How to Choose a Smart Thermostat as a Smart Home Enthusiast in 2022: A Complete Guide

How to Choose a Smart Thermostat

If you’re thinking about adding a thermostat to your home automation job, knowing how to choose a smart thermostat is one of the best ways to start. Smart thermostats are the latest trend in home automation and one that is able to save you money in the long run. A WiFi-enabled smart thermostat lets you:

  • Remotely access your thermostat from anywhere using your smartphone, tablet, or computer
  • Control the temperature with a voice-activated device like the Amazon Alexa
  • Automate Your House’s climate controls through a smart hub
  • Save money on utility bills by maximizing your electricity use
  • Pre-heat or pre-cool your house before you buy a house
  • Get email alerts when the temperature falls or rises below a pre-selected setting
  • Control access to your home’s thermostat

One of the simplest methods to save money and energy is to install a smart thermostat. Choosing the best alternative, such as a Nest vs. Ecobee or a Flair vs. Sensibo, can be difficult. This post will assist you in locating the best smart thermostat for your home.

But first, let’s go through how much money, energy, and carbon emissions you can save by upgrading to a smart thermostat.

Heating and cooling account for about half of a home’s energy use, according to Energy Star, at an average cost of $900 per year. According to their research, smart thermostats can save people an average of $100 on their home energy expenses each year.

Most smart thermostats have a return on investment in as little as one or two years, making it one of the most cost-effective energy-saving changes you can make.

Smart thermostats are another excellent option to reduce your carbon impact. According to a recent study, the average household may reduce their carbon impact by 0.8 tons per year by switching. And if everyone in America switched to a smart thermostat, we could cut our country’s carbon footprint by 22 million tons per year. 

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How to Choose a Smart Thermostat as a Smart Home Enthusiast in 2022

How to Choose a Smart Thermostat as a Smart Home Enthusiast in 2022

All of the models in this guide have fantastic features that can help you save energy and money, but there are many aspects to consider when deciding which model is ideal for your house and needs.

When searching for a smart thermostat, keep the following factors in mind:

C-Wire Requirement

When you take your old thermostat off the wall, you’ll notice a few wires with various functions within your HVAC system. One of these is most likely the common wire, often known as the C wire, which supplies electricity to your thermostat.

Most contemporary HVAC systems include a C wire, although older systems may lack.

Some smart thermostat models, such as those from Ecobee and Honeywell, require a C wire to be installed, but others, such as the Nest, do not. All manufacturers advocate using one.

What if you don’t have a C wire? Here are your choices:

  • To hardwire a solution, use the provided power extender kits that come with Ecobee and Honeywell thermostats. This is a more complicated installation than the basic one, and you’ll want to use video instructions offered by the manufacturer or one of the many available on YouTube to guide you.
  • For around $150, have an electrician add a C wire. While this is a more expensive choice, it will give you peace of mind that everything is properly and safely set up.
  • Choose a Nest thermostat, which can get the little power it need from its internal battery and another wire. Be warned that some systems are incompatible with the Nest unless a C wire is used. Use this compatibility checker to your advantage.

Ease Of Installation

Unless you have a complicated HVAC system, all of the models we propose should be simple to install in 30 to 45 minutes. The devices come with explicit instructions, and the brands provide video lessons to remove the guessing.

If your system has many thermostat-controlled components, such as a dehumidifier or heat pump, you should have a professional manage the installation to avoid any harm.

Most installations will be straightforward and quick, but here are a few pointers to make it even easier:

  • Before removing your old thermostat, make a note of the wiring so you know which wires go where. Even better, take a photo.
  • Make a note of the sort of HVAC system you have (gas, oil, electric, propane, forced air, radiant) because you’ll need it throughout the installation.

Geofencing

Geofencing is a function that uses your phone’s GPS and the smart thermostat app to establish a barrier around your home.

When you, or more particularly your phone, are inside that range, the thermostat maintains your chosen “at home” temps. When the app detects that you have crossed that boundary, it will alter the temperature to save energy.

