We’ve published lots of useful guides on thermostats, all of them helping to find the best thermostat for your home. Ideally, the best home thermostat is the one which keeps your home temperatures comfortable (evenly distributed among all rooms) and saves energy usage at the same time. Every homeowner prefers a smart home thermostat these days, as a smart thermostat brings lots of convenient features with the model – like WiFi connectivity, Geo fencing, self learning of living patterns and auto programming, high energy savings, maintenance alerts of hvac systems and more. The best smart home thermostat will be having all these features built in.
The Best Home Thermostat – Features to Look
As you may already know, there are different variants of home thermostats. As I wrote above, a smart thermostat is the most preferred choice these days by any homeowner. But smart thermostats comes with a high price tag which many people may find out of their budget. If not a smart thermostat, the next best home thermostat choice is a WiFi thermostat model – which has most of the essential features of a new generation smart home gadget. The difference is that a WiFi thermostat (non smart) will not have “self learning” or auto programming feature.
If you’re still out of budget for a wireless/wifi home thermostat, I would advise you choose a normal digital programmable thermostat (7 day or 5 -2 day programmable) – which essentially serves all the basic purpose of a thermostat. Let’s skim through the important features required in a home thermostat.
#1 Energy Savings – A good thermostat should be able to provide a good rate of energy savings – say in the range of 10% or higher. Thermostat makers claim different energy savings percentage for their models, say Ecobee claims upto 23% energy savings, where as Nest claims nearly 13% energy savings. Honeywell and Emerson usually claims near 10% energy savings on annual energy utilisation.
#2 WiFi/Wireless Connectivity – is a very useful feature for home thermostats. You’ll be able to connect the thermostat to your home WiFi and control the device from anywhere using mobile apps. You can turn ON/OFF, change temperature settings, read energy reports, set schedules and a lot more can be performed using your smartphone. We’ve a guide featuring WiFi thermostats – helping you find the best home thermostat with WiFi connectivity.
#3 Scheduling/Programming – is a must for any home thermostat model. The best smart home thermostat models like Ecobee and Nest are “self learning” and they create a schedule themselves (auto programming) by learning your home habits. Most WiFi enabled thermostats (non smart variants) comes with preset schedule for week days and week ends. These schedules can also be programmed based on your preferences. The budget friendly digital programmable thermostat usually don’t have preset schedules but you can program them manually for 7 days or 5 – 2 days (based on the model).
#4 Voice Control – is a nice to have feature in home thermostats. You can control your thermostat using your voice from anywhere in the home – like turn ON/OFF, change temperature and more. These days thermostats are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit – where you can control the thermostat using your voice.
#5 Geo fencing – is another nice to have feature in any home thermostat. Geo fencing feature identifies the location of homeowner and detects when he/she is away from home. The thermostat will automatically move to “away settings” when homeowner is out of home. On a similar note, the thermostat will automatically adjust temperature in your rooms (to the set/preferred temperature) whenever homeowner is nearing home from an away location.
Top 7 – Best Home Thermostats
We’ve seen those essential features required in the best smart home thermostat. Now let’s see which all models offer those crucial features. Before we start, let’s classify thermostat models into 3 variants – 1) Smart Thermostats 2) WiFi Thermostats and 3) Digital Programmable Thermostats.
- Smart Thermostats – Self Learning/Programming, WiFi Enabled, Voice Control, Geo fencing and Smartphone app
- WiFi Thermostat – All the features of smart thermostat except “self learning/programming”
- Digital Programmable – No WiFi, No Self learning or any such features. The device will be programmable on screen.
The Best Smart Home Thermostats
Let’s begin with the best smart home thermostat models and then move on to WiFi enabled models (non smart variants).
#1 Ecobee Home Thermostats
Ecobee has two thermostat models – Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite – both are smart home thermostats. Ecobee 4 is the full featured model and Ecobee 3 Lite is the budget version.
What is in common(features) for all?
- WiFi enabled– All these thermostats can be connected to your home wifi so that you can control it from various parts around the world
- Smart phone/gadget controllable– All these 3 thermostats do have ios/android apps which allows you to manage your heater/ac via your thermostat from anywhere around the world or any place in your home
- Touch Panel– The panels are touch enabled for all the three
Well, these WiFi smart thermostats are different in many manners but they do have some bunch of common features which will be very interesting for you from the perspective of a buyer.
Rank 1. Nest Learning Thermostat
So why do we gave rank 1 to Nest learning thermostat? Lets have a look.
Advantages of Nest WiFi learning thermostats.
- Learning Capability– The best and unique feature of Nest thermostats. It does have the ability to learn your behaviors and to respond with respect to it. Nest take 1 week to analyze your common behaviors. For example, if you are setting 23 degree Celsius or 73 degree Fahrenheit during 10 pm every day(before sleep) and turning up to 82 degree F when you wake up at 7 am, Nest will learn and store it. No matter if you do something unusual(like turning the temperature down/up drastically). Nest is very intelligent that it doesn’t record such kind of unusual activity. Nest adapts itself to your most preferred settings. In short, nest makes your life damn easy, it acts as a personal assistant for you. It act according to your wish automatically, neither you program it nor you remember to modify the settings.
