The best smart thermostats for 2023

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ecobee smart thermostat
ecobee smart thermostat

Adding a smart thermostat to your smart home is an easy way to save money. Not only do many of them offer suggestions on how to lower your electricity usage, but they can adapt to your schedule and automatically change the temperature based on your preferences. They’re a powerful class of smart home products – and in 2023, there are dozens of options to choose from.

However, not all smart thermostats are worthy of a spot on your wall. If you need some help narrowing down all the options, here’s a look at the best smart thermostats. There’s an option for all budgets, along with picks that play nicely with HomeKit, Google Home, and Alexa, so there’s a good chance one of the items below will be a perfect fit for your home.

ecobee smartthermostat review 7

Terry Walsh/Digital Trends

Ecobee SmartThermostat

The best smart thermostat

Pros

  • Simple installation
  • Excellent performance and feature set
  • Easy to configure and operate day-to-day
  • Numerous voice control and communication features
  • Great speaker

Cons

  • Hardware design remains a little drab
  • No onscreen integration for Alexa

There are a lot of reasons to love the Ecobee SmartThermostat. For starters, the install process is pretty painless. Even if you don’t have a C-wire, Ecobee has you covered with a power extender kit included. Plus, the installation instructions are easy to follow, and the setup process is quick.

The SmartThermostat has a responsive touchscreen display with a clean interface. It also has voice control built-in via Alexa, like the previous Ecobee. However, with the SmartThermostat, Alexa can play podcasts, playlists, news, and music from services like Spotify (and it actually has good sound). You can even use your thermostat for features like Alexa Calling, Messaging, and Drop In. However, if you’re not into Alexa, the Ecobee is also compatible with other platforms like Apple HomeKit, Google Home, SmartThings, and IFTTT.

The Ecobee SmartThermostat also comes with a SmartSensor. If you have hot or cold spots in your home, the sensor can help even things out and make your home more comfortable.

Ecobee Smart Thermostat

Ecobee SmartThermostat

The best smart thermostat

nest thermostat main

Google Nest Thermostat

The best budget smart thermostat

Pros

  • Affordable cost
  • Smart functions mean minimal interaction
  • Stylish Apple-like design
  • Simple DIY installation

Cons

  • Capacitive controls are only on one side

Available in Snow, Sand, Fog, and charcoal colors, the Google Nest Thermostat is Google’s latest mid-tier offering, standing just a step behind its premier Learning model (featured below). Capable of Alexa and Google Assistant controls, the redesigned thermostat features a mirrored display and side-mapped touch controls as opposed to the physical settings dial of the previous E model.

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Using the Google Home app, you can adjust the temperature, create customized routines, monitor HVAC usage, and more. There’s even a routine function that can be paired with other smart devices. For instance, uttering a voice command such as “good morning” can draw your smart blinds, tune your Google Nest Hub to your favorite morning podcast, and set your ideal 10 a.m. temperature. All of these great features can be had for only $130, which in the world of smart thermostats isn’t half bad.

Google Nest Thermostat

Google Nest Thermostat

The best budget smart thermostat

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Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation)

The best smart thermostat for Google Home

Pros

  • Impressive learning capabilities
  • Improved accuracy, thanks to Farsight
  • Abiilty to add sensors for further optimization

We really like the Nest Learning Thermostat because of its learning capabilities. After you install the device and set the temperature you like, the thermostat does the rest. Nest takes note of how you move around your house throughout the week, adjusting the various temperature settings according to the time of day and your habits. With the third-generation model, a new set of sensors called Farsight makes this even more accurate.

Farsight detects when you enter a room or walk past it up to five meters away, a significant improvement over earlier models. Additionally, up to 10 additional sensors can monitor temperatures in other rooms, further optimizing your heating and cooling. You can monitor temperature from a much farther distance thanks to a 3.25-inch screen, a half-inch bigger than previous models.

Like any good friend, the device will offer suggestions designed to save you money. Its ability to adjust the temperature of your home a half hour before you arrive from work only furthers its intuitiveness.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat Generation - 3rd Gen

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation)

The best smart thermostat for Google Home

honeywell lyric review

Honeywell Lyric

The best thermostat with HomeKit

Pros

  • Geolocation feature knows when you’re away
  • Shortcut settings make programming simple
  • Easy, straightforward app

Cons

  • Some gaps in the installation instructions
  • Fine tuning temperature feature can be confusing

In a nutshell, the Honeywell Lyric taps into your location and local weather forecasts via Wi-Fi. The circular device will then anticipate potential temperature changes and compensate for the weather while offering a host of shortcut settings for straightforward programming and operation.

