Smart people live in smarter homes – Sorry, I just made that up. For the past couple of years, while people are going crazy adapting automation systems for their homes, Z-Wave technology has its own pros and cons. So, watch out for picking up the best one for your temperature control needs.
Programmable thermostats might seem a little bit geeky from a predictable techy perspective. So, deciding over a manifold of z-wave smart thermostats in the market could be a kick in the ass.
Too short on time? | Check the Editor’s #1 Pick
Z-wave control systems stand top-notch when it comes to cutting down your home automation costs. And, the best part is, this happens without affecting your thermal comfort. However, you got lucky as I’m gonna walk you through an easy route today.
A Quick Glimpse of the Runner Up
Oh, crap! What the heaven is this Z-Wave thing again?
Aha! Let’s face it! Without knowing what you are buying, you are not gonna find the match for your individual needs. You just can’t, it’s possimpible!
It’s far beyond possible and impossible. So, what is the term you hear about home automation called a z-wave system (or, a z-wave device)?
It is actually a radio frequency that allows devices to be able to communicate with each other. Z-wave hub sends out commands to Z-wave compatible devices (can be entertainment to security systems, lighting to home access controls, and other connected devices by different manufacturers).
Z-Wave lets you remotely control devices using alarms or even your smartphone or tablet. This means you don’t have to be in your home or work in person. Yet you get the most out of your automation.
Best Z-Wave Thermostats in 2023 – Explained
Now, here are the toppers you might look into!
2 Gig CT100
Don’t judge a book by its cover! The 2gig CT100 Z-wave programmable thermostat might seem teeny-tiny as it looks. Yet, this super slim thermostat holds some excellent features under the belt. The display isn’t as big as my previous pick but has touchscreen buttons to navigate through temperature limits. I have put this at the top of the table, so there are reasons for that, right?
Fortunately, you don’t need a C-wire headache to power this on. Just pick a pair of Double-A (alkaline recommended) batteries and you are all set for a couple of months. Furthermore, it has a built-in feature to feel the humidity and temperature around.
Just like the previous one from Honeywell, you can access the system from your phone. Setting different schedules for day-specific periods is another touch of versatility to the 2gig CT100.
- Cost Efficient & Fairly Priced.
- No Third Wire Hassle for Power.
- Allows Lithe and Accurate Setting.
- Integral Heat and Humidity Sensor.
- Usage Limited to a Hub.
- Not programmable from Device Interface.
Apart from the little disturbance, it might create, it would be a happy purchase to go with this one. Because you are getting a pack full of features for the least price possible in the market.
Honeywell, a prominent name in thermostat manufacturers. This alone ensures you the quality of the product, as they are in the market for generations. I have put this at the top of the table, so there are reasons for that, right?
The interface might look boring as a calculator screen. But, flipping another side of the coin, it is a responsive touchscreen panel. Its Z-wave chip allows you to keep an eye on your heating and conditioning units through messaging. Plus, you can set your own schedule to automate temperature shifting for specific timespans.
It reminds you to replace the filters on time, and notifies you when to overhaul the HVACs. You are free to program the unit as you want, but if the temperature seems messed up, cry not. All it takes is a stroke of your fingernails to override all the jumble you made. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? It surely is.
Read more: Best Honeywell Z-wave Thermostat
- Accuracy in Temperature Control.
- Easy-to-use Programmable Interface.
- Clear Backlit Display Panel.
- Auto Daylight Saving Adjustments.
- Utterly Dull & Basic UI.
- Compels a Common Wire.
- Doesn’t Support WiFi.
Honestly, this unit has a few drawbacks as I just mentioned. Nonetheless, it partakes some great features as well. It is totally up to you if the cons are gonna cause big trouble for you or not (Refer to Honeywell z wave thermostat manual for troubleshooting guidelines – FYI).
Now, to my concern, this piece is a combo of the first two thermostats. This is a key reason why I have pushed this up on the list at #3. Yeah, it will make sense.
GoControl runs on both batteries and is c-wire powered. As per your convenience, you get to choose which way to go. Either use a c-wire cable or load it with 4 Double-A batteries. One might say, “Whoa! Two pairs of batteries?”. However, you’ll have two consecutive years till they drain out too.
