Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat: 2-Min Review

One of the things we love about Honeywell smart thermostats is their affordability. Most are well below the $200 mark.

Honeywell thermostats may not have the bells and whistles of $250-plus WiFi thermostats, but they deliver solid functionality.

The second generation Honeywell Lyric Thermostat is no different.

Priced at just below $200, it is perfect for homeowners who are starting their journey into a smart home.

4.0

Summary

Great for:

• Relatively low cost compared to Ecobee3 and Nest.
• Easy and flexible scheduling.
• Convenient remote control through the Lyric app.
• Provides wide variety of smart integrations.

Avoid if:

• Geofencing feature does not always work.
• No energy usage information provided.
• The thermostat interface can be a bit confusing (the app is better).

Price: $$$

Price

The Honeywell Lyric is designed to provide energy savings as well as premium comfort through features such as adaptive recovery, geofencing and smart comfort control.

If you plan on making your home even smarter’ in the future, don’t worry; the Lyric WiFi thermostat is future-proofed through integration with HomeKit, Alexa and other smart home ecosystems.

As for its design, the Lyric looks a lot like the Nest thermostat, featuring a modern round shape with a polished glass face and touch-screen interface.

At first glance, we love this thermostat from Honeywell.

But before you decide to buy one, let’s take a few minutes to put it up against other smart thermostats.

If you are thinking of buying a smart thermostat but want to avoid the high price tag of Ecobee and Nest, then this review is for you.


HVAC System Compatibility

Most low voltage residential HVAC systems will work fine with Honeywell Lyric. These include gas and oil furnaces, hot water systems and heat pumps. The Lyric is also compatible with multistage heating and cooling systems.

Honeywell has a handy compatibility checklist on its official website where you can quickly check whether your wiring can work with one of their thermostats.

One compatibility exception that is common with all Honeywell smart thermostats is high voltage (also called line voltage) systems. Systems like electric baseboard heaters rated at 110V or higher are not compatible with Lyric. Just check your system’s labeling to see whether it is line voltage.

Similarly, Lyric should not be connected to a millivolt system. Millivolt systems do not use electricity or use very little. This makes them incompatible with Lyric and most other smart thermostats, not just those from Honeywell.

But the good news is that millivolt and high volt systems are pretty uncommon especially in residential homes.

So there is a good chance that your HVAC system is compatible with Honeywell Lyric.

If you are still not sure, contact Honeywell’s customer support and if possible, send a picture of your current wiring to give them an idea of the kind of system you have installed.


Installation

Honeywell Installed

After confirming compatibility, you are still not in the clear.

All Honeywell thermostats, including the Lyric, require a C or common wire to function.

We have talked about the common wire several times and its function of delivering constant power to a smart thermostat.

A Nest, for example, can work in many cases without a C wire.

And Ecobee provides a power extender kit that can be used if a C wire is lacking. With Honeywell, it is not a negotiation; a C wire is a must.

Once you open up your old thermostat, check for a wire labeled C. It may also be labeled as B or X, though you should confirm with the HVAC manufacturer whether it is a common wire.

If, like most homeowners, you have an older HVAC system, you probably will not find this crucial wire. This is because older non-smart thermostats do not need one. But smart thermostats need a constant power source because of their delicate circuitry.

If you don’t find it, your only recourse is to call a professional to add a C wire.

Once you are done with the C wire issue, installation should be pretty easy and quick and you can even do it yourself. An instruction manual will guide you through the process or you can use the Lyric app for step-by-step guidance.


Network Connectivity

Wifi Alliance Certified Router

As with other smart thermostats, Lyric relies on WiFi connectivity to deliver functionality.

You will be guided on how to set up a WiFi connection when you power the thermostat on for the first time.

Network connectivity enables features like geofencing (smart comfort control through location detection), remote access and control through the Lyric app and smart alerts on your smartphone.

To be clear, the core function of the thermostat – controlling your home interior temperature – is not dependent on WiFi. Without a WiFi connection, it will still work fine but you will miss out on the features that make it smart.

As with a traditional thermostat, everything has to be done manually on the physical panel.

As long as you have a safe, Wi-Fi Alliance-certified router, you should be able to easily set up a secure connection. Never use any other network other than your home network. For security, Lyric uses various standards including WEP_PSK, WPA2_AES_PSK and WPA2_MIXED_PSK. It operates in the 2.4GHz WiFi band though this shouldn’t be a problem since most routers broadcast in both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands.

Lyric does not have any other type of connectivity such as Bluetooth. Additionally, it is not designed to work with broadband networks. It may connect to a hotspot from your smartphone but that will not provide the kind of reliable connectivity it needs.


User Interface

Honeywell plus app

As we mentioned in the beginning, the Lyric thermostat gives the Nest a run for its money in terms of design. It takes on the same puck shape with a polished face and slim profile. It is a gadget you won’t mind having on your wall.

The interface comes with a few surprises. While it is a touch screen, there is also a rotating dial (like that of the Nest) that allows you to quickly increase or decrease temperature. Rotating it feels good: it is firm enough to avoid over-rotating it yet light enough that it moves from one degree to the other easily.

