Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat

Last updated: January 2, 2020

Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval
Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.
Show Contents

We looked at the top Smart Thermostats and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Smart Thermostat you should buy.

Overall Take

With the Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat, you can manually adjust the temperature using either the buttons on the unit or the app or allow the automatic temperature-sensing technology to manage things for you. Scheduling allows you to control your temperature throughout the day to save money on utilities when you're away. It has a simple design that will appeal to those who like the classic thermostat look.

In our analysis of 124 expert reviews, the Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat placed 5th when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

From across the room or across the country, your Sensi Wi-Fi thermostat makes it easy to remotely control and schedule your home comfort – Anytime. Anywhere. Designed to work with the wires you already have, Sensi thermostat does not require a common wire (c-wire) for most installations, so it is compatible with the HVAC equipment in many homes*** in U.S. & Canada. A c-wire is required for heat-only, cool-only and heat pump (without aux) systems, and for use with Apple HomeKit. Check to make sure it will work for you at sensi.emerson.com/compatibility . The intuitive app walks you through each step of installation with custom configured instructions, removing all the frustration and guesswork from the installation process, so you can be up and running in no time, no experience required. Put your comfort on your terms using location-based temperature control with geofencing or creating custom heating and cooling schedules with the flexible 7-day scheduling option with the ENERGY STAR certified Sensi thermostat. Both energy saving features you save about 23% on your HVAC energy usage* so you can save money without compromising your comfort. Plus, Sensi integrates directly with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Wink home automation platforms. Connect to Amazon Alexa to control your home temperature with simple voice commands, or just ask Siri to set, raise or lower your home temperature when using Sensi with Apple HomeKit. What’s more, Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat has been named the ‘Best Value’ smart thermostat of 2018 by USA Today’s Reviewed.com *Energy savings calculated by comparing operation time for a nationwide sample of Sensi users with temperature adjustments averaging 4 degreeF vs. users with no adjustments. Savings vary based on equipment type/condition, insulation, climate & temperature adjustment size/frequency. **Based on survey results of 2120 respondents that purchased and installed a Sensi thermostat in 2018, approximately 70% reported installing in 30 minutes or less. Adding a common wire may impact installation time. ***Does not work with electric baseboard heat and some other systems. System requirements for mobile app: iOS – 10.0 or above Android – 4.2 or above (5.0 or greater to use the Geofencing feature).

Expert Reviews

What experts liked

Installation is just like an ordinary thermostat, and it's compatible with an enormous range of oil, gas, heat pump, radiant, and geothermal systems.
The Sensi Touch is a good smart thermostat. The touchscreen display is responsive, its app is easy to navigate and it works well with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.
The Sensi WiFi thermostat, while undoubtedly “smart,” looks like the adjective “digital” would be more appropriate. It has a white faceplate with actual buttons and looks and feels like the updated version of a standard thermostat.
Sends alerts in case of extreme temperatures or malfunctions
However, despite the handy app-based installation instructions, the Sensi does typically require a system-power C-wire to properly manage wireless connections. Not all thermostats have the right wiring, and without proper setup, the Sensi may not spend much time online.
What we like: the Sensi controls your temperature settings in two ways. Use the connected app to manually change the temperature from your phone or tablet, or let Sensi do the work for you.
And it is a great thermostat, especially if all you care about is accessing your thermostat remotely and setting schedules with ease.
Using this thermostat is pretty easy. You can program it for events so your HVAC is set to different temperatures when you wake up, when you leave for work, when you come home, and when you go to bed.
Sensi's ST55 / UP500W comes with an elegant design and a low price. It's precise in features, smart in connecting with home assistants like Alexa, and got a cool design as well.
I am of the belief that a smart thermostat is a great “first smart device” to buy and the Sensi is a great option to sort of ease you into the world of smart things. The Sensi has enough smart features to give you the control you want, but it won’t leave you dumbfounded trying to figure out why your heater or AC is going crazy.
Get the best of smart home experience with this unit as it is compatible with most voice assistants available in the technology market.
The Sensi thermostat will also let you set the desired indoor temperature for any time of the day, as you can set up as many temperature adjustments as you like. You can create multiple schedules and manually switch to them whenever needed.
With many smart thermostats boasting of sophisticated designs, the simplicity of the Sensi’s design makes it a stand out, in a good way. When mounted on the wall, it looks so slim with the box protruding just a little more than an inch. The white plastic body looks and feels durable, as well as easy to clean when the inevitable finger smudges are seen.
Seriously, I was a little shocked by how easy this thermostat is to install. First, it is compatible with almost any type of system, which means that you shouldn’t have to fuss around trying to find converters to make this thing work with your current wiring.
Another impressive feature built into this affordable device is its ability to be controlled by voice commands. Simply connect Wink or Amazon Echo to your device using its Wi-Fi abilities and you will be able to tell it when to increase or decrease the temperature in your home without having to touch it.

