Best Smart Thermostat

Nest Learning Smart Thermostat

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The Good

  • "Learning" ability
  • Connectivity
  • Predictive algorithms

The Bad

  • Cost
  • Lack of remote temperature sensors

Specifications

  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Smartphone Enabled: Yes
  • Battery Type: 1 Lithium ion
  • WiFi Enabled: Yes

Sensi Wifi Thermostat

Sensi WiFi Thermostat

The Good

  • Inexpensive
  • Streamlined app
  • Able to program up to 7 days in advance

The Bad

  • Lack of remote temperature sensors

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Smartphone Enabled: Yes
  • Battery Type: 2 AA
  • WiFi Enabled: Yes

Ecobee3 Smarter Thermostat

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The Good

  • Remote temperature sensors
  • Has ability to predict behavior

The Bad

  • Installation can be difficult

Specifications

  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Smartphone Enabled: Yes
  • Battery Type: 1 Lithium ion
  • WiFi Enabled: Yes

Smart Thermostat Buying Guide

Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats are taking the world by storm these days, with their ability to sense and make adjustments to home temperatures on the fly. Indeed, the idea of having your home environment controlled by an intelligent system is an exciting one, as it affords the opportunity to save huge amounts on energy costs. Gone are the days when temperatures had to be manually controlled – now the smart systems can take care of it for you. With the ability to sense heating and cooling patterns and use complex algorithms to determine the best temperature strategy, they have evolved into must-have accessories for the home. However, as each one has a range of features and characteristics, knowing what to look for when shopping for a smart thermostat can be a difficult task. In this article, we’ll look at some of the important features to look for when buying one, examine a few models available and determine which one is the best smart thermostat.

When shopping around for a smart thermostat there are several important features to be on the lookout for. Specifically:

Important Features:

– Smartphone enabled. The smart thermostat should be able to integrate with and communicate with you via a smartphone app.

– Embedded sensors. The unit should have sensors to know when people are in proximity to it, as well as being able to know where they are in the house.

– Easy to install. Decent smart thermostats will be able to be self-installed without any complicated wiring.

Price:

Smart thermostats will generally start at around $100 for basic models, and go upwards of several hundred for more fully-featured devices.

Smart Thermostat Reviews

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation) Review

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Nest Learning Thermostat

Type of Product

Smart Thermostat

Manufacturer:

Nest

Experts Rating:

  • Our Report

The Nest Learning Thermostat is packed with features which take maintaining your home’s environment to the next level. Integrated technology, connectivity, and superior learning capabilities make it a thermostat worth considering.

Ease Of Use:

Nest is fairly easy to install, and the company suggests that full installation shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. It works off the wiring of the existing thermostat, and it’s simply a matter of switching the leads and mounting it on the wall. Apart from that, operation is very simple and straightforward. The Nest itself is simply a round display which can show time, date, and temperature settings. The real interaction comes through the smartphone app, which is able to control all aspects of the device. Further, the Nest tracks users’ movements through their phones, in addition to the built-in proximity sensor, to paint an overall picture of energy needs. It’s very intuitive and a very easy to use system.

Special Features:

– Learning capability
– Auto-away feature
– Energy history

The Nest Learning Thermostat, like its name suggests, has the ability to learn from you with regard to your heating and cooling habits. Once it’s gathered its data it will automatically schedule temperatures based on what it predicts you will want. Complicated algorithms allow it to make these predictions based upon your history. If manual settings are required, the Nest will learn from those, too. It also has an auto-away feature, automatically determining when you leave the house, and adjusting the temperature accordingly. Likewise, it will predict when you return and adjust the temperature in anticipation. As well, through the smartphone app, it can offer detailed reports about your energy consumption habits, and even show you how much money you have saved.

Summary:

It’s really hard not to like the Nest system. The ability to learn from your habits and predict your energy consumption needs based on them is pretty ingenious, and letting it control your household environment is a definite plus. The fact that it can also tell when you leave the house and predict when you return is also an outstanding feature. It’s intuitive and intelligent, and it works beautifully. One thing noticeably absent from the Nest system are remote temperature sensors. While there is a sensor embedded in the unit, having remote sensors would help to paint a better overall temperature picture. Despite this, it’s still an excellent smart thermostat.

