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Best Affordable Smart Thermostats of 2022

Want a smart thermostat without spending tons of money? Here are our top picks.

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Smart thermostats are typically pretty expensive (ahem, Nest Learning Thermostat and Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control). Fortunately, prices are beginning to trend downward thanks to offerings like the $60 Amazon Smart Thermostat and the $71 Wyze Thermostat, so we've compiled a list of the most affordable models that we recommend. I aimed for models below $100 here, but there aren't quite enough sub-$100 options out there (yet), although I'm always keeping watch for more. 

Below you'll find the four best smart thermostat we recommend for $130 or less, including the Amazon and Wyze models I mentioned above, as well as more affordable products from Nest and Ecobee (certified refurbished)

Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon took a look at Nest and Ecobee's premium flagship smart thermostats and went an entirely different route. Instead of starting with a $249 model like the competition, it introduced its first thermostat for just 60 bucks.

The Amazon Smart Thermostat is a solid choice. It has a simple, modern design, an easy installation and a straightforward configuration in the Alexa app. Because this thermostat works with the Alexa app, it integrates seamlessly with Alexa-enabled smart speakers and displays

The thermostat doesn't work with Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit, and you'll need to buy and install Amazon's C-wire adapter if your thermostat wiring doesn't already include a C-wire. Learn whether your current setup is compatible. It also doesn't include a remote temperature sensor like some of the pricier smart thermostats. All that said, this is still an excellent choice for a basic smart thermostat at a great price. 

Read the full product review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Wyze Thermostat is another sub-$100 smart thermostat that we liked during testing, although this one has a couple more caveats than the excellent Amazon Smart Thermostat. At $71, this model costs a little more than Amazon's, but, unlike Amazon, Wyze includes a C-wire adapter with your purchase. The Wyze Thermostat also has an easy set up via the Wyze app -- and it works with Alexa and Google Assistant (though there's no Apple HomeKit support).

Unfortunately, the hardware itself isn't as well-designed as Amazon's, and I found it difficult to adjust the temperature at the thermostat. However, if you already have a bunch of Wyze products and plan to mostly use the Wyze app to make adjustments, this shouldn't be too much of an issue. 

Read the full product review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The $130 Nest Thermostat is Google's most affordable smart thermostat. It features the same rounded design as other Nest thermostats and also works in the Google Home app (this model is not compatible with the legacy Nest app). It has a sleek touch control on the right side of the thermostat and offers four color finishes snow (white), sand (rose gold), fog (a light green/blue/gray) and charcoal (dark gray). 

I do wish this thermostat also had a touch control on the left side for left-handed people. And, like other Nest products, the Nest Thermostat doesn't support Siri voice control via Apple HomeKit yet (although Google says it will when Matter launches). 

If you've bought into Google's range of Nest smart home products and would like to stick with Nest (over Wyze, Amazon or other thermostat models), this is a solid option that's much less expensive than other Nest thermostats. 

Read the full product review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Like the $130 Nest Thermostat, the Ecobee3 Lite is Ecobee's least expensive smart thermostat. New Ecobee3 Lite's still sell for $180, but Ecobee also offers them for $130 certified refurbished. If you're sold on the Ecobee platform, but don't want to dish out nearly $200 bucks (or more) for a new Ecobee, consider opting for a certified refurbished Ecobee3 Lite. 

They're available directly from the Ecobee site, and the company says each certified refurbished thermostat is "inspected and fully tested to ensure it's in like-new condition." 

The Ecobee app is well-designed and the Ecobee3 Lite works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. That means you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to voice assistants and smart home integrations. 

Read the full product review.

 

Smart thermostat FAQs

What is the most reliable smart thermostat?

Since thermostat performance can vary based on different HVAC systems, electrical wiring and other factors, I can't definitively say one particular model is more reliable than any other. 

I can say that the four smart thermostats I recommend above -- the Amazon Smart Thermostat, the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control, the Resideo Honeywell Home T9 and the Nest Learning Thermostat -- all performed reliably during my testing.

By that I mean, each of those smart thermostats consistently adjusted the temperature, setting and mode as expected over the days I tested them. Always check with a professional electrician if you have any questions about your HVAC system's compatibility with a particular thermostat before you install it.

Are smart thermostats really worth it?

Whether a smart thermostat is worth it or not depends on how you use it -- and what exactly you mean by "worth it."

Smart thermostats make it easier to use less energy and save money because of their advanced features, but you have to take advantage of those features in order to see a benefit. 

Options like automatic home/away modes based on your phone's location -- or sensors in the thermostat and in remote accessories that detect proximity -- can go a long way toward reducing your monthly bill. In addition, if you take the time to review the energy usage reports smart thermostat companies provide, you'll be able to identify patterns and potentially save even more money.

But smart thermostats are also more expensive than standard non-smart models. So, you have to think long-term when it comes to savings. It could take a year or more to start saving more than you spent on a smart thermostat, especially a $250 model like the Nest Learning Thermostat or the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control. 

How do I install a smart thermostat?

How to install a smart thermostat can vary widely depending on your HVAC system. Hire a professional electrician to handle the installation or to answer any questions before you attempt the installation yourself.

That said, all of the smart thermostats I've tested follow a pretty consistent step-by-step process. If you're comfortable with basic electrical work and know whether your system is compatible with the specific model you want to buy, it's a simple DIY process.

Check out my article about how to install the Nest Thermostat for a basic overview of the steps, but remember it could vary based on the system you have at home. 

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