The Best Home Thermostats of 2022

Upgrading an old thermostat to a newer, more efficient model saves energy and can help you cut costs on your monthly electric bill.

By Glenda Taylor | Updated Oct 27, 2022 2:47 PM

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The Best Home Thermostat Options

Photo: amazon.com

Thermostats have come a long way from those early models with manual temperature dials that may or may not accurately reflect the room’s actual temperature. Today’s thermostats are highly efficient. Many are programmable. Some connect with smart-home systems for remote control through a smartphone app.

The best home thermostat depends on the user’s wants and needs and whether the home has a Wi-Fi network. Ahead, learn which factors to consider when shopping for a new thermostat, and find out why the following models are top options for many homeowners.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Honeywell Home 5-2 Day Thermostat
  3. BEST BASIC: Emerson NP110 Single Stage Thermostat
  4. BEST AFFORDABLE SMART: Honeywell Home Wi-Fi 7-Day Thermostat (RTH6580WF)
  5. BEST MIDRANGE SMART: Google Nest Thermostat – Smart Thermostat for Home
  6. BEST FOR MULTIPLE ROOMS: Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat
  7. BEST TOUCH-SCREEN: Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat
  8. BEST MINI: Amazon Smart Thermostat
  9. BEST LARGE DISPLAY: Honeywell Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat
The Best Home Thermostat Options

Photo: amazon.com

Before You Buy a Home Thermostat

Most homeowners want a thermostat with features that help save on utility costs without getting too complicated. How much a new thermostat costs typically depends on whether it’s manual, programmable, or smart.

Manual thermostats are the most basic and least expensive (as low as $20) models. They usually have an LED screen, a couple of room temperature buttons, a fan setting, and an AC switch that allows the user to set the unit to cool in the summer and heat in the winter.

A programmable thermostat lets the user set heating and cooling schedules based on activity, like having the heat automatically turn on at 6 a.m. on winter weekdays before everyone wakes up.

Smart thermostats allow users to adjust a home’s temperature using an app and include a wide range of features and functions, like occupancy sensing, geofencing, and smart-home integration. These thermostats can cost around $300 or more.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Home Thermostat 

Shoppers might be tempted to run out and buy a smart thermostat that promises energy efficiency, but they shouldn’t pull out the credit card until they’re sure it’s the right pick for their home. The best home thermostat is compatible with an existing heating and cooling system, comes with the features needed to make life simpler, and fits within a shopper’s budget, which includes allowing for professional installation costs if necessary.

HVAC System

When it comes to choosing the best thermostat, one size does not fit all. Some thermostats control only heat, while others control only cooling, and others control both. The type of thermostat required depends on the type of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)equipment the house has. In determining which type of thermostat their home needs, shoppers should remember:

  • Separate heating and cooling systems require two separate thermostats.
  • A zoned HVAC system requires a zone-enabled thermostat.
  • If the home has a heat pump or a multistage heating system, a type-specific thermostat is necessary.
  • Some new thermostats are compatible with mini-split systems and even window air-conditioning units.

Sensors 

Smart thermostats may require users to place sensors in various rooms around the home to sense activity, monitor the temperature, and adjust the heating and cooling accordingly. These sensors, which communicate wirelessly with the thermostat, are a vital part of learning thermostats, which record activity in the home for a period of time and then schedule the heating and cooling system to fit the family’s patterns.

Sensors may also monitor other factors, including allergen and humidity levels in the room. When any of these factors change or deviate from the norm, the sensor will trigger the thermostat to send an alert to the user’s smartphone.

Display and Controls

The best thermostat is one that’s easy to see and program. These days, many manual and programmable thermostats have large LED screen displays and easy-to-follow prompts. These prompts help a user set the room temperature and program a heating and cooling schedule directly through the thermostat.

While some smart thermostats can be set much the same way as the manual and programmable varieties, their programming capabilities can be a bit more limited. Many smart thermostats are built with a small screen and require a user to program them using an app that must be downloaded and accessed through a smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Installation

Replacing an existing manual or programmable thermostat with a new manual or programmable model is relatively simple: The existing wires simply connect to the new thermostat. Installing this type of thermostat is often a DIY project.

