Best Smart Thermostats for Landlords & Baseboard Heaters

Buyers Guide

best smart thermostats
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In this post, I’ll walk you through the Best Smart Thermostats available on the market.

And, also the things that you need to consider to buy a top-line product at an affordable price.

Which is the best smart thermostat in 2019?

Does NEST still own the major market share in the category?

Well, a lot has changed in the last couple of years, and I’m here to walk you through the journey of the smart thermostats.

As a Smart Home Consultant, I’ve seen the phase where NEST used to completely dominate the market.

However, today, you’ve loads of options to pick from.

In fact, the term “best smart thermostats” is a relative one and the thermostat that suits my need may not be the one that you would like to take home.

The smart home category is very fragile.

This post is a complete guide for a newbie as well as the smart home enthusiast who is seeking important information related to the category.

I keep on updating this post to keep up with the market.

Depending upon your requirement, the number of zones, and the budget, you can choose the smart thermostat.

What is a smart thermostat?

I’ve noticed a lot of my clients who aren’t from the technology field calling this kind of thermostat as Wi-Fi enabled thermostats.

Of course, many call it smart thermostats.

For example, a smart thermostat controls your home temperature from where ever you’re on the planet and thus helping you to save energy and reduce monthly bills.

I’m least interested in typing the definition of a smart thermostat which you can easily find on Wikipedia.

Here, I’ll be mostly talking about the practical approach to smart devices.

As a smart home consultant, I’ve to travel a lot.

As a part of my profession, I’ve to meet my clientele from time to time and help them in solving their problems in a smart way.

So, I definitely need a smart device that could help me in checking and tracking my home temperature whether I’m on the beach, in a remote office, or traveling, etc.

I know a smart thermostat can be of great help, so I shortlisted a couple of products and then narrowed down on ONE.

I consider certain parameters to take the final call. It has been quite a few time, I’m using the smart thermostat.

You’ll be astonished to know that I’ve not faces even a single problem until now.

Why should you buy a smart thermostat?

There are many reasons to take a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat home.

However, I think power saving and control of thermostat from a remote place as two important parameters to get a smart thermostat.

Many clients call it a “convenience factor”.

Isn’t it mindboggling that you can check and track the home temperature from anywhere on this planet? 

 A few years back, we can’t even imagine that it was possible. Another thing that I would like to emphasize is the learning capabilities of these smart thermostats.

In fact, a smartphone-controlled thermostat can learn and execute your schedule on a day to day basis.

In other words, it will help you to reduce the electricity bill drastically by saving energy.

Being honest, I had a very bad habit. I always forget to TURN OFF the AC and other home appliances while I leave to the office. The end result was very painful for me.

I had to pay hefty electric bills which I wasn’t used.

Moreover, after researching for a couple of weeks, I narrowed down on the product that I need to buy for reducing the electric bills.

The smart thermostat has a feature of Geo-Fencing which can turn off the AC as soon as you’ll leave for the office.

Trust me, It has been almost a year now and it is still working fine for me.

Most of the smart thermostats out in the market are damn easy to install.

Nonetheless, if you hate performing the installation process or you don’t have time, then I would request you to do some research or ask the local providers about the deal.

In fact, many heating companies provide the installation process for free.

In case, you’ve got one thermostat installed, then you can negotiate with your local provider for some special deals.

Are smart thermostats value for money products?

Well, the obvious answer is “Yes” else how could I justify the title of this blog post:)?

If we believe the report by NEST, you can save a tangible amount of energy which can directly influence your home budget.

As per my experience, you can save 10-12% on heating and almost 15% on cooling.

If we take a rough estimate, then it comes around $150 saving per year.

Again, it is a rough estimate, you may find a different number depending upon your usage.

The point that I wanna make here is that you aren’t in a loss in any way.

You can also cross-check in the NEST forum, most of the people there are claiming to save around $10 per month.

I am personally an admirer of Ecobee thermostat.

In fact, they have officially claimed that they save their customers an average of 23% annually.

Wanna know more check it here.

I would like to tell you that look for the bigger picture.

