Best Buy Guide: The Best Smart Thermostats in 2020

Published 2 years ago 9 minutes

Crunchy leaves, crisp air, dropping temperatures. Fall is here! Curl up on the couch while you let Homey set the right temperature for the season. To make you even more comfortable, we’ve updated our thermostat comparison to help you decide which is the best smart thermostat for you. 

best smart thermostat comparison

Finding the best smart thermostat

There’s a variety of thermostats out there. The majority, of course, work flawlessly with Homey. For this comparison we looked at the most popular ones: Nest, Honeywell, Netatmo, Tado, Anna, Nefit Easy and Toon are the seven brands we’ve included. Let’s find out which is the best smart thermostat for your situation.

Smart Thermostats in 2020: summary

In case your home is already getting cold and you don’t have time to read our whole article, we’ve created a short summary of the most important properties of our seven contenders for you

NestNetatmoHoneywellTadoAnnaNefitToon
OpenTherm✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Multiroom ❌ ✔️✔️✔️
Talks with Homey✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Home energy measurements✔️
Thermostat Price€249€159€299€199€99€249€199
Valve priceN/A€79€79€79N/AN/AN/A
Monthly feeFreeFreeFree€2,99*FreeFree€4,50**
*) The monthly fee for Tado is only for ‘Auto-assist’, which is additional automated functionality, and is not necessary for smart home or remote-control features.
**) The monthly fee for Eneco Toon is necessary for all smart home and remote control features. Without it, it’s just a standard thermostat

OpenTherm and smart thermostats

Before we get into the smart thermostats, we need to talk about OpenTherm. OpenTherm is a standard protocol used in central heating systems. It facilitates the communication between a central heating boiler and your (smart) thermostat. OpenTherm is independent of manufacturer. Essentially a controller by brand A can be used with the boiler of brand B. 

Alternative to OpenTherm are on/off thermostats. Instead of making use of the more sophisticated OpenTerm method, they just turn your boiler on or off. This is a less preferred method, as using OpenTherm results in significant energy savings.

In Europe everything works with OpenTherm, except for Nefit. They have their own protocol, which offers an off the shelve solution for Nefit boilers, and is similar to OpenTherm as far as energy efficiency goes.

best smart thermostat

Multiroom heating

The first separation between our seven contenders can be made on their multiroom heating capabilities. Most homes have multiple ‘heating zones’, or rooms, which you might want to heat up differently. A central thermostat manages the temperature of your living room very well, but doesn’t take into account all your other rooms.

That’s where multiroom heating comes in. Basically it’s a combination of a smart thermostat and smart radiator valves. Combined they provide tailored heating to every room.

Of course, through Homey, you can use any combination of thermostat and radiator valves. In practise multiroom heating does work a bit better when the thermostat and valves are connected directly, so they can manage the flow of hot water to your rooms together.

If you want to go native multiroom, your options are Honeywell Evohome, Tado or Netatmo.

Multiroom heating for the saver

From a pricing point of view, Netatmo is interesting. Its solution offers a low price for the central thermostat (€159), good APIs and integrations with systems like Homey and has no monthly fees.

Netatmo multiroom
Netatmo’s multiroom solution is relatively affordable

Multiroom heating for the power-user

Honeywell Evohome on the other hand features the most extended control, also on the valves itself. It is a bit more cumbersome to set up though, and has a steeper buy-in price, especially for the central thermostat kit.

honeywell best smart thermostat comparison
Honeywell evohome is the most powerful multiroom heating system: for the power-users

Multiroom heating for the middle-ground

Tado’s offering is in the middle of the two. It has a sophisticated app and is in the middle price-wise. Is has some interesting additional features with its ‘Auto-assist’, however that does come at a monthly fee of €2,99.

tado multiroom thermostat
Tado’s multiroom offering offers a good middle ground between functionality and price, although most of its unique features do require a €2,99/month contract.

