If you’ve read our article on “Homekit Thermostats“, you should already know about the innovations happening in the home automation industry. The “Big 3” tech giants – Apple, Amazon and Google compete each other with its own flagship home automation hubs – Homekit, Alexa (with Amazon Echo) and Google Home respectively. If you’re still wondering what is a home automation hub – this is simply a smart device which interconnects different smart gadgets together into a single hub. You can then control each connected device using your voice or internet (using mobile apps/browser) as you like. In this article we write about Alexa Thermostats – which are basically thermostats compatible with Amazon Alexa.
Before reviewing Alexa thermostats, let’s learn a bit about Alexa and how it functions. For Alexa to work perfectly, you’ll need an Alexa enabled device in your home. There are many devices with built in Amazon Alexa like the Amazon Echo speakers, or the Alexa Remote for Fire TV stick, or third party products like Harman Allure speakers, or Bose speakers or other products in the market. Ecobee 4 is the only thermostat with built in Amazon Alexa. All other thermostat models are ‘alexa compatible’ but they don’t have built in alexa. You’ll need an alexa enabled device in your home for any ‘alexa compatible’ product to utilise its alexa features & capabilities.
If you’ve any device with built in alexa (like Echo speakers, or other devices), an alexa compatible thermostat (say Emerson Sensi ST75, or Honeywell RTH9585 or Ecobee 3 Lite) will easily integrate with the device. Once integrated, you can control the thermostat using alexa voice commands.
Thermostats are basically two types – low voltage thermostats and line voltage thermostats. In America, about 90% of homes uses HVAC systems that require low voltage thermostats to control them. Only about 10% of homes uses heating systems that require line voltage thermostats. Both types (line voltage and low voltage) have Alexa compatible thermostat models available. Let’s see them in detail.
Let’s first see “Low voltage thermostats” – which are used for hvac systems like central furnace systems, boiler based systems and heat pump based systems. Line voltage thermostats are used for heating systems that use direct electricity like a baseboard heater.
Smart Alexa Thermostats
“Smart Thermostats” are the pioneer smart home gadgets that came to market in the year 2011. Nest released the first smart thermostat in 2011. Later, companies like Ecobee joined the party. Smart thermostats come packed with smart features that sets them apart from other thermostat models.
All smart thermostat models have voice control facility (enabled via smart home hubs). The most popular smart thermostats are Ecobee & Nest; and both of them are compatible with Alexa. Let’s see other highlight features of smart thermostats
Self Learning – Nest smart thermostats are self learning – which means you don’t need to program them manually. They learn your habits and lifestyle patterns using artificial intelligence and finally creates a program/schedule (for thermostat) that best suits your lifestyle.
High Energy Savings -The next important smart feature is “high energy savings” – where smart thermostats save energy like no other thermostat models.
Geofencing – Another smart feature is geo-fencing – where they track homeowners location and act accordingly. If you’re starting to home from office, “geo-fencing” feature in your thermostat will sense this and sets your thermostat to the most comfortable temperature setting.
WiFi connectivity – All smart thermostat models are WiFi enabled and they have mobile app based control from anywhere in the world via internet. You can do things like turn thermostat ON/OFF, change schedule/program, read energy usage reports, get alerts etc on your mobile app.
#1 Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite
As a “smart thermostat“, both Ecobee & Nest deserves to be #1 by all standards. In this guide about “Amazon Alexa Thermostats” – we choose Ecobee models as #1 for the reason that it goes well with the “Amazon Alexa” device. Both Ecobee models (Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite) are well optimized to work in sync with Alexa. Nest thermostats are compatible with Alexa but the performance is not in tune compared to Ecobee devices. Nest thermostats are better optimized for Google Home and Apple Homekit. If you’re looking for a good smart thermostat that works perfectly with Amazon Alexa, you can choose Ecobee with blind eyes.
Ecobee has two models – Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite; where Ecobee 4 – is the full featured model which comes with integrated Amazon Alexa device and an extra room sensor (to manage any hot/cold spots in your home). Ecobee 3 Lite – is the budget model thermostat, which is basically a trimmed version of Ecobee 4. We’ve compared both models in our detailed review of Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite.
#2 Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E
Nest Labs were the pioneer in “smart thermostats” and you can read the full review about Nest thermostats in our article. As I wrote above, both Nest and Ecobee make excellent smart thermostats. In the context of this article (on Amazon Alexa compatible thermostats), we consider Nest #2 because Nest thermostat models (Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E ) are not perfectly optimized for Amazon Alexa. They both (Nest models) are compatible with Amazon Alexa but not as optimized as Ecobee models. Nest thermostats are better optimized for Google Home and Apple Homekit.
As we noted above, Nest has two thermostat models – Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E. Out of these two, Nest 3rd Gen is the full featured model with all functionalities of a smart thermostat (including higher compatibility with different type of HVAC systems). Nest E is the budget model – which is basically a trimmed version of Nest 3rd Gen. Read our full review and comparison of Nest 3rd Gen vs Nest E.
WiFi Enabled Alexa Thermostats
If you don’t have the budget for a high end “smart thermostat” but prefer a model that has WiFi based control and voice control through smart home hubs like Homekit or Amazon Alexa, go for a WiFi enabled thermostat with smart hub compatibility. We’ve found Honeywell RTH9585WF and Emerson Sensi ST75 two great choices as a Homekit compatible WiFi thermostat.
#1 Honeywell RTH9585WF
Honeywell RTH9585WF – is one of the best selling WiFi thermostat out there currently. This model is an upgraded version of Honeywell RTH9580WF – which was #1 best seller for a long period of time. This model is compatible with a lot of HVAC system types and you can check the compatibility in our guide.
#2 Emerson Sensi ST75
Emerson Sensi ST75 – is the next best choice in Homekit compatible WiFi thermostats. We’ve covered the model very detailed in our review of Emerson Sensi ST75 – which you should read if you’re considering this thermostat.