Nest vs Honeywell Lyric T5 Smart Thermostat [2018 Update]

In August of 2017, a new Nest thermostat called the “Nest Thermostat E” was released. There were already many models on the market, so it was difficult to find the best one for anyone’s needs. There was a lot of conflicting information, as well.


If you’re unsure about the Nest Learning Thermostat or a Honeywell Lyric T5 model, you’re in the right place. This article will provide you with all you need to know in order to make the right decision, so read on.

PreviewModelPriceAutomationPowerAdd. Sensors
Nest 3Check PriceIFTTT | Alexa | Google Home | WinkC WireNo
Honeywell Lyric T5Check PriceIFTTT | Alexa | Google Home | HomeKitC WireNo
Honeywell Lyric Round 2.0Check PriceIFTTT | Alexa | SmartThings | HomeKitC WireNo
Honeywell RTH9580WFCheck PriceIFTTT | Alexa | WinkC WireNo

Six years after Nest first debuted in 2011, there are two Nest models on the market today. These are:

  • Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation
  • Nest Thermostat E

Then there is Honeywell and their remote thermostats, with a handful to pick from. There are three main models on the market that really stand out. These are:

  • Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi (RTH9580WF)
  • Honeywell Lyric T5
  • Honeywell Lyric Round 2.0.

Each of the five smart thermostats listed here is unique in its own way, so it is very important to discuss both the similarities and differences between them.

What They All Have in Common

Let’s take a look at the basics of what they all do. When comparing Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat reviews with other thermostats, you want to see similarities and differences. They have differences, but they all share basic features, too. These include:

  • Wi-Fi
  • iOS application
  • Android application
  • Remote control when away from home, using your phone
  • Ability to set a schedule for your heater and air conditioner
  • A built-in humidity sensor

With all that in common, what could be so different? Well the pricing, for one thing, along with added features that may matter more to some buyers. So let’s take a look at the comparison and differences between these five models. To see what are the top wifi thermostats from other brands, check this guide.

Which Thermostat is Smarter?

If you really just want to know which thermostat is smarter, that is easy.

What I Like About The Nest
 Nest is smarter. It learns your habits after a couple weeks and understands your routines.

It learns patterns effortlessly and will keep learning after an initial understanding of the basics.

There is no doubt that Nest is smarter than Honeywell. Here’s why.

If you set your thermostat to 65 degrees each night at 11pm, Nest will start to do that automatically.

It will also learn when you typically wake up and what you set the temperature to at that time. That’s a wonderful thing for people with set schedules, but what if you work a flexible schedule or odd hours? What happens then?

What I Don't Like About The Nest
Because of the way it learns patterns, the Nest can potentially struggle to understand routines when people don’t have set schedules, and that can leave your house too warm or too cold unexpectedly.

The Honeywell thermostat doesn’t have the learning capability for this, so it isn’t going to be affected by your habits. People with more relaxed schedules or atypical routines may do better with a Honeywell thermostat.

Honeywell’s Geofencing vs. Nest’s Home/Away Assist

Until 2016. The Nest wireless thermostat was using only motion sensors in order to find out whether you are at home or not with a feature called “Auto-away”. That can be a benefit if your thermostat is in a good location, but can be a problem if you don’t pass it on the way in and out of your home. Being hidden in an out of the way area can pose a problem for the Nest since it needs to be able to “see” you to know where you are and what to do next.

In addition to the activity sensor, Nest’s Home/Away Assist can now work with your mobile phone or tablet to determine if you are home. Home/Away Assist uses a combination of your phone’s location off of mobile and Wi-Fi data. The Nest product activity sensors dictate whether it thinks you’ve left home or not, but having your phone or tablet with you during the day helps Nest also use it to determine your location. Once Home/Away Assist is set up on your phone, it will use that location to see if you are home or away.

Both of the Lyric thermostats use geofencing to determine when the heating or cooling should be turned on or off. Basically, it assumes your phone is you, and when the phone is close it knows you are close.

Geofence Is A Virtual Perimeter
It has invisible barriers set up, and when your phone crosses them that is the signal to make changes to the heating and cooling of your home.

These barriers can be the entrance to the parking garage, the end of the street, or anywhere else you want them to be. It knows if you’re coming or going, and what you want to happen based on that. You can set your invisible barriers from 500 feet to several miles.

The Honeywell Lyric reviews indicate that these wireless thermostats completely rely on where your smart phone is instead of detecting motion. If you don’t own a smart phone, though, the Lyric’s sensing capabilities are effectively useless.

What I Don't Like About Honeywell
The main con of Smart Wi-Fi (RTH9580WF) is that there aren’t any motion sensors or geofencing.

But, you can enable geofancing on thermostats that don’t have it originally, by using IFTTT. It’s a website, but it’s also a mobile app. You can use it to automate a whole bunch of things, including giving geofencing capabilities to your thermostat.

There are channels on IFTTT for both Honeywell and Nest, so users can get what they need through the main channels or “recipes,” which provide channel combinations to use.

