The Emerson Sensi is missing many of the energy-management, design and support features found on other programmable thermostats. However, it makes it easy to program temperature settings to align with your lifestyle. Of the thermostats we tested, no other product has as much value for the price you pay. This is partly because it’s compatible with Apple HomeKit and Amazon Echo, but it also has a simple design that creates an excellent user experience. This is a great option if you don’t want to spend nearly twice the money on a Nest Learning Thermostat or ecobee4.
The Sensi supports four-stage heating, so it has greater system flexibility than most programmable thermostats. Its temperature control options also include two-stage cooling to keep your home comfortable throughout the year. This unit has a temperature swing of 1 degree, which is comparable to the industry average.
It’s missing some of the advanced tools other programmable thermostats include such as auto-scheduling and motion sensors. However, it has seven-day scheduling, away settings, onscreen weather information, a humidity sensor, geofencing and equipment status alerts.
You can control this Wi-Fi thermostat from anywhere with a mobile app that works with Android and iOS smartphones. This is especially helpful when you forget to set the thermostat to away mode on your way out the door. The Sensi is compatible with the Amazon Echo, so if you own one, you can control the thermostat with your voice. You can also connect it to smart home platforms using Apple HomeKit and Wink.
This is an affordable thermostat you can self-install with relative ease. The unit includes a built-in level and an online compatibility checker, which ensure it is installed properly and works with your HVAC system. The thermostat’s interface is basic black and white, but it looks great. The minimalist design makes it easy to use, and there are buttons that let you access Mode, Fan and Schedule settings.
Emerson also sells the Sensi Touch, which exchanges the traditional buttons for a color touchscreen and costs around $200. We tested this version of the Sensi in our summer 2017 tests and found it functions the same as the older model. We still recommend the original Sensi, as it's the best value of the programmable thermostats we reviewed.
One thing we noticed when we tested the Sensi Touch is that it can be difficult to read the display in a lit room when it's idle; the glossy screen and temperature display seem to blend together when you're across the room. We didn't have any problems seeing the display at full brightness.
The app has more functions than the thermostat's interface but is equally easy to use. You can scroll through menu options and program up to nine daily schedules. For instance, you can create different schedules for winter and summer. If you have multiple thermostats, you can set each individually through your smartphone. When you create day, night and seasonal temperature settings, you will see noticeable savings on your utility bills.
The Sensi includes a three-year warranty, which equals that of the best thermostats. If you choose professional installation, Emerson boosts the Sensi's warranty to five years. You can contact Emerson technical support by social media, phone and email. The company doesn't have a live chat support option.