The screen itself has a vibrant display that can be seen clearly even from across the room. The home screen does not display too many details; just the current temperature shown in large numbers at the center of the display and a target temperature shown at the top. On the left side, tap the cloud icon to access a 6 or 12-hour local weather forecast. On the right, there is a home icon that allows you to quickly set the away mode.

There are also other menu’s hidden deeper inside though they are not as intuitive to use as the main settings mentioned above. For one, the convenient rotating action does not work on other settings. Overall, we would give the user interface an 8/10. The basics are easy but advanced settings can be a bit confusing.


Remote Control

The easiest way to access all the settings and functions and control them is using the remote control feature.

When setting up the thermostat, you will be asked to download the free Lyric app (available for both Android and iOS devices) to your smartphone or tablet. The app makes things so much easier; you feel like you have the world at your fingertips.

So what can you do with the app? Pretty much anything.

You can see the current temperature, increase or lower it, change to heat, cool or off mode, see the weather forecast, set up geofencing, see your current schedule and program it if you want and so on.

In other words, the app gives you complete control over your thermostat.

You can also receive smart alerts on your phone for issues like filter change or when the thermostat detects something wrong with your system.

The app has a far better interface than the thermostat. The home screen gives you access to quick actions like changing the temperature or setting the away mode. Advanced settings are easy to access and navigate around. We give it a 10/10.

One feature you may have noticed missing is a web app.

Both Nest and Ecobee allow you to control their thermostats from your desktop or laptop browser.

With Lyric, your smartphone or tablet is the only option.

If you have no access to a smartphone or tablet, there is a specially made Lyric app for Apple Watch users.


Energy Monitoring

We have talked about the energy monitoring issue several times already in previous Honeywell thermostat reviews.

For a feature that is so basic and with potentially big benefits for homeowners, it is inexcusable for Honeywell not to provide energy monitoring and usage information for any of its smart thermostats.

The closest they get to providing anything meaningful in terms of energy usage insights for homeowners is their energy savings calculator. The calculator uses general tidbits such as location and fuel cost to tell you how much you will save.

It does not take into account the wide variability in usage between homes, something that can be affected by factors like home size, preferred comfort levels and individual lifestyles.

So even with the calculator, you will never get a clear picture of how much power the system has used versus past usage, which means you cannot accurately determine your energy savings. This is not a feature that should be restricted to pricier thermostats only.


Scheduling And Automation

Honeywell App for configuration

One of the best features about Lyric thermostats is their flexible scheduling.

Regardless of your lifestyle, you can program the thermostat to provide the perfect comfort level when you need it. You can set temperature levels for different times of the day such as when you wake up, when you leave, when you get back and when you go to sleep.

You can also use the icon on the thermostat screen or the app home screen to quickly select away’ mode. The thermostat will change temperature settings to save energy.

Using the geofencing feature, you can get the thermostat to automatically change comfort settings when you approach home. It uses locational detection on your smartphone to determine when you have crossed a virtual boundary. You can modify this boundary at any time on the app.

One more thing to note is that geofencing can be spotty. Many customers have complained of its unreliability, noting that sometimes it does not work at all. You might be better off just setting your own schedule.

Though Lyric lacks some of the automation and learning features of Ecobee and Nest, the scheduling is good enough to cover for these deficiencies.


Sensors

Lyric is not packed with smart sensors like some pricier brands.

Of course, it has the basic temperature sensors to measure room temperature.

It also has a humidity sensor that provides a humidity reading for your home.

The only fairly smart addition is a proximity sensor that lights up the screen when you are close.

In contrast, the Nest learning thermostat has a wider-range motion sensor that lights up the screen before you even get close.

Ecobee4, on the other hand, supports up to 32 external temperature sensors so each area of your home can be optimized.

Don’t feel like you are missing out on something big, though. While smart sensors do add some convenience and flexibility to a thermostat, the Lyric is perfectly functional without them.


Smart Home Integration

Honeywell has future-proofed the Lyric WiFi thermostat through integration with a wide variety of smart ecosystems and devices.

One of the best integrations is with Apple HomeKit. You can tell Siri to set your home to a certain comfort level using your smartphone.

Lyric is compatible with Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa (through Echo), Google Home, Wink and many other home automation systems.

Visit the Honeywell partners website to view all listed smart integrations.

You can also look for the Works with Honeywell logo to determine compatibility with your favorite smart product or platform.


Pros

• Relatively low cost compared to Ecobee3 and Nest.
• Easy and flexible scheduling.
• Convenient remote control through the Lyric app.
• Provides wide variety of smart integrations.

Cons

• Geofencing feature does not always work.
• No energy usage information provided.
• The thermostat interface can be a bit confusing (the app is better).


Specs

• Touch screen display with rotating dial.
• Compatible with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
• For indoor use only.
• Requires WiFi connectivity.
• Requires C Wire.
• Compatible with low voltage HVAC systems only.


Summary

4.5 stars

The Honeywell Lyric WiFi thermostat is a great pick for those who are seeking a cheaper Nest or Ecobee alternative.

It has the sleek round design of Nest and the HomeKit compatibility of Ecobee.

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