Top 7 Best Smart Thermostats for Multiple Zones

Disclaimer: There may be affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through the links, but there is no extra cost to you.

Smart thermostats are one of the most popular smart home devices on the market. They offer a host of advantages over standard thermostats including remote access and energy cost savings up to 23%.

Compared to a standard programmable thermostat, one of the big advantages smart thermostats offer is the ability to control multiple zones. But when it comes to multiple zones, not all brands and models offer the same features, so I’ll be covering the Best Smart Thermostats for Multiple Zones for you. 

I’ll also be discussing more about multiple zones and finding the best smart thermostat for you and your home. You’ll want to keep some factors in mind when considering which one to go with. 

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the Top 3 Best Smart Thermostats 

1. Best Overall: ecobee SmartThermostat

ecobee SmartThermostat Features and Benefits

The ecobee SmartThermostat (aka ecobee5) is one of the best suited for dealing with multiple zones due to its excellent SmartSensors which are capable of motion detection.

The thermostat itself comes complete with Amazon Alexa built-in, along with an internal microphone and speaker. 

This adds voice command and control functionality to the unit, allowing it to effectively become a smart speaker like an Echo Dot. 

A SmartSensor is also included to get you started with your multiple zone system. Sensors can be purchased with the SmartThermostat supporting up to 32 additional sensors. 

The ecobee SmartThermostat works with various wireless protocols: 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi, and Bluetooth. 

That allows it to be one of the most compatible thermostats on the market and can be integrated with smart home ecosystems like:

  • Samsung SmartThings
  • Google Assistant
  • Apple HomeKit
  • Wink

That flexibility allows you to connect to many other smart devices and gadgets on the same network. 

As well as the sensors allowing you to control zones individually, they also have a useful feature called “follow me.” Using this system, the sensors determine occupant presence in different areas of your home. 

The thermostat will then adjust the heating and cooling system for comfortable temperatures in those areas and throughout your home. 

The thermostat itself is touchscreen controlled and the mobile app is a mirror image of the thermostat interface. This eases the learning process as both offer the exact same options. 

Using either the app or the thermostat will guide you through the initial set up process and the process for setting up individual zones.

While the ecobee system will work with HVAC systems that don’t use a C-Wire, you will need to install an adapter to enable this. It’s a relatively simple operation and concise instructions are supplied.

One more advantage of ecobee thermostats are energy reports. These so you can see how your energy cost savings at home.

Ecobee’s NEW SmartThermostat is Faster, Louder, and Better with Alexa

ecobee SmartThermostat Cons

The lack of either the Z-Wave or Zigbee protocol is disappointing and it has a rather annoying feature of flashing red when Alexa is disabled.

Also, you have to be within voice range of the thermostat or another Alexa device to use voice control for temperature control. That’s unlike the Nest thermostats where voice control can be used from any device with Google assistant installed.

2. Runner Up: ecobee4 Smart Thermostat

ecobee4 Smart Thermostat Features and Benefits

The midrange model from ecobee is the ecobee4. This thermostat offers many of the same features that the ecobee SmartThermostat has, including having Alexa installed. 

The main differences between the models is the ecobee4 only supports 2.4GHz. The ecobee4 also has no 5GHz WiFi support, no Bluetooth, and no SmartSensors are included. 

The lack of a SmartSensor is somewhat negated by the addition of a Room Sensor that comes with the ecobee4 purchase. The ecobee4 is compatible with the newer sensors, so you can still purchase the SmartSensors separately. 

The setup is the same as the others from within the ecobee range. In most instances getting the thermostat installed and up and running can be achieved in under an hour.

As with all the featured thermostats an app is available to allow you to program the schedules and set up multiple zones in your home.

ecobee4 Cons

A lack of support for Bluetooth means that although Alexa is installed, music must be played through the Thermostat itself, which isn’t always situated in an ideal place. 

3. Best Budget-Friendly: ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat

ecobee3 Lite Features and Benefits

The ecobee3 Lite is the entry-level, budget offering in the ecobee range. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack a punch. This is an immensely powerful budget thermostat.

Like the ecobee4, the ecobee3 Lite is also only compatible with 2.4GHz WiFi. Although it lacks Amazon Alexa built-in, it still works with Alexa-compatible smart devices. 

