Nest's über-popular Learning Thermostat is the go-to solution for lots of folks looking to add smarts to their heating and cooling systems. Its premium hardware, easy-to-use interface, and energy-saving features all add up to a smart thermostat anyone would be happy to own. That said, it's not for everyone — particularly for those who've gone all-in on HomeKit. If you're looking for an alternative to the popular Nest Learning Thermostat, here's a look at some of the best options available to you!
Not only is it our pick for the best smart thermostat, the $240 ecobee4 also happens to be one of my favorite smart home accessories. My love of this product is due in large part to the ever-so-clever remote sensors that independently measure temperature and sense motion. You can use these sensors to give your thermostat a better idea of the temperature in your home (averaged out across the various sensors) as well as whether or not anyone is home and in what rooms they might be located.
The ecobee4 comes with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant built in, thanks to embedded microphones that feature far-field voice recognition (the same technology that makes the Amazon Echo hear you from across the room) and a speaker that makes Alexa sound loud and clear, despite coming from a thermostat fastened to your wall. That means, on top of having all the same great features as the ecobee3 — works with Apple HomeKit, remote room sensors, energy-saving benefits — you can use the ecobee4 in the same way you'd use an Echo device. Ask Alexa to set a timer, adjust the lighting, remind you to take out the trash, play some polka — you can do it all right from your smart thermostat.
The scheduling features and location-based controls give you granular controls over your heating and cooling system so you'll be able to save money on energy costs by, for example, turning down the heat when no one is home. It's not quite the learning thermostat that the Nest is, but it's an excellent all-in-one thermostat with the added bonus of having Alexa built right in!
The $100 Honeywell Lyric T5 is an Energy Star certified thermostat that features scheduling controls and location-based temperature settings. That means you'll be able to set a seven-day schedule for your heating and cooling system, giving you the perfect temperature each day of the week. It also lets you control your heating and cooling system with geofences. By keeping track of your location, you can have the thermostat begin to heat or cool your home as you approach and switch to energy-saving settings when you leave.
The Lyric T5 is compatible with both Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa, giving you the option to set the temperature using your voice. You'll also be able to use the Home app for iOS to make adjustments and set up automations. To add to its smarts, the Lyric T5 also includes a feature called adaptive recovery that keeps track of the time it takes to reach your desired temperature. It then uses this information to more efficiently heat or cool your home to your specifications — the more you use it, the better it gets.
The hardware doesn't quite compete with the Nest Learning Thermostat and the app leaves something to be desired, but the cost, features, and reliability of the Honeywell Lyric T5 make it a worthy competitor.
The Emerson Sensi Touch is a good-looking smart thermostat with a gigantic, color touchscreen display. The $150 thermostat has one of the most intuitive installations I've come across in my research. In fact, I'm including a video here for you to see how easy Emerson makes it to get things set up:
The Emerson Sensi app will walk you through the installation, providing illustrations and an interactive guide. The illuminated wire terminals are all placed in a straight line, making it simple to connect those tiny thermostat wires to the proper terminals. If you run into trouble, Emerson has a support team that's on call seven days a week to help you with the installation.
With geofencing capabilities that'll turn down your heating and cooling when you're away and resume your settings when you're home as well as a seven-day schedule and humidity sensors, this thermostat will help you maintain your home's temperature no matter where you are, all the while saving you money on heating and cooling costs.
This smart thermostat doesn't play around when it comes to integrations — it works with Apple HomeKit, the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Wink. That means you'll be able to control your thermostat using your voice, the Home app for iOS, your Android device, third-party smart home apps, and several smart home devices. I should also mention this thermostat is well regarded. Along with a four-star rating on Amazon, USA Today named it the best overall smart thermostat in 2017.
With its huge screen, easy installation, and extensive smart features, the Emerson Sensi Touch is an excellent choice for non-Nesters.
The Carrier Côr is a $225 Energy Star certified thermostat with a seven-day programmable schedule and a stand-out feature: Energy Reports.
Simply hit a button in the Carrier app and you'll see a detailed energy report, showing you where you're spending your money on heating and cooling costs. What's more, the app will also give you energy-saving tips and tricks that'll start to add up. Here's an example:
By setting Wake Up mode a few degrees cooler in the winter or warmer in the summer, you can save some serious cash.
Its Ideal Away feature adapts to your use over time, determining new ways to help you save money on heating and cooling costs. Detecting outside weather conditions, it heats and cools your home differently depending on whether you're home or away. You can even keep track of the weather right there on the full-color display, as the Carrier Côr features a four-day forecast. The smart thermostat lets you access and control your heating and cooling settings while you're away from home and features both Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit compatibility, giving you the option to control your settings using your voice.
Its hardware is no match for the look and feel of the Nest Learning Thermostat, but the Carrier Côr comes from a well-known heating and cooling company and packs in many of the most important smart thermostat features.
Do you have a smart thermostat in your home? Which one did you decide to get? Be sure to share your thoughts and feels in the comments!
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