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Smart home gadgets and technology can help make homes more energy efficient than ever before. From thermostats and lightbulbs to plugs and sprinklers, there is almost no aspect of the home that can't be integrated with a smart home system. But which devices can help you save the most energy?

What is a smart home system?

A smart home system is built around home automation. Smart devices have the capability of connecting to a smart home hub like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant through your Wi-Fi network, Bluetooth, or Z-wave technology. You can then control and monitor these devices through a smartphone app, usually on iOS or Android devices, or through voice commands with a smart speaker.

One of the biggest uses of smart home functionality is in the smart home security system. Smart locks, video doorbells, wireless security cameras, and even garage doors can be managed through voice control or a mobile app.

Energy efficiency is another important factor in the choice of smart home devices. Through the use of a smart sprinkler, smart plug, smart lighting, or smart thermostat like the Google Nest or ecobee SmartThermostat, homeowners can see major improvements in their energy and water consumption.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. More and more devices are being integrated into smart home setups. Even appliances like stoves, dishwashers, and refrigerators are now connected to the internet.

What are the best smart home devices for saving energy?

As mentioned, one of the biggest advantages of smart home devices is in saving energy. One thing to consider before adding new devices or appliances is getting a home energy audit for an accurate picture of where your home is less energy-efficient. Once you know that, here are some of the best smart home devices to help you become more energy efficient.

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats help regulate and automate your heating and cooling, cutting down on the total energy consumption and reducing those costs. Smart thermostats work by connecting to your current HVAC system. The vast majority of them feature a smart device app, meaning users can control all of the settings and features remotely.

On average, they can save you around 8% on heating and cooling costs, or $50 annually. The age of your current HVAC system, however, can affect this. If you have an old and outdated system, there are limits on the effectiveness of a smart thermostat.

Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat

Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat

Emerson

Why buy: The Emerson Sensi smart thermostat was our pick for best overall smart thermostat. It can save you up to 23% on your energy usage, and you can find it at a very affordable price of $140 on Amazon. The Emerson thermostat is also compatible with Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.

$140

ecobee SmartThermostat

ecobee SmartThermostat

ecobee

Why buy: Despite its relatively high price tag of $249, the ecobee SmartThermostat offers a ton of energy-saving features. The best part is that with its new eco+ software, the SmartThermostat can help you save up to 23% on your annual energy costs. Plus it has built-in Amazon Alexa functionality so there's no need to purchase an Amazon Echo.

$249

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest

Why buy: The Nest Learning Thermostat is both Google Assistant- and Alexa-enabled. It can potentially save you as much as 10% to 12% on your heating bill and up to 15% on your cooling bill. This thermostat also has voice commands for even greater convenience, and it automatically learns your heating and cooling preferences to optimize your energy usage.

$219

Smart lighting

Smart lightbulbs and smart lighting systems can connect to your home's smart system, so you can set schedules for when they are on and off. Combined with the greater efficiency of LED bulbs, it isn't out of the question to save between 25% and 80% on the energy used by your lights when you make the switch to smart lights.

Philips Hue Starter Kit

Phillips Hue Lighting System

Philips Hue

Why buy: The Philips Hue lighting system offers everything from starter kits and light strips to table lamps and bulbs. Though the system can be a bit pricey, there's a lot that comes with it. They can be paired easily through a rather intuitive app, offer integrations with third-party devices, and even display a wide array of colors.

$180

Wyze Bulb

Wyze Bulb

Wyze

Why buy: If you're looking for a far more cost-effective option, look no further than the Wyze Bulb. These smart Wi-Fi light bulbs will last up to 25,000 hours, and you can get 4 for under $40. Though it doesn't have the color option that the Hue does, it can pair with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa to make for a convenient smart bulb setup.

$38

Sengled Smart LED Light Bulbs

Sengled Smart LED Bulbs

Sengled

Why buy: These Sengled Smart LED bulbs are also an affordable smart light option to help automate your home's lighting. Compatible with SmartThings, IFTTT, Google Assistant, and Alexa, it integrates smoothly with just about any smart home setup. The outdoor bulbs are weatherproof and come with a motion sensor for optimal usage.

$20

Smart plugs

Like smart bulbs, smart plugs and smart power strips can help mitigate wasted energy use. They work with compatible devices to control when they are running – think lamps, fans, appliances, air purifiers, etc. Even better, they come with the capability of handling 4 to 8 devices at once, making it a comprehensive hub for your electronics.

Though the savings here are not quite as dramatic, it adds up when paired with other smart energy-efficient devices. Some of the best will come with mobile apps, providing remote functionality.

Kasa Smart Plug Mini

Kasa Smart Plug Mini

Kasa

Why buy: Though this Kasa Smart Plug Mini is meant to handle one or two devices at a time, it is perhaps the best on the market. It's highly affordable and can work with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant by connecting to your Wi-Fi network. It also features schedule customization, timers, and even away modes to maximize your energy savings.

$18

WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug

WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug

Belkin

Why buy: This WeMo Wi-Fi smart plug remains affordable while still offering Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Apple HomeKit compatibility. The WeMo app allows you to control and schedule the plug from anywhere, and the plug itself comes in a compact, space-saving design that also allows for voice control.

$20

iDevices Wall Outlet

iDevices Wall Outlet

iDevice

Why buy: In addition to a single plug, you can also install a smart outlet to connect multiple devices. The iDevices Wall Outlet is great for automating lights, lamps, switches, fans, and any other electronics. It is compatible with most smart home systems and can give you independent voice control of both the top and bottom outlets.

$92

Smart sprinklers

With smart sprinkler systems, water waste is kept to a minimum thanks to scheduling functions and improved fixtures that use water more efficiently.

Generally speaking, most EPA WaterSense-certified smart-controlled sprinklers can save up to 15% of the water applied versus a standard sprinkler system. In some areas, this can be huge, as 70% of outdoor water use can come from outdoor sprinklers.

Rachio 3

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

Rachio

Why buy: One of the best smart sprinklers available on the market, the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller gives you wireless connectivity and 8-zone functionality, which makes it easier than ever to properly manage outdoor water usage. It is on the expensive side, but includes a feature that predicts weather changes to adjust your water use accordingly.

$182

Orbit B-Hyve XR

Orbit B-Hyve XR

Orbit

Why buy: A slightly more cost-effective option, the Orbit B-Hyve XR comes with great features, like an LED screen that shows live, real-time status updates. It uses WeatherSense technology to automatically adjust to the weather so you don't waste water. It also meets EPA WaterSense standards, and the B-Hyve app is available for free on iOS and Android devices.

$149

Smart home energy monitors

There are now smart home energy monitors that attach directly to your home's electrical box. They work by monitoring your energy consumption in real-time and can show patterns of electrical usage over a day, week, or month.

Continuous monitoring, right down to the appliance level, can help you save on energy costs and acts as the baseline for energy conservation. These monitors can also show which appliances are falling behind in energy efficiency.

