We used to live in a “wired” world before, but things are changing and we are heading towards a “wireless” world now. The internet changed our world as no one has ever thought of. We live in a “highly connected” world now, where you can control your home in Washington DC sitting in Miami beach! The first internet-connected WiFi thermostat was Nest smart thermostat – which was released in 2011. Later Ecobee and Honeywell came up with WiFi-enabled thermostat models in the market. In this guide, we review WiFi thermostats or wireless thermostats which can be controlled over the internet using mobile apps.
Why Go for a WiFi Thermostat?
Benefits of WiFi Thermostat
#Control from anywhere – A WiFi thermostat can be controlled through the internet from anywhere in the world. Set/change the temperature, turn the thermostat ON/OFF, set a new program/schedule – you can do this all while you’re away using your smartphone.
#Accurate Weather Prediction – A WiFi thermostat (when connected to the internet) fetches local weather information from the internet and sends specific alerts to the home owner’s mobile phone.
#Everything on Mobile Apps – Get temperature/humidity levels, weekly/monthly energy usage reports, alert messages all on your smartphone mobile app.
#Geo-fencing – Smart WiFi thermostat models have Geofencing feature, which tracks the home owner’s location and adjust the temperature automatically when he/she nears home (from the office or an away place)
Wireless/WiFi thermostats are available for all the different types of home heating systems – be it a furnace-based system or a heat pump system or a boiler heating system. WiFi-enabled thermostat models are available even for the not-so-common electricity powered line voltage heating systems like a baseboard heater. Let’s see the best wireless WiFi thermostat models in each category!
WiFi Enabled Smart Thermostats
Let’s begin with smart WiFi thermostats – which offer innovative features like self-learning, geofencing, voice control, high energy savings, auto programs, and much more. All smart thermostat models have WiFi features and they can be connected to the internet via your home WiFi. We’ve shortlisted 2 best WiFi smart thermostat models for you to choose from.
#1 Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite
Ecobee 3 Lite
Ecobee is a new generation home automation company (just like Nest), and they have two flagship smart thermostat models – Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite. Out of these 2 best selling models, Ecobee 4 is the full featured version with full features of a smart thermostat. Ecobee 3 Lite is a budget model (priced affordably) and is basically a trimmed down version of Ecobee 4. We’ve reviewed both thermostats detailed in our article – Ecobee Smart Thermostat Review.
Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite – both models are wireless and home WiFi compatible. You can connect them to your home WiFi network and control them using the Ecobee mobile app. Ecobee4 is a wireless room sensor thermostat, as it comes with an extra room sensor (which is interfaced wireless to thermostat).
A quick review of important technical specs about wireless/internet connectivity of Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 lite is furnished below. If you’ve Ecobee WiFi thermostat in mind, you’d get detailed tech spec from our review of Ecobee thermostats.
|Spec||Ecobee 4||Ecobee 3 Lite|
|WiFi Security||WPA/WPA2, WEP, DHCP, TLS (915 MHz)||WPA/WPA2, WEP, DHCP, TLS (915 MHz)|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz||Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz|
|Bandwidths||15+ MB per month (varies with voice usage)||15 – 20 MB per month|
|Voice Control||Built in Amazon Alexa||Not Built in – Alexa device to be bought separate|
|Smart Hubs||Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Amazon Echo and more||Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Amazon Echo and more|
#2 Amazon Budget Friendly WiFi Smart Thermostat
Amazon has recently launched a very budget-friendly WiFi-enabled smart thermostat. Though I believe Nest smart thermostat is far superior in features & build quality compared to the Amazon thermostat, I’d love to place this in the #2 position owing to the features packed into this device at such a low price.
Amazon has launched this smart WiFi thermostat in 2021 in partnership with resideo (a Honeywell subsidiary). This thermostat works well with the Amazon Alexa ecosystem. You can control this thermostat over the internet using your smartphone (with the Alexa app). What I liked about this thermostat is its “learning ability” with the help of the “hunches” feature in the Alexa app. I’ve written a detailed review of the Amazon smart thermostat before, please take a look.
#3 Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E
Nest 3rd Gen thermostat
Nest E thermostat
Both Nest models – Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen are wireless/WiFi smart thermostats. Unlike Ecobee4, the full-featured Nest 3rd Gen doesn’t come with a wireless room sensor. However, you can purchase additional wireless room sensors from Nest and interface them with your thermostat. You can read such technical details by following our individual reviews of Nest and Ecobee.
