Best Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats can be an incredible addition to any home or business wanting to save money on heating and cooling costs. Enjoy modern features to your modern thermostat like remote programming and climate monitoring. Programmable thermostat options have grown exponentially in the past few years as new players have come into the realm and older companies have added new models to their lineups. In this post we will run through the features and options of the top smart thermostats:
Trane ComfortLink™ II XL1050
Trane’s ComfortLink™ II XL1050 allows you to connect with your smartphone, tablet, or computer through the Nexia Bridge app. The XL1050 comes with sensors for you to place around the home to monitor temperature and humidity in real time. You can also adjust your system’s compressor and fan speed. The Nexia app also allows you to control your home’s lights, locks, and doors from one easy to use dashboard. If your HVAC system has a problem, the XL1050 will alert you and allows you to share its diagnostic report with your Trane dealer. With the XL 1050s 7” high-definition control panel or the Nexia app, you can program up to four climate control schedules a day.
Nest has been a big player in the smart programmable thermostat market for years. Now on its 3rd generation, the company has the needs of its customers dialed in. With a large, easy-to-read screen, smooth dial control and thin profile, the Nest is one of the best looking and easiest to install of all the programmable thermostats on the market.
The Nest also sets itself apart from the competitors with the ability to “learn” your preferred heating and cooling habits. This feature cuts way down on the amount of programming needed as it can provide a customized energy-efficient schedule after just one week of use. Since most smart thermostats use geofencing (which uses your phone to ascertain whether you are home or not), the Home/Away feature can be fooled in cases where the cell reception is not good. The result is that the thermostat goes into ECO mode while you are still home and changes the temperature accordingly to save energy, however, this may not be a comfortable temperature for you or your family.
The Nest uses built-in sensors and can even use other Nest products (like NestCam or Nest Protect) for greater accuracy in your location. Far-field sensors will trigger the bright screen to show the weather, time or temperature when movement is detected. The app is also very easy to use and the Nest system is compatible with most smart home platforms.
As for the Nest-E, this is a less expensive version that lacks the far-field sensors, has a smaller, lower quality display, and is made of plastic versus the metal casing of the 3rd-gen Nest. Also, the Nest-e is compatible with only 85% of HVAC systems versus the 95% of the higher priced version.
ECOBEE3 SMART WIFI
While the Ecobee is comparably priced to the Nest ($249), it does not have the same aesthetic allure. On the plus side, the Ecobee has a nice, square, touchscreen display with information regarding the current mode, indoor humidity, and temperature. There are also quick settings for manual adjustments, home or away mode and weather forecast. The Ecobee becomes the best smart thermostat for multiple zones due to the included remote sensor. This extra sensor can measure the temperature in an upstairs room and also has a sensor to tell whether you are home or out. Extra sensors can be purchased and added throughout the home, which connects another unique feature known as Follow Me.
Follow Me uses sensors to know your location and adjusts the temperature for maximum comfort in that area. Some complaints have arisen with installation and connectivity due to the lack of compatibility with some older HVAC systems without professional wiring assistance. The Ecobee does get kudos for the Home IQ feature which easily shows a detailed report of monthly energy savings. This device is also compatible with many smart home platforms, although not as many as Nest, but still remains the best smart thermostat for multiple zones.
HONEYWELL WIFI SMART THERMOSTAT
Honeywell has also been in the thermostat game for a long time, providing reliable home and commercial units for decades. With that, this smart thermostat probably has the highest compatibility when it comes to most traditional HVAC systems, as well as most other multi-stage heating/cooling systems. This makes it the best smart thermostat for business use. This unit also has a large, color touchscreen display that allows more settings to be changed and displays clear measurements of indoor/outdoor temperature, and humidity with customized backgrounds. This is the best smart thermostat for those who want reliability, multiple system use, touchscreen access, and email alerts when settings are outside set parameters. The app and system also provides limited access for additional users. This is helpful for infrequent visitors who need limited use of the temperature controls. This unit does not provide detailed energy reports like the Nest or Ecobee3.
SENSI WIFI SMART THERMOSTAT
The Sensi Smart thermostat by Emerson does not win any awards for aesthetics, but the lack of wow factor may be just the thing for entry level consumers heading into the smart thermostat market without the big price tag. Although the display is not colorful or touch responsive, it is easy to read and is able to be manipulated easily using the intuitive front buttons. The thermostat can be easily controlled by the app and has Alexa connectivity, but lacks geofencing features for Away mode or detailed energy reports. This thermostat is great as a paired down, remote operated, smart thermostat with enough entry level features for the budget-minded consumer.