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Many of the best smart home products are all about making life more convenient. Smart thermostats and their expansion sensors do a great job of that and make your home more comfortable, but the benefits don't stop there. Smart thermostats can actually save you money by reducing your energy bill. And since a not-insignificant amount of greenhouse gases are generated by the demand for heating and cooling, smart thermostats can also be good for the planet.

There are plenty of positive reasons to pick up a smart thermostat, but selecting the best one is a little more complicated than just throwing one in your cart and checking out. Before buying one for your home, it's a good idea to look into the features, ease-of-use, and of course, the smart ecosystem you already use. Don't worry; we've done the leg work and have rounded up the best smart thermostat and sensor options for every use case.

Editors choice

9.00 / 10

Experts and owners widely agree that Google's Nest Learning Thermostat is the most advanced option available. Not only does it offer a refined, streamlined user interface, but its learning algorithm also makes it especially effective even with minimal input. It's equipped with basic functions such as remote access and geofencing, and premium considerations, including multi-zone control and support for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. It also looks and feels like a premium piece of equipment, with a 24-bit color screen and robust build quality. It's compatible with external Nest temperature sensors and, unlike some others, works perfectly with the competition's voice assistants, including Alexa. Interestingly, it's one of the few that doesn't absolutely require a C-Wire.

Instead, it turns on your HVAC system when its battery runs low to recharge itself. Although some people might find it annoying, this should be a fast and easy process with the average home setup. It also doesn't work with all systems, such as heat pumps. You (or a professional) may need to install a C-Wire or adapter in those cases. All in all, there are a few downsides to the latest Nest Learning Thermostat. Be aware, however, that if you plan on migrating to the upcoming Google Matter platform, you'll almost certainly be out of luck. Google has already confirmed that this version will be left behind, and that's not likely to change.

Specifications
  • Integrations: Alexa, Google, SmartThings
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • C-Wire or adapter required: No
Pros
  • Tailors operation to your home
  • Extremely easy to configure
  • Supports the popular voice assistants
  • Works with Nest temperature sensors
Cons
  • Takes some time to actually learn your needs
  • Won't be compatible with the new Matter ecosystem
Buy This Product
Google Nest Learning
Premium pick

9.00 / 10

One of a few smart thermostats in the company's current lineup, the Ecobee Premium is one of the most refined models available. Its revamped temperature sensors and radar-based motion detectors make for more consistent readings and automatic activation. It even serves as an Alexa or Siri smart speaker all on its own. You can also connect it to a Google-based smart home system, although the Assistant itself isn't baked in. It does require external power — usually via a C-Wire — but if your existing system doesn't have one, Ecobee offers an optional power extender kit. The Premium also improves the appearance, and general fit and finish of its predecessors and lesser relatives, with a sleek zinc-alloy body and glass touch screen. Given its precision monitoring and reliable programming options, it's an excellent choice if you're willing to make the investment.

Specifications
  • Integrations: Alexa, Google, HomeKit, SmartThings
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • C-Wire or adapter required: Yes
Pros
  • Integrated Alexa and Siri controllers
  • Large and intuitive touch interface
  • Extensive feature set
  • Doubles as an Ecobee security hub
Cons
  • Smartphone app can be sluggish
  • Costs quite a bit
Buy This Product
Ecobee Premium
Best value

7.00 / 10

One look at the price and appearance of the Amazon Smart Thermostat, and you probably wouldn't think much of it. In reality, though, it competes with far more expensive options (though much simpler) and can use Alexa Hunches for intuitive and helpful on-the-fly control. Granted, its smartphone app control isn't particularly streamlined, but it's explicitly designed for Alexa voice control. Therein lies one of the few drawbacks of this well-engineered yet powerful option. If, for whatever reason, you don't want to use Alexa for climate control, then Amazon's thermostat is not for you. Furthermore, it's unsuitable for multi-zone HVAC setups, as it doesn't work with any add-on temperature sensors. But if you want a practical and straightforward controller for your Alexa-centric smart home, there are no cheaper options.