Rest assured, you can have your smartphone synced with the Z-wave device via an application. And despite the small screen, it lets you steer through the menu options.
- Elegantly Simple & Affordable.
- Accepts batteries and C-wire.
- Free Wall Mount Brackets.
- Easiest to manage remotely.
- Very Small Display.
- No Touchscreen Buttons.
If you have your home devices all okay, and they meet the standards for this thermostat, then it can be a picture-perfect. It has a clean interface and works great with smart devices. Needs a hub for Echo Plus Compatibility, so I won’t say, it’s perfect, but almost.
Radio Thermostat CT100
A cheap thermostat on the list is the Radio CT100 Plus. It’s an updated entity of the previous CT100 version(or model, whatever you call it). This powers by a C-wire or you can also open up the front lid and put 4 AA batteries inside. Simple as that!
Apart from the sleek design, it provides easy access to manual programming from the screen. And, needless to say, from your smartphone as well. It is a touchscreen panel with a fairly bright backlight. The built-in energy-saving function can save you dimes expectedly.
The best thing about this unit is, you get push notifications if something unusual happens. Like; a fall or rise in the temperature that is abnormal. Although, you will have to connect it with a hub/controller. But again. You will eyeball on accidental leakage and burst out pipes.
- Cheap and Affordably Priced.
- Hassle-free Power Choices.
- Lock Screen Restricts Public Access.
- Has Temp & Humidity Sensor.
- Requires a Hub to Operate.
- Less Responsive Touchscreen.
All in all, you can have it for a two-wire home. It has some decent features and works so far, so good. The price you pay, it brings a lot more in return.
Trane XL624 – Nexia
Another easy-to-use full-featured thermostat for Nexia Z-wave users. It is a decent and modern-looking device with plenty of settings. However, the touchscreen experience is not satisfactory all the way down. It has a negligible fiddle to touch.
With the big screen, you can program your desired settings at ease. Luckily, it features remote accessibility and works fine with a home control system(Z-wave compatible).
On top of that, it drives reminder alerts to make certain you don’t forget about the filters for good. According to actual users, this is one of the easiest devices to install within minutes.
- Remotely Accessible via Nexia Bridge.
- Offers Flexible 4×7 Day Scheduling.
- Big Enough Touchscreen Display.
- Dedicated to Nexia Systems.
So, you already know it is designed for people with Nexia Home Intelligence. Meaning, it can be the best for them in specific terms. Contrarily, if you are not knotted to Nexia, search for something else.
RCS Z-Wave Communicating Thermostat (001-01773)
Wanna have an all-in-one solution for standard and heat pump HVAC? Here you have it. This communicative thermostat from RCS is engineered to comply with most HVAC systems.
Nevertheless, it went old-school with a graphical LCD display and white backlight. You have four and two buttons for your programming needs.
It creates a conventional thermostat connection with the HVAC system and allows Z-wave communications. You can set a lithe schedule and minimize energy consumption without compromising your regular comfort.
- Supports Wifi for Remote Access.
- Includes Wall Mount Fittings.
- 4x7 Programmable Schedules.
- All in One Money Saver Design.
- Confusing Installation Instructions.
- Requires Common Wires.
As it has two available models; programmable and non-programmable, be sure to buy the right one. You might also need to seek help from a professional regarding the installation. Other than that, this is an excellent thermostat.
IRIS Thermostat CT101
If your home automation runs on Vera controllers, CT101 by IRIS is a super savior in energy consumption. Plus, you don’t have to rob a bank to afford it. The unit specializes indoor lighting and energy control management.
It requires the minimum C-wiring labor and installing comes a breeze. As a matter of fact, it entails battery powers. Luckily it remembers your Z-wave system’s settings in case of a sudden power outage.
The small display is a touchscreen with two movement keys and two other buttons. You will have the mainstream HVAC systems compatible with the CT101. However, the modern looking device can connect to two remote sensors at a time.
- Energy Efficient & Affordable.
- Vera Systems Compatible.