It offers the same interface on both onboard the thermostat and in the app. 

The setup instructions are easy to follow and setup can usually be concluded within an hour. If your HVAC system doesn’t use a C-Wire you will have to install an adapter with your HVAC. 

However, if you’re not comfortable with electrical wiring you may want to get a professional in for this.

It supports both Room Sensors and SmartSensors and as such can offer multiple zone functionality. 

The ecobee3 Lite also incorporates geofencing technology, although with ecobee it’s restricted to working on one phone only.

ecobee3 Lite Cons

A lack of support for protocols like Zigbee and Z-Wave are the major ones with the ecobee3 Lite, but only if you have or plan to use either of them. 

Also, the thermostat itself does not have a built-in occupancy sensor, so you’ll need to buy additional room sensors. 

4. Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)

Google Nest Learning Thermostat Features and Benefits

Nest is a Google product and as such it pairs very well with Google Home. Not that it’s a one-trick pony, it is also an incredibly versatile device when it comes to compatibility. Although not quite as widely compatible as ecobee, it’s still compatible with Alexa, Wink, and other platforms.

The Learning Thermostat supports the Zigbee protocol, 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi, and Bluetooth. 

The Nest system as you may have guessed from the name, also has a smart learning feature. A default baseline schedule is set upon first use and over time as you adjust the settings to suit your own preferences and habits, Nest learns and adjusts its schedules to lower your energy bills. 

Setup is easy and intuitive if you follow the walkthrough guide that is available in the accompanying app. The thermostat itself doesn’t have a touchscreen, rather it is controlled by using the outer bezel as a dial and the actual thermostat as a switch to select the options.

The Nest thermostat will also work on heating systems that don’t use a C-Wire, without the need for any adapters.

Nest uses remote sensors to detect the environment and occupancy in multiple zones like ecobee thermostats. It’ll then adjust the temperature in each to make it comfortable for the people in the zone/room.

The Nest Smart Learning thermostat also has a geofencing system that can use any phone or smart device with Google Assistant installed to control individual zones. 

While this is available on other thermostats, one advantage Nest has over ecobee thermostats is that geofencing works across multiple devices. It won’t be tied to a single phone. 

Nest Learning Thermostat Review

Nest Learning Thermostat Cons

I always feel that comparing ecobee and Nest smart thermostats cons is just nit-picking, because they’re both fantastic devices. 

However, the lack of consistency between the app interface and the thermostat interface with Nest means you must learn two systems. I also think at least one remote sensor should be supplied with the system.

5. Honeywell Home Lyric T5

Honeywell Home T5 Features and Benefits

The Honeywell system doesn’t have remote sensors. However, as a budget way into multiple zone heating it does offer some benefits of controlling multiple zones at a lower price.

The Honeywell Lyric T5 is compatible with 2.4ghz Wi-Fi only.

The set up for the thermostat is simple and the thermostat itself is touchscreen controlled. The Honeywell T5 also has a mobile app that you can use to control the thermostat.

The setup for the Honeywell is simple and the thermostat itself can usually be installed and setup within an hour, following the simple guide supplied and the walkthrough in the app.

The T5 is compatible with a number of smart home platforms, including Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, Alexa, IFTTT, and others.

Even though it’s a budget model, the Honeywell does still perform most of the features you’d expect from a smart thermostat.

Despite its lack of sensor support, the Honeywell system still offers multiple zone functionality. It’s rather limited though as it uses geofencing, but still it can be effective.

It works by monitoring the location of your smartphone and adjusts the temperature accordingly. It can also be set to turn the heating off altogether if no phones are detected within the home.

Honeywell Home T5 Cons

A lack of sensor support is the major drawback with this model. In saying that it is a budget option and the multiple zone support it offers is impressive for the price.

Another problem with this is the lack of support for systems without a C-Wire, if your HVAC system doesn’t use a C-Wire then definitely look elsewhere.

A lack of a motion sensor is also a drawback, although it is somewhat negated by its use of Geofencing to detect occupancy.

6. Honeywell Home T9 WIFI Smart Thermostat

Honeywell Home T9 Features and Benefits

The Honeywell T9 is a more advanced model than the Honeywell T5 and comes with a Honeywell smart sensor. 

