Imagine coming home early from work to a warm and comfy house because you remotely adjusted your thermostat while you were still at the office. Today's newer homes often include an intelligent heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) system controlled by a smart thermostat. You can program detailed schedules that change automatically if you're not home. It's easy to track how much and when you use energy, so you can become more efficient and save money. You can also interact with your thermostat by voice and integrate it with the other smart systems that run your home.
As you may know, there are many smart thermostats available today. Some are very basic, simply giving you the ability to program a variety of schedules and little more. At the other end of the spectrum, advanced units can learn your preferences and manipulate every aspect of your HVAC system. Most people appreciate something in between.
In this review, we take a comprehensive look at the Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi model ST75. This Emerson thermostat is an excellent middle-ground device, providing many smart features at a reasonable price point.
An updated version of the Sensi Wi-Fi thermostat, the ST75 model includes a touchscreen and looks better on your wall. The outer case is available in either black or white. It has many features that make it worthwhile to upgrade your old thermostat, described in detail below.
The touchscreen display on the Sensi Touch Wi-Fi is large and easy to read. It glows red when heating and blue when cooling, giving a quick visual indication along with the digital temperature readout.
It's easy to navigate the menus by tapping the touchscreen and changing any of the thermostat's settings. You can program temperatures and schedules, set alerts and more, all without using the mobile app or a smart home assistant.
The Sensi Touch Wi-Fi includes a free mobile app so you can control the thermostat from your tablet or smartphone while you're at home or away. The app works with both Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
You should run the app before installing your Emerson thermostat because it includes an easy-to-follow, do-it-yourself installation guide for the Sensi Touch. Once the thermostat is installed, you can also control it through the touchscreen or with any of the supported smart home assistant platforms
Emerson has tried to make installation of this thermostat as easy as possible, even if you've never done it before. Just tell the mobile app which wires were attached to your old thermostat and it will configure the Sensi Touch to match. The app will guide you through the process, illustrating each step. To help with installation, the thermostat includes lighted wire terminals that are easy to click and a built-in level.
The Sensi Touch is designed to work with most home-based HVAC systems in the United States and Canada. You can check the compatibility tool on Emerson's website to make sure that your climate control equipment and Wi-Fi router will work with this thermostat. It does require a common "C" wire connection to your HVAC system for operating power, unlike its predecessor (the Sensi Wi-Fi thermostat).
Installing and using the Sensi Touch should be very straightforward. If you need help, though, Emerson's technical support team and online resources are available seven days a week.
Using the touchscreen, your wireless device or a smart home assistant, you can quickly create custom cooling and heating schedules for each day of the week. This way you can tune your climate system to your work schedule and lifestyle, including waking up on a winter morning to a warm and comfy home.
Alternatively, you can enable geofencing to automatically adjust the temperature programming when you leave and return. This Emerson thermostat determines your location based on how far from home your smartphone or tablet is. If it's more than three miles away, the thermostat adjusts the temperature by three degrees. When your wireless device returns to a distance within three miles of home, the temperature returns to its original setting in time for your arrival.
The Sensi Touch does not have the ability to customize the "away from home" adjustment. You can't combine geofencing with custom schedules either; you must choose one or the other.
The Sensi Touch Wi-Fi thermostat works with the major smart assistant/home automation platforms: Google Assistant, Wink, Amazon's Alexa and Apple's HomeKit. This allows you to control your thermostat from the assistant and fully integrate it with the operation of your other smart home devices.
Most smart assistant platforms also enable voice interaction. For example, with Apple's HomeKit, you can control your home's temperature with voice commands to Siri on your iPad or iPhone. You can do the same with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant using their voice capabilities.
As mentioned earlier, Emerson's highly praised technical support team is available seven days a week by email and phone. If you need help outside of the team's support hours and you've reviewed the content in the Sensi Touch's mobile app already, check out the SensiComfort support website. It gives you 24-hour access to detailed support videos, helpful articles and downloadable content. You're sure to find something there to help you solve any challenge that arises with the Sensi Touch Wi-Fi thermostat.
With the Sensi Touch Wi-Fi, you can set up smart alerts to let you know if something's not right in your home climate. In particular, extreme humidity and temperature measurements can be set to trigger these alerts. You can program these from the touchscreen, a smart assistant or the mobile app.
This Emerson thermostat works with most existing home systems. Heat pumps with one or two stages of cooling and up to four stages of heating (4H/2C) are supported. Conventional HVAC systems with one or two stages of cooling and one or two stages of heating (2H/2C) are also compatible. Cool-only and heat-only systems also work, as do radiant-heat units. Electric, gas, duel-fuel, oil and geothermal-based systems are all supported.
