- Section 1| Main Highlights & Differences
- Section 2 | The Basics
- Section 3 |Design, Power & Connection
- Section 4 | Screen Features
- Section 5 | Smart Heating Features
- Section 6 | Energy & Weather
- Section 7 | HVAC Compatibility
- Section 8 | Remote Access
- Section 9 | Home Automation
- Section 10 | Ratings & Reviews
Have you been hunting for your next wi-fi thermostat only to realise that you don’t have a “c” wire”?
In this post you can watch or read a comparison of the top thermostats that don’t need to be powered by a “c” wire.
My post looks at much more than the different ways that these thermostats can be powered .
I have gathered data on over 40 specifications for each thermostat and I have then split this data into 10 sections so that it is easier to read.
Hopefully, the comparison will answer most of the questions that you have.
Section 1| Main Highlights & Differences
In this section I compare some of the major features of these thermostats.
This is for all of you who are in a rush and who don’t have time to watch the whole video!
If you would like to read a written description of the comparison table, please click on the “Read More” link below the chart.
HVAC Compatibility- All of these thermostats are compatible with most 24V systems.
C Wire- The whole focus of the video is on how these thermostats are powered and none of them need a c wire although all of them can be powered by a c wire
There is quite a range of power alternatives that the thermostats use.
All the Ecobee thermostats use a Power Extender Kit or PEK as an alternative.
The Nest and the CT101 use a 120V power adapter as an alternative.
The TBZ48, CT101 and the T2000 can all be powered using 4 AA batteries.
The UP500W uses x2 AA batteries.
The CT101 is the most flexible thermostat for alternative means of power.
Multi Stage Cooling- All of these thermostats are compatible with multiple heating and cooling systems.
Energy Reports- Four of these thermostats do not provide energy reports and they are TBZ48, CT101, UP500W and the T2000.
Geofencing- only two thermostats do not have a geofencing capability and they are the TBZ48 and the CT101.
All the other thermostats have geo fencing built in.
Only one thermostat is not “Alexa Ready”- compatible with Amazon’s voice controlled digital assistant.
Six of these thermostats provide a weather forecast either on the unit themselves or via the app.
The TBZ48 and the CT101 do not provide weather forecasts.
All of these thermostats allow for remote access.
The oldest of these thermostats is the UP500W, which was first for sale in December 2012 and the youngest is the Ecobee4 which was launched in April 2017.
Nest is the most highly rated of these thermostats with 4.6 out of 5 and the CT101 has the lowest rating with 3.9
Section 2 | The Basics
In this section I compare some of the basic features of these thermostats.
If you would like to read a written description of the comparison table, please click on the “Read More” link below the chart.Read More
In terms of manufacturer there is a mixture of traditional thermostat brands such as Honeywell and Emerson together with some newer companies that have only been around for a few years, such as Ecobee.
The dates on which these thermostats were launched was briefly discussed above and so I will not repeat myself here!
The newest thermostat is the Ecobee4 which was launched a few months ago in April 2017.
The next feature compares the weight of each thermostat. The heaviest seems to be the Ecobee3 which weighs 1.4 lbs or just over 22 ounces.
The lightest is the TBZ48, which weighs 3.2 oz.
In terms of dimensions, the largest thermostat is the TBZ48 which is nearly 10 inches wide, whereas the Nest is just over 3 inches wide.
The slimmest thermostat is the Ecobee3 Lite at 0.8 inches thick whereas the thickest thermostat is the T2000 at 1.8 inches.
And the final feature is the price. Obviously prices are subject to change. The cheapest thermostat is the CT101 at just under $45 whereas the Nest 3rd generation is the most expensive at nearly $250 which is 5 times the price.
Section 3 |Design, Power & Connection
In this section I compare features of these thermostats that relate to design, power and connection.
If you would like to read a written description of the comparison table, please click on the “Read More” link below the chart.
Every one of these thermostats is available in only one color choice. The only exception is the Nest, which is available in four colors- black, white, silver and copper.
Thinking about materials, all of these thermostats are made of plastic apart from the Nest, which is made from stainless steel.
The power requirements of all of these thermostats has already been discussed in section 1.
I will not repeat myself here but it is worth noting once more that all of these the thermostats in this comparison work with a c wire.
Focusing on the warranties, the best warranty is available for the Sensi thermostat- the UP500W, which come with a whooping 5 year warranty.
The TBZ48, CT101 and the T2000 only come with a 1 year warranty.
Lastly, in this section let’s look at Wi-Fi connection.
All of these thermostats will connect to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network- which is what the overwhelming majority of us have at home.
They use the WPA and WPA2 security protocols.
The Nest thermostat is unique in this group because it will connect to Wi-Fi networks running at a 5 Ghz speed, which are becoming more common in homes across the US.
Section 4 | Screen Features
In this section I compare features of these thermostats that relate to their screens.
In the chart above, only four of these thermostats have color screens: Ecobee3, Ecobee3 Lite, Ecobee4 and the Nest.
The TBZ48, CT101, UP500W and the T2000 all have backlit screens.
In terms of the size of the screen, the Ecobee thermostats have the largest screens- 3.5 inches square.
The T2000 has not got a screen. It just has icons on its face that illuminate.
Nest has the smallest screen at just over 2 inches in diameter.
Five of these thermostats have touchscreens: all of the Ecobee thermostats, the Nest 3 and the CT101.
The TBZ48, UP500W and T2000 don’t have touchscreens.
In terms of resolution, the Nest has the top resolution at 480 x 480 pixels.
The Ecobee thermostat screens have 320 x 480 pixels.
The other thermostat screens don’t have a pixel rating as they aren’t color.
