Smart thermostats are quite possibly the most important smart devices you can add to your home, regardless of whether you rent or own. Sure, smart lights that you can command on and off by voice are convenient, and a smart doorbell lets you see who’s at the door and whether porch pirates are making off with your latest Amazon delivery. But the best smart thermostats aren’t just convenient; they can save you a substantial amount of money on your utility bill, month in and month out for as long as you live in your home.
If you’ve only had an old-fashioned programmable thermostat till now, you can hardly imagine what you’re missing out on. Smart thermostats can control your temperature like clockwork according to a schedule you set, but many are smart enough to figure out what temperature is best on their own, without any help from you. Thanks to geofencing and the phone that’s sitting in your pocket, some thermostats even know when you leave the house and can adjust the climate accordingly. Many thermostats are also analytics experts, generating a monthly report on your energy usage and how it compares to other timer periods. The bottom line: These gadgets aren’t just convenient, but they can also save you money over time.
This much is true: The less you spend on a smart thermostat, the faster it’ll pay for itself. But a smaller budget often means fewer features and capabilities, too. So where’s the sweet spot? We’re here to help you find it. We’ve rounded up virtually every smart thermostat for sale in 2021 and sorted through them to find the best. Read on to see which smart thermostats we recommend, and why.
Best Smart Thermostat Overall
ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control
The ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control is a full-fledged Alexa device that is a sort of jack of all trades. With a built-in microphone, it can stream Spotify, act as a hub for ecobee’s smart camera and entry sensors, works with Apple HomeKit, and more. It’s almost possible to overlook the fact that it is primarily designed to control the temperature of your house.
Alexa integration aside, the ecobee’s signature feature is its remote sensor. You get one in the box, which helps you ensure the temperature is comfortable in a specific location, not just wherever the thermostat itself happens to be located. If you have a home office that’s always chilly in winter, for example, put the remote sensor in there, and ecobee will prioritize heating that room even if the thermostat’s main location is in the right temperature range.
Using your voice to control the ecobee is simple (and handy when you’re sitting on the couch), but the user-friendly app gives you access to all kinds of additional data, like the temperature in each room where you’ve placed a remote sensor. Alternatively, you can use the touchscreen if you prefer getting hands-on. If you set it to eco+ mode, the device will learn your schedule and adjust the temperature automatically to conserve power and save you money. You can also set target temperatures manually.
The ecobee Smart Thermostat is easy to set up and has 12 terminals for controlling your heating and air conditioning, as well as an accessory like a whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier. Setup is painless if your home has a C wire; if it doesn’t, ecobee includes a Power Extender Kit and instructions to wire it up. Overall, it’s something you can probably do yourself without hiring an electrician.
Best Smart Thermostat for an Automated Smart Home
Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)
Google Nest has a distinctive “modern retro” look that stands out from the sea of rectangular or square touchscreens on the market. It also comes in more finishes (about a half-dozen choices) than any other smart thermostat on the market.
Installing and setting up a Nest is easy, as long as you have a compatible HVAC system. The Nest thermostat is optimized for modern 5-wire furnaces with a C wire, but might work with an older 4-wire setup—if you have concerns, you might want to hire an electrician. Nest makes setup famously simple.
Once installed, you answer questions, hook it up to your Wi-Fi network, and let it figure out your schedule. Google Nest knows when you’re away, so it won’t cool or heat an empty house, and it learns your schedule to lower temperatures overnight or when you’re routinely out of the house, and Nest takes into consideration how long it takes to get the house to the right temperature. When you adjust it during the day, it’ll learn that too and, before long, you’ll find that Google Nest is keeping your house exactly how you like it with little to no input from you.
Being part of the Google Nest ecosystem, it integrates with Nest Cam, Nest Hub, Nest Secure and more. It can also connect to Alexa. It does not, however, have Apple HomeKit integration. And if you like ecobee’s remote sensor capability, you can add those to your Nest setup as well, in up to six rooms (though unlike ecobee, it senses temperature only, and lacks motion sensors to tell if you are physically in the room.
Best Budget-Priced Smart Thermostat
Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
While there are some good values in smart thermostats, you typically need to spend $200 or more to get a premium model. That’s one reason to like the Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat from Emerson, a device that doesn’t cost a lot more than half that. Of course, it isn’t the runway model of thermostats in the same way that the ecobee3 or even the Nest are stylish and attractive. But what it lacks in aesthetics it more than makes up for in ease of use and overall practicality. It’s easy to install (though it does require a C wire), simple to use and works with a lot of smart home accessories.
The Sensi knows when you come and go, for example, and can adjust the temperature accordingly. It’s voice-compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, and integrates with Samsung’s SmartThings home automation system, among others. And while some smart thermostats have more in common with computers than, you know, thermostats, the interface here is easy to adjust to if you’ve never seen a Nest before. The brightly lit display is easy to read and can be controlled from the small array of buttons surrounding the screen.
Of course, this is a smart thermostat, and so you can operate it remotely via your phone (both iPhone and Android). You can set the temperature and forget about it, or create a schedule for the thermostat to follow. Enable geofencing, and it’ll take your whereabouts into consideration as well. The Sensi is also good about tracking your heating and cooling, and generating monthly reports to track your energy usage.
Most Attractive Smart Thermostat
ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
The ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat is only “smart” in the sense that it has smart home integration. If you’re looking for a thermostat that learns your behavior with sensors and keeps the house at the right temperature with little input from you, look elsewhere: This is really just a programmable thermostat, not a learning thermostat.
That said, if you want a programmable remote that also integrates with a vast number of smart home products—like Alexa, Google, HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings and more, this is a budget-priced device that has the attractive ecobee aesthetic and is extensively programmable.
One other caveat, though: The ecobee3 lite requires you to have a C wire to power the thermostat’s display. If you have an older HVAC system that lacks a C wire, this thermostat has no workaround, and you will want to consider other options. If you do have the C wire, though, installation is a snap and you can have it up and running in well under an hour.
Best Smart Thermostat For Electric Baseboard Heat
Mysa Smart Thermostat
Most smart thermostats are designed for homes with central heating and air conditioning, which can—if you’ll pardon the expression—leave people with electric baseboard heat out in the cold. The Mysa Smart Thermostat is one of the few products that caters to this need, and it works well as long as you can deal with a few limitations.
Chief among those limitations: Your HVAC system isn’t centralized, so you’ll need to install a separate Mysa in each room with baseboard heating that you want to control. Priced around $100 each, this endeavor can add up, but if you only have two or three rooms, it’s in the same ballpark as an ordinary smart thermostat. And if you have more than one installed, you can create “zones” using the mobile app to control them as a group, which makes it work similar to an ordinary smart thermostat.
You can certainly install the Mysa yourself, but the multi-wire configuration is admittedly confusing. If you have any concerns about miswiring it, you may want to bring in a professional electrician for the 15-minute setup. Once installed, though, you can easily control it from the attractive illuminated display with touch-sensitive buttons, set up a schedule on the mobile app, or rely on its extensive smart home integration (Alexa, Google, Samsung SmartThings, HomeKit and more) to let it adjust your temperature automatically.
Best Large Touchscreen Smart Thermostat
Bosch BCC100 Smart Thermostat
The Bosch BCC100 has all the features you’d expect to find in a modern smart thermostat. It’s easy to install, so you can do it yourself—assuming, of course, that your current HVAC system supports a C wire. It’s particularly versatile, able to control most common HVAC systems including gas, oil and electric systems…
Read More:The 8 Best Smart Thermostats For Saving On Your Utility Bill In 2021