The idea behind smart thermostats is that instead of using an old thermostat that gets manually set once and then doesn’t get adjusted very often wasting precious gas or electricity into the bargain, heating can be more carefully managed. Most existing thermostats located in hallways which provide a wholly inaccurate picture of the temperature through the home. Smart thermostats remove the guessing game and put the homeowner back in charge.

Wireless sensors are situated throughout the home to track the ambient temperature. These readings help better determine when a heater needs to be turned on to maintain the same heat level and avoid cold spots. Thermostats in hallways have never been that accurate when it comes to knowing the temperature in a given room and surrounding areas, but with smart thermostats, that has all changed.

Many of the smart thermostat systems support up to 32 separate sensors to handle even the largest McMansions of wealthier homeowners. For the rest of us, a small handful of sensors is sufficient to isolate when parts of the home are getting colder than another area and to trigger a heater to turn back on or to increase its temperature setting to add more warmth.

A control panel can be fixed to a wall in the home to let the homeowner adjust temperatures based on various sensor readings. Each sensor is Wi-Fi enabled to send data intelligently to the control panel that can be collated and presented in an intelligible manner. In almost all cases, smart thermostat systems also come with apps that can be used on Android, iOS and sometimes Windows devices too, to monitor home temperatures. Adjusting temperature settings is possible even when out shopping or thousands of miles away on a trip while the rest of the family stays home.

Some sensors are bright enough to know when someone is home and adjust the warmth settings to make it more comfortable. Rooms can be heated up depending on occupancy level at the time too. The option to keep the home warm, but not at an entirely comfortable setting, is ideal for pets staying in the home while not wasting electricity or gas unnecessarily either. Keeping a home warm is also useful to avoid a damp build up in the walls which can cause long-term damage to building structures, decorations, and furniture.

Pet detection is possible with some sensors that do a good job of being able to tell whether the family pet is wandering around or if a human being is moving around. The subtle recognition of who has entered a room does have a material impact on temperature controls systems.

Smart thermostats are part of the “Internet of Things” initiative which has seen some manufacturers developing their own Wi-Fi enabled devices. Smart door locks, lighting, fire alarms, security cams, and other aspects can now be controlled remotely over the internet when using certain smart products. The smart thermostat is just one of these types of useful innovations. Some manufacturers of smart thermostats offer a broader range of smart home products that work together as a package.

What’s Included with The Best Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat comes with an LCD panel to see what the current thermostat readings are throughout the home. The homeowner can then make whatever changes they wish. Security is setup with the thermostat to prevent unauthorized use whether by the kids or a third party.

In almost all cases, mobile apps are also available for download to control the heating in the home remotely. These have differing levels of features depending on the thermostat system installed.

Voice control is also possible with some systems which support it. Most often, an internet connection is used to understand what was said, in much the same way that the Siri voice service operates.

Starter packs are available for thermostats packaged with one or two sensors. Additional sensors are sold separately to extend the reach of the sensor readings to other parts of the home.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

Take a look at the control panel for the chosen smart thermostat system to ensure it is easy to understand and control. The product’s manual will explain how the screen gets used.

It is possible to download and install any mobile app provided by the manufacturer of these devices. It helps to verify that the app will run on your smartphone or tablet without any compatibility issues before purchasing the product.

Determine how many sensors are supported by the thermostat system and whether this will be enough for your home.

See whether the same company offers other smart technologies which work with their existing system. Products like smoke alarms and smart door locks are some of the most useful additions.

Other Considerations

How fast does the internet connection need to be to use the smart thermostat app or send commands successfully from a mobile app over a cellular connection?

Best Brands

Nest is a division of Google since 2014. The company creates smart thermostats controlled by LCD panels or apps, the Nest Cam, and intelligent smoke alarms. The use of some of their products reduces the home insurance bill from a few US insurers.

Honeywell manufactures a wealth of different products for home and commercial use. Their Total Connect Comfort Service for controlling their thermostat range is mobile-ready.

Ecobee focuses on home automation with its range of “Internet of Things” intelligent products. Their products are designed to work with many different smart home systems, rather than being proprietary.

Emerson Climate Technologies produces touchscreen and mobile apps for controlling their thermostats for improved temperature control in the home. The brand is part of Emerson Electric, one of the largest electricity companies in the US.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Cost savings: There are cost reductions to energy bills up to 20% for homeowners who use a smart thermostat. The money saved pays for the expense of the system within a reasonable period.

Average home temperature: The average home temperature changes when people move from room to room. The thermostats often will include the temperature of that room into the ones it is currently monitoring.

Smart Home/Away: Smart home/away settings can turn up the heat when returning home briefly. The intelligent turning on of heating when coming home for lunch is not always ideal. Homeowners can disable this function in many thermostat systems that offer it when setting a personal temperature program.