Best Smart Thermostats Under $100 | 2020 Edition
Now you may think that getting a Smart Thermostat or a Programmable Thermostat, installed in your home this sweltering summer is going to cost you hundreds of dollars – but what if we told you, you could be keeping cool and saving money on energy costs – using a smart thermostat system. The best part of it is, it doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet either, with smart thermostats under USD 100! Read on about our compilation of the Best Programmable Thermostats of 2019 under USD 100!
Your home thermostat system regulates more than just your heating and cooling — it also regulates your comfort and plays an important factor in determining your monthly energy costs. Outdated thermostats can be a pain in the ass, as they often keep you too hot or too cold, which is not only uncomfortable but could cause some health problems in the long term.
On the other hand, newer thermostats, even the most basic ones, are built with the latest technology that makes them better able to control temperature, and thus, your comfort. In addition most new energy-saving thermostats can slash your energy bills by upward of 20% monthly, making upgrading to a smart thermostat system for your home an investment that pays for itself in no time at all. That is one of the main reasons we compiled this article of the best smart thermostats under $100.
Now, there are a number of thermostats that’s currently used in most homes in the Unites States, and they are listed as follows:
Types of Thermostats for Homes
- Mechanical thermostats are the earliest version of thermostats that use a bimetallic strip to detect and adjust the temperature. They’re the least expensive model and are often found in older apartments.
- Non-programmable thermostats require direct human intervention to adjust the temperature settings but usually have a digital operation. They are relatively inexpensive but don’t do much to help reduce energy bills.
- Programmable Thermostats adjust the temperatures automatically based on preset preferences. In addition to being convenient and time-saving, programmable thermostats help you save quite a lot in energy bills.
- Wireless thermostats give you the ability to adjust temperature levels remotely. The price is a little steeper, but they deliver exceptional functionality and help you cut back on energy costs. They’re also useful if you have pets or handicapped or elderly individuals in your home.
- Smart thermostats learn your temperature preferences throughout the day and intelligently adjust temperatures for you. The best models can sense when there is no movement in the house, or in a room, and adjust the room temperature accordingly. They usually have remote access and other handy features such as voice control. They’re more expensive but will generally save you the most in your heating and cooling bills.
Now moving on, let’s take a look at our top picks for the Best Programmable Thermostats for 2020.
And the best part is they are ALL Smart Thermostats Under $100!
Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Programmable Thermostat | 2020 Review
Now if you’re looking to get your home or office fitted out with a programmable smart thermostat to save on energy costs, without burning a hole in your wallet – look no further. If you’re familiar with the biggest players in the smart thermostat category – they are namely Ecobee & Nest : Both of which retail for over USD 250++ per unit.
On the other hand, with the Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat – you actually stand to MAKE money by purchasing this smart programmable thermostat instead.
Let us explain, right off the bat the Sensi costs just USD 94 and is significantly cheaper that the Ecobee or Nest smart thermostats. In addition you can further defray the cost of the Sensi by way of rebates from your gas and / or electricity companies. For example in Michigan, those two utilities each offer USD50 if you purchase any Wi-Fi enabled thermostats – meaning that purchasing the Sensi means you’d actually make USD 6! Now how’s that for a GOOD deal ?
Emerson Sensi Programmable Thermostat | Functionalities
Now don’t think that the cheaper costs means the Sensi loses out on functionalities compared to Ecobee or Nest smart thermostats. The Sensi can be fully controlled via both smartphone apps and smart devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.
Aesthetically, the Sensi looks a lot like a traditional thermostat, meaning the learning curve is significantly lower, and it has actual buttons for accessing menus and lowering/raising the temperature. The LCD screen also clearly shows the current and desired temperature (in nice, large numbers) and the mode, fan and even schedule settings. Effectively simple is how we would define the display of the Sense smart thermostat.
Installation wise, the Sensi is proud to announce their thermostat is easily installed in under 30 minutes or less. Another plus point is that the unit does not require a C-wire (also known as a common wire) to be installed in most cases (C-wire is required for heat-pump based systems. Conventional heating system does not require a C-wire)
The Sensi also has a Geofencing capability. What this means is that the thermostat system can automatically make adjustments when it detects that you’ve left home (or rather your phone has, anyways) and when you’re back.
On the downside though, the Sensi lacks some advanced features such as learning and remote sensors. Hence the Sensi is unable to automatically adjust temperatures based on the times of day when you’re leaving for work for example. It is also unable to heat or cool rooms based on individual temperatures. I.e. a different temperate for the bedroom and the living room for example.
The Sensi is compatible with most models of central conventional heating & cooling systems, as well as heat only and cool only based systems. It is also fully comptabile with heat pump/geothermal based systems.
Check out the following detailed compatibility chart to see if your existing home heating / cooling systems are compatible with the Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat.
In summary, there are newer and much fancier smart thermostats out there, but if you’re looking for a simple, reliable and super-affordable (and potentially, even FREE) smart thermostat – the Sensi without a doubt is clearly a winning choice.