What experts didn't like

More frequent interruption of WiFi connection than we like to see.
I just wish the design was a bit more...designy.
We did notice some connectivity issues during setup and testing, where the thermostat would be unavailable from the smartphone app despite the internet working. We were mostly able to work around that by exiting and reopening the app.
Setup can be done using a tablet or smartphone, but not using a PC
The Sensi has a very traditional screen interface for controlling your HVAC system.
To get a full 5 stars all we would want are some usage reports, but that’s being super picky, especially at this price point.
Walls and floors are obstacles that decrease the connection’s quality.
You cannot connect directly to your Sensi thermostat using your local WiFi network. It requires that you connect indirectly by going through the cloud-based Sensi server. That means if for some reason the Sensi server goes down, you will not be able to connect to your thermostat.
The Connection process might take some extra time. Some users find it difficult to connect it with their Wi-Fi router.
On the other hand, if your schedule is fairly fixed day-to-day or week-to-week, then the scheduling feature will fit your needs sufficiently. If something should change, you can adjust the temperature in the Sensi app from wherever you might be, as long as you have an internet connection.
Not smart enough to learn energy usage

Our Expert Consultant

Vicki Liston 
Home Improvement Expert

Vicki Liston writes, produces, and narrates “On The Fly…DIY,” an award-winning home improvement and DIY show of unique project tutorials for the casual DIY’er.

Home improvement and all things DIY have been Liston’s passion since she bought her first house in 2007 and she started making video blogs in 2014. She’s performed hundreds of DIY projects, from small ones to major, wall-smashing renovations and can teach you how to make a trendy DIY barn door for cheap. The proceeds earned from “On The Fly…DIY” are donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations.


When they first came along, programmable thermostats seemed like a great way to save money on electricity when you weren’t at home. However, many consumers find that they don’t keep the same hours day after day, week after week. When schedules do change, adjusting things takes extra work that they may not want to put in.

Enter learning thermostats. These innovative devices monitor the activity within your home and automatically adjust the temperature as needed. As you start shopping, though, you’ll find that many learning thermostats also have the option to control the temperature using an app or controls on the wall box itself. But as “On The Fly…DIY” writer, producer and narrator Vicki Liston says, this automation can be tricky, so it’s important to choose the right type of smart thermostat.

“I recommend shopping for a smart thermostat that uses both a motion sensor and geo-fencing input to determine settings,” Liston says.

Accuracy also relies heavily on where the thermostat is placed inside your home. Like other types of thermostats, a smart thermostat should be mounted on an inside wall, approximately five feet above the floor.

“Install your smart thermostat in a place where there is no direct sunlight from nearby windows or doors and where it is not in the path of a vent,” Liston says. “Sunlight and drafty locations can cause false temperature readings and the thermostat will not be able to operate as efficiently as it should.”

Liston also reminds shoppers that some thermostats let users set up alerts. You can set your thermostat to notify you that it’s time to change your furnace filter or schedule maintenance with a local heating and air provider.

Before you start shopping, though, note the type of unit you have. Not all thermostats will work with all systems, so you can save time by buying the right product from the start. You’ll find most often you see thermostats that are compatible only with electric heating, which means they won’t work with furnaces. Still other thermostats are universal in nature, but even with those, check to make sure they’re compatible with your system before making your purchase.

More to explore