Smart Thermostat

Best Smart Thermostats

Thermostats are something that every home should already have. When manual thermostats were first publicly available, it was a revelation that made it much simpler to control the temperature in your home.

Before thermostats, controlling the temperature in your home was a much more complex affair with more effort required than you’d think possible in this day and age.
Back then, when it was too hot, if you could afford it you’d turn on your air conditioning. For those of us that couldn’t afford AC units, we’d rely on opening windows or turning on fans. When it was too cold, it was down to space heaters, central heating that had to be turned on and off manually when it was finally warm enough, or using blankets and jackets to stave off the shivers that came with winter.

After the advent of the manual thermostat, it became a lot easier. You’d set your ideal temperature and when it was colder than that temperature, your heating would start up instantly to warm the house up. When the ideal temperature was hit, the heating would cut off on its own.

After some more years of innovation that came from manufacturers trying to one-up each other, manual thermostats also became integrated with air conditioning as well as heating. At that point, most people thought that was as good as thermostats would be able to get. How wrong we were.

What are Smart Thermostats?


Smart thermostats have shown us that the convenience offered from manual thermostats was nice, but nowhere near the peak potential that a thermostat could theoretically reach. These days, thermostats have more features than you can shake a stick at, including voice command integration and mobile applications to make it that much easier to assert your dominance over the temperature of your home.

Although smart thermostats have brought us a lot more convenience and accessibility over the years, they’re not all compatible with every type of utility. Some are compatible with most things like oil, gas, dual fuel, conventional, HVAC etc. but most smart thermostats are incompatible with some utilities, systems and wiring. Because of the amount of information on compatibility for each device, we don’t have enough room in this guide to talk about it. We recommend you do some research on your chosen smart thermostat’s compatibility before making any purchase.

Nest Learning Thermostat


Rating on Amazon: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Price: $$$Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest have come out with a lot of wonderful smart home gadgets over the years, and their learning thermostat is definitely one of them. This learning thermostat works with Alexa (Alexa device required) which adds a nice amount of convenience to controlling the temperature in your home. If you’re afraid of machines becoming sentient, then you may want to avoid this thermostat, as it programs itself to hit your ideal temperature based on what temperature you’ve had, at what time of day, and how many days you’ve had those temperatures for. 

Features

  •  Auto-Programming. It lives to please and tries to anticipate your thermal needs.
  • Wi-Fi Enabled. Change the temperature at any time, from anywhere as long as your Nest Learning Thermostat is hooked up to Wi-Fi. Uses an app to control.
  • Mobile App. Change your thermostat settings or temperature anytime and anywhere thanks to the nifty app.
  • Energy Saving Leaf. A leaf appears below the temperature on-screen when you’re at an energy saving temperature. Useful for the ecologically conscious.
  • Alexa Integration. Change the thermostat without having to lift a finger thanks to the Alexa integration offered. Amazon certified.

There’s a lot of features and capabilities attached to this little guy. The features mentioned above aren’t everything, with a home/away function that stops it from heating up your home when you’re out being an often overlooked feature. It may well be the smartest thermostat on the market, with it keeping track of how your home heats up and weather reports to make sure it knows how best to heat your home and how to deliver your ideal temperatures as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Is It Worth It?

The Nest Learning Thermostat really is the definition of a smart thermostat. It packs a lot of functionality into such a small device and it learns how to anticipate your temperature needs quicker than you’d expect. With a price-tag of $189.00, it’s neither the cheapest nor the most expensive. If you can afford it, the Nest Learning Thermostat is worth every penny, more-so if you have Alexa enabled devices. Out of 10, the Nest Learning Thermostat’s value for money would be 9/10.

Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat


Rating on Amazon: 4.0 out of 5
Price: $$$Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat

A little more black and sleek, the Ecobee4 certainly looks appealing. It’s got substance as well as style however, with a room sensor included with the purchase of the thermostat (2-packs sold separately). The room sensors measure how many people are in and the temperature of the room. The thermostat then uses its big brain to change itself to the right settings for optimum comfort. Using the data it gains to best optimise the temperature in rooms with sensors, it’ll still try and balance out the rest of the house, even in rooms without sensors.

