With a smart home thermostat, you can control your home's cooling and heating system with just one voice command or a single phone click.

It is designed to learn your household energy patterns to provide flexibility and save money on energy bills. But not all of these monitoring systems are created equal. Some can end up costing you even more than you budgeted, not to mention possible faulty programming and technical errors.

My team and I spent a combined 43 hours putting together this list of the 5 best cheap smart thermostats. Now it's time to smarten up your home.

Top 5 Budget Smart Thermostats in 2020

1

Honeywell Lyric T5

Based on our research, the Honeywell Lyric T5 is the best budget smart thermostat. As of this writing, the Honeywell thermostat is available for under a couple of hundred dollars and provides all the features you would expect from a more expensive thermostat model.

You get a Mobile App, Interactive Touchscreen, GeoFencing, Weather Forecast, and Voice-Activated Control.

The voice-activation includes all of the top services such as Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and several others. Some other key features you might like are Adaptive Recovery and Smart Alerts.

Adaptive Recovery learns the time it takes for your home to heat up or cool down and automatically adjusts itself to reach the optimal temperature when you need it.

The smart alerts pop up on your phone to let you know when it's time to place new air filters or when the home's temperature becomes extreme. If you want all smart features in a WiFi thermostat without having to pay much for it, Honeywell might be a good option for you.

Key Features:

  • Smart Alerts
  • 7-Day Flexible Scheduling or Location Based Temperature Control (GeoFencing)
  • Adaptive Recovery
  • Works with Voice Command Assistants and Google Assistant
2

Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat with Voice Control

If the Lyric T5 didn’t exist, most users would opt for this Ecobee smart thermostat instead.

The main reason we ranked the Ecobee as the #2 best smart learning thermostat is that it is a bit expensive. However, once you find out why this thermostat costs more, you may consider it the best choice for your home.

In addition to having all of the top smart thermostat features (mobile app, touchscreen, compatibility with the voice assistants, such as Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and more), GeoFencing and weather forecasting, the new Ecobee pairs with room sensors.

Every room in your home tends to have hot and cold spots, which can cause certain HVAC systems to overwork themselves. Not to mention increasing your energy bill over time.

When you’re heating and cooling your house, the HVAC system has no way of knowing if a certain room is too warm or cold. It just makes the best guess.

By pairing this WiFi thermostat with up to 32 special room sensors, it can monitor those hot and cold spots around the house and deliver the most comfortable temperature indoors. Out of the other options on this list, many users claim that the Ecobee is the only best smart thermostat that can be paired with room sensors.

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, then the Ecobee could be the best thermostat for you.

Key Features:

  • Works with Room Sensors
  • Easy to Install
  • Voice Command Compatible
  • Control anywhere with your iOs and Android Device
3

Vine WiFi Thermostat

If you’re looking for hybrid programmable thermostats that offer the best of both worlds - for the tech-savvy and non-tech user - then this is a good choice.

Based on customer reviews, the Vine is one of the best budget WiFi smart thermostats that blend a modern app and touchscreen capability with classic dial control. This enables using it as a new smart home device, while those who don’t rely on their mobile can still have standard manual control.

Like the other smart thermostats on this list, it also offers voice-activated control. However, it only comes with a built-in Amazon’s Alexa app. Keep that in mind if you’re an Apple, Samsung, or Google Home Assistant user.

For those of you who enjoy getting the daily weather forecast, this thermostat does have that built-in feature. The only thing it’s lacking is GeoFencing.

If you can live with that one minor setback, then this is one of the top smart thermostats to have in your home.

Key Features:

  • Multiple Platform Control
  • Hourly Weather Updates
  • Smart Alerts
  • Easy Installation
4

Honeywell RTH6580WF

Perhaps you’re interested in one of the cheapest WiFi thermostats that can just get the job done.

Maybe you don’t need all of those expensive add-ons and only want a smart home device that allows you to control the temperature without having to touch the panel.

If that’s the case, then this thermostat might be a decent choice.

This smart thermostat easily connects your home’s HVAC system to your wireless network and gives you overall control via mobile app and voice-activation (only Amazon Alexa and IFTTT are supported).

