10 Best Smart Thermostats for Heat Pumps (Buyer’s Guide)

Heat pumps are one of the most efficient HVAC systems a home can have. However, this system can require a bit of specialization, especially from its thermostat. When it’s time for a new thermostat, you may want to go for the Smart Thermostat option. Are there smart thermostats that work with heat pump systems?

There are many available ones for you to choose from when looking for a smart thermostat for your heat pump system. Many companies work within design specifications to create systems that will work optimally with your heat pump while adding the high-tech options of modern thermostats.

When choosing from these, it’s important you consider a couple of things before you set your mind to purchase a specific thermostat. What kind of heat pump does your home have? What do you expect from your smart thermostat?

Is there a way to narrow the field of options? We’ve compiled a list of the best smart thermostats for either kind of heat pump. Just keep reading. 

Best Smart Thermostat for Air Source Heat Pump

Does your home have an air source heat pump? Also known as an ASHP, the air source heat pump uses exterior air to provide the interior with comfortable air.

How do you know if you have one? Think back to when you first were told about your HVAC system or review its paperwork. You may have been told directly or indirectly.

If your installer described it as cooling or heating air drawn in from the outside, then more than likely, you have an air source heat pump. You may have also heard the term Air to Air, which is another term for an air source heat pump. Some smart thermostats work exceptionally for this sort of HVAC system. 

Honeywell TH Series Wi-Fi

Honeywell is an old standby in the development of quality thermostats for home use. They have knocked it out of the park with their TH Series Wi-Fi edition smart home thermostat. This system has a number of quality features, but the biggest feature of them all is affordability. It will not cost you an arm and a leg to get this fancy thermostat in your home.

Using the Total Connect Comfort app, you have full control of your home’s heating and cooling no matter where you are. This means that while you are away, you can set it lower and then turn it up for when you are about to come back home. It also has a gorgeous touch screen allowing you to control it at home easily.

While it does have a ton of amazing features, the only drawback is that it will require professional installation. This is not a system you will be able to just purchase and install all by your lonesome.

There is specific wiring that goes into making this smart thermostat all that it can be, so if you choose this option, be sure to contact a professional. 

Find the Honeywell TH Series Wi-Fi here.

• Five-Year WarrantyEasy to Read HD touchscreen for the optimal home user interface.
• Alerts you when it is time to change the filter so you can always ensure your system is clean.
• Has an Energy Saver Mode to help with reducing power consumption.
• You can program for seven days from the interface or your Wi-Fi Connection.
• Has an app so you can adjust on the go.
• Connect it with the rest of your smart home devices to create quality home automation.
• Relays humidity levels and other indoor and outdoor information for you on its screen.
• Must be installed by a professional.
• Decent pricing, but not the best.
• Absolutely needs a C-wire installed to communicate effectively with the heat pump.

Honeywell Home RTH Series

Not looking for a super fancy system, but still want some smart technology? Honeywell is back with another offer, the Home RTH series smart thermostat.

While it does not have all of the bells and whistles like its TH series cousin, it does provide touchscreen capability and home comfort programming options

The big thing with the RTH series is the smart response technology. What is a smart response? For many homeowners, once they set a program into their thermostat, they expect that at certain times it will be certain temperatures. The smart response allows your system to kick in to prepare the home, ensuring that it’s always the right temp at the right time.

If you are more interested in a system that will allow you to dictate thermostat controls, this system may not be the right smart thermostat for you. It does not have Wi-Fi communication capability, and this can be a major drawback.

The idea of smart response technology may also seem a little weird since your system is thinking on its own, taking the user out of the equation.   

Check out the Home RTH Thermostat here.

• No crazy wiring needed: Easy to install.
• Simple green digital display with a backlight so you can use and read whenever you want.
• Alerts you when it is time to change the filter so you can always ensure your system is clean.
• No hard-to-navigate menus: Everything is easily accessible from the main screen.
• It has a clock.
• You can adjust from heat to cool on the fly depending on your needs for the day.
• Smart response technology tries to learn your needs so it can adjust the temperature for you!
• Only a One-Year Warranty.
• No Wi-Fi programming or monitoring capacity for this system.
• Not many people appreciate Honeywell’s Smart Response Technology since it removes users from the equation.

Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

Have you ever been enjoying an activity in your home, realized it was too hot or cold, but did not want to set down your activity to go fix the thermostat?

What if you could just tell your smart home to do it? Welcome to the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control. This system works with Alexa and other smart home technology to provide continuous comfort for you.

While you can program it, a very cool feature of this thermostat is its sensor communication. You can set sensors in the most commonly used rooms in your home that work with the Ecobee.

It then takes readings that allow it to continuously adjust temperature. If it senses you are away, it will reduce the use. If it senses you are home, it will warm things up!

However, what if you do a lot of stationary tasks while at home? It is a fact: little movement from the occupants can trip the sensors, telling it, “Hey, no one is here.”

This can be a downside for individuals who, for example, have a desk job from home. The Ecobee SmartThermostat also requires specialized installation, so that you will need an HVAC technician on hand.

Take a look at The Ecobee here!

• Remote sensor connection allows for better thermostat communication with the heat pump.
• Super easy to install, no technician required.
• Absolutely needs a C-wire installed to communicate effectively with the heat pump.
• If you don’t move, the sensors might trip that you are not home.

Best Smart Thermostat for Ground Source Heat Pump

If you do not have an air source heat pump, you may instead have a ground source heat pump. Also called geothermal heat pumps, these systems work by drawing heat from the ground itself to keep a home full of warm air.

During the summer, it instead uses the ground to sink heat to the ground while providing cool air inside. 

There are some that consider this system to be the more efficient of the two as the ground temperature rarely dips low enough to affect its efficiency. However, without a well-functioning thermostat, it won’t be as efficient at all!

Here are some of the top Smart Thermostats for your ground source heat pump.

Ecobee3 Lite

The Ecobee3 Lite provides a sleek design and smart home technology all in one. This system integrates with your smart home technology, such as Apple Home, so that no matter what you are doing, you can connect with it.

It is also Energy Star certified. This means that when you get an Ecobee3 thermostat, you know you are getting a system with the user in mind.

When you walk by the thermostat, it uses sensors to take note, lighting up for clear visuals, and adjusting the temperature to your comfort level. It can even reduce your energy expenditure while away by lowering heat pump use until you return home. It also is reported to be easy to install without the help of a technician. 

Even though installation may seem easy, it is always important to consult a professional before you go ahead on your own.

There may be additional wiring that could be required. A failing on the Ecobee3 Lite is also that it lacks geofencing, which allows you to better control the system’s understanding of the space it is working for. 

Check out the Ecobee3 Lite!

• Affordable price and quality.
• It provides energy-saving options for you.
• Super easy to install, no technician required.
• You can communicate with your system remotely!
• Geofence is lacking and only can work with one phone.

Nest Thermostat E

The Nest thermostats don’t just look good. They provide considerable control and comfort to homeowners investing in a smart thermostat.

These systems provide features focused on your control and energy saving to help you regain command of your heat pump and energy usages, all from the comfort of your phone. 

Not only does it save you energy through programmable functions, but it tries to limit its energy use when it knows you are not home.

This includes the screen turning off when you aren’t around, reducing draw from the thermostat itself. It is intelligent enough to make these decisions without your input but will always allow you ultimate control. 

Of course, the major drawback for many is the need for a technician to install this system. While it seems simple enough to install, the addition of the C-wire can really make it difficult to connect adequately if your home didn’t have one beforehand. Always have a technician in mind that you can contact for your HVAC needs. 

Take a look at the Nest Thermostat.

• Lower your energy bills with this thermostat’s energy-saving features.
• The app interface allows you to communicate no matter where you are.
• You can schedule the systems to use to fit your schedule.
• Looks great.
• Absolutely needs a C-wire installed to communicate effectively with the heat pump.

Emerson UP310

Want something super simple that you can install yourself? The Emerson UP310 is a thermostat that prides itself on its simplicity for homeowners’ use and installation alike.