Sense Home Energy Monitor

Sense Home Energy Monitor

Sense

Why buy: This is a top-of-the-line energy monitor, and comes in both standard and solar variations. They plug into just about any existing electrical panel and then connect to a smart phone application that provides real-time data whenever you want it. Sense is a bit pricey, but comes with far more features and functionality than any of the others.

$299

Efergy Elite 4.0 Wireless Energy Monitor

Efergy Elite Wireless Energy Monitor

Efergy

Why buy: This Efergy system provides a cost-effective means of monitoring your home's electrical usage. The device connects easily to any home electrical box for fast and easy installation that does not require an electrician. The downside to this particular system is that there is no smartphone application for live tracking, instead using a compact, portable display.

$99

Gen 2 Emporia Vue Smart Home Energy Monitor

Emporia Vue Smart Home System

Emporia

Why buy: Emporia's Vue monitoring system offers device detection that can show you the performance of individual appliances in your home. You can even set schedules for select appliances where applicable, providing a greater level of detail about your electric bill. With this system, you can lower your energy costs and your emissions at the same time.

$110

Other smart home products to consider

As comprehensive as this list is, it doesn't cover all of the smart devices out there. Home security systems, garage doors, and other appliances are now able to connect to your smart home system.

Smart fridges

Refrigerators are becoming smarter, too. Not only can they cut down on energy usage, they can even create shopping lists based on the contents inside. Smart fridges have evolved to feature LED touch-screens and even web browsing.

Home security

Smart locks, doorbells, and security systems have made it easy to find peace-of-mind. Users can view cameras in real-time remotely and even use video doorbells to see who is at the door.

Smart TVs

Smart TVs allow users to access their favorite apps, surf the web, and so much more, all through their remote. They also use much less energy than older models, and most are ENERGY STAR certified for efficiency.

Upgrade to a smart home to save energy

Upgrading your home to a smart setup has never been more beneficial. Whether you are looking to gain improved convenience and connectivity, cut down on energy costs, or both, smart home setups are the way to go. Combine any number of smart home devices to create the right setup for a more energy-efficient home.

Ryan Womeldorf is a freelance writer who covers technology and consumer goods, including smart home tech. He is a husband and father of two (five if you count his pups).

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Sense produces smart home energy monitors that allow users to track, in real-time, their energy usage throughout the home and even through specific appliances. The Sense home energy monitors are some of the most popular on the market today. Learn why in our review below.

Sense overview

Sense stepped into the home energy monitor industry just a few years ago. The Boston-area company began using machine learning in order to provide real-time looks at electrical usage. This also came in the wake of a discovery that always-on devices accounted for nearly 23% of all home electricity usage.

Sense developed its tech with a team from some of the biggest names in voice recognition. The team consisted of engineers from Amazon, Vlingo, Phillips, SpeechWorks, ScanSoft, and Nuance.

What came of that was the Sense home energy monitor. This Wi-Fi-enabled sensor has the capability of displaying real-time energy use data right to users' smart phones thanks to a small box that attached to the home's electrical box.

Sense offers sophisticated energy monitoring

Compared to others in the industry, Sense is top of the line. Its diverse range of features, easy-to-use smart phone application, and even a solar energy option for improved savings, is the reason for the higher price tag.

Despite the relatively high price, consumers have rated it quite well. Utility companies have verified that it is 99.5% accurate and it can even track usage of individual appliances for improved accuracy and tracking.

It has shown that it records 1 million data points per second, which is a rate that is not only larger but faster than most other competitors. Combined with other energy-efficient products like smart thermostats and smart lights, the Sense energy monitor could help you reduce your energy consumption considerably. For those looking to get a better sense about their power usage, Sense may just be the best the market has to offer.

Types of Sense home energy monitors

Sense works by connecting a monitor to your home's breaker panel. It then takes the voltage and current measurements of your electricity consumption. It does this over 1 million times every second to produce high-resolution data. The monitor then transmits the data through a Wi-Fi antenna to your app or desktop.

Furthermore, Sense is capable of individual device detection. This allows you to get a sense of how much energy your home uses, and which appliances and electrical devices use the most energy when running.

There are two Sense home energy monitors: the standard Sense unit and the Sense Solar. The latter is meant to provide the services to those who run off of solar power, providing greater clarification and understanding of solar energy usage.

Sense Energy Monitor

Sense

The Sense energy monitor provides real-time, 24/7 data that is accessible through iOS, Android, and desktop apps. That means being able to check energy usage patterns whenever it suits you. Even better, schedules and alerts can be set at the user's discretion to create a truly customize data system.

Why buy: The Sense home energy monitor allows for optimal energy tracking convenience. Users can get live updates on their power consumption from their smartphones whenever and wherever they like.

$299

How it works

The Sense home energy monitor works simply enough. It attaches to your home's circuit breaker, measuring energy usage right down to individual appliances and devices for a better understanding of where your home's electrical usage is. Sense recommends that you have a licensed electrician do the installation.

There are also customer safety monitors that can be set with audible notifications. Keep track of critical devices like well pumps, sump pumps, HVAC systems, water heaters, or flat irons without having to constantly monitor them yourself. Most importantly, the components have been ETL/Intertek certified. That certification ensures that it is safe for operation within an electrical panel.

The Sense features compatibility with many smart home devices. Pairing up the Sense with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Phillips Hue, IFTTT, smart thermostats, and smart plugs can help you optimize your home's energy efficiency.

Sense Solar Energy Monitor

Sense

Like the Sense, the Sense Solar can track usage data in real-time. It can also track your appliances and devices on an individual basis to give you a more comprehensive window into your home's energy consumption.

Why buy: The Sense Solar can detect the exact amount of energy that the solar panels on your home are generating 24/7. This feature quickly gives you a better idea of which appliances are drawing power (and how much) at any given time as well as the effectiveness of your solar panels.

$349

How it works

The Sense Solar home energy monitor is much the same as the original version, though this one tracks solar energy usage. It connects to your home's breaker panel like the Sense, just with an additional wire to connect to the solar inverter in your home's main electrical box.

The Sense Solar uses the same simple interface for its smartphone function that the regular Sense does. Users can chart energy usage over time, even creating profiles of monthly, weekly, or daily usage, whatever works best for the user.

It is recommended that only electricians handle the installation process.

The Sense app

Perhaps the biggest selling point for both Sense and Sense Solar is the mobile app. The Sense app is used to connect to their smart home energy monitors and provides the ability to monitor volts and current one million times per second.

The real-time, 24/7 data is available in a number of interfaces that allows for customized profiles. Users can set monitoring reports that display overall usage as well as individualized device performance.

With a large, easy to identify interface, users are able to generate reports that fit their usage needs. Moreover, they can see real-time data to monitor devices as they run.

If that weren't enough, users can also set goals, view trends, and even set audible alerts whenever energy levels are too high. The Sense app lets you take control of your home's energy usage and electricity bill.