There are a few types of HVAC systems that the Sensi Touch isn't compatible with, though. Electric baseboard and line voltage heaters don't work with it. Neither do millivolt (mV) systems or those which use a proprietary protocol to communicate or control them. However, if you add a 24-volt transformer to a millivolt system, you can make it work with the Sensi Touch.
As mentioned earlier, a common "C" wire is required for all types of HVAC systems to work with the Sensi Touch. If you don't already have one in place, you can buy the Emerson Thermostat Common Wire Kit to help you install one.
You can find out whether your HVAC and wireless systems will work with this thermostat by checking the compatibility tool on Emerson's website. If you need any help, their technical support team is available seven days a week.
The Sensi Touch can be purchased on Amazon or from large home retailers such as Lowe's and Home Depot. As of this writing, prices range from $145.88 at Amazon to $169 (full list price) at Home Depot and Lowe's.
A three-year manufacturer's warranty is provided by Emerson, along with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Technical support is available by email or phone seven days a week, and their website includes many helpful videos and instructions for common questions. The Sensi Touch's mobile app also includes a step-by-step illustrated thermostat installation guide.
If you're upgrading an old legacy or programmable thermostat, you may not be familiar with all of the features available with today's smart thermostats. You should be aware of how the Sensi Touch stacks up against some of its competitors so you can make an informed purchase.
The NS Nest Thermostat is a good smart learning thermostat. It goes one step further than a regular smart device: Over time it observes how you adjust the system and tries to automatically anticipate your needs. Unlike the Sensi Touch, this thermostat can keep the climate in different rooms balanced by monitoring remote temperature sensors throughout your home. It doesn't have a touchscreen display like the Sensi Touch, so it's not as convenient to adjust the settings if you're standing in front of it. It doesn't support as many smart home assistant platforms as the Sensi Touch, either (Apple's HomeKit is the major one missing). It is Energy Star rated though, which the Sensi is not. The NS Nest Thermostat has superior geofencing capabilities, more accurately determining your presence by both wireless device proximity and presence sensors. The temperature to be maintained when you're away is programmable; it doesn't simply adjust the temperature by three degrees like the Sensi Touch. It also reports on your energy use over 10 days and informs you when you choose a thermostat setting that saves money. According to Nest, no common "C" wire connection is needed in most cases. The Nest warranty is limited and only lasts one year, not as good as Emerson's three-year warranty on the Sensi Touch.
Smart Assistant Support
Like the Emerson thermostat, the Honeywell Lyric T5 is a smart device that requires a common "C" wire for power and relies on phone-based geofencing. Alternatively, you can schedule climate control for sleep, away, wake-up and home periods every day, or just on weekdays or just weekends. It doesn't support as many smart home automation systems as the Sensi Touch does (it's missing the Wink platform, in particular). Like the Sensi Touch, the Lyric T5 does not provide energy reports or utilize remote temperature sensors. It is Energy Star rated, though, like the Nest Thermostat E. The Lyric T5's two-year limited warranty is not as good as Sensi Touch's three-year, but is better than Nest Thermostat E's one-year warranty.
Smart Assistant Support
The Lux Kono smart thermostat doesn't support the Wink home automation platform, but is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's HomeKit, so overall it supports fewer of these platforms than Emerson's Sensi Touch Wi-Fi. It has a limited energy-reporting feature (which the Sensi Touch does not have) that tells you how much your energy costs will decrease or increase when you change the temperature. Like the Sensi Touch, its geofencing feature is based only on the proximity of your wireless device and it doesn't utilize remote temperature sensors throughout your home. The Lux Kono can control multiple types of cooling and heating systems, but not as diverse a variety as the Sensi Touch. Unlike the other thermostats reviewed here, it includes a power bridge that connects to your HVAC system for its operating power instead of using a common "C" wire. The Lux Kono comes with a three-year limited warranty, better than the Honeywell and Nest thermostats above, but still not as good as the Sensi Touch Wi-Fi. One caution if you decide to purchase this one from Amazon: it also lists a less expensive "unauthorized" version of the Kono which doesn't support any smart home assistant platforms at all.
Smart Assistant Support
The Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi is an excellent smart thermostat for most people. It provides a good mix of features for the price. It's also easy to use, has a superior display and controls, the best warranty, and it supports a large number of HVAC systems and smart home assistant platforms. The other thermostats here are also good choices, depending on your specific preferences and needs. A smart Emerson thermostat like the Sensi Touch Wi-Fi will be a vast improvement if you're upgrading from a legacy programmable or analog thermostat in your home.