A Nest smart thermostat mounted on an interior wall in a home.

The ideal spot to place a smart thermostat (or any thermostat, for that matter) is on an interior wall in a common space, away from anything that could create temperature extremes, such as direct sunlight, a drafty window, or an air vent.

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Avoid placing a thermostat in an isolated room that tends to get colder or hotter than the main part of the house. All of this helps the thermostat get a more accurate reading, says Peter Anzalone, who tests thermostats for CR.

The path of least resistance is to place your new thermostat in the same spot as the old one, where the wiring is. If it isn't in an ideal location, you'll need to pay an installer to rewire. But an easy, inexpensive solution (without rewiring) is to see whether your new smart thermostat is compatible with remote temperature sensors, small wireless devices that can be put in other rooms to monitor temperatures, enabling more balanced heating and cooling. The Nest Thermostat E, $170, for example, offers separate Nest Temperature Sensors for $39 each.

For more on programmable and smart thermostats, check our thermostat buying guide

And here are a few of the top smart thermostats from Consumer Reports' tests.

Top Picks

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