The 4 Best Smart Thermostats of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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The 4 Best Smart Thermostats of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

We’ve noted that Matter wireless compatibility has been added to the Google Nest Thermostat, in Other good smart thermostats.

A smart thermostat automatically adjusts your heating and cooling systems to keep you comfortable and save you money. But these are not one-size-fits-all devices. The best model for someone who hopes to eke out every last BTU of efficiency and cost savings will be very different from a thermostat for someone who just wants everything to be as simple as possible. The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium—our pick for the best smart thermostat—falls into the first category. In addition to offering a wide array of settings to refine your home’s climate control, it has a built-in Alexa smart speaker to receive voice commands without the need for other devices. In our testing, this thermostat did the best job of keeping the whole house consistently comfortable—thanks to its savvy remote sensors and its ability to take humidity into account when adjusting the temperature. For a less complicated option, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat remains a good choice for anyone who is averse to fiddling with settings menus, since its built-in AI does most of the work for you.

Before you buy, make sure the smart thermostat will work with your HVAC system. Most companies provide a compatibility checker on their websites.

Choose a thermostat that works with miniature remote temperature sensors to even out heating and cooling around your home.

Smart thermostats are set up with a smartphone app, but most models can also be controlled by voice, using Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant.

Enabling geolocation in a thermostat’s settings lets the device know when you are home or away, to automatically adjust your HVAC and save energy.

Ecobee’s top-tier model outperformed all other thermostats, and it comes with the best remote sensor we’ve tested. It has an air-quality monitor, as well as a built-in microphone, speaker, and Alexa for voice control, but it also works with most smart-home platforms.

Although this model performs the same as the Premium, the Enhanced has less-refined hardware and is cheaper, since it lacks the Alexa speaker, remote sensor, and air-quality monitor.

Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium consistently kept my home more comfortable than any of the other thermostats I tested, and it even saved more energy in the process (on average, bills were at least 7% lower than in the same period the prior year). This device can be controlled directly from its touchscreen, remotely using a smartphone or tablet, or by voice command via a built-in Alexa speaker (or with an external Google or Apple smart speaker). An included remote SmartSensor detects your presence and your temperature, and it can be placed in an area that’s too cold or warm so the Ecobee can better balance temps around your home. (The unit comes with one sensor, and you can add up to 32.) There’s a bit of a learning curve involved in getting the most out of all the Ecobee thermostat’s settings, but this pays off in the end.

We also recommend the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced, a slightly stripped-down model that functions identically but doesn’t have a built-in Alexa smart speaker, air-quality monitor, or remote sensors (they are compatible, but you have to buy them separately). If you have a smaller home or don’t need a remote sensor or voice controls, this is a great, less expensive option.

Runner-up Google Nest Learning ThermostatA powerful, no-fuss model Nest’s most-advanced smart thermostat features a larger, crisper, and more useful display than its predecessors, as well as wide compatibility with HVAC systems.Buying Options$253 from Walmart $249 from Lowe's $249 from Home Depot

Nest’s most-advanced smart thermostat features a larger, crisper, and more useful display than its predecessors, as well as wide compatibility with HVAC systems.

Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation) learns your preferred heating and cooling settings. Then it automatically creates a schedule that should maximize efficiency, so you don’t have to program the device yourself. It installs easily and supports geofencing, and it’s compatible with most home climate-control systems. You can also add optional Nest Temperature Sensors, little wireless pucks that measure the temperature in rooms without a thermostat. If you have trouble spots that are often too cold or hot, you can place one of Nest’s sensors there and expect your room to be more comfortable. Unlike the Ecobee’s SmartSensors, however, Nest’s Temperature Sensors don’t detect presence or movement (the thermostat itself does, though), so they can’t be used to trigger heating or cooling based on someone being in a specific room.

Though Amazon’s Smart Thermostat isn’t as sophisticated as other picks, it works well, is widely compatible with HVAC systems, and is simply inexpensive.

The Amazon Smart Thermostat may be basic, with simple controls and rudimentary AI, but it does what it does well, and for some people that makes it ideal. This model can be configured to run on a timed schedule, or, using Alexa Hunches (Amazon’s term for Alexa’s AI-based learning feature), it can eventually learn your patterns and suggest customized settings. Unlike Nest’s hallmark mechanical control dial or Ecobee’s smartphone-like touchscreen, to adjust the Amazon Smart Thermostat, you first tap the white touch-surface face to wake it up and make controls visible. You can also adjust the temperature setting using voice commands to an Alexa device or with the Alexa app in your smartphone. The one conspicuous missing feature we’d like to see is compatibility with remote sensors, which our top picks have.

A pricey but practically perfect option for adding smart controls to electric baseboard heaters, the Mysa Smart Thermostat uses scheduling, geofencing, and a smart eco mode to save you money while imperceptibly using less energy.

Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings

The Mysa Smart Thermostat will make your “dumb” and inefficient electric baseboard heating far more cost-effective. It’s our only pick in what is an admittedly limited field—it works with 110-volt (up to 240-volt) electrical heating sources. We like its clean, modern design, the fact that it doesn’t require a separate hub, and that it works with all the major smart-home systems. The Mysa uses geolocation and artificial intelligence alongside scheduling and zoning to heat your home efficiently and save energy while keeping you comfortable.

Ecobee’s top-tier model outperformed all other thermostats, and it comes with the best remote sensor we’ve tested. It has an air-quality monitor, as well as a built-in microphone, speaker, and Alexa for voice control, but it also works with most smart-home platforms.

Although this model performs the same as the Premium, the Enhanced has less-refined hardware and is cheaper, since it lacks the Alexa speaker, remote sensor, and air-quality monitor.

Nest’s most-advanced smart thermostat features a larger, crisper, and more useful display than its predecessors, as well as wide compatibility with HVAC systems.

Though Amazon’s Smart Thermostat isn’t as sophisticated as other picks, it works well, is widely compatible with HVAC systems, and is simply inexpensive.

A pricey but practically perfect option for adding smart controls to electric baseboard heaters, the Mysa Smart Thermostat uses scheduling, geofencing, and a smart eco mode to save you money while imperceptibly using less energy.

This guide has been substantially rewritten in 2022 by Roy Furchgott. It also contains some existing research and testing by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy.

Roy Furchgott personally reviewed more than 1,000 pieces of consumer technology and more than 500 apps, including a wide array of smart-home devices. His work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Week, Forbes, and Wired.

Jennifer Pattison Tuohy has spent nine years testing smart thermostats and other smart-home technology. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and she’s contributed to Wirecutter as well as Dwell Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, BBC Science Focus, Wired UK, and The Ambient. She is currently the smart-home editor at The Verge.

A smart thermostat is a good investment for any homeowner who is looking to trim their energy use and utility bills. But they also provide a measure of convenience and can make your home’s climate more consistently comfortable. Since there are many variables that affect a smart thermostat’s performance—local weather, a home’s building materials, the type of HVAC and the energy or fuel source it relies on, the settings the homeowner uses—it’s impossible to definitively state how much energy you will save by installing one. However, all of our picks are Energy Star–certified, which means they will save at least 8% of your annual heating and cooling bill. And generally, the greater the extremes in temperature, the more energy (and thus money) you can potentially save. Notably, device manufacturers claim that by properly configuring their devices, you can save substantially more, over 20%. For example, Nest says owners should save 10% to 12% on their heating and 15% on cooling.

Smart thermostats are also good for the planet: According to Energy Star, if every US household installed a smart thermostat, the energy savings would be equivalent to 1.2 million fewer vehicles on the road. Because of those potential savings, energy companies frequently offer rebates and incentives to replace a traditional thermostat with a smart one.

Most smart thermostats can be integrated with a home’s other smart devices. And all of the models we tested work with one or more smart-home platforms, including Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit and Siri, as well as with smart-home hubs such as Samsung’s SmartThings. By integrating your smart thermostat with a smart platform, you can consolidate control of all your smart devices into a single app and have those devices interact with one another, and it may also provide features like the ability to use voice commands.

For example, you might configure your thermostat to lower the temperature when you leave the house and lock your front door. And it can automatically start warming the house when your garage door opens as you arrive home. These smart-home ecosystems are continually growing, so the interactions your thermostat is capable of are expanding as well (though sometimes only with the purchase of additional hardware).

Note this important consideration: If you have an older HVAC system, your home may lack the wiring to support a smart thermostat, most of which require a common or “C” wire to provide power. Although all the models we recommend are easily installed by a homeowner, if you lack a C wire, you may need to use an adapter kit or spring for an electrician or HVAC technician to install the necessary added wiring. Another option is to simply opt for a Nest thermostat, which doesn’t require the use of a C wire for some systems. For more on this topic, see What to know before you buy.

There are dozens of Wi-Fi–connected thermostats that claim to be smart. But for our guide we skipped any that didn’t include actual smart features, such as the ability to automatically create schedules, work with remote sensors, or geofencing (the ability to be turned on or off based on location). To further narrow our list of test models, we identified the most important things we think a smart thermostat should do:

Expect to spend between $80 and $250 on a smart thermostat. Lower-end models have fewer features, while those above $250 are overkill or are specific to particular HVAC systems.

We did not consider branded models from HVAC manufacturers that weren’t compatible with other systems or were available only through dealers. (If you are having a new HVAC system installed, however, a branded model may get the most out of your system.)

Since this guide has been produced by two different reviewers, some smart thermostats mentioned throughout have been tested in different locations. For this most recent update, all of our thermostat picks except the Mysa were tested in a freestanding, single-zone home with a one-zone electric HVAC system, operating a heat pump (not a furnace).

