Technology

The best smart thermostats to buy in 2020





Smart thermostats do greater than handle a heating and cooling schedule. These app-enabled smart home products make it doable to regulate your thermostat out of your cellphone whether or not you are on the sofa, on the grocery retailer or on trip — anyplace your cellphone or cellular machine is related to a Wi-Fi or mobile community. Many good thermostats additionally work with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri now too, supplying you with one more solution to alter your settings with distant entry to your good residence programs. 

Some good thermostat programs additionally use good options like a movement sensor to find out if you happen to’re residence or away and routinely change the temperature — each heating and cooling — for you, with out you having to fiddle together with your HVAC system. Others depend on a geofencing radius: When you get a sure distance from your own home, they routinely change to away mode after which again to residence mode once you return. Then there are options like distant sensors, an influence extender package, thermostats that work with current infrastructures (in different phrases, which can be appropriate with Apple HomeKit) and, in fact, thermostats that measure your vitality utilization in order that your own home may be extra vitality environment friendly. Actually, a wise residence thermostat is an energy-saving good machine that is good for each the setting and your pockets.

Even higher, these choices supply far more than a programmable thermostat — you desire a studying thermostat that will get higher at regulating the temperature to fit your preferences.

To accompany these trendy options, many related heating and cooling programs boast modern designs. From a rounded shape to a responsive touchscreen, good thermostats look quite a bit totally different than your conventional thermostat. They will additionally ship you good alerts, sync with the remainder of your good residence gadgets and a few even reply to voice instructions.

Let’s discover the out there choices mannequin by mannequin. We’ll spotlight what makes every mannequin stand out from the remainder and finally decide an total winner of one of the best good thermostat from the pack. Here is a listing of good thermostats we have examined lately:

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Ecobee Sensible Thermostat is my favourite decide for greatest good thermostat out there immediately. Sure, it is costly at $249, nevertheless it has the efficiency and options to again it up — particularly if you wish to discuss to Alexa with out having to purchase an Amazon Echo. If you do not need or want an Amazon Alexa speaker, the $169 Ecobee3 Lite Wi-Fi thermostat can be an awesome possibility.

Read our Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control review.

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The Honeywell Lyric T5 costs less than $150, making it our choice for the best smart thermostat pick for those on a budget. I know that isn’t exactly affordable. But it’s a solid price tag for a Wi-Fi thermostat. Many models, including the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee4, cost $249. This makes the T5 a great “budget” option that works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri (via Apple’s HomeKit).

Read our Honeywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Honeywell Home T9 is a $200 smart thermostat from Resideo. The T9 works with Alexa and Google Assistant and offers reliable performance and a solid app. The device also comes with remote humidity, proximity and temperature sensors, making it the smartest sensor accessory around. Nest’s sensor only provides ambient temperature readings, while Ecobee’s sensor only has temperature and proximity detection capabilities.

Read our Resideo Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat comes with Amazon’s Alexa built in. Ask the speaker for the temperature, current weather forecast, to tell you a joke — and to adjust the air conditioning of your smart thermostat, all without needing a separate Alexa speaker. This Wi-Fi programmable thermostat also offers mobile app integration with Google Assistant and Siri, so if you have a Google-Assistant-enabled smart speaker or a HomePod, you can control it with Google Assistant and Siri commands.

Read our Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Ecobee mobile app setup is straightforward and easy to install and navigate. That sounds simple enough, but so many apps make it tough to find the specific setting or feature you’re looking for. Not so with Ecobee’s smartphone app. And that’s important because the mobile app is one of the main ways to interact with your Wi-Fi thermostat when you aren’t standing directly in front of it (aside from using a voice command). 

Read our Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control review.

Testing a thermostat

Let’s talk about testing. Smart thermostats start with the installation. Installations can vary widely from thermostat to thermostat and between HVAC systems, but there are some basic steps required for installing these devices. As always, consult a professional installer if you have any questions about the setup process. Here are the general steps:

  • Turn off power to your thermostat at the circuit breaker
  • Remove the old thermostat
  • Install the thermostat’s baseplate with the included screws
  • Attach the wires to the wire terminals 
  • Snap on the faceplate
  • Turn on power at the circuit breaker

Was the thermostat setup especially difficult to install? If so, why? Certain models require a C-wire, for example, which can complicate the installation if you don’t have one. Not sure what a C-wire is? Start here

From there, I move on to the app. Every smart thermostat has one. I download the app and create an account if I don’t already have one. Then I configure the thermostat following the steps in the app. This usually means connecting to the local Wi-Fi network, giving your thermostat a name like “Hallway” or “Bedroom” and then you can start using your thermostat.

How well does the app work? Is it easy to navigate to the thermostat settings you need? Is it simple to create a schedule or enable geofencing? This factors into the thermostat’s usability score, along with how simple the thermostat hardware itself is to control manually. 

I also test smart home integration, especially voice-enabled systems you can access through voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. Most connected thermostats have compatibility with at least one voice assistant and some, like the Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee Smart Thermostat, work with all three. Do the voice commands flow naturally, like they would in an actual conversation? Did the thermostat actually adjust the temperature — heating and cooling — according to your commands? 

All of these things determine a smart thermostat’s overall score and how likely I am to recommend it. 

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Author

Megan Wollerton