10 Best Wifi Thermostats

10 Best Wifi Thermostats

Don't you hate when you arrive home at the end of a long, hot summer day to find your A/C has been off for hours?

Your house is just too hot to enjoy. Or, what about the dead of winter, when you walk into your house fighting the blast of icy air because the heater wasn't running?

And, don't get us started on climbing out of bed in the freezing morning air.

The good news is:

If you are using one of the best wifi thermostat options available, you can prevent these dreadful occurrences. To start, you can program your wifi thermostat to turn on and off throughout the day.

It gets better:

These Smart Thermostats can connect to your smartphone or tablet - making it possible for you to control them from anywhere in the world. Breathe a sigh of relief; each of the best wifi thermostat chocies on our list will prevent you from ever having to suffer from a thermostatically disappointing home again.

We loved the wifi thermostat models we tested so much we've decided there is no longer any reason at all to buy a "normal" thermostat again.

Why trust us: Faveable has spent thousands of hours researching, interviewing experts, and testing products to come up with carefully selected lists trusted by millions of consumers since 2013.

10 Best Wifi Thermostats

  • 10. Sensibo Sky Air Conditioner Controller
  • 9. Honeywell RTH6580WF Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat
  • 8. Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
  • 7. Honeywell RTH9580 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
  • 6. White-Rodgers Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat
  • 5. GLAS Smart Thermostat by Johnson Controls
  • 4. Ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
  • 3. Nest Thermostat E
  • 2. Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
  • 1. Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)

Best for Window AC Units

#10

Sensibo Sky Air Conditioner Controller

Best for Window AC Units: Sensibo Sky Air Conditioner Controller
Performance
8.0
Features
8.0
Value
8.2
Overall
81%
81 % Editor Score
80 % User Score
69 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Saves up to 40% of energy 
  • Easy to use
  • 7-day smart schedule

With the Sensibo Sky Air Conditioner Controller, you can pair devices like Alexa or Google with your AC units, enabling you to control your air conditioner anywhere, anytime. The controller is energy efficient and can save you up to 40% in energy costs. 

Set up can be a little tricky, but the customer service team is super responsive and helpful. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

8.0 / 10

With Sensibo, you can hook the device so all you need to do is say "Hey Alexa, turn down the AC" and Alexa will do the rest. You can control your AC unit from the app on your smartphone device. Sensibo will turn off the AC unit when everyone leaves the house, and turn on your unit before you arrive home so that you can walk into a cold, refreshing house. 

Features

8.0 / 10

The Sensibo comes with so many incredible features. You get WiFi control, a smart thermostat, 7-day scheduling, geofencing, and can control your AC units from anywhere. Sensibo is there to make sure the temperature is always right, whether that means turning up the AC or turning up the heat. 

The Sensibo connects with Google Assist, Alexa, and Siri shortcuts. You can protect your home from extreme temperatures by setting Climate React. Set triggers to change the climate of your home or room based on the humidity or temperature. 

Value

8.2 / 10

Sensibo is selling on Amazon for $119. It's one of the more cost efficient options when it comes to WiFi thermostats. 

Also, if you're not great with smart technology, Sensibo has an excellent customer service team that is here to help. Many users who expressed confusion stated that customer service immediately helped them find a solution. 

Overall Editor Score

8.1 / 10

Best Cheap Smart Thermostat

#9

Honeywell RTH6580WF Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat

Best Cheap Smart Thermostat: Honeywell RTH6580WF Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat
Performance
8.5
Features
7.5
Value
9.0
Overall
83%
83 % Editor Score
82 % User Score
632 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Programming the thermostat for each day of the week is a cinch
  • Works like a dream as long as you have a reliable Wi-Fi connection
  • Reliable, workhorse device at a reasonable cost

Easy to program the thermostat for multiple days, Wi-Fi connection allows for remote access, compatible with a wide range of HVAC systems, affordable, and features user-friendly menu navigation.

Requires a C-wire (not all homes have one); thermostat must be near a reliable Wi-Fi connection.

Expert Ratings

Performance

8.5 / 10

If you're looking to pay less for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat, this is the one for you! The device connects to your home wireless network, and you can access/control it remotely via the mobile app downloaded to your Android/iOS smartphone. Despite a few connectivity issues, you'll find that it is highly accurate and reliable for keeping your home at the right temperature.

