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Most smart thermostats are compatible with heat pump systems. What is worth noting is the installation process is a little tricker as there are additional wires to manage. Below we discuss the differences in wiring along with specific features to look out for in a heat pump thermostat.

To cut to the chase, our top pick is the Ecobee 4 Smart Thermostat!

Heat Pump Thermostat Wiring

A heat pump works as a heater as well as air conditioner to provide you year-round comfort, no matter what the season is. A heat pump makes use of the refrigeration process for two-way climate control. 

A typical HVAC thermostat has four wires, i.e. call heat, call cool, fan and power. A c-wire is also usually present. In comparison, heat pump thermostats have one wire for calls to heat/cool, another for auxiliary heat along with a couple of additional wires to install.

The reversing wire / changeover wire is used to control the changes in the reversing valve to switch from heat to cool. 

The emergency heat wire deactivates the primary heat pump ensuring the secondary heat source takes over. This is typically used in an emergency, such as the problem with the heat pump unit.

9.7
Top Pick
An Alexa integrated smart thermostat

Ecobee 4 is our top pick for a heat pump thermostat which will save you money in the long run.

Top Features
  • With Ecobee4, you can save up to 23% on your energy bills every year.

  • It has a built-in Alexa to control your thermostat with voice and enjoy Alexa’s other features.

  • With room sensors, you can use multiple room temperatures to influence when to heat or cool.

Ecobee4 has all the salient features that one would wish to have in their heat pump smart thermostat. From built-in Alexa to room sensors accompanied by smart scheduling and energy-saving features, ecobee4 is a great choice.

Design

It has a sleek and stylish design. The thermostat has a square shape with curved edges. The display is a wide touch screen. 

The desired and current temperatures are shown on the screen. It comes in black color only. The ecobee4 also comes with one free sensor in the box. 

Installation and Performance

The installation process is easy compared to other smart thermostats. You can also install it without the need of an expert. 

Thanks to the installation guide in the box and a step-by-step guide in the app that has made installation super easy. 

A power extender kit is included within the box for houses that do not have a c-wire.

Smart scheduling is easier than you can imagine. It uses smart recovery features for energy-efficiency. The remote sensor works well.

The system produces a monthly report of the HVAC system’s usage to keep an eye on energy consumption.

Tech Specs

ManufacturerEcobee
DisplayLCD
Connectivity TechnologyWireless
Smart AssistantAlexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Room SensorsYes
Geo-fencingNo
Smart SchedulingYes
LearningNo
Mobile AppsiOS or Android
What we liked
  • You can program schedules according to your requirements.
  • It comes with a touchscreen interface.
  • It is compatible with smart home gadgets like Google Assistant, IFTTT, HomeKit, etc.
  • It has a stylish design to look presentable in your home.
What we didn't like
  • The learning capabilities are not as mature as the Nest
9.6
Runner-up
A smart learning thermostat

The Google Nest Learning thermostat is smart enough to continuously learn your temperature preferences and automatically evolve its schedule.

Top Features
  • The Google Nest Learning thermostat has a distinguishing smart learning feature.

  • You can connect up to 20 remote sensors (at different places in the house) with a thermostat to control the temperature.

  • Nest smart learning thermostat also has a geofencing feature.

Google Nest Learning (3rd Gen.) Smart Thermostat is among the best thermostats currently available in the market. It saves you energy by efficiently heating your home and pays for itself over time. With the Nest smartphone app, you can control your thermostat remotely.

Design

The Nest thermostat is very stylish, having a glass display with a metallic ring around. You can adjust the temperature by simply rotating the device and selecting the desired options. 

The device clearly shows the temperature, weather condition, and time on the thermostat and it is available in 7 colors.

The learning algorithm controls temperature automatically based on your manual changes. Geo-fencing, smart scheduling, and remote control also add to its performance.

Tech Specs

ManufacturerNest
DisplayTouch-sensitive digital display
Connectivity TechnologyWireless
Smart AssistantGoogle Assistant, Amazon Alexa
Room SensorsYes
Geo-fencingYes
Smart SchedulingYes
LearningYes
Mobile AppsiOS or Android
What we liked
  • It has an elegant design.
  • It is energy efficient and provides complete detail about energy usage.
  • With the Nest app, you can control your thermostat from anywhere. Moreover, it allows up to 10 accounts in the Nest app.
  • It is compatible with voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.
What we didn't like
  • The installation can be tricky for complex HVAC systems
  • While a C-Wire is not a hard requirement, 10%-15% of installations require them
9.4
A smart thermostat with occupancy sensor

The Honeywell T9 Smart Thermostat ensures uniform cooling and heating with room sensors that can detect room occupancy.

Top Features
  • The T9 thermostat can detect motion and occupancy. The sensors can differentiate between someone sitting in the room or just passing by.

