Smart thermostats have become the latest in both energy conservation and home décor. These attractive, efficient, sophisticated thermostats promise to save you both energy and time by adjusting your HVAC system for you. The only catch is that they are expensive and take a while to install and learn your behaviors. If you are in the market for a smart thermostat, then you want to make the right decision to avoid wasting time and money. Here are a few options that you may be looking at as well as a few reasons to choose one over another.
Nest is owned by Google and is the thermostat that defined the market segment. It is pleasing to the eye while offering lots of gadgetry. It is Wi-Fi compatible so that it can communicate with your home network and is app-enabled so that you can access it from your smart phone. It will give you energy reports and use patterns to help you improve efficiency. It retails for $250 and has a 2.5-year return on investment (ROI)
Ecobee is both Wi-Fi- and app-enabled. It uses sensors to detect when you are home and will adjust itself to your needs based on both a programmed schedule as well as what it learns about your habits. At $250, the Ecobee costs just as much as the Nest, so what set’s them apart? The Ecobee will work with Android, iPhone, or Blackberry. Nest does not work with Blackberry. Ecobee offers tighter temperature control (+/- 1 degree versus +/- 3 degrees) and can save 3% more energy than the Nest. Like the Nest, the Ecobee gives you energy reports and zone control, but it also allows you to add remote sensors for various zones and will tell you the weather. Ecobee will email you notifications if something is wrong with your HVAC system and offers a touchscreen, both things Nest can’t do. In fact, the only place where the Ecobee is limited is that it can only be programmed for 4 variations in a day compared to Nest’s unlimited programmable interface. Given that it is a smart thermostat, the limited programing features seem like a minor drawback.
Honeywell has been in the HVAC industry for well over 100, but it hasn’t been in the technology industry for very long at all. As a result of this discrepancy, the Lyric a little to be desired. To start, tit costs $279 dollars. That’s only $20 more than Nest or Ecobee, but it seems like a strange price point given that it competes directly with other smart thermostats without offering anything to justify the extra $20.
Unlike the Nest and Ecobee, the Lryic uses range to your smartphone rather than proximity/movement sensors to determine whether when switch between Away/Home modes. You can set the sensor to 500 feet or 7 miles, but nothing in between. It doesn’t tell you your energy usage, but it will email you if there is an HVAC problem. It is considered to have the best user interface of the three and offers temperature control of +/- 1 degree. For $20 less you can get the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat. It works more like the Nest thermostat, but looks like a traditional thermostat. Honeywell thermostats do not work with Blackberry.
Your choice of thermostat will come down to looks, features, and functionality. If you want something simple and aren’t concerned as much with aesthetics, then go with the Honeywell. If you want aesthetics and don’t care about ease-of-use, go with the Nest. If you want the best features (especially if you own a blackberry) with reasonably good looks, Ecobee is your model. They all cost roughly the same, so price isn’t a big factor.