Sense pros and cons

Sense

Both the Sense and Sense Solar have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Here is a breakdown for both versions.

Sense pros

For starters, the Sense app is super user-friendly. Even the most technologically-challenged can pick up the app and navigate its interface with little to no trouble.

Moreover, the app shows a ton of historical data. If you want to look at specific trends going back to installation date, you can call those up easily. Daily, weekly, and monthly reports are available to provide a better understanding of data usage over time so you can identify patterns and problem spots.

Finally, it provides individual device tracking. If you want to get truly granular and see which devices take the most energy to run, that is easily available through the app.

Sense cons

At $299.99, the cost isn't cheap. Furthermore, professional installation is highly recommended. That is an additional cost on top of the already steep price for the unit itself. Those installation fees take an already costly unit up a notch.

There is also the issue that it does not have cost calculations. While it can track energy usage in real-time, it doesn't tell you what that translates to in terms of actual money. Knowing what your energy is costing you will take a little extra sleuthing.

Sense Solar pros

The Sense Solar energy monitor is one of the best at tracking solar production in real-time. Some similar solar devices only offer updates in 15 minute increments whereas the Sense Solar can track up to the second.

Moreover, it tracks electrical production and consumption as well, so you know if your appliances are drawing more energy than the solar panels are putting out. Not to mention the user-friendly app that makes it possible to create various profiles for tracking and consuming data.

Sense Solar cons

Even more expensive than the standard Sense at $349.99, the Sense Solar monitor is definitely an investment. This particular home energy monitor is designed to help homeowners get the most out of their own solar panels. If you just want to identify ways to reduce energy usage, there are definitely cheaper options.

The other negative is that it has trouble finding always-on appliances. That's not to say it can't find them, it just takes some time and patience. It also may detect the same device multiple times, creating confusion.

Conclusion

Both the Sense and Sense Solar energy monitors deliver real-time data on electrical consumption that can be customized however the user wants. Aside from needing a professional installation, users can access and customize data easily through the app, creating profiles displaying information that can help you save money on your electric bill.

Though it is one of the most expensive options on the market, there are few that can deliver real-time data customization and app convenience the way the Sense does. With a 99.5% accuracy in readings, it is hard to top the convenience and accuracy that Sense provides.

Ryan Womeldorf is a freelance writer who covers technology and consumer goods, including smart home tech. He is a husband and father of two (five if you count his pups).

Sunrun Solar Reviews: Costs, Quality & More (2021)

Is Sunrun the best option for solar panels on your home?

Reviews
Eloi_Omella / E+ / Getty Images

If you're considering a solar panel installation, chances are you've come across the name Sunrun. A lot of literature exists on this leading residential solar panel installer, but research can be overwhelming, so we're breaking down everything you need to know in this Sunrun solar review.

As one of the nation's top solar companies, Sunrun focuses on installing custom-designed solar arrays and backup battery systems, and installations are performed quickly and easily by the provider's massive fleet of technicians. Sunrun also offers a solar leasing program that's popular among customers.

Sunrun Fast Facts
Year Started
2007
Service Areas 22 states and territories, including AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
Service Types Solar panel and backup battery installations
Types of Panels High-efficiency monocrystalline panels from top solar suppliers like LONGi and Costco
Backup Battery Options Brightbox Home Battery storage, which uses lithium-ion batteries like the Tesla Powerwall and the LG Chem
Certifications Solar Energy Industries Association
Better Business Bureau
(BBB) Rating
B+ with accreditation

Read on to learn more about the provider, or to see if Sunrun is available in your area and get a free quote, fill out the 30-second form below.

Sunrun Overview

Founded in 2007, Sunrun's mission is to create a world run by solar energy. Since 2007, Sunrun has expanded at an impressive rate, now offering services in over 20 states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

Sunrun designs solar panel layouts custom to a roof's shape via satellite imagery, giving homeowners more control over the appearance and efficiency of their systems. The company's integrated home solar battery storage service, Brightbox, sets it apart from the many other providers that have yet to deploy storage options that bring a number of key benefits to solar customers.

Sunrun also provides a wide variety of solar financing options for its customers. Catering to a large client base has allowed for Sunrun's massive growth, but it's also presented challenges that have soured the company's reputation online. The BBB gives Sunrun a rating of a B+, which is lower than the average solar provider.

Sunrun Solar Services and Installation

Sunrun is a comprehensive solar installer, providing design and installation of custom solar solutions complete with backup battery storage, home energy monitoring and energy control during outages. These tools can help homeowners manage, store and monitor their home's energy use for additional savings on their electric bills.

The types of panels and inverters Sunrun offers come from brand names like SolarEdge, LONGi and Costco. They are ideal for the quick and easy installations that Sunrun prides itself on. An average customer could expect the installation process to look like this:

  • Receive a free quote by providing preliminary information such as your address, monthly energy costs and credit score.
  • If interested after receiving the quote, a Sunrun sales rep will provide a detailed proposal including your custom system design, appearance and estimated energy savings over the course of the system's lifetime. The proposal should include any local and state solar incentives, so be sure to make note that any are included.
  • Once you've decided on the custom system that fits your needs, you will need to complete paperwork and obtain permits and approvals. Sunrun will handle the permits and approvals from your presiding city or county, but you should expect this process to take a few weeks.
  • During the permitting process, Sunrun will also check for net metering programs through your utility company and will enroll you if eligible.
  • Once all permits and approvals are gathered, Sunrun will install your system. With Sunrun's resources, this will likely be the easiest part of the entire process.
  • Finally, you'll need to pass inspection and turn on the system. Once the system is installed, both the city and your electric company will most likely require inspections. Sunrun will handle the logistics of both. Once these pass, a customer will be able to turn the system on.

Solar Panel Warranty

All Sunrun installations, whether leases or purchases, are covered by the Sunrun Guarantee. This 10-year comprehensive warranty includes free equipment replacement and system repairs, covers all parts and labor costs and guarantees that roof penetrations are watertight.

Sunrun advertises free maintenance, repairs and insurance on its products, but it should be noted that those services are only available to customers leasing panels through Sunrun. Any customers who have purchased panels from Sunrun will be held to the product warranty of the panels they purchase (typically between 12-25 years). As such, all warranty claims will be handled through the panel manufacturer rather than Sunrun.

Sunrun Costs and Financing

The cost of a solar system from a particular provider is difficult to estimate, as pricing can vary widely depending on your state, your roof and your home's energy needs. As Sunrun has been an industry leader for some time, most other solar providers actually offer installations at a slightly lower cost to give them a competitive edge. This is just another reason we encourage our readers to get quotes from competing solar companies.

Much of Sunrun's expansion can also be credited to its utilization of solar leases, which allow homeowners to rent solar equipment from Sunrun at a monthly cost. Though leasing panels provides immediate energy savings with a low upfront cost, purchasing panels provides the greatest value long-term. Keep in mind that leases will not be eligible for the solar tax credit.

