Emerson Sensi WIFI Thermostat (UP500W & 1F86U-42WF ) Reviews


Note: Before you dive into the specific brand review, we highly recommend you to read our elaborate Thermostat Buying Guide in advance, there are several crucial steps you need to take before you even start to think about the brand.

Emerson Sensi WiFi thermostats get high marks from users for reliability and convenience. Two models have been introduced to date:

  • Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat
  • Emerson Sensi Touch Thermostat, also a smart thermostat

The main buying decision is whether you’re happy with pushing buttons to adjust your thermostat or you’d prefer a touchscreen interface for $20 to $50 more from various sellers.

This Emerson Sensi smart thermostat review provides research you can use to make your decision. We’ve complete similar comparison-style reviews of nest, ecobee and Honeywell thermostats to make comparing brands easier.

Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat

This is the standard version with button control. Its appearance is much like the Honeywell RTH8580WF WiFi thermostat that has comparable features and pricing too. Getting the unit going is usually easy: Install the thermostat, download the app for Android or iOS, follow the step-by-step setup process and watch an optional tutorial video. The Sensi Smart Thermostat is sold under two model numbers, but there is NO difference in the thermostats:

  • Sensi Smart Touch 1F86U-42WF: Contains packaging and instructions for professional installers. It is backed by a 5-year warranty when professionally installed.
  • Sensi Smart Touch UP500W: This includes the retail version of the packaging and instructions. It has a 3-year warranty.

Let’s review Emerson Sensi Smart thermostat pros and cons:


  • Programmable: Programming your thermostat to reduce energy use when you’re not there is a proven way to cut energy waste and cost.
  • Geofencing: Use the app and an area map to set a boundary around your neighborhood. When you leave the boundary, the thermostat adjusts to “away” settings to reduce energy use and cost. When you return, the “home” settings take over, so your house is comfortable, or on its way there, when you arrive.
  • Smart home integration: The Emerson Sensi Smart works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Wink (and Google Home and Google Assistant through Wink).
  • Local weather: Current location and conditions appear on the app, and you can request weather updates too.
  • Smart alerts: When extreme temperature changes are noted in your home, you’ll get an alert on the app.
  • Lockable display: The password-protected lock means nno unauthorized changes can be made.
  • System compatibility: Works with most 24V systems including heat pumps. Up to 2 stages of heating and cooling each plus auxiliary heating and fan-only mode


  • Learning: This is NOT a learning thermostat. The term “smart” refers to its integration with smart home automation equipment. Because some homeowners get frustrated with the time it takes learning thermostats to figure out a schedule without adjusting settings at the wrong time, this unit not being a learning thermostat might be a plus from your perspective.
  • 7-day programming: Your only option is to program each day individually, which takes more time.
  • App necessity: You can adjust the temperature at the thermostat, of course, but to create or change the program, you must use the app.
  • C wire issues: Most 24-volt setups require the use of a C wire or common wire. If your current system isn’t wired with one, you have options including installing the Emerson Common Wire kit. See our C Wire Guide for more information on this issue.
  • Internet issues: All WiFi thermostats seem to have some connectivity issues. The problem is less common with Emerson, but you might experience trouble connecting or have to reset the connection periodically.

Emerson Sensi Touch Thermostat

This unit is much like the Sensi Smart Thermostat except it has the touchscreen and a few other upgrades. Its pros and cons are the same in most areas. We’ll focus on the touchscreen and a few different features of the Sensi Touch thermostat.


  • Clarity: The 4.3” full-color LCD display delivers 272×480 clarity with back glow for nighttime and low-light readability. The brightness of the backlit display is easily adjusted.
  • DIY installation: Click connections and step-by-step instructions on the app, that also checks for system compatibility make this one of the easiest thermostats to install.
  • 4H heating: Up to 4 stages of heat including heat pumps with or without auxiliary heat strips.


  • Current weather: This is a WiFi thermostat, yet the thermostat display doesn’t show current outdoor temperature and humidity as many do. The app does though.
  • Usage data: Data reports about energy usage are not available on this thermostat as they are with nest, ecobee and other smart thermostats.

Which Sensi Smart Thermostat is Right for You?

You’ll save money with the non-touchscreen Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat UP500W, and it offers usually-reliable WiFi and remote monitoring and control. However, the Sensi Touch thermostat does have a few upgrades, so if you want the latest and best, the state of the art for Sensi, the Touch will be more satisfying.

Emerson Sensi Thermostat Wiring

Recently, we just completed an In-depth Thermostat Wiring DIY Guide which covers many wiring situations. Once you select a Sensi thermostat and want to wire it by yourself, remember to add this guide to your favorite list. If you come across any questions when wiring your thermostat, feel free to ask a question in the comment sections.

Thanks for taking a few minutes on PickHVAC to research thermostats, and feel free to share this information on social media if you believe it would assist other homeowners in their purchase decision.

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