A smart home that isn't comfortable to live in wouldn't be very smart at all, which makes connected climate control an obvious smart home starting point. With the right gadgets and appliances installed, your home's climate control system will be able to "learn" your habits, adapt to your schedule, and anticipate your needs before you even have to think about it. Some devices have intelligent features designed to help you heat and cool more efficiently, saving you time and energy over the long run. Others are geared more towards tracking your home environment and helping you put that data to good use.
So, which devices are right for you? Glad you asked. Here are some of the devices we've seen so far, all of which you can install yourself for a smart start with connected climate control.
Kentucky-based ceiling fan manufacturer Big Ass Fans stands out from the competition, and it isn't just because of the funny name. Its Haiku ceiling fan debuted in 2012 as one of the most luxurious (and most expensive) ceiling fans money can buy, and this year, the Haiku can claim to be the most intelligent, too. With brand new "SenseMe" technology packed in, the Haiku can tell when it's too hot, tell when you've left the room, and even wake you up in the morning. As the first-ever smart ceiling fan, the new Haiku is undoubtedly cool, but saying that it doesn't come cheap is a fairly enormous understatement. Read our first take of the Haiku smart ceiling fan with SenseMe.
No, that's not a Nest -- that's the Lyric Thermostat from the team at Honeywell, who insist that they've been making round thermostats since before it was cool. This newly announced smart home device uses geofencing to decide when to cool and heat your home. Leave for work, and it'll detect when your smartphone leaves the area. Come home in the evening, and it'll sense you coming back and kick the AC back up. Read our first take of the Honeywell Lyric Thermostat.
Another option from Honeywell is their rectangular shaped touchscreen thermostat with voice controls. With a simple "Hello, thermostat," you can wake the thing up from across the room, then tell it that you're too hot. Read our review of the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Voice Control.
It's impossible to ignore the Nest Learning Thermostat, a breakout smart home device which captivated consumers and captured the attention of the team at Google, who ultimately spent more than $3 billion to acquire the brand for themselves. That's more than they spent on YouTube. Whatever ambitions Google may have for the smart home, the Nest looks certain to play a key role. Stay tuned. Read the full review of the Nest Learning Thermostat.
It might not control your climate, but the $180 Netatmo Weather Station promises to let you monitor it, right down to the last detail. From the temperature and humidity to environmental specifics like noise and carbon dioxide levels, you'll be able to track everything on Netatmo's app, then use that information to trigger alerts and recipes on the popular online automation service IFTTT. Read our review of the Netatmo Weather Station.
Take Quirky's crowdsourced smart home ideas and apply them to GE's patent stash and manufacturing muscle, and you get the Quirky+GE Aros Smart Air Conditioner, which became an instant bestseller on Amazon when it made its debut this spring. With the 8,000 BTU Aros, you'll have full remote control over your AC needs, along with access to great features like geofencing, energy tracking, and smart scheduling through the free Wink app. Perhaps best of all is the $300 price tag, which makes it one of the most reasonably priced smart appliances currently available. Read the full review of the Quirky+GE Aros Smart Air Conditioner.
Like Netatmo, the Spotter promises to monitor environmental conditions like temperature, humidity, and noise, along with motion and light detection. It also boasts an IFTTT channel, though one that's not as comprehensive as Netatmo's. The big difference between the two is the price point, though. The Spotter costs just $50, which makes it affordable enough to merit consideration in spite of a few not-so-endearing performance quirks. We also like that it's newly compatible with the SmartThings home automation system, which means you'll be able to use it to trigger any other connected gadget that plays nice with the SmartThings network. That includes thermostats from Honeywell and Ecobee. Read our review of the Quirky+GE Spotter.
Intrigued by smart air conditioners, but fond of the not-so-smart model that's already sitting in your bedroom window? Take a look at crowdfunding success story Tado, which promises to serve as a sort of external brain for that dumb old AC of yours. Just plug Tado in, download the app, and use your unit's remote control to sync everything up. Reserve one for $99 on Kickstarter, and you'll be enjoying the spoils of smart climate control in no time. Read our first take of Tado Cooling.