Let’s face it: Old-style thermostats aren’t very attractive. In fact, they can be a bit of an eyesore. That’s probably why they used to be stuffed in an out-of-the-way hallway or other space, where they didn’t have to be seen on a regular basis.
Well, today’s smart thermostats are made for showing off. Many of them are formed in interesting shapes, have high-def touchscreens, come in eye-pleasing colors, and just look really cool—and they no longer clash with the carpet, paint, or other decor.
The Nest Learning Thermostat was the first to prove to homeowners that a thermostat could actually be stylish. Considering that the company was conceived by some of the minds behind the iPod, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Nest smart thermostat is very reminiscent of popular “iDevices.” Nest Labs ditched the typical rectangular shape, opting for a circle with a click-wheel. And although the interface takes a minimalist approach, it uses both colors and graphics to create an appearance that’s eye-catching and modern. If you prefer a more understated look, these high-tech features will go dormant when the thermostat isn’t being used.
The ecobee offers an alternative to the Nest’s trendy round shape with a fresh take on the traditional rectangular thermostat. Its ecobee3 is more square and rectangular, and mimics the look and feel of a tablet.
Many of today’s smart thermostats incorporate bigger screens, which can often be used as touchscreens; better interfaces; and high-def graphics. The Lennox iComfort S30 is one of these tablet-like thermostats, offering the option for a default screensaver with local weather. Venstar’s ColorTouch line is very similar, but with options for built-in themes, wallpapers that use personal photos, and a picture frame feature. Even First Alert’s OneLink Wi-Fi Thermostat has built-in themes for daytime and night, more than a dozen built-in nature and holiday themes, and the option to upload 100 photos (and edit them on-screen) to rotate on the full-color touchscreen.
The Allure EverSense probably packs the most into one 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen. It boasts 480 x 272 pixels, a 1GHz processor, a media and graphics accelerator, and the EverSense operating system. This kind of power means that users can display local weather with animated graphics, as well as personal photos, streaming media, and even energy tips from the Allure library.
So while it may be hard to accept a smart thermostat as a piece of art, it has broken the stereotype as being an eyesore. If looks are important, make sure to seek out a smart thermostat that will complement the style of your home—or can at least be tweaked to your liking with photo features. EH