A quick nutshell of important tech specs regarding WiFi and wireless connectivity of Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen is furnished below. If you’re seriously considering Nest wifi thermostats, we encourage you to go through our detailed review of Nest thermostats.
|Spec||Nest 3rd Gen||Nest E|
|Smart Hubs||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and more||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and more|
|Bandwidth||Average bandwidth approximately: 50MB/week upload and 50MB/week download||Average bandwidth approximately: 50MB/week upload and 50MB/week download|
|Bluetooth||Yes – Bluetooth Low Energy||Yes – Bluetooth Low Energy|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz, 802.11a/n 5GHz Wireless Interconnect: 802.15.4 @ 2.4GHz||Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz, 802.11a/n 5GHz Wireless Interconnect: 802.15.4 @ 2.4GHz|
|Mobile Apps||iOS and Android|
|Smart Hubs||Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Wink|
|WiFi Security||WPA and WPA 2 encryption methods|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz|
Wireless/ WiFi Digital Programmable Thermostats
Smart thermostats make our life so easier with their high-end features & functions, but they are high priced. If you don’t have the budget for a smart wireless thermostat, choose an affordable wireless/WiFi digital programmable thermostat. These are basically the popular 7 Day or 5 Day programmable digital thermostats equipped with wireless and WiFi capability. You can control these thermostats via the internet using your mobile phones (using the apps installed) – like you can turn ON/OFF, change temperature settings, change program schedule etc.
We’ve shortlisted the 3 best wireless/WiFi-enabled digital programmable thermostats for you to choose from. Read through our list and see the highlights of each model.
#1 Honeywell RTH9585WF – WiFi 7 Day Programmable Thermostat
#2 Emerson Sensi – ST75
#3 Honeywell RTH6580WF – Budget Friendly WiFi Programmable Thermostat
#4 Emerson Sensi – ST55 – DIY Wireless Thermostat
Line Voltage- Wireless Thermostat
Line voltage thermostats are used for heating/cooling systems running on line voltage (120 or 240 volts). An example would be baseboard heaters – where direct electricity is converted to heat energy. Only about 10% of homes in America uses line voltage-based systems. A majority (that is about 90%) of homes use low voltage systems like a central furnace or a boiler or heat pump-based systems. The key info here is that a line voltage heating/cooling system requires a thermostat that runs on line voltage. You can not use a low voltage thermostat (like Nest or Ecobee or Sensi) with a line voltage heating system. You may read our complete guide on Line Voltage Thermostats to see different wireless/WiFi high voltage thermostat models.
#1 MySa – Line Voltage WiFi Thermostat
Heat Pump – WiFi Thermostat Models
Heat pumps are common in most homes in the USA. Some of the homes use heat pumps with auxiliary/emergency heating. If you have a heat pump with aux/emergency heating, make sure the thermostat you choose supports the same (be informed some thermostat models don’t support auxiliary heating).
Furnace & Boiler – WiFi Thermostat
As we’ve written before, 90% of America runs on the central furnace or boiler-based systems or heat pump-based HVAC systems. All these 3 systems are low voltage HVAC systems. We’ve reviewed the right thermostat models for each of these systems individually in our guides – say Guide to Choose Furnace Thermostat or our Guide to Choose Boiler Thermostat. We’re listing handpicked wireless thermostat models for furnace & boiler-based systems here.
#1 Ecobee 4 & Ecobee 3 Lite – are excellent choices as WiFi thermostats for central furnace-based or boiler-based systems. They are compatible up to 2 stages of heating.
#2 Nest 3rd Gen & Nest E – are the next best (or as equally best as Ecobee models) choice as WiFi thermostat for furnace/boiler-based systems.
Check this list of best furnace thermostats and boiler thermostats.
Wireless/WiFi Underfloor/Radial Heating Thermostat
If you’re a little curious here, “underfloor heating” is used in homes to heat the floor surface. A heating system (either insulated electric wire-based or hydronic/hot water-based) is installed under the floor to heat the floors evenly during winter. Underfloor heating systems are common in homes located in places with extreme winter conditions. We’ve reviewed different models of underfloor heating thermostats – and we’ve covered some wireless underfloor heating thermostats as well. We’re listing one of the best wireless thermostat models for underfloor heating below.