Solar Financing Options

Sunrun offers four different solar plans for its customers.

  1. Monthly lease: This option requires the least money down but also provides the least overall value. Sunrun retains ownership of the panels and you make monthly payments to purchase the energy they generate. The monthly payments are guaranteed to be less than what your utility payment would be, but the savings are not as great as they would be if you purchased the panels.
  2. Full lease: In a full lease, the customer pays Sunrun an upfront fee to rent the panels for around 25 years (the term of the lease can vary). Sunrun retains ownership of the solar equipment. This saves a customer more money than a monthly lease, but it's still significantly less than if a customer purchased panels.
  3. Monthly loan: Customers can receive a solar loan from a third party to fund the purchase of solar equipment. These loans require monthly payments and typically have a payback period of between five and 10 years. In a monthly loan, a customer still owns the system outright, which adds to their property value, allows them to claim the solar tax credit and provides greater long-term energy savings than a lease. However, they will pay interest on the loan, making the system more expensive.
  4. Full purchase: A full purchase is the most recommended method of investing in solar energy. When customers purchase panels, they buy the system designed by Sunrun outright. Immediately, the solar panels add property value and the homeowner is eligible for the solar tax credit. Over time, homeowners will see a larger return on investment when paying in cash.

Sunrun Solar Reviews

Sunrun's size is both its biggest strength and its biggest weakness, and most customer reviews reflect just that. Positive Sunrun solar reviews praise the company's speed and ease of installation, yet a high employee turnover rate, communication troubles and growing pains have plagued a number of customers who feel their needs were not met.

Positive Sunrun Reviews

The size and resources of Sunrun make its business model reliant on high volumes of installed solar panels. Positive reviews usually reflect a quick and easy installation with immediate energy savings and little to no maintenance or further customer support needed. Most frequently, these positive reviews come from customers who opted for a solar lease rather than ownership.

Here are a couple of examples:

"I originally had my Solar installed by another company that was eventually purchased by Sunrun. The service with Sunrun has been far better than the service with the previous company."
— Brian Schopf via Trustpilot

"We have had our Sunrun system in place for over a year now. No problems at all. They were very courteous and responsive during the installation process."
— Peter W via BBB

Negative Sunrun Reviews

Most of Sunrun's negative reviews stem from a lack of attention to a customer's needs. Sunrun is one of the nation's largest solar providers, which presents challenges for customers troubleshooting issues with their system's performance.

Solar panel issues can be difficult to troubleshoot, and the size of Sunrun's client base can make the company's customer service department more difficult to get in touch with than a smaller solar provider.

This Sunrun review reflects the overall sentiment from dissatisfied customers:

"Worst company ever for follow-up once you have a problem… I have been waiting for a new inverter [for] seven months. No one bothers to tell you what they are going to do, or what they have done once they finally get to your house for a repair. No written report to update you. I have lost money this year because my system is either not running or is underperforming."
— Linda T via BBB

Final Thoughts on Sunrun Solar

Sunrun's mission, size and breadth of services make it one of the most well-known solar providers in the country today. However, its B+ BBB rating and poor reputation for customer service may make some buyers wary. An average customer experience with Sunrun will depend greatly on the quality of the sales representative assigned to your area, and many homeowners have run into bad experiences.

Sunrun Pros Sunrun Cons
Expansive service area Expensive labor
Backup battery services Frequent customer service issues
Free maintenance on leases
Flexible financing and lease options

Sunrun is a good and practical choice for customers looking to quickly and simply save money on their energy bills through a solar lease. However, for homeowners looking for attentive customer service both before and after installation, we advise you to shop around. You can start getting free quotes from a number of solar installers near you below.

Solar Energy Provider Comparison

To put this Sunrun review in perspective, let's compare the company to a few other national providers. Sunrun typically ranks highly in services offered, service areas and flexible payment options. Where Sunrun unsurprisingly falters is in its reputation for customer service and BBB rating.

Sunrun Blue Raven Solar SunPower
Year Started 2007 2014 1985
Services Offered Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring, maintenance Solar panel installation, monitoring, maintenance Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring
Service Areas AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. CO, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MO, NC, NV, OH, OR, SC, TX, UT, VA All 50 States
BBB Rating B+ A+ A+
Payment Options Cash, loan, lease, PPA Cash, in-house financing plans Cash, loan, lease

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sunrun a legit company?

Sunrun is a legitimate solar installer leading the industry in quantity of installs and breadth of products offered. Hundreds of thousands of homes across the country have installed solar power with Sunrun. Though Sunrun is legitimate, there is a concerning amount of bad reviews regarding Sunrun's customer experience. Often, unconcerned sales staff can make customers feel their business was not taken seriously.

Is Sunrun solar a good deal?

As is the case with most solar providers, getting a good deal is dependent on many factors. Sunrun is certainly capable of providing customers with a solar energy system that saves them money, but a better deal might be found by a different solar provider, especially if you are looking to purchase panels rather than lease from Sunrun.

Is Sunrun owned by Tesla?

Sunrun is not owned by Tesla. In fact, Sunrun is one of Tesla's biggest rival companies in the solar industry. Unlike Sunrun, Tesla solar offerings focus more on products and less on installation services, so the companies are distinctly different.

Which is better, SunPower or Sunrun?

Which company is better will depend on what the customer is looking for. If you're looking for customer service, a high BBB rating and to purchase high-quality panels, we'd likely recommend SunPower over Sunrun. If you're a customer looking for a quick and easy solar panel lease to save a small but guaranteed rate on your energy bill each month, Sunrun may be the better choice.

Where is Sunrun available?

Sunrun is available in 22 states and territories, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

onurdongel / Getty Images

More and more homes are making energy efficiency a priority. Not only is it a responsible way to reduce your environmental impact, but it can equate to serious savings on energy bills every month. But what can be done to make your home more efficient? Alongside a home energy audit, a smart home energy monitor is an energy-saving tool that can make a big difference.

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Energy efficiency is more important than ever. Getting a home energy audit can be crucial for identifying any potential air leaks and other issues that could be keeping your energy use (and energy bills) high. Learn how a home energy audit can help you with energy efficiency upgrades to reduce your energy consumption.

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Honeywell

Honeywell is one of the most well-recognized names in the heating and cooling industry. They offer a range of different smart thermostat options, each providing its own set of functions and features with the Honeywell Home app. See how much energy you could save with their smart thermostats.

How we review smart thermostats

To review smart home thermostats, we evaluate each brand on the following areas:

  • Mobile app - What kind of functionality does the brand's mobile app give you? Is it compatible with other smart devices or systems like Amazon Alexa?
  • Energy savings - How much will you save on your monthly energy usage with the thermostat? We look for products and devices that carry the ENERGY STAR seal for the most-efficient products.
  • Installation - How long does it take to install the thermostat? Is it DIY or does it require professional installation?
  • Price - How much does the thermostat cost and how does that pricing compare with any potential savings on your energy bill?
  • Learning capability - Does the Wi-Fi thermostat learn your routines and preferences automatically, or is it programmable?
  • Warranty - Does the brand offer a warranty on the thermostat, and if so how long does the warranty last?