Geofencing is ideal for persons who have no established routines or who come and go frequently during the day. If you have a stable home and away routine and want to use the learning features of a smart thermostat, you may want to leave this option turned off unless you’re going out of town or otherwise deviating from your schedule.

Many models include geofencing, however their compatibilities vary. Check to see if the smart thermostat you chose supports geofencing with the operating system of your phone. Some only allow one phone per household to be connected, while others enable many phones to be linked to the geofencing.

If you have numerous phones linked, the thermostat will only switch to your away settings after the last phone leaves the boundary.

High-Voltage Heater Support

If you have a central HVAC system, you can choose from a variety of smart thermostats. Such who use high voltage heaters such as baseboard, radiant, or forced fan convectors will need to look for a model that is compatible with those systems.

The majority of smart thermostats, such as the Ecobee and Nest, are designed to work with a low voltage system. Connecting them to a high voltage system might be unsafe, and the workarounds available can offset the energy savings you’re aiming for. Choose one designed for your high voltage heater, such as the Mysa.

Algorithms

The Nest Learning Thermostat, the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat and the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat using Voice Control all Count upon algorithmic-based learning. With these three thermostats, you can input the basic parameters for your schedule, similar to a traditional programmable version. However, in addition, they have the ability to learn your schedule over time and adapt automatically to changing routines.

As an example, the Nest comes with a feature. If you do not pass in a section of its 150-degree motion and light sensors for a little while, it will assume that you are gone (even if it’s during a time you are assumed to be home) and default to the more energy-efficient Away mode. And, if your Nest starts to “notice” that you are regularly gone in this period, it is going to start to discover this new pattern on your routine and then fix its schedule so.

Obviously, this isn’t perfect. Because you’re resting in bed, it may be that you are nostalgic and haven’t walked in front of the toaster all day. You might find you’ll need to make a manual alteration that is quick on the app or on your keypad just to let it know that you are in fact home.

Sensors

While geofencing is a simple approach to automate your home and away settings, sensors offer more exact control.

Most brands include smart sensors that can be connected to your thermostat. These sensors can be installed in rooms where improved climate control is required. If a room where you spend a lot of time runs hot or cool in comparison to the rest of the house, your system will operate until that room reaches the desired temperature.

Prioritizing the temperature in specific rooms will help avoid your thermostat from spending energy adjusting the temperature in rooms that aren’t as frequently used.

Instead of relying on a linked phone for geofencing, these sensors detect motion and reset the system to “at home” settings when someone enters specified rooms.

Many smart thermostat models include motion sensors that determine whether you are at home or away, and some can also connect to door or window sensors that are part of your smart home setup.

Smart Home System Integration

If you’re already a smart home enthusiast, be sure the thermostat you select is compatible with the smart home system you’re already using. The top-tier versions are compatible with many of the most popular systems, like Amazon Echo, Google Home, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung’s SmartThings, but there are exceptions, such as the Nest not being compatible with Apple HomeKit, so double check.

If a smart thermostat is your first move towards home automation, several brands offer additional devices such as smart cameras and window and door sensors that may simply be added to your setup if desired.

User Interface And Design

You can have the nicest features in a smart thermostat, but if you can’t figure out how to utilize them, you’ll never profit from them.

Our top options not only look fantastic on the wall with their clear screens and sleek designs, but the controls are also simple to read and use. This also applies to the associated apps.

The design of a smart thermostat should facilitate the use of its energy-saving capabilities rather than be a hindrance.

Rebates

While smart thermostats are less expensive than, say, rooftop solar, $250 is not a little sum. The good news is that rebates may allow you to save a significant amount of money. You can always find out about opportunities for rebates on the thermostat company’s website.

So, which smart thermostat is best for your home?

Check out 6 Best Smart Thermostats for 2022: Unparalleled Reviews

To make our selections, we assessed the top selling brands and models, taking into account pricing, installation complexity, compatibility, and product design. Here’s what we discovered:

Overall Best Smart Thermostat

Since the first smart thermostats hit the market over a decade ago, the options have become increasingly complex. What was once a few pioneering models has become a crowded market.

