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Rating the best smart thermostats this year

Honeywell’s — a good value.
Honeywell’s — a good value. TNS

Smart gadgets are getting to be more common in all parts of daily life, and one of the most valuable — in terms of saving time, money and energy — is the smart thermostat.

These four models are at the top of the list for the folks at CNET, an American website that rates consumer technology products.

Like a connected thermostat, smart thermostats are connected to the Internet and allow users to adjust heating settings from other Internet-connected devices, such as smartphones. This allows users to easily adjust the temperature remotely.

One word of caution: a smart thermostat can result in higher energy bills if you’re constantly adjusting, rather than just setting a temperature and leaving it alone.

Nest Learning Thermostat

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The next-gen Nest Learning Thermostat has a larger display, a better resolution and an all-new far-field sensor for viewing time and temperature information from a distance. It works with Amazon’s Alexa, too.

The bad: Nest is behind in the accessories department; remote temperature sensors would add a lot to this smart thermostat’s functionality.

The cost: $219.00 to $249.00

The bottom line: Nest is still our choice for best overall smart thermostat, but it isn’t massively different from the second-gen model and the gap is narrowing as other brands introduce solid competitors.

Honeywell Lyric T5

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Honeywell Lyric T5’s geofencing feature worked consistently well, it automated one reviewer’s Home and Away settings every time without complaint, and it sent prompt notifications alerting to the changes.

The bad: While we liked the thermostat’s general design, the font and layout of the touchscreen interface looks dated. We would like to see integrations with Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, Wink and IFTTT.

The cost: $109.40 to $149.99

The bottom line: Honeywell’s Siri-, Alexa-, and geofencing-enabled Lyric T5 is smart, it works well and it offers a better value than other connected thermostats.

Ecobee3 Lite

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: A responsive touchscreen and integrations with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Wink and IFTTT give the lower-priced $169 Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat serious appeal.

The bad: “Smart” is a bit of a stretch for the Ecobee3 Lite, since it doesn’t rely on activity-tracking sensors or any other sort of adaptive tech to learn your routine. $169 is still a lot to spend, especially on a programmable thermostat.

The cost: $162.99

The bottom line: No other Wi-Fi thermostat available today offers this many smart home partnerships for this low of a price, but you should weigh the importance of the integrations against the MSRP — many 7-day app-enabled programmable thermostats cost just $100.

Lux TX500U

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: A large display, strong blue backlight and an intuitive control panel make the $30 Lux TX500U easy to recommend.

The bad: Its plastic covering is flimsy and fell off once during use.

The cost: $23.00 to $26.99

The bottom line: The Lux TX500U strikes a balance between value and function, making it our top pick if you’re in the market for a basic programmable thermostat.

For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.

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