- Sleeky Design– Very much like the apple products , nest also focus highly on their designs. To be frank, they’ve came up with a super sexy design. Unlike the conventional designs of the other thermostats, Nest, with a round and shiny look, appears like a super cool gadget for your house. It will be a decoration for your house.
- Easy Installation – The nest claims that you can install the thermostat within 30 minutes. Well, it depends on how much expert you are in the installation and for sure you can definitely install it in 30 minutes. It doesn’t need the C wire , you can leave it free(according to Nest). The detailed pdf/video installation guide can be found in the nest website. Also you can hire certified processionals from their website for installation.
- No need of batteries – You can save some bucks, replacing the batteries every year.
- Ease of use – The usage is pretty easy and convenient. You will find Nest very easy and user friendly to program and change settings
- Airwave algorithm– Nest only have the airwave algorithm which gives you more savings. As far as an AC is concerned, the majority of the energy is consumed by fan and compressor. Of which, compressor eats most of the energy. Even if the compressor is turned off, the compressor coils will stay cool for 5-9 more minutes. Nest’s airwave algorithm uses this logic save more energy for you. It turns off the compressor 5-6 minutes before the ac achieves your targeted temperature. In short, you save the energy running the compressor for 5 minutes
- Unlimited time Periods – You can have unlimited time periods for nest thermostats while it is just 4 for honeywell and ecobee.
- Awesome monthly report and the leaf badge– The monthly reports of nest are simply incredible, it will also give you a leaf badge if your savings were above the benchmark. This leaf badge is very interesting, it will show you how much leaves you earned comparing to previous months as well as all the nest thermostat users around the world. You can compare your savings amount comparing to the other Nesters.
- Google’s acquisition of Nest -It was a big news recently that Google acquired Nest. With this acquisition, it is sure that more exciting features would be implemented to Nest. This should also increase the resale value of Nest thermostats.
- The biggest disadvantage of Nest is its temperature swing of +/- 3 degrees . Well , the company does say a temperature swing of 1 degree, but it is generally said that Nest does have a swing of 3 degrees.
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Rank 2. Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
Advantages of Honeywell Wi-fi smart thermostat
- Very low temperature swings– Honeywell is well known for its low temperature swings. Nest learning thermostat is said to have a temperature swing of +/- 3 degrees while it is just +/- 1 degree for Honeywell smart wifi thermostat.
- Better Price – Even though not much , a honeywell WiFi smart thermostat is a few dollar less than that of Nest.
- Continuous display– Well , this cannot be said as an advantage, but some times it could be an advantage, depending on personal preferences. It will show the status( current temperature and other options) continuously. It dims when it is idle. The Nest will only display the status when we are near by or it sense our presence (this is intended to save energy). Anyways the point is ,With honeywell, we can see the status being anywhere in the room in a quick glance
- Match your home wall color– You can change the thermostat color to match your home background. This will make your wall look super cool.
- Alerts – The Honeywell will send you alerts on unexpected or non- ordinary situations. Say an extreme temperature change or filter change will be alerted. The best part is ,you can receive these alerts to your connected devices (to you phone or as email alerts). The Nest thermostat lack this feature.
- Hard Installation – Compared to Nest the honeywell wifi thermostat’s installation is hard.
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Rank 3. Ecobee EB-SMARTSi-01 Smart Thermostat
Ecobee launched the first smart wifi thermostat in the world in 2009. Even though the Nest overtook the market in wifi thermostats later, Ecobee stands as the builders of the first wifi smart thermostat.
Advantages of Ecobee Wi-fi smart thermostat
- Super Detailed Reports– Reports are the best feature of an Ecobee wifi smart thermostats. Their reports gives you lot more of interesting data compared to Nest and Honeywell. The reports will be on comparison with the previous months, like this months cooling/heating was 75 hours which was 20 hours less than last month. The report comes up interesting piece of data like , your savings/consumption compared to the state average, weather changed compared to previous months etc.
- Alerts– Very much like Honeywell, Ecobee sends you email alerts in time of high temperature changes or other abnormalities
- Support for blackberry– Ecobee does have application for blackberry while Honeywell and Nest do have only for ios/android.
- Poor design – Ecobee stands no where near to the advanced designs and looks of Nest/Honeywell smart thermostats. The touch screen is old resistive type that your touch experience will be a nightmare.
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Comparison table for Nest,Honeywell and Ecobee smart wifi thermostats
Lets check this table for easy comparison of all these three thermostats
|Design and looks||The best design, the most stylish and good looking – 4.5/5||Good looking, but not as good as Nest- 4/5||Satisfactory design – 3.5/5|
|Temperature Swings||+-3 degrees||+- 1 degree||+- 1 degree|
|Savings Percentage||19-20 Approximately||19-20 Approximately||19-20 Approximately|
|Filter Change Alert||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supported OS for Apps||Android/ios||Android/ios||Android/ios/Blackberry|
|Installation||Fine with RSWG||Need C wire||Android/ios/Blackberry|
|Ease of Programming||Very Easy||Very Easy||Easy|
|Time periods||No Limit||4||4|
|Password lock protection||Yes||Yes||No|
|Number of locations in an account||2||More than 2||More than 2|
|Touch Screen Technology||Latest Capacitive type||Latest Capacitive type||Old Resistive type- This makes your touch experience really hard|