The best WiFi thermostat
Whether you want to help save the earth by managing your energy consumption or just save some money, the most effortless way to achieve both of those goals is by incorporating more smart devices into your home.
If you don't have one yet, the most beneficial device you can get is a WiFi thermostat. A WiFi thermostat keeps your home at the precise temperature you desire, and it can learn your habits so you can save money without missing out on any creature comforts.
Read on for what to look for when buying a WiFi thermostat, and check out our favorites, including the Nest T3007ES Learning Thermostat, which offers a user-friendly interface and provides consistent comfort.
Considerations when choosing WiFi thermostats
Basically, a WiFi thermostat turns your heater and air conditioner on and off when your home reaches a predetermined temperature. What makes one different from another are the features that enhance the user experience.
When you're not controlling your thermostat remotely, you'll want a clean display that is easy to read and easy to operate. You can get units that light up as you approach or ones that must be touched to be turned on. Whatever your user interface preferences are, make sure the WiFi thermostat that you are considering will make you happy.
Most models come with an app that lets you program and operate your thermostat remotely. The app should be easy to use and offer features such as energy-use reports and alert notices.
Some WiFi thermostats learn when you are home and pay attention to what you are doing to manage ideal thermostat settings without much user input. If you desire this hands-off approach, seek a model that can learn your behavior patterns.
The best programmable thermostats feature at least a seven-day programming schedule as your usage requirements on the weekends may be drastically different from the weekdays.
If you'd like a WiFi thermostat that works with a specific voice controller or home assistant, such as Alexa, Siri or Google Home, do the research to make sure it will be compatible with what you have.
WiFi thermostat prices
A no-frills, budget WiFi thermostat may cost as little as $60, but it will only have the most basic features and the accompanying app might not be the best. Between $150 to $200 is what you can expect to spend for a quality model that offers a balance of desirable features and affordability. If you're looking for a WiFi thermostat that can learn your behavior patterns on its own and includes all the bells and whistles, that will be closer to $300.
Q. Will a WiFi thermostat save me money?
A. A WiFi thermostat functions like any other thermostat, but where it can save you money is in the precision control that a smart device offers. Depending on the model you get, a WiFi thermostat can be programmed or it can learn your habits so your heat and AC are only running when absolutely necessary. And, if you need to make real-time adjustments, you can do that from any place you happen to be by using your smartphone - if your WiFi thermostat comes with an app. Additionally, most apps allow you to track energy usage, which can help you set realistic energy-saving goals.
Q. How difficult is it to install a WiFi thermostat?
A. Most installations only require replacing the old thermostat. This can be as easy as 2 screws and 4 wires, making it a 10- or 15-minute job. However, if you are replacing a very old thermostat, you may need to run a common wire (which supplies constant power) through the wall from your furnace to your thermostat. If this is the case or you are not handy setting anchors in drywall or you do not know how to kill the power to your thermostat, the job can be extremely dangerous. If you have zero experience in these tasks, you will need to hire a professional.
WiFi thermostats we recommend
Best of the best: Nest T3007ES Learning Thermostat
Our take: A state-of-the-art WiFi thermostat that can learn your behavior patterns on its own.
What we like: This smartly designed thermostat is easy to operate and features a large crisp display that is visible from across the room. This unit can work with other Nest devices as well as Alexa.
What we dislike: The Nest Learning Thermostat is a higher-end model, but the features it includes give it value.
Best bang for your buck: Emerson: Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat
Our take: An affordable WiFi thermostat that offers many features typically found on higher-priced units.
What we like: Emerson's WiFi Thermostat gives the user the option of seven-day flexible scheduling, has geofencing to detect smartphone proximity, and is compatible with most voice controllers. Additionally, the unit can provide energy-usage reports.
What we dislike: There can be some issues with WiFi connectivity that may need to be worked out with tech support.
Our take: A smart-looking thermostat that offers a good amount of information on the display screen.
What we like: The customizable touch screen has a security feature that can prevent children from changing the thermostat's settings. Additionally, this unit can send alerts to your smartphone when your filter needs to be changed and it can monitor the indoor humidity.
What we dislike: Some units with unsatisfactory durability may slip through quality control.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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