July 13, 2024


Home living innovation

The Best Smart Thermostat To Warm Your Home In 2021

Smart thermostats were one of the first smart home devices to find their way into people’s homes, and for good reason. The best smart thermostats know when you’re home and when you’re away, and can adjust the temperature accordingly. By intelligently managing your heating and cooling schedule, they have the potential to keep you more comfortable while saving you money on your utility bill. Unlike many smart home devices that offer dubious solutions to problems most people might not actually have, a smart thermostat’s value is obvious and is an easy sell to homeowners and apartment dwellers alike.

The best smart thermostats also know how long it takes for your HVAC system to reach the desired temperature, and can start adjusting the temperature automatically in the early morning so you’re comfortable right from the moment you get out of bed. They may also sync with other smart home devices you already have in your home—working together with Google Assistant and Alexa, for example, you can control your heater or AC using voice commands.

But which smart thermostat is the best? There’s no single answer—several models offer exemplary features and capabilities, but the best one for you depends upon your needs. We’ve rounded up the 6 best smart thermostats you can buy today; read on to see which one is right for you. 

Best Smart Thermostat Overall

ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control

The ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control is a full-fledged Alexa device that can stream Spotify, act as a hub for ecobee’s smart camera and entry sensors, works with Apple HomeKit, and more. It’s almost easy to overlook the fact that it is primarily designed to control the temperature of your house. 

Alexa integration aside, the ecobee’s signature feature is its remote sensor. You get one in the box, which helps you ensure the temperature is comfortable in a specific location, not just wherever the thermostat itself happens to be located.

Using your voice to control the ecobee is simple (and handy when you’re sitting on the couch), but the user-friendly app gives you access to all kinds of additional data, like the temperature in each room where you’ve placed a remote sensor. Alternatively, you can use the touchscreen if you prefer getting hands-on. If you set it to eco+ mode, the device will learn your schedule and adjust the temperature automatically to conserve power and save you money. You can also set target temperatures manually.

The ecobee Smart Thermostat is easy to set up and has 12 terminals for controlling your heating and air conditioning, as well as an accessory like a whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier. Setup is painless if your home has a C wire; if it doesn’t, ecobee includes a Power Extender Kit and instructions to wire it up. Overall, it’s something you can probably do yourself without hiring an electrician.

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Best Smart Thermostat for an Automated Smart Home

Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)

Google Nest has a distinctive “modern retro” look that stands out from the sea of rectangular or square touchscreens on the market. It also comes in more finishes (about a half-dozen choices) than any other smart thermostat on the market.  

Installing and setting up a Nest is easy, as long as you have a compatible HVAC system. The Nest thermostat is optimized for modern 5-wire furnaces with a C wire, but might work with an older 4-wire setup—if you have concerns, you might want to hire an electrician. Nest makes setup famously simple.

Once installed, you answer questions, hook it up to your Wi-Fi network, and let it figure out your schedule. Google Nest knows when you’re away, so it won’t cool or heat an empty house, and it learns your schedule to lower temperatures overnight or when you’re routinely out of the house, and Nest takes into consideration how long it takes to get the house to the right temperature. When you adjust it during the day, it’ll learn that too and, before long, you’ll find that Google Nest is keeping your house exactly how you like it with little to no input from you.

Being part of the Google Nest ecosystem, it integrates with Nest Cam, Nest Hub, Nest Secure and more. It can also connect to Alexa. It does not, however, have Apple HomeKit integration. And if you like ecobee’s remote sensor capability, you can add those to your Nest setup as well, in up to six rooms (though unlike ecobee, it senses temperature only, and lacks motion sensors to tell if you are physically in the room.

Best Budget-Priced Smart Thermostat

ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat

The ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat is only “smart” in the sense that it has smart home integration. If you’re looking for a thermostat that learns your behavior with sensors and keeps the house at the right temperature with little input from you, look elsewhere: This is really just a programmable thermostat, not a learning thermostat.

That said, if you want a programmable remote that also integrates with a vast number of smart home products—like Alexa, Google, HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings and more, this is a budget-priced device that has the attractive ecobee aesthetic and is extensively programmable.

One other caveat, though: The ecobee3 lite requires you to have a C wire to power the thermostat’s display. If you have an older HVAC system that lacks a C wire, this thermostat has no workaround, and you will want to consider other options. If you do have the C wire, though, installation is a snap and you can have it up and running in well under an hour.

Best Smart Thermostat for Electric Baseboard Heat

Mysa Smart Thermostat

Mysa Smart Thermostat for Electric Baseboard Heaters

Most smart thermostats are designed for homes with central heating and air conditioning, which can—if you’ll pardon the expression—leave people with electric baseboard heat out in the cold. The Mysa Smart Thermostat is one of the few products that caters to this need, and it works well as long as you can deal with a few limitations.

Chief among those limitations: Your HVAC system isn’t centralized, so you’ll need to install a separate Mysa in each room with baseboard heating that you want to control. Priced around $100 each, this endeavor can add up, but if you only have two or three rooms, it’s in the same ballpark as an ordinary smart thermostat. And if you have more than one installed, you can create “zones” using the mobile app to control them as a group, which makes it work similar to an ordinary smart thermostat.

You can certainly install the Mysa yourself, but the multi-wire configuration is admittedly confusing. If you have any concerns about miswiring it, you may want to bring in a professional electrician for the 15-minute setup. Once installed, though, you can easily control it from the attractive illuminated display with touch-sensitive buttons, set up a schedule on the mobile app, or rely on its extensive smart home integration (Alexa, Google, Samsung SmartThings, HomeKit and more) to let it adjust your temperature automatically.

Best Minimal Smart Thermostat

Google Nest Thermostat

Don’t be confused by the similar naming—the Google Nest is the budget model in the Nest line, not to be confused with the Nest Learning Thermostat. (Adding to the confusion: This budget thermostat can learn, too.) It replaces the Nest E, which is no longer available to consumers (but professional installers can buy it).

About $100 cheaper than the flagship model, the Nest Thermostat doesn’t look quite as snazzy and is controlled with a touchscreen rather than the old spin-and-press interface. But it’s still quite attractive and retains the iconic round Nest aesthetic. The traditional Nest app is gone, though; this model now relies on the Google Home app for smartphone control. And while the thermostat does learn your habits and has a sensor to know if you’re moving around near the thermostat, it’s not compatible with remote sensors like the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Best Smart Thermostat for Large Homes

Honeywell Home T9

While we love the ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control thanks to its remote sensors and built-in speakers for Amazon Alexa, the Honeywell Home T9 makes its mark by working with up to 20 remote sensors (you get one included in the basic package and can buy additional ones separately). That means you can track the temperature in even very large homes and tell the T9 which rooms to prioritize, so it’ll ensure they reach the desired temperature.

Aesthetics are often a matter of personal taste, but Honeywell’s rectangular design may strike you as a little industrial compared to the attractive design used by ecobee and Nest. Nonetheless, you get a simple touchscreen display and the requisite app control on your smartphone, along with Alexa and Google compatibility. There’s limited smart home integration, though—it works with Samsung SmartThings, but doesn’t even connect to other Honeywell smart products. But you can program the system with IFTTT for some smart automation, like geofenced awareness of when you’re home or away. Installation is no trickier than ecobee or Nest to boot, and the system comes with an adapter if your HVAC system is older and lacks a C wire.

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