Best Smart Thermostat for Multiple Zones iMore 2019

You're not always going to be in the room that houses your thermostat. For some homes, that can mean a pretty substantial difference in temperature in every season. There's a fix for this common problem, though: smart thermostats with multiple zoning. Being able to set the temperature where you are instead of where the thermostat is can be a lifesaver. We've rounded up the best of them for 2019.

Best Overall: Ecobee 4

The Ecobee 4 is the best smart thermostat for multi-zone heating and cooling, and one of the best thermostats you can buy overall. It's compatible with all popular smart home platforms — Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, and Microsoft Cortana — and is fully controlled via an app on your phone. It also has a full-color touch display if you'd rather go hands on.

As a bonus, the Ecobee 4 also has a microphone and is a stand-alone Amazon Alexa device; it's basically a smart thermostat and an Echo Dot in one package.

Pros:

  • Acts as an Amazon Alexa device
  • Comes with a room sensor
  • Compatible with all popular smart home platforms
  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • No learning capabilities that Nest offers

Best Overall

Ecobee 4

Alexa, turn the heat up a bit

The Ecobee 4 is the first smart thermostat with both multi-room sensing and built-in voice control via Amazon Alexa. It's also a great smart thermostat that will power almost any heating and cooling setup.

Best Value: Ecobee 3 Lite

For a basic smart thermostat that works over Wi-Fi with the rest of your smart home network, the Ecobee 3 Lite is hard to beat. Now that it is compatible with Ecobee room sensors, it's also the base for an inexpensive but very capable system for multi-zone heating and cooling.

The biggest difference between the Ecobee 3 Lite and the Ecobee 4 is the lack of stand-alone voice input, but if you have a more complicated heating and cooling system, there are also some things you should be aware of: it's incompatible with humidifiers, dehumidifiers, HRVs (heating recovery ventilators) and ERVs (energy recovery ventilators). If you have any of this equipment you might want to go with a different model.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Works with all major smart home platforms
  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Easy to install
  • Apple HomeKit certified

Cons:

  • Room sensors not included
  • Incompatible with certain equipment

Best Value

Ecobee 3 Lite

Just the basics

If you want to set up a system for multi-zone heating and cooling without any bells and whistles, the Ecobee 3 lite is the best smart thermostat to start with. It's inexpensive and has most of the features you'll want or need.

Best Smart Thermostat: Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat is a great addition to any smart home, and with multi-zone capability, it makes for an excellent product for anyone with a need for more than one sensor. It also can bear the smart tag in its own right, as Nest's software can learn when you're home and where you spend your time and adjust the temperatures accordingly. That can lead to substantial savings on your utility bills, and it means you won't ever have to adjust the temperature yourself.

Nest works with all popular smart home platforms with the exception of Apple's HomeKit. The third generation Nest also comes in black, copper, steel, silver or white to match any decor. It's a great thermostat overall and one of our favorites.

Pros:

  • Learning ability
  • Multiple colors
  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Compatible with all popular smart home platforms
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • No HomeKit certification
  • Expensive
  • Room sensor not included

Best Smart Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat

Learns with you

The Nest Learning Thermostat can learn when you're home and adjust the temps accordingly, which means you save money on your monthly bills. It's also compatible with most smart home platforms, and the app is great for both Android and iOS.

Best Budget Learner: Nest Thermostat E

The Nest Thermostat E may lack some of the features its more expensive sibling offers, like Smart Sense, but it can learn to adjust the temperature when the house is empty to save money on heating and cooling with its Home/Away Assist feature.

It's also compatible with most smart home platforms, excluding Apple HomeKit, and is fully adjustable through Nest's Android and iOS apps as well as the Nest website. you can adjust the temperature or see how much money you're saving from anywhere.

Pros:

  • Learning ability
  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Compatible with all popular smart home platforms
  • Easy to install
  • Frosted exterior looks great

Cons:

  • No HomeKit certification
  • Room sensor not included

Best Budget Learner

Nest Thermostat E

Save money from day one

The Nest Thermostat E uses Home/Away Assist to save money by adjusting the temperature when nobody is home and works with room sensors for a multi-zone heating and cooling system. It's also fairly inexpensive and the frosted white display looks great on your wall.

Nest Sensors

Nest thermostats are fully multi-room capable, but neither offering comes with a room sensor. You'll need to purchase one or more in order to control the temps the way you like in a multi-room environment.

Required accessories

Nest Sensor

Extra hardware

Nest Thermostats work great in a multi-zone setup, but you'll need to buy a sensor or two. They are easy to set up and work with both the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E.

Bottom line

We think the Ecobee 4 is the best smart thermostat for multiple zones overall. You get the convenience of having a multi-zone heating or cooling system without buying any extra equipment, have Amazon Alexa built into the thermostat itself, and it's more future-proof with the addition of HomeKit support. The Ecobee 3 Lite is a great way to get started if you'd rather save a few dollars by excluding Alexa's presence.

If you already use Nest products or would rather not have Alexa and HomeKit support, the Nest Learning Thermostat or Nest Thermostat E and an additional purchase of a Nest Temperature Sensor offers the same functionality with the extra of some stand-alone learning capability that can save a bit of extra money.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

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