It is possible that $10 a month may not sound alluring to you but if you scale this up to 5 years or so, then definitely it will force you to think.

In my last article, I’ve discussed the Ecobee3 Lite and how it helped me to save money. In the last winter, I saved $300 in my heating bill.

I hope the statistical data that I shared with you is more than enough to believe that smart thermostats save money.

In case, you still have doubts, let me know in the comment section,

I’ll try to the best of my capabilities to help you erase your doubt related to the smart thermostat as well as a smart home.

After all, It is my profession to help the smart home enthusiasts.

Are smart thermostats secure?

As a newbie, you may end up doing things that can be a potential threat to your smart thermostat.

If we talk about the smart home, all the smart devices such as security cameras, smart household appliances, smart cameras, voice assistant are connected via a router, and if you aren’t fully aware of the preventive measures, then you may end up in trouble.

[Related]: 11 tips for smart home beginners

You can go through the CHECKLIST that I’m going to share with you to help you prepare well against any potential threat.

  1. Use Two- Factor Authentication
  2. Lock down the Router
  3. Use Anti-Virus
  4. Try Malware Protection Device
  5. Say “NO” to Public Wi-Fi
  6. Trust only Known Devices
  7. Secure your Smart Phone
  8. Update on a Priority Basis
  9. Manage your Password Carefully
  10. Use a Separate Network
  11. Go with a Cloud Service
  12. Use a VPN
  13. Use Bitdefender

                   Note: I personally follow most of the aforementioned steps to secure my smart home.

Is a smart home thermostat compatible with the furnace?

I agree that everyone’s home is different from others.

The number of smart devices and set up also varies from home to home.

Nevertheless, the good news is that the smart thermostats are compatible with the furnace.

Well, you’ve got a smart thermostat for every scenario.

I would like to inform you that most smart thermostats require a C-wire.

Have you installed a four or five wire thermostat in the past?

You can find my local big box hardware store claiming that smart thermostat doesn’t need c-wire, but trust me it does.

If you’re a newbie and least aware of the C-wire, then I would recommend you to take professional help. An electrician can guide you.

In case, you don’t have C-wire, then you can use a standard 24-volt adapter.

[Related]: How to install a thermostat with no c-wire?

Which smart thermostat should I buy?

Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell are some of the well-known brands in the smart thermostat category.

I’ll not deny the fact that some local brands do have a competitive product at an affordable price.

However, I don’t recommend the local products because of the lack of consistency revolving around these products.

For example, if you bought ten thermostats from a local manufacturer, then it is possible that a few of them will definitely be not per your expectations.

I agree that most of them are cheaper, but at the same time, you can’t deny the involvement of high risk.

Well, I’ll try to the best of my capabilities to help you find the best thermostat.

Even before you start the search for the best thermostat, I would request you to ask few questions to yourself.

Will I use a voice assistant to control my smart thermostat?

Which smart home hub am I using?

Will I use the thermostat to heat up the entire house or a particular area of my house?

These are among the few questions that I ask my clients before recommending them the smart thermostat.

I’m sharing with you my top 3 recommendations.

These Wi-Fi thermostats have good feedback from my clients and I’ve also used all the three thermostats that I’m gonna talk about now.

Ecobee3 Lite: The Best Smart Thermostat

I’ve tried some of the well-known brands that I’ve mentioned before.

Ecobee3 Lite
Ecobee3 Lite has been my favorite from some time now.

It is highly affordable, and I can assure you, it will reduce at least 20% of the heating as well as cooling costs.

The Ecobee3 Lite can be a great addition to your smart home if you’re looking for an affordable yet effective smart thermostat.

This thermostat is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, and thus you can control Ecobee3 from anywhere.

Another thing that I love about the Ecobee brand is that it gives you an option to upgrade your smart thermostat.

For example, a few days back, one of my clients moved to Ecobee4, previously, he was using Ecobee3 Lite. 

I asked him to buy the Ecobee sensors, and then integrate it with Ecobee3 Lite to get a feel of Ecobee4. However, if you don’t have a budget constraint, then I would recommend you to buy Ecobee4.

Another important feature of this thermostat is that it will tell you about the outside weather conditions and temperature which can sometimes be of great help.