What you need to know about Honeywell

Here are the top Honeywell smart thermostat options. You can also see how they compare to other brands like Nest, ecobee, and the Emerson Sensi by reading more reviews.

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission

Honeywell T10 Pro Smart Thermostat

Honeywell

Honeywell T10

The T10 Pro Smart Thermostat is one of the more popular offerings from Honeywell. It is a touch-screen smart home thermostat that helps provide energy savings and by working with their RedLINK Room Sensors to detect motion and focus heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and humidification in occupied rooms.

Why buy - The Honeywell T10 has been shown to reduce pockets of warm and cool air that can make for uneven air distribution. Installation is very easy so long as you have a "C" wire connection. For ease of use and consistent energy-saving functionality, the Honeywell T10 is an excellent option.

$180

Price - Through Honeywell, the T10 Pro Smart Thermostat requires you to contact a pro for pricing. Through third-party retailers like Amazon, however, the thermostat is priced around $180. Compared to the Google Nest and ecobee SmartThermostat, this is a slightly cheaper option to provide energy savings for most modern HVAC systems. There are some third parties that offer installation, which can increase the total price to $239.00.

Warranty - All Honeywell products come with a manufacturer warranty of 24 months. The warranty can be determined by the product date code. The only exception to the 24-month period is the hardwire contacts with comes with a 5-year warranty. The warranty covers defects in workmanship under typical use.

How it works - The Honeywell T10 works with most modern HVAC systems to make energy usage more efficient during heating and cooling. This is achieved through programmable scheduling, which ensures that the HVAC system is running only when it needs to be. Traditional HVAC systems may have fans that run continuously, raising energy costs along the way. The T10 Pro works with Honeywell's RedLINK sensors and the Honeywell Home app to learn your routine so it can adjust energy use to be more efficient.

Mobile app - You can control Honeywell smart thermostat with the Honeywell Home app. The T10 Pro Smart Thermostat works with the app's geofencing capability to detect when you are out of the house to reduce energy usage. The app also allows you to remotely adjust the temperature and provides alerts about temperature changes or when it's time to change the filter. The T10 also features compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and IFTTT.

Energy savings - The Honeywell T10 thermostat is ENERGY STAR certified. That means it has met the stringent standards required by ENERGY STAR to ensuring that energy usage is reduced for greater energy-saving capabilities. This can vary based on home size and HVAC system.

Installation - Like most smart home thermostats, the Honeywell T10 can be installed by a professional or can be done as a simple do-it-yourself project. Those looking to perform a DIY installation can expect it to take around 30-45 minutes from start to finish.

Honeywell T9 Smart Thermostat

Honeywell

Honeywell T9

There are a lot of similarities between the Honeywell T9 and T10 Pro, making it difficult to determine the true difference at first glance. There are a couple of important distinctions, however, between the two that make the difference. The T9 thermostat works with Honeywell Smart Room Sensors to help customize your energy usage for different rooms in your home.

Why buy - The differences between the T9 and T10 are minimal. The former comes with a C-wire adapter for easier installation while the latter does not. The T10, however, controls ventilation, humidification, and dehumidification whereas the T9 does not. For easier installation and a lower price, but more limited features, the T9 is your choice.

$175

Price - The T9 is slightly most cost-effective than the T10. Ranging between $140 and $180 depending on where you buy it, it is slightly cheaper than the T10. For those looking to get the smart thermostat experience without paying more than $200, the T9 makes for an excellent option.

Warranty - All Honeywell products come with a manufacturer warranty of 24 months. See the details on the warranty in the T10 Pro review for more information.

How it works - Like the T10, the Honeywell T9 uses touch screen functionality, a Wi-Fi connection, and the brand's smartphone app to provide convenience and home energy-saving capabilities. Users can complete the initial setup and then create custom heating schedules that fit their needs, cutting down on energy usage along the way. You can also install Smart Room Sensors that will allow the thermostat to adjust temperatures based on your routine. Best of all, it is meant to fit most current HVAC systems for ease of installation.

Mobile app - Using the Honeywell app, which is compatible with a variety of Honeywell smart thermostats and devices, users can create custom heating and cooling schedules with just a few taps. It also allows you to check current temperatures, access the features and settings remotely, and more. Initial setup is done on the unit itself but it can be controlled remotely from that point on.

Energy savings - The Honeywell T9 is also ENERGY STAR certified. That means you can use the T9 thermostat to make more efficient use of your home's energy and see savings on your bill each month. Pair with Smart Room Sensors for optimal performance and efficiency.

Installation - Like the T10, the Honeywell T9 can be installed either by a professional or as a do-it-yourself project. There are some third-party retailers that will offer installation as part of the price. Those looking to perform the installation on their own can expect a 20-30 minute installation as the "C" wire comes with the unit.

Honeywell T5 7-Day Programmable Thermostat

Honeywell

Honeywell T5 Programmable

It may seem that all smart thermostats are created the same. There are, however, some more basic options meant to deliver energy-saving functionality at an affordable price. The Honeywell T5 programmable thermostat can help you use energy more wisely with its smart response learning feature that allows it to remember your temperature preferences so it can adjust automatically.

Why buy - Those looking for simplicity in their smart thermostat without breaking the bank will like the Honeywell T5. It offers learning capabilities and a large, bright display that makes it easy to program. Despite the lack of a smartphone app, users can create custom schedules in no time.

$60

Price - The Honeywell T5 is much more cost-effective than the T9 and T10. Officially priced at just over $75, it can be purchased through third-party retailers for as little as $60. Compared to $150-$200 of some smart thermostats, it is one of the more cost-efficient options on the market.

Warranty - All Honeywell products come with a manufacturer warranty of 24 months. See the details on the warranty in the T10 Pro review for more information.

How it works - The Honeywell T5 has a basic backlit display that allows for setting the time, showing current temperatures, and even showing the temperature set point. The T5 also learns heating and cooling run times for proper scheduling.

Mobile app - The downside to the T5 is that it does not have remote access. There is no app functionality for the T5 and all programming and changes must be done at the console. Because it is more cost-effective than some of the other Honeywell thermostats, it is missing the ever-popular remote functionality.

Energy savings - Though the Honeywell T5 is not ENERGY STAR certified, there are energy-saving capabilities. Factoring in size of the home as well as the age of the HVAC system, you can still save up to 10% annually on your heating and cooling bill with a programmable thermostat.

Installation - The Honeywell T5 comes with standard mounting hardware and a quick install guide. Users can expect about 30 minutes of installation time for even the most novice of users.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat

Honeywell

Honeywell WiFi

Similar to the T10 in a lot of ways, the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat has a few distinct differences. This thermostat features a touchscreen with a customizable full-color display and works with the Honeywell Home app, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Why buy - This is the Honeywell smart thermostat with all the bells and whistles. Users can set custom schedules, control settings, and do just about anything else through the smartphone app. It also features custom learning, picking up on heating and cooling schedules accordingly to maximize your energy efficiency.

