Best Smart Wi-Fi Thermostats of 2019: Product Recommendations and Buying Tips!
The purchase of a new smart Wi-Fi thermostat isn’t the same as getting other home appliances like vacuums or pressure cookers. There are several aspects that need careful consideration – the kind of HVAC system you’re running, whether you’re looking for convenience, energy savings or both, as well as the thermostat features that you need. We know you would also want to know if it’s worth upgrading from the traditional thermostat to one that’s programmable or smart.
In this article, we won’t just cover the best smart Wi-Fi thermostats currently sold online, but we will also discuss why you should transition from a traditional thermostat to a smart model, the different features that make the best smart thermostats, and how to choose the right one for your home!
Is A Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat The Best Choice For Your Home?
There are massive benefits to making the switch to smart thermostats – they are convenient, they’ll help you save money with reduced electricity bills, plus they pay for themselves in just a few months.
Traditional thermostats will only allow users to adjust a home’s temperature. As for a smart unit, it allows its user to set a schedule and let the device change the room’s temperature based on a set schedule.
The most advanced thermostats take this one step further by learning their user’s preferences and they then set the temperature of the room based on previous uses. A smart thermostat can also show energy reports, be controlled remotely, as well as adjust its properties based on conditions outdoors.
We know you’re curious about how the best smart Wi-Fi thermostat can help you save money. The reason why this small piece of gadget can bring so much savings is because it knows the exact time to run and switch off. Of course, that is the case if the thermostat is programmed correctly. A smart thermostat reduces any unnecessary cooling and heating going on. HVAC systems account for up to 50% of a home’s electricity bill. Any reduction in its usage will definitely bring massive savings on your utility bills.
Features Of The Best Smart Wi-Fi Thermostats:
It pays to know which features you want for your new smart thermostat as this will allow you to narrow down your choices and understand what you are investing your hard-earned cash in!
If you spend lots of time at home, you can definitely choose the most basic thermostats that don’t require any programming. However, if you go out of your house every single day and you maintain a regular schedule, you could definitely make use of a more complex model.
Opt for the smart thermostat that will let you set several different schedules for your work days as well as the weekend. Most units will let you set a maximum number of temperatures daily while others, especially the ones that are most advanced, won’t require any programming as they’ll simply “learn” your schedule. Very convenient, right?
The main reason why most homeowners are trying to get their hands on smart thermostats is because of the cost savings and convenience they bring. You'll be able to program a smart thermostat to switch off while you’re away. An hour before you return, the thermostat will start cooling down or warming up your home. You won’t just get a comfortable environment, but you will save money as well!
Because your new smart thermostat is Wi-Fi-enabled, you will be able to update the settings or temperature of your home on the go! Yes, you heard that right. With the device, there’s now one less thing that you need to remember as you walk out of your front door each day. This feature will also come in handy whenever you go away for a weekend trip and you want your home to be ready and cozy when you come back.
Remote access can be useful as well if you’re installing a smart thermostat in your vacation home. Before your arrival, simply turn on the air conditioning or heater from your smartphone to make sure that the place is set when you get there. If you’re renting your home on VRBO or Airbnb, you most definitely need a smart Wi-Fi thermostat to ensure all renters are comfortable when they arrive. When they leave, you can also make sure that your space’s HVAC system is switched off.
A smart thermostat will let you monitor your energy consumption. It can even offer you a comprehensive report on the energy that you’re using at a given time as well as how much you have saved since you installed the device.
As for the most advanced units, they will inform you of the current condition of your home’s HVAC system. The reports we’re talking about can be accessed online or through an app on your mobile phone. In some cases, the reports will offer further recommendations like the best ways to configure the thermostat in order to reduce your electricity bills.
Smart Home Integration
As you may know by now, digital assistants are getting more and more common! Millions of Americans today are letting “Alexa” run their homes and Amazon has already sold millions of Echo devices. Google followed suit as well. They introduced Google Home devices to the market, and then Apple launched HomePod which brings Siri inside your home.
If you’re currently using a smart home device, then you definitely need to get a thermostat that works seamlessly with the system that you’re using. Most thermostats integrate with Amazon Alexa, which is constantly getting upgrades. Years back, Alexa was capable of playing music, providing weather information, making to-do lists, and so much more. Now, it can let you control your home’s temperature as well. You'll also be able to use Alexa to find out your home’s current temperature, set a target temperature reading, and decrease or increase the temperature.
Of course, you can only enjoy all these features if you make sure that your new smart thermostat is compatible with your smart home hub or home automation hub.