Thanks to the thermostat, you can easily adjust your home's HVAC system to heat/cool your home exactly the way you want it. There's a setting for each day of the week, which makes it easy to account for days spent away, nights out, and the time you're at work/the gym.

Features

7.5 / 10

There aren't too many features built into the thermostat: the 7-Day heating/cooling schedule, mobile alerts and notifications, and temperature readings. However, for a basic smart thermostat, it does its job very well.

Programming the 7-day heating/cooling schedule is simple, but connecting to the wireless network can be a bit challenging. Some users found that their efforts to deal with connectivity problems accidentally changed settings on the thermostat, leading to problems with their HVAC system.

Value

9.0 / 10

At $90, this is one of the cheapest wireless thermostats around. It may have a few bugs in the system, but it does its job of keeping your home as cool/warm as you want it. Worth the price!

Overall Editor Score

8.3 / 10

Best for C-wire Installations

#8

Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Best for C-wire Installations: Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
Performance
8.2
Features
8.5
Value
8.5
Overall
84%
84 % Editor Score
84 % User Score
109 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Named "Best Overall" 2018 Smart Thermostat by reviewed.com
  • C-Wire Compatibility
  • Easy to use/install

There's a reason the "Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat" has been hailed as the Best Overall Smart Thermostat. The sleek and modern design enhances your room, and the smart technology enables you to control your AC from anywhere, whether it be through the app, Alexa, Apple Homekit, or Google Assist! 

Users have said that the sleep mode display is dark and hard to read. You can wake up your thermostat to brighten the screen. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

8.2 / 10

The Emerson Sensi helps you save energy, ultimately helping you save money. The geofencing, 7-day scheduling, remote control operations, and usage reports help you keep track and control energy usage. The touch screen makes usage easy. The smart alerts detect extreme temperature changes and allow you to keep your home cold or warm during the temperature flux. 

Features

8.5 / 10

This system requires a c-wire. What is c-wire? C-wire just stands for common wire, and today most WiFi thermostats need one. The C-wire enables units to be powered at all times. If you don't have one or know how to hook up the wire, Sensi has some super helpful installation videos online. 

With the Emerson Sensi, you get all the benefits of geofencing, flexible scheduling, a usage report to help you monitor your energy consumption, a circulating fan option, and smart temperature alerts. 

The Sensi Mobile app makes set-up super easy. You basically let the app do all the work with step-by-step installation instructions. 

Value

8.5 / 10

Right now on Amazon, you can get this Wifi Thermostat for $134.14. We think it's set at a great value, backed by a 5-year warranty and a very responsive customer service team. 

Overall Editor Score

8.4 / 10

Best Wireless Thermostat For Existing Home Systems

#7

Honeywell RTH9580 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Best Wireless Thermostat For Existing Home Systems: Honeywell RTH9580 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
Performance
8.5
Features
8.5
Value
8.5
Overall
85%
85 % Editor Score
86 % User Score
866 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Incredibly easy to control; flawless operation
  • Multiple features make it a worthy competition for the "smarter" Nest and Ecobee
  • Installation and setup very easy; intuitive interface is simple to navigate

Compatible with most Android/iOS devices, can be programmed for home or business use, fully customizable according to your specific preferences, reasonable price tag, easy to install on existing home HVAC systems, and compatible with Honeywell security and home automation systems.

Your HVAC system MUST contain a C-wire (not all systems do), and this thermostat is not compatible with electric baseboard heat or heat pumps.

Expert Ratings

Performance

8.5 / 10

If you're looking for an excellent smart thermostat, this Honeywell WiFi thermostat is as good as it gets. It has the "learning" capabilities of a smart thermostat, ensuring that your heating/cooling cycles are always accurate. It adapts to temperature and humidity, only turning on until you've reached the perfect temperature and switching off to save energy.

The LCD screen allows you access to the surprisingly simple menu, where you can control every element of the HVAC system. The screen is bright even in a darkened room, making it easy to see the temperature readings at any time. Built with the quality you've come to expect from Honeywell devices, this Wi-Fi thermostat is a high-performance device that will keep your home as cool/hot as you want it!

Features

8.5 / 10

You can connect to the Honeywell wireless thermostat via the Total Connect Comfort App, available for both Android/iOS phones, as well as tablets and computers. The remote access makes it easy to adjust your system from anywhere, so your home is just the right temperate when you walk in the front door. The app will also send alerts and notifications to your phone, as well as any other devices connected to the network.

