Yes, smart thermostats are cool -- letting you monitor and control your home’s temperature from your smartphone, PC or tablet -- but they’re really about saving money. That’s because these devices can monitor temperature and humidity outside your home, your comings and goings, and tailor heating and cooling cycles accordingly.
Based on our comprehensive testing, Ecobee3 is the best overall choice in this category because its sensors let you deliver the right temperature on a room-by-room basis. It also knows which rooms are occupied and comes with an intuitive app. Since our initial review, it's only gotten better, and now works with Apple's HomeKit, among many other smart home systems. As a result, we've bumped its rating to 9 stars. Our runner-up is the third-generation Nest Learning Thermostat, which has a larger display than before, and works with a multitude of other smart home devices, including Amazon Alexa devices.
If you have a smaller apartment, the Ecobee3 Lite is a more cost-effective option; while you don't get the remote sensor, it still will work with a wide range of other smart home devices, and is just as easy to use.
How We Tested and Rated
I installed—or had installed—several smart thermostats in my apartment, and tested them separately for at least one week. This included not just changing the temperature, but also evaluating its accompanying app and web portal, if available. If the thermostat worked with other smart home devices or Web-connected services (such as IFTTT), I tested that functionality as well.
As you'll see in our comparison table (above), we break down the features you should look for in a smart thermostat. The Ecobee is the only device we tested that supports multiple zones. All of the smart thermostats reviewed offer motion activation, except for the Carrier Cor, which is also the only one that requires professional installation.
How to Install a Smart Thermostat
For the most part, installing a thermostat, smart or not, is a fairly easy process, usually involving nothing more than a screwdriver and about half an hour of your time. Here's our video guide for installing a Nest thermostat, however, the procedure is similar for almost any thermostat.
Other Smart Thermostats We Reviewed
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