$129

Price - The Wi-Fi Smart Color is similar in price to the T10, officially listed at $170. You can find it through third-party retailers for around $130. Combined with installation packages from third-party retailers, users can expect a price tag of around $229.99 with installation included.

Warranty - Though most Honeywell products have a 24-month warranty, the Wi-Fi Smart Color thermostat only has a 12-month limited warranty. It is meant to cover against manufacturer defects and issues arising from regular usage.

How it works - The Wi-Fi Smart Color has a big, beautiful color touchscreen display. Users can program a variety of 7-day schedules, set time and temperature, and just about anything else from the bright panel. It works with your home's current HVAC system to properly manage heating and cooling schedules for greater energy savings, and its smart response technology lets it automatically adapt your energy use to your schedule.

Mobile app - The Wi-Fi Smart Color thermostat makes use of the Honeywell Home smart phone app. Users can program 7-day schedules, adjust current temperature settings, change modes, and control the fan all through the smart app interface.

Installation - As is the case with other Honeywell smart thermostats, both professional and DIY installation are available. With the quick install kit, users can conservatively expect 25-30 minutes of installation should they do it themselves.

Additional Honeywell smart home products

There are two accessories in particular that make for helpful additions to your Honeywell smart thermostat: the RedLINK Room Sensor and T9 Smart Sensor.

Both room sensors are meant to detect the temperature in individual rooms in the home. Because there can be pockets of air that are warmer or cooler than the rest of the home, the smart sensor works to detect them and mitigate the difference. They also offer occupancy detection to help direct your HVAC system's energy to the rooms that need it. The RedLINK sensor also offers humidity detection.

Honeywell thermostat energy rebates

Depending on your energy provider, there may be smart home energy rebates available. These rebates will cover some or all of the costs of Honeywell smart thermostat. For more information, check with your energy provider to see what, if any, rebates they offer.

Ryan Womeldorf is a freelance writer who covers technology and consumer goods, including smart home tech. He is a husband and father of two (five if you count his pups).

ecobee thermostat

ecobee

ecobee's line of smart thermostats can help to provide energy savings for a variety of different HVAC systems. Their thermostats provide intelligent automation for your heating and cooling system, allowing you to reduce your energy usage while staying comfortable. Keep reading for a breakdown of the different ecobee smart thermostat options.

How we review smart thermostats

To review smart thermostats, we evaluate each one on the following categories and features:

  • Mobile app - Can you control the device with a mobile app, and what kind of functionality does the app give you? Is it compatible with other smart home products?
  • Energy savings - How much energy can the thermostat help you save? We look for products and devices that carry the ENERGY STAR seal for the most-efficient products.
  • Installation - Is the thermostat meant for DIY installation or does it require professional installation?
  • Price - How is the smart thermostat priced compared to other brands, and how does this compare to the amount of money you could save on your energy bill?
  • Learning capability - Does the thermostat learn your heating and cooling preferences automatically, or do you have to program them?
  • Warranty - Does the brand offer a warranty, and if so how long does the warranty cover your thermostat?

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission

ecobee smart thermostats

ecobee makes a line of small, efficient programmable thermostats meant to maximize energy-efficiency. These smart thermostats feature touch functionality, remote access, and a variety of options that allow for greater control over home heating and cooling. And similar to the Nest Learning Thermostat, Ecobee thermostats can learn your routines to better maximize your energy savings.

ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control

ecobee smart thermostat with voice control

ecobee

ecobee smart thermostat

The ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control provides maximum energy efficiency and ease-of-use compared to old thermostats. Voice commands makes it easier to program settings, control schedules, and change temperatures at a moment's notice all without having to leave your seat. Plus, the advanced eco+ system learns how to best heat and cool your home when energy costs are at their lowest while also reducing the strain on power grids.

Why buy - Being able to create custom schedules is a major selling point for smart thermostats, but being able to control all of those same things through voice functionality is an even bigger benefit. Plus, thanks to its eco+ system the ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control is the EcoWatch pick for best energy-saving smart thermostat.

$250

Price - The ecobee SmartThermostat, technically the ecobee 5 of its line of products, is one of the more costly units on the market, priced at $250.

Warranty - ecobee products come with a three-year limited warranty from the date of purchase. The warranty protects against any defects in workmanship or materials that can occur under normal use. It does not, however, cover damage done through abnormal or excessive use. Details of the warranty will also depend on who you purchase the unit from.

How it works - There are a variety of ways that users can get greater energy-efficiency and savings. Users can program through the touch screen on the unit itself at any time. There is also a smart phone app that allows for programming and control remotely. Finally, the voice functionality provides programming without either of those things. Users can simply voice their commands to change temperature, set a schedule and more. It also includes an ecobee SmartSensor with occupancy detection to help control your energy use.

Mobile app - ecobee offers an app for controlling their smart thermostats. Users are able to gain all of the control and functionality that they normally would through the touch screen panel with the convenience of being able to make changes remotely. It is a higher level of control and convenience than ever before. While the thermostat comes with Amazon Alexa built in, it is also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings.

Energy savings - The Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control is ENERGY STAR certified. That means it has been tested for optimal energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR ratings indicate that said product can offer additional energy savings than others on the market. Users can expect to save 23% annually on their energy bills by using the Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control. This can vary slightly depending on the age of the current HVAC system as well as the size of the home.

Installation - Installation can either be performed by a third-party retailer or done in a do-it-yourself project. Those attempting a DIY installation will find an installation guide accompany the thermostat. Standard installation will generally take about 45 minutes, though that can vary depending on the experience and general handiness of the person involved.

Certified refurbished ecobee4

Refurbished ecobee4

ecobee

ecobee4

Depending on budgets, going with a brand-new smart thermostat may not necessarily be an option. That is why having access to a refurbished smart thermostat can be a viable option. Plus, choosing a refurbished model is sustainable choice that saves e-waste and saves you money. Note, you may be able to find new ecobee4 models through third-party retailers.

Why buy - Each refurbished ecobee4 provides top-of-the-line smart thermostat functionality without paying the premium that comes with a brand new unit. Built-in Alexa functionality means you have voice control of your thermostat with your Amazon Echo or smart home for complete smart home functionality.

$190

Price - The $185-$200 price tag, combined with the "refurbished" tag, may sound scary. But there are a lot of functions, features, and things included that could make this a potentially great buy for those hoping to find a quality smart thermostat while reducing waste and cost. If you do find a new model through a third-party retailer, you will pay more than for a refurbished model.

Warranty - When purchased directly through ecobee, the ecobee4 comes with a limited three-year warranty. Like other ecobee devices, that includes protection against manufacturer defects as well as issues that occur through regular use. As is the case with other warranties, it will not cover irregular or improper use, so check the details on the warranty before use.