Replacing an existing smart thermostat with a new one may also be a DIY project. But if a C-wire is not available, running a new one is a job for an electrician. Installing a smart thermostat is only the first part of the task. After the new thermostat is on the wall, the user must download an app and then follow the prompts to connect the thermostat to the home’s Wi-Fi network. Most of the time, this is a relatively simple task if the user has a basic knowledge of routers and networks.

Aesthetic

Thermostats were always meant to be functional—not decorative. While many basic models that lean more toward functionality are still available today, a lot has changed over the years in terms of aesthetics. These days, many thermostats have sleek digital displays and look more appealing than their older counterparts. Some allow users to download a chosen background image onto the display. Most are low profile, so they don’t stick out far from the wall. A few of the newer models are designed for recessing in a wall stud space, making the front of the screen nearly flush with the wall’s surface for a sleek, clean look.

Our Top Picks

The best thermostats must be well made, dependable, and accurate. Any extra features may benefit some, but not others. While the following home thermostats vary in features and functions, each one is a quality instrument that will help homeowners cut down on heating and cooling costs and is sure to be an asset to any household.

Best Overall

The Best Home Thermostat Option: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat takes note of repetitive tasks (like the time of day when the room temperature is usually turned up or down) and remembers this, adjusting the temperature automatically. It also includes geofencing so that the temperature is just right when everyone gets home without wasting energy when the house is empty. A dial display shows the temperature in large digital numerals that are clearly visible from across a room. A blue backlight indicates the house is cooling; a red one shows it’s warming up. It’s compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant so users can activate the thermostat with voice commands.

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat requires a C-wire for installation and a Wi-Fi network for use. Sensors to activate additional features are sold separately.

Product Specs

  • Type: Smart
  • Price: $$$
  • C-wire: Required

Pros

  • Memorizes repeated temperature adjustments
  • Includes geofencing to reduce energy waste
  • Easy-to-read display screen
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant

Cons

  • Sensors for additional features not included
  • Will not work without a C-wire

Get the Google Nest Learning home thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Tractor Supply Co., or Best Buy.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Home Thermostat Options: Honeywell Home RTH2300B1038 5-2 Day Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

No need to spend a lot of money to update an old thermostat to a new programmable model. The Honeywell Home 5-2 Day Thermostat offers weekday and weekend programming with up to four program changes per day, all at an affordable price. With a programmed daily schedule, this thermostat will run only when family members are home, saving money and energy when they’re out. Users further adjust the temperature with the press of a button on the thermostat.

This Honeywell thermostat does not require a C-wire for installation, but it does require two AAA batteries (not included) to provide the additional power necessary to run the digital display. Installation instructions are included.

Product Specs

  • Type: Programmable
  • Price: $
  • C-wire: Not required

Pros

  • Easy to install with no C-wire required
  • 4 program periods per day with separate weekday and weekend schedules
  • Precise temperature controls
  • Retains memory in case of power outage

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi or smart-home capabilities
  • Battery-powered

Get the Honeywell Home 5-2 Day home thermostat at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.

Best Basic

The Best Home Thermostat Options: Emerson NP110 Non-Programmable Single Stage
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking for the most basic thermostat need look no further than the Emerson NP110 Single Stage Thermostat. One button raises the temperature and the other lowers it. The Emerson thermostat goes from heating to cooling with the flip of a switch.

An easy-to-read LED screen shows the desired room temperature and the current temperature. This no-frills thermostat is well suited to those who want to set and change the temperature by themselves without the need for programs or Wi-Fi connections. It doesn’t need a C-wire. Just follow the included step-by-step installation instructions for a relatively simple DIY chore.

Product Specs

  • Type: Non-programmable
  • Price: $$
  • C-wire: Not required

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Large LED screen
  • Does not require Wi-Fi connection
  • Installation instructions and app included
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Some users have reported difficulty installing
  • Non-programmable

Get the Emerson NP110 home thermostat on Amazon or at Lowe’s.

Best Affordable Smart

The Best Home Thermostat Options: Honeywell Home Wi-Fi 7-Day Thermostat (RTH6580WF)
Photo: amazon.com

The Honeywell Home Wi-Fi 7-Day Thermostat comes in well below the average price tag of most smart thermostats. At this affordable price, it brings some of the most popular smart thermostat options. For starters, it runs a weeklong program with up to four changes per day. The Honeywell syncs with Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant, and other smart devices so users can control the temperature directly on the thermostat or remotely from an app-connected device.