The touchscreen can be locked so only YOU can adjust the temperature settings. There is even a 30-second lockout feature that will keep the screen locked while you clean fingerprints off it. Features include: an indoor humidity sensor, large-sized clearly displayed temperature readings, advanced fan control to improve air circulation and reduce heating/cooling costs, energy-saving features, and more.

Value

8.5 / 10

The $170 price tag may seem high to some, but considering that you get a fully "smart" thermostat that is easy to control, you'll soon realize that it's worth every penny. It's reliable, user-friendly, and a device built to last.

Overall Editor Score

8.5 / 10

Easiest Smart Thermostat to Install

#6

White-Rodgers Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat

Easiest Smart Thermostat to Install: White-Rodgers Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat
Performance
8.5
Features
8.5
Value
9.0
Overall
87%
87 % Editor Score
88 % User Score
470 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Incredibly easy to install, even with existing HVAC systems
  • Great for energy-saving; reduces HVAC power usage
  • Top-notch temperature precision and accuracy

Installation is incredibly easy, compatible with 90% of HVAC systems, user-friendly mobile app for total control over the thermostat, highly precise readings and temperature sensors, and works with Amazon Echo.

Some systems may require a C-wire, and the Sensi app suffers from connectivity issues.

Expert Ratings

Performance

8.5 / 10

One of the best things about this smart thermostat is the fact that it's highly accurate! Emerson is one of the leading HVAC companies in the world, manufacturing high quality devices like this that have only a slim margin of error for the readings. If the thermostat says it's 72 degrees, it will be off by no more than 1 degree--a statement not many other thermostats can make.

Installation of this bad boy is a breeze! You'll find that it takes less than 30 minutes to remove your current thermostat, install this one, and set it up to start controlling your HVAC system. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow, and it's incredibly simple to connect the device to your Wi-Fi, download the app, and get working.

One note: a number of users have commented on the Sensi app, specifically the connectivity/server issues. If your phone can't connect to the thermostat, it's not because you have spotty Wi-Fi, but because the Sensi server is having troubles.

Features

8.5 / 10

The thermostat is controlled via the Sensi app, which some have found slightly difficult to use. The app gives you access to a wide range of features, but the navigation makes finding those features challenging for those who are less than tech-savvy.

The device is compatible with over 90% of HVAC systems, including geothermal, gas, radiant heat pump, electric, and more. For cool-only or heat-only systems (like hot water heaters), you will need a C-wire to make the thermostat work, something not all homes have.

The thermostat is compatible with Amazon Echo, which gives you voice control over the device. Definitely makes it easy to adjust the temperature settings hands-free!

Value

9.0 / 10

At just over $110, this is a well-priced thermostat with plenty of smart features to make it worth your while. If you can get past the connectivity issues, you'll find that it's a handy device to install in your home.

Overall Editor Score

8.7 / 10

Best Modern Style Thermostat

#5

GLAS Smart Thermostat by Johnson Controls

Best Modern Style Thermostat: GLAS Smart Thermostat by Johnson Controls
Performance
9.0
Features
9.1
Value
8.9
Overall
90%
90 % Editor Score
90 % User Score
114 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Sleek, modern design
  • User-friendly
  • Monitors air quality and saves energy

The GLAS Smart Thermostat has an ultra sleek design that works. You get an air-quality report letting you know what the allergens and air quality are outside. This device has a translucent touch screen that is extremely user-friendly and connects with a mobile app (compatible with all smartphone devices). 

This thermostat can only manage one zone. It will not maintain your entire house, so if you're looking to control both upstairs and downstairs, you'll need to buy two. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.0 / 10

The GLAS helps you create a healthier and more efficient home. You save energy using this WiFi thermostat, and the OLED touchscreen makes this device extraordinarily sleek and user-friendly. If you have more than one GLAS thermostat, you can control all of the devices from the convenience of your mobile app.  

You can make a weekly schedule with this thermostat, or allow GLAS to automatically use its occupancy sensor, to create a comfortable temperature while you are home. 

Features

9.1 / 10

This GLAS Smart Thermostat makes installation a breeze. One of the users favorite feature about this device is the medical grade air-quality sensor. This device takes steps to help improve the overall air quality of the room, which is fantastic. 

GLAS works with most 24-volt cooling and heating systems. Built with Microsoft Cortana, you can pair this device with your Alexa or Google Assistant. 

