A reliable, smart thermostat can save you time, effort and energy bills. Image Credit: Unsplash/Dan Lefebvre

Inject machine learning into cooling your home, with elegant smart thermostats that will work to ensure your home is always at the optimal temperature. These devices don’t just keep you comfortable, they save you money by learning your schedule and altering the temperature as the day progresses.

To help you make the best decision, Gulf News reached out to Hisham El Zahhar, owner and managing director of Digital Homes in Dubai, who has 26 years of professional experience in smart homes, offices and cities.

What is a smart thermostat?

smart thermostat
Your current AC control unit is most likely a digital thermostat - here is what we mean by a smart one. Image Credit: Unsplash/Sean D

A smart thermostat would typically replace your current air conditioning (AC) control unit, from which we regulate the temperature, set timers and power the AC. El Zahhar says that besides smart functionality, such as being able to remotely turn the AC on or off via a smartphone, some smart thermostats can also learn when you like to have the cooling unit on, and do it for you.

"Take the Google Nest smart thermostat, for example. If you usually turn off the AC at 8am on a Monday morning and then turn it on at 20°C in the evening, it would learn your behaviour, giving you energy savings," he explained, adding that a built-in eco mode can also keep the house relatively cool while you're away, prioritising energy and your comfort at the same time.

"Some customers do leave their AC off on travels but come home to find the walls with fungus on them or the rooms are so hot that the unit takes at least 48 hours to kick in," said El Zahhar. If you leave behind pets or plants at home often, then this is a great investment for you. A smart thermostat saves you the trouble of keeping the unit on throughout the day.

How much can I save with a smart thermostat in the UAE?

smart home
The ability to remotely control temperatures via smart home devices can significantly cut down electricity costs. Image Credit: Unsplash/James Yarema

According to El Zahhar and his smart home clientele, people in the UAE primarily choose smart thermostats for energy efficiency and the savings that come with it.

He said: "We compared a customer's electricity bill over six months prior to and after the installation of a smart thermostat - we found that they saved 20 to 25 per cent per month on an average. These are the savings you can get on older AC units; as for the newer models that are already energy efficient, you get 15 per cent of savings on your bill."

To get the most out of your thermostat, El Zahhar says regular maintenance of the AC unit and its filters is extremely crucial. Another component that needs to be up to date for the best results is your compressor, which, if not energy efficient, cannot do much for your bill. He also recommends setting the cooling unit to an optimal temperature of 24 or 25°C.

Which smart thermostat is the best for me?

smart thermostat
Consult with your pro on the installation process before committing to a smart thermostat. Image Credit: Flickr/Green Energy Futures

The Nest by Google is by far the most popular brand of smart thermostats because it offers local support, says El Zahhar. He strongly advises buyers to opt for a brand that is willing to service customers locally, with a warranty. "Ecobee is as good as the Nest, but they don't offer any local support in the UAE," he added.

Another factor to look out for is the fan speed compatibility with your AC unit. "The UAE predominantly has a three-speed fan AC system (high, medium and low), whether in apartments or villas. A single-speed thermostat will take very long to reach your target room temperature, which is important to consider from an energy efficiency perspective," said El Zahhar. "The third generation of Nest smart thermostat is the only Nest product that supports a three-speed fan."

Check out our list of recommendations below to uprade your cooling unit with the best regulating smart thermostats on Amazon. Buy the device with Amazon Prime and get it as early as tomorrow.

Smart thermostat installation service

You will need an AC technician to install a smart thermostat. Let Amazon Home Services take care of it. The professionals will disconnect your existing thermostat (if any) and integrate the new one, while simultaneously syncing it up with your WiFi and mobile phone app. They will also connect it to your Echo or Echo Dot so you can use Alexa to control the device.

If you’re not sure about which thermostat to buy, you can pick the service ‘Installation & Product’ instead. Pros will arrive with either a starter or a premium smart thermostat.