- Works with SmartThings Hub.
- Clumsy User Interface.
- The outlet is not that good.
To conclude, IRIS CT101 is superior to a broad range of Vera controlling systems. For Z-wave devices, c-wire is a norm and the interface is not a big deal whatsoever.
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TRANE Thermostat, Works with Amazon Alexa
Being the second Trane thermostat in this article, the manufacturer somehow proves their quality concerns. This specific unit is highlighted for its usability with Amazon Alexa, though you will need a hub for that purpose too.
Like most other popular thermostats, Trane also features remote control thus making your temperature adjustment an ease. So, you can monitor and regulate energy consumption from your phone, PC or tablet. Installing the unit is also times lesser than the average model.
Cutting edge automation such as Nexia, are adaptable to Trane’s thermostat. Moreover, you will know when your filters get worn out and require routine servicing through alerts and reminders
- Features Remote Accessibility.
- Compatible with Nexia System.
- Easy Installation & Temp Stability.
- Requires a C-wire.
- Could be more user-friendly.
Considering the cost, this can sound better than Nest within half of the price point. You get a large and easy display and innately accurate temperature control. Even if you are a non-techie guy, you might love it.
Honeywell Ademco ZWSTAT
The same old boring design with a comparatively higher price brings the Ademco by Honeywell herein. Generally talking, this has dissimilar features to offer just like the previous one from their closet.
Adding an exceptional touch, Honeywell integrated lock code systems to limit unauthorized programming. This prevents kids and other individuals to make a mess out of your automation program settings. You can multiple schedules and control them from your automation software.
It doesn’t run on batteries and requires a C-wire connection to work properly. Easily configurable and effortless to program all by yourself.
- Accurate Temperature Control.
- Easily Programmable Interface.
- Daylight Saving Adjustments.
- Screen Lock Features.
- Boring Calculator-like Design.
- Installation Might Seem Confusing.
If the price is not a problem, you can keep it in your consideration. After all, Honeywell is a well-known manufacturer and they really work to make better products that will last long. Again, if there’s something that offends your interest, hit the freeway.
Radio Thermostat CT80
The CT80 is a WiFi-enabled and precisely programmable device. It provides control access from your Android and iOS mobile devices. The app connects via your home network while you are home, and uses a free cloud network when away.
Despite being a pricey piece for your wallet, CT80-Wifi is a popular thermostat at the same time. Cause, you get loads of functionality in one thing with this thermostat.
It allows four different schedules per day, and sever per week. Furthermore, you have two extra zones named “Hold” and “Holiday” for unordinary days. Its cloud capability and independency ensures uninterrupted control.
- Programmable REST interface.
- Cloud-capable and Cloud-independent.
- 4×7 Schedule’s Programming.
- WiFi Signals are Poor.
- Less Responsive Touchscreen.
- Filter Reminder Doesn’t Work as It Should.
Although it has some great features, I am afraid to recommend this for purchase. The quirks of the radio module will get under your skin. The thermostat happens to be offline repeatedly without even any power glitch.
With a minimalistic but unique design, this unit can be a great option for smart thermostats. The killer feature of the ZTS-500 is the secure encryption on it. This works for all command lines right out of the box. Make sure your Z-wave Plus controller is security enabled.
It fits on the wall using a detachable terminal board and is capable of running with C-wire and batteries both. Alert messages make you aware of certain conditions, such as; low battery indication, defrost and out of temperature-range control function, and filter changing epoch.
ZTS-500 hoards quite a few bells and whistles under its belt. It is compatible with the majority of HVAC systems. Apart from the temperature sensor tuning, energy-saving mode, and a notable number of features, it comes at a fair price in comparison with Nest-like systems.
- Secure Encrypted Connection.
- Sleek & Beautifully Designed.
- Sends out Alert Messages.
- Allows Battery Backup.
- Incompatible with some systems.
If you are feeling lured by the stunning look and perks, be mindful that ZTS-500 is not well-suited with 120 to 240 volts baseboard heaters. Adding salt to injury, it is unable to get along with some multi-functional two-wired (Japanese) HVAC & heaters.