Apart from Alexa, smart thermostats can also work with all other home automation hubs such as Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, and Wink. If you have a smart home system already, we can’t stress how important it is that you check your new thermostat’s compatibility with it if you want to make use of its advanced features.
Wireless Remote Sensors
The newest smart thermostats have wireless remote sensors that address the one flaw of typical thermostats which is measuring only the temperature of the areas that they are located in. This is usually the reason why most of them are installed in “hot rooms” of homes. More often than not, homeowners need to deal with the temperature inconsistency and crank up their HVAC systems to reach the dead zones. You may be able to reach dead zones and get them to comfortable temperatures, but you’re wasting energy by doing so.Wireless remote sensors, as mentioned earlier, resolve this issue. The sensors measure temperatures of several rooms, and they allow you to manage the temperature of any area. If you want to have a more consistent temperature regulation throughout your entire home, then you need your new thermostat to come with several wireless remote sensors.
How To Choose The Best Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat?
Smart thermostats have a common issue: the one that you get must be compatible with your existing HVAC system. HVAC systems vary with most consisting of one or two-stage systems. Typically, thermostats support only a single cooling system or heating with multiple stages. But, some can have three cooling and four heating functions. For instance, you have a system that has air conditioning, baseboard heat, and hot air system. In such case, you have one cool and two heat system.
A common system nowadays is the central cooling and heating system. It can be gas, electric, 24V or oil. If you’re not sure what you have, then check your furnace. An electric system doesn’t have glass windows. As for a gas furnace, it usually has a small window, as well as a blue flame that’s invisible inside.
Another important consideration that you need to take into account is whether your system makes use of a “C-Wire.” This will determine how you’ll provide power to a thermostat. Most smart thermostats need a C-wire, unlike traditional ones.
There are ways for you to install a programmable thermostat without requiring a C-wire; however, it’ll take more effort from you during the installation process. You always have the option of hiring an electrician to perform the process for you.
Top 5 Smart Wi-Fi Thermostats Available In The Market Money Can Buy!
Now that you’re equipped with all the essential information, you would want to know what our top picks are! Read on as we’ve featured the best smart Wi-Fi thermostats below.
Nest (T3007ES) Learning Thermostat
First up is Nest (T3007ES) Learning Thermostat, which is a sleek and stylish device that’s jam-packed with incredible features and functionality. As it has made its way into our list of the best smart Wi-Fi thermostats, you can expect it to be highly accurate and easy to use. Its phenomenal display shows how it’s of superior quality, and it’s available in several different colors for its trim plate. This means you will definitely find the one that matches your home’s style.
Aside from providing you with full control over your HVAC system regardless of where you are, may it be inside your very home or away for work or a vacation, this smart thermostat is also capable of interacting with lots of other smart devices for residential use. The feature that’s a favorite among homeowners with the Nest Learning Thermostat is the ability to control the A/C or heater by voice command.
This device also helps you save energy bills as it has geofencing and an occupancy sensor. The model will turn your HVAC system on when you get home and turn it off whenever you leave.
The Nest Learning Thermostat has various guided prompts, which are made specifically to lead you through its setup. As for our experience, it was pretty simple and straightforward. We just needed to select the language, connect to the Wi-Fi, select the HVAC system type we own, and set our cooling and heating preferences. The one thing that we found particularly useful was this thermostat’s wiring error detection. It'll prove to be a godsend when it’s time to troubleshoot the device and it'll tell you if you have a wire that has a faulty connection.
It pays to know that the device is capable of paying for itself two years after its purchase. The annual energy savings you get to enjoy with the product can reach up to $145.
- Learns your schedule and temperature preferences
- Can program itself according to previous usage
- Offers energy savings
- Can work with Alexa devices for voice control
- Easy setup and troubleshooting
- It’s on the pricey side
Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat
The Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat is packed with excellent features, it's simple to use, and has a reasonable price, which is why it has earned the second spot on our list of the best smart thermostats.
The device has a couple of different sensors that are integrated into its design including humidity sensors, motion sensors, proximity sensors, and of course, temperature sensors. Like all good smart thermostats, the Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat can be connected to your home's Wi-Fi network and it can be controlled using your smartphone, computer, tablet, or by using voice commands.
You may be wondering about its setup. It was simple and quick for us as the package came complete with detailed instructions. It took us only 20 minutes to install the unit. The device is also compatible with several devices such as Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, and Amazon Alexa.
Unlike a simpler smart thermostat, the Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat is an incredible choice for a large or complex HVAC system. It even works with accessories like humidifiers, dehumidifiers, HRVs, ERVs, and ventilators.