With the addition of these room sensors (which have a range of up to 200 ft / 60.96 m) Honeywell T9 can boast true multi-zone compatibility. It does this by means of assigning priorities to sensors.

The sensors can also detect room occupancy and can be configured to control the heating on this basis.

For installation setup, the T9 has an adapter to supply power, negating the need for a C-Wire. In most situations the set up is easy and the thermostat can be installed and up and running within an hour.

The Honeywell T9 works with both 2.4ghz and 5ghz Wi-Fi.

It is compatible with the major smart home ecosystems including Alexa, Google Home, Samsung’s SmartThings, and Microsoft Cortana.

Honeywell Home T9 Cons

No support for Zigbee or Z-Wave, and requires a battery.

7. Hive Heating and Cooling Smart Thermostat + Hive Hub

Hive Smart Thermostat Features and Benefits of 

The Hive Smart Thermostat can control up to 5 separate zones with the addition of more thermostats. 

It’s unique in this list as the Hive Thermostat requires a Hive Hub to function, which comes supplied with this package. If you already own Hive smart products, then the likelihood is your existing Hub will be compatible.

The Hive supports Zigbee and 2.4ghz Wi-Fi wireless protocols.

Setup and installation involves replacing your existing thermostat with the Hive thermostat and then pairing it with the supplied Hub. There’s a walkthrough in the mobile app to help the process.

The thermostat comes supplied with an adapter for HVAC systems without a C-Wire.

Hive Thermostat Cons

The requirement for an additional hub is the biggest con, it’s another point of failure and potential issue during use. Also, it relies on multiple thermostats, instead of sensors to control multiple zones.

What Does “Multiple Zones” Mean Exactly?

Most homes consist of multiple zones. Bedrooms, living areas, kitchens and bathrooms etc. can all be considered as zones. It could also be that certain bedrooms or offices may have different temperature requirements dependent on the needs of who’s in those zones most often.

A basic thermostat treats the entire home as one single zone. This can be inefficient and inconvenient. That’s where smart thermostats can come in to control multiple zones. 

A smart thermostat can be programmed to treat individual zones separately and control the temperature within each zone independently. 

These zones can be set up using remote, occupancy sensors that are controlled with an accompanying mobile app. 

The cost-cutting benefits of being able to reduce the temperature in unoccupied zones are immediately apparent.

I went through the thermostats above that are good for multiple zones and here are some more things to consider if you want to look at other thermostats. 

Basic Compatibility Requirements for Multiple Zone Smart Thermostats

Let’s go through some important things to look at when considering a smart thermostat for your multi-zone home. 

First, your existing HVAC heating and cooling system must be able to support multiple zones. 

One of the criteria required for a multiple zone system to work is the ability of the thermostat to read the temperature in different zones. To achieve this, a separate occupancy/motion sensor is required to monitor each zone. 

In some cases, these sensors will use your existing Wi-Fi router or hub to communicate, whereas others may use low-power Zigbee or Z-Wave wireless protocols.

You will also need to check if your system uses a C-Wire, as not all Smart Thermostats work with systems that don’t use it.

Final Thoughts on the Best Smart Thermostat for Multiple Zones

The ability to control multiple zones independently is one of the most useful features of a smart thermostat and each of the above products are quite capable of this. A lot of the choice is down to budget.

The Best Overall Smart Thermostat for Multiple Zones is the latest model, the ecobee SmartThermostat. It also comes with a SmartSensor.

The Runner Up is also from the ecobee brand, the ecobee4 smart thermostat, which comes with a Room Sensor.

The Best Budget-Friendly option is the ecobee3 Lite, a full-featured entry-level option that when paired with SmartSensors will have the same multi-zone functionality its bigger brothers have.

If you want to see an in-depth comparison of all the ecobee models, check out the ecobee Smart Thermostats Comparison Review article. 

Here are some other best smart thermostat articles for different scenarios that might be useful for you. 

Photo of author

Written by:

Greg Randall
Greg Randall is deeply immersed in Smart Home Technology, with years of experience in home automation, from smart displays to TVs. He enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with like-minded enthusiasts. Beyond smart homes, Greg loves snowboarding and exploring new culinary scenes with friends, bringing a zest for adventure and fine dining to his tech-savvy lifestyle.