A thermostat is part of a control system that sets the temperature in your home. It does this by regulating the flow of a heat transfer fluid or by switching cooling or heating devices on or off in order to maintain the desired temperature. The best thermostats can help save you money, because they extend the lifespan of your cooling and heating equipment while at the same time reducing your utility bills. A thermostat is a type of bang-bang controller; that is, it is a feedback controller that switches abruptly between two states. The thermostat makes the equipment run at full capacity until the desired temperature is reached; after, equipment is shut down completely.
According to Top Ten Reviews, the Nest Learning Thermostat Second Generation is the best thermostat of 2015. The Nest Learning achieved a 9.73 out of ten rating. It scored a perfect ten in the energy management and design and setup categories, and was only slightly lacking in the help and support category, mainly due to its limited two-year warranty. This thermostat operates independently of cooling and heating systems, meaning it has the ability to control fans, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers. It can also program itself without any help, as it learns your personal preferences after a week of observation. It acts as a control center for your home-it can connect to other devices using Wi-Fi and allows you to create a “smart home”. The system can be manipulated on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Not far behind the Nest is the Honeywell Lyric (Product Code: TH8732WF5018). It scored higher in customer support than any other model with a perfect ten rating. You have the ability to talk to customer service representatives via live chat, phone, and email, and there is also an online forum that will answer any questions you have. It has a very impressive temperature control system, with a range of one degree-meaning it will only activate if your home is one degree off your desired temperature. It doesn’t have many physical controls, however, and can be difficult to use for anything other than temperature adjustments, which is a drawback for some buyers. Coming in just behind the Honeywell is the Ecobee3. It scored incredibly high in temperature control and design and setup, thanks to its four heating stages and easy to use, aesthetically-pleasing design. It is also incredibly easy to install, and has a remote sensor unlike any other thermostat on the market. This sensor is capable of detecting temperatures in various areas of your home, meaning you shouldn’t have to adjust the temperature depending on what room you are in.
Pros & Cons
As the cost of energy continues to increase, programmable thermostats are becoming more and more popular. They offer multiple settings depending on the time of day. For example, if everyone is at work and school during the daytime, the heat and air conditioning can be left off and programmed to start at a designated time. This can present a problem if people in your household come and go at different times of the day, though.
Generally, you can expect to pay between $200 and $300 for a high-performance thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat, for example, comes in at $239.99, while the Honeywell costs $279.99 and the Ecobee3 costs $225.00. Almost all thermostats come with some type of warranty, meaning you are covered for a few years if something goes wrong.