The app pings when it’s time to replace air filters, when the Wi-Fi is down, and when the home’s temperature reaches (or falls below) a preset level. The thermostat comes with installation instructions and requires a C-wire. A home Wi-Fi network is necessary for operation.

Product Specs

  • Type: Smart
  • Price: $
  • C-wire: Required

Pros

  • Weeklong program; changes 4 times per day
  • Works with multiple smart-home devices: Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant
  • Installation instructions included

Cons

  • Will not work without a C-wire or home Wi-Fi network

Get the Honeywell Home Wi-Fi home thermostat at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Best Buy.

Best Midrange Smart

The Best Home Thermostat Option: Google Nest Thermostat - Smart Thermostat for Home
Photo: amazon.com

Homeowners looking for a midrange smart thermostat that offers easy programming, remote operation, and geofencing may want to check out the Google Nest Smart Thermostat. It integrates with the Google Home app on a smartphone, laptop, or PC. Geofencing uses GPS technology to shut off the heating and cooling system when the user leaves home and to start up the thermostat again when family members return. Users can program a weekly heating and cooling schedule to save on utility costs without adjusting the Nest thermostat manually.

This midrange thermostat can send important notifications about the HVAC system’s status to a smartphone. The app walks users step-by-step through the DIY installation. Keep in mind that a C-wire is required to use the Nest thermostat.

Product Specs

  • Type: Smart
  • Price: $$
  • C-wire: Required

Pros

  • Easy to program and use
  • Geofencing feature
  • Weekly heating and cooling schedule
  • Installation instructions included

Cons

  • Additional features not included
  • Will not work without a C-wire or home Wi-Fi network

Get the Google Nest Smart home thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Best Buy.

Best Mini

The Best Home Thermostat Option: Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat
Photo: homedepot.com

At about two-thirds the size of comparable models (4.92 inches high by 3.7 inches wide), Honeywell Home’s T9 Smart Thermostat won’t take up much room on a wall or table and won’t stick out like a sore thumb, but it still offers high-end smart features. Geofencing and motion sensing adjust the temperature when family members leave home, which is a money and energy saver. The individual sensor helps further adapt heating and cooling to the family’s needs throughout the whole home.

The T9 thermostat follows a preset heating and cooling schedule and learns the family’s routine, programming itself to fit. This thermostat integrates with several apps, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings to offer remote or voice control of the HVAC system. The T9 comes with installation instructions and requires an installed C-wire as well as a home Wi-Fi network.

Product Specs

  • Type: Smart
  • Price: $$
  • C-wire: Required

Pros

  • Geofencing and motion-sensing features
  • Preset heating and cooling schedule
  • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings
  • Compatible with HVAC systems
  • Installation instructions required

Cons

  • Will not work without a C-wire or home Wi-Fi network
  • Sensor sold separately

Get the Honeywell Home T9 home thermostat at The Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Best Buy.

Best Touch-Screen

The Best Home Thermostat Options: Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

For those looking for both on-screen and remote thermostat control, the Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat might be just the ticket. On the Sensi Touch’s large screen, users can check the temperature at a glance and make adjustments with the tap of a finger. Like other smart thermostats, it integrates with smart-home systems, including Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit.

The Sensi Touch monitors humidity and, with some configuration in the corresponding app, sends an alert via smartphone if the humidity rises out of a preset range. It also monitors heating and cooling patterns to generate energy usage reports that help the homeowner make changes to save energy. This smart thermostat works with most HVAC equipment and requires a C-wire for installation. A home Wi-Fi network is also necessary.

Product Specs

  • Type: Smart
  • Price: $$
  • C-wire: Required

Pros

  • Large touch screen
  • Works with Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit
  • Monitors humidity
  • Generates energy usage reports
  • Works with HVAC systems

Cons

  • Will not work without a C-wire or home Wi-Fi network

Get the Emerson Sensi Touch home thermostat on Amazon or at Best Buy.

Best Mini

The Best Home Thermostat Option: Amazon Smart Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

Roughly two-thirds the size of comparable models (3.56 inches high by 3.56 inches wide), the Amazon Smart Thermostat doesn’t take up much room on a wall or draw attention, but it still offers high-end smart features. This programmable thermostat can be set through the touch screen. It offers voice control through select smart-home devices, and the Alexa app and adjusts the temperature based on the user’s preferences, making this model suitable for cutting down on energy usage.