Value

8.9 / 10

You can save up to $50.00 right now by buying this product on Amazon. It's selling for only $199.00 (initially set at $249.00). 

Overall Editor Score

9.0 / 10

Best Cheap Version of The Ecobee

#4

Ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat

Best Cheap Version of The Ecobee: Ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
Performance
9.2
Features
9.3
Value
9.0
Overall
92%
92 % Editor Score
92 % User Score
117 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Control from anywhere
  • Super compatible
  • Saves up to 23% on annual cooling/heating costs

The "ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat" you can control your AC units from anywhere using the ecobee mobile app. You can minimize your system's runtime with smart technology and set a schedule to help save energy and costs. 

Some users have had trouble with the technology but said the customer service team was very responsive. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.2 / 10

The easy-to-use touch screen display can pair with room sensors to manage hot or cold spots in rooms. This device tracks users occupancy in their home, ultimately helping to save more energy and costs. 

Let this system automatically control your AC units based off of the temperature in the room. This high powered little device helps you save time, energy, and money. 

Features

9.3 / 10

With the HomeIQ feature, you can see how much energy you're saving every month and how you can continue to save annually. The ecobee3 lite enables you to create personalized comfort settings for your home, set up a weekly schedule for those with a consistent schedule, and adjust from the smartphone app. 

The ecobeee3 lite is compatible with most devices, including Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, and IFTTT.  

Value

9.0 / 10

This device is the cheaper ecobee on our list. You can get all of the perks of an ecobee for only $168.95 - very budget friendly. 

Buy in confidence - a 3-year warranty backs this ecobee3 lite. 

Overall Editor Score

9.2 / 10

Best Cheap version of the Nest

#3

Nest Thermostat E

Best Cheap version of the Nest: Nest Thermostat E
Performance
9.3
Features
9.3
Value
9.5
Overall
94%
94 % Editor Score
94 % User Score
5,089 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Budget-friendly Nest
  • Energy Saver
  • Control from anywhere

The Nest Thermostat E allows you to control the temperature of your home from anywhere by using your smartphone. The frosted display blends in with the background to help achieve a simple, modern look. 

Does not come with High-Rez display or Farsight, like the Nest Learning Thermostat. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.3 / 10

Get almost all the benefits of the Nest Learning Thermostat, for half the price!

You can see how much energy you've saved by checking the Energy History. The Nest Thermostat E learns over time what your settings are and adjusts to meet your preferences. You can control the temperature, anywhere, from your smartphone device. With the Nest, you're getting precise temperature control and settings that adjust to meet your needs. 

Features

9.3 / 10

The Nest Thermostat E helps you save energy and costs. With the home/away assist feature, this thermostat will turn itself down after you leave to conserve energy. You can set a schedule, that you can also adjust at any time from any of your smartphone devices. 

The frosted display is meant to blend in with the background and appear less intrusive. 

Value

9.5 / 10

With the Nest Thermostat E, you get almost all of the benefits of the Nest Learning Thermostat for half the price. Get this device at the Home Depot for only $139.00.

This device comes with a 1-year warranty and a customer service team that is available online or by phone. 

Overall Editor Score

9.4 / 10

BEST WIFI THERMOSTAT FOR TOTAL HOME CONTROL

#2

Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

BEST WIFI THERMOSTAT FOR TOTAL HOME CONTROL: Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
Performance
9.6
Features
9.7
Value
9.6
Overall
96%
96 % Editor Score
96 % User Score
83 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Included smart-sensor
  • Built-in with Alexa, yet also integrates with other smart home systems
  • Bluetooth wireless tech enables you to play music

With the Ecobee Smart Thermostat, you're saving energy, using total voice control, enjoying built-in Alexa capabilities (enables you to play music, ask for the weather, use Alexa Calling, etc.) and experiencing improved WiFi while doing so.

It's a little less budget friendly than some of the other WiFi thermostats, but totally worth it if you can swing it. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.6 / 10

You can control this thermostat using voice control, your smartphone, Apple watch, tablet, or laptop! Help save energy costs up to 23% annually by using this smart thermostat. This incredibly user-friendly thermostat is compatible with most HVAC systems. 

Features

9.7 / 10

The built-in Alexa feature allows you to change the temperature, connect to other smart devices, or even play music. Finally! A thermostat that can play some tunes! You can use Alexa calling, Alexa messaging, or Alexa Drop In with this new and improved WiFi thermostat.

