So you’re looking to finally get rid of that antiquated piece of thermostat at home and get a brand new smart thermostat?
Well it’s about time we say in 2020! Smart thermostats have been around for a while now, but if you’ve reading this, and have waited until now to buy one, there is some good news, because they’ve just gotten better in 2020!
The latest smart thermostat models truly live up to their name, using impressive algorithms and computing power, to understand your household’s heating and cooling needs, and are able to automatically adjust the thermostat’s system’s performance to match.
So if you’re the early bird type of person who enjoys waking up at 6:30 a.m., your new smart thermostat can recognise that fact, and get your kitchen warmed up before you even come down for that life-saving cup of coffee in your pyjamas. When everyone heads out for the day, your smart thermostat buddy knows that too! So you don’t end up heating or cooling an empty home and wasting your money doing so!
Then top 3 BEST Smart Thermostats of 2020 featured below also all have their own mobile apps as well, so you can control the temperature from your phone, whether you’re coming back after a long vacation or just finishing up a run and hoping to sweat a little less when you get back inside. Either way your home is at the perfect cost temperature waiting for you – now how amazing does that sound?
Having reviewed Smart Thermostat systems for over 6 years now, we have literally seen every model of them come and go, and the ones featured below are our top picks for anyone looking to get a smart thermostat system this year 2020.
Choosing your Smart Thermostat
When it comes to choosing the right smart thermostat, you’re going to encounter a whole plethora of information and features. Our ‘Top 3 Best Smart Thermostats of 2020′ will help you navigate and make sense of a lot of this.
So, let’s get to it!
Smart thermostats offer a wide variety of features that not only makes your home more comfortable, it could also significantly reduce heating and cooling costs all year round.
The basic smart thermostat models are relatively inexpensive, yet are still equipped with Wi-Fi which enables you to connect the smart thermostat to your home network and therefore the Internet. Smart thermostats could also be controlled easily from a your smartphone or tablet using a free mobile app. Certain smart thermostats even enable you to do this on a browser.
Smart Thermostat Features | Best Smart Thermostats of 2020
Now as for basic smart thermostat functionalities, they typically allow you to raise and lower the temperature of your home, create a program or scheduled heating and cooling runs, make ad-hoc changes to the schedule such as when your kids are returning home early for example. They could also obviously enable the system to be turned on and off.
One of the smart thermostats featured in this ‘Top 3 Smart Thermostat Definitive Guide of 2020′ – the Nest smart thermostats take scheduling a step further; they could even track your daily comings and goings. The Nest smart thermostats then track these heating trends over time, and automatically help you to create a heating and cooling schedule based on when you are usually home or away, as well as what temperature you’d generally prefer during those times. How’s that for a neat smart thermostat?
As for pricing, typically you’ll be paying more for more features. A colourful bright display touchscreen makes it easy to configure and program your smart thermostat and gives it a touch of style. In addition because of the nature of its design, it could also be easily read from across a room.
Moderately priced smart thermostats like the Honeywell Lyric T5 display the current time and temperature until you tap the screen, at which point it will display temperature and menu settings. More expensive models of smart thermostat such as Nest Learning Thermostat contain impressive motion sensors that will light up the display it’s screen just as you enter the room – pretty neat eh?
Most newer smart thermostat models also have their own humidity sensors that would trigger an alert when it detects abnormally high or low humidity levels in your home. Some other smart thermostat models will display your local weather forecast.
The Ecobee4 comes with wireless room sensors that measure the temperature in the room where they are placed to ensure that the room is heated or cooled to the house temperature setting. They also use motion detection to bring the room up to temperature when it is occupied and suspend heating and cooling when it is empty.
If you’d want your new smart thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when you leave your house, as well as raise it back up when you arrive home, look for a thermostat models that supports geofencing.
Geofencing uses your phone’s GPS location services to let your smart thermostat know when you have entered or exited a virtual perimeter around your home. Using the smart thermostat‘s mobile app, you can often set your preferred Home and Away temperatures, and your smart thermostat would then be accordingly triggered whenever you enter and leave your home.
Just make sure you have your phone with you when you leave the home though!
Energy or usage reporting is another helpful feature, that lets you see exactly how often your cooling and heating systems are running, as well as how long it takes to meet its target temperature.
Some smart thermostat models are even equipped to tell you what’s the outside temperature like, so you can then asses the impact on your home HVAC system. Other common features that come with most smart thermostats are automatic reminders for maintenance items such as air filter replacements, scheduling capabilities, as well as power cycle alerts that let you know if your system is acting erratically.
Installing your Smart Thermostat | Best Smart Thermostats of 2020
Typically smart thermostats are actually very easy to install, but it is important to know how your HVAC system is wired before you begin to try to install it yourself.
