Trusty Joe’s Top Picks
In a hurry? Here’s a glimpse of the two best products you can get.
If you’ve got a bit more time you can find the full reviews and buying guide below.
How to pick the best and cheapest smart thermostat
Are you tired of battling with your thermostat to keep your home’s temperature under control? I sure was!
If you’re anything like me, you love it when you step into your home and the temperature is at the perfect setting. It makes it so much easier to kick back, relax and unwind at the end of a busy day.
But how often does that really happen with your current thermostat?
Probably not as much as you’d like.
With my old (non-wireless) thermostat, I only enjoyed that kind of luxury when the temperature outdoors wasn’t freezing cold or super hot. Only then, when it was mild outside, would the air indoors feel relatively comfortable.
I can also remember back when I was a child that my mother liked the temperature to be set higher than 78 degrees. My dad wanted it in the low 60s. As for me, I just liked for it to be pleasant. What that really meant was that I would sneak around and adjust the dial without telling anyone, just so I could feel comfortable while I played.
As you can imagine, this sparked a lot of arguments in our household, especially when it came time to pay the electric bill. As a kid, I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
Fortunately, we now live in a world where you can buy a budget Wi-Fi thermostat and win the ever-waging battle for the “perfect” temperature, even when we’re not at home.
Once I became a homeowner, I finally understood the struggle my parents faced – trying to maintain a pleasant temperature in the home without going into debt over it.
Clearly, heating and cooling are the two biggest factors of your energy bill. And manually adjusting your thermostat can be a tiring task when you’re fighting with your family over the perfect temperature.
Now that I have my own children, I found that investing in a cheap smart thermostat has helped with my sanity.
Up until I bought a budget smart thermostat there was a constant tug-of-war in my own family with the temperature being too hot or too cold. My own kids were now the ones changing the temperature without my consent! History sure did have a funny way of repeating itself.
After I bought a wireless thermostat, all of those problems went away. My home now stays at the perfect temperature all the time, and I never have to worry about relaxing when I get through the door!
Although higher-end smart thermostats like the “Nest” can cost you around $300, you should know that you can buy a more cost-effective model ($50 to $200) that works just as well and has a lot of the same bells and whistles.
But how do you know how to find the best cheap Wi-Fi thermostat that still does everything you need it to?
That’s where I can help!
As your trusty companion, I’ve put more than 20 budget Wi-Fi thermostats to the test and made my family suffer through freezing cold and sweating hot temperatures all in the name of research. In the end, I created an easy-to-follow guide to help you find the cheapest smart thermostat that best suits your heating and cooling needs.
We’ll first take a look at the features that make these thermostats stand out, then I’ll show you my top picks and what makes each one unique.
Features to look for in a top rated smart thermostat
Before we dive off the deep end and take a look at my top Wi-Fi thermostat reviews, there are a few important points to consider before you buy one.
Paying attention to these key features will help you get the exact product for your needs and ensure that you feel comfortable indoors all year round.
These days, it seems like everyone has a smartphone or tablet. Myself included. And that’s obviously why you’re considering a Wi-Fi smart thermostat in the first place.
A mobile app offers you the convenience of controlling the thermostat from your personal 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 favorite 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 a thermostat app 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!
You’ll be happy to know that some budget thermostats now come with a touchscreen panel.
Having a user-friendly touchscreen on a home 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.
If you’re like me, 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.
Only one of the top smart thermostats I recommend below doesn’t include this handy component. And, of course, it’s the cheapest.
Voice control capabilities
One of the biggest pains of having a manual thermostat is that you have to physically get up to change the temperature. Even when I upgraded to an inexpensive programmable one, I still found myself always fiddling with it.
I was so excited when I found out that some Wi-Fi thermostats also included voice control capabilities.
Depending on which setup you get, you can simply tell your thermostat what you want it to do and it will do it. You never even 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 Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit or IFTTT (If This Then That). Voice recognition is not built into the device.
4 out of 5 thermostats I review on this page include this convenient feature but not all work with every voice-activated service. To help you compare product quickly, I pointed out which service each one does support so you can find the best one for your home.
Welcome to the future!
Geofencing is the most amazing thing to ever happen 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. I’ll show you which products include this magical thing called “geofencing” in my reviews below.
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 Wi-Fi 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 for it. To help make it easy, I’ve highlighted which products include weather forecasting on my list.
The Top 5 Products
During the testing process, I uncovered a lot of good (and bad) products when putting together this list of budget Wi-Fi thermostat reviews.
After blasting the AC and heat inside my home for several weeks, I was finally able to narrow down the top five winners for you. Keep in mind that all of the products listed below are excellent thermostats that will maintain pleasant temperatures inside your home without costing a lot of money.
I hope you find the best inexpensive smart thermostat for your home among this list.
This is the top cheap smart thermostat on the market today and is the same one I use at home.
It’s definitely the best Nest alternative thermostat too.
What makes it so great is that it includes all of the top features I mentioned above. You get a mobile app, interactive touchscreen, geofencing, weather forecast and voice-activated control.