How it works - The ecobee 4 includes a ton of smart features. Programmable schedules for heating and cooling, touch-screen and app functionality, and a smart-learning function that adapts to your heating and cooling needs. Even better, it comes built-in with Alexa for voice control functionality and compatibility with Amazon Alexa smart home units. Every refurbished thermostat undergoes a rigorous recertification process and must pass the same quality assurance tests that a brand new thermostat does.

Mobile app - ecobee offers a smart device app for ios and Android devices that gives you greater accessibility and control. In addition to Alexa and touch-screen functionality, the smart phone app allows for remote access at any time so long as it is a device on the same Wi-Fi network. That means convenient use whenever, wherever the user desires.

Energy savings - The ecobee4, even when refurbished, is ENERGY STAR certified. Users have experienced a whopping 23% energy savings on their heating and cooling bill through the use of the ecobee4, making this brand one of the best for smarter energy use at home.

Installation - As is the case with other ecobee smart thermostat models, you have the option for professional installation as well as do-it-yourself installation. There is an accompanying quick installation guide, allowing for proper installation within 45 minutes depending on the experience level of the user.

ecobee3 lite

ecobee3 lite

ecobee

ecobee3 lite

The ecobee3 lite brings a lot of the same features and functionality that the ecobee4 offers at a slightly more cost-effective price. When looking for advanced temperature control, voice functionality, and energy savings, the ecobee3 lite has you covered. This model does not include any SmartSensor occupancy sensors.

Why buy - The large, easy-to-use display, smart phone app functionality, and even Alexa voice control mean that users can control their heating and cooling from anywhere. Plus, ecobee's advanced eco+ system allows the 3rd gen system to heat and cool your home when energy prices are lowest and when it will cause the least amount of strain on electric grids.

$170

Price - At $170, it is slightly less expensive than even a refurbished ecobee4, as well as some of Google Nest and Honeywell's smart thermostat options. With professional installation, expect all costs to be about $200, though it can vary based on the installer.

Warranty - The ecobee3 lite is covered by a three-year limited warranty from ecobee. During that period, it covers the device from manufacturer defects and workmanship under regular service and normal use. Any improper use or lack of maintenance can void the warranty, so be aware before using.

How it works - Users have a multitude of ways to use the ecobee3 lite to save on their energy costs. Working with most modern HVAC systems, the ecobee3 lite works to limit the amount of energy used when heating and cooling the home through its eco+ system. This means it will use energy when costs are cheapest and will avoid using energy when demand is high to prevent extra strain on grids. It also includes an AC Overcool feature that can use your air conditioner to help lower the humidity in your home if you don't have a dehumidifier.

Mobile app - ecobee's smart phone app lets users program settings, create schedules, and even adjust current temperatures in real time. Remote functionality means that users do not need to be within range of voice control nor do they have to use the control panel to implement heating and cooling changes.

Installation - Though there are professional installers who can do the job, the ecobee3 lite comes with a quick install guide. Depending on the experience and general handiness of the person involved, it can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes from beginning to end.

Additional ecobee smart home products

ecobee smart thermostat products are designed to work with the ecobee SmartSensor. These remote sensors works to detect temperatures in individual rooms, like your living room or bedroom, helping to eliminate pockets of air that are too warm or cold. These room sensors can help make your system even more energy efficient.

ecobee thermostat energy rebates

Your local energy provider may offer rebates for using energy efficient smart thermostats. Check with them to see if there are rebates offered that may cover some or all of the costs of an ecobee smart thermostat.

ecobee smart thermostat FAQs

What is ecobee eco+?

The ecobee eco+ software takes their smart thermostats to a new level beyond just geofencing. It can actually detect when you have left your home, adjusting the settings to limit energy usage when you are not around. When you come back, it restores your comfort settings to the pre-set schedule and even learns your routine and preferences to keep you comfortable automatically. It also helps reduce strains on the electric grid in your area by using energy when it is cheaper to heat and cool your home. ecobee smart thermostats can save around 23% on energy usage with the eco+ capable of saving even more thanks to this unique function.

Do ecobee thermostats come with Alexa?

Depending on the type of ecobee smart thermostat that you purchase, it may or may not come with Alexa functionality built-in. Alexa-compatible units allow for pairing with Amazon Echo smart home devices for voice control functionality. That means users can set programming and schedules through the console, app, or voice function.

Ryan Womeldorf is a freelance writer who covers technology and consumer goods, including smart home tech. He is a husband and father of two (five if you count his pups).

Dan LeFebvre / Unsplash

Google and its line of Nest thermostats are designed to provide energy efficiency and ease of use. With the ability to control it from a smart phone, users can get the precise temperature that they want with just a few taps. Best of all, they are compatible with most HVAC systems, allowing for easy installation. Learn how a Nest smart home thermostat can help make your home more eco-friendly.

How We Review Smart Thermostats

When evaluating smart home thermostats, we look at the following categories and features:

  • Mobile App - Can you control the device remotely through a mobile app, and what kind of functionality does the app give you? Is it compatible with other smart devices or systems?
  • Energy Savings - How much energy can you save by installing this device in your home? We look for products and devices that carry the ENERGY STAR seal for the most-efficient products.
  • Installation - What are the installation options for the device? Is it DIY or does it require professional installation?
  • Price - How is the product priced compared to other brands and the amount of money you could save on your energy bill?
  • Learning capability - Does the thermostat learn your preferences automatically, or do you have to program them yourself?
  • Warranty - Does the brand offer a warranty on the product, and if so how long does the warranty cover your device?
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Store

The 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat is a smart thermostat that is compatible with most modern smart home applications and Wi-Fi networks. Compared to your old thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat can help you conserve energy while keeping your home comfortable.

Why Buy? - The Google Nest Learning thermostat provides exceptional energy-saving capability and is compatible with most modern HVAC systems. Users can get convenient, easy usage while seeing a reduction in their monthly energy bills. Plus, it allows you to choose the look you want at checkout with a number of different ring option, including stainless steel, brass, and copper finishes.

$250

How it Works - The Nest Learning thermostat works by connecting to your HVAC system and optimizing your energy usage. It is meant to save energy by making the system more efficient, reducing the need to leave it running constantly. Best of all? It learns your habits, creating pre-sets that can match your preferred heating and cooling settings based on your schedule. It uses energy to keep you comfortable when you're there, and then reduces energy consumption when you're not.

Mobile App - One of the key features of any smart thermostat is the ability to control the temperature in your home from anywhere. The Learning Thermostat puts you in control with the Nest app, which you can download for ios or Android devices. The app provides you with HVAC monitoring through reports on your energy history that you can use to increase your efficiency. You can also connect your Nest thermostat to the Google Home app, which lets you control all of your smart home devices in one place.