Sensi Wi-FI Programmable Thermostat Review

Sensi WiFi Thermostat

Sensi WiFi Thermostat

Type of Product

Smart Thermostat

Manufacturer:

Emerson Thermostats

Experts Rating:

  • Our Report

​Schedule your heating and cooling needs remotely with the Sensi Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat. The smart thermostat takes advantage of built-in wi-fi connectivity to let you control all aspects of your home’s environment.

Ease Of Use:

Installation is fairly easy and similar to the Nest; simply remove the old thermostat and replace the leads. Once mounted the user interface takes a little getting used to but is fairly intuitive. The LED screen will display temperature, setting, mode, time, connectivity and power. However, the selling feature of this thermostat is the fact that it can be fully controlled through a smartphone app. It allows you to schedule your temperature settings with ease and is simple to program.

Special Features:

– Custom 7-day scheduling feature
– Simple smartphone app
– Can be integrated with Alexa for voice control

Sensi allows you to program your home’s temperature settings up to 7 days in advance, perfect for “set it and forget it” functionality. The smartphone app is simple and easy to use, and puts you in touch with the full suite of programmable features, including acting as a remote control for the thermostat. And it can be integrated with Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, to accept voice commands, too. However, like the Nest, the Sensi lacks remote temperature sensors.

Summary

Overall, there’s a lot of positives about this smart thermostat. Simple to use and program, it offers a degree of programmability that belies its low cost. Despite this, it’s difficult to not judge it in the Nest’s shadow. While not nearly as sophisticated a device as the Nest, the Sensi will appeal to those on a budget and who don’t need an intelligent system to take over control of their heating and cooling.

Ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat Review

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Ecobee3 Smarter Thermostat

Type of Product

Smart Thermostat

Manufacturer:

Nest

Experts Rating:

  • Our Report

While it lacks the design aesthetics of the Nest Learning Thermostat, this smart thermostat is intelligent enough to handle most tasks on its own.

Ease Of Use

The touchscreen LED display can be installed in place of an existing thermostat, and purports to work with 95% of existing heating and cooling systems. But installation isn’t always as easy as it is with the Nest, as the system requires a C-wire connection, which most HVAC systems won’t have. Users have to do a workaround with a power extender kit, which turns out to be a little bit more demanding than as with other systems. Despite the more difficult install, the system itself is simple and elegant. The touchscreen interface shows all the usual settings, and the system offers interactivity via a smartphone app.

Special Features

– Remote temperature sensors
– Predictive capability
– Senses when nobody is home

Like the Nest, the Ecobee3 is able to detect patterns and use predictive behavior to control the HVAC settings. It ships with a remote temperature sensor (more are available for purchase) allowing it to sense whether or not a room is occupied, and to heat it accordingly. It also has the ability to sense when the house is unoccupied and will lower/raise the temperature based around that. Ecobee3 can also be integrated with Apple’s HomeKit, allowing you to control all aspects of your heating and cooling via voice with Siri, or via Amazon’s Alexa. Still, it doesn’t quite match the usability of the Nest, whose interface is much more streamlined and simpler to use.

Summary:

The Ecobee3 is an excellent and versatile smart thermostat. It’s user-friendly, intuititive and predictive. Despite the difficulties with installation, it’s well worth considering when looking to buy a smart thermostat system.

The Final Verdict:

Nest Learning Thermostat

While the Sensi is an excellent system, it doesn’t have the intelligence level that the Nest and the Ecobee3 have. That being said, the Nest Learning Thermostat is the clear winner in that category. Its ability to learn, predict, and control all HVAC settings is truly remarkable and is a level of sophistication higher than the Ecobee3. Ease of installation, intelligence, streamlined interface via the smartphone app are all hallmarks of the Nest system, a smart thermostat that any homeowner would be happy to have.