Smart Thermostats in 2017 are becoming more in vogue in the smart home community. Nest enjoys a comfortable familiarity with the market and powerful brands like ecobee and Honeywell are making strong pushes forward in their technology and capabilities. Then there is the effective and simplistic design option presented by the Sensi smart thermostat to round the competition out.
A quick comparison of our top 5 smart thermostats for basic features:
- Honeywell and ecobee support HomeKit.
- Nest and ecobee do NOT require a C wire to install.
- All include touchscreen except the Sensi by Emerson.
- All these thermostats are smart, they connect to wi-fi and have an app.
- Nest and ecobees are the only ones that have motion sensing technology, but Honeywell’s Lyric series does have geofencing rules you can program.
The Top three, Nest Learning Thermostat, Ecobee4, and ecobee3 system compatibilities cover heating, cooling, heat pump, humidifer, dehumidifier, giving you more control than any other device.
Nest Learning Thermostat – 3rd Generation
The 3rd Generation Nest Learning Thermostat packages convenience and economy into one unit. It has a host of awesome features to play with, but really you could set it and forget it and that’s its strength. It is the most compact of our 7 units at 3.3 x 3.3 x 1.2 inches.
There are a couple of really cool Nest Thermostat features that really separate it from the pack. One of my favorites is the adaptive temperature settings, which lend to its title the “learning” thermostat. Not only is this feature crazy convenient, it also is economical.
The Nest Learning Thermostat actually learns your schedule, which allows it to predictively adjust the thermostat settings based on whether you are home or not.
The unit has an automatic Away Mode that will set your Nest Thermostat to an Eco Temperature whenever you aren’t home. This will put money back in your pocket by consuming far less energy; something old school thermostats just can’t do.
Additional Features of 3rd Generation Nest Learning Thermostat Include:
- Upgraded 5GHz band for Wi-Fi from 2.4GHz from 2nd Generation.
- Sharper and larger touchscreen display compared to 2nd generation.
- Monitor your energy consumption on your phone with the Nest App.
Eco settings. If you see a leaf, know that Nest is guiding you to the most energy efficient setting.
Wifi connectivity so you control your Nest Thermostat from pretty much any internet device, (phone, tablet, or laptop) no matter where in the world you are!
Voice compatibility. Nest Thermostat Google and Alexa by Amazon, so you can use your Amazon Echo or Google Home to voice control your thermostat.
Alerts. The Nest Thermostat will alert you if it detects something wrong with your heating and air equipment, or if temperatures drop so low your pipes may burst.
The integration of the smart thermostat with other Nest Products is another heavy right hook dealt by Nest. Your Nest Cam can be set to automatically record or alert you of motion when you are not home. Your Nest Protect fire detectors can display alerts on your thermostat for high levels of CO or smoke.
Finally, other companies and smart products like smart door locks and smart doorbells integrate seamlessly with Nest products. This makes Nest’s position at the top hard to shake.
Did I Mention Economy?
Assume a monthly electric bill of $200. Statistically, the Nest Thermostat has been proven to save well over 10% on energy, but let’s say it only saves 10%. One month with a Nest should save you $20. In one year you will have saved $240 and the thermostat will have essentially paid for itself.
With an extra $240 you could buy more smart home products!
Get A Nest Learning Thermostat (CLICK HERE)
Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat
The ecobee4 smart thermostat is a strong contender to surpass the popular Nest Learning Thermostat so I’ll highlight some of their similarities and differences.
First, the ecobee4 is excellent. It’s 4.29 x 4.29 inches. It has 3.5 inch display and a chique, simple, and responsive touchscreen. Also, there are few unique ecobee4 features that give it an edge over other smart thermostats and validate its rapid rise in popularity.
Included Room Sensor to Manage Temperature
While some smart thermostats are catching on, most still only measure the temperature of the home in one place. This can result in certain rooms being too hot or cold. The ecobee4 includes a room sensor to help manage hot and cold spots. This is especially helpful in two story homes.
While individual room sensors are a convenient feature, it requires you to perform a little extra work to get set up (like finding spots for them and then integrating) and if you want more you have to pay. Packs of two ecobee remote sensors are $79.
Room sensors help automate your ecobee4 thermostat as well. After you place remote sensors, your ecobee4 can detect occupancy. If someone comes home during a scheduled “away” period, ecobee4 will automatically adjust your home to your desired temperature.
Great Features, Well Supported, Many Integrations
Like the Nest, the ecobee4 also provides monthly energy reports and can save you on energy consumption. Neither the ecobee nor nest require C wires to install.