There are two smart thermostats that stand out in terms of functionality, ease of use, and customer satisfaction among the latest crop: Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat with Voice Control and the Google Nest Learning Thermostat.

It was impossible to choose between the two. They’re both the same price, work with most home HVAC systems, and include clever software that makes energy conservation a snap.

Both models feature simple installation, stylish design, and user-friendly interfaces. Also, they both have many choices for improving your experience with add-on sensors and their compatibility with multiple smart home systems.

When it comes to their unique selling points, which one is ideal for you depends on your preferences. The Ecobee vs. Nest Learning Thermostat comparison is shown below.

Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control Review

Bottom line: The best option for you if you want all that extra customization and control.

Price: $250

Pros:

  • Built-in Alexa speaker that allows you to not only set the temperature by voice, but also play music and operate other smart home systems such as lights.
  • The most effective remote sensors on the market. It starts with one, but you can add up to 32 more to measure room temperature and identify occupancy. The mechanism ensures that the rooms in use are at a pleasant temperature.
  • Compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and SmartThings, as well as other major smart home systems.
  • Geofencing that detects whether your phone is at home or away and adjusts the temperature automatically.
  • eco+ mode, which allows you to specify your preferred amount of energy savings and adjusts your heating and cooling to times of day when prices are cheaper.
  • It has 2-stage heat pumps coupled with greater compatibility and adaptability.

Cons: 

  • The Ecobee has a Schedule Assistant that gives recommendations to match your routine with the best settings, but it does not make changes on its own like the Nest.
  • Geofencing is only available for Android, and only one phone per home can be linked, which may be a problem for families or roommates.
  • It costs more than choices with less capabilities, such as Nest’s low-cost smart thermostat.
  • Mini-split heating and cooling systems and baseboard heaters are not compatible.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat Review

Bottom line: The best option for individuals who prefer that the software does all of the work.

Price: $250

Pros:

  • The learning software has been and continues to be the best feature of the Nest Learning Thermostat. After a week of using it as a standard thermostat, it will learn your routine and temperature preferences when you’re at home and switch to energy-efficient levels when you’re not. It programs itself unless you make adjustments.
  • Many smart home systems, including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and SmartThings, are compatible.
  • Geofencing that detects whether your phone is at home or away and adjusts the temperature automatically. Multiple phones and accounts can be linked together.
  • Works with Nest Temperature Sensors (sold separately), which allow you to program different temperatures for different rooms.
  • The item has a motion detector that detects whether you are at home or away.

Cons:

  • Apple HomeKit is not supported.
  • There are no remote sensors supplied. You can only connect up to six Nest Temperature Sensors at a time, and they do not detect occupancy like Ecobee’s.
  • It costs more than choices with less capabilities, such as Nest’s low-cost smart thermostat.
  • Mini-split heating and cooling systems and baseboard heaters are not compatible.

Best Budget Smart Thermostat

If you don’t want to spend $250 on a smart thermostat, consider the Nest’s entry-level model, which costs $130 and misses only one significant function (compatibility with the remote sensors).

If your home is the same temperature in every room, this is an excellent alternative. 

Nest Thermostat Review

Nest Thermostat Review

Price: $129

Pros:

  • Connected app that allows you to schedule heating and cooling for seven days in advance and manage the temperature remotely from anywhere.
  • Geofencing that detects whether your phone is at home or away and adjusts the temperature automatically.
  • Out of the box, it is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (and other smart home ecosystems like Apple HomeKit if you buy a smart home bridge).
  • The UI is easy to use.

Cons:

  • It cannot learn your schedule or communicate with external sensors for more precise climate management and motion detection.
  • It’s made of a less expensive plastic than the Nest Learning thermostat.
  • It does not support mini-split heating and cooling systems.