Energy Savings - Google Nest thermostats come ENERGY STAR certified. What does that mean? In addition to improved energy usage, you can be certain that it is highly-rated and meant to be one of the industry's best at conserving energy usage according to the Environmental Protection Agency. On average, the Google Nest can conservatively save 10-12% on heating as well as 15% on cooling. Given average energy costs, that can mean a savings of $130-$145 each year.

Installation - The good news is that the Google Nest Learning thermostat can be installed by a professional or you can install it yourself. The installation is relatively easy, taking an estimated 20-30 minutes to complete, and it even comes with the screwdriver and screws you'll need. These smart home thermostats are compatible with most heating and cooling systems, making it as simple as running a compatibility check and installing. For older homes, there may be compatibility issues so make sure to check before purchasing.

Price - The price, like anything, varies depending on where you get it. Through Google, the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat is $249.99. Through secondary retailers, it can be obtained for around $200. Purchasing directly through the manufacturer (Google) ensures the warranty is intact.

Warranty - Through Google itself, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat covers manufacturer defects or labor for up to 3 years. The length of the warranty depends on the model of Nest thermostat that is purchased, with the Nest Learning Thermostat being covered for 3 years. It is to be understood that the manufacturer may replace parts with other suitable replacements if there are no original parts available.

Google Nest Thermostat

Google Store

The Google Nest thermostat is a similar offering to the Learning Thermostat. It is meant to provide energy savings and convenience to home heating and cooling systems. The programmable thermostat installs easily and can even be accessed through a smartphone application.

Why Buy? - The Google Nest thermostat is very similar to the Nest Learning option. The good news is that it is a cheaper alternative that delivers similar energy savings, ENERGY STAR certification, and basic functionality. For those looking to save a little bit on a quality smart programmable thermostat, the Nest is a perfectly suitable alternative.

$130


How it Works - Though there are a lot of similarities between the Nest and the Nest Learning thermostats, there are important distinctions. The Nest is "simpler" in a lot of ways. For one, it won't learn your behavior and set automatic schedules.

It also has a different display (the Learning Thermostat has Farsight technology that detects when you are in the room) and won't work with the Nest Temperature Sensor. The Nest also does not have the internal battery backup that the Learning does, making it susceptible to power outages. However, it does still allow you to control your thermostat remotely and to optimize your home's energy consumption for heating and cooling with home/away settings.

Mobile App - Like the the Nest Learning option, the Nest has its own app that users can install on smart devices. Basic functionality and even initial setup can be handled through the app, creating greater ease of use for your new Nest thermostat. The Nest uses the same Google Nest app that the Learning Thermostat does, making it easy to transition between the two.

Energy Savings - The Nest Thermostat offers similar energy savings as the Learning Thermostat option, roughly 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling per year.

Installation - Like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Nest thermostat can be installed by a professional or done as a quick do-it-yourself project. Those wishing to install on their own can follow Google's installation guide, with estimated installation times ranging from 20-30 minutes.

Price - At $199.99, the Nest is slightly more affordable than the Nest Learning Thermostat. As is the case with the Learning Thermostat, it can be found for slightly less through trusted retailers. The difference will likely be the warranty offerings.

Warranty - Google offers limited warranties on all of their thermostat devices. The Nest warranty is covered for 1 year. It covers limited part replacement, including the manufacturer option to replace original parts with select compatible parts.

Additional Nest Products

The Nest and Nest Learning thermostats are not stand-alone products. There are accessories that can be integrated with these models to provide a better heating and cooling experience than they may offer on their own.

Nest Temperature Sensor

No matter what type of HVAC system that you have, it sometimes doesn't evenly heat or cool each room in your home. So, what do you do when there are rooms in your home that are a little warmer or colder than the others?

The Nest Temperature Sensor is meant to help with that. The Nest Temperature Sensor goes into individual rooms in the home and works in tandem with the Nest thermostat. By detecting the temperature in those rooms, your smart thermostat can better distribute heat or cold air, accordingly, providing a more even air distribution. That means no pockets where the temperature is noticeably different than the rest of the home. This also helps prevent your system from working extra hard, and using extra energy, to make up for those differences.

Nest Hub for Voice Control

You can pair the Google Nest thermostat with Google Assistant through the Nest Hub or Nest Mini, or most any smart speaker. You can also connect your Nest thermostat to Amazon Alexa to implement voice control into your smart thermostat experience. This lets you adjust the temperature without having to go to the thermostat yourself.

Additionally, Nest offers smart home products like the Nest Cams, motion sensors, video doorbells, and more that you can integrate into your smart home system.

Nest Thermostat Energy Rebates

The Google Nest line of thermostats are meant to provide energy savings and efficiency to users. In addition to making HVAC systems more efficient, they make temperature control far more convenient and easier.

Additionally, there are potential energy rebates to be had by using the Google Nest thermostat line. Your local energy provider may even potentially offer you a Nest thermostat, since it is ENERGY STAR certified, at no additional cost. Check with your local provider and see what programs and rewards that they may have available.

Smart Thermostat FAQs

What is a Smart Thermostat?

A smart thermostat is meant to give the user greater control over the temperature control in their home. Moreover, it is meant to provide energy savings by making smarter use of the HVAC system or heat pump, resulting in lower energy bills and usage.

Additionally, a smart thermostat is meant to provide greater ease of use. Traditional thermostats not only have a much more limited set of features and functionality, they must be programmed at the unit. Smart thermostats are often times compatible with smart phones and tablets, allowing the user to program features remotely.

What to Look for When Buying a Smart Thermostat

There are a few things worth considering when buying a smart thermostat. Energy savings are the most important; after all, it is one of the primary reasons for buying a smart thermostat in the first place.

Moreover, convenience and number of options are an important consideration. That means ease of smart phone app use, how quickly you can program the thermostat, and the individual room functionality that it provides.

How Much Energy Can a Smart Thermostat Save?

On average, the Google Nest thermostat and its various incarnations can expect to save anywhere from 10-15% on annual energy usage. For most average-sized homes, that equates to about $130-$145 saved on energy bills each year.

This number can vary based on a couple of factors. The size of home is important as larger homes will have greater energy needs. Secondly, it depends on the condition of your HVAC systems. Old and outdated systems may still be compatible with the Nest, but may have certain limitations on their efficiency to begin with.

What Other Smart Home Products Help Save Energy?

Smart thermostats are a great way to cut down on the energy needed to heat and cool the home. But what else can help save energy usage? Smart products typically involve some sort of scheduling system to ensure that they run only when needed.

Smart plugs can help you manage your home's appliances to optimize their energy consumption, and smart lighting can ensure that you are conserving energy when no one is home.

For those who frequently care for their gardens, a smart sprinkler system can be beneficial. Save on water, set watering schedules, and reduce the amount of water needed to keep the yard healthy. Similar to a smart thermostat, a smart sprinkler system can save 10-20% on water usage in a given year depending on the size of the property.


Ryan Womeldorf is a freelance writer who covers technology and consumer goods, including smart home tech. He is a husband and father of two (five if you count his pups).

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