Best smart thermostats: 2023 pricing & reviews

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smart thermostats

As we accelerate home electrification across the United States, the home energy management industry continues to grow. More and more homeowners are looking for actionable insight into their energy usage to reduce their consumption and save money! According to Energy Star, the average American household spends over $900 on heating and cooling yearly. So, it's no surprise that the smart thermostat was one of the first products to gain significant traction in this space. 

We'll cover everything you need to know about smart thermostats so you can find the right fit for your budget, home, and energy management needs.

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Key takeaways about smart thermostats

  • Smart thermostats are energy management devices that allow you to remotely control and monitor the temperature of your home using your smartphone. 

  • With a smart thermostat, you can save about 10-12% on heating and up to 15% on cooling costs.

  • Different smart thermostats have different features, so comparing your options is important.

  • The best way to save on energy costs is to install a solar-plus-storage system; visit the EnergySage Marketplace today to start receiving custom quotes!

Maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home can be a struggle depending on where you live. Smart thermostats simplify temperature control by connecting to your heating and cooling system. They allow you to remotely adjust your thermostat to control your home's temperature 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you're coming home from summer vacation and want to cool the house down before you arrive or worried about your pipes freezing while you're away from home during a cold snap, smart thermostats can help you keep your home's temperature regulated and work in tandem with other smart home devices. 

Some smart thermostats have adaptive technology – or advanced learning – which allows them to remember your behavior and adjust the temperature accordingly without you having to lift a finger! For example, let's say it's wintertime, and you typically leave your home at 8 AM and return by 6 PM: Your thermostat can lower the temperature while you're away and raise it in time for you to get home. You can cut energy costs without inconveniencing or sacrificing comfort in your home.

Smart thermostats connect your home's furnace and air conditioner like ordinary thermostats. Typically, your smart thermostat will sit in the same location as your standard thermostat and use similar wiring, but you'll want an electrician to complete the installation. While you can control your smart thermostat manually, you can also control it remotely via a mobile app. 

Why would you want a smart thermostat?

Smart thermostats come with several advantages over traditional systems. First and foremost, they make it easy to control your home's climate wirelessly. Many will integrate with other smart devices, allowing for additional functionality like voice control. With some smart thermostats, you can program different temperatures for different days of the week – they may even learn your behavior and automatically adjust. 

Most smart thermostats are compatible with mobile and/or web applications, providing insight into your energy usage and home's temperature in real-time and on the go. Away for the weekend and afraid your pipes might freeze? Turn your home's temperature up straight from your phone! With a smart thermostat, you'll typically get better savings, comfort, and peace of mind than with a typical thermostat. Most smart thermostat companies estimate that you'll save 10-12% on heating and up to 15% on cooling yearly.

Should you get a smart thermostat?

While smart thermostats are generally an excellent investment, they aren't for everyone. If you live in a home without central air conditioning, a smart thermostat likely isn't worth the investment. You'll also need to ensure a strong WiFi connection to get the most out of your smart thermostat. 

Smart thermostats can be more challenging to install in older homes, especially if you don't have a common wire or C-Wire, which connects your smart thermostat to your heating and cooling system. Some companies make smart thermostats that don't require C-Wires, but you'll want to ensure that your heating and cooling system is compatible with whatever smart thermostat you choose.

Every smart thermostat includes added functionality over traditional thermostats, but they're not all created equal. We'll look at some key factors to consider when deciding between smart thermostat products. 

Wireless features/mobile app

If you want remote control of your thermostat system, a smart thermostat that can connect to your home WiFi and transmit data is your best bet. This feature lets you control your home's temperature and understand your energy use in real-time, all from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. However, these apps will vary by product in functionality and usability, so it's best to check out some online demos or reviews before making a final decision. 

Physical appearance/features

Some thermostats have a full touchscreen and a large, colorful display, while others are less bold but still have similar functionality. Touchscreens can make using your smart thermostat simple –  some thermostats even come with unique physical features to make climate control intuitive and easy. Of course, if you're concerned with the visual appearance of a smart thermostat in your home, you may lean toward one of the more visually discreet options so the smart thermostat doesn't jump out when you look at your wall.

Smart hub integration

If you're asking Alexa to play music for you, why not ask her to change the temperature too? Depending on your smart home software, your smart thermostat may be able to access features such as voice control and alerts built into your smart home setup.

For example, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee Smart Thermostat integrate with voice control but have different levels of compatibility with smart home software. Nest's product can communicate directly with Google Assistant through a Google Home speaker, while Ecobee's Smart Thermostat can link with Siri and Apple HomeKit. Both thermostats also work with Amazon Alexa.

Advanced learning

Uber knows when you're likely heading "home," and Spotify can pick the perfect song for you. Computers can adjust to your habits – and smart thermostats are no different. After you request temperatures for specific times of the day a few times, smart thermostats with advanced learning will understand your habits and can adjust for you.  


If you're always on the go, remembering to adjust your smart thermostat's temperature settings might be a struggle. Fortunately, some products have already solved this problem with georeferencing technology. A smart thermostat with geofencing technology sets up virtual perimeters around your home. When the technology is enabled, the device will know whether you (or, more accurately, your phone) are inside or outside the perimeter. Your smart thermostat will adjust the temperature appropriately when you leave and arrive home, minimizing energy waste. 

Seven-day scheduling

If you prefer to keep it simple, you're in luck. Not all smart thermostats have more sophisticated advanced learning and geofencing capabilities. However, many have a convenient feature that allows you to set schedules by the days of the week. If you're gone during the same hours, Monday through Friday, you won't need to turn off the thermostat each time you leave home. With a seven-day schedule feature, you can program the thermostat to adjust the temperature while at work and never worry about it again.

In 2008, ecobee created the world's first smart thermostat: the Ecobee Smart Thermostat. However, the industry didn't start to take off until 2011, when Google Nest launched its first product, the Nest Learning Thermostat. 

While Ecobee and Nest are still some of the biggest companies in the industry, many other companies – old and new – have come out with smart thermostat products. For example, Honeywell (founded in 1906) has become a dominant player in the smart thermostat industry, and Mysa (founded in 2016) has gained much traction with its smart thermostat for electric baseboard heaters. Here are our reviews of the major smart thermostat companies so you can compare your options:

Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat by ecobee


The Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat is Ecobee's newest smart thermostat model, following the success of their Ecobee3. It supports geofencing, mobile app control, and classic programmable schedules, allowing you to set temperatures for different hours of the day. It can even communicate directly with Siri/Apple HomeKit for effortless smart home integration. 

Its use of room sensors sets the ecobee4's capabilities apart. A common issue with smart thermostats is they only measure temperature in the room where they sit. As a result, the climate of the entire house depends on a single room. Ecobee solves this problem with its room sensors, which can be placed in different rooms to change individual climate settings. 

The biggest upgrade from previous Ecobee models is the new Alexa integration. Now, the ecobee4 acts as a physical Alexa speaker itself. It can do anything Alexa can, like tell you the outside weather, play a song, or turn connected lightbulbs around the house on and off. Check out our review of other available Ecobee products for more details.

Buying options: Amazon; ecobee

Nest Learning Thermostat by Google Nest

nest learning thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat is Google's original smart thermostat, set apart by its advanced features. Named for its learning algorithm, the Nest Learning Thermostat learns your personal temperature preferences to adapt and adjust, saving you time by automatically setting a schedule. Other notable features unique to the Nest Learning Thermostat include exclusive compatibility with the Nest Temperature Sensor and access to the Nest App. 

The Nest Learning Thermostat features a high-res display with Farsight, which displays the local weather and time when it senses your presence. It also includes a trim plate in seven different metal ring finishes for a cleaner look. From its sleek design to its position as the first ENERGY STAR-certified thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat continues to adapt its technology to provide comfort, convenience, and savings. Check out our complete review of the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat.

Buying options: Google

Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat by Emerson Thermostats

Sensi touch Wi-Fi Thermostat

The Sensi Touch Thermostat from Emerson has fewer software features than other companies' offerings but still has many essential smart thermostat tools. While the Sensi Touch doesn't learn from your habits, it can still use geofencing to adjust your temperature settings automatically. 

If geofencing isn't your thing, seven-day scheduling is a classic option, with the ability to access and tweak your climate control settings remotely through the Sensi app or on the colorful touch screen on the thermostat itself. You can hook up the Sensi Touch to most whole house systems and control it using voice software (after connecting it to voice-controlled devices like smart speakers).

Buying options: Amazon

Lyric T5 by Honeywell

Lyric T5 by Honeywell

The Lyric T5 is similar to the Emerson Sensi Touch thermostat in that it doesn't have some of the learning features of higher-end smart thermostats. The options it offers work well and provide high performance and value, considering the price tag. One of the most touted features of the Lyric T5 is its geofencing capabilities: It is accurate and supports Home and Away modes for climate control. Home mode detects your presence in the home, while Away mode means the thermostat can't find you in the house and will take energy-saving measures. 

You can use the Honeywell mobile app or the thermostat's touchscreen to set seven-day schedules, and adjust them from anywhere with an internet connection via the mobile app. The Lyric T5 offers quality at a low price point, albeit through a limited selection of features: Currently, it only has Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa compatibility if you want to link it to your whole house smart setup. Check out our complete review of Honeywell’s smart thermostats

Buying options: Amazon

ZEN Thermostat by Zen Within

Zen Thermostat

The ZEN Thermostat is all about simplicity. Design-wise, this thermostat is about as no-frills as they come, with a single-color interface and low-profile lighting patterns that display the temperature. Even installation is simple, with the option for a wire installation or to power your thermostat by battery. The simplicity of the ZEN Thermostat continues in its software capabilities. Unlike the Nest Learning Thermostat, ZEN has no fancy algorithms or predictive software. Instead, simple touch controls on the straightforward display are the temperature adjustment mode. 

Like most smart thermostats, you can also access ZEN from anywhere using the mobile app to adjust temperatures on the go. The ZEN Thermostat also has scheduling capabilities, but only if you connect the thermostat to a smart home hub or speaker. The ZEN Thermostat is a straightforward device with basic smart thermostat capabilities. It is a solid option for a homeowner looking to save energy and live in a more intelligent home.

Buying options: Amazon

What’s the best way to take control of your energy usage? Get solar-plus-storage! Your solar-plus-storage system will integrate directly with your energy management system, allowing for complete home control and significant energy savings. On the EnergySage Marketplace, you can compare up to seven quotes from pre-vetted solar installers to install a system that meets your needs at the right price.

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