Single room smart thermostats

In case you don’t need or want multiroom heating, your options are broader. This is because all of the multiroom options can also be used without their radiator valves.

Next to those three, there are four additional options. These thermostats might not offer multiroom expansion, but are still very capable of controlling the temperature in the room they are in. Some of them are specifically interesting to some niches. The additional options are Plugwise Anna, Nefit Easy (also known as Bosch EasyControl), Eneco Toon and the Nest Learning Thermostat.

The best smart thermostat for the energy-consious

If you’re looking into single-room heating ánd want to keep an eye on your overall home’s energy usage, Eneco’s Toon might be a good option. The thermostat is reasonable priced at €199, although it does come with a quite hefty €4,50/month subscription. However, at that price, you also get your live energy data streamed to your Toon app as well as to Homey.

toon smart thermostat
Next to controlling your heating, Eneco’s Toon also measures your real-time overall energy usage.

The best smart thermostat for the Nefit or Bosch boiler owner

Nefit, or Bosch heating, is the only European company that does not use OpenTherm, but uses its own, comparable, technology. This makes OpenTherm smart thermostats not directly compatible with boilers from Nefit or Bosch.

The Nefit Easy, or Bosch EasyControl, ís compatible with these boilers. It also works well with Homey, is averagely priced and looks decent. It’s the best choice if you have a Bosch or Nefit heater. If not, than you should let this one slide, as vice-versa it’s also not well compatible with other boilers.

nefit smart thermostat
Nefit Easy is the choice for owners of a Bosch or Nefit boiler. If not, than you’re better of with other options.

The best smart thermostat for the saver

Coming in at a very, very reasonable €99 and without any monthly costs, the Anna thermostat from Plugwise is definitely the most affordable option on the market. It works decently, looks fine and of course works properly with Homey. It might not have tons of automatic features or multiroom expansion, but if you’re looking for an affordable smart thermostat that just works, Anna is the one.

anna smart thermostat
Plugwise’s Anna is an affordable smart thermostat that might be a bit basic, but does work well.

And then there’s Nest

Of course we can’t compare smart thermostats without also taking a look at the Nest Learning Thermostat. However, we can’t really recommend it.

Over the past two years, the functionality of the Nest thermostat has been caught up with by all other systems. At the same time, Nest does not offer multiroom options or other perks and is relatively pricey.

Worst of all, however, is that parent company Google decided to close the Nest API in 2019. This means that the Nest thermostat is the only one out of these seven that does nót work with Homey – or with any other smart home system, for that matter. It just sits on your wall, being pretty and alone. Without multiroom valves, and without third party integrations. It is still pretty though.

nest smart thermostat
The Nest Learning Thermostat is still pretty, but not that smart anymore, and not cheap either.

The best smart thermostat –conclusion

There’s a lot of options when getting a smart thermostat, and a lot of them are good. Some of them are quite similar and suited for most situations including multiroom, like Tado and Netatmo, which would be our mainstream recommendations. Other smart thermostats offer unique features or price-points, like Toon, Nefit Easy or Anna.

NestNetatmoHoneywellTadoAnnaNefitToon
OpenTherm✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Multiroom ❌ ✔️✔️✔️
Talks with Homey✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Home energy measurements✔️
Thermostat Price€249€159€299€199€99€249€199
Valve priceN/A€79€79€79N/AN/AN/A
Monthly feeFreeFreeFree€2,99*FreeFree€4,50**
*) The monthly free for Tado is only for ‘Auto-assist’, and is not necessary for remote-control features.
**) The monthly fee for Eneco Toon is necessary for all smart home and remote control features. Without it, it’s just a standard thermostat

We hope this article helps you in making a decision. Of course, all thermostats except for Nest work perfectly with Homey. And with Homey, you can even turn a single-room thermostat into a multiroom solution with extra wireless valves. It’s up to you to decide which is the best smart thermostat for your specific situation. Good luck choosing!

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