It requires no C-wire in its installation process and can be put up in a matter of minutes. That means no sweat nor outside assistance is required. 

This system has a seven-day programmable cycle, allowing you to set the temperatures you want for your home on a schedule. On top of that, it does have sensors that allow it to better communicate the home’s conditions to the heat pump.

With this, there is less energy expenditure from your system trying to keep your home comfortable.

While installation may be easy, the manual does not provide all of the information required for some instances. Many have complained that they had to do additional research when troubleshooting the system. However, that being said, there is a wealth of information online available for you when you need it most.

Find the Emerson UP310 here.

• 3-year warranty.
• Super easy to install, no technician needed.
• Auto cold and hot settings.
• The instruction manual is not the most thorough book available.

Best for Either Source Heat Pump

Let’s be honest: Not all of us homeowners recall the make or type of HVAC system we have in our home. As a point of fact, for many homeowners, unless it is broken, the HVAC system does not get much attention at all. If you don’t have all the information, how can you make the best choice of smart thermostat for your home?

The good news is that there are some smart thermostats available that can go for either system’s use. With these, you won’t have to worry about getting the best one for your particular type of heat pump. In the future, if heat pump replacement is necessary, you can also rest assured your thermostat can work with your new heat pump!

Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat

When choosing smart thermostats for your home, one thing that is always hard to navigate is the price. Some are just right in price but too low in features. Others have the opposite issue. Emerson Sensi Touch Thermostat is the best of both worlds. It provides you with an affordable price point and quality smart thermostat features for your needs.

Not only is it easy on installation, but it goes out of its way to save you energy. This thermostat dims itself and does its best to use as little power as possible when you are not near.

It also has Wi-Fi connectivity, meaning with an app installation, you can control your home’s heating and cooling wherever you may be.

One of the big things about a heat pump is its ability to control humidity in a home and the rest of its functions. The Emerson Sensi, unfortunately, has a lacking radius of humidity sensors, only remaining around the thermostat itself. While this doesn’t sound bad initially, this can lead to humidity lingering in the home, affecting items and residents.

Check out the Emerson Sensi Here.

• Has energy-saving programming and a dimming option.
• You can connect it with the rest of your smart home devices to create quality home automation.
• Super easy to install, no technician needed.
• Affordably priced.
• Limited humidity reading range, opening your home up to humidity damage.

Nest T3017US Learning Thermostat

Want a thermostat that will take its cues from you? Nest is back at it with a thermostat that actually learns. While you can control it from your interface, it can actually communicate with you through the mobile app as well, allowing you total control. Over time, this smart thermostat will record your choices and begin to take action to best suit you.

Besides, the Nest Learning Thermostat does all this with energy savings in mind as well. It learns your schedule, your comfort, and your needs to identify when are key times to reduce use and lower energy costs. This makes it a top choice for those looking to lower their effect on the environment!

Unfortunately, for some people, this learning technology can be a problem. Since the system prefers a smartphone interface, it can be difficult for those who are unfamiliar with this technology.

On top of that, remember it’s learning from the owner specifically. If multiple people have varying comfort needs, it may not accommodate.

Find the Nest T3017US Learning Thermostat on Amazon!

• Uses a Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery for power.
• Super easy installation, no technician needed.
• Voice control options that connect with Alexa, Google, and more.
• Energy Star Certified.
• Controls use and turn off and one heat pump depending on if a user is a home and wherein the home they are.
• It has a clock, weather, temperature, and more on its display.
• You can turn off auto programming.
• Has an alert system to tell you when your heat pump has a problem and needs service.
• You can connect it with the rest of your smart home devices to create quality home automation.
• Dependent on a smartphone so may be tricky for those not familiar with this technology.
• Only focuses on input users’ settings, therefore not very accommodating for a multiuser home.

Orbit Clear Comfort 

For those who really want a smart thermostat but have a really strict budget, the Orbit Clear is here! This thermostat is highly affordable and offers seven-day programmability. It does its best to provide your home with the heat and cool it needs and takes strides in protecting your heat pump. 