Best Smart Thermostat for Mini-splits

Best smart thermostat for mini-splits

The Flair Puck, Sensibo’s Sky and Air models, and Ambi’s Climate and Mini are the most popular mini-split smart thermostats on the market.

The Flair Puck was our favorite option. It was notable for three reasons:

  • It is the only option that can be directly controlled by the hardware (as opposed to the app).
  • Each Flair Puck includes wall-mounting hardware.
  • They have the finest customer service of the three firms we looked at.

The Flair Puck, at $119 per controller, is more expensive than the Sensibo Sky ($79) and Air ($99). As a result, the Sensibo Sky is our affordable pick. If you want to save money and don’t worry about wall mounting or temperature control from the hardware, go with the Sensibo Sky.

The Sensibo Air is your sole option currently for connecting to your Apple HomeKit.

We liked the Ambi Climate Mini but not the Ambi Climate 2. It is the only alternative on the market that provides “learning” AI technology, similar to the Nest. However, for $149 per controller, we don’t think it’s worth it.

Check out the pros and drawbacks of each option for a more in-depth look.

Flair Puck Review

Flair Puck Review

Price: $119

Pros:

  • You can set the temperature directly from the puck, eliminating the need to pull out your phone or app every time.
  • Option for wall mounting. If you don’t want to clutter your bedside table or counter, this is a good option. This feature is also available on the Ambi Climate Mini.
  • The greatest customer service of any company we looked into.
  • Compatible with the majority of mini-splits. By looking at the remote, you may see if yours is compatible. Fully compatible devices will show the set point temperature as well as the fan speed.
  • Alexa and Google Home are both supported.

Cons:

  • It gets quite expensive if you have several mini-splits. For example, if you have four mini-splits, connecting them all to Pucks would cost $480. Sensibo Sky’s, on the other hand, would run you back $276 for the same configuration.
  • Apple HomeKit is not supported. We only discovered one such model, the Sensibo Air.
  • Unintuitive and difficult to use mobile app. However, this is a problem with every model on the market. Flair is the only option that allows you to change the temperature without using an app (i.e. directly from the hardware).

Sensibo Sky Review

Sensibo Sky Review

Price: $79

Pros:

  • The most affordable alternative on the market. If you need to handle four mini-splits, the Flair Puck and Ambi Climate Mini will set you back $480, while the Ambi Climate 2 will set you back $600.
  • Compatible with the majority of mini-splits on the market. According to the business, it will work with 10,000 models and anything that has a remote controller.
  • Technically, it can be hung on the wall. However, this necessitates the use of a third-party wall-mount.
  • Google Home, Alexa, and Apple Siri are all supported (though not HomeKit).

Cons:

  • If you want to modify the temperature, you must utilize an unintuitive, difficult-to-use app. The Flair Puck allows you to manage the temperature using the hardware or the app.
  • There have been some online complaints about the corporation sending “vaguely spam-y appearing emails” in an attempt to market other things.

Sensibo Air Review

Price: $99

Pros:

  • Cheaper than comparable Ambi and Flair choices. This is very useful if you wish to control a large number of mini-splits. Four Sensibo Airs cost $356 while Flair Pucks and Ambi Climate Minis cost $480.
  • The only model on the market that fully supports Apple Home Kit. It is also Alexa and Google Home compatible.
  • Compatible with the majority of mini-splits on the market. According to the business, it will work with 10,000 models and anything that has a remote controller.

Cons:

  • The controller cannot be wall-mounted like the Flair Puck.
  • If you want to modify the temperature, you must utilize an unintuitive, difficult-to-use app. The Flair Puck allows you to manage the temperature using the hardware or the app.
  • There have been some online complaints about the corporation sending “vaguely spam-like emails” in an attempt to market other things.

Ambi Climate Mini Review

Price: $129

Pros:

  • Without sacrificing several functions, the Ambi Climate 2 is $130 less expensive per controller. The sole difference between the two is the learning element in Climate 2, which we didn’t find particularly appealing.
  • Option for wall mounting. If you don’t want to clutter your bedside table or counter, this is a good option.
  • Alexa and Google Home are both supported.