The included smart sensor keeps your most essential rooms comfortable by automatically adjusting the thermostat based on the occupancy in the room. The ecobee is exceptionally versatile, pairing with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT. Use the step-by-step guide for easy installation or the installation walkthrough videos. 

The new and improved sleek design and touchscreen make this device one of the most user-friendly thermostats out there. 

Value

9.6 / 10

For $249.00, you're getting one of the best WiFi thermostats on the market with built-in Alexa and an included Smart Sensor. 

Overall Editor Score

9.6 / 10

Best Smart Thermostat Overall

#1

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)

Best Smart Thermostat Overall: Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)
Performance
9.8
Features
9.8
Value
9.5
Overall
97%
97 % Editor Score
98 % User Score
630 Bought

Why People Love it

  • FarSight wakeup feature makes it easy to control HVAC system from the Nest unit
  • Installation is "a breeze", and it works with all existing home systems
  • Integrates with other home products (such as Nest Protect)

Features the most advanced learning algorithm on the market, reliable mobile connection, multiple sensors for gathering environmental data, beautiful design, and keeps you up to date on HVAC performance via mobile alerts.

Doesn't display the current temperature (design flaw), but only the target temperature.

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.8 / 10

If you want the most advanced smart thermostat on the market, you've done right to choose the Nest. The 3rd generation of this device is more advanced than the previous two, with most of the "kinks" ironed out.

First off, you get remote access/control to the thermostat. As long as you have Wi-Fi at home, you can easily access it from your Android/iOS tablet, smartphone, and PC. The Nest App is free to download and easy to use, with intuitive controls that make your life a whole lot easier. This smart thermostat helps you to check your energy history, reduce energy expenditure, and even choose the HVAC setting that will consume the least electricity.

When it comes to installation, you've got an easy job on your hands. The average install time for the Nest Thermostat is under 30 minutes, but customers who can't figure it out can always call the 24/7 customer support hotline for help. It's compatible with 95% of the HVAC systems on the market, and can work with heat pump, solar, hot water, radiant oil, geothermal, gas, electric, and forced air systems.

The device learns your schedule, adjusts the HVAC system to ensure your home is as warm/cool as you want it when you want it, and gives you total control over your home temperature. With its 24-bit color LCD screen and 480p resolution, it makes adjusting the temperature from the unit a cinch.

Features

9.8 / 10

If you're looking for sleek and gorgeous, this is the thermostat for you! It's round, understated, and elegant, with a black exterior that will blend in with any modern décor. The thermostat stays off until you approach it, at which point the FarSight feature will turn it on for you to regulate your temperature.

The device works with Amazon's Alexa voice control, allowing you to adjust the temperature without having to touch a button. Of course, for those who prefer remote control, the mobile app will give you access to all the available features: on-off cycle, energy-saving mode, auto-scheduling, auto-away, overnight sleep mode, and the list goes on.

Value

9.5 / 10

At $250, this is one of the priciest smart thermostats on the list, but SO worth it! If you want a smart home, the Nest's ability to learn your preferences and  schedule makes it easy for you to always keep the temperature in your home JUST the way you want it.

Overall Editor Score

9.7 / 10

Faveable Ratings: 10 Best Wifi Thermostats

10 Best Wifi ThermostatsPerformanceFeaturesValueOverall
Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation) Thumbnail
Best Smart Thermostat Overall
#1Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)
9.8
9.8
9.5
97
Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control Thumbnail
BEST WIFI THERMOSTAT FOR TOTAL HOME CONTROL
#2Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
9.6
9.7
9.6
96
Nest Thermostat E Thumbnail
Best Cheap version of the Nest
#3Nest Thermostat E
9.3
9.3
9.5
94
Ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat Thumbnail
Best Cheap Version of The Ecobee
#4Ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
9.2
9.3
9.0
92
GLAS Smart Thermostat by Johnson Controls Thumbnail
Best Modern Style Thermostat
#5GLAS Smart Thermostat by Johnson Controls
9.0
9.1
8.9
90
White-Rodgers Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat Thumbnail
Easiest Smart Thermostat to Install
#6White-Rodgers Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat
8.5
8.5
9.0
87
Honeywell RTH9580 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat Thumbnail
Best Wireless Thermostat For Existing Home Systems
#7Honeywell RTH9580 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
8.5
8.5
8.5
85
Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat Thumbnail
Best for C-wire Installations
#8Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
8.2
8.5
8.5
84
Honeywell RTH6580WF Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat Thumbnail
Best Cheap Smart Thermostat
#9Honeywell RTH6580WF Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat
8.5
7.5
9.0
83
Sensibo Sky Air Conditioner Controller Thumbnail
Best for Window AC Units
#10Sensibo Sky Air Conditioner Controller
8.0
8.0
8.2
81

Faveable Expert Tips

What is a Wi-Fi Thermostat?

