As seen in:
Nest
Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen
Venstar
WIFI ColorTouch
Honeywell
Wi-Fi Smart Touchscreen
ecobee3
Smarter Wi-Fi w/Remote, 2nd Gen
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Good

Stands at the top of the pack by offering a compelling combination of DIY-friendliness, sophisticated design, easy-to-use features, and automatic energy-saving settings.

Offers unique features like user-configurable themes and wallpaper images, the ability to display photos when the thermostat is in screen-saver mode, and an auto-night dimmer.

Can learn how long it takes your equipment to reach the desired temperature and adjust its on and off times accordingly which can save you additional money.

Incorporates a number of intelligent features such as Free Cooling, which makes use of cooler outside air instead of air conditioning when conditions allow. Compatible with Alexa devices.

Bad

One of the most expensive models, but its high-quality will end up saving you money in the long run.

Warranty is only 1 year. Offers little in the way of customer support.

Requires a C-wire to work since it does not contain an on-board battery.

May not boast all of the advanced controls of the Nest, but at this price, you may not care.

Bottom Line

Hands down the best smart thermostat available right now. Pioneered the market and represents the state of the art.

We recommend the Nest which is only $44 more.

An attractive option for those who don’t like the look of the Nest or who prefer a more manual thermostat.

The best value for your money. You won't find another smart thermostat that gives you more for less.

How we decide
BestReviews is committed to providing comprehensive and trusted reviews for products that matter to consumers. We do the research to help you save time and money.
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Products received from manufacturers
57
Models Considered
35
Hours Spent
1
Experts Interviewed
234
Consumers Consulted

Best Smart Thermostats

Though the smart thermostat market is still relatively young and new products seem to arrive each month, there are already clear favorites among those who have bought. We’ve picked the products that have earned the best reviews so far.

Products we Considered

Nest
Learning Thermostat, 3rd Gen
Venstar
WIFI ColorTouch
Honeywell
Wi-Fi Smart Touchscreen
ecobee3
Smarter Wi-Fi w/Remote, 2nd Gen

Considerations

Compatibility and Installation

Not all thermostats (even smart ones) work with all heating and air conditioning systems. Make sure that you choose a product that’s guaranteed to work with your home’s existing equipment and that offers an easy-to-follow installation guide if you plan to do the work yourself.

Ease of Use

There’s no point in replacing your existing “dumb” thermostat if your new “smart” thermostat isn’t all that smart. Look for products that offer intuitive controls and the ability to adapt to changing conditions automatically.

Features

Why do you want a smart thermostat? To save money? To give you the ability to set temperatures remotely when you’re not home? Or are you trying to add components to an existing smart-home set-up? If the thermostat doesn’t meet your needs, find one that does.

Price and Warranty

While the average price for a smart thermostat is between $200-$300, several newer models can be found for less than $175. Reviews of these more affordable products have been positive, but there is often a sacrifice on materials, build quality, and features.

Considerations

Compatibility and Installation

Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation

Featuring a class-leading 95% compatibility with HVAC systems, the Nest Learning Thermostat should work with just about every low-voltage system on the market including heat pumps and dual-fuel systems. Its biggest advantage is that it does not require a C-wire (otherwise known as a common wire) for its operation. Buyers can use Nest’s compatibility wizard to check their existing installation before taking the plunge. Included in the box is everything you need to install the Nest yourself (even a screwdriver!), but the company will also help you find a certified installer if you decide you don’t want to tackle the installation on your own. Set-up typically involves attaching existing wires to the relevant connectors on the Nest base plate, which has its own built-in level. The included trim plates let you easily cover holes left by your older thermostat. Configuration for your specific system is done on-screen through the Nest’s excellent and user-friendly set-up wizard.