Advantages and Benefits of Using a WiFi Thermostat
A wifi thermostat can help you to control your home/business temperature from anywhere around the world with the help of applications available(ios/android etc). It makes your life very easy. You may need to spend some additional bucks, but the wifi thermostats are totally worth it. Moreover, this additional amount spent will come back to your pocket as savings at the end of the day.
Control from anywhere in the world
The WiFi thermostats can be controlled from anywhere in the world. Do you want your home to be cool and pleasant when you reach there after office? Just set the required settings(temperature) for your house from your office, and your home will be welcoming you with a pleasant cool ambiance that you desired!
Smart device compatibility
Wifi thermostats are compatible with smart devices. These include your laptop,pc, tablet, phone etc, you can use these devices to control your thermostat even if you are not at home.
You already might be familiar with applications nowadays (android/ios etc). Totally cool and friendly applications right? These applications built to control the wifi thermostats are also very clean, smart, stylish and user friendly in order to make your job damn easy.
A wifi thermostat gives you alerts and updates about the maintenance of the devices connected. Say, the change of the air filter. This makes your systems more capable of running in an efficient and productive manner.
Easy management of multiple devices
You can manage multiple thermostats residing in various locations in the world (your office, business, home, factory, etc) all using different smart devices. You can save your time and sit relaxed wherever you are as you have control in hand.
Wifi thermostats do have more accuracy. The swing and variations are much less compared to conventional thermostats. Nest/Honeywell wifi smart thermostats say around +-1 degree swing in temperature.
For sure, wifi thermostats give you more control owing to their user-friendliness which ultimately results in more energy saving. Ideally, a smart wifi thermostat can pay for itself. Nest, Honeywell thermostat can save you around 20 percent on average(depending on your family and surroundings). If your annual electrical bill is around 1200-1500 $, you most probably would be saving around 250$ a year. This means you get the thermostat for free (with 1 year of savings), also you can all these benefits of thermostat too like(comfort, management, better living, etc.
These wifi thermostats come in terrific looks, the Nest thermostat stands top in the list for a look. The nest thermostat does have a unique, contemporary, and trendy design which adds attraction to your interior. You can change its display to match your house’s interior. Complete touch operation is another specialty of most of the wifi thermostats.
You can receive alerts to your smartphone/email etc with respect to your house temperature variation. Like the house is too cold or too hot, and you can handle this situation very easily with the mentioned applications. Also, it sends alerts whenever a system breaks or fails so that you can take the necessary actions even if you are away.
Remote control over your fans
You can control your fans, you can program it, and can turn it off/on remotely. Say, you had some unexpected guests in the home and you are in the office, the wifi thermostat allows you to turn on the fan that the guests can stay inside your home relaxed until you reach the house.
We believe you’ve been benefited by reading through our wireless thermostat reviews. Choosing the right thermostat for your home requires intense research, like identifying your current HVAC system, your current wiring type, which type of new thermostat you need, and so on. We crafted our website ThermostatGuide – as an authentic resource on thermostats helping people buy the right thermostat. We intend to help you choose the best wireless/WiFi thermostat with this article and we believed we’ve been of help to you in your research.
FAQ – Frequent Questions!
Is my heating/cooling system (HVAC) compatible with WiFi thermostat?
The compatibility of a thermostat varies with different models. The compatibility of Nest is not the same as that of Ecobee or Honeywell. You should read the compatibility specification of the wifi thermostat model you prefer. We’ve clearly written about compatibility in the individual review of each thermostat.
Will my WiFi thermostat work without Internet or WiFi ?
Any WiFi thermostat model will serve its core function – that is controlling your HVAC (heating/cooling) system and regulating temperature without any internet connectivity or an active WiFi connection. They use the already set schedule/program to maintain temperature. An active WiFi connection is only needed when you want to control the thermostat (say change temperature setting or schedule) from an away place over the internet (using your mobile phone). Also, some advanced features like live weather tracking and geofencing would need active WiFi/internet connectivity.
Can I connect WiFi thermostat to Smart Hubs like Alexa, Homekit?
Most of the best wifi thermostat models like Ecobee4, Ecobee 3 Lite, Nest 3rd Gen, Nest E, Emerson Sensi ST75, Honeywell RTH9585 can be integrated with smart hubs like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, Amazon Echo etc. Some models are compatible with other smart hubs like Samsung SmartThings, Wink. Integrating with a smart hub enables you to control your thermostat using your voice.