A Wi-Fi thermostat—also known by the names smart thermostat or wireless thermostat—is a temperature-regulating device that comes with the added feature of internet connection. Instead of simply being a regular thermostat that hangs on the wall, it has a built-in wireless receiver that connects it to your home’s Wi-Fi system. Thanks to this wireless connection, you’re able to control all of the thermostat’s features via your smartphone, tablet, or even computer.

The thermostat has its own IP address (like any other internet-connected device), which allows you to access the device’s controls via the internet. In addition to the various built-in features—which often far exceed the features of a regular thermostat—the device often collects, stores, and transmits data that can help you to monitor and regulate your energy usage.

Some smart thermostats are able to do amazing things like adjust your HVAC system according to the weather of your city or use computer algorithms to “learn” your temperature preferences. The goal behind these devices is to eliminate the need for you to get up to adjust your thermostat, eventually possibly even eliminating the need for manual programming altogether.

Benefits of a Wi-Fi Thermostat

There are many things that make Wi-Fi thermostats very useful:

Keep a close eye on your home while you’re away. We all have those moments when we can’t remember if we switched off the stove or turned off the HVAC unit when we left the house. Rather than having to drive home or ask a neighbor to pop in, a Wi-Fi thermostat allows you to ensure the thermostat is switched off even if you’re away from home.

This is particularly useful for people who travel frequently. You’ll be able to simply log onto the app and check to make sure the HVAC unit in your home is off. You won’t ever have to wonder if you forgot to turn the heater/AC off because you can check it from anywhere in the world. All you need is a reliable Wi-Fi connection, and the mobile app, and you can access your Wi-Fi connected thermostat in seconds.

No need to stand up. There are few things more challenging than forcing yourself to get out of bed on a freezing cold winter morning to turn on the heater. With a Wi-Fi thermostat, you don’t have to! You can simply reach for your smartphone and switch the thermostat on from the comfort of your bed.

Too hot to relax and enjoy the Super Bowl, World Cup, or NBA Playoffs but don’t want to miss a moment of the big game? Simply reach for your phone to crank up the AC without getting up from your couch or leaving your man cave. Thanks to the Wi-Fi connection, you can adjust your thermostat from anywhere in the house without having to move from your comfortable position.

Quick and easy programming. Smart thermostat manufacturers realize how tough it can be to learn the User Interface (UI) of new devices, so they build their apps to be as user-friendly as possible. The app UIs are intended to help you find what you need with the least amount of effort.

Not only will you have an easier time finding the basic controls (turn the heater up or crank the AC to cool your home faster), but you’ll be able to master programming features much more easily. Everything is done via digital controls, so it’ll be a cinch to punch in a few numbers, set the timer, and adjust the programming from your smartphone.

“Smart” learning. This is one of the greatest benefits of a smart device! These thermostats are programmed with algorithms that will learn your daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly habits. Eventually, they’ll collect enough user data that they’ll be able to predict your preferences and automate the heating and cooling for you.

Learning thermostats (like ecoBee and Nest, among them) will learn your schedule, track the daily weather forecast, and monitor your preferences. They can even monitor your location (via the GPS in your app) to switch on the heat/cooling before you get home or shut it off automatically when you leave. It will make your life much easier and require far less direct input from you as it learns your habits and preferences.

Monitor efficiency. The goal of these smart thermostats isn’t just to make you more comfortable and to reduce work, but also to save energy. They’re designed to maximize the efficiency of your HVAC unit so you can get the best possible cooling/heating with the lowest possible energy consumption.

Most Wi-Fi thermostats will monitor your energy use when heating/cooling your home, and they will often make recommendations of what you can do to improve energy efficiency. They may even be able to alert you if the air filter is dirty, the refrigerant is running low, the condenser coils are clogged, or a window is open. These devices will help you to enhance energy efficiency and thereby save on energy costs.