Multiple Integrations – Built in Amazon Alexa Voice Service and Speaker
The ecobee4 smart thermostat integrates with many different services. It works with Samsung SmartThings and is one of the few wi-fi thermostats to work with Apple HomeKit! The Honeywell Lyric T5 (below) supports HomeKit as well.
In addition, not only does the ecobee4 support Amazon Alexa, it has an Alexa speaker built inside! Meaning your thermostat can perform the many skills that come with Alexa on other devices.
Ecobee4 does not support google home. But like with most smart devices these days, there are workarounds. For instance, voice control for ecobee works with Google home through a smartthings hub.
So ecobee4 works with more things, like Apple Homekit, and has Alexa Built in. Doesn’t this make the ecobee4 better?
So Is Ecobee4 in 2nd Place? Not Really
It depends who you ask! If you don’t use HomeKit you wouldn’t care for some of the awesome benefits the ecobee4 provides. However, if you do have Apple HomeKit the ecobee4 is almost definitely your number 1 choice. It will allow your even more control with your voice, ability to integrate with other smart devices, and allow Siri to group multiple accessories into scenes, triggered by a command word or phrase.
Additionally, the ecobee4 is the best smart thermostat for two story homes. This is because of the extra temperature control granted by the room sensors. Two story home have a tougher time heating and cooling evenly and the remote sensors can help mitigate this problem, but you’ll may have to spend a couple bucks on extra sensors.
But if we aren’t speaking directly to Apple HomeKit users, it really has to come back to the standard features, and ease of use to which I tip in favor of Nest and its learning predictive algorithm, easy set-it and forget-it installation, sleek and compact design, and automatic economy suggestions.
Get an ecobee4 Alexa Enabled Thermostat (CLICK HERE)
Ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat
The fundamental difference between the ecobee3 and the ecobee4 is the built in Alexa control found in the ecobee4. Ecobee isn’t try to mislead customers about the comparable features. They are quite transparent here on their support page!
Ecobee did invest a TON of time and money into Alexa integration so there is no doubt they thought it a powerful enough feature to be the premier upgrade in the new model. So what does that mean for you, the consumer?
It means you can basically get the ecobee4 without Alexa for $199. This price is right off the ecobee site, too.
The ecobee3 is still capable of working with Alexa devices so to merge the best of both worlds, you can pick up and echo dot for $49 (http://amzn.to/2pUEej3) and then you have essentially the same capabilities as ecobee4 for same price plus a portable Alexa device.
Ecobee3 supports Apple HomeKit and comes with a room sensor as well.
Get An Ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat (CLICK HERE)
Honeywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat
Honeywell is a ginormous company with over a century of history. Just like all old things, the Honeywell brand was slow to move and stay on top of the emerging trends of smart home devices like smart thermostats. But don’t count them out yet!
Honeywell has been building out and improving the functionality of their Lyric T-series wi-fi thermostats over the last year. Currently, the Honeywell Lyric T5 wi-fi Thermostat is one of the more affordable smart home thermostats on the market.
While not as feature rich and as the Nest and ecobee thermostats mentioned in this list, the Honeywell Lyric T5 does support Amazon Alexa AND Apple HomeKit integrations.
The Lyric T5 is a bit of bulky square unit, at 4 x 4 x 1.25 inches, but the dark color and display is sleek subtle and should fit in with most any wall.
The Honeywell Lyric T5 features touchscreen, geofencing to change setting automatically when you leave and return, and can be managed via proprietary Lyric app (both Android and iPhone). And of course you can use voice control with Siri or Alexa to control the Lyric T5 in your home.
Does not connect to 5.0GHz bands (neither does ecobee). Requires a C wire for install.
Get a Honeywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat (CLICK HERE)
Sensi Smart Thermostat by Emerson Thermostats
I actually really love the humble charm of the Sensi Smart Thermostat. The Sensi Smart Thermostat by Emerson Thermostats is the most bare-bones, get the job done, smart thermostat I’ve ever seen.
The Smart Thermostat for the Modest Techie
The Sensi Smart Thermostat looks like the digital thermostat I had when I rented a townhouse after college. There’s no crazy gizmos or wizardry about it, it functions just like a regular old fashioned thermostat, too.
But then, crazy enough, the darned thing has an app! You can control it with your phone anywhere via wi-fi! And it sure doesn’t look like it, but it will integrate with your Alexa enabled devices too!
But that’s really it. No geofencing. No algorithm. No learning function, motion sensors, or sports news. Just a thermostat you can control with your phone or Amazon Alexa. And I think that is why I like it so much. Because it doesn’t put on airs. Sort of like the old millionaire who still wears jeans and drives his aging Toyota Camry because it’s great on gas.