The thermostat features three standard modes — one for when you’re sleeping, one for when you’re leaving your home, and another for when you’re arriving — all of which you can adjust using the mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

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The Honeywell Lyric will adjust accordingly to save you the maximum amount of money, but if you prefer to work outside the box, you can set custom settings to fit your household. Only a few smart thermostats work with HomeKit, but expect to see more compatibility as Matter goes mainstream throughout the year.

Honeywell Lyric

Honeywell Lyric

The best thermostat with HomeKit

Cielo Thermostat for Window ACs

Cielo Breez Plus Smart AC Controller

The best smart thermostat for window units

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Works with Alexa and Google Home
  • Compatible with tons of different AC units

Smart thermostats aren’t just for homes with central HVAC systems. Thanks to companies like Cielo Breez, those of us stuck with window air conditioners, ACs on wheels, and mini-splits now have smart options for keeping the house comfy in the summer. The Plus works its magic by way of four infrared sensors that are built into the thermostat. These sensors interact with the infrared signals produced by your portable AC and its remote control, effectively learning the infrared language of your AC brand. All you have to do is mount the Plus module in the room your air conditioner is located in, connect to Wi-Fi, and your smart controls are up and running.

Additional capabilities for Alexa and Google Home let you control your ACs with simple voice commands or with your Alexa and Google Home apps. You can even set temperature and humidity triggers that will automatically power your AC when things get too hot. The icing on the cake with this non-HVAC savant is that once you’ve registered your Cielo Breez Plus, you can use the thermostat offline to control power, fan speed, and temperature. Your bandwidth will sure be happy.

Cielo Breez Smart AC Controller

Cielo Breez Plus Smart AC Controller

The best smart thermostat for window units

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install a smart thermostat myself?

Yes. If you have a bit of basic DIY knowledge (enough where you can install a basic light fixture), you can install most smart thermostats, provided you have the correct wiring setup. Here’s how to test your thermostat.

Do I have to have special wiring to install a smart thermostat?

Yes and no. Most smart thermostats require a common wire (C-wire), which allows for the continuous flow of 24V AC power to the thermostat. If you have an older home, you may not have a C-wire. Some thermostats don’t require a C-wire, others, like the Ecobee SmartThermostat, include an adapter for homes that don’t have a C-wire. You can also run a wire between your furnace and thermostat or purchase a separate adapter if needed.

Do I need room sensors?

It depends. Typical thermostats measure the home’s temperature in one area of the home, like a hallway or entryway, and use that measurement to heat or cool the entire home. Room sensors are more specific. They measure the temperature in a specific room, like a bedroom or basement, and adjust the temp based on that individual area. If you have a relatively large home or if you have some rooms that don’t heat or cool as well as others, room sensors can help heat or cool your home better. On the other hand, if you live in a smaller space or a wide-open area, room sensors probably aren’t necessary

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What is the best smart thermostat app?

This depends on how advanced you want your system to be. If you want a simple and clean app where you can schedule your heating and cooling and perform basic functions, the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort app is a good choice. However, if you’re looking for something with more features, you may prefer the Nest app.

What is the best smart thermostat on Amazon?

Amazon sells our pick for the best smart thermostat overall, the Ecobee SmartThermostat. Take a look at some of the best smart thermostats deals to save money this holiday season.

What is the best smart thermostat to save money?

A smart thermostat can save you between 10% to 25% on your heating and cooling costs. Ecobee claims its thermostats save up to 23%. Our testing found the Honeywell Color Thermostat reduced total energy consumption by 15%. How much you’ll save depends on a variety of factors, including how you use your smart thermostat, your heating and cooling preferences, climate, your HVAC system, insulation, the age of your home, and more.

How we test

Successful smart thermostats aren’t determined solely by how well they regulate temperature; their overall costs and speed at which they modify temperatures also play a part. When we conduct our testing, we monitor performance levels, how user-friendly the thermostat is, the installation process, and whether it saves you money.

There’s a learning curve to figuring out exactly how your smart thermostat works, but once you figure it out, you’ll see how it can benefit you. We study how steep the learning curve is and how well the device can detect people coming in and out. Many customers also see the thermostat as the “center of command” for their smart home ecosystems. With that in mind, we test to be sure the thermostat communicates and connects well with other devices.

We made sure to use voice commands when testing thermostats because we wanted to make sure they were responsive, whether they were compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. Generally, we also check to see whether the thermostat is energy efficient and saves your house money and how much you’ll need to interact with the device after it begins to learn your usual routines.

While we try to test every thermostat in the Digital Trends lab or an employee’s home, we’re not able to get to them all. In that case, we do extensive online research before we recommend a product.

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