Cons:

  • Apple HomeKit is not supported. We only discovered one such model, the Sensibo Air.
  • If you have several mini-splits, it will be expensive. For example, if you have four mini-splits, connecting them all to Pucks would cost $480. Sensibo’s Sky, on the other hand, would run you back $276 for the same configuration.

Ambi Climate 2 Review

Price: $149

Pros:

  • It learns your habits and trends in order to forecast when to turn on or off your mini-split. This is the only mini-split controller that accomplishes this as of this writing.
  • Compatible with the majority of mini-splits on the market. You can see if yours is compatible by clicking here.
  • Alexa and Google Home are both supported.

Cons:

  • The most expensive alternative available on the market. Connecting four mini-splits would cost $1,000 at $250 per controller. In comparison, the Sensibo Sky costs $276.
  • Apple HomeKit is not supported. We only discovered one such model, the Sensibo Air.

Best Smart Thermostat For Baseboard

There are few options for homes with high voltage heaters, but our recommendation checks off all of the criteria.

Mysa Smart Thermostat Review

Price: $139 for electric baseboard heaters, $199 for electric in-floor heaters

Pros:

  • The app allows you to control and preset temperature settings in your house from anywhere.
  • Geofencing is used to automatically establish home and away temperatures.
  • Most smart home systems, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and SmartThings, are compatible.
  • Beautiful design.
  • Eco mode software allows you to save energy by making minor temperature adjustments without losing comfort.

Cons:

  • Expensive if you need to install one in several rooms.

Best Smart Thermostat For Home Automation Enthusiasts

Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control

Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control

See above for why this model is tied for the best you can buy, but let’s take a closer look at why it’s ideal for your home automation system.

  • It comes pre-installed with Alexa, but it can also connect with other major smart home ecosystems, such as Apple HomeKit. You can use voice control to make changes to any smart gadgets in your house that are compatible.
  • Ecobee also sells smart devices that work in tandem with it, such as remote room temperature sensors with motion detection, smart cameras, and smart door and window sensors.
  • When paired with other smart devices, you gain access to additional energy-saving functions. For example, if your window or door sensors detect that one or more are open for more than five minutes, Ecobee will turn off your air conditioning to conserve electricity.

Is It Worth It To Go Smart? 

Is It Worth It To Go Smart? 

Things To Take Into Account Before You Decide To Go Smart

Smart thermostats are becoming part of their bigger smart home arena. Even the “Works with Nest” initiative makes it possible for people to incorporate the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Nest Protect and Nest safety cameras with a variety of third-party products, which range from Whirlpool to Lutron. Nest, Ecobee and Honeywell have their particular IFTTT channels to get more complex home automation rules.

In addition, all 3 brands use Amazon Alexa. That means you can adjust your thermostat with a very simple voice command: “Place my thermostat to 68,” What’s the current temperature of the thermostat?” And so on. Ecobee3 and Honeywell Lyric thermostats additionally use Apple HomeKit, therefore iPhone customers can correct their thermostat with Siri. Nest’s thermostat is your first ever to get the job done well with the Google Home for custom commands such as, “okay Google, raise the temperature to 72.”

But smart thermostats don’t come cheap. You are able to snag a basic 7-day programmable thermostat for less than 30 bucks, whereas these smart models vary in price from $150 to $250 (at the present exchange rate, that is roughly £120, AUS$200 to 200, AUS$330). Therefore while you might be saving money, it might take some time for the cost to even out.

 Shared Advantages & Features of Smart Thermostats

Even though smart thermostat features will differ from model to model, below are some functions to search for when deciding which model is most effective for the home and price range.

Lower Utility Bills

Conventional thermostats let you set a stable temperature you’ve to change manually and that results in inefficient usage of energy. Standard models that are programmable allow you to schedule what the temperature of your home should be at select times of the day. This permits you to only heat the home when needed and turn down the heat when you are not at home to save energy.