Warranty: There is a standard warranty of 3 months for all installation related work.

Cost: Starting from Dh600

1. Best Overall: Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation, Copper


  • Learns your preferred temperature in a week and draws up a schedule
  • Turns to eco mode when you leave home
  • Guides you to the right energy-saving temperature
  • Voice assistant compatible


  • Cannot be installed without a pro

This Nest is smarter than most. When it spots you across the room, it lights up so you can view the time, temperature and weather. It works seamlessly with Amazon Alexa, so you don’t have to manually enter the temperature, and you can also access controls from your smartphone, laptop or tablet. It was the first thermostat to earn an Energy Star, so your energy savings start with the Nest. This version works with a three-speed fan system.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year warranty for Dh46 and a two-year warranty for Dh65.

2. Best for Apple HomeKit Users: Ecobee 3 lite 2nd Generation Thermostat, Black


  • Three fan speeds
  • Energy saving software eco+ keeps the bills low
  • Adjusts temperature according to the weather
  • Sends monthly savings report


  • Needs voltage conversion via pro installer

Another Energy Star approved smart thermostat is the Ecobee3 Lite. It stands out for its excellent compatibility with most smart home ecosystems, especially Apple HomeKit, so you can even adjust the temperature using your Apple Watch. Its 3.5-inch LCD touch screen lights up when you're nearby to display humidity levels, temperature and a five-day weather forecast. The smart eco+ software automatically adjusts the cooling against indoor humidity levels to keep your home comfortable, even detecting when you've left to shift to the best energy savings temperature.

Bonus: Add professional installation for an extra Dh499.

3. Best User-Friendly Thermostat: Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat


  • Easy step-by-step set up process via the app
  • Energy savings from scheduling and remote control
  • Reports on savings
  • User-friendly interface
  • Voice assistant compatible


  • Looks outdated
  • Has to be configured with a C or common wire

Emerson's Sensi is a thermostat that doesn't look smart but has all the capabilities of one. The screen beams back the temperature in large numbers, which reviewers say makes it convenient to read from afar. The device integrates with Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings and more. If you're mainly looking to control temperature remotely and schedule on and off times, then this is your device.

Bonus: Add professional installation for an extra Dh499.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year warranty for Dh46 and a two-year warranty for Dh65.

4. Best for Large Homes: Honeywell Home T9 WIFI Smart Thermostat


  • Air filter change reminders
  • Adjusts temperatures when in and out of home
  • Receive monthly reports
  • Smart home integration


  • Has to be configured with a C or common wire
  • Single-speed fan
  • Local support might not be available

A smart device that adapts to your lifestyle and saves electricity, the Honeywell Home T9 can be adjusted from anywhere – its controls are on your smartphone and you can also connect it to Alexa or Google Assistant so that you can set the temperature through voice commands. It intelligently learns your habits and delivers the temperature you’re most comfortable with, at the right time. Add smart room sensors (sold separately) to view and control cooling in different parts of the house.

Bonus: Add professional installation for an extra Dh499.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year warranty for Dh40 and a two-year warranty for Dh57.

5. Best Budget: Nest 4th Gen Programmable Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat, Charcoal


  • Best compatibility with Google Home App
  • Sleek design
  • Touch and swipe control to the change temperature
  • Changes to eco mode when you're not at home


  • Single-speed fan
  • Installation can be complicated with UAE specifications

Turn up your savings with the fourth generation of Nest – it turns itself down when you leave the house, to reduce your energy bills. You can control it from anywhere with your smartphone, and since it’s compatible with 85 per cent of systems, it's likely it’ll be the perfect fit for your home. It’s designed so that you can install it yourself within 30 minutes, or you can use Amazon Home Services’ pros to do the job for you. This model requires a conversion kit to work in the UAE.

Bonus: Add professional installation for an extra Dh499.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year warranty for Dh29 and a two-year warranty for Dh41.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.