If you ever do find the need to use it, an LCD screen with push-button controls let you make manual adjustments. Additionally, this smart thermostat also provides local weather updates but doesn’t include GeoFencing.

If you want a simple way to manage your heating and cooling systems, this could be your top choice.

Key Features:

  • Extensive Compatibility
  • Smart Response Technology
  • Customizable Climate Control
  • Large, Easy-to-read Display
5

Radio Thermostat CT50

Our last recommendation for the list of the cheapest smart thermostats is this unit here.

Similar to our fourth pick, it doesn’t come with a ton of expensive features and costs about the same.

The way it differs, however, is that it includes a Touchscreen Panel and GeoFencing, but doesn’t have Voice-Activated Control or Weather Forecasting.

Like the other smart thermostats on this page, the mobile app provides detailed reports for temperature history and usage of your HVAC system.

If you like to find a bargain and want one of the best wireless thermostats that are easy on your wallet, this may be what you are looking for.

Key Features:

  • Optimal 7-Day Programming
  • Easy Installation
  • Compatible with Various HVAC Systems
  • iOs and Android Device Compatible

5 Important Features To Watch Out For

Before you go shopping for smart thermostats, here are some few important points to consider.  We recommend you pay close attention to these key features as these will help you configure the right programmable thermostat to ensure all-time comfort.

1. Smart Thermostat Mobile App

smartphone

These days, it seems like everyone has a smartphone or tablet. This may explain why so many people are considering installing WiFi smart thermostats in the first place.

A mobile app offers you the convenience of controlling the budget smart thermostat from your mobile device without having to get up or touch a dial. It also lets you make adjustments even when you’re not home. This means you can set your optimal temperature no matter where you are.

Just imagine adjusting the temperature in your house from your smartphone right before you leave work. Then, when you walk through the front door, it’s already warm and toasty during those cold winter nights and refreshingly cool during hot summer stretches.

Another handy aspect of smart learning thermostat apps is that many of them provide runtime reports. This data shows you how long your HVAC system has been operating throughout the day, and the hour-by-hour temperatures reached.

An app is a great way to track your heating and cooling usage, especially if you have other people living in the house. It helps you keep an eye (and control) on the thermostat settings, so you don’t end up with an unexpectedly high energy bill.

2. Interactive Touchscreen

touch

You’ll be happy to know that some budget smart thermostats now come with a touchscreen panel.

Having a user-friendly touchscreen on a home smart learning thermostat lets you easily see and change the settings as you wish. It’s similar to using the app on your smartphone, but it’s mounted on the wall.

A bright display is a very helpful feature to have, especially if you have trouble seeing in dim lighting or reading small letters.

Not only are interactive touchscreens functional, but they’re also fun to use. There’s something futuristic about being able to walk up to your thermostat and change features or temperatures with a swipe of a finger. That never gets old.

3. Voice Control Capabilities of WiFi Smart Thermostat

microphone

One of the biggest pains of having a manual thermostat is that you have to physically get up to change the temperature. Even when you upgrade to inexpensive programmable thermostats, you might still find yourself fiddling with it.

Based on our reviews, there are WiFi thermostats that also included voice control capabilities.

Depending on which setup you get, you can simply tell your smart learning thermostat what you want it to do, and it's done. You never have to use the mobile app if you don’t want to.

The only catch here is that cheaper smart thermostats must be controlled by a separate voice-activated service like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or IFTTT (If This Then That). Voice recognition is not built into the device.

4 out of the 5 thermostats we reviewed on this page include this convenient feature, but not all work with every voice-activated service. To help you compare product quickly, we pointed out which service each one does support to find the best top-rated smart thermostat for your home.

4. Smart Thermostat GeoFencing

location pointer

Welcome to the future!

GeoFencing is an amazing feature when it comes to thermostat technology. This powerful feature lets your wireless thermostat track your movements through your smartphone, and when you get close to the house, it will automatically start your home’s HVAC system.

This means your home will heat up or cool down to the perfect temperature before you even get to the driveway, and you don’t have to do a thing.

Just think about all the money you’ll save having a thermostat like this.

5. Weather Forecast on WiFi Thermostat

weather

Are you someone who likes to know what the weather forecast will be before you head out the door?

