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Best smart thermostat: Reviews and buying advice

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The best smart thermostat will have an outsize impact not only how comfortable you are in your home, but also on your household budget. Heating and cooling your home accounts for nearly half of the average home’s utility bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

A programmable thermostat can help reduce those costs by turning your HVAC system on when you anticipate being home, and off when you don’t think you’ll need indoor climate control. A smart thermostat goes far beyond relying on a simple schedule. It will not only enable you to create more sophisticated schedules for every day of the week, and give you complete control over your HVAC system, even when you’re away from home. We continually test and evaluate smart thermostats and can help you find the right one for your home.

Updated on October 11, 2018 to add our opinion of the iDevices Thermostat. If you’re looking for an inexpensive smart thermostat you can control with voice commands, this one only costs about $100 and it works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri (and by extension, Apple’s HomeKit). But that combination wasn’t enough for it to displace any of our current top picks.

Best smart thermostat

Nest usually gets all the attention—and the company deserves credit for shaking up a once sleepy market—but we think the Ecobee4 is the best choice when it comes to smart thermostats. The big change over the Ecobee3? The new model harbors an Amazon Echo clone. We’re not sure the addition was absolutely necessary, but it doesn’t inflate the thermostat’s cost over our previous pick (and there’s really no reason to upgrade if you already own one).

Most of the other smart thermostats we’ve tested rely on measuring a home’s temperature in just one spot: Where the thermostat is located. Trouble is, that spot is usually in a hallway or somewhere else that you never spend any time in. The Ecobee4 lets you place sensors in multiple rooms in your home, so you’ll always be comfortable where you do spend most of your time. The Ecobee4 is also compatible with just about every other smart home device you can imagine, including Samsung’s SmartThings, Wink, Haiku ceiling fans, and Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem.

Runner-up

Don’t count Nest out of the thermostat game. The Google division has worked harder than anyone to build out a comprehensive smart home ecosystem with its own products—the Nest Cam security camera series and the Nest Protect smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors—as well as a wide array of third-party products: Everything from ceiling fans to lighting controls and even smart appliances. The recent addition of the Nest Temperature Sensor makes this device even smarter.

So why does it garner runner-up status here? Nest counts on your buying other Nest products to help determine when you’re home and away, for starters. And anyone investing—or planning to invest—in Apple’s up-and-coming HomeKit ecosystem should steer clear of Nest products.

Best budget smart thermostat

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles that fancier smart thermostats offer (and you don’t need to control a humidifier, dehumidifier, or ventilator), Honeywell’s Lyric T5 is a great choice. It’s not as sophisticated as our top picks in this category, but it’s considerably less expensive.

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