Having a smart thermostat that can flash the local weather forecast at you as you walk by it is nice. But is it $250 nice? For those willing to forgo some bells and whistles, Honeywell’s Lyric T5 costs just $109 and still provides flexible and smart control over your home temperature.
An important thing to note before you jump into this, or almost any other smart thermostat, is that you’ll need a C-wire for proper installation, so you’ll want to check and make sure you have one or you’ll miss out on the connected features. Here’s a quick primer in case you don’t know what it is.
Installing the Lyric T5 is a relatively straightforward process. There’s the main thermostat, a proprietary mounting plate with push terminals (which are much simpler to install than the screw-down kind), and three screws. All you need is a phillips screwdriver, a leveler (a phone app one will do), and a pencil for marking holes.
You have two choices when setting things up. There’s a manual mode that lets you do everything using the thermostat’s 2.5 x 2.5-inch touchscreen. Or you can download Honeywell’s Lyric app, which connects the thermostat to your wireless network and guides you through the rest of the setup process. We choose the latter.
We had the T5 hardware up and running in about 15 minutes and spent a week testing the thermostat’s geofencing, scheduling, and smart platform capabilities.
Let’s get this out of the way first: If you care deeply about thermostat aesthetics, this is probably not device for you. With its grey plastic border and square, monochrome touchscreen, the T5 has all the visual appeal of a digital alarm clock. Then again, this is a smart thermostat, not a Rodin sculpture. Yes, there are other thermostats that are nice to look at and functional, but that combination comes with a higher price.
Using the app to set up a basic weekly schedule was simple and only took us a couple minutes. You can use time-based schedules for specific days, or apply the same schedule for the entire week. The T5 also works with IFTTT, Apple’s HomeKit, and Amazon’s Echo. That means you can use Siri and Alexa to verbally adjust your home’s temperature and add a few custom recipes to your heating and cooling schedule, as well.
Within the app there’s the option to set high and low temperature alerts, specific vacation schedules, and enable a smart response feature. The latter tracks and “learns” the amount of time it takes your home’s heating and cooling system to reach a given temp so that it can then adapt and bring your home to a given temperature by a specific pre-set time.
This shouldn’t be confused with other “learning” features on thermostats like the Nest, however. Those use an integrated motion sensor and algorithms that track your movements around your home (as well as the temperature outside) to create a custom indoor temperature schedule that saves energy.
The T5 doesn’t have a built-in motion sensor, but it does let you create geofencing rules via the Lyric app. These rules use your physical location via your phone to set your home’s temperature. For instance, you can tell the T5 to turn the temperature down to 60 degrees whenever you leave. You can even adjust the radius that triggers these temperature shifts, expanding it, say, by seven or eight blocks, if you make frequent short trips away from your home but don’t want the system to readjust every time you go out.
Overall, the geofencing worked extremely well when it was just one of us controlling things. The system is supposed to be able to track more than one person and wait until everyone has left the house before adjusting to the pre-set “away” temperature. We tried this but got varying results. On multiple occasions, the away temperature was triggered when someone was clearly still home.
One final thing that even those who don’t want a fancy, sensor-crammed smart thermostat may miss is the ability to view general energy usage reports. In addition to the convenience of temperature automation, a lot of people buy smart thermostats to save money. Higher priced models like the Nest and Ecobee3 give you this option, but as far as we could tell, the Lyric T5 does not.
The T5 is a competent, budget-friendly Wi-Fi thermostat. It’s a good option for those who don’t need or want to pay a premium for extras like motion and humidity sensors, sophisticated “learning” modes, or the ability to monitor the temperature in individual rooms.
7 day scheduling and custom fan settings
Honeywell Lyric App: iOS and Android