Wirecutter takes security and privacy issues seriously. Our top picks are broadly similar, offering two-factor authentication (except Mysa), data encryption, and a choice of whether to share data from your device with third parties.

Ecobee, maker of our top pick, offers two-factor authentication but does not require it, and it encrypts data sent to the cloud, while your Wi-Fi credentials remain on the device. Ecobee does not have affiliates or sell data, but it shares anonymized data unless you opt out. Geofencing tracks your location if you enable it, but again, that information isn’t shared with anyone.

Google Nest also offers the option to use two-factor authentication, but it does not require it, and Google encrypts sent and stored data. Google does share data for discount energy-saving programs through power utilities, but you can opt out of all data sharing. Google tracks your location for geofencing, which can be disabled.

The Amazon Smart Thermostat relies on the Alexa app and can be secured using two-factor authorization. Amazon is foremost a retail business, so while the company says it won’t sell your data, Amazon reserves the right to use any data that you or your Amazon devices provide, including personal information like your address, phone number, and contacts. Amazon says user data may be required to make a device function, or to improve devices and services, but it also states that it uses data to market and advertise to you (you can read Amazon’s privacy rules). You can limit how personalized ads are by changing the setting here.

Mysa does not offer two-factor authentication, which isn’t ideal, but we don’t think this presents a defined security risk. Any customer data it collects is encrypted and stored on Amazon servers, though it does also send access-restricted data to, a platform for customizing marketing. Users can opt out of sharing data by making a request on NAI. In order to use geofencing features, your location is tracked. That can be disabled—doing so, however, will prevent your thermostat from automatically changing temperature settings when you leave or return home.

Ecobee’s top-tier model outperformed all other thermostats, and it comes with the best remote sensor we’ve tested. It has an air-quality monitor, as well as a built-in microphone, speaker, and Alexa for voice control, but it also works with most smart-home platforms.

Although this model performs the same as the Premium, the Enhanced has less-refined hardware and is cheaper, since it lacks the Alexa speaker, remote sensor, and air-quality monitor.

Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings

If you want deep control over every change your thermostat can make, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is the best smart thermostat. Both this Ecobee and the Enhanced model did the best job of keeping my 1,500-square-foot, three-level house more consistently comfortable than any of the other thermostats we tested. The Ecobee Premium has especially nice metal and glass hardware. And it has a built-in Alexa smart speaker, so you can control it—or other smart devices—with voice commands; it’s also compatible with all the other major smart platforms. The Ecobee Premium comes with one remote temperature SmartSensor, which you can place in another part of the house to help even out heating and cooling across your home. It performed consistently and reliably, especially when the Eco+ mode was enabled; this takes your entire home’s relative humidity into account to maximize comfort and savings.

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced—the slightly trimmed-down version—functioned as well as the Premium in testing. But it’s a lot less expensive because it doesn’t include a SmartSensor or an Alexa smart speaker, its hardware is less polished (plastic versus metal and glass), and it doesn’t have a built-in air-quality monitor. Choosing between the Premium model and the Enhanced depends on how important the Premium’s upgrade features are to you. And your choice may also depend on how many remote sensors you need. (These SmartSensors are sold only in pairs, and are usually $80-$100.) The Enhanced plus a pair of remote sensors normally is about $50 more than the Premium that comes with one remote sensor. Assuming the higher-grade hardware and Alexa aren’t important to you, or that you don’t need remote sensors, you will save money choosing the Enhanced. If you want a single remote sensor, you’ll save money by getting the Premium. But if you want two or more remote sensors, you might opt for the Enhanced.

The Ecobee thermostats are compatible with the same number of HVAC systems as the Nest, including those systems with humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators (you can check their compatibility with your system). Both require a C wire, but a power-extender kit and detailed instructions for how to wire it to your HVAC system are included in the box, if you don’t have one. Ecobee thermostats are Energy Star–rated, potentially qualifying you for a rebate.

Installation is straightforward, although if you have a complicated HVAC system, you may want to enlist the help of an expert. Installation—pairing four sensors, connecting to Wi-Fi, and setting up three smart-home system integrations—took us about an hour. If you have to wire in the power extender kit, factor in an extra two hours or the time and expense of hiring an electrician or technician.

The Ecobee Premium is the only smart thermostat that features a built-in smart speaker, and the audio quality and microphone responsiveness are on a par with those of the third-gen Amazon Echo Dot. All of the standard Echo speaker features are here, including Alexa Calling, Messaging, and Drop In, so you can use your thermostat as you would an old-school intercom system. Notably, it can’t be used with Alexa multi-room music.

In use, the Ecobee thermostat offers you two main ways to control your climate:

These systems work well together to balance comfort and energy use, and in our testing the thermostat did a very good job of maintaining a comfortable temperature, while not using excessive energy when we were home.