What Makes an Ideal Thermostat that works better with z-wave?
Numerous products inundate the market, so it’s challenging to make a selection.
Therefore, we compiled a list of prominent factors that we think each ideal thermostat should include. It’ll help you decide which features are crucial and a must-have.
1. Compatibility With Your Existing/New Z-network
Whether you already have a current system or looking to create a new one, always conduct prior research before purchasing a thermostat. The product you are buying needs to be compatible with your network. If not, then it will be dysfunctional.
Although few reports are suggesting that even complimentary devices occasionally have problems, it’s best to examine the equipment before your decision critically. The initial starting point should be to read the included document’s description.
If the language appears cryptic or hieroglyphic, then search for expert assessments. They’ll break it to you in lucid terms so that you won’t have any problems. Forums and detailed customer evaluations of a device can also aid in your research.
However, if you’re still skeptical about the decision, you can always contact the manufacturers.
Most of them provide instant customer support, and you’ll receive answers to your query in a few business days.
2. HVAC System Support
You need to ensure that the newest addition to your smart family supports your current heating and cooling system. Any contradiction here would result in either poor application or downright non-functionality.
Check the manufacturer’s website for pertinent information, and observe the list of compatible devices.
All products are extensively organized, so the details are a few clicks away. If the website doesn’t work for you, attempt in the traditional manner; either call or email.
How your device gets the necessary power is another significant consideration. There are two different approaches available in the market, which are either C-Wire or battery-powered.
The former refers to a low-voltage cable that powers your device. Most updated thermostats come with C-wires. However, battery-powered products are also efficient if it’s compatible with your current system.
A note of caution, if your home doesn’t support C-wire, you need an expert to redo the entire wiring. You should opt for a product that meets the demands of your existing situation.
4. Energy Efficiency
Several products in the market have a handy addition called the “Auto-Away.” It utilizes motion sensors to detect whether you’re home or not.
If you’re on vacation, or away from home for an extended period, automatically the device switches into energy saving.
If you’re looking for maximum cost-efficiency, then be mindful of this feature.
The cutting-edge Z wave thermostats can alert you when they sense any anomaly in the atmosphere of your home.
If by any chance, the temperature reaches critical condition, hot or cold, your smart device can inform you through push notifications.
This feature can prevent any unwarranted damage; you can feel safe even when you’re not close to your house.
One feature that comes with top-tier Z W thermostats is their ability to understand your schedule automatically.
Through their algorithm, the machines can learn your behavioral patterns. It helps automated thermostat adjustment without any effort from you.
7. App and Remote Control
Your thermostat will either come with a native app or a remote-control interface. For the latter, you’ll get extensive flexibility because you can set and adjust the temperature differently for each part of your house.
If you have guests onboard who have particular atmosphere needs, you can easily control it by using the remote.
Some devices come with a native app; if not, they allow using the universal Z-Wave one. This software can help you monitor your home temperature, or control it from a distance.
Another primary consideration is the design of your device. While some products focus on functionality over aesthetics, others take the later into account as well.
Although you should not compromise quality for looks, we recommend that you find a device that matches your home’s interior.
You don’t want your thermostat to be glaringly visible to the guests.
Benefits of Smart Thermostats
One of the most exceptional advantages of modern technology is effortless living. You can achieve this convenience by having a smart hub in your house.
Having a Z-Wave-supported thermostat will not only make your life comfortable, but it also has other practical benefits. Let us have a look:
When the manufacturers claim that the devices are smart, they don’t just label them. The high-tech devices are undoubtedly “smart” enough to save your money.
Advanced thermostats offer a range of features specifically designed for cutting expenses.
Firstly, these devices include motion detectors. So, gone are the days of forgetting to turn off the power because the thermostat will do it for you. They can sense any motion, and if there is none, it goes to sleep.
Moreover, forgetting a maintenance date is a pervasive problem. The smart thermostat will notify you when there is an issue beforehand. So, you don’t have to waste money due to delayed maintenance.
A strategic user can roughly save up to 10-15% in electricity charges.
