Best smart thermostat 2021 to help you stay warm and save money

Best smart thermostat 2021, Nest Smart Thermostat E with stand on side table, next to a plant and notebook

Adding one of the best smart thermostats to your home helps it stay just the right temperature no matter what’s going on outside – and they can save you energy and money while doing it, as a bonus.

The best smart thermostats can help keep you hot or cool as needed, but not just on a basic set schedule – you can control them remotely from the app, or you can use voice control from the best smart speakers, but even more importantly they can adapt and learn from your habits in real life.

If you keep tweaking it up in the evenings, it’ll just change its routine so you don’t need to in the future. And it learns how long it takes your home to heat up, so it can start heating up earlier on cold days to make sure it still hits the right temperature at the time you want.

When you’re out on your travels, a capable smart thermostat will look at and analyse your routine, only heating up your home when you’re actually in it (and perhaps on your way back to it as well). These gadgets are more clever than you might have realised if you don’t already own one.

There’s a top entry on our list, because there has to be, and it’s not there for show: we really do think the Nest Thermostat E is going to be the best choice for most homes. That said, it may not be right for you – other options can make it more easy to create separate heating zones, where some rooms are heated at different times and to different temperatures than others.

As you go through our extensive guide, weigh up your options, the budget you’ve set yourself, and the specific kinds of automation you require, and that should lead you straight to the right smart thermostat for you. UK buyers might also like to take a look at our Nest vs Hive vs Tado guide, which compares three of the biggest ecosystems.

Oh, and no matter what your budget, if you’re close to making a choice on a smart thermostat, you’ll definitely want to check out the best Black Friday deals, where prices will be slashed across a range of our favorite brands. Keep your eyes on our live prices below and you’ll be relaxing in your perfectly heated home in no time!

If we were to be uncharitable, we’d describe the Thermostat E as a bargain-basement version of the Nest Learning Thermostat. There have been some obvious corners cut: the screen is a little more muddy, the case more plasticky and obviously cheaper, and there’s less useful info displayed. But every one of those features is a nice-to-have rather than a must-include, and on balance the Nest Thermostat E is the better deal, premium feel or not.

It’s the brains that make a thermostat, not the presentation, and this is perfectly fine in isolation, and it has all the smarts you’ll need. You can always go for its more expensive cousin if you really want to wow guests with your thermostat.

You get all the smarts that are well-established in the Nest line, most impressive of which is the learning algorithm which works out both when you’re home and when you like the heat a little hotter, helping to set the right temperature at the right time. This should save you money, since you won’t leave it turned up by accident. It’ll also tie in to individual temperature sensors, so you can make sure you’re getting the heat you want in the right rooms and spaces.

Unsurprisingly, the Thermostat E plays nice with Google Assistant, but Alexa users will be glad to know it works happily with that ecosystem too. It’s not, however, compatible with Apple’s HomeKit platform, and you won’t be able to control it with a SmartThings hub either.

Neatly, Nest will send you a smart energy report every month, to show you just how active the thermostat has been, and give you a chance to tweak its settings if it looks like it’s got the learning a little wrong. In terms of bang for your buck, this is the best smart thermostat of 2021. If you want more info about how it compares to the more expensive Nest thermostat, here’s our Nest Thermostat E vs Nest 3rd Gen guide.


+Easy to use thermostat and app+Geofencing capability+Works with 95% of central heating systems+Valves have a display too
Quite tech-y designMonthly cost for geofencing and other features

Now on version three, Tado’s thermostat is a refined little thing, and we have to say it’s a  looker despite its more simplistic LCD display. It’s hugely compatible, apparently happy to interact with some 95% of boilers on the market, and it works with just about everything: combi and conventional boilers, heated floors, hot water systems, the lot. Although we’d recommend you have a qualified engineer fit it, Tado suggests that the v3 can be installed by just about anyone within around an hour, so it’s one to give a go if you’re handy with a screwdriver.