Monitoring and controlling the thermostat remotely using Ecobee’s app or web interface is easy, intuitive, and identical across all of the smart-home platforms we tested: Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. You can also log in to your account on Ecobee’s web page to dig into Ecobee’s extensive insights and see real-time updates about your energy usage and thermostat set points (something Nest doesn’t offer).

Our favorite feature of Ecobee’s system is its SmartSensor room sensors. These 1¾-inch, squarish devices have a variety of mounting options, so you can easily place them around your house. By keeping tabs on two or more areas this way, you can have your system prioritize one sensor over the others, or average the temperatures between them. This arrangement solves the age-old heating and cooling problem where one room is toasty and warm while another feels like a refrigerator. The thermostat comes with one sensor, and you can add up to 32.

We also like the Eco+ setting, which lets the thermostat consider indoor humidity when automatically adjusting the temperature setting. The higher the humidity in a room, the warmer the air feels, and also the reverse—low humidity feels cooler. The Ecobee can tweak the temperature settings to take advantage of that phenomenon by heating just a little less in winter and cooling a little less in summer; this reduces energy use without any sacrifice in comfort.

We also like that the display shows the temperature, the weather outside, the time, and air quality (though the latter isn’t actionable unless you have a smart air filter that is able to be triggered). When indoor air quality drops, the Ecobee sends an alert that advises you to open a window, which is impractical in cold or severe weather.

A big selling point of the Ecobee thermostat is that it’s compatible with all the major smart-home systems. Because Alexa is built into the device, you can use your voice to adjust the temperature, ask Alexa which equipment is running, and hear what the temperature is in different rooms. The voice assistant can even set up Vacation Mode for you, and you can plug the thermostat into Alexa’s Routines.

HomeKit integration is a nice feature for Apple users. You can access your thermostat settings directly from your iPhone’s Control Center with a quick swipe, and you can control the Ecobee by voice with Siri. And you can add it to HomeKit’s Scenes, which are presets you configure between one or more devices and trigger by button or voice (a “Good Morning” Scene, for instance, could turn up the thermostat, turn on the lights, and start the news).

Installation of the Ecobee thermostat is similar to that of other thermostats, though we did run into some minor connection issues at first. For instance, you’re asked to scan a QR code, but there are three on the various boxes and literature. There are also some highly specific technical questions you have to answer during setup (“How is your reversing valve energized?”), which would be good to know in advance.

We experienced voice-command issues both with Siri and when using the built-in Alexa on the Premium. On one occasion I asked Siri, via my iPhone, to adjust the Ecobee to 76 degrees Fahrenheit; it set it to 45. I was then sent an alert warning of potential damage to my HVAC. While it could hear some Alexa requests, a request to change the temperature received “Sorry, thermostat isn’t responding.” This may be a problem specific to me—no voice recognition of any kind has ever worked well for me. One time when I walked past, it chimed, alerting me to a notification. Alexa gave a spoken reminder of a purchase I previously made on Amazon and urged me to rate it. I’m not a fan of being nagged by Amazon via a thermostat.

Nest’s most-advanced smart thermostat features a larger, crisper, and more useful display than its predecessors, as well as wide compatibility with HVAC systems.

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation) uses its machine-learning smarts to deliver energy efficiency with minimal technical fuss for you. Its standout feature is its artificial intelligence’s ability to automate climate control of your home with little to no input from you. Set your temperature manually for the first week or so, and then it learns how you like your environment and adapts to how your home heats and cools, saving you money while keeping you cozy. The effectiveness of the learning mode is enhanced by a simple user interface and also the ability to add optional Nest Temperature Sensors. You can place a sensor in a problem room that is often too hot or cold; this allows the Nest to better even out the temperature throughout your home. Google also sells the cheaper Nest Thermostat, a very stripped-down model that lacks many of the features we like about the Nest Learning Thermostat but that may still be good enough for some households (see Other good smart thermostats).

Installation is straightforward, as long as your system is compatible and has a C wire for power. (Although the Nest does not require a C wire to operate in most cases, some modern HVAC systems could potentially malfunction or be damaged if a C wire isn’t used; consult with your HVAC’s manufacturer before skipping the C wire, and read our section on C wires for more on this topic.)

Once you’ve installed the Nest, setting it up is simple. The device prompts you to choose your “eco temperatures”—the temperature when you’re not home—as well as the warmest and coolest you want the house to be when you are home. You can then connect it to Wi-Fi and the Nest app for remote control; if you prefer to keep your thermostat offline, however, you can opt to use it without internet access, like a regular thermostat.

We found that once the Nest had figured out our household’s patterns, we rarely, if ever, had to touch the device or adjust the temperature remotely.

An HVAC monitoring feature detects and notifies you of any problem with your system, such as a furnace shutdown or extended heating or cooling times. We had some experience with this feature in our testing of the more basic Nest Thermostat (see Other good smart thermostats).

