately and use in different rooms.

Smart Thermostat Review ecobee3 Smart Lite Thermostat

Average Price for a Smart Thermostat

When you visit a do it yourself or a home improvement store in your town, you’ll find dozens of thermostats available for sale. Basic thermostats that you can install yourself in a few minutes and use with just your furnace or AC unit often retail for $20 to $50. You may even find some priced even less. The problem with those thermostats is that one can only adjust the temperature up or down. When you want to change the temperature, you need to manually adjust the thermostat. Smart thermostats let you make those adjustments with an app on your phone or computer or with a device that you connect via WiFi to the thermostat.

Though you might think that smart thermostats are expensive, most cost less than you would expect. The most expensive model on our list is the Learning Thermostat from Nest, which retails for around $220. GoControl makes a smart thermostat that ranks as the most affordable option on our list. This model retails for less than $80. You can get a good thermostat for between $100 and $200. We recommend that you look at any other products you might need like an Alexa unit or room sensors to determine your total cost.

Average Price for a Smart Thermostat

Smart Home Devices

Security or nanny cameras
Door and window sensors
Home security systems
Smoke and fire alarms and sensors
Smart outlets

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Amazon is the company behind Alexa devices, which are devices that detect your voice. Alexa can answer questions and even do searches for you. Smart thermostats that work with these units allow you to control your thermostat with your own voice. As you look at products on Amazon, you can look for those that the company certified as capable of working with Alexa.

A: When buying a smart thermostat online, you often have the option of buying just the thermostat by itself or paying for both the unit and professional installation. Installation usually adds $150 or more to your total cost. If you want to ensure that the device works properly and that the thermostat connects to all your heating and cooling devices, you should pay extra for installation.

A: You do need a WiFi network to set up and use a smart thermostat in your home because that thermostat uses the network to connect to any apps that run it. That app will work on your phone, tablet or computer too.

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