We updated this article in February 2022 to ensure all products vetted by the Home Improvement Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute were in stock, added more findings from our Lab tests, highlights about why we love each thermostat and questions to consider before you buy.
If you’re still adjusting the thermostat before you go to bed or kicking yourself when you forget to turn the system off before leaving town, have we got news for you: Smart thermostats control your home temperature automatically and allow you to make adjustments remotely, helping to maintain the perfect indoor climate 24/7. Not only does that save you real money ($50 a year on average, according to Energy Star), but it makes your home so much more comfortable throughout the year.
While upgrading to a smart thermostat is a no-brainer, choosing the right device is anything but. Here are the top picks, covering a range of needs and home types, according to the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute who have tested hundreds of smart home devices, from locks to light bulbs to robot vacuums.
Our top picks
- Best Overall Smart Thermostat: Ecobee with Voice Control Thermostat
- Best Value Smart Thermostat: Wyze Thermostat
- Best Learning Thermostat: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
- Best Smart Thermostat for Humidity Control: Bosch Thermotechnology Connected Control Wi-Fi Thermostat
- Best Smart Thermostat for Apartments: Mysa Smart Thermostat
- Most Stylish Smart Thermostat: Google Nest E Thermostat
The sleek ecobee with voice control is the most versatile device to control your home's heating and cooling systems. As the name indicates, you can control it with your voice thanks to its integrated Alexa speaker. In our Lab tests, we found it comparatively easy to set up and use. The thermostat comes with remote occupancy sensors that allow you to regulate the temperature in the areas of the home you use the most. We also like that the ecobee incorporates helpful features like energy consumption tracking and geofencing — meaning it detects when you're not home and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Beyond temperature management, it can also sense and regulate indoor humidity to try and maintain an optimal level.
- Sleek, versatile design
- Voice control capable
- Easy smart home integration
- Relatively pricey
Wyze’s reputation for value-driven smart devices continues with its smart thermostat. In our hands-on review, the device itself didn’t win any beauty awards, but if you’re looking for a no-nonsense thermostat that’s easy to install with intuitive controls, Wyze is the way to go. Even at its bargain price, the thermostat has several features our engineers like, including voice control, geofencing, and sharing access, for if you want to give temperature control to long-term visitors.
- Can share access with multiple users
- Detects when you're away
- Plain aesthetic
Nest is the leading name among smart thermostats, and it’s now part of the Google smart home ecosystem. The third-generation stainless steel version was one of the favorites from our tests due to its capability to learn your habits over time. Another standout feature our engineers like is its ability to alert you if your HVAC is acting up or if there is a danger of your pipes bursting due to freezing temperatures. Similar to the ecobee, the Nest can track energy usage and provide energy-saving tips. The display screen offers helpful information like the time, temperature and weather. Our product experts also love that it comes in a variety of designs and finishes.
- Set-and-forget functionality
- Intuitive design
- HVAC safety alerts
- Higher price tag
The Bosch smart thermostat has many of the features we appreciate, including Alexa integration. It's also popular with HVAC professionals because it’s such a robust device, controlling not just temperature, but also other air conditioning equipment installed in the home, such as a ventilation system or a whole-house dehumidifier or humidifier. Its large touch screen is great for viewing things like the time and temperature, as well as local weather. While this thermostat is compatible with most HVAC systems including heat pumps and conventional systems, it does require a C-wire, which provides continuous power to the digital display and WiFi connection. If your home is not already equipped with a C-wire, one should be professionally installed.