Another essential smart feature of the Nest is its Eco Mode. This uses a combination of presence sensing and geofencing to determine when the house is empty and then tells the thermostat to keep temperatures within an energy-saving range. When it senses you are home or coming home, based on your habits and the location of your smartphone, it returns to its normal schedule.

The Nest thermostat also saves energy by employing machine-learning artificial intelligence; this measures how long it takes for your home to heat or cool, based on outside temperatures, and then optimizes your schedule so that it comes on at just the right time, without over- or underheating or over- or undercooling. For example, if the Nest recognizes that it’s colder today than it was yesterday, the thermostat will start heating a bit earlier to hit your target temperature by 7 a.m. Similarly, the Cool to Dry and Airwave features focus on reducing humidity and using your HVAC’s fan to eke out every last bit of cool in your system when the AC turns off, once again helping to save energy and money.

Over time those little tweaks here and there can boost your system’s efficiency. In our long-term testing, we found that these two features combined caused our system’s fan to run almost continuously. We think this is largely because our test house is in the South and high humidity is a constant battle there. So your HVAC system and your local climate may impact how well the system works. However, an always-running fan can become a nuisance noise-wise, so we ended up turning off these features.

The most useful insight the Nest thermostat offers for energy savings is the green leaf, which appears on the device when you set or are running an energy-saving temperature (based on your heating and cooling history and Nest’s data). This type of visual reward is highly motivating. And combined with the monthly report you get showing how you compare to other “Nesters” in your area, it is enough to add a bit of healthy competition to your energy-saving efforts.

Although the Nest thermostat works very well on its own, if you have a home with hot or cool spots, you can pair it with the optional Nest Temperature Sensors, white mini-pucks you place in different rooms to better balance the temperatures throughout your home. You can pair up to 10 sensors with one thermostat, and then in the Nest app you set them on a Schedule that targets the rooms the sensors are in at a certain time of day. For example, we tested three sensors and had the thermostat target the kitchen in the morning, the living room during the day, and the dining room in the evening. We really liked this feature and found that it worked well for a household with predictable routines. Having to set precise times was a bit restrictive, though, and we found that the Ecobee sensors’ occupancy sensing (which can trigger the thermostat based on your presence) was a better option in this regard.

You can also control your thermostat with the Nest app, the Nest web portal, the Google Home app, or SmartThings (it’s not Apple HomeKit–compatible).

The Nest app is really good; it displays the automatically generated Schedule, and it allows you to make temperature adjustments, switch settings and climate modes, and view a 10-day history. If you have other Nest devices, such as cameras or smoke alarms, the app consolidates them all into a single view, which is convenient.

In our testing, this worked reliably and speedily, and it reacted quicker than the Nest app’s similar function. When we walked in the door, our Philips Hue lights turned on, our Arlo cameras turned off, and the thermostat switched to Home almost instantly. When we left, the reverse happened within 30 minutes of our absence—the quickest of any thermostat we’ve tested that doesn’t rely solely on phone geolocation.

Another feature we really like is that the Nest can automatically shut down your HVAC system when a connected Nest Protect smoke alarm detects smoke or fire. It’s a feature few other smart thermostats offer: Ecobee can do it if you buy First Alert’s Onelink smoke alarms and connect them to HomeKit; if you have a Ring Alarm system with a Smoke Alarm Listener, you can manually create an Alexa Routine to do the same thing, but Nest’s integration is the simplest to set up and use.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is very expensive. We won’t say it’s overpriced, since its hardware is exceptionally good, but $250 is a lot for a thermostat that doesn’t come with any remote sensors or a smart speaker, as the similarly priced Ecobee does.

Nest’s excellent AI works out what is best on average, but not everyone is average. Nest gets energy savings with setbacks, letting your home get a bit colder overnight in the winter and warmer in the summer, while you sleep or are away. A Department of Energy publication estimates you get 10% savings annually by turning a thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day. But that large of a setback may cause serious issues with some HVACs. For instance, depending on the heat source, it may require a system to run nonstop all day and never reach a desired temperature before it’s set back again, “thereby canceling out any savings achieved,” per the DOE report cited above.

So if you have a heat pump or hydronic heating with radiators, Nest’s automated AI learning may not cut your energy usage as substantially as other systems. Still, we found the manual setup the easiest among the programmable thermostats.

Though Amazon’s Smart Thermostat isn’t as sophisticated as other picks, it works well, is widely compatible with HVAC systems, and is simply inexpensive.

If a simple connected thermostat that you can control remotely is all the smarts you want, then we recommend the low-cost, barebones Amazon Smart Thermostat. It allows you to create Schedules for heating and cooling, and you can control it remotely from your phone or other devices. Alexa Hunches are what make this an actually smart thermostat; these are AI-derived suggested actions that pop up on your smartphone based on what Alexa notices about your household’s activities—when you come and go, when you fiddle with the temperature. If you choose to incorporate a Hunch, it should result in your home being more comfortable and also more energy-efficient. Unlike our other picks, Amazon’s Smart Thermostat doesn’t have optional remote sensors. However, since it is compatible with Alexa, if you have an Alexa smart speaker, you can use voice commands to control it, and you can integrate Routines—automated actions that incorporate other smart devices.

