Amazon recently broke into the smart thermostat scene with its first-ever thermostat the Amazon Smart Thermostat. Although it’s not as feature-rich or sophisticated compared to the latest and greatest that Google or ecobee has to offer, it does cover the basics for just $60, more affordable than its major competitors.
The Amazon Smart Thermostat design is simple. The entire device is made of white matte plastic, which looks sophisticated and feels nice to the touch. Information is shown via LED lighting, which illuminates through the translucent white faceplate. Amazon partnered with Honeywell Home to develop the Amazon Smart Thermostat, which comes as no surprise since the device’s backplate looks nearly identical to Honeywell’s T line of smart thermostats. The Amazon Smart thermostat even supports Honeywell’s C-Wire Power Adapter (optional).
The face of the thermostat displays all the key information you need, like the temperature, thermostat mode, and control arrows. Although, the display may not be ideal for boiler systems. For example, when connected to a forced air system a fan icon appears to indicate your system fan is running. A fan and flame or snowflake icon mean your forced air system is actively either heating or cooling. However, since boiler systems don’t make use of your system fan, the fan icon won’t be displayed when your boiler is being run, and there are no other visual cues to indicate that it’s being run. Not a huge deal, but I couldn’t leave any of you boiler fans out in the cold by not mentioning this point.
I consider compatibility with the Energy Dashboard within the Alexa app as the Amazon Smart Thermostat’s biggest advantage over the competition. It provides energy usage insights for most Alexa-enabled devices, which has huge potential to help you manage your home’s overall energy usage.
Competitors like ecobee and Nest also provide energy reports, but without insights from the other devices in your home, managing your overall energy usage isn’t nearly as achievable as with Alexa Energy Dashboard. Although, it’s important to note that the energy reporting within Alexa’s Energy Dashboard isn’t as precise as what you would get with devices like the Sense Energy Monitor, which connects directly to your electrical box.
Limited menu options
Most of Amazon’s Smart Thermostat settings are not accessible via the thermostat screen. Most settings are only available through the Alexa app and are basic compared to what competitors offer. For example, Google Nest thermostats provide the option to adjust the point at which your heating or cooling turns on; 0.5 degrees above/below your desired temperature for more comfort, all the way to 2.5 degrees above/below for more savings. Also, ecobee thermostats allow you to adjust the time it takes before your thermostat automatically goes into “Away” mode via their eco+ feature.
Amazon Smart Thermostat Compatibility
The Amazon Smart Thermostat is compatible with most low-voltage (24VAC) forced air systems, like furnaces, and heat pumps. It’s also compatible with boiler systems, although the installation for boiler systems can be much more complex since many are 2-wire setups, and you need at least 3 wires for the Amazon Smart Thermostat to power on.
Amazon Smart Thermostat & Alexa Hunches
The Amazon Smart Thermostat makes use of Alexa Hunches through automatic temperature adjustments. For example, Alexa may have a hunch that everyone has gone to bed and will adjust the indoor temperature for comfort, based on the time of day, your GPS location, and limited use of and/or interactions with Alexa-enabled devices in your home.
Likewise, Alexa may have a hunch that nobody is home and will set your thermostat to away for energy savings, based on your GPS location and limited use of and/or interactions with Alexa-enabled devices in your home.
The use of Alexa-enabled devices to sense when you’re in bed or away is a very helpful feature and provides an intuitive ambient computing experience. I personally still like to have full control over the temperature of my thermostat. Although, I can see Alexa Hunches being valuable for people that are always on the go, and that doesn’t have time to keep fiddling with their thermostats.
Controlling the Amazon Smart Thermostat through Alexa hunches is optional, and will override your existing thermostat schedule.
Unfortunately, the Amazon Smart Thermostat is not compatible with remote temperature sensors. It’s my opinion that remote temperature sensors are necessary in most cases. Thermostats that don’t make use of remote sensors are only monitoring and maintaining the temperature in the immediate space in which they’re installed. In many cases, this area is the living room or another area where more precise temperature monitoring is helpful, like your bedroom. This is where remote sensors become helpful. You can place one in a bedroom to more precisely maintain the room temperature while you sleep, or in your office while you work.
I’d love to see Amazon make use of the temperature and humidity sensors built into its Echo devices. These could theoretically be used to control the Amazon Smart Thermostat remotely, similar to what ecobee’s SmartSensors do. Sadly, there’s no news of Amazon extending the use of the temperature and humidity sensors in its Echo devices to support the Amazon Smart Thermostat.
The Amazon Smart Thermostat provides the basics of what we expect of smart thermostats, at a much cheaper price point. If you don’t already have a smart thermostat, and the cost of upgrading has been holding you back, then the Amazon Smart Thermostat is probably your best choice. Otherwise, if you prefer the additional features that higher-priced thermostats provide, like remote sensors, and advanced settings, then you’re probably better off getting or sticking with brands like ecobee or Google Nest.
David is a smart home enthusiast who's always looking for new ways to use technology to make life easier. Currently working as a Customer Success Manager in the tech industry, David researches and writes about smart home tech in his spare time.
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