However, if you’re looking for a smart thermostat for the multiple zones, then I would suggest you should go with Ecobee4.

Ecobee4: Best Smart Thermostat for the Multiple Zones

I call Ecobee4 a big brother of Ecobee3 Lite.

There are certain features included in the Ecobee4 that made it the front runner in the best smart thermostats category.

The Alexa built-in feature is one of the reasons that helped Ecobee4 in dominating the market.

In fact, it provides lots of flexibility to the thermostat.

You don’t need to add the Echo or Echo dot into your room anymore.

Alexa will take care of your commands.

Ecobee4 can set a timer for you, and also you can ask her to read the news for you.

A very handy indeed. Right now, it may not sound an effective or important feature, but once you start using it, you’ll feel the difference.

Currently, Ecobee4 has included a very innovative feature.

It has room sensors that you can put throughout your house, but you need a heating system that supports these sensors.

These sensors will pick up the hot and cold spots throughout your house and will adjust accordingly to provide uniform comfort.

These sensors also have the capability to sense when the room is occupied, and you’ve got the option to set the heat to vanish when you leave that room.

However, the best feature for the long run is cost saving.

As compared to Ecobee3 Lite, this thermostat takes a bit longer for installation.

It comes with an added learning feature which you can consider as a foray into AI.

Nest: Best Smart Thermostat Compatible With Google Home

In 2010, when I was just starting my career, NEST thermostats were there in the market.

The NEST thermostat was the first smart device that I referred to my client.

Trust me, this smart thermostat is still going strong in the market.

Recently they have introduced the third generation in their NEST learning thermostat line.

They have come up with four vibrant colors for the display.

You can change the display to any of these colors.

The display is enticing and easy to read.

This device is unique in the sense it spends lots of time learning your daily routine and activities.

It can save your money by automatically adjusting the room temperature.

You have to wait for a couple of days to see a tangible outcome because NEST needs time to learn the patterns.

The new Farsight feature is amazing.

It can light up and show you the temperature and time when you’re approximately 10 feet away.

Farsight feature comes with a beautiful display that you can see across the room.

It also gives you the option to choose from the analog or digital clock.

It comes in four colors: Stainless Steel, Copper, Black, and White.

As compared to the aforementioned smart thermostats, it is on a higher end.

It comes with a couple of features that the Ecobee series lacks.

For example, it measures the humidity in the air, and will automatically turn on the AC when needed.

It also comes with a neat feature that will remind you when it is time to change the air filter on the furnace.

[Related]: Best Smart Thermostat For An Apartment

The lifetime of an air filter is based on the number of times the furnace is ON/OFF.

In short, if you already have a Google Home in your house, then you should definitely go with the NEST thermostat.

As per my experience as a smart home consultant, NEST is the best smart thermostat that you can use with Google Home.

Honeywell Lyric: Best Budget Thermostat

Honeywell Lyric T5 is the best budget thermostat on the market.

You can consider this option ONLY if you’re feeling that above smart thermostats are bit pricy, and above your budget.

The Honeywell thermostat is a good example of increasing the market share using a low price penetration strategy.

They are planning to be the market leader in this category.

The Honeywell Lyric T5 has a built-in geofencing feature.

It is a programmable touchscreen smart thermostat.

This thermostat is compatible with Alexa and Siri and requires a C-Wire.

The USP of this thermostat is the “adaptive recovery” feature.

This feature comes under the learning category and helps it to learn about the amount of time needed to achieve the right temperature at the right time.

The adaptive recovery feature helps thermostats in many ways.

For example, it automatically turns on the system when you require it. It automatically changes the mode from cool to heat and vice-versa as per the need.

Another important feature is a smart alert which sends you notifications related to the filter change, and also extreme temperature warnings.

Wrapping Up: Smart Thermostats

I hope this post will add some value.

Trust me, pick any one of the aforementioned smart thermostats and I can assure you that your satisfaction will be optimum.

All the thermostats that I’ve discussed in this post have good feedback from my clients.

They can perform for a long time without any disruption.

Let me know which is your favorite smart thermostat from the list.

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