The largely unadorned, squarish, off-white face displays illuminated numbers with your current temperature setting. Tap the face to wake it, and glowing up and down arrows appear, which you touch to adjust the temperature. The Alexa Smart Thermostat has a few other simple touch-screen controls, but it seems like you’re supposed to use the Alexa app to manage the fine tuning and settings.

As noted above, the Hunches feature is what separates Amazon’s thermostat from traditional programmable ones because it enables a lot of potential smart integrations. Alexa is always aware of your phone’s location, and so it can adjust the temperature when you’re away. But if you have other Alexa-compatible devices, Hunches may rely on their feedback to adjust settings automatically, too. In testing I didn’t get a good read on how well this worked over a long period of time, mostly because I work from home in a room well away from the thermostat and keep an irregular schedule—frankly it’s not a very fair test. Overall, this thermostat did just what it was supposed to do, controlling the temperature based on the room in which it was installed.

The one really significant disappointment is that there are no compatible remote sensors. If you have an unevenly heated or cooled house, you’d be better off with a unit that supports remote sensors. I also found the setup process could use improvement, especially the instructions in the smartphone app. In our testing, if I paused from the installation, the app required me to go back to the start and reenter everything again. The app also requests far more personal data than is reasonable, such as access to my personal contacts (you don’t have to agree to it).

The thermostat is made by Honeywell, which means support comes from Residio, Honeywell’s smart-home product division. A problem I experienced resulted in multiple phone calls and being switched between various agents before one told me how to fully reset the thermostat. And one small annoyance: The thermostat switches on and off with an audible click. If you are especially sensitive to sounds, you may find it irksome.

A pricey but practically perfect option for adding smart controls to electric baseboard heaters, the Mysa Smart Thermostat uses scheduling, geofencing, and a smart eco mode to save you money while imperceptibly using less energy.

Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings

The Mysa Smart Thermostat is a line-voltage smart thermostat, so unlike all the other models we tested, it works with 120- or 240-volt electric baseboard heating. There are limited options for line-voltage smart thermostats overall, but we recommend the Mysa because it doesn’t require a separate hub to connect to the internet, it has an easy-to-use app, and it has a simple and attractive design with a subtle, dot-matrix-like display and capacitive buttons. The Mysa thermostat also has built-in geofencing. Note: Mysa has released a newer, smaller model, the Mysa Smart Thermostat (v2), with a few added features. We plan to test it (see What to look forward to for more information).

Baseboard heaters are typically controlled by individual thermostats that connect to each unit. Adding smart thermostats provides a huge benefit because this allows you to control all your units at once, rather than by hand in every single room. And if you have more than one heater controlled by the same thermostat now, you can wire a single Mysa in its place (provided the total load doesn’t exceed 3,800 watts). You can also put multiple units into zones—upstairs, downstairs, bedrooms, and so on—to adjust them simultaneously in the app as one unit. Aside from offering a huge boost in convenience, the Mysa has the potential to dramatically improve efficiency by intelligently adapting to your energy usage.

The big caveat is that to make all the heating units in your system smart, you will need to replace every thermostat; this gets expensive quickly (though over time that up-front cost could be offset by energy-bill savings, since electric baseboard heating is so much less energy-efficient than other systems).

Due to the limitations of our test home, we weren’t able to test the Mysa thermostat on a functioning baseboard heater, but we did rig it up to a dummy rig that allowed us to test its responsiveness, features, and app control. Installation is simpler than for a Nest or Ecobee model, since the Mysa has fewer wires. But you’re dealing with much higher voltage levels, so it’s imperative that you shut off the power before installing.

Once you’ve installed the thermostat, you use the Mysa app to set it up, connecting it directly to your home’s Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz only). The only setting you can adjust directly on the Mysa is temperature, so to tweak other settings you have to use the app. The display shows the ambient temperature by default, and when you press the up or down arrow, it changes the heat settings accordingly and shows the adjusted temperature.

The Mysa thermostat manages your heating in a few different ways. You can use a preset, Energy Star–recommended work-week Schedule or create a customized Schedule by using a setup wizard. The wizard asks a few simple questions about your lifestyle to configure the Mysa’s settings: what time you wake up and go to bed, how often you leave the house, and what Sleep, Home, and Away set points you prefer. Early Start is an optional setting that learns how long it takes to heat up a given room and then adjusts the Schedule to make everything toasty right on time.

The optional Intelligent Eco Mode imperceptibly modulates the temperature by a half-degree to boost your savings over time as it learns how your system works. Because baseboard heat doesn’t rely on blowing air around like furnace heat, your Mysa thermostat can maintain temperatures more efficiently while keeping these tiny changes unnoticeable.