If you are, you may want to consider a cheap WiFi thermostat that includes Weather Forecasting. With this feature, you’ll be able to tell the temperature, humidity, and if any storms are brewing at a quick glance.

If you’re curious about what the weather is like in other states or countries, you can also check them too.

Not every budget smart thermostat gives you this information, so you have to be on the lookout. To make things easy for you, we've highlighted which new products include weather forecasting on the list above.

Additional Information Worth Considering

The best smart thermostats typically come loaded with a lot of convenient features that make it quick and easy to have a comfortable home.

However, you have to understand what the thermostat features are and how they can benefit you before you attempt to use them.

Do you know what GeoFencing is? Have you ever considered that you’ll need either Alexa, Apple Homekit, or IFTTT for the best smart thermostat to work to its full advantage and save you money? If not, read on.

Can a Budget Smart Thermostat Really Save You Money?

Yes, as long as your smart thermostat is programmed correctly and you utilize the multiple features it offers you to save the most money.

The best budget smart thermostat can save you in heating and cooling costs because it’ll learn your usage patterns and what your comfortable living temperature is. The thermostat adjusts itself according to your daily habits.

For example, if you’re not home, your smart home device can automatically lower the temperature and bring it up once again when you’re on your way back - which leads us to our next point:

A research study conducted by Tsinghua University states that the heating and cooling accounts for a substantial portion of residential energy consumption, a lot of this energy is wasted due to inefficient use. [1]

What is GeoFencing and How Does it Work on Smart Devices?

GeoFencing is a relatively new technology, but it opens up entirely new possibilities for these best smart thermostats in terms of usage and savings potential.

You can think of GeoFencing as a virtual boundary or fence around your home. Different best smart thermostats have different ranges, so it’s important to check how far your “fence” will go.[2]

Once you enable these remote sensors, they track your location through the app or from GPS on your phone or tablet. When your thermostat gets notified that you’ve crossed your GeoFence boundary, you can program it to switch on your HVAC system and get your home to your comfortable temperature range before you walk through the door.

This is great for saving money because you can set your home’s temperature to be cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer when you’re not home, and it’ll regulate the temperature when remote sensors detect you’re in range of your GeoFence.

What is Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, and IFTTT?

Amazon’s Alexa, Apple Homekit, and IFTTT (If This Then That) are voice control devices that can add another layer of convenience to the best smart thermostats. Alexa and Homekit are the two most popular choices.

For example, say you’re comfortable on the couch, and your phone or tablet is out of your reach. If you have your thermostat linked with one of these voice control devices, you can simply tell Alexa, the Apple Homekit, or IFTTT what you want your smart thermostat to do.

With one of those services, you can control practically every aspect of your smart thermostat with your voice. You won’t have to get up or search for your phone or tablet to get to the app.

You’ll need either Alexa, Homekit, or IFTTT to operate some of these best smart thermostats because they don’t come with built-in voice recognition software. Make sure to factor this in when you’re making a purchase if you don’t have one of these services inside your smart home already. Bear in mind that it’s not a must-have feature. You can still get plenty of use out of your smart thermostat by only using the app without voice-activated controls.

The Best Budget Smart Thermostat Is ...

Based on our research, the Honeywell Lyric T5 is the best cheap smart thermostat. It comes fully equipped with a 7-day programmable touchscreen, WiFi, GeoFencing, and works with Alexa.

Many users claim that it takes as little as 20 minutes to set it up. Plus, it’s a good alternative to more expensive options like the Nest Thermostat, Emerson Sensi, or Ecobee Smart. If these features are of interest to you, then this might be your best choice.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, be sure to leave a comment below and let us know which of the smart home devices work best for you.

Honeywell Lyric T5

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Smart Alerts
  • 7-Day Flexible Scheduling or Location Based Temperature Control (GeoFencing)
  • Adaptive Recovery
  • Works with Voice Command Assistants and Google Assistant
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Joe Castro

Joe Castro is the Director of Trusty Joe. Under the guidance of his father, a general contractor, Joe has been involved with a lot of handyman projects from a very young age. He combined this love for building with another passion of his, creative writing. Trusty Joe allows him to merge these two interests and offer the best of both worlds.