Features

  •  Room Sensors. To better be able to anticipate your needs and to create the optimum temperature, it uses the data it gathers from the sensor, which includes room occupancy and temperature. 
  • Easy Installation. By sticking to the easy to follow install guide, you can have your new smart thermostat set up in as little as 30 minutes. It’ll take another 5-10 minutes to get download and get everything working on the app.
  • Mobile App. Another thermostat with an app that allows you to control your thermostat anytime, anywhere with any mobile device that runs on iOS or Android. 
  • Massive Compatibility. The Ecobee4 has one of the highest levels of compatibility in terms of heating, cooling, wiring etc. making it very accessible. It’s also compatible with most smart home options including Apple Homekit, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT.

The Ecobee4 is an awesome smart thermostat that has a colossal amount of compatibility in more ways than one. First, it’s highly compatible with a range of utilities, including everything from oil or gas, all the way through to electrical heating and HVAC. Secondly, the Ecobee4 is compatible with a wide range of smart home suites including all major smart home kits. To add even more value on top, it diligently reminds or alerts you when there’s a problem or a maintenance issue.

Is It Worth It?

With such a wide array of features and oodles of compatibility, the Ecobee4 is definitely worth investing in if it suits what you’re looking for. The only thing that could be a turn-off for some prospective customers is the room sensors. Although one sensor is included with your Ecobee4 purchase, if you want the optimum functionality from the Ecobee4 you’ll want at least 3 sensors meaning you’ll have to buy a two-pack. That adds another $67.49 to your purchase cost, totalling $266.49. If you spend time in multiple rooms and want a high level of attentiveness from your smart thermostat, the Ecobee4 is definitely for you. My rating for the Ecobee4 in terms of value for money would be 8/10

Honeywell Lyric T5


Rating on Amazon: 3.5 out of 5
Price: $$$Honeywell Lyric T5

Another darker coloured smart thermostat, the Lyric doesn’t seem to have any sleekness about it. Instead it’s gone for a no-nonsense, functional approach. With 3.5 out of 5 on Amazon, public opinion says that this product is inferior to the Nest Learning Thermostat and Ecobee4. The Lyric does have some nifty features though, including Geofence technology that lets the Lyric know when you’re home or out. It uses this to adjust how it operates with the aim of saving some energy and saving you some money. It does have one main flaw though, which is that a C wire is absolutely necessary for the Lyric, as without one you’ll have a $124 paper-weight. 

Features

  •  Mobile Application. Useful for adjusting settings and temperatures, also used by the Lyric to track where you are for the sake of Geofence.
  • Geofence Technology. Uses your smartphone to track whether you’re at home or out and about. It uses the information to save energy when you’re not home.
  • Smart-home Kits Compatible. Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant.
  • Utility Rebate. The Lyric is compatible with most Utility Rebate programs.

This is the only smart thermostat so far that has openly advertised its compatibility with utility rebate programs. Between that and the Geofence functionality to save energy and therefore money, theoretically the Lyric pays for itself after a few years. With a C wire needed and no adapter included, there’s a lot of homes that won’t be able to install the Honeywell Lyric. This is definitely the thermostat for you if you live in places where it gets dangerously hot or cold, as the smart alerts from the Lyric notify you when filter changes are needed and warns you when extreme temperatures are coming into play.

Is It Worth It?

At $124.01, it’s one of the more cost-effective options on the market. The problem is that 3.5 out of 5 is hardly a seal of approval, and the C wire being essential makes the Lyric hard to really get behind. Even with the Geofence and Utility Rebate, I can’t say that the Lyric is as worth the money than the Ecobee 4 or Nest Learning Thermostat. If I had to rate this for value for money, I’d probably give it 7/10.

Emerson Sensi


Rating on Amazon: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $$$Emerson Sensi

Of all the smart thermostats we’ve looked at so far, this is definitely the fan favourite. With a 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon, it’s at least a half star better than any of the others we’ve already seen. With gorgeous white colour in a style called “DIY” you’ll quickly see that it bucks the stereotypical connotations of DIY thanks to a professional and attractive aesthetic that would suit most homes. As if you needed any more convincing this thermostat is a fan favourite, for three years running it was crowned the winner of the best value category for smart thermostats by reviewed.com. This is the cheapest smart thermostat around that is compatible with most utility rebate schemes. It also has a lot of the features offered by the more expensive thermostats on the list.