One feature we were able to fully test—and found very reliable—is geolocation. On the Mysa thermostat, it works in tandem with the scheduling much like on the Ecobee, giving you the option of having your regular Schedule resume or pause when you arrive or leave, or to hold a set temperature. It’s a nice way of implementing what we’ve found can be a spotty, often hard-to-use feature when it comes to controlling a home’s climate. Because geolocation relies on your smartphone’s location and not presence sensors, it may not be a good choice if you have family members or visitors who aren’t tied to the Mysa app—if they’re not, the heat may shut off on them whenever you leave home.

We weren’t able to test the Mysa system’s energy-reporting capabilities. But based on a demo, we saw it’s capable of providing near-real-time reports of electrical usage, since it can measure the current that runs directly through it. That lets you see exactly how much electricity you’re using and exactly how much that energy is costing you—an impressive motivator to drop the temperature and put on an extra sweater. You can drill down into the month, week, and day, as well as by the whole system, zone, or individual unit.

The Mysa thermostat’s biggest flaw is its price, since electrical baseboard heating generally requires a thermostat in every room. Multiply the number of your existing thermostats by the price of a Mysa, and the cost can quickly go from hundreds to a thousand bucks or more.

Here are some things to know about smart thermostats before you choose one:

A common wire, or C wire, supplies AC current from your furnace to the thermostat to power its display and electronics, and some homes, especially older ones, may not have that wire (if your current thermostat has just two wires, you don’t have a C wire). Some thermostats, including Nest models, can work in the absence of a C wire by stealing power from other wires, but newer furnaces and boilers may potentially be damaged or malfunction, so we don’t recommend this if possible. If your thermostat wiring doesn’t have a C wire, consult with your heating system’s manufacturer to see what options are possible, such as hiring a technician or electrician to run a line for you.

Many of our readers are concerned about how the manufacturing, shipping, and normal use of the products we recommend impact the world we all live in. Wirecutter takes that seriously too, which is why we’ve asked the manufacturers of all our picks to answer some basic questions about the materials they use, the lifecycle of their products, and related issues that affect their overall sustainability. Although our product recommendations are based on the criteria outlined in How we picked and tested, we offer this information for any reader who wants to use environmental impact as a deciding factor in their purchases. We also recognize that due to the complicated nature of the topic, this information is necessarily incomplete and may not paint a full picture of a given product’s overall environmental impact.

Smart thermostats are innately energy-saving devices, especially when they replace traditional, non-programmable thermostats. Except the Mysa, all of our picks are Energy Star–certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (Mysa isn’t included, since line-voltage thermostats aren’t an Energy Star category yet). This means they have been independently verified to provide energy savings. Ecobee says users can expect to save up to 26% on heating and cooling bills versus having a thermostat set at a fixed temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Mysa also claims 26% savings. Nest claims it can save you 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling (so from 25% to 27% on your total annual HVAC bill).

Unlike traditional thermostats, which may last decades, smart ones are essentially small computers, so they require periodic software updates to remain compatible and secure. And since this is a relatively new product category, we don’t yet know what a reasonable lifespan is. Mysa says it estimates a lifespan of 10 to 15 years for its thermostats and says it will continue to support them with updates. Ecobee says its products have an average lifespan of more than 10 years. It still provides software updates for thermostats from 2014 and later.

None of the thermostats have user-serviceable parts, which isn’t a surprise—they’re fully electronic. And only the Nest thermostat contains a battery, which isn’t replaceable but should last “the lifespan of the device” (though Nest won’t specify what that is). None of our picks contain recycled content. Ecobee notes that it does not use conflict minerals or mercury; it also says it refurbishes and resells devices that have been returned and offers a three-year warranty on them. Ecobee also funds thermostat recycling programs, so that mercury from traditional thermostats is safely reclaimed.

In terms of manufacturing and materials used, all of the companies note that the packaging they use is in part or completely recyclable, and some is even made from recycled or sustainable materials. Mysa says product packaging is 100% recyclable. Ecobee says almost all of its packaging and printed materials have been reduced and are recyclable or compostable, and some are made from recycled materials. Ecobee’s complete sustainability statement can be found here. Nest says 96% of its packaging is recyclable paper or fiber-based material.

None of these companies offer discounts or incentives for upgrading from an older model. However, both Ecobee and Nest are widely available at discounted prices from utility companies through partner programs. And though all of the companies encourage owners to recycle devices when they eventually die, only Nest will provide a free shipping label and box to send in any thermostat for reclamation and data destruction; learn more about that here.

Although we strongly recommend our picks for most people, there are some scenarios in which they might be more than you need or not the right fit for your setup. Here are a few other smart thermostats that are worth considering.

