As a property manager or owner, it can be difficult to estimate the cost of your energy bills for each month with the constant coming and going of guests. 

You’ll have some guests that are very conscious of their energy usage, and you’ll have others who forget to turn the heating or AC off before they leave. Over time, these extra costs can build up to a hefty utility bill that’s not only unkind to your wallet but also to the environment. 

A smart thermostat allows you to monitor and control the temperature of your rentals remotely, during and after guest stays. As a result, you can effectively reduce the energy costs of your vacation rentals and reduce the environmental impact. 

In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why investing in a smart thermostat is so important for vacation rentals, and the best smart thermostat models available on the market. 

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Are smart thermostats really worth it?

You may be wondering how much difference a smart thermostat can actually make when it comes to controlling temperatures in vacation rentals. 

Currently, this technology offers the only solution on the market to remotely monitor your guests’ energy usage. So, what are the key features of smart thermostats that make it worth it? 

  • Receive energy insights: Smart thermostats send you push notifications or emails with energy insights to your smartphone or other devices. This allows you to effectively monitor energy usage and estimate your costs for the next month.
  • Remote temperature control: You can adjust the temperature of your rental properties remotely, with a few clicks. This means you don’t have to travel all the way to the property when a guest has left the property with the heating or AC on. 
  • Custom programming: You can customise thermostat settings to create your own heating routine that suits your budget or needs. Alternatively, there are smart thermostats available that use machine learning, so they can do it themselves. 
  • Extra features: Many smart thermostats have their own unique features that optimise your heating and cooling systems. This can include geo-referencing (analysing the weather outside to determine temperatures), or home monitoring (pausing the AC when the windows are open).

According to Nest, a smart thermostat can save the average customer around $140 per year on energy bills – around the cost of an average smart thermostat. And that’s for residential use! So, as a vacation rental property manager, you’re likely to claim back your initial investment on a smart thermostat in less than a year.  

Although smart thermostats are worth it for the cost savings, the benefits go beyond that. The vacation rental industry could have a huge positive impact on the environment by employing more environmentally friendly practices. 

Smart thermostats are one of many ‘green technology’ tools to help reduce your energy consumption and thus your environmental impact. If you want to know more, check out our article on how to increase sustainability in vacation rentals on the Rentals United blog. 

Do smart thermostats need Wi-Fi?

Smart thermostats require a Wi-Fi connection so you can access their innovative features. Without a Wi-Fi connection, you won’t be able to receive push notifications on energy insights, emergencies or local weather updates. You also won’t be able to control the thermostat from a remote location. Despite this, if the Wi-Fi fails, the smart thermostat itself will continue to function as normal. 

3 of the best smart thermostats for vacation rentals

Now that we know what smart thermostats are, how they work and their benefits, here are our top 3 smart thermostat brands on the market, along with our favourite models. Our list covers a range of unique features, budgets and locations so that you can find the best solution for you. 

1. Nest 

Google’s home security range Nest offers some of the leading smart thermostat products on the market. As well as having a sleek, modern design, Nest’s smart thermostats can save an average of 10% to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. Furthermore, these smart thermostats can be easily integrated with other Nest smart devices, such as the Nest x Yale smart lock. You can find out more about it in our article on smart locks for vacation rentals.

Price range: $129.99 – $249.00

Availability: Worldwide

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation): This latest version of the smart thermostat has the ability to learn how quickly your property heats and cools, in order to automatically programme temperature changes and hot water settings. The Nest learning thermostat has a Farsight feature to analyse the outside weather conditions and also comes with an Eco Temperature setting for when guests come in and out of the property. This model does everything itself, so you can simply sit back and monitor everything from the Google Home app. 

2. Ecobee 

Ecobee is a home monitoring company offering several smart thermostat models with unique features, from voice activation to Spotify and Bluetooth streaming. Ecobee’s Energy Star certified smart thermostats claim to reduce annual energy costs by 26%. You can control everything from the Ecobee app, as well as other Ecobee integrations. 

Price range: $129.99 – $249.99

Availability: Worldwide 

Ecobee 3 Lite: This particular model is perfect for vacation rentals and is one of the most affordable models available at $169.99. The Ecobee 3 Lite learns and adapts to guests’ routines using its eco+ feature, and pauses the HVAC system when doors and windows are open. This model is compatible with voice assistants such as Alexa and can be integrated with Ecobee’s voice-activated Smart Sensor for easy communication. This is a great model for a balance of comfort, value, and energy savings.

3. Honeywell 

Honeywell offers a huge number of smart thermostats that range from the more basic programmable models to self-learning, intuitive products. Honeywell is a great brand to use if you’re looking for different programming or installation options for your various rental properties. 

Price range: $99.00 – $249.00

Availability: USA, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific 

WiFi 9000 Color Touchscreen Thermostat: This model is an Energy Star certified smart thermostat that can automatically control your temperature based on your location with its geo-referencing feature. Or, simply connect your computer, tablet, or smartphone to your thermostat using the Total Connect Comfort app to manage your temperature settings. This particular model comes with a 5-year warranty, perfect for vacation rental managers who want to make an investment in something they know will last long term. 

Conclusion: Which smart thermostat is best for your vacation rentals?

While all three of the above solutions are great, our overall winner has to be Nest’s Learning Thermostat. Its self-learning features, eco settings and geo-referencing insights make it the only smart thermostat currently on the market that has absolutely everything.

What’s more, Nest’s products can be easily integrated into any of your existing contactless technology solutions, such as security cameras, smart locks and noise monitoring devices

Smart thermostats are one of the green technologies available that not only are a more reasonable upfront investment but one that you can earn back in just over a year. Not only will you be saving up to a quarter on energy bills every year, but you’ll reduce your property portfolio’s environmental impact. 

Want to stay up-to-date on the latest vacation rental tech innovations? Join the VRTECH community. We’ll send you a weekly newsletter and invites to networking events.