Features

  •  Utility Rebate. Compatible with most utility rebate programs, which given the price, is a shocking revelation.
  • Mobile App. Just like the price-tag heavyweights on the list, the Sensi has a mobile app which has a wonderful UX and is very helpful as well as convenient. 
  • Compatible with most HVACs. High levels of compatibility for installation, able to fit into most HVAC fitted homes. It does however, require a C wire for heat-only, cool-only or heat pumps.
  • Temperature and Humidity Alerts. Smart alerts sent to your phone through the Sensi app will alert you to troubling temperature or humidity levels.

Emerson’s Sensi is a wonderful product and you only need a quick glance to see why it’s a fan-favourite and an award winner. The fact that the Sensi will even alert you if humidity is becoming an issue shows that almost everything has been thought about when Emerson were designing the Sensi. It’s also quick and easy to install the Sensi, with most set-ups taking as little as 30 minutes.  It’s also helpful that the Sensi is compatible with most major smart home kits.

Is It Worth It?

In short, yes. The Sensi is the cheapest on the list so far, has the same essential features you’d want it to, and is an award winner for a reason. The fact that I won its first award for being the best value smart thermostat back in 2017 should tell you just how ahead of its prime it was, especially given it’s winning of the crown this year. The Sensi deserves a value for money rating of 10/10.

GLAS Smart Thermostat


Rating on Amazon: 3.8 out of 5
Price: $$$GLAS Smart Thermostat

Gorgeous and functional, the GLAS is certainly an admirable thermostat. With a translucent OLED screen. A really cool feature that the GLAS has the ability to monitor air quality. It even keeps track of things like CO2 levels, which is something that few thermostats have. To add to its air monitoring prowess, it actually has the ability to detect allergens in the outside air so you’ll know when to take a pre-emptive antihistamine. Another unique oddity of the GLAS is that it was made using Windows Cortana, which isn’t exactly common among smart thermostats.

Features

  •  Air Quality Monitor. Whether you want to know about humidity, CO2 or allergen density, the GLAS thermostat can tell you.
  • Integrated Occupancy Sensor. Gives the GLAS the capability to sense how many people are in the room, meaning when its given autonomy in setting the optimum temperature for your home, it does so with more accuracy.
  • Mobile App. Gives you control over your GLAS thermostat anytime, anywhere. You can control multiple thermostats in multiple locations with a single app.
  • Energy Saver. The GLAS Smart Thermostat will help you save energy by avoiding using energy to control the temperature.

Managing your air quality can be a nightmare when you don’t have the data to go off. Thanks to the GLAS smart thermostat, you can see not only temperature and humidity, but also other air quality data to help your GLAS keep your home within optimum conditions at every turn. It works with Amazon Alexa, which is the smart-home partner kit that has the biggest reputation and sales numbers among all other major smart-home kit. The GLAS is one of the more technologically advanced smart thermostats, with its designs and functions taking into account data that few, if any, other smart thermostats bother to take note of. This gives it a uniqueness that makes it worth some serious consideration. 

Is It Worth It?

At 4 out of 5 on Amazon, the GLAS is on par with the Nest Learning Thermostat. There are key differences between the two. Although they both have the ability to set your temperature for optimum comfort autonomously, the GLAS uses air quality information to give it an edge when deciding on how best to keep you comfortable in your home. The Nest Learning Thermostat uses a different method by trying to learn your preferences instead. 

$199.00 makes the GLAS a lot less unique. This price-tag is pretty common among the high-end smart thermostats. I would say it’s worth it for the money, especially if you have asthma or allergies. With its air quality analytics it makes the perfect companion for when you need more info on the outside air. I’d say the value for money for the GLAS is in the region of 7/10.

