How to add a smart thermostat on a budget

Want a smart thermostat but don't wanna pay through the nose? You have options!

A smart thermostat isn't just fun to have; it's a power-smart move that can end up saving you money in the long run. Forgot to turn down the heat before leaving for the day? Use your thermostat's app and turn it down from wherever you have an internet connection. Want an easier way to program your week than pressing and holding two buttons simultaneously, then releasing, then pressing and holding, then pressing up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A? Yup, you can do it in a visually pleasing and easy-to-use app (usually).

Many smart thermostats even go so far as to learn your programming habits, potentially saving you big bucks during particularly use-heavy seasons (like winter here in Winnipeg!).

That being said, smart thermostats can be hella expensive (upwards of $300). So, if you're on a budget, here are some options to help make your thermostat a part of your connected home.

Honeywell Wi-Fi programmable thermostat

Honeywell RTH6580WF

This is one of the least expensive smart thermostats around (around $93 on Amazon), and while it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of a Nest or ecobee, it'll get the job done if you simply want to be able to program your week and control your home cooling and heating from anywhere you can get Wi-Fi. Thermostat Center even said it's the best budget Wi-Fi thermostat.

You can use this one with single- or multi-stage systems, and the back-lit display is a nice touch. Just note that this one isn't battery-operated, so you'll need to wire it in, and it does require a C-wire.

See at Amazon

Emerson Sensi

Emerson Sensi

The Emerson Sensi is a little more expensive than the Honeywell, at $130, but it's incredibly well-reviewed on Amazon and is Smart Thermostat Guide's number two pick for best Wi-Fi thermostat (after our own favorite, the ecobee 3!). It was also ranked number one in the latest J.D. Power Report for customer satisfaction.

The Sensi has (for the most part) the same feature set as many of the more expensive smart thermostats, which includes Alexa integration. So if you already blew your dough on an Amazon Echo, save on the smart thermostat, but go with a quality one like the Sensi.

See at Amazon

Lux Geo

Lux Geo

We'll throw in the Lux Geo as well, since Smart Thermostat Guide recommends it, because it works with out a C-wire — batteries, baby! It doesn't have Alexa integration nor does it support IFTTT, but if battery-operated is what you're after, this is your best budget option (around $120 for the white one).

For an extra $10, the Emerson Sensi is definitely worth it over the Lux, but again, batteries.

See at Amazon

Rebates!!!

If you don't want a budget smart thermostat or you do and you just want to save even more moolah, talk to your gas/electric company about rebates and incentives. Power companies love smart thermostats because they put you in full control of your home heating and cooling, thus (hopefully) making your home more energy-efficient. You may therefore receive a little money back on your investment, or your power company may cover it in full.

ecobee might have one of the more expensive smart thermostats, but it also happens to be the best, and ecobee's website has a handy rebate finder that lets you put in your ZIP or postal code to find out if there are rebate options where you live.

Do you have a smart thermostat?

Are you thinking of picking up a smart thermostat or do you have one already? Did you qualify for a rebate? Is it saving you money? Let us know in the comments below!