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In the contemporary era, integrating heat pump systems with smart thermostats is typically simple and trouble-free.

Specific features needed to support heat pump systems include …

  • Controlling auxiliary / emergency heat
  • Managing multiple stages of heating and cooling
  • Automatically switching between heating and cooling modes within a single unit via the Reversing Valve
  • Utilizing smart algorithms for energy efficiency

Below, I’ve created a list of the five best heat pump-compatible thermostats, discussing their key characteristics and how they could be a good fit for your home.

So, let’s get into it!

9.0 ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium
Top PickA ton of features packed into a sleek touchscreen display
8.0 Google Nest Thermostat
Runner-UpIntelligent features for added comfort and energy savings
7.8 Honeywell T5 Smart Thermostat
More affordable then the Nest and Ecobee, yet still packs a lot of features
7.5 Sensi Touch 2
Great Mobile App and Remote Functions
7.2 Amazon Smart Thermostat
Budget OptionAffordable and Easy to Set Up

How Thermostat Wiring Differs in a Heat Pump System

Solved Thermostat & No C-Wire
At a glance, the wiring on a heat pump and conventional forced air systems might look the same, except for the O/B wire.

In simple terms, a heat pump works as a heater, as well as an air conditioner to provide year-round comfort, no matter the season.

Heat pump-specific wiring setups rely on the yellow “Y” wire to call for the heat pump (both heating and cooling). While doing so, it switches between heating and cooling by energizing or de-energizing the O/B wire, which controls the reversing valve. 

The white W wire (which usually stands for heat), is used to call in the auxiliary or emergency heating system.

Apart from that, you have the regular G wire for the blower fan, R and C wires for power, and sometimes, an L wire (in older models) for signaling the auxiliary/emergency heating modes. 

All the thermostats listed on this page are “Smart Thermostats”. If you are looking for a “non-smart” programmable thermostat instead, I recommend the Honeywell touchscreen model.

My Recommendation

Off the back of my research and experience testing a selection of smart thermostats, for heat pump systems I highly recommend the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium

It’s a fully-featured smart thermostat that can help you save up to 26% per year on heating and cooling costs. Plus, it’s one of the few thermostats that directly supports Apple HomeKit.

Alternatively, the Nest thermostat is also a very solid option. It’s compatible with many of the popular smart home ecosystems and offers intelligent features to help you maximize energy savings on your heat pump system. 

Best Smart Thermostats for Heat Pumps

9.0
Top Pick
A ton of features packed into a sleek touchscreen display

With dozens of smart features and additional sensors, the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is a fully-featured device that helps you control temperatures and save on energy costs.

Specifications
  • Display: 4.1” x 4.1” Touchscreen display
  • Sensors and Detectors: Temperature, Humidity, Motion/Occupancy, Air Quality, Smoke, and Speakers
  • Battery Backup: No
  • Support for Remote Temperature Sensors: Yes
  • Support for Ventilation/HVAC Accessories: Yes, but only 1 at a time
  • Voice Control: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri.

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is a wired smart thermostat that can work with many of the popular smart home hubs/assistants. Additionally, it features a dedicated mobile app that helps you monitor and control the thermostat using your smartphone.

Sensors

This thermostat comes with high-tech sensors for accurate climate control and it’s compatible with ecobee remote indoor temperature sensors, allowing you to detect the temperature in different rooms and control the heat pump as necessary.

Reported Issues

However, it’s not perfect as some users have reported sensors giving out inaccurate temperature and humidity readings.

Also, the thermostat, due to its large feature-set, tends to be more expensive than the competition.

