The 9 Best Thermostats of 2021

Control the temperature in your home effectively

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A good thermostat can make a big difference in your comfort at home, as well as on your monthly electricity bill. Thanks to the advanced features of today's programmable and smart thermostats, your home can stay at the perfect temperature—without you having to fiddle around with the settings all the time. 

When shopping for a thermostat, you’ll need to find a model that’s compatible with your home’s heating system, whether you have forced hot air, baseboards, in-floor radiant heat, or something else. It’s also important to consider the installation requirements of the thermostat—some are more complex than others, requiring professional installation, which will drive up the overall cost of the project.

Here, the best thermostats for every home. 

Our Top Picks
The sleek modern design houses an incredibly intelligent system, which learns your behaviors and creates an energy-efficient schedule.
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Despite its affordable price, this simple thermostat still gives you the ability to program a four-period schedule to run daily.
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Best Programmable:
Honeywell Home T5 at Amazon
You're able to customize each day on this thermostat, which is compatible with most heating and cooling systems.
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This smart thermostat offers flexible 7-day programming, and you can even change the color of its display screen to match your decor.
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The smart thermostat comes with a sensor that can be placed in another room, helping to eliminate hot or cold areas in your home.
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This unit can be connected to your Wi-Fi and controlled remotely, and it can save up to 23% on HVAC usage.
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While it can't be programmed, this thermostat does offer pre-sets for when you're home, away, and sleeping.
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This no-frills thermostat has a backlit digital display to make setting your ideal temperature easier.
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Best for Electric Baseboards:
Mysa Smart Thermostat at Amazon
Designed to work with 120-240 volt electric baseboards, this smart thermostat has a sleek design and can be controlled via your smartphone.
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Best Overall: Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen

Dimensions: 3.3 x 1.2 inches | Control Type: Dial or app | Power Source: Battery or hardwired | Program Mode: 24-hour

What We Like
  • Sleek modern design

  • Creates optimized schedule

  • Energy efficient

  • Monitors system health

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat has a reputation for excellence, and if it’s compatible with your home’s heating system, it’s definitely a worthwhile upgrade. This smart thermostat takes all the work off your hands, maintaining a perfect temperature when you’re home and optimizing its own settings when you’re away to save you money. It learns your habits within a week and uses them to create a schedule that balances comfort and energy efficiency.

The Nest Learning Thermostat works with 95% of 24-volt heating and cooling systems, including gas, electric, forced air, heat pump, and more, and it offers multi-zone support, allowing you to control up to 20 thermostats per home. The thermostat is Energy Star-certified, and studies have shown that it can save you up to 12% on heating costs and 15% on cooling costs. Plus, it monitors your home’s equipment to let you know if anything isn’t working and even tracks your energy usage, creating useful reports to review.

Best Budget: Honeywell Home RTH221B Programmable Thermostat

Honeywell RTH221B Programmable Thermostat

Dimensions: 4.75 x 3.5 x 1 inches | Control Type: Push button | Power Source: Battery | Program Mode: 1-week

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • DIY installation

  • Precise temperature control

  • Programmable

What We Don't Like
  • No backlight on display

  • Cheap materials

You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a reliable thermostat. The Honeywell RTH221B Thermostat is an extremely budget-friendly option, yet it still offers programmability with up to four periods per day. It has an LCD screen with push-button controls, and the simple white design will blend into any room. 

This thermostat allows you to schedule one program for the whole week, and it delivers precise temperature control of +/- 1°F. It runs on batteries and is designed for DIY installation, and overall, it’s a simple, no-frills option that’s incredibly affordable.

Best Programmable: Honeywell Home T5

Honeywell Home RCHT8610WF2006

Dimensions: 4.06 x 1.25 inches | Control Type: Touchscreen | Power Source: Hardwired | Program Mode: 7-day, customizable

What We Like
  • Several program modes

  • Sleek design

  • Automatically selects heating or cooling

What We Don't Like
  • Tricky to install

For flexible programming options, the Honeywell T5 Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat is one of your best options. It lets you choose from 7-day, customizable program options, creating the perfect schedule to suit your lifestyle. 

This thermostat has a sleek square design with a crisp touchscreen with a cool blue backlight that makes it easy to read, and it’s compatible with most heating and cooling systems. It offers permanent day and time backup so your settings are never lost in case of a power outage, and it even has Smart Response Learning technology that senses if your home needs heating or cooling.