Venstar WIFI ColorTouch High Resolution Thermostat

Venstar thermostats are usually sold through approved installers, so finding system compatibility info is tricky. These thermostats should work with a majority of systems, but they do not contain a built-in battery, which means they require both power and a C-wire in order to work. Configuration for different systems is done through a combination of dip-switch settings and software settings during the initial on-screen setup. Buyers report varying levels of success during installation and many have noted that Venstar’s customer support is less than stellar.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is compatible with a majority of low-voltage systems but does not work electric baseboard heaters. Installation will be straightforward for most homeowners, but keep in mind that this system requires a C-wire to work as it does not contain an on-board battery. The manual contains clear and easy-to-follow instructions for both installation and set-up, and buyers have reported it to be an easy process.

ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor, 2nd Generation, Works

ecobee claims that its Smarter thermostats are compatible with 95% of the HVAC systems in North America, and it offers a similar compatibility checker to the Nest. The thermostat will control various systems including gas/oil/electric heating, heat pump with auxiliary heat, geothermal, dual fuel, standard electric cooling and boilers. However, buyers who install the ecobee themselves will have to pay close attention to the different wiring diagrams which some people may find hard to interpret. The Smarter Thermostat does not require a C-wire; however, installing one without it may mean less control over your system’s fan settings. Once installed, set-up is straightforward using the thermostat’s navigation buttons (note: this is not a tousch-screen thermostat).

The Nest comes with everything you need to install it yourself (even a screwdriver!), but the company will also help you find a certified installer if you decide you don’t want to tackle the installation on your own.
Considerations

Ease of Use

One of the key features of the Nest is its ability to “learn” the schedule you and your family need through its suite of on-board sensors. When this system works, it removes the need for any manual programming which saves both time and money. However it’s also a system that is dependent on placement. If you install the Nest in a room that sees infrequent use by the people in your home, it can have a hard time creating an accurate schedule. All settings can be accessed through a combination of scrolling through menus and “clicking” using the Nest’s circular body. The free apps for iOS, Android, and the web are very simple and intuitive.

Using a touch-screen interface, the Venstar thermostat offers a wide variety of settings including an intuitive, calendar-based scheduling system. It’s a very good improvement over conventional thermostats, but it will not program itself. Connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network requires an optional card, but this must be removed in order to upgrade the Venstar’s firmware – something that must be done via a PC and a removable SD card (not included with the thermostat).

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat’s touch-screen interface is cleanly laid out and easy to use. It comes with a series of pre-set schedules that are designed to save you money immediately, but these can all be modified if you wish. While the Honeywell can’t program itself, it can learn how long it takes your equipment to reach the desired temperature and adjust its on and off times accordingly, saving you additional money.

ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor, 2nd Generation, Works

The ecobee3 Smarter Thermostat has a simple touch interface which gives you access to all of the device’s settings. Some of the programming is manually done, the automatic optimization of your heating and cooling settings via the ecobee’s weather forecast function is a nice touch. Alerts can be configured so that you receive an email if the temperature in your home gets too high or too low based on thresholds that you control.

If you install the Nest in a room that sees infrequent use, it can have a hard time creating an accurate schedule.
Richard
Expert Consultant
Richard
Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Richard is a seasoned small business owner in the hardware industry. He also owns a pool maintenance business and serves as an advisor on groundskeeping committees for a number of prominent organizations. He’s a regionally renowned safe cracker/locksmith expert, and in his spare time, he renovates and repairs vaults, safes, appliances, and a number of other products.

Considerations

Features

Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation

The Nest comes equipped with a variety of features including: AutoAway which sets your home to a pre-selected temperature when it senses you’re not home; Leaf which shows you when you made choices that saved you money; AirWave which reduces the amount of AC you need in the summer; and Auto-Tune which makes small changes to your settings automatically to compensate for seasonal changes and heavy-use times of day. You can access the Nest from anywhere via free apps for iOS and Android, and there’s a web-based portal for anyone using a PC. For those who want to augment the Nest’s accuracy, it can talk to Nest’s Protect line of smart smoke alarms. Further automation can be achieved through the use of services like IFTTT (If This Then That) which has been designed to work with Nest.

