Smart Thermostats

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat is a great starter for having a smart home.  They can save energy and will make keeping comfortable at home much easier than a manual thermostat.  The most popular options are the Nest, Ecobee, and Lyric.  Keep reading to learn about the advantages of each.


Nest is the pioneer of smart thermostats.  They have constantly been making improvements and are on the 3rd generation of the Nest Learning Thermostat.  They also offer the lower priced Nest Thermostat E.  There are three differences between the two models.  The most important is compatibility with HVAC units.  The look and display of the units are also different.  Thermostats are usually centrally located and very visible, so the look is important.  That may be the deciding factor for you.  If you have a fairly modern HVAC system, the Nest E would be our choice.  It should be compatible and is much lower priced.

One of its best features is that it will learn what you like.  Most thermostats will allow you to set up a schedule.  That could save you money, but it is also a tedious process that most people do not bother with.  If every day at 6:00pm you set the thermostat to 75, the Nest will learn that and set up the schedule for you.  After a short time, a schedule based on your habits is built.  If those habits change, it will adjust the schedule.

Another great feature is that it knows when you leave.  Do you set your thermostat to 80, such as, when you leave the house?  Nest can take care of that for you.  Nest will know that you have returned and turn it back down.  You can also use the Nest App to set the temperature remotely.  That way you are comfortable when you walk through the door.

Finally, you can get reports on your heating and cooling use.  Within the app, you can see your daily use.  Nest will also mail you a monthly summary.  They will also add up your leafs.  Leafs are a visible tool to remind you and help you learn to make efficient choices.


The ecobee4 is their latest smart thermostat.  One thing that stands out is that it comes with a remote sensor, which can help address hot or cold spots.  Your home can also be more efficient.  The thermostat and remote sensors will sense when you are there.  To give an example, let’s say you set the thermostat to 70.  If you are in a room with a remote sensor and the room is already at 70, then it will shut off, even if the thermostat or other sensors are not.  You can add up to 32 remote sensors.

The thermostat and remote sensors also come with Amazon’s Alexa.  You can use voice controls to change the temperature, but it doesn’t stop there.  You can use the full feature set of Alexa to things like set a timer, play music, tell a joke, shop, etc.

As you would expect, ecobee also has an app that you can use to control the temperature remotely.  They also provide reports to see how you are using your system.  A less expensive option is the ecobee3 lite.  It subtracts the voice assistant, but can still be controlled by Alexa if you have something like an Amazon Echo.

Honeywell Lyric

It is great to see a traditional HVAC company offer smart options.  Unfortunately, the Lyric 2.0 falls short of the Nest or ecobee products.  They also offer the Lyric T5 which will give you many of the features of the top thermostats for a much lower price.  They use something called geofencing to tell when you are home and away.  This uses your smart home GPS to know when you are at home.

If you looked at any of the previously mentioned smart thermostats, you will have noticed that they all have relatively small displays.  Much of their control and setup is done through an app.  If you prefer a larger touchscreen and more local control, they have their Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat (RTH9580WF) that allows remote control.

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