What does this mean? It actually has protection in place to allow your heat pump’s compressor to take a break when it needs to, without sacrificing your comfort.

This means on particularly extreme temperature days. You know your thermostat is doing its best for you in the long run. It also comes with Energy Star settings already installed for ease of use.

The biggest issue many people find with this system is that the temperature sensors can be overly sensitive, leading to heating and cooling when they think the home is already comfortable just from a slight rise or lowering of the internal temps. This can impact your heat pump over time.

Check out the Orbit Thermostat.

• Simple display, easy to program.
• Comes with Energy Star settings pre-installed.
• 5-minute compressor protection.
• The sensor may be a bit too sensitive.

Can You Use a Smart Thermostat with a Heat Pump?

The cool thing about smart thermostats is all of the features they have. Some connect to Wi-Fi, letting you control your home’s heat while you’re away.

Some allow you to program cycles to adjust depending on your needs during the time of day. However, with a complicated system like a heat pump, will a smart thermostat actually work?

As manufacturers join the new smart thermostat market, the goal is to have their thermostat purchased. In order to do that, they must make sure that their systems are compatible with any number of HVAC systems.

If it isn’t, it can cost them the sales they are seeking. In short, manufacturers are specifically making sure they cover any type of HVAC system’s functionality.

Some smart thermostats will, of course, work better for a heat pump than others. That is why it is so important to review any available documentation before purchase. They should have a detailed list of different brands and models that the thermostat will work with available for your review.

Find your make and model and check its information against the list provided by the manufacturer, either on their website or in a manual.

Don’t hesitate to contact them either if the information is unclear. The last thing you want is to purchase a model you think works, only to discover it has additional wiring you don’t have yet. 

How Do You Choose the Best Thermostat for Your Heat Pump?

Even though we have narrowed the field for you, there are still so many options available in the thermostat market for your consideration. How do you know the one you choose is the right one? There are a few things you should think about before making the final purchase of a new smart home thermostat.

Does It Work with Your System?

While smart thermostats do work with heat pumps, it bears repeating that you have to do your due diligence before settling on a system. Do not rush to buy one if possible. Instead, really look into the manufacturer details and provide information.

Make sure before you put money down that this specific brand of the thermostat was designed to work for a heat pump.

The easiest way to do so is to compare your make and model number to the manufacturer provided list. How can you find this if you don’t have the original HVAC installation documentation?

Look on your heat pump and see if you can find a metal plate with a bunch of details on it. This will have your make and model number as well!

Once you have found it, review the manufacturer’s documents to see if your system matches up. If you have time to purchase and don’t see this information anywhere, contact the manufacturer to get more details.

Remember, they are here to sell this to you, and they will work with you to help you make the best purchase.

Does the Functionality Meet Your Needs?

Smart thermostats come with so many features. They are a far cry from the old mechanical thermostat set up. With that in mind, what is it you are expecting from your new smart thermostat?

Do you want it to be high-tech and provide phone alerts? Do you just want to be able to program the system and leave it alone?

Take the time to nail down your expectations of the system. Not only will this help you narrow the field of options for your heat pump, but it will help you make a choice that is best for you in the long run.

Knowing what you want can make the choice all that much easier when it comes time to replace your home thermostat.

How Much Extra Installation is Required?

The purchase of the smart thermostat is the exciting part of the experience. The less exciting part is getting it installed. Installation of your smart thermostat can take minutes, or it can take hours, depending on the process. In some cases, there may be additional installation required to activate all of the features you were anticipating the system to have. 

Once you have narrowed your options to a shortlist, consider if this is something you can install on your own or if you will need a technician to help.

Speaking with an HVAC technician can help you further as they can tell you what will need to be done and how much extra will be needed in the installation process.

Keeping Your Home Continuously Comfortable

For those looking for a bit of home automation, a smart thermostat can be just the right thing. These systems are designed to help maintain the comfort of the users and provide easy control of your heat pump system. With so many options, you are sure to find the right smart thermostat for your home’s needs.

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This blog aims to share my research and first-hand knowledge in a helpful way. My goal is for you to be able to save time and find happiness in a streamlined home.