What I liked
  • Features a built-in smoke alarm.
  • Smart speaker and voice control capabilities.
  • Sleek, user-friendly design.
  • Seamlessly integrates with many popular smart home ecosystems, including Apple HomeKit
What I didn't like
  • May require professional installation due to wiring complexity.
  • Air quality and humidity sensors are not always accurate.
  • The price point is higher compared to other smart thermostats.
  • Device testers have reported a lack of signal range/stability with certain smart home hubs.
8.0
Runner-Up
Intelligent features for added comfort and energy savings

With a heavy emphasis on automation and remote monitoring, the Google Nest thermostat is the de-facto smart thermostat.

Specifications
  • Display: 2.4” touchscreen color LCD
  • Sensors and Detectors: Temperature, Humidity, Motion/Occupancy, Ambient Light
  • Battery Backup: Yes
  • Support for Remote Temperature Sensors: Yes
  • Support for Ventilation Systems/HVAC Accessories: No
  • Voice Control: Alexa, Google Assistant

The Nest thermostat is a versatile thermostat that offers impressive customization and smart functionality. This includes voice control with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, along with numerous features like remote monitoring, geo-fencing, and nest airwave that improve overall efficiency.

It's designed for easy installation including everything you need to set it up.

Nest Thermostat 3

Automated Features

All good things aside, many users have reported issues with its intelligent features. They have found that it’s not always accurate with its suggestions and doesn’t do a great job of detecting user presence or learning their exact routines.

What I liked
  • Easy to install and set up
  • Learns your routine and provides suggestions to maximize comfort and efficiency
  • Use geofencing and motion sensing to improve Home/Away assist
  • Include smart features to improve HVAC system efficiency and temperature readings (Such as Nest Airwave and Sunblock)
What I didn't like
  • Many users have reported issues with Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Device testers have found the automated learning features to be somewhat inaccurate.
  • Long-time users have reported that their units stopped working after a few years.
  • The premium price tag for this device might not always be justified.
  • Despite having a battery backup, Google recommends installing a C-wire for better power stability.
7.8
More affordable then the Nest and Ecobee, yet still packs a lot of features

The Honeywell Home T5 Smart Thermostat is a well-designed smart thermostat that's got the essentials covered at a fraction of the price.

Specifications
  • Display: 3.5” x 3.5” Touchscreen LCD
  • Sensors and Detectors: Temperature
  • Battery Backup: No
  • Support for Remote Temperature Sensors: No
  • Support for Ventilation Systems/HVAC Accessories: No
  • Voice Control: Alexa, Google Assistant

The T5 Smart Thermostat is a user-friendly smart thermostat with a sleek display. 

It's an easy-to-install thermostat that can handle heat pump systems with efficiency, comfort, and longevity in mind. 

Mobile App and Compatibility with Smart Home Ecosystems

The programmable thermostat features a touchscreen display and can also be remotely monitored and controlled via the Resideo mobile app. 

It syncs well with other smart devices like Alexa and Google Home, facilitating a unified smart home setup.

Also, innovative features like Geofence Technology, Vacation Mode, and Auto-Away Mode allow automatic temperature adjustments based on your location or schedule.

Notable Issues

That being said, the T5 Smart Thermostat does have certain flaws, primarily having to do with its Wi-Fi connection. 

Many users have faced repeated instances where the device struggles to maintain its Wi-Fi connection, leading to a mobile app that’s laggy and unable to remotely control the thermostat via the app.

What I liked
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Remote control and monitoring via a dedicated mobile app
  • Compatible with multiple voice assistants and smart platforms (including Apple HomeKit)
  • Reasonable price tag
  • Ability to customize temperature alerts and filter change reminders
What I didn't like
  • Reconfiguring advanced settings can be somewhat tedious.
  • Testers have reported issues with Wi-Fi stability
  • Lacks a humidity sensor unlike most other smart thermostats
  • Many users have reported the app being clunky or somewhat outdated in appearance
7.5
Great Mobile App and Remote Functions

The Sensi Touch 2 thermostat is another great alternative for a smart thermostat. It’s energy-star certified, easy to control, and helps you monitor temperatures remotely through a well-designed mobile app.