Best with Wi-Fi: Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat

Honeywell Wi-Fi Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat

Dimensions: 3.5 x 4.5 x 0.88 inches | Control Type: Touchscreen or app | Power Source: Hardwired | Program Mode: 7-day

What We Like
  • Ability to change screen color

  • Flexible programming

  • Wi-Fi enabled

What We Don't Like
  • Weather isn't always accurate

  • Poor customer service

If you like being able to control your home’s appliances from your smartphone, the Honeywell WiFi Smart Color Thermostat puts control right at your fingertips. This Wi-Fi enabled thermostat syncs up to your phone via either the Total Connect Comfort app or Honeywell Home app, allowing you to control it from anywhere. 

This thermostat offers flexible 7-day programming, and it has a bright touchscreen for simple adjustments. It displays the daily weather forecast right on the screen, and you can even use it to check outdoor and indoor humidity. The Smart Color thermostat is compatible with most popular voice assistants, and you can even change the color of its screen to match your decor.

Best Remote Sensor: Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control

ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

Dimensions: 4.29 x 4.29x1 inches | Control Type: Touchscreen or app | Power Source: Hardwired | Program Mode: 24-hour

What We Like
  • Includes remote sensor

  • Wi-Fi enabled

  • Compatible with popular smart home systems

  • Able to control other smart devices

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

One of the downsides of most thermostats is they can only sense the temperature in one room. However, the ecobee SmartThermostat solves this problem with the help of its SmartSensor, a separate device that monitors the temperature in the room of your choice, helping to prevent hot or cold areas in your home. The thermostat comes with one sensor, but you can add up to 32 throughout your home for optimal heating and cooling.

This thermostat is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to control it from your smartphone, and it can even detect your presence, automatically reducing energy use when you’re away. It can be integrated with a variety of smart home systems, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, and it can even help control accessories like humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

Best Energy Efficient : Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Sensi Touch Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat

Dimensions: 3.4 x 5.63 x 1.17 inches | Control Type: Touchscreen or app | Power Source: Hardwired | Program Mode: 7-day

What We Like
  • Designed to save energy

  • DIY-friendly installation

  • Numerous smart features

  • Complicated to install with heat pump

You can save some serious money on your energy bills with the Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat—the brand claims its customers save an average of 23% on HVAC energy usage thanks to the thermostat's smart features. The Wi-Fi enabled device can be controlled from your phone using the Sensi app, and it uses flexible scheduling, remote access, and geofencing to create an energy-efficient schedule that suits your daily needs. 

The Sensi Touch Thermostat is easy to install yourself, and it works with smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and more. It creates daily energy usage reports right in the app, so you can see trends in your heating and cooling, and you can even set temperature limits on it, preventing your family members from trying to sneakily turn it up when you’re not looking.

Best Non-Programmable: Emerson Blue Easy Set Non-Programmable Thermostat

Emerson Blue Easy Set Non-Programmable Thermostat

Dimensions: 4.75 x 3.8 x 1.5 inches | Control Type: Push button | Power Source: Battery or hardwired | Program Mode: N/A

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Preset buttons

  • Color-coded push-connect terminals

What We Don't Like
  • Not compatible with multi-stage systems

  • Clunky design

If you tend not to use thermostat programming features, you can save some money with a model like the Emerson Blue Non-Programmable Thermostat. It’s a budget-friendly option for those with single-stage heating, cooling, and heat pump systems, and it lets you create preset settings for home, sleep, and away, which can be activated by buttons on the front of the device. 

This thermostat has a bright digital display with a blue backlight, and there are switches that let you toggle between heating and cooling as needed. It offers precise control over your home’s temperature, keeping it within +/- 1°F, and it has a permanent memory backup in case of power loss.

Best Digital: Honeywell Non-Programmable Thermostat with Digital Display

Non-Programmable Thermostat with Digital Display

Dimensions: 4.75 x 3.4 x 1.1 inches | Control Type: Push button | Power Source: Hardwired | Program Mode: N/A

What We Like
  • Easy-to-read digital display

  • Affordable

  • Basic to operate

What We Don't Like
  • Not backlit

  • Unattractive design

For a simple thermostat that offers the convenience of a digital display, this model from Honeywell is affordable and easy to install. It’s incredibly basic to operate, featuring up and down arrows for the temperature, as well as a switch to toggle between heating, cooling, and off. Its digital thermostat displays the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit, and its set point is retained in the event of a power outage, saving you the hassle of resetting it. 