Specifications
  • Integrations: Alexa
  • Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
  • C-Wire or adapter required: Yes
Pros
  • Highly affordable
  • Unobtrusive design
  • Surprisingly functional
Cons
  • No external temperature sensor support
  • Requires you to use Alexa
Buy This Product
Amazon Smart

7.50 / 10

Compared to its more expensive relative, the Ecobee3 Lite has been stripped of some advanced features, but they're ones that not everyone needs. For example, it loses the integrated microphone, which isn't necessary if you have other smart speakers. It also supports heating and cooling only and can't control humidification or ventilation appliances. Many homeowners won't even notice those are gone. The only thing missing from the Ecobee3 Lite that stings a little is the lack of convenient geofencing. Instead, it relies on motion sensors to turn on and off automatically.

It's not the end of the world, as you can use IFTTT as a workaround without a ton of difficulty. You'll just have to set up a separate contingency for each smartphone you want to use geofencing. Ultimately, if none of those issues are dealbreakers for you, it's worth considering this over the Premium because it takes less time for it to pay for itself.

Specifications
  • Integrations: Alexa, Google, HomeKit, SmartThings
  • Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
  • C-Wire or adapter required: Yes
Pros
  • Supports external sensors
  • Wide-ranging HVAC compatibility
  • Many of the same features as the Premium
Cons
  • No built-in microphone
  • No easy geofencing function
  • Doesn't support additional air appliances
Buy This Product
Ecobee3 Lite

7.00 / 10

Not unlike the Ecobee3 Lite's relationship with the Premium, the Google Nest Thermostat is essentially a slimmed-down version of the more costly Nest Learning Thermostat. It has some of the same features, but lacks much of the high-end considerations. Most notably, it doesn't actively track and learn from your patterns or support external temperature sensors. Also, the trim plate is sold separately; it's not quite as nice-looking and is built with a plastic ring instead of a metal one. Nonetheless, it retains plenty of functionality and especially a high degree of convenience. It upholds Google's reputation for user-friendly operation, and the radar-based motion detector is especially effective. If you're not concerned with a smart learning algorithm or multi-zone control, it's worth considering.

Specifications
  • Integrations: Google
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • C-Wire or adapter required: No
Pros
  • Slim, minimalist design
  • Works with many older HVAC systems
  • In-depth smartphone control
Cons
  • No HomeKit support
  • Not compatible with temperature sensors
Buy This Product
Google Nest

7.00 / 10

In a way, the Honeywell Home T9 is the smart thermostat for people who don't like to mess around with complicated smart devices. In other words, if you want to upgrade your HVAC system with digital, connected control but still want a measure of manual control, it's a great option. You can program a timed schedule or use geofencing to turn it on or off. Its remote sensors detect temperature, humidity, and movement, so the system is always active in occupied rooms. If you're working with a complex, multi-zone system, the T9 is one of the best choices due to the intricate level of wireless control it offers.

The issues with it are small, but noticeable. For instance, it's taller than it is wide, unlike most others. So it doesn't usually cover the entire hole from the previous thermostat, nor does it come with a large enough base plate to fix that. You're also not able to activate geofencing and a timed schedule at the same time. Aside from a few minor quirks, though, it's a reliable, professional-quality thermostat.

Specifications
  • Integrations: Alexa, Google, HomeKit, SmartThings
  • Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
  • C-Wire or adapter required: Yes, adapter included
Pros
  • Simple to operate
  • Includes a temperature and humidity sensor
  • Great for multiple zones
Cons
  • Somewhat inconvenient to install
  • Minor quirks limit some features
Buy This Product
Honeywell Home T9

7.50 / 10

The moderately priced Emerson Sensi Touch offers straightforward operation and support for Apple HomeKit, which is rare among today's smart thermostats. Its easy-to-use touchscreen and mobile app offer custom scheduling and geofencing settings and notify you of abnormal operations or upcoming maintenance schedules. While most send you reports via email or the app, you can pull up daily and monthly energy usage on the unit itself. The most important thing to be aware of when setting up the Sensi Touch is that if you have a two-stage HVAC system or appliances like a central humidifier, you'll need to pay special attention to some advanced settings. The only other drawbacks are its lack of any external sensor or IFTTT support.