Sensibo Sky


Rating on Amazon: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $$$Sensibo Sky

The Sensibo Sky is another fan favourite among those who’ve already got smart thermostats. It’s IFTTT compatibility along with the Android and iOS apps make it highly integrative, but it doesn’t have the LED screen that you’ll see among the other smart thermostats on the list so far. The good news is, even though it’s missing the screen we’ve come to expect from smart thermostats, it’s cheaper than other thermostats on the list by some margin.

Features

  •  Geofence. Saves energy by limiting function when you’re not home. Saved energy translates to saving money.
  • 7-Day Scheduling. To fit your 7 day routine, you can schedule 7 days-worth of programming for your Sensibo Sky, meaning you can keep your home at the optimum temperature for the different times of day.
  • Humidity Sensor. Heat alone isn’t too much of a problem, but when it’s hot and humid, it can be horrendously uncomfortable. The Sky has a humidity sensor to help you overcome discomfort when it’s hot and humid.
  • Smart-home Kit Compatible. Works with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant.

It’s got a lot of the functions you’d expect of a smart thermostat, but there’s a key deficiency that plagues the Sensibo Sky. It may work brilliantly with air-conditioning, but not heating. That means you’ll be covered for the summer months, but when it comes to winter your smart thermostat won’t be anywhere near as useful. 

If you only need a smart thermostat for the summer months, like in a summer home, then this could be an ideal product. It’s got a lot of the same functionalities you’d expect of a mid-range to high-end product. Between the lack of heat functionality and the lack of screen, it’s hard to see the value here.

Is It Worth It?

Without the ability to control heating as well as AC, the Sensibo Sky is kind of half of what makes a smart thermostat useful. For the summer months, it may well earn its keep but in the winter months, I can’t see it being any use whatsoever. The value for money just isn’t there at $118.00 for a summer-only smart thermostat.

Lux Geo Wi-Fi Thermostat


Rating on Amazon: 3.7 out of 5
Price: $$$Lux Geo Wi-Fi Thermostat

The Geo Wi-Fi thermostat from Lux is the cheapest of all the options on the list. Wi-Fi capability, quick install and mobile apps are all useful features offered by this device. The downside is that although the Geo is capable of working with Alexa enabled devices, it needs to be connected by a C-wire or micro-USB. Although it can be powered by batteries, doing so will render the Alexa capability non-functional. 

Features

  •  Easy Programming. Whether you’re using the app or the unit itself, it’s nice and easy to program the settings for the Geo for maximum comfort.
  • Vertical or Horizontal? The Geo is capable of being mounted in either a vertical or horizontal fashion. 
  • Adjustable Temperature Units. Whether you want to work in Fahrenheit or Celsius, the Geo has you covered.
  • Multiple Power Options. Has the option to be powered via C-wire, micro-USB (not included), or batteries (limited functionality)

The Geo is the cheapest product and does have a lot of the features you’d want in a smart thermostat. It only has 3.5 out of 5 on Amazon, making it one of the lesser approved of smart thermostats on the market, but it certainly gives a good amount of value for money. The limitation in terms of function when battery-powered is a bit of a let-down, as Alexa users can’t use battery power if they want to integrate the two. 

Is It Worth It?

As one of only two smart thermostats under $100, the value for money is definitely there with this product. It may not have all the functions you’ll find with other smart thermostats, but the core aspects are there. For the low price and relatively high functionality, I’d give this an 8/10 for value for money.

Final Thoughts


There’s a lot of different functions on offer with smart thermostats and a lot of things to consider when deciding on the right one for you. Before buying, check to see if your existing wiring has a C-wire. If it does, then you won’t have any issues at all installing your new smart thermostat.

FAQs


Q: What is a good temperature to set heat on?

A: 26 Celsius or 78 Fahrenheit is recommended.

Q: Is it cheaper to leave the heating on all day?

A: No. Geofencing technology was developed to help save people energy which turns utilities off when you’re not home.

Q: Do you turn the thermostat up or down for heat?

A: If you want to heat up your home, set the thermostat to the desired temperature.

Q: What is the best home thermostat?

A: If air quality is important to you, go for the GLAS Smart Thermostat, if it’s not then go for