5 Best Smart Thermostats (2021 Review)

Updated: Feb 7

This article was posted by ThisOldHouse.com



A smart thermostat does more than control the temperature of your home—it typically comes with features like remote access and smart home compatibility that allow you to conveniently set your temperature when you’re home or away. Keep reading to learn about our top picks for smart thermostats. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.


A smart thermostat can be controlled remotely through a mobile app and can be connected to smart home platforms like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. With a smart thermostat, you can create a schedule around when you want your home to be a certain temperature and regulate temperatures when you’re away from your home.


To learn more about the features of a smart thermostat and what models we recommend, read our review on the best smart thermostats below.

Best Voice Control: ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

  • $245

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This smart thermostat from ecobee has a high price tag because of all of the smart features that come with it. You can control this thermostat in three ways—on the thermostat, through the mobile app, or with Alexa’s voice control. Another unique element of this device is the addition of a sensor. This sensor will recognize if there are people at home or if the temperature is off and will adjust the temperature accordingly. Not to mention, this thermostat is compatible with Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT.

  • $245 at Amazon


Key Features

  • Includes a built-in Amazon Alexa and mobile app

  • Has a SmartSensor that regulates the temperature of a room

  • Comes with eco+, a free software upgrade to maximize energy efficiency

  • Installation takes 45 minutes or less

  • Comes with a three-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying


Just over 2,100 customers have reviewed this product on Amazon and gave it an average score of 4.5 stars out of 5. The Amazon average for all five smart thermostats in this review is 4.5 stars, making the ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control equal to that average. After including reviews from other leading e-commerce companies, the product’s score increased to 4.8 stars, making it 0.1 stars above the overall average for all five products across all of the e-commerce websites we looked at.


Some customers mentioned an easy installation, with some people hiring a professional installer and some customers installing the product on their own. Several reviewers were repeat ecobee customers who were upgrading their old ecobee with the newest generation. These repeat customers liked the addition of the sensor because it saved them from having to manually change the thermostat themselves.

However, there were some customer complaints about the thermostat not sticking to the desired temperature.


Best Smart Home Compatibility: Emerson Sensi ST75 Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Touchscreen Color Display

  • $149

  • $170

  • 13% off

Prices taken at time of publishing. If you’re looking for a thermostat that can be easily integrated into your smart home, this may be the product for you. You can connect it to a variety of smart home platforms, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings, to make managing your devices easier. On top of enjoying this product’s smart home integration, you’ll receive a bonus of electricity savings. With this thermostat, you can save up to 23% annually on your electricity bills.

  • $149 at Amazon


Key Features

  • Provides daily and historical energy usage reports

  • Requires a C wire

  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings

  • Installation includes built-in level, illuminated easy-click terminals, and step-by-step mobile app instructions

  • Comes with a three-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying


About 4,100 Amazon customers gave this product a score of 4.5 stars, which is equal to the Amazon average for all of the products listed in this review. The product’s score increased to 4.7 stars after factoring in reviews from other third-party review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB).


What stood out about Emerson was the company’s customer service—while most customers said that installation was simple and could be completed by following the instructions in the owner’s manual and on the mobile app, customers who had trouble were able to contact a representative who would walk them through the rest of the process. Regarding complaints, some customers complained about the poor design of the app.

Simplest Design: Google Nest Learning Thermostat

  • $226

  • $249

  • 10% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Google Nest is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon, and its simple interface is one of the reasons why it’s such a popular product. The thermostat itself is a small circle that can be turned left or right to change the temperature in your home. For more complex functions, like Home/Away Assist, you can use the Nest mobile app. While other smart thermostats come in one or two colors, this one comes in more than five—you can choose from black, brass, copper, polished steel, stainless steel, or white.

  • $226 at Amazon


Key Features

  • Learns your schedule and preferred temperatures

  • Has a mobile app

  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

  • The Home/Away Assist function automatically adjusts to an Eco Temperature when you leave your home to save energy

  • Includes a two-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying


Over 22,000 customers have reviewed this product on Amazon, giving it a rating of 4.4 stars. While this is slightly below the Amazon average for other products in this review, the score increased to 4.7 stars after averaging reviews from other third-party review sites.


In terms of what customers liked about this smart thermostat, the simple design was a prime benefit. Customers also liked how the Nest thermostat came with all of the necessary materials for installation, including a screwdriver and optional backing plate. Common complaints from customers mentioned that the thermostat would disconnect from smart devices randomly and that it wouldn’t hold a charge. When these sorts of issues arose, customers struggled to get in touch with a customer service representative for assistance.

