As anyone who experienced the recent Polar Vortex on the East Coast can attest to, being cold in your home is rarely ideal. Thankfully, the market for smart thermostats has been growing ever since Apple alumni Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers first unveiled the Nest Learning Thermostat four years ago, ushering in a new wave of connected devices that had more or less been overlooked in the effort to revolutionize the home of the 21st century. The self-aware devices pack far more capabilities than their older counterparts — such as the ability to learn your daily schedule, adjust the temperature of individual rooms, and anticipate your heating and cooling needs in conjunction with the local forecasts — while simultaneously boasting connectivity with your smartphone or tablet.
Below are a few of our favorites, from Nest to Netatmo, so you can run a more efficient system and cut back on exuberant costs. Well, at least until the next vortex hits.
Nest Learning Thermostat ($250)
Surprisingly, Nest’s Learning Thermostat really does learn. After you initially install the device–a process that’s simple regardless of your heating and cooling system–you can set a desired temperature for your home. The thermostat will then take note of how you move around your house throughout the week, adjusting the various temperature settings according to the time of day and your habits. It will also automatically log and apply said settings when suitable, and showcase the amount of time it will take to get your house to your desired temperature. Nest’s bevy of sensors will detect when you’re not home and adjust accordingly, and like any good friend, the device will offer suggestions designed to save you money. It’s ability to adjust the temperature of your home a half hour before you arrive from work is only furthers its intuitiveness.
Honeywell Lyric ($280)
In a nutshell, the Honeywell Lyric taps into your location and local weather forecasts via Wi-Fi. The circular device will then anticipate potential temperature changes and compensate for the weather, while offering a host of shortcut settings for straightforward programming and operation. The thermostat features three standard modes — one for when you’re sleeping, one for when you’re leaving your home, and another for when you’re arriving — all of which you can adjust using the mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The device will adjust accordingly to save you the maximum amount of money, but if you prefer to work outside the box, you can set custom settings to fit your household.
EcoBee3 Smart Thermostat ($250)
The EcoBee3 monitors you’re position in the apartment much like the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Honeywell Lyric, sure, but it does so utilizing physical sensors you place around your home. The remote sensors allow for more accurate changes in heating and cooling throughout your home, which in turn saves you money because it restricts heating and cooling to the spaces in your home you utilize the most (i.e. the kitchen, living room, bedroom). The slick EcoBee3 also takes notice of humidity, and if you have a humidifier, the thermostat will automatically adjust it to best accommodate your situation. And if you don’t, it will simply tweak the temperature to keep you satisfied, whether at home or away.
Honeywell Smart Thermostat ($300)
Honeywell’s second offering on our list ensures you’ll never have to leave the leave the couch to turn up the heat. Not only does the touchscreen device feature a comprehensive mobile app, but it also features a wealth of voice-activated functions, allowing you to perform a variety of actions from up to 25 feet away when using any of the pre-programmed commands. Honeywell also built the Wi-Fi-ready device with a personal touch in mind, granting you the option to change the background color to match the interior design of your home. Best of all, though, it features a flexible scheduling system and an indoor humidity sensor, in addition to automated alerts and quick response times.
Netatmo Thermostat (~$230)
Though Netatmo’s thermostat isn’t available in the United States, it’s too promising not to list. It’s a smart thermostat with a penchant for design, reveling in a modern exterior build that requires you to press on the entirety of the frame in order to adjust the temperature, as opposed to a slew of physical buttons. It also showcases five interchangeable colors, meaning you can change it to fit whatever motif you want, and pairs with your Wi-Fi network and smartphone using a mobile app. The boxy device predicts the start of various heating periods, too, taking into account local weather patterns and your household’s insulation for the optimal temperature at any point during the day or night.
Available at: Amazon