Best Smart Thermostats – Reviewed & Compared

A “smart” thermostat might be an expensive initial investment, but the savings can quickly pay itself off twice over. Smart thermostats are the latest buzz, but in reality they’re just smart programming for something that should have been like that a long time ago.

Compared to a regular thermostat, a smart thermostat is just that – “smart” – the two most handy things are that it can actually learn from your behaviors and allows for remote control. If you like it cooler at night and stuffy during the day, a smart thermostat can recognize that and plan accordingly. Not only that, but remote control can take a backseat to some of the learning behaviors smart thermostats now possess – if you arrive home at a certain time, you can program your smart thermostat to have the house properly cooled (or heated) just as you’re walking through the front door. Smart thermostats are also much, much better about giving realistic readouts about how much power is being used to heat and cool your house.

The three thermostats being covered are the ever-famous Nest thermostat, which is probably one of the first smart thermostats to come to the market, the Lux Sensi Wi-Fi Smart, and the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Honeywell Wifi Smart 2

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is a nice little panel display that functions just like you might imagine a thermostat would. One noteworthy thing is the vivid colors on the interface of the Honeywell Smart Thermostat. It has applications for iOS, Android, and allows for a user to connect in through a web interface, after the Smart Thermostat is initially connected to a wireless network. The Honeywell Smart Thermostat allows for full programming control, and can even be programmed with “peak rate pricing” (when energy is being used by a lot of people and is more expensive – yes, energy prices can fluctuate.) The Honeywell is also programmed with smart alerts, which can send a message to a device if it thinks too much energy is being used in providing a comfortable temperature throughout a building.


The Honeywell Smart Thermostat also shows local weather and 5-day forecast, allowing a user to potentially plan out the thermostat schedule in advance. The Honeywell Smart Thermostat also detects humidity, and comes with other features such as a screensaver and vacation mode.

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is compatible with thermostats that are 110 volts or higher, and systems containing a c-wire. I was able to find the Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostat available anywhere from $150 up to $200 – the original launching price was $200, so not a bad deal.

Lux TX9600TS

lux-thermostat

The Lux TX9600TS thermostat is a lot cheaper than some of the other thermostats out there, with the price being anywhere from $48 to $80 depending on where you purchase the product. You can actually get the item on Amazon for $48, which makes this a really great deal. This thermostat does come with a few negatives since it is one of the cheaper options out there. For example, the Lux TX9600TS does not connect to the internet. This means that you have to do all of the programming from the panel itself. It comes with a 3-year warranty which is really nice.

With the Lux TX9600TS, you can program the thermostat in either 2 or 4 periods per day. For those of you who do not know what this means, it means you can program the device into either 2 periods per day or 4 periods per day. You can choose to do 6-hour shifts or 12-hour shifts, which is how you get either 2 periods or 4 periods each day. There is a lockout feature with the device, which means you can put down a password that would be required in order to change the temperature or mess with the controls.

As you will see, the display is nice and big and very well-lit, but it does not have color within the display. You also can program the thermostat for up to 30 days without a user being around, so if you are on vacation, you can set the heat or air even if you are not there. This thermostat also has an energy readout meter, which gives you the readout of how much money you should be spending on your bill. Last but not least, this also has a programmable air filter life timer with it. This will tell you when it is time to change the filter, which is nice for people like me who forgets when the filter was last changed.

Sensi Smart

LUX SENSI THERMOSTAT

The Sensi Smart thermostat is a little more expensive, with it being between $129 and $140 depending on where you get the Sensi Smart thermostat. This thermostat is really cool because it is Wi-Fi enabled and worked with Amazon Alexa to give you cool voice control abilities. The Sensi Smart thermostat is a smart device, allowing you to connect and work with various systems through the Internet. You can use this thermostat with most heat pumps, radiant heat systems, gas, oil, and geothermal systems. You also can use the Sensi Smart thermostat with the Wink App, and you do not need Wink in order to do this.

When it comes to the Sensi Smart thermostat, it is one of the best out there because it is so universally compatible with other systems. You will notice it works and installs just like all other thermostats, and then when you want to connect to the Wi-Fi you can. There is also a free iOS and Android app available that becomes basically the remote control for your Sensi Smart thermostat. The app allows you to both set, schedule, and change your heating or air conditioning from anywhere you are in the world. Not to mention, you can save up to 30 percent in your energy costs because there is a custom 7-day scheduling option available to you. You also have intuitive swipe controls with this thermostat and it allows you to customize your heating or air conditioning based on your schedule and daily life.

 

Nest 3rd generation

next_gen_nest_base

The Nest Learning Thermostat is probably the “smartest” of the 3 thermostats. From the first generation, Nest has tried to program their thermostats into being super “smart.” The Nest is advertised as not requiring any programming whatsoever, since it will learn from the user when to cool or heat the house to a certain temperature. After a certain point, this is true in that you won’t actually have to load up the application anymore (like the Honeywell thermostat, the Nest application exists for iOS, Android, and a web interface, allowing for remote control after the Nest is initially connected to a wireless network.) The Nest line of smart thermostats also has a signature little trademark, the “Nest Leaf.” The Nest Leaf will appear on the thermostat when it detects a temperature that’s energy efficient. On the screen of the nest, the temperature of the room will be shown, as well as customizable settings that can give the user information at a quick glance, ranging from the date to the temperature outside to precipitation chance for the day.

The Nest thermostat is a nifty little gadget in itself, as it supports a lot of other Nest products, and the way the thermostat itself functions is… “fun.” The Nest thermostat will slide to the left, revealing the control panel that lets the user change the settings. The Nest is also functional with other Nest devices – one example is the Nest Protector, which is a carbon monoxide detector. If the Protector detects carbon monoxide, it can communicate to the Nest Thermostat to not run the furnace anymore, buying the users much more time to fix the carbon monoxide issue. The Nest is the most compatible, with a dedicated page on the Nest website giving much more information on which system is compatible with (which from the looks of it, most modern systems are compatible with the Nest.)

The Verdict

Picking your smart thermostat should depend on one of two things – are you trying to save money, or which type of ventilation system do you have in the place where a thermostat is going to be installed. Not all the previous thermostats listed are compatible with every system, so your individual system is going to take some research to find out which Smart Thermostats you can and cannot use. However, if a user is trying to save money, the Lux Sensi is the way to go, since it essentially has all the features of smart thermostats but is simply not connected to a network. But if money is no issue, then the Nest may be the smarter purchase over the Honeywell Smart Thermostat. The Nest just has a few more marginal features that really allow it to be customizable, and Nest seems like they’re taking the first mainstream steps towards the “Internet of Things.” A Nest account provides an overwatch of a users’ home, allowing for ease of mind, and the marginal features of the Nest are what give it the slight edge over the Honeywell Smart Thermostat.




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Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers is an independent freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bridget's work can be found on a variety of sources in both online and print media.