Smart thermostats have been one of the first big smart home technologies to really take off, and for good reason. They allow you to easily heat or cool your home. They can learn your habits and adjust your home based on you. Some of them can even be programmed to weather reports.
More appealing, however, is their ability to fine tune your energy needs so you can save some sweet cash. All of this makes smart thermostats and heating systems one of the most sought-after smart technologies out there. But where do you start?
Essential reading: Best Amazon Echo compatible devices
There are upstarts like Nest and Ecobee, big established players like Honeywell and a whole bunch of companies owned by energy giants, like Hive, vying for your attention and hard-earned moolah. Which ones are good, which ones are bad, and which ones will actually work with your ecosystem of choice?
Read on to find out, because that's exactly what this list is all about.
The Nest Thermostat is not only one of the more well known smart thermostats, it's one of the most well known smart home products period. It's not hard to imagine why. These look good and are easy to use after a professional 20-minute installation. Though you can also do it yourself if you're handy.
Smart home showdown: Nest v Hive
The Nest also works with pretty much every platform out there, and it can even hook up to other smart home products, like Wemo's Insight Switches, to create a whole bunch of different smart home system setups. And of course, the Nest can learn your habits and, after a week, have some automatic temperature-controlling fun. It can even guide you to choose temperatures that'll save you money.
Hive, which is owned by British Gas and has been one of the UK's favorite smart thermostats, is making the jump over to the US. Like other smart thermostats, the battery-powered Hive will let you control your home's heating from anywhere via an app (or smart speaker).
The one thing that sets the Yves Behar-designed Hive apart from its competitors is its subscription plans. If you don't want to shell out cash for a smart thermostat, and later build up your ecosystem by adding other gadgets, you can just turn to Hive's plans, which make it much simpler to afford an even smarter home.
Nest Thermostat E
If the flagship Nest Learning Thermostat is a little to expensive for you, there's good news: the new Thermostat E is considerably cheaper and doesn't skimp on the features. You'll still be able to control it with your phone, and it'll turn off when you leave the home and work with products that have Nest integration.
It'll still self-learn, too, adapting to your life and habits to save you money on your energy use, with Nest estimating around $131 to $145 a year. As for other smart features, you'll get a pre-programmed schedule for temperature out of the box. You can also sign up for the weather-adapting weather feature too if you'd rather not rely on something more rigid. One thing you won't get, and why the E is cheaper than its older sibling, is that display. It's a lower resolution, with a polarized frosted glass on top. You also won't get the Farsight ability, which uses a built-in sensor to wake up the display when you walk by. Otherwise, they're the same.
Tado Smart AC Control
The Tado Smart AC Control is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: it controls your air conditioning. You're not gonna heat up your cold rooms with this one. Instead, you'll get the ultimate convenience in cooling your home, especially if you live in warmer climates.
The Tado will control your AC via infrared tech, kind of like your TV remote, so all you have to do is connect it to your Wi-Fi and make sure it's powered on by connecting a USB cable. Also, it's got both Alexa and IFTTT support, so you can both control it with your voice or set up a couple applets to give Tado even more power.
Honeywell Lyric T5 / T6
Honeywell has made thermostats for a long time now, and with its newest device, the T5 (or T6 in the UK), it has managed to pack all the features you need in an affordable package. There's HomeKit and Alexa support and the ability to control your home temperature remotely, but Honeywell is particularly into its geolocation powers. It will track you while you're away from home, and when it sees that you're on your way back to your humble abode, it'll get your home ready to match your favorite temperature. Home sweet home.
The Ecobee is a jack-of-all-trades system. It can learn your habits and adapt, it has a whole bunch of apps to remotely control your weather and it's compatible with HomeKit, Echo, SmartThings, Wing and even Logitech Harmony. The new Ecobee4 also comes with built-in Alexa, so you can ask her for whatever you need. What really makes it stand out is its flexibility. You can start all the way at the bottom with the Ecobee Lite, but you can quickly add room sensors to flesh out your experience, which allows Ecobee to adjust room temperature based on whether anyone is actually in the room.
Netatmo by Starck Smart Thermostat
The Starck-designed Netatmo thermostat is not only one of the most affordable entries on our list, it's also one of the strangest. Unlike some of the other thermostats here, the Netatmo can be used both wirelessly and stuck on a wall. If you choose to put it up on the wall, you'll still have the convenience of HomeKit support and app support.
However, if you want to use it wirelessly, you can put its adorable, and minimalistic, design anywhere in your home. People might mistake it for a weird clock, but what it's actually doing is helping you save money on your energy use. Like other thermostats, it's also learning your habits and making adjustments to control the whole thing all by its lonesome. The catch? Netatmo doesn't sell it anymore, but you can still pick it up on Amazon.