Best for Electric Baseboards: Mysa Smart Thermostat

Mysa Smart Thermostat for Electric Baseboard Heaters

Dimensions: 5.7 x 3.8 x 1.1 inches | Control Type: Touchscreen or app | Power Source: Hardwired | Program Mode: 7-day

What We Like
  • Sleek, minimalist design

  • Compatible with electric baseboards

  • Smart functionality

  • DIY installation

What We Don't Like
  • Limited controls via physical unit

  • HomeKit compatibility issues

If you have electric baseboard heat, you’ve likely found that most popular thermostats aren’t compatible with your system. Luckily, there’s the Mysa Smart Thermostat, which works with 120-240 volt electric baseboards and electric fan-forced heaters and requires one neutral or second live wire. This sleek smart thermostat can help save you up to 26% on your energy bills, and most people are able to install it in just 15 minutes.

The Mysa Thermostat itself is incredibly minimalist, simply displaying the set temperature, but you can create schedules and enable geofencing through the compatible app. The system works with smart home systems, allowing you to adjust the temperature using voice commands, and it tracks your energy use in easy-to-read reports.

Final Verdict

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better thermostat than the Google Nest Learning Thermostat (view at Amazon). While fairly expensive, the Nest automatically creates an optimized schedule for your home, making it effortless to balance comfort and energy efficiency. For something more affordable, consider the Honeywell Home RTH221B Programmable Thermostat (view at Amazon), which is extremely basic but still lets you set one four-period program that will run seven days a week. 

What to Look for in a Thermostat

Ease of installation

If you’re planning on installing your new thermostat yourself, it’s important to select a model that’s not only DIY friendly but also compatible with your heating and cooling system. If a thermostat is designed to be hardwired into your home, it will typically require a c-wire, which provides continuous power from the heating and cooling system. You’ll want to check your existing setup to see if there’s a c-wire available—if not, you’ll either want to buy a battery-powered unit or hire a professional to aid with installation. 

Features 

Today’s thermostats come with a variety of different features, and you can select one that’s as basic or high-tech as you need. One popular feature is the ability to set daily programs that automatically adjust the temperature in your home—people often set programs that adjust the temperature when they leave for work, return home, and go to bed. Another sought-after feature is Wi-Fi connectivity, which allows you to adjust your thermostat from your phone and even connect it to other smart home devices. Other features you may want to look for include the ability to control multiple zones, compatibility with remote sensors, and geofencing. 

Design

Thermostats are often displayed prominently within your home, so it’s always a good idea to select one that you find aesthetically pleasing. Some of today’s high-end thermostats have sleek modern designs—some even allow you to change the color of the display screen—and many offer touchscreen controls for added convenience.

FAQ
  • Can you install a thermostat yourself?

    Many of today’s thermostats are designed for DIY installation, and the manufacturer will likely provide a step-by-step guide and videos to walk you through the process. It’s fairly easy to connect a set of thermostat wires, as long as you know what the terminal letters stand for and what each terminal controls. However, it’s important to select a thermostat that’s compatible with your existing heating and cooling system, otherwise it may require connections that aren’t readily available. 

  • Will most thermostats work in most homes?

    There are quite a few different types of heating system commonly found in homes today, and unfortunately, not all thermostats are compatible with different systems. You’ll need to figure out whether your furnace is designed for use with low-voltage, line-voltage, or millivolt thermostats, as this will dictate what type of thermostat you need to buy. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional to ensure your system is wired safely. 

  • How and when should you test a thermostat?

    If you think your thermostat isn’t functioning properly, there are a couple ways you can test it. One easy way is to slowly increase the temperature setting on your thermostat. It will generally make a clicking sound, and your furnace will kick on. (You may need to have a helper stand by the furnace to see if it makes a noise.) If the furnace doesn’t respond, the thermostat is like not sending a signal and may need to be replaced.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. After living in more than 10 different apartments, she's used all types of thermostats, including basic, no-frills models, as well as high-tech smart products. While selecting thermostats for this list, she considered factors such as their compatibility with different heating systems, as well as the complexity of their installation. She looked for options with a wide range of features, as well as products to suit every budget.

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