Real Estate

Smart Home Tech: What Are The Best Smart Thermostat Options?

Smart thermostats are a great choice for many homeowners. They allow you to adjust and set your home’s temperature right from your phone — and save you money in the long run, too. Here are a few options.

A year ago, we compared Google’s Nest Smart Learning thermostat to its Amazon-based competitor, Ecobee SmartThermostat. Since then, we’ve been able to test out two additional smart thermostats and have gathered feedback from our audience. So we decided to do an update. 

Smart thermostats are a great choice for any household as they typically will pay for themselves within six to eight months of installation, and there are often rebates available through your local utility company.

These devices will allow you to adjust your temperature from your phone via an app anywhere in the world or by voice when paired with a voice assistant. They can also automatically change based on your location.

Ecobee comes with additional sensors that can be placed around your home, and now, Google also offers add-on sensors for its Nest lineup of thermostats. Each company has multiple models to choose from based on what features you want and the requirements for your particular HVAC system.

We’ve found that if you’ve already got voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, you can save money by buying the cheaper version that doesn’t have this built in. 

Honeywell has also been an industry leader in home tech for decades. With strong relationships with HVAC providers and builders, the company’s Wi-Fi-connected thermostats are commonly installed with new systems.

The new Lyric T5 also includes geofencing similar to Ecobee, along with what’s called “adaptive recovery,” which learns how long it takes to achieve the right temperature and plans ahead to reach that desired temperature whenever you want it.

Wyze Labs has continued to expand its line of affordable smart home products and now offers a thermostat. We had the opportunity to test one of the very first units. While we did struggle a bit to get it connected initially, it does get the job done and at a fraction of the cost of its competitors.

If you’re someone who already has Wyze cameras or other devices in your home, this would be a great option. That way, you’ll be able to control everything within one app and at a great price.

Smart thermostats are the most returned smart home product. This is largely due to them requiring a C wire or “common wire,” which some homes may not have. The solutions are to either use an adaptor, run a new 5-wire line from HVAC system to thermostat, pick a battery-powered option or purchase a power supply that plugs into a nearby outlet.

If you’re not comfortable with the installation, you can always call an HVAC company. Otherwise, Best Buy’s geek squad and Amazon Services are available to assist. 

Stay tuned as we continue to revisit popular smart home categories after a year of hands on experience including smart locks, doorbells, security systems, cameras and voice assistants. 

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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