A “smarter” home overall. Thanks to the Wi-Fi connection, you will usually be able to integrate your smart thermostat with other home automation devices and whole-home automation systems. This integration will make it easier for you to remotely control your thermostat along with your smart lights, home security system, Wi-Fi garage door opener, and all other smart home systems.

The goal behind a “smart” home is convenience, enhanced security, and more energy efficiency. With a Wi-Fi thermostat, you’ll focus mostly on keeping energy costs low while making sure your home is as warm/cool as you want.

Is a Wi-Fi Thermostat a Worthwhile Investment?

A lot of people balk when they see the price tag on smart Wi-Fi thermostats. With prices ranging from $150 to $500 (yep, the highest-end Ecobee can be pricey!), of course it’s a larger initial expense than they might like.

But the question is: is it worth the cost? Are you going to save money in the long run by investing in a smart thermostat?

The answer is an unequivocal yes!

According to the EPA, using a programmable thermostat can save you around $180 per year on energy usage. The EPA makes very clear that it will only work through “proper use of pre-programmed settings”, and particularly for people who spend hours away from home every day. However, they recommend using a programmable thermostat on their primary “Energy Savings at Home” page on the website.

One Lifehacker was able to use the data he collected via his thermostat (and other home devices) to monitor consumption. With a smart Wi-Fi thermostat, you’ll be able to monitor data to find out when you use the most energy (which months, what time of day, etc.). Then, you’ll be able to find ways to cut energy use—in this Lifehacker’s case, he went with running fans, turning off heat-generating electronics, and opening windows to generate a cooling breeze during the heat of summer. Having that raw data is particularly useful after a year or two so you can see energy use trends.

The people at Nest compared energy bills for people in 41 states, and evaluated their energy consumption before and after they purchased a Nest Learning Thermostat. They found that Nest saved up to 15% on home cooling (during the hotter months) and 10-12% on home heating (during the colder months). They estimated an average yearly savings of $131 to $145—slightly less than the EPA’s estimate, but still excellent in terms of saving.

Nest published the white paper documenting their research, including a breakdown of their analysis. They even compared the average savings according to the type of energy used:

  • For natural gas users, energy savings were anywhere from 7.5 to 11.7%
  • For electricity users, energy savings ranged from 14.6 to 20.4%

Not bad, right? If using a smart thermostat can cut your electric bill back by even just 10% per month, that’s enough to justify the expense for sure! By this calculation, the Nest (or any smart thermostat) would pay for itself within two years. Over the course of your lifetime, you’d see significant energy savings thanks to the programmable, learning features of a Wi-Fi thermostat.

Of course, there are a number of factors that will affect your energy efficiency (and savings) using a smart thermostat:

  • Your usage. If you’re already trying your best to be energy-efficient with your thermostat, you may not see drastic savings because you’re close to optimal use of your HVAC system. However, if you’re the sort of person that leaves the heater or AC running all day long even when you’re out and about, prepare to see some significant savings!
  • Cost of utilities. The amount you save each year will depend on the cost of natural gas and electricity in your area. The energy expenditure won’t change, simply how much you pay for that energy.
  • HVAC system. If your HVAC system has a leak, isn’t installed efficiently, or is in dire need of maintenance, using a smart thermostat will be like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. These savings will be realized if your HVAC system is running at maximum efficiency.
  • Your home. If your home isn’t weatherproofed, you’re still going to end up wasting a lot of energy to heat or cool it no matter how smart your thermostat is.
  • Climate. If you live in a place where air conditioning or heating isn’t required, your energy savings will be much smaller simply because you require the use of far less energy to keep your home cool or warm.
  • Seasonal variations – Some years you’ll get a mild winter or summer, while other years may be marked by heat waves and drastic cold fronts. You’ll have to crank up the AC or heater to deal with these extremes, which will use more energy.

Let’s just say that on average a smart thermostat will slash your energy costs. Definitely worth the expense if you ask us!

Can You Use Multiple Smart Thermostats?

Yes, you can!

Homes with multiple thermostats can be upgraded using Wi-Fi thermostats to control the various zones in your house. You can replace one of the thermostats with a smart device, or replace all of your home thermostats if you so desire.

Most smart thermostats are designed to connect to each other (via the mobile app and Wi-Fi) so you can use more than one thermostat to regulate the temperature in every part of your home.

Do Wi-Fi Thermostats Work with Zoned Systems?