Specifications
  • Display: 4.3” Color Touchscreen
  • Sensors and Detectors: Temperature and Humidity
  • Battery Backup: No
  • Support for Remote Temperature Sensors: Yes
  • Support for Ventilation Systems/HVAC Accessories: No
  • Voice Control: Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings

Sensi Touch 2 includes a decent amount of intelligent features and support for smart home ecosystems, making it a viable option for any heat pump system.

I like its user-friendly setup and app, which makes it very easy to digest energy usage reports, thermostat readings, and settings.

Energy Efficiency

Also, unlike its older version, Sensi Touch 2 focuses on energy efficiency. It’s managed to fulfill strict Title 24 energy rules along with earning an Energy Star certification, which I find impressive.

Power and Connectivity Issues

However, it does have its issues: primarily with the Wi-Fi stability and a lack of battery backup. 

So if you’re hoping to go for this thermostat, improving the Wi-Fi signal and installing a C-wire is a crucial step.

What I liked
  • Easy and quick DIY installation
  • Compatible with remote temperature sensors
  • Large, responsive touchscreen
  • Intuitive mobile app for monitoring temperatures and controlling the thermostat
What I didn't like
  • Similar to the Nest, some users have reported issues with Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Device testers have noted display problems in some units
  • Doesn't support Apple Homekit
  • C-wire required for installation; no battery backup option is available
7.2
Budget Option
Affordable and Easy to Set Up

The Amazon Smart Thermostat is a hassle-free solution to upgrade to a smart thermostat and save energy at the same time.

Specifications
  • Display Size: 3.56” x 3.56”
  • Sensors and Detectors: Temperature and Humidity
  • Battery Backup: No
  • Support for Remote Temperature Sensors: No
  • Support for Ventilation Systems/HVAC Accessories: Not mentioned
  • Voice Control: Alexa only

Amazon's Smart Thermostat is all about saving energy, and maybe, some cash too upfront. It's ENERGY-STAR certified and provides good value for money.

This thermostat supports Alexa, so it can seamlessly connect with the Alexa app or an echo to help you issue voice commands and extend its smart functionality.

On top of that, the initial setup is very straightforward, with the Alexa app guiding you every step of the way. It’s DIY-friendly and requires common tools for installation. 

Notable Issues

Although network issues aren’t a major problem for the Amazon Smart thermostat, testers have found several issues with the temperature readings. 

So in certain units, the built-in thermometer can be a bit off, especially when there’s sunlight or problems with insulation in the space.

What I liked
  • Relatively more affordable compared to other smart thermostats.
  • Easy and guided installation process.
  • Integrates well with Alexa for effortless control.
  • Minimalistic interface that’s easy to read and control
What I didn't like
  • Device testers have reported minor issues with Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Limited scheduling options, supporting only three temperature presets.
  • Lacks a microphone; hence, requires an Alexa-Enabled device (like an Echo) to receive direct voice commands.
  • The thermostat display cannot customize advanced settings and features.
  • Requires a C-wire or C-wire adapter for installation.
  • Incompatible with Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, or Google Home.

Decision Factors When Buying a Smart Thermostat for a Heat Pump System

There are several things you need to consider when deciding to purchase a heat pump thermostat. 

  • Compatibility with Heat Pump Systems: Make sure the thermostat and its wiring support your heat pump system and auxiliary heating stages (if you have any).
  • Ease of Installation: Thermostats with built-in batteries make installation easier. Otherwise, you’d have to set up a C-wire adapter or a new C-wire to provide power.
  • Smart Home Integration: Ensuring the smart thermostat is already compatible with your existing smart home ecosystem will make home automation more flexible and convenient.
  • Energy Efficiency: A thermostat with intelligent functions and settings that help you save energy is always a plus.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Large touchscreen displays and intuitive buttons will make it easier for you and your family members who don’t always have access to the corresponding mobile app or smart hub.

