How to Choose a Smart Thermostat as a Smart Home Enthusiast 2020

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 might be a wonderful way 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 anyplace 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

Let’s have an overview of some basic non-smart thermostat

Basic Thermostats

Programmable thermostats are pretty common now. You enter in a schedule in order to configure them.

This sort of thermostat can get the job done well in the event that you have a standard 9-to-5 job. Simply set the thermostat to a temperature as you’re at work and program it to kick into motion around the period you get home. That way, you’ve got one set for the weekdays and yet another set for your evenings. And you could make adjustments to the thermostat as needed.

While programmable thermostats do count are a form of automation, they are not smart.

That is because they do not have the capability to adapt to your program; in case you would like to tweak the programming settings, you have to make adjustments by hand.

In contrast, smart models such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Honeywell Lyric T-5 and the Ecobee3 are making an attempt to give you more control on your heating and the cooling system environment with Wi-Fi integration, web and mobile apps and also sensors that can tell if you are home.

Each one of the above models has DIY options. That usually means you don’t have to be in touch if you don’t wish to. Alternatively, you can come across these models alongside the more traditional manual and programmable options in many major retail stores. This makes these smart versions an easy upgrade.

With the ability to make your life easier and save you money, a smart thermostat is one apparatus many homeowners would appreciate. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular features and functions which you should be aware of before you go shopping. This will allow you to decide whether a smart thermostat is ideal for you. 

How to Choose a Smart Thermostat -Overview Of Some Smart Thermostats 

Smart Thermostats 

Of the models we’ve reviewed so far, we’ve seen three main types of smart thermostat tech: analyzing algorithms, geofencing and motion sensors.

Check out 6 Best Smart Thermostats for 2020: Unparalleled Reviews


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.


Unlike the Nest Learning Thermostat and two of Honeywell’s other smart models as well, the Honeywell Lyric along with Lyric T-5 depends upon your mobile’s geofencing feature to tell whether you’re home or away. You can set the number to 500 feet approximately 7 kilometers so that when you get out of that 500-foot or 7-mile range, your thermostat has to switch to off mode. And, once you cross under that range, it’s supposed to go back to a preset Homestyle when you arrive, so it’s nice and comfy.

It will not always function well in practice, although this can be a smart idea, presuming that you do forget your mobile in your home. Imagine having household members with the Lyric app and the geofencing feature which could create a whole lot of headaches. As you go about your everyday routine and probably work near home, you may then trigger the Home mode.

Motion Sensor

Much like this Honeywell Lyric Thermostat, the Ecobee3 thermostat is based on motion and proximity detectors. Its sensors will detect that you are close and kick into the Home mode. If it feels that you’ve been gone for a little while, it will switch to off mode. This worked well, especially because it relied upon a sensor. Placing the remote sensor in a heavily trafficked section of the main house helps make sure that its Home and Away modes work.

Needless to say, this technology is entirely dependent upon you walking around and setting the detectors off. Unless you happen to cross outside the range of the detectors, the Ecobee3 will then assume you are away.


If you’ve installed a 4- or 5-wire thermostat, this process needs to be the same. The one thing you need to remember is that some of the thermostats will require a C cable and some won’t. When in doubt, consult a professional or competent friend for support. On average, though, it should not take too much time to get any of those smart thermostats successfully connected to some HVAC wiring.

The C wire, also known as the “common” cable, is required for the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart ThermostatOpens in a new tab., the Honeywell Wifi Smart Thermostat using Voice-control,Opens in a new tab. and both the Ecobee3Opens in a new tab. and the Ecobee3 LiteOpens in a new tab.. This cable provides a continuous flow of power (2-4 VAC, to be precise) to ensure fancier features, like LED displays to function properly.

The Nest Learning ThermostatOpens in a new tab. and the Honeywell LyricOpens in a new tab. are synced with four-wire setups in some cases (again, consult an expert if you’re unsure). That is because other cables, especially the wire, may supply enough capacity to complete the C cable’s job. There is controversy surrounding this particular specific procedure, though. It’s commonly known as “power stealing,” as it borrows power from other cables to accounts fully for the lost C cable.

One significant advantage of four-wire compatibility would be that you don’t have to rewire your HVAC with a C cable to get smart thermostat functionality, but it is a “tiny workaround” that could potentially harm some systems.

App Configuration

The configuration will be different based on the particular product. However, each smart thermostat will request you a variety of questions, such as what kind of system you have, what gas supply you use, whether you have one- or even two-stage heating and cooling and so on.

In addition, this is where you’re going to have the ability to set some basic maximum and minimum preferred temperatures and what type of alerts, if any, you would like to get. From then on, you’re all set to start controlling your thermostat, a wonderful feature for all those times when you want to set it to Vacation mode from the street or simply just make modest tweaks out of the comfort of your own sofa.


Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers chose a significant design leap with all the rounded Nest Learning Thermostat. Most of the thermostats in stores look pretty utilitarian. That standard plastic finish has an objective, though; it’s assumed to blend into almost any environment.

However, Fadell and Rogers made their furnace something that you’d actually want to check out. The Honeywell Lyric, Lyric t-5, Ecobee3, and Ecobee3 Lite followed suit with designs that leave from the standard aesthetic. Consequently, if you are in the market for something with high-level functionality that also looks fantastic, this model is a good bet.

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.


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.

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. 


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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