We know you would like to know how the Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat differs from the Nest Learning Thermostat. There are only small differences, with the user interface as the most notable. With Nest, there are minimal physical buttons. Additional features or settings can be reached if you rotate its central knob. That's not necessarily bad, but the Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat can display lots of features at once. You simply need to use the menu for other settings. If you like seeing more stats on the screen, then this device is the right one for you.
- Setup and installation took under 30 minutes
- Comes with one room sensor
- Can be used with both iOS and Android devices
- Has a built-in Alexa for voice control
- Some users reported Alexa voice issues
Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat 1F86U-42WF
The third product on our list is the Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat 1F86U-42WF, which offers flexible programming that's suitable for whether you're at home or out and about! The device, like all smart thermometers, can send alerts whenever the temperature of your home is too low or too high. If your cooling or heating system fails, you will be notified as well. You will be able to control your thermometer anywhere even across the globe via a tablet or smartphone that has the Sensi iOS or Android app.
If you have lots of the Sensi Smart Thermostats installed in your home, you'll be able to control every single one of them using just one account.
The selling point of the Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat 1F86U-42WF is that it’s a simpler version of the Nest Learning Thermostat, which means it’s easier to install and use. It doesn't have complex learning functions and that can be a good thing for some. Still, the settings of the thermostat can be remotely done.
Additionally, the device operates on a weekly cycle. As soon as you've set the settings for an entire week, you can simply forget about reprogramming your Sensi Thermostat as it will just repeat its schedule. Your Sensi Thermostat will allow you to have 2 cooling and 4 heat settings every single day. You can also change the settings through your tablet and mobile phone.
- Compatible with most HVAC systems
- Retains programming for an entire week
- Sends alerts in case of extreme temperatures or malfunctions
- Low profile and sits flat to a wall
- Setup can be done using a tablet or smartphone, but not using a PC
Honeywell RTH9580WF Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
Not everyone likes Nest Learning Thermostat's trendy look. If you're one of those people, then you definitely prefer something that's more conventional. In that case, the Honeywell RTH9580WF Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat is your best choice as it fits that description!
If you’re unwilling to use Honeywell Thermostat's app or you're unable to, all features of the device can be accessed on its touch-screen display. It can give you readings of the outdoor and indoor temperatures, humidity, the current date, the status of your heating and cooling, as well as the time. The screen's background color can be made to match your home's decor and the brightness can be adjusted to suit your preferences.
Although the screen is quite massive, the entire unit doesn't look bulky at all. As we well know, you want to save energy as well as money on electricity bills, you can use this smart thermostat and select its programmable mode. Most smart Wi-Fi thermostats are hard to program may it be because it lacks an intuitive interface or the screen is just difficult to see. With the Honeywell RTH9580WF Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat, programming the device is as simple, quick, and intuitive as setting the traditional kind! Of course, you can manipulate the device using your smartphone or tablet as it's a smart thermostat.
- Allows remote access using any device including a computer
- Has a programmable mode for energy savings
- Works with Alexa
- Screen or display is customizable
- Some people may find its look outdated although it works like a charm
Vine Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat
A budget-friendly alternative, the Vine Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat has all the basics covered. It has a touchscreen that offers full control over the device and it comes with a physical dial which appeals to homeowners who simply want an easier experience in manipulating a smart thermostat. The mobile app of the thermostat is available for Android and iOS devices. What's unique about the product is it has a nightlight that’s at the bottom edge of the unit. It can even be scheduled!
Even with its relatively low price, this thermostat comes with cool features like geofencing and service reminders. The Vine Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat can track your current location, and then kick off its scheduled behavior as you're leaving your home or approaching it. The device can also be programmed to notify you when your filters need replacing, as well as when to have your air conditioning unit or furnace repaired.
If you're on a budget and you want the most reliable smart thermostat that's under $100, then definitely go for Vine!
- Easy to program even from the device itself
- Usage reports are currently added
- Comes with a budget-friendly price tag
- Its physical twist-dial makes it easy to set up and adjust
- Vine only works with one heating and one cooling system, which we feel is limiting.
There are so many quality, well-performing smart Wi-Fi thermostats available in the market today, but you can only get one! If you ask us what our personal choice is, we would say it’s the Nest Learning Thermometer as it has all the best features of smart thermostats. Performance-wise, we have no complaints at all during our tests. As for its overall quality, it feels great and it's super simple and straightforward to use. Even with its current price, it’s still worth every penny! It may be expensive, but it also has the features that make it capable of offering solid value to homeowners!
- Nest (T3007ES) Learning Thermostat
- Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat
- Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat 1F86U-42WF
- Honeywell RTH9580WF Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
- Vine Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat