Best Smart Thermostats in 2017

Product Features / Benefits Price / ROI Buying Options
ecobee4 image ecobee4

Additional detectors

Alexa integration

Geofencing capabilities

$249

2-3 yr payback

Best Buy

Amazon

Learning Thermostat image Learning Thermostat

Advanced learning

Geofencing capabilities

$249

Save $130-$145 / year

Best Buy

Amazon

Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat image Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat

Smart alerts

Large touchscreen

$140-$200

2-3 yr payback

Amazon

Home Depot

Wiser Air image Wiser Air

Utility feedback

Unique program modes

$194

2-3 yr payback

Home Depot

Amazon

Lyric T5 image Lyric T5

7 day programming

Geofencing capabilities

$100-$150

Best Buy

Amazon

Smart Thermostats Buyer's Guide

What is a smart thermostat?

Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature can require energy use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Smart thermostats connect to your central heating and cooling system in ways traditional thermostats don’t. Plus, they also have adaptive technology. While you control your heating and cooling from your smartphones, the device is taking notes. It will remember your behavior and adjust the temperature accordingly in the future. The result is a device that can help you cut energy costs by providing fine control over heating and cooling, without inconvenience or sacrificing any comfort in your home.

Why buy a smart thermostat?

What can a smart thermostat do that a standard thermostat can’t? They can connect to all your other smart devices. They can integrate geofencing monitoring (setting a virtual perimeter around your house, and monitoring whether or not devices such as smartphones are inside or outside of that perimeter). They'll also allow you to program different controls for different days of the week. 

In addition, most will allow you to control your home climate wirelessly. Using a smart thermostat, you can schedule temperature changes throughout the day, keeping your home at the optimal temperature at all times. You can also set vacation schedules to help conserve energy while you’re away for an extended period of time. This control also allows for energy and money savings by eliminating inefficiencies in how you heat or cool your home. And finally, most smart thermostats come compatible with mobile and/or web applications, giving you insight into your energy usage and home climate in real time and on the go. You can turn your system on or off completely wirelessly, for better savings and comfort.

What smart thermostat features are important to consider?

Not all smart thermostats are created equal. There are a few product specifications that you need to consider as you shop for your smart thermostat.

Wireless features/mobile app

If you want remote control of your thermostat system, you should look for a smart thermostat that can connect to your home Wi-Fi and transmit data. You can use your smart thermostat control the temperature of your home and understand energy usage in real-time, all from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Smart thermostats become much more user-friendly and accessible if the manufacturer offers a paired mobile app for remote control of your system. Mobile apps that are designed to work seamlessly with your thermostat offer fine control and data viewing in an easy-to-use mobile format.

Physical appearance/features

Some thermostats come with a full touchscreen and colorful display, while others are less bold, with similar functionality. Touchscreens can make using your smart thermostat simple, while some thermostats come with unique physical features to make climate control intuitive and easy.

Compatibility

Buying a thermostat that works with your connected home software can maximize your smart thermostat’s functionality. Depending on the smart home software you use (Apple HomeKit, Amazon Echo, Samsung SmartThings, etc.), your smart thermostat may be able to access features such as voice control and alerts that are built into your smart home setup.

Compatibility with your existing home heating and cooling system is also necessary for a smart thermostat to work. Incompatibility problems usually only pop up with older systems, and smart thermostat manufacturers usually provide a list of systems that work with their products.

EnergySage Smart Thermostats Reviews
  • Review: ecobee4 by ecobee

    ecobee4 image

    The ecobee4 smart thermostat is ecobee’s newest 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. What sets the ecobee4’s capabilities apart, however, are its use of room sensors. A common issue with smart thermostats is they only measure temperature in the room where they are installed. As a result, the climate of the entire house is determined by a single room. Ecobee solves this problem with its room sensors, which can be placed in different rooms to change individual climate settings as necessary. 

    The biggest upgrade from previous ecobee models is the new Alexa integration. While previous versions of the ecobee were compatible with Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and Amazon Alexa, the ecobee4 has built in Alexa capabilities, and is a physical Alexa speaker itself. Now, the ecobee4 can do anything Alexa can do, like tell you the outside weather, play a song, or turn on and off connected lightbulbs around the house.

    Buying Options: Best Buy | Amazon
  • Review: Learning Thermostat by Nest

    Learning Thermostat image

    The best feature of the Nest Learning Thermostat is in the name – it learns from your habits and changes climate settings automatically to maximize your energy efficiency. After manually setting temperatures for a few days, the thermostat will begin to learn your behaviors and automatically creates accurate and custom temperature scheduling to save energy while keeping your home at the temperature you want. If you ever need to adjust your home’s temperature on the fly, Nest’s mobile app allows for remote and instant adjustments. 

    A newly included and popular feature of the latest (3rd generation) Learning Thermostat is the use of geofencing technology to track registered family members by their smart phone locations in order to understand when nobody is home and when energy can be saved. Daily energy usage data and tips on how to use less power are easily viewable from Nest’s mobile app. As an added bonus, the Learning Thermostat’s outer ring can be switched out to copper, stainless steel, black, or white to best fit your home’s style – the icing on the cake of the Learning Thermostat’s simple and elegant design.

    Buying Options: Best Buy | Amazon
  • Review: Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat by Emerson Thermostats

    Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat image

    The Sensi Touch Thermostat from Emerson has fewer software features than some of its competitors, but still offers many of the essential smart thermostat tools. While the Sensi Touch doesn’t learn from your habits, it still can use geofencing to automatically adjust your temperature settings. If geofencing isn’t your thing, 7-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. Like most smart thermostats, the Sensi Touch can be hooked up to most whole house systems, and can be controlled by voice software (by connecting it to voice-controlled devices like smart speakers).

    Buying Options: Amazon | Home Depot
  • Review: Wiser Air by Schneider Electric

    Wiser Air image

    Schneider Electric offers a complete smart thermostat in their Wiser Air model. Switching on the “Eco IQ” mode allows the thermostat to begin learning your home habits and preferences, so that after about a week, your home is always the right temperature. What sets the Wiser Air apart from other learning thermostats is the method of learning - instead of having you set temperatures you want, simply indicate on the thermostat or mobile app if you are warm or cold, and the thermostat will adjust accordingly to make you more comortable. The Wiser Air also monitors outside temperature, and will adjust indoor temperatures based on the local weather conditions. The touch screen can display weather reports, including emergency weather alerts. 

    Another novel and useful feature of the Wiser Air is the “Comfort Boost.” This option lets you pump a quick burst of heating or cooling through your home without changing your programmed settings or Wiser Air’s learned routine. Unique options like the Comfort Boost and Eco IQ mode set Wiser Air apart as a new take on climate control.

    Buying Options: Home Depot | Amazon
  • Review: Lyric T5 by Honeywell

    Lyric T5 image

    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, but 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. A Home mode means it detects your presence in the home, while an Away mode means the thermostat can't find you in the house, and will take energy-saving measures. The Honeywell mobile app or the thermostat’s touchscreen can be used to set 7-day schedules, which can be adjusted immediately 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 in to your whole house smart setup.

    Buying Options: Best Buy | Amazon
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