Specifications
  • Integrations: Alexa, Google, HomeKit, SmartThings
  • Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
  • C-Wire or adapter required: Yes
Pros
  • Easy-to-read touch display
  • User-friendly, customizable interface
  • Onscreen energy usage reports
Cons
  • Doesn't work with remote sensors
  • Configuration can be tricky
  • Lacks IFTTT support
Buy This Product
Emerson Sensi Touch

6.50 / 10

This one's quite a bit different from the rest. It's not meant for central HVAC systems, but instead smaller, single-room units such as mini-split heat pumps and window air conditioners. It doesn't quite match the smarts of most of the competition, as it only controls a single unit and doesn't offer motion detection or energy use reports. But it does add conditional scheduling, geofencing, and IFTTT to any standalone HVAC system with an IR port. It has its own minor quirks, such as a lack of informational readout on the device itself. It also tends to be a touch imprecise in terms of activating the HVAC unit because Sensibo relies on the unit's internal temperature sensor rather than its own. Regardless, it's an effective way to add smart features to any old remote-controlled air conditioner. While it doesn't natively support the Apple HomeKit platform, it works swimmingly via the third-party app HomeBridge.

Specifications
  • Integrations: Alexa, Google, HomeKit via HomeBridge
  • Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
  • C-Wire or adapter required: No
Pros
  • Provides smart control of standalone ACs
  • Also works with heat pumps
  • Supports a wide variety of AC and heating functions
Cons
  • Not the most precise temperature control
  • Only for units with infrared receivers
Buy This Product
Sensibo Sky

Temperature control at your fingertips

Before you swap out your thermostat, you'll have to work with live electrical wiring, smart or not. If you're not comfortable with that, call a licensed electrician, who should be able to do the job in no time. Don't try to work with live wires unless you absolutely know what you're doing.

To find the right smart thermostat for your home, start by digging into its features. Some features are relatively standard, like multi-sensor support and geofencing that keeps your HVAC system off until you get home. Others, such as multi-zone configurations for premium heating and cooling systems, are rare, found only on high-end units.

Also, as with most smart home devices, it's imperative to find a thermostat compatible with the smart electronics you already have. Amazon Alexa users, for example, might not have the best experience with a Google Nest thermostat. Apple HomeKit users should pay special attention to compatibility. While Apple's ecosystem is one of the most user-friendly, it's also the least supported of the major smart home platforms.

Which smart thermostat and sensors are right for you?

There are two big players when it comes to smart thermostats. The Google Nest Learning and Ecobee Premium are almost always considered the top two. They offer the most comprehensive feature sets, robust and clean builds, and dependable connections. The Nest Learning is renowned for its novel, energy-saving algorithm that tracks your usage patterns and adapts to lower your energy bill while predicting your preferred temperatures.

The Ecobee Premium is a bit more all-encompassing as a smart home device. There's a microphone inside it to pick up voice commands, which you can send to Alexa or Siri if you don't have another smart speaker nearby. If you have an Ecobee security system or smoke detectors, the Premium thermostat can also serve as a hub for them. Furthermore, it's compatible with the Apple HomeKit, while the Google Nest isn't. The base model Nest Thermostat and Ecobee3 Lite compare similarly to their high-end counterparts. They don't come with remote sensors — indeed, the standard Google Nest doesn't support them at all — and the Ecobee3 Lite's geofencing feature is subpar. But they're both worth considering if you don't need the fanciest features and want to save some money.

The creatively named Amazon Smart Thermostat is relatively new and limited in its platform support, but it works well. Actually, "limited" is an understatement; it works with Alexa, and that's it. If you're OK with that, it's easily the most affordable and convenient option.

If you need to monitor and control multiple zones, the Honeywell Home T9 is one of the best choices. Homeowners invested in the HomeKit ecosystem who don't want to spend a fortune on a thermostat should consider the Emerson Sensi Touch. Finally, the Sensibo Sky brings smart technology with wireless control and programming to any air conditioner or heat pump that can receive signals from an IR blaster.