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Green Building News

Smart Thermostats Are Getting Cheaper

WiFi-connected thermostats don't have to cost $200

High-end thermostats are dropping in price. Two models (including the Honeywell T5 shown in the photo) now sell for less than $170, undercutting top-of-the-line models like the Nest and Ecobee3.
Image Credit: Honeywell

The cost of connecting your house to a WiFi-enabled thermostat is coming down.

High-end smart thermostats that allow homeowners to control heating and cooling via their smartphones while offering other advanced features are now available for less than $149. That’s the price point for Honeywell’s Lyric T5, according to a post at Greentech Media. The Ecobee3 Lite (a less expensive version of the Ecobee3) is just a little more, at $169.

By contrast, the Nest and Ecobee3 sell for $249, and the Honeywell Lyric Round is $199.

The Lyric T5 is similar to the original Lyric, although it may not be compatible with as many HVAC systems, Greentech Media said. It has the same software as the original and will run with IFTTT, Alexa and HomeKit platforms. Likewise, the Ecobee3 Lite runs on the same software as the Ecobee3, but it doesn’t have as many features.

Retail sales of smart thermostats have eclipsed sales by installers, but Honeywell says that contractors will be moving toward WiFi-enabled thermostats in increasing numbers as they see more business opportunities with smart home features, Ted Booth, design director of Honeywell Connected Home, told Greentech Media.

In a review, CNET was generally positive about the new Honeywell but suggested that homeowners compare it to the Ecobee3 Lite and the Emerson Sensi (available online for $160).

10 Comments

  1. Malcolm Taylor | | #1

    Genuine question
    Can someone explain to me the benefits of being able to adjust your thermostat remotely?

  2. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Response to Malcolm Taylor
    Malcolm,
    It's winter. You are driving to your weekend home. You left the thermostat at your weekend home at 50 degrees F. Two hours before you arrive, you adjust the thermostat to 72 degrees F.

  3. Malcolm Taylor | | #3

    Martin
    That's all I could think of too. So before I go out and buy one I guess I need to build myself a second home.

  4. John Linck | | #4

    frozen pipes are no fun
    We travel during our cold Wisconsin winters. My wifi thermostat allows me to see our home's temperature from my iPhone. I also get alerts if the temp goes too low. Frozen pipes are no fun.

  5. Malcolm Taylor | | #5

    John
    I hadn't though of the benefits of monitoring the indoor temperature. That would assuage a lot of the anxiety of travel. My first reaction was this was like a lot of current apps that allow you to fiddle with things remotely that you really don't need to. Your point makes a lot of sense.

  6. Andrew Bond | | #6

    Many benefits: sometimes....
    We currently have two Nest 2nd generations, and they certainly help us save on bills AND improve comfort.

    1. With auto-away the temperature drops to a preset 'idle' (10C for us) saving LOTS! especially on vacations
    2. We tend to leave temperatures lower, and just boost when needed as it's so easy (and lazy) by a phone, PC etc.
    3. Can turn up the heat an hour from home and enjoy comfort on arrival
    4. Can monitor temperatures (and thus freeze risk) whilst away, so no need for neighbors to check in every day
    5. See if our house is on fire...........................

    The last was during the Fort McMurray wildfire when we were able to monitor temperatures and see that our house was in fact still standing. It's incredible we had power and data the whole time too!!

    Downside: energy consumption monitoring is absolutely, truly and incomprehensibly awful. NEST refuses to give access to your own data. Also the app has been pared down so far as to be nothing more than a childish toy: it's rare to see tech become progressively destroyed so badly. And after years, still no widgets for Android :(

    All in all, don't buy a NEST, but do look for remote connectivity as the most basic functionality is the key, at least for me.

  7. Aaron Gatzke | | #7

    Wireless security
    The issue with these wireless devices, is the lack of security. Hackers can take control of the device and use it as a back door into your network.

  8. Jay S | | #8

    That's my thought, too.
    That's my thought, too. Internet of Thing (IoT) devices have notoriously poor security and hackers could jack the temp setting to the max while you're away. Another problem is bot attacks such as the one that took down a major DNS server on the east coast. DDOS attacks can be launched from IoT devices.

  9. Dean McCracken | | #9

    Who might adjust your Tstat?
    I don't want to get into the hacker/internet vulnerability, but point out the long-standing variable of PEOPLE (darn 'em) who walk up and innocently adjust the Tstat for comfort.

    If you are the only user of a traditional programmable thermostat, your benefit from a remote-access thermostat will be less than a number of fairly common situations.

    The typical family home can be challenging, with younger kids leaving doors open, teenagers cranking the temperature up-or-down when they come in from outside, or adults over-adjusting because they think "It will get cooler/warmer FASTER if I turn it all the way up/down." Most programmables have a feature which moves the setpoint back to the programmed value after having been temporarily adjusted. However, it is much too easy for people to set the "HOLD" feature which negates the programming.

    Even before the advent of internet-enabled thermostats I jury-rigged a rudimentary equivalent using two thermostats and an IP-addressable relay for our cabin up north. A few hours of heat just doesn't warm those 45 degree mattresses up enough to be comfortable when you drive north on a Friday for a weekend of skiing. They'll suck the heat right out of you!

    As it happens, we've started renting that cabin out to other folks, who clearly aren't considering the implications when they arrive. Too commonly, people throw open all the windows and doors, but leave the A/C running constantly 24-hours per day! One month last year saw the energy costs rise higher than the next six months - COMBINED! I've added door sensors so that if a door is open for more than five minutes, the A/C will be disabled and a light will blink, alerting the tenants to the situation.

    For another use, admittedly non-residential, I have put internet-accessible Tstats in a few key locations in the small-ish church we attend. Nothing like walking into a freezing-cold sanctuary on a summer Sunday because the praise band set the thermostat to 60 degrees when they practiced on Thursday! Hemorrhaging money to cool that large space for days, and uncomfortable to boot! Similarly, Weddings/Funerals and other schedule variations can be pre-programmed by the office to minimize the need for on-the-spot adjustments. More comfort, less energy/money!

    There are still some pitfalls in these scenarios, but in my situation(s), internet-enabled Tstats are much more than home-automation "novelties."

  10. simonmarcellino | | #10

    Inkbird 110V 1500W IOS
    I'm using Inkbird 110V 1500W IOS Smartphone Wifi Digital Smart Temperature Controller,
    Does anyone having problem connecting to the device? I click on add device and put in my wifi and password but it just keep searching and not find.http://www.consumeressentials.com/best-smart-thermostat/
    Thanks!

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