Voice-activation includes all of the top services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT and several others.
Some other key features you’re going to love are the adaptive recovery and smart alerts.
Adaptive recovery learns how long it takes for your home to heat up or cool down and automatically adjusts itself so it reaches the optimal temperature when you need it. The smart alerts pop up on your phone and let you know when it’s time to change the air filters, as well as when the temperature becomes too extreme inside the house.
If you want it all in a Wi-Fi thermostat, without paying much for it, this is the best choice you can make.
If the Lyric T5 didn’t exist, I would definitely buy this thermostat instead.
The main reason I ranked it #2 is because it costs more. However, once you find out why you may consider it the best choice for your home.
In addition to having all of the top smart thermostat features (mobile app, touchscreen, voice control with Alexa, HomeKit, IFTTT and more), geofencing and weather forecasting the Ecobee3 lite pairs with rooms sensors.
As you already know, every room in your home has hot and cold spots and this can cause your HVAC system to overwork itself. Not to mention increasing your energy bill too.
When you’re heating and cooling your house the HVAC system has no way of knowing if a certain room is too warm or too cold. It just makes the best guess.
By pairing this Wi-Fi 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.
If that sounds like something you’d love to have, you should give it a try!
If you’re looking for a hybrid thermostat that offers the best of both worlds for the tech savvy and non-tech user, then this is it!
The Vine is the best cheap Wi-Fi thermostat blends a modern app and touchscreen capability with a classic dial control. This allows anyone who wants to use it like a smart device to do so, and those who don’t can still have standard manual control.
Like the other products on this list it also offers voice-activated control, however, it only works with Amazon’ Alexa. So, keep that in mind if you’re an Apple, Samsung or Google user.
For those of you who enjoy getting the daily weather forecast, this device does have that feature built in. The only thing it’s lacking is geofencing.
If you can live with that one minor setback, this is a great thermostat to have in your home and is very affordable.
Perhaps you’re interested in the cheapest Wi-Fi thermostat that can just get the job done.
Maybe you don’t need all of those other fancy add-ons and only want something that allows you to control the temperature in your house without having to get up to touch the panel.
If that’s the case, then this product is perfect for you. It easily connects your home’s HVAC system to your wireless network and gives you total control through a mobile app and voice-activation (only Amazon’s Alexa and IFTTT are supported).
If you ever do find the need to use it, an LCD screen with push-button controls does let you make manual adjustments. Additionally, this thermostat also provides local weather updates but doesn’t include geofencing.
If you want a simple way to wirelessly manage your heating and cooling indoors, this is going to be your top choice!
My last recommendation for the cheapest smart thermostat is this unit here.
Similar to my fourth pick, it doesn’t come with a ton of features and costs about the same.
The way it differs, however, is that includes a touchscreen panel and geofencing, but doesn’t have voice-activated control or weather forecasting.
Like every other product on this page, the mobile app provides detailed reports for temperature history and usage of your HVAC system.
If you love to find a bargain and want the best wireless thermostat that’s easy on your wallet, this may be exactly what you need!
Smart Thermostat Comparison Table
Note: Mobile and tablet users must swipe to see the full contents of the table
|Photo||Name||Mobile App||Touchscreen||Weather||Geofencing||Voice Control||Reviews|
|Honeywell Lyric T5||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Alexa, HomeKit, IFTTT, and more||See Amazon.com Reviews|
|Ecobee3 Lite||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Alexa, HomeKit, IFTTT, and more||See Amazon.com Reviews|
|Vine||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Alexa||See Amazon.com Reviews|
|Honeywell RTH6580WF||Yes||No||Yes||No||Alexa and IFTTT||See Amazon.com Reviews|
|Radio Thermostat CT50||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||See Amazon.com Reviews|
Additional Information about Smart Thermostats
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 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, Homekit or IFTTT for your smart thermostat to work to its full advantage and save you money? If not, read on.
Can a Smart Thermostat Really Save You Money?
The short answer to this question is yes. As long as your smart thermostat is programmed correctly and you utilize the multiple features it offers you to save the most money.
An inexpensive smart thermostat can save you in electricity and heating costs because it’ll learn your usage patterns and what your comfortable living temperature is. It’ll then adjust itself according to your daily habits.
For example, if you’re not home, it can automatically lower the temperature and bring it up once again when you’re on your way home. Which leads us to our next point.
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 your smart thermostat in terms of usage and savings potential.
You can think of geofencing as a virtual boundary or fence around your home. Different smart thermostats have different ranges, so it’s important to check how far your “fence” will go.
Once you enable this technology, it tracks 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 even walk in 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 it senses you’re in range of your geofence.
What are 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 your smart thermostat. 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 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 cheaper smart thermostats because they don’t come with voice recognition software built in. So make sure to factor this in when you’re making a purchase if you don’t already have one of these services inside your home. But keep in mind it’s not a must-have feature. You can still get plenty of use out of your smart thermostat by only using the app and not having voice-activated controls.