Ecobee Smart Thermostat Vc Lifestyle HeroSource: Ecobee

Best Smart Thermostat for Multiple Zones iMore 2020

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 like our favorite the Ecobee SmartThermostat. Being able to set the temperature where you are instead of where the thermostat is can be a lifesaver.

Best Overall: Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

Ecobee official lifestyle 1Source: Ecobee

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control 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.

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As a bonus, the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control 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. The new Ecobee also allows you to make "intercom-style" announcements, provided that you have multiple Echo speakers around your home.

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
  • Geofencing limited to one user
  • Can't change "Alexa" hot word

Best Overall

Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

Alexa, turn the heat up a bit

The Ecobee SmartThermostat is the a great thermostat with both multi-room sensing and built-in voice control via Alexa.

Best Value: Ecobee 3 Lite

Ecobee 3 Lite LifestyleSource: Ecobee

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. You'll need to buy a set of room sensors to use it as a multi zoned thermostat or find a bundle that includes them.

The biggest difference between the Ecobee 3 Lite and the Ecobee SmartThermostat 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. What the Ecobee 3 Lite does that the 4 doesn't is let you get started on the cheap with just the thermostat.

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.

Best Smart Thermostat: Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Learning ThermostatSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

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 likely to be at home 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.

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.

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 overtime.

Best Budget Learner: Nest Thermostat E

Nest Learning Thermostat E LifestyleSource: Google

The Nest Thermostat E may lack some of the features its more expensive sibling offers, like Smart Sense, but it can adjust the temperature when the house is empty to save money on heating and cooling with its Home/Away Assist feature. The E version uses a sensor that detects the movement in the room, and when there is none for a set amount of time, it adjusts. This means it's a good bit less expensive than it's sibling, which has more sensors and a bit of adaption to guess when you're going to head out based on your habits.

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.

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.

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. It's also fairly inexpensive and the frosted white display looks great on your wall.

Best with Remote Sensors: Honeywell Home T9

Honeywell T9 Thermostat LifestyleSource: Honeywell

Chances are you have had some experiences with Honeywell products in the past, and you can continue doing so with the Honeywell Home T9. This smart thermostat is capable of managing the temperature in your various rooms, but you'll likely want to snag a few additional sensors.

These Smart Room Sensors provide a signal of up to 200 feet, making it easy to manage separate rooms from a single thermostat. Honeywell even packages the Home T9 with one of those sensors to get you started. You'll get a basic, no-nonsense design with touch controls and smart assistant integration from Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Unfortunately, Honeywell did not build a sensor into the Home T9, so you'll likely want to mount the included sensor near the T9. Apple HomeKit users will also want to look elsewhere, as the Home T9 does not integrate with your current HomeKit setup. While Honeywell included the ability to schedule and set up geofencing, you can not use these in tandem. Instead, you'll need to pick one or the other.

Pros:

  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Includes Remote Room Sensor
  • Simplistic design
  • Smart Room Sensors provide signal up to 200 feet

Cons:

  • Does not learn routines
  • No Apple HomeKit support
  • No built-in motion sensor
  • Must choose between schedule or geofencing

Best with Remote Sensors

Honeywell Home T9

The sensors provide better coverage

By itself, the Home T9 works admirably as a Smart Thermostat, but to get the best experience, you'll want the room sensors.

Best for an Easy Installation: Emerson Sensi Touch

Emerson Sensi Touch LifestyleSource: Emerson

Emerson's thermostats are some of the most popular in the HVAC industry due to their reliability and ease of use for the customer. The Sensi Touch is no different other than the added functionality, touchscreen, and smart assistant integration.

The Sensi Touch provides the ability to setup a geofence so that your thermostat can automatically adjust when you leave or get home. Daily schedules can also be used if you aren't a fan of geo-fencing, or just want another option to program your thermostat. The best part about scheduling is that it will continue to work even if your home loses its Wi-Fi connection for a period of time.

While other smart thermostats provide a slew of information on the display itself, that's not the case with the Sensi Touch. You'll get "basic" thermostat controls, without being able to just look at your Sensi Touch to figure out what the outside temperature is. Plus, if you have a whole-home humidifier, you'll need to use a separate humidistat to control it, as the Sensi Touch does not include this ability.

Pros:

  • Geofencing available
  • Set up daily schedules
  • Works with Alexa, Assistant, and HomeKit
  • Scheduling works even if Wi-Fi is out

Cons:

  • No weather data displayed
  • No support for Humidifiers

Best for an Easy Installation

Emerson Sensi Touch

Recommended by the HVAC Pros

The Emerson Sensi Touch is a favorite for HVAC pros with its various integrations and easy installation process.

Bottom line

We think the Ecobee SmartThermostat 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.

Andrew Myrick is a regular freelancer at Android Central and iMore. He has been a tech enthusiast ever since the original iPhone was released and continues to flip-flop between devices. You might as well hook him up to an IV filled with coffee to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter, and he'll get back to you.

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