Budget Pick: Emerson Sensi ST55 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat for Smart Home

  • $89

  • $130

  • 32% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Emerson’s ST55 thermostat looks like your standard thermostat, with buttons on its side and bottom to control the temperature in your home. However, this product is considered a smart thermostat because of features like compatibility with other devices and control through a mobile app. Compared to the other smart thermostats in this review, the Emerson Sensi ST55 is the most affordable and comes with a three-year warranty.

  • $89 at Amazon


Key Features

  • Works with heating and air conditioning equipment in most homes (a C wire is required for heat-only, cool-only, and heat pump systems)

  • Has a mobile app that allows you to remotely control the temperature from anywhere

  • Installation takes 30 minutes or less

  • Provides daily usage reports

  • Comes with a three-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying


This product received an average score of 4.6 stars from 7,400 Amazon customer reviews. Customers can set up geofencing, scheduling, remote access, and other smart features that allow for complete control of their home’s temperature when they’re at home or away. This thermostat doesn’t require a C wire in most newer homes, which makes installation fast and easy. However, some customers complained that the thermostat would disconnect from the router and have trouble reconnecting.

Easiest Installation: Honeywell Home T9 WIFI Smart Thermostat

  • $179

Prices taken at time of publishing. While most smart thermostats require connection to a C wire, the Honeywell Home T9 smart thermostat is easy to install and comes with an adapter that can be used in place of a C wire. Once the thermostat is installed, you have access to a variety of features, like temperature scheduling and alerts. For a wider range of features, you can purchase the model with a sensor to monitor the temperature of your home.

  • $179 at Amazon


Key Features

  • Learns your home’s heating and cooling patterns

  • Regulates temperature in multiple rooms

  • Delivers an efficient signal up to a 200-foot range

  • Compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and Microsoft Cortana

  • Comes with a one-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying


This product received a rating of 4.3 stars from just over 600 Amazon customers, which is 0.2 stars below the Amazon average for the products listed in this review. With reviews from other e-commerce websites, the product’s score increased to 4.6 stars.


Customers found the setup process for the Honeywell Home t9 smart thermostat to be easy. Once the thermostat was connected and an account was created through the Honeywell app, the screens walked customers through the rest of the setup process. Most customers said that the on-screen instructions were sufficient and that they didn’t need to consult the owner’s manual.

Although Honeywell says you can connect the thermostat to a 5 GHz band, several customers reported that wasn’t the case and that it only worked when connected to a 2.4 GHz band.


Buying Guide


From HVAC compatibility to the installation process, here are a few important factors to consider before buying a smart thermostat for your home.


HVAC Compatibility


Not all smart thermostats will work with your heating and cooling system because of differing wiring requirements. Before you purchase a smart thermostat, visit the manufacturer’s website to check if it’s compatible with your type of HVAC system.


Electronics Compatibility


Part of the lure of a smart thermostat is that it works with the electronics and smart devices around your home like a phone, laptop, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home Assistant. Before choosing a smart thermostat, decide what devices you want to control the thermostat from and determine if the product you’re considering connects with those devices.


Installation


Most smart thermostat manufacturers claim that their devices are easy to install if you read the owner’s manual and watch the instructional videos. However, smart thermostat installation may get tricky in the absence of a common wire, or C wire. A C wire allows for a continuous flow of 24 VAC power to your thermostat. Most smart thermostats require a connection to this wire, but older homes with older HVAC systems often lack it.


Some smart thermostat models, like Google Nest, can get by without a C wire by stealing power from other wires, but this can cause high-tech circuit boards to fail. If your HVAC system doesn’t have a C wire, you can either opt for a smart thermostat that doesn’t need this type of wire or consider hiring an electrician to install a C wire to make installation easier.


User Interface


Some smart thermostats will have touchscreen interfaces, while others will have more manual setups. We recommend reading customer reviews before purchasing one of these devices to determine what customers have said about how easy the interface is to use.


Frequently Asked Questions


What makes a thermostat smart?


Though each smart thermostat will have different features, here’s a list of some of the common features included with one of these devices:

  • Remote temperature control and scheduling

  • Touchscreen

  • Voice command

  • Email alerts

  • Integration with smart home devices

  • Sensors to determine when someone is home

What are the benefits of a smart thermostat?


One of the biggest benefits of a smart thermostat is that you can save money on your electricity bill in the long term. A smart thermostat is more efficient than traditional HVAC systems because of features like the automatic ability to turn the temperature up or down when no one is home.


Another benefit of a smart thermostat is that you can remotely control the temperature when you’re away. With a standard thermostat, you can only manage the temperature in your home by manually adjusting the thermostat’s buttons.


How much do smart thermostats cost?


The average cost of a smart thermostat is between $100–$250. While this may seem like a lot, smart thermostats can typically pay for themselves in a few years by saving you money on monthly heating and cooling costs.

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