This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which smart thermostat is best for your household?

Smart thermostats are here to stay. They’re ultra-convenient and help users fine-tune their home’s temperature settings — often without the need to lift a finger. They can learn your habits, adjust temperatures depending on outdoor conditions, and turn off automatically when you’re not home.

Whether you’re interested in a simple unit with a few smart features or seeking a device with a host of bells and whistles, there are plenty of choices to suit your varied needs.

We’ve researched the latest in smart thermostat tech to bring you our updated picks for 2021. Our shortlist includes returning favorites and a new option that’s ideal for smart-thermostat newbies.

Best smart thermostats of 2021

1. Google Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation: It’s tough to beat Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat, which is why it remains our top smart thermostat pick. It’s a state-of-the-art piece of tech that lives up to the hype.

2. Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat: We’ve also kept this reliable budget-friendly thermostat in our lineup. It’s a popular model with consistently high reviews from users. The company has been in the thermostat game for decades, so there’s little doubt in whether Emerson will deliver.

3. Centralite Pearl Thermostat: The Centralite Pearl is an affordable unit that’s perfect for people who aren’t quite sure about investing in smart thermostat technology.

What you need to know before buying a smart thermostat

A smart thermostat is an investment, not a temporary gadget. It pays to know what to look for when buying one.

Before throwing down your hard-earned dollars, you need to make sure you’re well acquainted with your home’s heating or cooling system. Not every smart thermostat is compatible with all systems. Installation is usually straightforward, but in homes that lack a C-wire, you might need some help from a professional electrician to install your new thermostat properly.

Smart thermostats work well on their own, but they’re even better when integrated with other smart devices (e.g., Alexa, Google Home, etc.). If you use these kinds of smart assistants regularly, make sure your chosen thermostat is compatible.

You’ll find a range of features available in smart thermostats on the market, including, for instance, the ability to access your home’s temperature settings remotely. It’s a handy feature because it allows you to adjust your environment without getting out of bed. You can also fiddle with the settings while away from home.

The bonus of many smart thermostats is that they learn your habits and adjust depending on your schedule, comings and goings, and outdoor temperatures.

Smart thermostat FAQ

Some smart thermostats are pretty expensive. Is the investment worth it?

A. A lot of companies make grandiose claims about the money you’ll save straightaway with the use of a smart thermostat. The reality is that you won’t likely see a return on your investment immediately — especially if you buy multiple units. It can take a while for you to get used to the unit and take full advantage of its features. Most people can expect to see savings within a year of purchase.

Won’t my pipes freeze if I leave the house and have location-detection features enabled?

A. Most smart thermostats can tell when you leave your home. Either they have built-in sensors that allow them to sense your lack of presence, or they use location services to track your movements. You don’t need to worry about your home turning into an arctic wasteland. Most devices allow you to set eco temperatures for when you’re away.

Smart thermostats we recommend

Best of the best

Google Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation

Google Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation

What we like: It’s truly the best of the best in its category and has a host of features that help users work towards lowering their energy use.

What we dislike: It’s quite expensive, and if you’re buying more than one, it’s a significant investment.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck

Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat

Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat

What we like: It’s an affordable thermostat that’s compatible with multiple systems. It’s an excellent choice for homeowners on a tight budget who still want to reap the benefits of smart tech.

What we dislike: The WiFi connection is sometimes wonky.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Centralite Pearl Thermostat

Centralite Pearl Thermostat

What we like: Installation takes 15 minutes, it comes with touch controls and is compatible with several platforms such as Zigbee, Cox and Samsung SmartThings. 

What we dislike: Although pairing with Alexa is possible through pairing it with Samsung SmartThings, this adds to installation time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Steph Coelho writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.