Smart thermostats are one of the best connected devices homeowners should first buy for their home. Not only do they help save money on heating and cooling bills, they do their job making your home feel comfortable year-round. However, it's important to know whether you can actually install a smart thermostat before picking on up at the store — not all homes can. If you've checked, and your home is compatible, we have what we think is one of the best connected smart thermostats for you: the Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat.
What is a Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat?
The Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat is a connected device that monitors and controls your heating and cooling system. Connecting to your home's Wi-Fi network, the thermostat is run via the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort app or from its touchscreen. From either, you can view and change your current heating cooling system settings, while also checking the temperatures both inside and outside your home. Schedules can be set, the fan can be turned on and off — and we found it very easy to use.
Setting up the Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat is simple — if you have the right wiring behind your current thermostat. Before purchasing the Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat — or any smart thermostat — you need to check behind your current thermostat to see if you have a C-wire, or common wire. This wire powers your smart Wi-Fi Thermostat, so it can control your heating and cooling system.
Most homes in the U.S. and Europe. do not have a C-wire. To check, unscrew your current thermostat and check how many wires are connected. If you see two wires than you do not have a C-wire — which means a smart thermostat will not work in your home. You can install a C-wire, but you'll need to hire a HVAC professional. If you have more than two wires connected, you might have a C-wire but you still need to check the diagram of your wiring with that needed for a smart thermostat.
For our test, we took off the old thermostat off the wall and saw 4 wires. We were happy to see we had more than two wires, until we realized two of the wires were for our boiler and the other two were for our central AC system. We needed to install a C-wire.
On our test house, we hired a HVAC professional to do a C-wire installation, which took a few hours. This can cost anywhere between $300 to $600, depending on how long a wire they must run and how complicated your heating and cooling system is in your smart home. Our installation set us back more $300 because it got complicated connecting our cooling (Central AC) with our gas boiler. (You can learn more about the C-wire by visiting GearBrain's What You Need To Know About Smart Thermostats & C-Wires.)
If you do have a C-wire, installing a Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat or any smart thermostat is relatively easy. Just take a picture of your current thermostat's wiring before uninstalling. Next, disconnect the power to your healing and cooling system which is most likely in your breaker box. Once power is disconnected, label your wires as you disconnect them, this will make it easier for you to connect with your Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat. Then mount the Honeywell wall plate either using existing screws or the screws and anchors Honeywell supplies. For our tests, we had to drill new holes for the Honeywell wall mount.
Once the wall mount is secure, begin to insert your wires into the Honeywell terminal. This is where the picture of our old wiring helped. Our HVAC guy even referred to it as he connected the new wiring to the terminals. This was because we had a complicated system and were connecting two types of energy systems to the smart thermostat.
The instructions for installing a Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat are easy to follow. Honeywell did a nice job simplifying how to connect the wires, and there's also a video you can watch — if you have a C-wire — by going to wifithermostat.com/videos.
Once the thermostat is connected, turn the power back on and follow the options on screen before connecting your thermostat to your home's Wi-Fi Network. At this stage, if you have multiple smart thermostats, you can name them here. For our tests, we were setting up two zones (one upstairs and one down in the living room.)
After inputting all our system information, we connected to our home Wi-Fi Network. We clicked "yes" to connect to our Wi-Fi network and followed the prompt. We next added our home's Wi-Fi network information and registered our thermostats, which required we go online to the Honeywell web address on our thermostat screen. Make sure you have your Honeywell thermostat's MAC ID and MAC CRC handy. These numbers should appear on the screen as you register your thermostats. If not, they are listed on the Thermostat ID cards inside your Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat box.
If you decide not to register your thermostat at this stage, Honeywell will display an orange alert button on your screen until you do. (We registered so we didn't have to see the orange box on our screen.) You can also register online at mytotalconnectcomfort.com.
For the last step, download the iOS or Android mobile app to download the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort app. Note that the Honeywell Lyric app will not work with a Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat. Once downloaded, follow the instructions to connect your Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat.
What can you do with a Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat?
The Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat lets you control your system's fan, mode (i.e. heat, cool, off, auto) and adjust program schedules including those that are preset to save energy.
A smart thermostat is meant to help you save money on your heating and cooling bills — and the Honeywell's Smart Wi-Fi thermostat makes that easy. There are preset energy savings schedules for when you're home or away, and you can easily customize them through the thermostat itself or on its screen. We found out energy usage changed through this energy saving mode.
Honeywell also includes a vacation mode, which can also be customized, if you plan to be out of the house for an extended period. You can also use this if you've planned an at-home day, when your thermostat is normally set as if you're at the office. Just schedule it once, and when the holiday is over, your smart thermostat automatically returns to its original schedule.
Another nice feature lets you change the color on the touchscreen to match your wall color. In the settings tab on your thermostat touchscreen, hit color themes and select your color, which you can customize by following simple instructions.
Honeywell Smart thermostat gets updated periodically, but as long as it's connected to your home Wi-Fi network, these updates happen seamlessly. If it's not connected, your thermostat's performance could be impacted. We recommended keeping your thermostat connected to the Wi-Fi network at all times.
Honeywell's mobile app also includes a marketplace section, which highlights a special program from our local energy service, PSE&G. They offered us $85 and credits if we granted them access. The program is designed to optimize our energy usage during high usage periods directly through the Honeywell smart thermostat. We were hesitant about letting a third party have access to the thermostat, but we granted permission. We'll keep an eye on it, but for now, we got $85 and a possible cost savings during the next heat wave or cold spell. You'll need to check the marketplace yourself to see if your local energy company is runs a similar program.
One of the reasons we like Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat is its compatibility, and the list of connected devices it works with is extensive:
- Apple Homekit
- Google Home
- Amazon Echo
- Samsung SmartThings
- Microsoft Cortana
- Logitech's Harmony Hub
- Panasonic Smart Home
- Iris by Lowes
- Compass Control
- Home8 Smart Home Systems
- Energy Hub
- Simple Control
- Kwikset's UniKey for Kevo
- Encycle Smarter Energy (SwarmStat)
- Lutron Switches
What can't you do with your Honeywell Smart Thermostat?
In our testing, we found a few things lacking with our Honeywell smart thermostat. To start, if you have multiple zones in your home, you need multiple smart thermostats, as we do. For our test house, we bought a second Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat to control the second zone. While you can control multiple zones from the Honeywell mobile app, you can only control one zone per each smart thermostat.
Another issue we found was your Honeywell thermostat is registered to just one email address. If you have multiple people living in your house, each person needs to use the same log-in for the app and website. And you can't invite users to control your thermostat. If something goes wrong with you thermostat, alerts only go to the email and users with the app.
Where to Buy
Honeywell's Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat costs $179, a competitive price compared to Nest and the ecobee4, which are both $249. You can pick one up at major retail outlets like The Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy and Walmart, and also online from major digital retailers like Amazon, Target and specialty consumer electronic and home improvement stores like Sears and Fry's. Here is a link to Honeywell's retail partner's page. You can also buy the Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat on Honeywell's site .
Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat is good option for controlling energy usage and maintaining temperature settings in today's smart homeowner. We like how compatible the smart thermostat is with many best of breed connected devices — this can help you integrate it more easily into your home. The price point is also attractive, and the feature set easy to use, even if you're not very tech savvy. We would have liked to see this Honeywell thermostat work with the Lyric app, but for now it doesn't.
Whether you have a second home, and need to control your heating and cooling system remotely, or you want to save money in your existing home, we recommend the Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi thermostat. It's a very durable smart thermostat that we think could save you money on your energy bill. Just remember to make sure you have a C-wire before buying this thermostat or any smart thermostat. If you don't, be ready to hire your own HVAC guy just as we did.
- Easy to use
- Compatible with other connected devices
- Honeywell's heating and cooling experience
- Can save you money on your energy bills
- Needs a C-Wire
- Works with one zone
- Alerts go to only one person
- Not compatible with Honeywell's Lyric app