5 of the Best Smart Thermostats

Posted By Posted by Tom's Mechanical || 20-May-2014

5 of the Best Smart Thermostats

Posted by Tom's Mechanical

Using a well-placed, properly installed, and up-to-date thermostat is an important step for any homeowner in search of energy savings. Even upgrading from an antiquated analog thermostat to a newer digital model can improve efficiency and lower your bills. But stepping up to a cutting edge "smart thermostat" can take your energy savings to a whole new level.

Although these new smart thermostats necessitate a sizable initial investment, the long-term energy savings they provide far exceeds their cost.

If you're in the market for a new thermostat, or if you're just curious about the potential savings of a high tech climate control system, read on to find out about our five favorite smart thermostats. Once you've picked out a few favorite thermostats, get in touch with your favorite HVAC technician to see which ones are compatible with your system.

1. Nest

Cost: $249
Pros: Adept DIYers can install themselves, visually pleasing, "learning" ability, compatible with many HVAC systems, simple Wi-Fi interface
Cons: Some people don't like the idea of Nest being a child company of Google, data about your home's heating and cooling might be used by Google (not confirmed)

Despite being subjected to an onslaught of competitor offerings since its inception, Nest, the original smart thermostat, is still number one in its category. The Nest's ease of installation, elegant user interface, and ability to learn user habits make it the first choice for homeowners who wish to explore the hip new world of home automation.

nest_thermostat Photo via Nest

All you have to do is install the Nest, adjust the temperature as you would normally, and let it learn your habits and lower your energy use by adapting to them. On top of its features, Nest is highly compatible with a variety of HVAC systems. It comes with three backplates for covering the exposed hole in your wall where your previous thermostat was, and it can be powered on several different wiring schemes.

2. Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart

Cost: $249
Pros: Has "learning" function like Nest, provides lots of information, detailed fan control capability
Cons: Just one size wall plate, C (common) system wire required for installation

honeywell_wifi_thermostat

Photo via Honeywell

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart is the closest competitor to the Nest. Honeywell matches Nest feature for feature with this device. However, compatibility issues and a complicated user interface put it one step behind. The major issue with the Wi-Fi Smart thermostat is that it cannot be installed on systems lacking a "C" or "common" wire. Those without a common wire would need to hire an electrician and pay extra for your HVAC technician to troubleshoot the installation.

3. Ecobee Smart

Cost: Dependent on dealer
Pros: Built-in Wi-Fi
Cons: Professional installation required

ecobee_Smart_Front_LRes Photo via Ecobee

Trailing behind the two major leaders in the smart thermostat space, the Ecobee Smart provides an alternative with plenty of features. Despite not receiving the same praise as the Nest, the Ecobee Smart is still a viable choice for homeowners looking to install a smart thermostat. Contact your local Ecobee dealer to get an estimate.

4. Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi

Cost: Dependent on dealer
Pros: Easy-to-use touchscreen, customized skins to match wall color or personalization preferences
Cons: Professional installation required, cost

Apple fans are sure to appreciate the Lennox iComfort's sleek, streamlined design; it will undoubtedly be a perfect match with the iPhones, iPads, and Apple computers with which it can communicate (Windows machines are compatible too). Along with its pleasing design, the Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi has a slew of features and options for customization.

5. Venstar ColorTouch

Cost: $221.98 (+ $86.38 for Wi-Fi capability)
Pros: Easy-to-use, plenty of programmability
Cons: Less visually exciting than devices like Nest, high cost, must pay extra for Wi-Fi

venstar_color_touch Photo via Venstar

At the end of the pack, the Venstar ColorTouch is probably the least attractive option on the list. Although it still has much of the capability of the other models, having to spend nearly an extra $100 for Wi-Fi compatibility is a deal breaker.

For those interested in purchasing a smart Trane thermostat from Tom’s, the Trane Comfort Link thermostat is another great option. Get in touch to learn more about the Comfort Link’s features and availability.

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