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Smart thermostats: What do you need to know when shopping in 2022

AMZ Smart Thermostat media lifestyle 03
© Amazon

Energy is getting more expensive! Unfortunately, we at NextPit can't do anything about that. But we can help you save energy with a smart thermostat in your smart home. We will tell you what these smart thermostats are all about and what you need to watch out for.

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Heating is a very complex subject, regardless of the smart home aspect. So let's start small and deal with smart thermostats first. Keep in mind that we have not yet been able to test any of the thermostats listed in the table. We have researched on the web and selected five very popular products in the category.

Smart thermostats in comparison

  Editor's tip AI smarts 3rd option 4th option 5th option 6th option
Product Amazon Smart Thermostat Nest Learning Thermostat Ecobee SmartThermostat Honeywell Lyric T5 Smart Thermostat Nest Thermostat Ecobee 3 Lite
Picture Amazon Smart Thermostat Google Nest Learning Thermostat Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced Honeywell Lyric T5 Smart Thermostat Google Nest Thermostat Ecobee 3 Lite Smart Thermostat
Operation via app
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Remote sensors
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
Motion activation
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
Geofencing
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Amazon Alexa
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Apple HomeKit
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes
Google Assistant
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Other integrations - IFTTT, Samsung Smart Things, WeMo IFTTT, Samsung Smart Things IFTTT, Cortana IFTTT, Samsung Smart Things IFTTT, Samsung Smart Things
MSRP $59.99 $249.00 $189.99 $199.99 $129.99 $179.00
To the offer* Check price Check price Check price Check price Check price Check price

You may have noticed that we've been focusing more on smart home solutions in recent weeks and months. For example, we last explained what you need to look out for when purchasing smart video doorbells. So today we're entering the world of smart heating. In this article, we'll explain what you need to watch out for, what costs you'll have to pay, and much more. Let's go:

Jump to:

What is a smart thermostat and why do you need it?

As mentioned, we're going to focus on smart thermostats for now, leaving radiator thermostats and underfloor heating systems completely out of the picture, as those are more widely used in Europe. Smart thermostats basically integrated with the current central HVAC system or furnace in your home. The installation is usually simple, but you may need to check your heating or HVAC system's manual.

You can operate the thermostats via a smartphone app, depending on the model also via voice control. They are programmable, some systems also learn from your heating habits, and often the systems automatically detect whether you are in the house or not.

Ecobee Smart Thermostat displaying air quality information
Some models even display air quality information / © Ecobee

The big advantages of smart thermostats are the ease of use and also the possibility to save energy. The latter is especially true if your home uses a furnace for heating, which can be quite inefficient. Some smart systems can also learn how quickly your house temperature changes when the heating is on or off, optimizing when to run it.

Besides that, smartphone integrations enable you to create schedules via an app for when which heating should be active and regulate the temperatures via the application or even on-demand.

Smart thermostat: What you need to look out for when buying one

Installation

The installation of a smart thermostat can usually be done by the consumer, by simply replacing the old, "dumb" thermostat with the smart one. The main exception is for older systems lacking the C wire (common wire), which is required by most smart thermostats to receive power (for the wireless connection, display, etc). If your HVAC installation lacks the C wire, you will need to hire an electrician or install another power source.

Which is the right system?

The question of the system is one that you urgently need to ask yourself before purchasing. Is the system you want expandable with other components? Does it fit together with the smart home system you already have? Is it compatible with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant? Even if a silver lining appears on the horizon with the Matter standard: Many brands have been working towards integrating the various smart home ecosystems, with the first devices and software updates expected for the end of 2022.

Google Nest integration with the Samsung Smart Thing fridge
Matter promises to control smart home devices from different ecosystems / © Samsung Electronics

Functions and ease of use

Besides sustainability, the saved energy, and money saved, comfort is the main argument for smart thermostats. First, you no longer have to adjust the temperature manually. Instead, you can do this conveniently via app. In general, though, you still have the option of adjusting the temperature manually on the thermostat. Also note that you will have to buy additional thermostats if you have different climate-controlled zones in your house.

But smart thermostats offer much more than just app control. Many models can also be controlled with voice commands via Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. In addition, you can set up schedules via the app. You can set the heating to turn on or off at a certain time.

Google Nest Thermostat
Smart thermostats offer easier to read screens and intuitive controls / © Google

Thanks to the app, you can also control the heating remotely, so you can preheat it if you know you'll be home in an hour. It's even easier with the help of geofencing. In this case, the system detects that you are approaching your home and automatically turns on the heating. There is also smart heating technology where the system learns your habits. In this case, you don't have to make plans, because after a while the system knows when you're going to work, for example.

Cost

Cost is another consideration when shopping for a smart thermostat. Prices start from around 50 dollars and can go as big as your HVAC system allows. As usual, the more extensive the feature list is, the more expensive the thermostats get.

So if you want to equip your entire house, the costs add up accordingly. That's why you should consider the previous points and be clear about which system and which features you want.

That concludes our crash course on smart thermostats. If you have any thoughts, ideas or additions, feel free to leave us comments. As we said, we're currently exploring the vast smart home realm, learning more every day ourselves, and will continue to expand on this in the future.

If you also want to read our previous smart home coverage—here they are:

Do you already use a smart heating system in your smart home? Or are you more old-fashioned and prefer to regulate the temperature manually? Let us know in the comments!

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
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  • storm 1 month ago Link to comment

    Sort of depends on your HVAC system too. My Lennox doesn't do all of its fuzzy logic with the off the shelf thermostats.

    I would have preferred a more open system. But this installation is only a stop gap to a ductless mini split when this one dies. Hopefully with a more open system integration option by then.