PROS CONS Super affordable at under $100 & practically FREE after energy subsidies No advanced learning capabilities or remote sensors Large LCD screen & clear functionality display Offers GeoFencing capabilities Does not require a C-wire for Conventional Heating System
Vine / Xing Wi-Fi Programmable Smart Thermostat | 2020 Review
Another affordable smart thermostat with pretty amazing functionality is the new Vine / Xing Wi-Fi Programmable Smart Thermostat. The Vine is actually more than just a thermostat. You can even get up-to-date weather reports and even view hourly or 5 day forecast for your area.
In addition the LCD screen is colourful and presents the required information in an easy to understand manner. The 2019 Vine models also feature improved energy efficiency management to increase the savings you’d garner from your heating / cooling costs for your home or office. Do note though that the Vine requires a C-Wire to be hooked up.
If your existing system does not have a C-Wire, you can get it HERE for just USD 16.
Vine / Xing Programmable Thermostat | Functionalities
It’s also 100% compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, which means that you can adjust the temperate of your home with simple voice commands or use the dial/touch button on the Vine’s LCD screen to adjust it accordingly. In addition, the 7-Day setting period available via the app or web-portal means you have all the added flexibility to program an entire week of temperate setting for your home.
The Vine’s Wireless accessibility means you can also use the free mobile app on your smartphone via Android or iOS to control your Vine remotely to adjust your home’s temperature settings.
Aesthetically the Vine features a 3.5 inch LCD screen that’s bright and features large dials for easy of operation and setting temperatures quickly and easily.
The added bonus that the Vine comes with is also that it features a programmable nightlight. This comes with 4 levels of highlight brightness that you can adjust according to your preference.
For installation compatibility with your existing system – check out the interactive display by Vine Smart Thermostat based on your existing wires to see if the thermostat is 100% compatible with your existing system. Take the interactive quiz HERE.
PROS CONS Priced at under $100 with great functionalities Touchscreen is resistive (i.e. requires a little more pressure) Up to date weather report & weekly forecast feature Requires C-Wire for installation Colourful 3.5" LCD screen Programmable Nightlight feature
Insteon Smart Wall Thermostat |2020 Review
Insteon is an Irvine, CA-based developer of home automation hardware and software. They also recently got into the smart thermostat scene with their Insteon 2441TH Smart Wall Thermostat model.
Aesthetically the Insteon thermostat is fairly simple looking with clear digits showing current master temperature set, and the current home temperature. It also features a smaller display showing the temperatures when the cooling and heating elements would kick in to regulate the temperature accordingly. I.e. heating kicks it when temeprature reaches 68 degrees and cooling kicks in when the temperature hits 76 degrees. It is also not a touchscreen display, but does have clearly labelled buttons to activate the respective functions of the thermostat.
As for installation, the Insteon Smart Wall Thermostat does require a C-Wire as well. If your existing system does not have a C-Wire, you can get it HERE for just USD 16.
As far as compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa & Google Asssitant, though the device is compatible with them – it would require another device called an Insteon Hub (also made by Insteon) to integrate and use voice commands accordingly.
Insteon Smart Wall Thermostat | Functionalities
The functionalities of the Insteon thermostat include the ability to remotely control your thermostat using your smartphone or tablet – and used in conjunction with the Insteon Hub – you’d be able to adjust the temperature of your home from across the room or even the world!
It also works with heat/cool systems – including advanced 2-stage systems to regulate your home temperature accordingly – saving energy and reducing your annual heating bills.
The Insteon Smart Wall Thermostat also features a neat programmable setting for 7 days, including daily, weekdays, weekends and individual days – which gives is great flexibility and you can adjust this according to your work / sleep / family activities routine.
The Insteon is NOT compatible with the following :
- Window Unit A/C – they usually have their own integrated thermostat
- Mini-split (Ductless) system – they usually have their own integrated thermostat
- Portable Units
- Millivolt Heaters
- Electric Baseboard Heaters & Line Voltage Systems
The Insteon is compatible with a majority of central air-conditioning systems consisting of an indoor air handler and furnace as well as an outdoor compressor.
- Insteon Thermostat is compatible with the majority of central air conditioning systems that have one or two cooling stages and one or two heating stages.
- Insteon Thermostat for Heat Pumps is compatible with the majority of heat pump systems including those with auxiliary or emergency heat.
As these systems can vary greatly, it is best to inspect the wires connected to your existing thermostat.
Conventional Central System – How to Spot
- Look for a white wire connected to W or W1 on your existing thermostat
- Look for a yellow wire connected to Y or Y1 on your existing thermostat
Heat Pump System – How to Spot
- Look for a brown or orange wire connected to O/B, W or W1
- If you have wires connected to terminals labeled E or AUX and those terminals do not have any additional labels, you likely have a heat pump
- If your home is “all electric” and lacks utilities for gas or propane and you have a central heating and cooling system, you likely have a heat pump
- If your home uses a geothermal system, you likely have a heat pump
The colors of wires in your home may vary. If you are still uncertain, search for the brand and model number of the large condenser unit outside on the internet.
|Priced at under $100 with practical functionalities||Pretty boring-looking LCD display|
|Programmable setting for 7 days||Requires C-Wire for installation|
|Compatibility with Amazon's Alexa & Google's Assistant required the purchase of Insteon Hub.|