If your home has a “zoned system”— a single HVAC system with multiple thermostats the control the distribution of hot/cold air to the various parts of the house—you’ll find that most smart Wi-Fi thermostats are able to control the zoned systems.

Be warned: you’ll need to install multiple thermostats in each zone in order to control the heating/cooling for that area. However, if you refer to the previous section, you’ll find that the thermostats can link up, so you’ll control all of them from the same device.

Using multiple thermostats for a zoned system will give you total control of the HVAC unit from your mobile device. However, if you want to start with just one smart thermostat to try it out (as recommended by Nest), you should set it in the central location (living room) so it can start learning your habits. 

DIYing Your Thermostat Installation

Now comes the tricky part: installing the thermostat!

Unfortunately, smart thermostats aren’t just “plug and play” devices. You have to do some electrical work to connect the thermostat to your wiring, and you’ll likely need to install the mount to your wall before attaching the device.

If you’re not the world’s handiest person, you’ll be glad to know that many smart thermostat manufacturers offer installation. Nest, for example, charges $99 to $250 for the installation of the thermostat (depending on location and the complexity of the HVAC system). Prices may increase if you want to change the location of the thermostat, need new wiring, or have more complicated systems (like whole-home humidifiers/dehumidifiers of dual-fuel hybrid systems).

You can often find an electrician to do the work a bit cheaper—between $50 to $100, depending on labor costs in your city.

But if you want to DIY the installation, you’ll find that it’s a fairly simple step-by-step process:

Step 1: Shut off the power to the HVAC system (done at the circuit or fuse box) and switch off the old thermostat.

Step 2: Remove the thermostat, but leave the wall plate connected. The wall plate will have all of the connections so you can see which wire goes where. Make sure to label each of the wires NOT according to color (unimportant in this case) but according to the letter designation of its terminal. Most thermostats have pre-printed labels that make it clear which wire goes where. (If necessary, take a picture of the wall plate with its connected wires so you’ve got a reference once everything is disconnected.)

Step 3: Disconnect the wires from their terminals and remove the plastic wall plate. Make sure the wires don’t slip back into the wall—you can secure them by wrapping them around a pen/pencil or use tape to stick them to the wall.

Step 4: Mount the new thermostat’s wall plate. You may be able to use the existing screw holes from your old thermostat, or you may need to drill new ones. Use a bubble level to ensure the thermostat is level. Make sure to feed the wires through the hole in the wall plate BEFORE you fasten the plate to the wall.

Step 5: Connect the wires to their terminals according to their letters (or the instructions included in the thermostat’s package). Follow the instructions carefully to make sure you’re connecting the thermostat correctly—it may not work if you don’t, or you could be risking electrical problems if it’s incorrectly wired.

Step 6: Put batteries (if needed) into the new thermostat and clip it onto the wall plate. Switch on the thermostat, restore power to your HVAC unit, and follow the manufacturers’ instructions to begin using your new smart thermostat.

The electrical wiring is obviously the most complicated part of the process, so make sure you’ve got it right!

Smart Thermostats: Now With Voice Control?

Some select smart thermostats are compatible with voice-controlled devices like Amazon’s Echo. Nest has made the thermostat able to connect to your Echo, which allows you to adjust your thermostat using Alexa.

Tom’s Guide has a very useful walkthrough on how to connect your new Nest thermostat to your Echo, a process that is wonderfully easy and user-friendly.

With Alexa, you’ll be able to remote-control your thermostat not only from your smartphone, but from anywhere in the house where Alexa can pick up the sound of your voice. You’ll be able to say things like “Alexa, raise the temperature by X degrees” or “Alexa, turn up the heating by X degrees”, and your Echo will do the work of adjusting your smart thermostat.

Talk about a smarter home!

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Fitness has come hard for Andy; he's had to work for it. But, his trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, a NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise and healthy living. That’s why he’s our resident fitness expert.

His favorite food is lettuce-leaf steak tacos – though he’ll admit to a love of hot wings if you leverage the right pressure.

We know him as the guy who understands British humor and wishes everyone was as passionate about life as he is. His previous forays into the worlds of international business and education have left him wildly optimistic. And, if that wasn’t enough, he's also a best-selling, award-winning author of fantasy novels! Can you say renaissance?

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  • The thermostat is looking great and actually managing temperature in a very stable level, application controls are easy. I wish to have more options, such as virtual fences and have possibility to reset my house algorithm to a learning mode.

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