While things are heating up in NCAA basketball this March, homeowners are finally able to lower the temperature on the the thermostat following a rough winter. The “madness” surrounding smart thermostats, however, is hardly waning.
Roughly 33 percent of U.S. broadband households find smart energy devices appealing. Ten percent own a smart energy device, and Honeywell and Nest smart thermostats account for 40 percent of all brands purchased in 2014, according to data from Parks Associates.
Builders are also jumping on the trend. According to a Market Pulse Survey issued to homebuilders by TecHome Builder, homebuilders included smart thermostats in 56 percent their homes in 2014. That number is estimated to jump to 68 percent in 2016.
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Worldwide revenue from smart thermostats will grow from $86 million in 2013 to almost $1.4 billion in 2020, according to a report Navigant Research released last year.
Thermostat and HVAC manufacturers are responding with their own brands of smart thermostats. At January’s International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas and the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Expo in Chicago, HVAC manufacturers walked right past their air-conditioners, mini-split systems and efficient furnaces directly to their walls of thermostat displays.
In this March Madness-inspired bracket, we break down eight (perhaps the Elite Eight?) smart thermostats on the market.
Honeywell originated the iconic round thermostat in 1953 with the T87, a model of which is even in the Smithsonian. While Nest borrowed the shape, Honeywell is asserting its claim to the archetypal shape with the Lyric, a smart Wi-Fi connected thermostat of its own. Since the Lyric’s installation is mobile-based, the downloadable app takes you through the installation process sans manual. Lyric offers geofencing, mobile alerts for filter changes and extreme temperatures, humidity and temperature sensing and adjustment (called the Fine Tune feature), and customizable shortcut buttons on the app. The stat has an optional 24 VAC power wire, and is compatible with most heating, cooling and heat pump systems, but it does not work with electric baseboard heat. Suggested list price is $279.