  • You can view different rooms’ temperature on the thermostat by using the “Multi-Room Display” option.

  • The room sensors can measure temperature and humidity as well.

Honeywell T9 Smart Thermostat has a great feature of room occupancy detection with the help of sensors. It is compatible with smart home devices (but limited IFTTT functionality). You can easily control your thermostat with the mobile app and also get important alerts.

Design

The T9 thermostat has a simple design. It has a rectangular body enclosed in a white case with a clear touch screen display. The size of the thermostat is bigger compared to its competitors.

Installation and Performance

The installation process of the T9 thermostat is straightforward with its detailed installation guide. A C-wire is recommended to provide continuous power to the device.

When the thermostat starts, you can select your desired settings from the menu. You can select multiple room temperature settings by connecting room sensors. 

The performance of the T9 thermostat is excellent. It instantly follows the change in temperature settings and schedules. Moreover, alerts for humidity and temperature thresholds arrive instantly.

Tech Specs

ManufacturerHoneywell Home
DisplayTouch screen
Connectivity TechnologyWireless
Smart AssistantGoogle Assistant, Amazon Alexa, etc
Room SensorsYes
Geo-fencingYes  (limited functionality)
Smart SchedulingYes (Simple 7-day Programmable schedule)
LearningNo
Mobile AppsiOS, Android
What we liked
  • The installation process is simple.
  • It is compatible with a wide range of voice assistants.
  • The display screen is bright, which is easy to read.
  • It comes with one remote sensor.
  • You can also get temperature and filter alerts in the app.
What we didn't like
  • Difficult to create a complex temperature schedule.
9.2
An energy star certified smart Wi-Fi thermostat

Sensi Touch Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat has a traditional design but offers modern features like geo-fencing, remote access, flexible scheduling, smart alerts, and keypad lock.

Top Features
  • The installation process is super easy as the thermostat’s backend has lighted terminals to connect the wires.

  • The thermostat offers geofencing and smart scheduling.

  • The top-rated app to control the thermostat has a user-friendly interface.

The Sensi Touch Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat comes with some excellent smart features. The traditional look is accompanied by geo-fencing, flexible scheduling, smart app control, smart alerts, and much more.

Design

The Sensi Touch Smart thermostat has a rectangular shape with a 4.3-inch large display touch screen. Unlike other thermostats, the display is clear with easy to read numbers. 

The thermostat offers an adjustable screen brightness option. Moreover, the screen’s color varies with operating modes; it turns red for heating and blue for cooling mode.

Installation and Performance

The installation process is simple, as claimed by the company. You can connect the thermostat to your HVAC system through terminals that are lighted and makes the installation process more comfortable.

A C-wire is not required, but it is preferred to improve the thermostat’s connectivity and battery life.

Tech Specs

ManufacturerEmerson Thermostats
DisplayLCD Touch screen display
Connectivity TechnologyWi-Fi
Smart AssistantGoogle Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Home Kit, Smart Things
Room SensorsNo
Geo-fencingYes 
Smart SchedulingYes
LearningNo
Mobile AppsiOS, Android
What we liked
  • The thermostat and app change color according to heating and cooling mode.
  • The thermostat’s software updates automatically.
  • Smart alerts are generated for unexpected heating and humidity.
  • The thermostat displays humidity levels.
  • It is compatible with many smart home systems.
What we didn't like
  • The thermostat does not produce energy usage reports.
  • Setting up the thermostat requires a mobile app as it cannot be programmed from the display.
9.0
A smart Wi-Fi thermostat

The LUX KONO Smart Thermostat is economical and has flexible scheduling features.

Top Features
  • It offers easy scheduling through smartphone apps.

  • It is compatible with many smart home systems.

  • Using Home and Away modes based on the geofencing feature saves you a lot of energy yearly.

The beautifully designed LUX KONO smart thermostat has geo-fencing with a smart scheduling feature that allows you to save on your energy bills. You can control your thermostat remotely using the app. Moreover, it offers compatibility with smart home assistants.

Design

It has a smart and stylish design that has a nice appearance on your room wall. It has a glass body with a round dial for quick settings and a small LCD.

It is available in five different colored changeable faceplates. The LCDs show the current room temperature.

Installation and Performance

The installation process requires connecting a C-wire to the thermostat.

The thermostat is quite responsive and follows new temperature settings immediately. With a calendar feature, you can create heating and cooling schedules.

Tech Specs

ManufacturerLUX
DisplayStainless steel body with a small LCD to display temperature.
Connectivity TechnologyWi-Fi
Smart AssistantGoogle Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT
Room SensorsNo
Geo-fencingYes 
Smart SchedulingYes
LearningNo
Mobile AppsiOS, Android
What we liked
  • It has a utility cost estimator that keeps you aware of your energy usage.
  • The thermostat has a sleek and elegant design.
  • The installation process is easy.
  • There is a quick dial for manual temperature settings.
What we didn't like
  • It is not compatible with dedicated smart home systems like Z-Wave hubs.
  • Difficult to create complex schedules.
  • Motion sensor feature is not available.
  • Lacks the learning capability of the Nest.

