Smart Thermostat Guide

Independent WiFi thermostat reviews since 2014

Our favorites for 2023: the best smart thermostats for your home

Our “top picks” are easy to install, easy to use, and easy on the eyes. Some of them are also easy on your wallet.

Nearly all smart thermostats on the market today are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and several offer optional sensors or wiring kits to make installation easier.

Most smart thermostats require continuous power (supplied by a dedicated wire often called the “C-wire”), but workarounds exist if your HVAC wiring is insufficient.

🏅 Ecobee Smart Thermostat

Year after year, the Ecobee SmartThermostat is our favorite for most homes thanks to its robust feature set, straightforward scheduling, and useful room temperature and occupancy sensors.

C-wire kit included
Room sensor included
Nice touch screen
Alexa voice assistant built in

Amazon Smart Thermostat

New! The Amazon Smart Thermostat represents a team-up of Amazon and Resideo (Honeywell) to create a shockingly low-priced thermostat with some sophisticated features.

Shockingly low-priced
Shockingly capable for that price
Uses Alexa’s “hunches” to automate another piece of your life

Nest Thermostats

Nest thermostats have plenty of pizazz and the highest-end model boasts a unique “learning” feature that attempts to spare users the agony of committing to a daily schedule.

Check out:

Integration with a collection of home-automation devices, including cameras and smoke detectors
Eye-catching style factor
Multiple color/finish options
Maybe you need a C-wire, maybe you don’t…?

Honeywell T9

The competitively-priced Honeywell T9 comes from an established name in thermostats.

Room sensor and C-wire kit are included and it’s easy to install.

C-wire kit included
Room sensor included
Great feature:price ratio
Nice screen for a thermostat in this price range

Emerson Sensi

Physical buttons and a well-lit LCD screen make the Emerson Sensi feel a teeny bit dated but we still love it.

Its simplicity has made it an enduring, popular choice.

Doesn’t need a C-wire if your HVAC system does both heating and cooling
Good budget-priced alternative to Amazon Smart Thermostat and Honeywell T9
Tactile buttons feel nice
Old-school look and feel

Automating the temperature of your home has never been easier. Today’s smart thermostats are easy to set up and include smart features designed to help you save money on your monthly energy bills without sacrificing comfort. Nearly all of today’s WiFi-enabled thermostats can be managed via Google Home or Apple HomeKit, making it easy to centralize control of your smart home in one app.

Why upgrade to a smart thermostat?


No need to get up (or even be home) – a smart thermostat lets you adjust the temperature from your smartphone or by speaking to a smart assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.


Smart thermostats make it easy to set a heating and cooling schedule that adapts to the current weather, the changing seasons, and your own schedule to save you money.

Gone are the days of trying to program a schedule on a tiny LCD screen using only a couple buttons. Today’s modern smart thermostats can be scheduled via their smartphone app or web portal, making it easy to develop detailed schedules.


Today’s smart thermostats all have their own ways of giving users a high-level overview of their recent energy usage. Nest rewards users with a little “leaf” icon for choosing “energy efficient” settings and shows usage over the past several days. Ecobee generates an emailed report after each calendar month. None of these reports are exceptionally detailed, but if you’re new to trying to optimize your energy usage, they can be a nudge in the right direction.

Is my home compatible with a smart thermostat?

Line voltage, low voltage – what’s the difference? The vast majority of what we call smart thermostats are only compatible with so-called “low voltage” HVAC systems.

Here’s our visual guide to wires, voltage, and more to help you identify your home’s heating and cooling setup.


C-wire questions, answered

WiFi is power-hungry and cannot run off a battery or intermittent current. You’ll need continuous power to keep the thermostat connected. Most smart thermostats designed for a 24v HVAC system require a common wire (also called a c wire) or some kind of workaround, which vary by manufacturer.


More great thermostats for 2022

Ecobee3 Lite brings everything we love about ecobee thermostats at a budget-friendly price: it’s easy to use, compatible with a wide variety of HVAC setups, and can be expanded with room temperature sensors (sold seprately).

Nest Thermostat E might be budget-priced, but it’s still got the the learning algorithm that made Nest famous and a beautiful display.

Emerson Sensi is easy to use and schedule and works without a C-wire. See why this no-nonsense thermostat is a reader favorite. 

About us

We are a small team of tech nerds across North America who have been reviewing smart thermostats such as the Nest and the Ecobee since 2014. We are independent (that means we don’t accept any freebies) and run this site as a hobby out of love for home automation technologies.

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