Smart thermostats take the process one step further by tracking zones of one’s home and auto-scheduling the warmth of every room of your home to use energy better. Most homeowners can recover the total cost of this smart thermostat in heating and heating savings. Generally, studies have demonstrated the typical homeowner may save you 10 – 12% on the heating bills, 15% on heating bills, and typically save $100-$145 annually in their utility accounts, depending on usage.

Auto-scheduling

Smart thermostats enable you to schedule routines for cooling and warming. Some models determine your preferences over time to build on your schedule and adapt to changes. Your schedule isn’t predicted by others based on exercise and alternatively, they respond mechanically to your activities. Those models with auto-scheduling use your habits weather patterns or answers to a series of simple questions. These versions work better when it uses at least 2 among these:

1. Use reports that list and supply feedback on how much energy you use.

2. Motion sensors that interact with the thermostat to offer information out your regular schedule such as setting when you are home from work at another time than normal. 

3. Geofencing uses a global positioning system unit to create a zone around your house and tracks your smartphone’s location to activate home and off modes.

Usability and Simplicity of Installation

Smart thermostats use mobile apps to permit one to use your empowered device like a smartphone, tablet or computer, computer, or voice-activation home platform to control your thermostat. Most new models are easy to program, simple to read and offer intuitive functionality.

Smart thermostats are simple to install for DIYers and have tutorials and a guide to help you. If your system features a C-wire, the process takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and usually is even easier. Models with compatibility checkers and degrees are the easiest to install.

Smartphone and Smart Home Integration

Smart thermostats have been WiFi-enabled and use apps to work with Android and i-OS systems, so that you may remotely get your computer keyboard controls using a smartphone tablet or computer, computer, and on a few models systems such as Alexa. You get testimonials from anywhere at any time and can monitor your house’s system and program schedules.

Some models incorporate home automation functionality so that it is possible to link your thermostat into smart home devices. You can connect your thermostat to a smart lock that triggers your thermostat off mode once you lock your doorway. Or you’ll be able to connect smart lights to your thermostat to schedule both to come on right before you are home.

Service Alerts, Reminders, and Support

Most smart thermostats tell you when to carry out basic maintenance such as changing air filters in your system. The others will alert you if there’s a problem with your HVAC program. The models come with complete customer care which lets you reach support representatives via media, email, phone, and live chat whenever you have a question or problem.

And there you have it: All you need to know on how to choose a smart thermostat as a smart home enthusiast in 2022. We trust that our list goes a long way in helping you get the best smart thermostat for your needs. What smart thermostat are you settling for, and why? Do let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for your time!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Override a Thermostat?

Access the buttons under the front panel and choose ‘System’ mode. If you place it on auto, it will heat or cool to the desired temperature. To override a locked Trane thermostat, press the hold button down for five seconds. This should allow you to restart the thermostat at your preferred temperature.

Do I Need a Nest Temperature Sensor?

Most homes don’t have the same temperature in every room. With the Nest Temperature Sensor, you can let your Nest thermostat know which room should be at a certain temperature at a certain time of day. Just place it on a wall or shelf and get the right temperature, right where you want it.

How Does Nest Know the Temperature?

The temperature you see on your Nest thermostat screen and in the app is rounded to the nearest 1°F (0.5°C). Your thermostat uses the unrounded temperature to determine when to turn on your system. So the temperature you see on your thermostat or in the app might change by a few degrees before your system turns on.

How Do I Know if My Thermostat is Working?

  1. If you see your temperature gauge turning red within the first 15 minutes of driving, your thermostat may be bad. Generally, if your vehicle is overheating within 15 minutes or so of driving it, this may be a sign that the thermostat is stuck. 
  2. Check the radiator hoses. 

 

 

 

Profzubby

I am a tech enthusiast. Since the Smart Home tech came out I fell in love with it and have been following it ever since. I decided to use this platform to pour out my knowledge and experience I've had overtime to guide your decisions. Hope the experience is worth your while.

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