Specific Features to look out for in a Heat Pump Thermostat

Number of Heating and Cooling Stages

Today’s HVAC systems increase their efficiency by using staging. Staging allows for achieving the desired temperature over time. To benefit from such systems, you should choose a thermostat that supports most stages.

The most straightforward thermostat supports only one heating and one cooling operation. It is labeled as 1H/1C, i.e., one heating stage and one cooling stage support. (i.e. On or Off) 

Many brands offer multistage thermostats that can support more than one heating and cooling stage. To utilize the secondary methods, you need an efficient thermostat with more heating and cooling stages like 2H/2C (2 heating and 2 cooling stages), 3H/2C (3 heating and 2 cooling stages) so on.

Auxiliary power supply

Extreme cold weather conditions can be challenging for your heat pump to achieve the specified temperature. If your air-source heat pump fails to keep up with the heating requirements, it goes for a secondary heating method that is usually electric heat or Auxiliary heat. 

When the temperature difference between the current temperature and the desired temperature is significant, the thermostat energizes the electric heat strip. It is also known as auxiliary heat or emergency heat.

Emergency Heat

With the “Emergency Heat” option, you can manually switch to your HVAC system’s secondary heating mode. On cold days, when your primary heating mode is unable to meet your temperature settings, the thermostat automatically turns on the secondary heat mode, which is typically an electric heat strip.

You can also select secondary mode as your primary heating mode if you want instant heating in your home. But this will surely cost you a lot as it consumes electricity and disables the primary heat pump.

Needs to support heating and cooling

The heat pump thermostat is specifically programmed to manage heating and cooling on the same system. The heat pump uses a refrigeration process for heating and cooling purposes. 

The reversing valve in the heat pump facilitates cooling to heating and vice versa. The reversing valve is energized (in most cases) with 24 volts for the cooling cycle.

Smart Thermostat Features to Consider

Protects equipment

Short-cycling refers to unusual and frequent switching on and off of the HVAC system. In such a situation, the system doesn’t get enough time to switch on and off properly. This can cause damage to your system.

The smart thermostat calls include a delay to give proper time to the system to start-up or shut down completely to avoid this situation. Thus, your equipment remains safe from any damage.

Programmable

A programmable thermostat facilitates you to set schedules according to your needs. You can select the temperature for different weekdays or even other times on the same day.

Daily: You can set a daily schedule that the thermostat repeats after 24 hours.

5-2: You can set one schedule for five weekdays and another schedule for weekends.

5-1-1:  In this type, you can program one schedule for five days and separate plans for weekends.

7 Days: You can program the schedule for each weekday according to your preferences.

Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing allows you to save on energy with home and away modes. With the smartphone app of the thermostat, you can set an imaginary fence around your home. 

As you cross the line, the thermostat turns on or off as programmed. In this way, you always enter your home in a comfortable environment and avoid heating or cooling an empty house.

Remote control

Now, you can control your thermostat remotely. You don’t need to manage it manually. You can change your settings anytime, anywhere.

Smartphone apps allow you to manage your thermostat settings. You can create schedules, switch on or off your thermostat, change temperature preferences, and much from anywhere in the world.

You can easily download the app for iOS or Android smartphones.

Style

Of course, your thermostat has to be stylish to match up with your home decor.

Many brands offer elegant and stylish thermostats with touch screen displays. Sometimes you can choose from various color options.

Installation & C-Wire

The heat pump thermostat’s installation process is made simpler with the installation guide that comes with the thermostat. Also, most brands offer a complete video guide for installing the thermostat.

Some thermostats do not require a C-wire. These are easy to install. At the same time, most thermostats require installing a C-wire to power the thermostat from your HVAC system. 

It is recommended to engage a professional if you are not familiar with electrical wiring.

The Verdict

We have compared the top 5 heat pump thermostats that will best suit your home. You can compare the pros and cons of each to select the one that fits your needs.

Also, look for the essential features that any heat pump thermostat must have to function correctly with your HVAC system. If you have any questions, you can surely leave a comment. We'd be happy to assist!

9.7
Top Pick
An Alexa integrated smart thermostat

Ecobee 4 is our top pick for a heat pump thermostat which will save you money in the long run.

Top Features
  • With Ecobee4, you can save up to 23% on your energy bills every year.

  • It has a built-in Alexa to control your thermostat with voice and enjoy Alexa’s other features.

  • With room sensors, you can use multiple room temperatures to influence when to heat or cool.

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