Smart homes seem like something from the fiction we grew up with; asking your climate control to make you more comfortable, tell a robot chef to prepare your favorite meals, and have an automated vehicle chauffeur you from point A to point B. While we’re making strides on every front, smart thermostats are reality in the here and now, adding convenience in a time of inconsistent schedules, second-job hustles, and penny pinching electric usage.
Smart thermostats use internet connectivity to allow long-distance climate controls from web or phone apps; the list below all integrate with Amazon’s Alexa to allow voice activated control. Tell Alexa to set wake or sleep modes, or set up home and away functions to ensure comfort when it’s desired, and savings when it’s not.
You should know:
- The leader for cutting edge features
- Best for those who want a whole-house system
- More expensive than some of the other options
With 13000 reviews, the Nest is the best selling smart thermostat on the market, and leads the pack in almost every way. Regularly released with updates and improvements, the Nest learning thermostat is on its third iteration, with an easier to read display and more intuitive setup. Reviewers rave over the 3rd gen Nest, with a top reviewer saying “I just learned about this – but the Nest is smart enough to turn off the AC condenser a little bit early and still run the fan over the chilled coils in order to extract the last bit of cold air in order to get your temperature down to the desired level. They correctly know that running the condenser is the big energy draw, so by limiting that, you get more bang for your energy dollar. The integration with Amazon Echo has been seamless, and while I don’t use the voice function a lot, I have integrated the lighting through the Nest occupancy sensor (it knows when you move past it) to automatically turn on my lights as I come home after sunset – which is a cool integration, I think.” The Nest learns your habits and self-programs based on your usage. It will lower the temperature threshold for heating after you leave for work or school, or drop the air conditioner when you’re on the way home, as needed. Smartphone controls allow you to anticipate desired changes before you step through the door, making sure your home is comfortable and cozy long before you arrive. The new Farsight design shows more relevant information, such as time, temperature, and weather forecast. It also integrates with other Nest products, such as smoke detectors, making it a key component in any full-home smart house upgrades.
You should know:
- Sensors adjust to room fluctuations
- Highest reviewed smart thermostat on Amazon
- Geofence location tracking doesn’t work well with multiple users
Adaptable and easy to use, the Ecobee 2.0 grows on the foundation of its predecessors with new features and improved usability. Set up pre-programmed integration with other smart home systems or with the IFTTT app to control automated functions. The included room sensors help parse useful information, like temperature fluctuations in western facing rooms with large windows; knowing about these subtle variances allows the Ecobee to plan its adjustments well in advance and anticipate changes in usage before they’re requested. Sensors can also detect occupancy levels, so if an unexpected crowd piles in for brunch, an afternoon watching sports, or a late night after party, Ecobee ramps up to accommodate the change.