It can work out the layout of your rooms and the heat capacity of your home, so if you’re looking to hit a certain temperature at a certain time, it’ll fire up your heat a little early to get to target temperature at the right time. There’s also geofencing, so the Tado thermostat works in tandem with your phone to know when you’re in range of home; after you’ve been out, it’ll predict from your movements if you’re on the way home and get things warming up in anticipation.

You can control it with the app (natch) which is a very good looking and well laid out thing, but there’s also compatibility with all three major smart assistants.

Tado isn’t just the core thermostat, of course. Its capabilities can be extended with temperature sensors which you scatter around your home, and Tado’s Smart Radiator Thermostats complete the package by allowing you to control the specific temperature in each room by tweaking radiator valves automatically. These are a competitor to Hive’s equivalent product, and we’ve got a Hive Smart Radiator Valve vs Tado Smart Radiator Thermostat comparison.

Nest takes Apple-like care in its product design (it was founded by ex-Apple employees), and it’s definitely one of the better-looking smart thermostats out there. In fact the Nest is largely responsible for kick-starting this whole smart home category.

This 3rd-generation Nest Learning Thermostat is able to monitor your habits and control the heating accordingly. So, for instance, if regularly go to bed at 11pm or so, the system learns from that and starts turning the system off around that time. Before long you’re saving money and you don’t even have to touch the Nest.

Another smart feature the Nest brings to the party is an on-board activity sensor that can take an educated guess as to whether anyone is at home or not, and then adjust the heating schedule accordingly. If you want to take more manual control, over when the heating starts and stops, then the Nest is easy to schedule using the accompanying app.

That circular glass interface is beautiful to behold and so incredibly simple use – all you require is an opposable thumb and a forefinger. While the Nest Learning Thermostat comes with everything you need to fit it, we’d say you’re better off having an engineer do it, especially as the price includes installation.

With the Nest Thermostat E delivering essentially the same performance and functionality but for a much cheaper price point, potential buyers should evaluate just how much they desire the more premium aesthetic, though. Still hands down one of the best smart thermostats right now. You can see how it compares to some of the biggest competition directly in our Nest vs Ecobee and Nest vs Honeywell guides.

Hive is developed by British Gas, but you don’t have to be a British Gas customer to use it. This excellent system is fitted by a qualified engineer, and includes a boiler receiver, an internet router hub, and a wall-mounted thermostat — which may not be quite as handsome as the Nest, but which is still easy on the eye. It’s undoubtedly one of the best smart thermostats out there.

Perhaps more importantly, the whole system is ridiculously easy to use, whether you’re operating the console itself or using the accompanying apps for iOS or Android. You can change the temperature or thermostat schedule from anywhere, automatically set the heating to turn off when you leave the house, then have it automatically turn back on again when you come home.

This works via location tracking in the app and it’s the same for all the members of the household, if they’re all happy installing the app – it means the rest of your family won’t suddenly be plunged into freezing temperatures just because you’ve popped to the shops, which is obviously something you want to avoid.

The system is expandable too. Hive has released a range of compatible products, including sensors and plugs, so all your devices will talk to each other – you have the option of paying outright or via subscription, which gives you ongoing user support too. As an added bonus, you get support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant with Hive too, so it really earns its place on our list of the best smart thermostats of 2021.

Without packing in too many extra bells and whistles, the Drayton Wiser Thermostat system offers one of the best smart thermostat options in 2021: intelligent control of temperatures from your phone, and separate radiator valves.

That means you can customise the heating in each room if you need to, and the app gives you a choice of preset modes to pick from if you don’t want to spend too long configuring everything. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support is included here as well.

While it doesn’t have the same kind of brand recognition as something like a Nest or a Tado, the Wiser systems do a lot of the same jobs for a very appealing price, and are definitely worth considering.

We especially like the way you can start off small with radiator thermostats, and then add more as needed: you get a level of control and fine-tuning that not all the devices on this list can match.

There are small things that hint at where the experience isn’t quite as slick as the likes of Nest of Tado – for example, geofencing is done through IFTTT, rather than directly, making it more complicated to set up – but for those who want the both smart features and multi-zonal control for a lower price, it’s a really strong option.


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