Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
When it comes to controlling the temperature of your smart home, the Nest smart thermostat is king—it was the first big success, and it’s what everyone thinks of when they hear “smart thermostat.”
But there are plenty of other good options out there. Here are 5 you should consider if you’re looking to buy.
One of the best things about the Ecobee3 is that it includes a remote temperature sensor that allows it to keep tabs on the temperature in different rooms in your house. This will help you get a satisfactory temperature all over your home instead of just the room that your thermostat’s in.
By using the Follow Me mode, the Ecobee3 will prioritize the temperature in rooms that have recently detected motion.
The thermostat itself also has a motion sensor, and keeps the screen off to save energy until it detects that you’re nearby. The touchscreen controls aren’t as minimal as the Nest, but they’re still very sleek; a slider on the right-hand side allows you to adjust the temperature, and buttons along the bottom open menus and make adjustments.
The Ecobee3 works with an Android / iOS app, a web app, and can connect to SmartThings, Control4, and Vera systems; its open API could signal additional future integrations with other smart home systems, as well. And IFTTT compatibility lets you set up as many different triggers for actions as you want.
The Lyric is designed to look like one of Honeywell’s post-World War II thermostats, the T-86 (though it’s much smarter). One of its best features is geofencing, which will activate the thermostat when you’re within 500 feet or 7 miles of your house (you can choose in the app settings).
Although there are reports of it occasionally not working correctly, the geofencing is a great feature for helping you save energy and heating / cooling costs.
The thermostat itself has few controls—most of the actions you’ll want to take other than just changing the temperature will be taken from the Android / iOS app. Unfortunately, the Lyric’s API is still private, which means you can’t use other home automation systems to control the thermostat.
It does, however, take local weather forecasts into account and tries to adjust for them in advance, keeping the temperature in your home as close to ideal as possible.
Although this thermostat is currently the only item in the Lyric line, it’s likely that Honeywell will be releasing additional smart home products that will be able to work with it. Until it does, the Lyric falls behind several of the other smart thermostat options, but is still a solid choice.
While its features don’t quite compare to the Nest or the Ecobee3, the Sensi is a great value option when it comes to smart thermostats; at less than $120, it’s quite affordable. It doesn’t support geofencing or integrate with home automation systems, but it does have seven-day scheduling, support for four-stage heating, humidity sensing, on-screen weather display, and a programmable fan.
The Android / iOS app and web portal allow you to control the thermostat from anywhere, as does the web portal. The thermostat sports an away mode to keep energy usage down when you’re not around—combining this with seven-day scheduling means you can keep a pretty tight control on how much your house is heated and cooled throughout the week.
Despite a lack of some of the advanced features included in other smart thermostats, the Sensi is a good entry-level option for people looking to get started on their smart home.
As a longtime manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment, it’s logical for Lennox to get into the smart thermostat game. And although they say that the iComfort works best with Lennox equipment, it can be installed with other brands as well.
Compared to many other smart thermostats, the iComfort displays a lot of information on the touchscreen, including outdoor temperature and weather forecast.
Lennox’s smart thermostat gives you a great deal of control over the conditions in your home—not only does it monitor and have the ability to adjust humidity, but it has one of the lowest tolerances among options on the market, making sure that when you set a temperature, your house stays at that temperature. Away mode and fan control provide customizability.
One of the biggest advantages of the iComfort is it will let you know when you heating and cooling equipment needs maintenance, and will send you reminder to change the filters. While the control system and the accompanying app (the only thing that can control the thermostat) don’t have stellar reviews, the thermostat itself does seem to do a good job of giving you the controls you need to keep your house at your preferred temperature and save on your energy bill.
While it lacks some of the bells and whistles of other smart thermostats—like motion sensing and geofencing—the ColorTouch does provide easy operation and four-stage heating. It’s also one of the more visually interesting options, as you can set it to serve as a clock or a digital picture frame when you’re not using it. It’s simple interface lets you program a number of different time periods throughout the day and the week, making it easy to create a schedule.
Setup is assisted by downloading the companion app for your PC or Mac—you can save settings and up to 100 photos to the included SD card, and then put the SD card into the thermostat to complete the setup. From there, you can also adjust your settings from the thermostat itself.
While the ColorTouch does offer Wi-Fi control via your smartphone, you’ll need to purchase the Wi-Fi module, which plugs into the unit, for an extra $58 (there’s also a starter pack that includes both for $195, which is more cost efficient than buying the Wi-Fi module later). The app doesn’t let you adjust programs, but it will let you do the basics.
Which Will You Choose?
Despite the Nest’s dominating popularity, there are a number of other smart thermostats that you can install—the five above are some of the best, but there are even more options out there.
Of course, there’s a reason for the Nest being so popular: it’s really good at what it does, and it can do a lot of things you didn’t know about. But if you’re looking to break away from the crowd (or save some money), any of the options above will do splendidly.
Do you use a smart thermostat? Which do you use? Do you plan on buying one in the future? Share your thoughts below!