For an added energy-efficient twist, this model is made out of 38 percent recycled plastics in electronic components and 28 percent recycled plastics from accessories for the eco-conscious consumer. Finally, the Amazon Smart Thermostat comes with installation instructions. The C-wire is optional as this unit comes with or without smart-home functionality, making it suitable for homes with heat pumps.

Product Specs

  • Type: Smart
  • Price: $
  • C-wire: Optional

Pros

  • Programmable heating and cooling schedule
  • Compatible with select smart-home systems
  • Compact size
  • C-wire optional
  • Eco-conscious materials

Cons

  • Not compatible with 110-240V HVAC systems
  • Does not support 5GHz Wi-Fi networks

Get the Amazon home thermostat on Amazon.

Best Large Display

The Best Home Thermostat Options: Honeywell Wireless WiFi Thermostat Programmable
Photo: amazon.com

With the large digital display on the Honeywell Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat, users can easily see the temperature from across the room. Its display also shows the date, time, outdoor temperature, and indoor and outdoor humidity levels.

Users can program this Honeywell smart thermostat to follow a 7-day schedule either directly on the display or through its smartphone app. They can also select the optional energy-saving mode to save more on the electric bill.

This thermostat syncs with smart-home systems, including Google Home and Alexa. Installation instructions are included, and a C-wire and home Wi-Fi network are necessary to run the thermostat.

Product Specs

  • Type: Wi-Fi
  • Price: $$$
  • C-wire: Required

Pros

  • Large display
  • Measures indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity
  • 7-day schedule
  • Energy-saving mode
  • Installation instructions included

Cons

  • Will not work without a C-wire or home Wi-Fi network

Get the Honeywell Wi-Fi home thermostat on Amazon.

Our Verdict

Smart-home devices are becoming more prevalent and user-friendly, easy enough for even nontech enthusiasts. The Google Nest Learning home thermostat is the best choice for homeowners who want an easy-to-use instrument that can be controlled from a smartphone and automatically adjusts temperatures to save on heating and cooling bills.

Alternatively, for a budget-friendly home thermostat with a simple, easy-to-use control panel and no C-wire required, the Honeywell Home 5-2 Day home thermostat has four program periods per day, which makes it a great choice for families with busy schedules.

How We Chose the Best Home Thermostats

Thermostats come in a variety of sizes and prices and offer a broad range of technological capabilities. In evaluating the best home thermostats, we considered ease of installation, sensor settings, display and controls, programming options, Wi-Fi capabilities and smart-home integrations, and overall aesthetics.

Our top recommendations are well made, dependable, and accurate devices that can help homeowners better manage heating and cooling costs. Depending on any existing HVAC system, smart-home systems, and a homeowner’s desired look and feel, different home thermostats may be best for specific purposes, like programming heating and cooling schedules or integrating with other smart devices. However, we narrowed our search down to models that are functional, practical, and affordable for the average homeowner.

The options we selected all include simple but useful features that help save on utility costs. Many are programmable and connect to Wi-Fi, so users can remotely control them using a smartphone.

FAQs 

Before upgrading to a new thermostat, many shoppers often have questions about which option they should choose. While some would rather stick to a functional, manual thermostat, others interested in creating cooling and heating schedules want to know more about the programmable and smart options available. Here are a few of the most common questions about the latest thermostats.

Q. Will any thermostat work in my home?

Probably, but some additional wiring may be required to install a smart thermostat if the home is more than 5 to 10 years old.

Q. How does a smart thermostat work?

A smart thermostat connects to the home’s wireless network to relay information and allow the user to control the HVAC system remotely or by voice commands.

Q. Do you need Wi-Fi for a smart thermostat?

Yes. Smart thermostats must connect to the Wi-Fi in a home so they can communicate with the user’s smartphone.

Q. How do I choose a programmable thermostat?

Programmable thermostats can be smart or nonsmart. Select one that can schedule at least 7 days of heating and cooling and lets you override the schedule by adjusting the temperature.

Q. Can you install a smart thermostat yourself?

Yes, if your home already has a C-wire installed. If the house doesn’t have a C-wire, a professional must install one first.

Q. Does a smart thermostat still work during an internet outage? 

The features that make the thermostat “smart” (like geofencing and smartphone app control) won’t work when the internet is out. But the thermostat can still be controlled manually.