In ancient times kings and queens had their courtiers stand by their side waving big fans when it was hot. In the twenty-first century we can all live like kings and queens, thanks to technological developments like the smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats manage your home’s cooling and heating for you. They use AI to learn your schedule and motion sensors and geofencing to detect when you’re home–and set the temperature accordingly. They give you the option of controlling the temperature remotely from a connected phone or a voice control app like Alexa or Siri. And they use built-in analytics to measure and improve your energy efficiency and detect and alert you to maintenance issues.
In short: the smarter your smart thermostat, the less effort you need to make and the more money you save.
From big names like Google Nest and Honeywell Home to the lesser-known brands, there are lots of contenders for best thermostat 2020. Read on for our list of the top 10 smart thermostat options currently on the market.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is a powerful, feature-rich, energy-saving device that really puts the ‘smart’ in ‘smart thermostat’. As its name suggests, this is a self-learning thermostat that learns what temperature you like at different times of the day and builds a schedule around yours. It monitors your HVAC 24/7, alerting you when something isn’t right. When you purchase this thermostat, you get the option of adding on the Nest Temperature Sensor for $39 to set different temperatures at different times of day in up to 20 different zones. If you’re the sort of person who uses Google for everything, then this is the best Nest Thermostat on the market.
This smart thermostat from Ecobee is the only one on the market with Alexa built-in, enabling you to use your voice to turn down the heat, make calls, or listen to Spotify without having to purchase Alexa separately. The two other main features are SmartSensor and eco+ Schedule, which work in tandem to manage hot and cold spots and sync your thermostat’s schedule with your routine. Each month, Ecobee sends you a monthly energy savings report at no extra cost.
Honeywell Home is the other member of the big-three smart thermostat brands, and the T9 is its flagship product. The T9’s biggest selling point is its Smart Room Sensors, which let you control different rooms based on occupancy or a specific schedule you choose. Like other premium smart thermostats, the T9 also includes remote temperature control (through an iOS/Android mobile app) and round-the-clock monitoring and maintenance alerts.
The Nest Thermostat was released in October 2020, replacing the Nest Thermostat E as Google’s entry-level smart thermostat. The Nest Thermostat has many of the same features as the Nest Learning Thermostat, with the exception that it doesn’t learn your preferences, doesn’t work with some complex HVAC systems and isn’t compatible with the Nest Temperature Sensor. Setup is through the Google Home app and is incredibly straightforward.
While it doesn’t have the learning capabilities of the higher-end thermostat options, the Lux Kono Smart is an extremely functional smart thermostat at a reasonable price. It includes Home & Away Aware, a geofencing feature on the LUX app that automatically adjusts temperature to your selected preference when leaving or entering a room. It also includes built-in smart scheduling, energy and run-time reporting, and smart tips delivered straight to your LUX mobile app.
Honeywell has thermostats to suit different price ranges, with the T5 being its budget option. This is a highly functional thermostat, with geofencing to keep track of your location, intelligent comfort control to determine if your home needs heating or cooling, and smart maintenance reminders. It also happens to be compatible with just about every type of smart home ecosystem.
This is the budget alternative to the high-end Ecobee we mentioned earlier. It has many of the same features as Ecobee Smart Thermostat, although Alexa isn’t built-in and you’ll have to pay extra for SmartSensor. Like the Ecobee Smart Thermostat, the Ecobee3 Lite heats and cools more efficiently over time by factoring in weather patterns and your HVAC system’s performance. It sends you monthly energy reports to help you save more.
Honeywell EvoHome is the ultimate smart thermostat for zoning, letting you create up to 12 individual heating zones with different settings. Whether you have radiators, underfloor heating, or stored or shared hot water, EvoHome learns from and adapts to your changing lifestyle. EvoHome’s smart zoning is all controlled from a single wireless touchscreen controller. Thanks to the Honeywell Home app, you can also stay in control of your temperature when you’re out of the house.
The Tado Smart Radiator Thermostat is a little different from the other thermostats on our list, in that it works for heating only. As a result, it is our pick for the best smart radiator thermostat. For a smart thermostat that works with both cooling and heating, check out Tado’s other products. The Tado Smart Radiator works with all common heating systems as well as with most thermostatic radiator valves. Its minimalistic design is testament to its German origins. It is incredibly easy to set up and use, with an installation process that takes only a few minutes.
The Mysa Smart Thermostat is a thermostat for electric baseboard heaters or electric in-floor heating. It isn’t compatible with low-voltage systems such as oil furnaces, natural gas furnaces, or boilers. With a sleek, minimalistic design, it might just be the best-looking smart thermostat on the market. It has lots of features under the hood, too, including remote temperature control, smart scheduling, and daily and monthly usage reports.
Many decades ago, programmable thermostats revolutionized our home energy usage by allowing us to schedule when out heating and cooling worked. Smart thermostats have ushered in a new era (let’s call it Thermostat 3.0) in which our thermostats do all the work for us, giving us convenience and energy savings. The best news of all: good smart thermostats don’t cost a lot, and the energy savings usually give you a full return on your investment within a couple of years.