The Design of the Thermostats

The Nest Thermostat E and the Nest Thermostat 3.0 both offer a round design that blends well with most décor and style. The Nest Learning 3rd Generation also offers four color options for its stainless steel finish, including black, silver, white, and copper.

What I Like About The Nest 3.0
This model is just a bit larger than the E, and has a bigger display that measures 2.08 inches wide and offers 480×480 resolution. That means you get text that is crisper and sharper than what the Thermostat E has to offer.

With the Nest Thermostat E being made from polycarbonate, it offers a stronger feel than standard plastic for more durability. It feels like ceramic, and it only comes in white.

What I Don't Like About The Nest E
With a 1.76-inch frosted glass display and a 320×320 resolution, it looks to me like it doesn’t provide as good of a view of the information or as nice of a look on the wall.

However, the display’s frosted overlay provides a warm glow and the device does blend in nicely if you have white walls. The diffused display is calm, quiet, and soft, providing a watercolor look that can be very soothing to many people.

When considering the Nest Thermostat E vs Honeywell, the Honeywell Lyric Round 2.0 looks almost identical to the Nest. The design is round, and the spin wheel is similar.

In my opinion, it is not as smooth as what Nest has to offer, though, with the fluidity of its scroll ring. Both the case and the display are lovely and thought out well.

All of these thermostats are designed around minimalism, but that comes at a cost. There are fewer features offered, so using a mobile app or the web is essentially required if you want to fine-tune the settings on your thermostat.

The other two thermostats discussed, the Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi and Honeywell Lyric T5, don’t have the modern design and fancy displays of the other thermostats, but they do provide you with the opportunity to do nearly everything right there on the unit.

There is still a web app and a mobile app, but you don’t need them to change basic settings. Though the Honeywell Lyric T5 looks to me like it’s a bit dated in its font, layout, and touchscreen interface, it still has a high-tech style and a sleek, simple black finish.

What I Like About Honeywell
The Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi offers a more intuitive interface with a full-featured touchscreen that is beautiful and responsive.

There is plenty of information offered there, too, along with background color options. It’s bright and easy to read, helping make it easier for users who select that model.

HVAC System Compatibility

When you need the right thermostat, it’s important to make sure you get one that will work with your HVAC system. If you have a high voltage system such as electric baseboard heaters, they aren’t going to be compatible with any of these thermostats.

According to manufacturer information, the Nest Learning Thermostat works with 95% of systems, and the Nest Thermostat E works with most systems. This means 24v heating and cooling systems. The high levels of compatibility are based on the lower number of terminals, as the Nest Thermostat E has only six.

Step-by-step guides may determine which thermostats work with your cooling and heating system. These compatibility checkers can help you find the right one, as well.

Nest compatibility checker

Honeywell compatibility checker

Power (Thermostat C Wire and Batteries)

If you’re still entrenched in the Nest vs Honeywell debate, you should consider this:

Good To Know
 Smart thermostats need to have a steady power supply. They have Wi-Fi and backlit displays, and they can’t offer those without power. The C wire, or common wire, is what keeps the power flowing to the thermostat.

The Nest claims that it works without a C-wire, but there are a few caveats to that. Without a C-wire, the Nest gets power from your HVAC system. This is called power stealing, and during the time that your HVAC system isn’t running the thermostat needs to rely on batteries.

There is a built-in rechargeable battery in the Nest Learning Thermostat, and the Lyric Round from Honeywell uses non-rechargeable batteries to operate without a C-wire. If you’re going to use it with HomeKit compatibility, though, you still need a C-wire or it won’t work correctly.

What I Don't Like About Honeywell
Other Honeywell wireless thermostats such as the Lyric T5 and the Smart Wi-Fi don’t have any battery and require a C-wire to work at all.

If you upgrade your thermostat it’s recommended that you install a C-wire, whether you technically need it or not. There is too much potential for failure otherwise, but you can avoid all of that. Your thermostat won’t be stealing power, and it won’t be burning through batteries. Instead, you can just use it and enjoy it.

Conclusion – The Verdict

There are many reason to buy Nest, including:

  • A stylish design
  • Learning patterns
  • Works well for regular routines
  • Provides a monthly energy report
  • The best user interface, app, and overall experience.
Check Reviews Of Nest 3.0

But you shouldn’t buy Nest if:

  • You want to use your thermostat with Apple HomeKit
  • You have an unpredictable schedule

If you like what Nest has to offer but you want to save a little bit of money, you can get the Nest E for less.

Check Reviews Of Nest E

It is made from plastic and the display is, in my opinion, not as fancy, but it still offers much of what you want and need in a wireless thermostat.

There are also some good reasons to buy a Honeywell remote thermostat like the Lyric, including:

  • It integrates with Apple HomeKit
  • Geofencing

Even the best Honeywell thermostat isn’t a learning thermostat, though, so keep that in mind. For great design, choose the Honeywell Lyric Round. For more controls on the screen, the Lyric T5 is the right choice.

If you don’t need motion sensors or geofencing and you need a less expensive option that offers you a lot, select the Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi. While it’s not compatible with Apple HomeKit, it still has plenty of great features.

Check Reviews Of Honeywell RTH9580WF 


About the Author David Waller

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