Compatibility With Your Heat Pump

Heat Pump
Most user manuals of thermostats will indicate their compatibility with heat pump systems

Before choosing a thermostat for your heat pump, compatibility is crucial. So no matter how impressive features there might be, if it's not compatible with your specific heat pump system, it's not the right fit for you.

I’ve made sure to pick smart thermostats that are fully compatible with most heat pump systems. So whether that’s the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium, or, Honeywell Home T5, compatibility shouldn't be an issue. 

However, if it's still worth double checking before taking the plunge.

Ease of Installation

thermostat 10
The physical installation of a thermostat essentially remains the same.

Although the fundamental installation process remains the same, factors like the requirement for a C-Wire can make a DIY installation more complicated than it needs to be. 

Most devices listed here require a C-Wire. For the Google Nest thermostat, while it has a battery backup, in a lot of cases a C-Wire may still be needed. You can always use the Nest Power Connector if you don't have one.

It's definitely worth checking the power requirements of the thermostat and your system itself. If you already have a C-wire, you’re good to go.

Smart Home Integration

Best Router for Smart Home
Combining your smart home devices into a single network or smart home hub can improve their accessibility and responsiveness

If you’re considering a smart thermostat for your heat pump system, future-proofing it with your existing (or future) smart home platform is a must. 

So if you’re in the Google Home/Nest ecosystem a Google Nest Thermostat makes more sense; seamlessly syncing with Google Assistant and allowing you to integrate the thermostat with Google Home’s routines and other smart home devices. 

Similarly, the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is the best option if you have other ecobee devices, such as their door and window break-in sensors, or an Apple Homekit setup.

So pick a thermostat that can work with your existing smart devices.

Energy Efficiency

Nest Thermostat Flashign Yellow
Make sure your thermostat includes smart and safety functions that prevent short cycling and improve efficiency of the system

The ability of a smart thermostat to run daily schedules and adjust to energy-saving temperatures when nobody is at home can save hundreds of dollars down the line.

So when talking about efficiency, let's talk about the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium. It's ENERGY STAR certified and with the help of additional room temperature sensors, can reduce energy waste by preventing overheating/overcooling.

Alternatively, you can also look at the Google Nest Learning Thermostat. With its intelligent features and Home/Away Assist, it can learn from your usage patterns, detect your presence and adjust temperatures when you're not at home, effectively driving down unnecessary consumption. 

So doing a little more research regarding the energy-saving features of a smart thermostat is paramount since it helps you cut back significantly on utility costs. 

User-Friendly Interface

Can Nest thermostat work without Wi Fi

When it comes to the competition between smart thermostats, clear presentation, and easy controls are always the deciding factor. 

Take the Google Nest Thermostat for example, its digital display combined with a modern take on the rotary dial mechanism makes it one of the most popular smart thermostats. The Nest thermostat is easy to read and controlling the temperature is very intuitive.

If not, consider the Amazon Smart Thermostat. The large, yet minimalistic display highlights the only information you need to know. On top of that, its minimal three-button control scheme makes it very convenient to adjust the temperature and system modes. 

Look for Minimal Interfaces that Hide Complexity Behind a Menu Button

So, while scouting for thermostats, make sure to prioritize user-friendly interfaces, with an easy-to-navigate display and controls that erase fuss. Don’t worry about advanced settings since you can configure these through the app or inside a dedicated menu in the display itself.

Research Methodology

To figure out which thermostats should make this list, I conducted thorough research online along with some hands-on research with a selection of devices.

Right off the bat, I prioritized compatibility with heat pump systems and evaluated factors as power requirements, ease of use, and available smart features.

Finally, I eliminated devices that had significant drawbacks, making sure to whittle down to five options that are the most reliable and provide the best value.

9.0 ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium
Top PickA ton of features packed into a sleek touchscreen display
8.0 Google Nest Thermostat
Runner-UpIntelligent features for added comfort and energy savings

Sources

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