Venstar WIFI ColorTouch High Resolution Thermostat

The Venstar offers unique features like user-configurable themes and wallpaper images, the ability to display photos when the thermostat is in screen-saver mode, and the auto-night dimmer which reduces the brightness of the display. The thermostat can also display visually appealing bar charts showing the last 7 days of heating and cooling info. There are a number of advanced settings that let you control options such as the number of minutes or degrees that must elapse before heating or cooling begins. If you choose the optional WiFi module, you can access the Venstar from free iOS, Android, and BlackBerry apps as well as the available web portal. The Venstar can also make use of optional wired or wireless sensors that can augment the thermostat’s ability to monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat possesses many of the same features as the Nest, including built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, free apps for iOS and Android, as well as a web-based interface. You can customize the look of the Honeywell by choosing from pre-set themes that can complement your décor, or you can also pick a specific background color or image. The thermostat will update its software automatically if you are connected to Wi-Fi and have created a free Total Connect Comfort account. There is also a compressor protection feature that prevents damage happening from frequent starts and stop of the cooling system. The “Guide Me” option creates schedules based on a series of questions, which can greatly simplify the schedule creation process.

ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor, 2nd Generation, Works

The ecobee3 Smarter Thermostat incorporates a number of intelligent features such as Free Cooling, which makes use of cooler outside air instead of air conditioning when conditions allow. It makes use of both the system fan and the air conditioning unit to control indoor humidity even if no dehumidifier is present. An extensive list of alerts and reminders can be configured to notify you of problems with your system or simply that it’s time to change your filter. There is also a vacation mode that lets you specify temperature ranges while you are away, or you can let the ecobee set these automatically to save you the most money. The ecobee3 is ZigBee compatible, which means it can connect to (and be connected to) compatible ZigBee products such as wireless sensors and home automation hubs. Free registration gives you access ecobee’s Home IQ web portal, which offers many ways to look at your home energy consumption patterns as well as full control over the ecobee3 thermostat. Free apps for iOS and Android are also available.

Nest's AutoAway feature sets your home to a pre-selected temperature when it senses you’re not home.
Considerations

Price and Warranty

Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation

Priced at $247 with a 2-year warranty, the Nest Learning Thermostat is easily the most expensive product in this category. However its advanced feature set, ease of use, ease of installation, aesthetics, and customer support go a long way to justifying the extra money. The Nest routinely receives the highest ratings from professional reviewers.

Venstar WIFI ColorTouch High Resolution Thermostat

The Venstar costs $144 (assuming you buy the WiFi module) and comes with a 1-year warranty. Though it has some interesting features such as the digital photo frame mode, it costs only $44 less than the Nest and offers little in the way of customer support, which should be considered in light of its short warranty period.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

With a 1-year warranty and a $171 price tag, the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat makes an attractive option for those who don’t like the look of the Nest or who prefer a more manual approach to controlling their home HVAC system.

ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor, 2nd Generation, Works

With both the lowest price ($248) and the longest warranty (3 years), the ecobee3 Smarter Thermostat is hard to beat if you value Wi-Fi connectivity over features such as touch-screens or behavior-learning algorithms. It may not boast all of the advanced controls of the other products, but at this price, you may not care.

With both the lowest price and the longest warranty, the ecobee3 Smarter Thermostat is hard to beat.

Best of the Best

The product that first popularized the concept of the smart thermostat still stands at the top of its field: the 3rd Generation Nest Learning Thermostat is alone in offering a compelling combination of DIY-friendliness, sophisticated design, easy-to-use features, and automatic energy-saving settings.

Even though it is priced higher than the other products on our list, we feel it represents the state of the art and is without question the best smart thermostat available right now.

Best of the Best
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The Nest represents the state of the art.

Best Bang for your Buck

It’s hard to argue with a thermostat that offers built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, free apps for iOS and Android, an intuitive web portal interface, and simple (if somewhat basic) controls and settings options – and offers all this for under $250 with a 3-year warranty. Because of this, the ecobee3 Smarter gets our nod for best value in a smart thermostat.

Simply put, you won't find another smart thermostat that gives you more for less.

Best Bang for your Buck
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The team that worked on this review
  • Michael
    Michael
    Creative Lead
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jasmin
    Jasmin
    Operations
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Ben
    Ben
    Operations