If you don't need to use remote temperature sensors: The Google Nest Thermostat is a less expensive, simpler model than the Google Nest Learning Thermostat. It has also been updated to be Matter wireless compliant, which means this model can be integrated with and controlled using your pick of smart home apps by Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Samsung SmartThings (we have not yet tested that feature). The Google Nest has a tactile touch bar on its housing, in lieu of the signature dial control of its sibling the Nest Learning Thermostat. It also lacks AI to learn your heating and cooling schedule and it doesn’t work with remote sensors, either. However, the Home/Away feature powered by the Google Home app is very reliable. The Nest does have the same HVAC monitoring feature as our pick, and in our testing it helpfully alerted us (in the app, on the device, and via email) to a problem with our system. It correctly identified what was wrong so that when we called a repair person, he was able to fix it without spending costly time troubleshooting the issue—essentially, it paid for itself with that one repair visit.

If you live in a smaller space: The Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat is even more stripped down than the Enhanced, and so it doesn’t have an occupancy sensor and doesn’t include remote sensors (though it’s compatible). As such, we recommend the Ecobee3 Lite only if you live in a small home or apartment and plan to control your home’s climate via a combination of scheduling and geofencing.

Mysa has released a few new thermostat models: The Mysa Smart Thermostat (v2) is 40% smaller than the original model, and it has a few added features: audible feedback, an adaptive display, and the option of NFC pairing. The Mysa Smart Thermostat for AC and Mini-Splits is catered to controlling non-central-air AC units—mini-splits, and window and portable AC units. It’s not universally compatible and works only with a select group of brands and models. We plan to test the v2 model.

We tested the following models, and although they met most of our initial criteria—and some even have lower prices than our picks—each had flaws that were significant enough to prevent us from recommending them.

The Emerson Sensi Touch is an upgraded touchscreen version of the Sensi Wi-Fi (a previous budget pick in this guide). It offers geofencing as an option over a fiddly Schedule setup, but you have to set heating and cooling separately, and there’s no option for customized geofencing or temperature set points for Home/Away/Sleep. Instead, it simply sets your thermostat back 3 degrees when you exit a 3-mile radius.

The Wyze Thermostat is relatively inexpensive, yet it’s still usually pricier than our budget pick. On the plus side, it includes a C wire adapter (with a magnetic back to stick to sheet metal). It also has appealing remote sensors, each with a display screen, at just $25 each. But other than that, it was problematic. As with others, this one is set up using an app. But there are two Wyze apps, only one works, and there is no way to tell which is which. And its operation was also either glitchy or inaccurate. One example: I thought the house was a little cool. When I checked the app, it was set for 77 degrees Fahrenheit; the thermostat said the house was at 76, so it should have turned off the air conditioning—yet it was still churning away at full blast.

The Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat works with external room sensors, which detect motion, temperature, and humidity. In our testing, the T9 combined with sensors made our home very comfortable. But beyond the sensors, the T9 just isn’t that smart. You can use geofencing or a Schedule but not both, and although the sensors detect occupancy, you can’t use them to set your thermostat to Away Mode. There’s also no HomeKit support.

The Lux Kono has an unusual scheduling process that tells you how much your energy costs will increase or decrease based on the changes you make; it also offers changeable faceplates in multiple colors. Its click-wheel user interface is not intuitive (the company had to add reminder notes behind the faceplate), and multiple owner reviews report significant problems with temperature adjustments and inconsistent temperatures.

The basic-looking iDevices Thermostat has a tiny screen that’s glaringly bright, with no dimming. Its user interface is confusing, and the physical buttons don’t light up, so you can’t see them in the dark. It has geofencing but otherwise is just a programmable thermostat, and it’s tricky to change a Schedule once you’ve set it.

Wirecutter takes security and privacy issues seriously. And to help you understand which data the companies you’re bringing into your home may be taking out with them, we’ve compiled this table to answer some of the most common questions people have regarding privacy and security. We reached out to the companies that produce our top picks and asked them to respond to an extensive questionnaire, to confirm their positions on issues that should be of primary concern for any potential buyer. Here’s what we think you should consider before making a purchase.

This article was edited by Jon Chase and Grant Clauser.

Smart Thermostat Fact Sheet (PDF), Energy Star

Roy Furchgott has personally tried more than 1,000 pieces of consumer technology and more than 500 apps. Roy’s work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Week, Forbes, Outside, and Wired. In addition, Roy has won awards regionally and nationally for writing and regionally for photography.

Jennifer Pattison Tuohy writes about smart-home technology use and sustainable living, while trying to practice both (one is a lot easier than the other).

If you want to power up your smart home, then you need to install smart sensors—tiny detectors that tell other smart devices what to do automatically.

Nest thermostats are the gateway to smart-home life.

A smart Wi-Fi thermostat puts your climate-control system on autopilot, making it easier to manage and saving some cash for many homeowners.

Depending on your heating and cooling system, a smart thermostat can slash energy use and your bills. But for some people, they may only provide convenience.

The 4 Best Smart Thermostats of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Freezer Temperature Control Switch Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).