2. Wi-Fi flexibility
An internet connection can restrict the function of any device installed in your apartment. However, it can’t limit the smart home device because it doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection for its operation.
As an alternative, it uses radio frequencies more potent and seamless compared to the latter.
Furthermore, there is minimal disruption in the signal, and the connection doesn’t falter after you include multiple new devices. The mesh networking system of Z-Wave allows seamless linking.
In contrast, a Wi-Fi wastes electricity, you’ll feel surprising disruptions, allows limited range, and weakens with each newly added device.
3. Extensive Support Options
Customers laud the Z-Wave network for its wide range of products and their ability to interact with each other. If you already have an ongoing system in your house, the thermostat will comfortably adjust to the existing mechanism.
The Z-Wave Alliance, a decade old, supports an extensive range of devices. They have 450 members and a whopping 1700 smart home products, all of which are interoperable.
So, you’ll find a device that is compatible with your existing system.
Additionally, they are less expensive compared to their counterparts. They provide the same features and more while charging the customers less.
4. Centralized Control
If you add a Z Wave enabled thermostat to your existing network of smart machinery, you can control them from a single point. You don’t have to be mindful about the product or its manufacturer as long your device is Z-wave supported.
You’ll have the convenience to use one app to control all your automated equipment.
If you’re looking to include this new member into your existing family of smart devices, then check whether it has a Z-Wave certification or not.
Regardless, we still recommend you read the description to ensure that no additional complications occur during installation.
Furthermore, if you want a full-scale centralized control, a hub needed that connects all the devices, creates, and maintains the network.
With the product’s native or universal Z-Wave app, you’ll be free from switching between apps to adjust any smart device.
Installing a thermostat without a C Wire
Now we’ll discuss the steps on how to set your thermostat up without a C-Wire.
The first thing you need to look for is whether your current device has a C-Wire or not. Ask yourself if you have a 24v low voltage HVAC system.
You need to detach it and observe the wiring. You have a C-Wire, if you find a terminal with the label C. If you don’t see any tag, look for a blue cable.
There can also be a hidden wire behind your wall. So, to check the source of power, go to your furnace. Afterward, check the connection and labels to ensure if you have it.
2. Search For an Alternative Product
If you don’t have a C-Wire, then the most straightforward workaround is to purchase those models that doesn’t require it. There are few products available in the market for purchase.
3. Use a G-Wire
Another solution is to replace the C-Wire with a G-Wire. While the former provides continuous power by utilizing the furnace, the latter connects to a fan. It is a suitable substitution.
To get the best results, you should have forced air, propane or gas cooling, and heating system.
However, the replacement comes with a trade-off. It will strip your ability to control your fan. While it offers convenience, you’ll lose some features.
4. Buy an Adapter
You can also choose an alternative adapter to operate as a C-Wire. These products are cost-effective and can act as an alternative.
5. Full-scale Rewiring
One more reasonable and permanent solution, if you want to have a smart house, is to change the wiring of your HVAC system.
It means you’ll need to rewire the whole system through your walls. The task can be a breeze or a challenge depending on the dimension of your house.
Our recommendation is to look for a professional technician to this job for you.
Although this is lengthy, it is the safest and a one-time solution to all your wiring difficulties.
What is the Z Wave?
- It is a protocol that uses Radio Frequency for connecting devices in home automation.Read More: What is Z-wave Technology?
Is Z wave Wifi?
- Absolutely not. There are tons of differences between Z-wave and Wifi on how they work.
What is the C wire on a thermostat?
- C stands for Common. It’s basically the blue or black low-voltage power wire that fetches constant power from heating and cooling machines to your thermostat.
How to Install a Z-wave Thermostat?
- Installation process varies for individual models based on different manufacturers. Even though the basic procedures are all the same, some are super easy while others are hard nuts to crack. Search on the internet for your specific thermostat, and hopefully, you’ll have a video guiding you till the end.
The best Z-wave thermostats are not in plenty on the market, especially online. So, there should not be any confusion arising on which one to buy.
Decisions are pretty easy to make. Set some standards that you can’t compromise. Now, try to match them up. You’ll know which one to go for!