Always take note of your HVAC wiring before you remove your old thermostat, and if possible, take a picture of it too before you start removing it.
Most of the latest smart thermostat models even come with pre-printed labels, that you can attach to the wires to help identify them before installation. You should also know what type of system you have as you’ll be asked to enter that information during setup process. Commonly supported HVAC system types include various types such as gas, oil, electric, propane, forced air, and radiant home systems.
Most smart thermostats can be used with multi-stage heating and cooling systems In fact, if you have a complex multi-component HVAC system, it’s probably a better idea to have a professional HVAC technician install the thermostat for you to avoid damage to your system – which tends to be a little more complicated to figure out and install.
Another factor to consider is whether or not your system contains a C (common) wire, which is used to supply constant power to the thermostat. Almost all smart thermostats require a C wire to work, but older houses with older heating systems usually don’t have a C wire because older thermostats did not require one. Some smart thermostats come with a power extender kit that you can install yourself to supply power to the device. Other devices, including Nest thermostats, can be installed without a C wire, but will steal power from the furnace control circuits in order to provide enough power to keep the internal battery charged. While this usually works without issue, it has been known to cause problems with certain HVAC systems and may actually cycle on the system in order to steal power. If you’d rather not take a chance on frying your furnaces circuit boards, you can have a professional technician run a C wire for around $150 or so.
Between installation and the device itself, the cost of a smart thermostat can carry a significant premium over a traditional model. But keep in mind that it can actually save you money on heating and cooling costs over time, not to mention the flexibility it provides when you’re both in and out of the house.
NEST Smart Thermostat | Clean, Sleek Design
The Nest Smart Learning Thermostat was one of the pioneers who started the smart thermostat craze when it was released more than a decade ago. It has since ceded its dominance to Ecobee, but Nest, which was bought by Google six years ago, still makes great products.
This 3rd Generation NEST Learning Thermostat has an easy-to-read, well-organized screen, with a control system that’s familiar to anyone who ever used a traditional round thermostat: just spin the outside ring. Check out our full detailed review on the NEST Learning thermostat here.
Much like the Ecobee, it works with single-room sensors. Over time, Nest 3 learns your habits — when you wake up and go to bed, when you’re at work and when you go home — and optimizes your heating and cooling in response. The Nest may not have some features of newer models, like dual-band WiFi, but is simple to use and install, and it’s beautifully designed.
We also love its clean sleek design and use of use as well as it’s user interface which makes it super easy for anyone to use.
Ecobee 4 Smart Thermosat | Alexa Connectivity, Dual band WiFi
The Ecobee4 comes with it a pretty neat high-resolution screen, attractive design, and dual-band WiFi connectivity, which reduces interference with other devices and improves overall performance.
The added benefit is that it also comes with a nifty little remote sensor that lets you base temperature settings on a room other than the one the thermostat is mounted in. (In other words, if you spend most of your time in a kitchen with high ceilings or leaky windows, the sensor helps you keep that room comfortable.) Check out our full detailed review on the Ecobee 4 Smart Thermostat here.
The Ecobee4 also has the option of hooking it up with an integration system with voice control systems; it may feel silly, but if you’re in the bedroom and your thermostat is downstairs in the living room, it’s just convenient to be able to ask Alexa (or another digital home assistants) to turn the temperature up or down for you. Hey no-one ever complained about NOT having to get his/her rear off the couch to adult the thermostat either!
Honeywell Home T5 Thermostat | Affordable, Geofencing Capabilty
The Honeywell Home T5 is the alternative to Honeywell’s Lyric round which is priced at more than USD 200. If you do recall there certainly was a time when the name Honeywell was almost synonymous with thermostats of all kind. However as with everything else that have encountered significant changes and disruptions lately, Honeywell too encountered a big surprise Nest Labs came along and made the sleepy category it had taken for granted for decades so exciting with the advent of smart thermostats.
Honeywell brought its first-gen Lyric smart thermostat in 2014, and the gloves were off as far as to whom the old guard was going after. That first-generation model was however rather problematic, but Honeywell learned from its mistakes and the second-generation Lyric is much better. Check out the full review of the Honeywell T5 Smart Thermostat here.
The stylish Honeywell appliance occupies a bit more wall space than the Nest, however it still has a stylish look and you don’t even need a ‘C-wire’ to install it.
The Honeywell thermostat is also compatible with a broad range of HVAC hardware, including single- and multi-stage heating and cooling systems; heat pumps with and without auxiliary heat; geothermal and hot water heating; 24V gas fireplaces; and humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators.
The ENERGY STAR® certified Honeywell T5+ Smart Thermostat can also be easily programmed with a schedule or allowed to adapt to your busy life on the fly. Control and monitor usage from anywhere simply by using your smartphone or tablet, or integrate it completely with your smart home with a smart home device (e.g. Alexa device).