You can do more than just manage your home’s heating and cooling system. This app capable Make it possible to set your thermostat from your phone whether you’re on the couch, at the grocery store or on vacation – anywhere your phone or mobile device is connected to a WiFi or cellular network. Many smart thermostats also work with Alexa, and Now you also have another option to adjust your settings by remotely accessing your smart home systems.
Some smart thermostat systems also use smart features like a motion sensor to determine if you’re home or away and automatically change the temperature – both heating and cooling – for you without fiddling with your HVAC system. Others rely on a geofencing radius: as soon as you have reached a certain distance from your home, they automatically switch to Away mode and back to Home mode when you return. Add to this features like remote sensors, a power extender kit, and thermostats that work with existing infrastructures (in other words, compatible with them)) and of course thermostats that measure your energy consumption to make your home more energy efficient. A smart home thermostat is an energy efficient smart device that is good for both the environment and your wallet.
Better still, these options go far beyond a programmable thermostat – you want a learning thermostat that controls the temperature better the way you want it.
In order to accompany these modern functions, many connected heating and cooling systems have an innovative design. Of aSmart thermostats look very different than traditional thermostats on a responsive touchscreen. They can also send you Smart Alerts, synchronize them with the rest of the Smart Home devices, and some even respond to voice commands.
Let’s examine the options available, model by model. We’ll highlight what sets each model apart from the others and ultimately pick an overall winner of the best smart thermostat from the package. We update the list regularly, but here is a list of the smart thermostats we recently tested:
Chris Monroe / CNET
The Ecobee Smart Thermostat is my favorite pick for the best Smart Thermostat available today. Yes, it’s expensive at $ 249, but it has the power and features to secure it – especially if you want to talk to Alexa without need to buy an Amazon Echo. If you don’t need or don’t want an Amazon Alexa speaker, the $ 169 Ecobee3 Lite Wi-Fi thermostat is also a great option. Read our test report on Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control.
Chris Monroe / CNET
The Nest Thermostat is an Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled smart thermostat from Google – and it costs just $ 130 or even less. Compared to the high-end $ 250 smart thermostats, this model is great value for money. It looks great too, is easy to install and use in the Google Home app (or with a voice command; compatible smart speakers and displays sold separately), and performs well.
If you’re looking for a solid entry-level smart thermostat, the Nest thermostat is a great option. Read our test on the Nest Thermostat.
Chris Monroe / CNET
The Honeywell Home T9 is a $ 200 smart thermostat from Resideo. The T9 works with Alexa and Google Assistant, providing reliable performance and a solid app. The device is also equipped with remote humidity, proximity and temperature sensors, making it the smartest sensor accessory. The Nest sensor only provides measured values for the ambient temperature, while the Ecobee sensor only has functions for temperature and proximity detection. Read our Resideo Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat Review.
Test the thermostat
Let’s talk about testing. Smart thermostats start with the installation. Installation can vary widely from thermostat to thermostat and between HVAC systems. However, there are a few basic steps required to install these devices. As always, reach out to a professional installer with any questions about the setup process. Here are the general steps:
- Turn off your thermostat at the circuit breaker
- Remove the old thermostat
- Install the base plate of the thermostat using the screws provided
- Attach the wires to the wire clips
- Snap the front panel into place
- Turn on the circuit breaker
Was it particularly difficult to install the thermostat? If yes why? For example, certain models require a C-wire, which can make installation difficult if you don’t have one. Not sure what a C-wire is?.
From there I go to the app. Every smart thermostat has one. I’ll download the app and create an account if I don’t already have one. Then I configure the thermostat according to the steps in the app. This usually means connecting to the local Wi-Fi network and giving your thermostat a name such as “Hallway” or “Bedroom”. You can then use your thermostat.
How well does the app work? Is it easy to navigate to the thermostat settings you want? Is it easy to schedule or enable geofencing? This influences the usability score of the thermostat as well as the simple manual control of the thermostat hardware.
I am also testing smart home integration, especially voice-controlled systems that you can access through voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. Most connected thermostats are compatible with at least one voice assistant and some like thatand work with all three. Do the voice commands flow naturally like in an actual conversation? Did the thermostat actually adjust the temperature – heating and cooling – according to your commands?
All of these things determine a smart thermostat’s total score and how likely it is that I will recommend it.