- Intuitive screen
- Humidity sensors
- C-wire required
Smart thermostats used to be hard to come by for homes with baseboard electric heating, which is why our experts like the Mysa Smart Thermostat for electric baseboard heaters (there’s also a version specifically designed for electric in-floor heating). Though we didn't test the actual thermostat, we did use the app and found the experience to be similar to what you’ll find with other smart devices. We found the ability to remotely control the system, geofencing options and ways to chart energy consumption. Plus, Mysa plays nicely with smart home assistants including Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Works with baseboard heating
- Smart home integration
- Doesn’t control cooling equipment
The Nest E smart thermostat has most of the same features as its more expensive counterpart, just in a more affordable design. For example, its frosted display only tells you the temperature, whereas the mirrored glass display on the premium Nest also tells you the time and outside weather. But the Nest E is still loaded with helpful attributes like geofencing, alerts and energy tracking. Consumer feedback on the frosted display was split – some found it really aesthetic and appealing, others found it difficult to read. And if you live in an older home that doesn’t have a C-wire, you might have to bring in a professional to install one.
- Sleek design
- Exceptional value
- Not compatible with wiring in older homes
Ever since the first smart thermostats came out more than a decade ago, the engineers at the Good Housekeeping Institute have watched the category get better and better, thanks to improved sensor technology and smarter home integrations.
The engineers and product experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have evaluated every brand leader in the smart thermostat category — names like Nest, ecobee, and Honeywell — and we've kept close tabs on newcomers, since that's often where the best innovations come from.
For our latest review, we spent more than 40 hours analyzing the current marketplace and collected hundreds of data points during in-lab and at-home tests to identify the best of the best. We did a close evaluation of 20 of the latest models with a combination of comprehensive categorical testing (with at least three months of hands-on use) and road tests of several newer, popular models. As part of our rigorous testing, we assessed ease of installation, the intuitiveness of operation on both the device and app and the functionality of advanced features like Alexa-integration or humidity-control capabilities. Our Lab experts also rated the devices on how much power they consume and how many smart home systems they are compatible with.
As with other smart home products — from locks to video doorbells to garage door openers — the priciest options aren’t always the best fit. And that's good news if you're looking to make this upgrade on a budget or if you plan to install multiple smart thermostats throughout your home.
Our top picks will help you narrow down the list of potential smart thermostats. Keep these five factors in mind as you zero in on the perfect model for your home:
✔️Ease of installation: Many newer models come with helpful instructions and have features in their respective apps to help you connect the thermostats to your HVAC system. That said, for many, it's still easier to call an electrician rather than struggle with wiring on your own; professional installation averages $150 to $200.
✔️Installation compatibility: Most smart thermostats work with common heating and cooling equipment, but some exceptions apply; many manufacturers have compatibility tools on their websites that make it easy to check. If you live in an older home, you may discover that there’s no C-wire at your thermostat hook-up — this is the wire that provides continuous power to a digital thermostat. Though many smart thermostats have C-wire adapters, it’s often better to have the new wire installed by an electrician, at which point you might as well have them install the thermostat too.
✔️Smart speaker compatibility: The majority of smart thermostats can pair with both Android and Apple devices, but check to see what other devices it may be compatible with that you may already own, like an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device.
✔️Features: While many thermostats claim to be “smart,” what that entails varies from device to device. Those with machine learning create temperature schedules on their own. Some have extra sensors built-in to help recognize when people are in a room or not. Others include geofencing capabilities that are able to determine your location so it can start warming or cooling your house as your vehicle approaches. Another smart feature is energy history, which lets you track energy consumption to identify additional ways to save.
✔️Aesthetics: While, feature-wise, many smart thermostats are similar, design-wise you'll find a lot of variation. Consider how this piece of hardware will blend in with the rest of your decor.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Home Improvement Lab provides expert reviews and advice on all things home-related, including climate control and smart thermostats. In his role as Director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab, Dan DiClerico brings more than 20 years of experience to the Institute, having reviewed thousands of products for Good Housekeeping, as well as brands like This Old House and Consumer Reports. His coverage of the earliest programmable thermostats from the 2000s helped reveal that some models were so confusing to set up that they ended up costing homeowners in lost energy. For this report, Dan worked closely with Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist & Director of Engineering at the Institute. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about products in the HVAC space, doing cross-category tests for not just thermostats, but also air purifiers, air conditioners, heaters, humidifiers and more.