The final feature I have labelled as “proximity”. This is the ability of the thermostat to detect that you are close by and to “switch on” the display.
The only thermostats that can do this are the Nest and the Ecobee thermostats.
Section 5 | Smart Heating Features
In this section I compare features of these thermostats that relate to some smart heating features.
In this next section, I dig a little deeper into some of the smart heating features of the thermostats.
These features are: Programming
All of the thermostats can be programmed manually, which is when a user enters in a set of times and temperature ranges that the thermostat operates within.
The Ecobee thermostats and the UP500W can be programmed using an app or an online account.
The Nest, TBZ48 and the CT101 can be programmed on the unit and the Nest can be programmed via the app.
Moving onto scheduling, all of these thermostats can have a different schedule for each day of the week.
However, I could not find any clear information about the TBZ48.
The Nest and the Ecobee thermostats can have an unlimited number of events within each day and the UP500W offers 7 events per day.
To clarify, an event is one instruction such as “turn on heating at 6am, turn off heating at 8am. Keep temperature at 65°F on a Tuesday” Room Sensors
Room sensors are small plastic sensors that detect temperature and motion. They are placed in different rooms around the house and they connect wirelessly to the smart thermostat.
Currently it is only the Ecobee thermostats and the T2000 that use them. Geofencing
Geofencing is the ability of your smart thermostat to be controlled by the location of your phone.
It is an invisible boundary that you can create somewhere in your neighbourhood and when that boundary is crossed (by you leaving the house or coming back home with your phone) your thermostat is either switched on or off.
All of these thermostats have geofencing capabilities apart from the TBZ48 and the CT101.
Section 6 | Energy & Weather
In this section I compare features of these thermostats that relate to energy and weather.
In terms of energy saving, the Ecobee thermostats promise savings of up to 23% every year and the Nest thermostat promises a saving of 10 to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling.
the UP500W promises savings of up to 30%.
The TBZ48 can save you anywhere between 5-15%.
I could not find any figures for the potential savings that the CT101 and the T2000.
The Ecobee and the Nest thermostats provide energy reports and continually track your use of energy so that you can check and compare whenever you want.
These reports will be emailed to you monthly and so that you can see how you have use your energy in the past month.
Also you can access your energy use at any point by looking at your account on your app or via the web portal.
None of the other thermostats provide monthly reports or allow you to track your energy use in any way.
None of these thermometers display the outside temperature. Most of them don’t display the outside temperature because they provide weather forecasts.
Four thermostats display weather forecasts on the units and on the app- the Ecobee and Nest thermostats.
The Sensi UP500W has a forecast on the app.
The T2000 has weather alerts but the TBZ48 and the CT101 don’t provide any forecasting.
Section 7 | HVAC Compatibility
In this section I compare the HVAC compatibility of these thermostats.
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation And Cooling.
All of the 8 thermostats have almost exactly the same compatibility.
The thermostats are all compatible with gas, electric, oil and dual fuel systems.
7 of the thermostats will not work with Mini volt or baseboard systems, apart from the CT101 which will work with millivolt systems.
With conventional systems, all of these thermostats are compatible with 2 stage heating and 2 stage cooling.
With heat pump systems, six thermostats will work with four stages of heating and 2 stages of cooling.
Two thermostats, the TBZ48 and the T2000 will work with three stages of heating and two stages of cooling when used on a heat pump system.
All of these thermostats will work with a humidifier or dehumidifier.
Section 8 | Remote Access
In this section I examine remote access amongst these thermostats.
In this section I will provide an overview of the different Ways in which the thermostats can be remotely accessed.
Remote access is simply the ability to control a thermostat without physically touching it. and so you can be on the other side of the room from the thermostat or the other side of the world.
The very best thermostats can either be remotely accessed via apps for smartphones and tablets or by using an Internet browser.
All of these thermostats have apps that have been created specifically by the manufacturers.
So, for instance, the Ecobee thermostats have an app created by Ecobee and the UP500W has one created by Sensi (Emerson.)
The exceptions to this is the TBZ48 and the CT101 which can be controlled by an app but only apps created by other companies.
The apps that you can use with these thermostats are the varied apps that can be used on Z Wave products.
It is important to say that the other thermostats can also be controlled via third party apps and this will be explained more in the next section on Home Automation.
The version of iOS that a thermostat needs in order to run an app on an iPhone or iPad varies between thermostats.
But the version of Android that a phone or tablet must be running, varies depending on the phone or tablet as opposed to the thermostat.
None of these thermostats have apps that are designed to work on a Windows 10 mobile device.
All of these thermostats can be controlled via an online account (with the manufacturer of the specific thermostat) using a web browser, apart from the TBZ48. The 48 can’t be managed using a browser.
The CT101 can be managed via a web browser using an account with a third party company- an Iris home automation account.
Section 9 | Home Automation
In this section I look at how compatible the thermostats in my comparison are with different home automation systems.
Home automation is the ability of smart devices to work with other smart devices.
In my comparison, I have listed 7 different home automation systems (although there are so many more) and compared how these 8 thermostats work with them.
If This Then That is an automation website and app that enables you to connect different smart devices and different web services together using applets which are technical recipes.
Only the Ecobee and Nest thermostats work officially with the IFTTT system.
By official I mean that the Ecobee and Nest have applets which have been created by the manufacturers themselves.
The TBZ, CT101, UP500W and T2000 have no official support on this platform.
Only one of these thermostats is not Alexa Ready- the CT101.
Alexa is Amazon’s voice operated digital assistant that is evolving into a very large home automation system.
In order for the other thermostats to work with Alexa you need to already have or be willing to buy an Amazon Echo or Amazon dot which are interactive speakers which are evolving into smart home hubs.
The exception to all of this is the Ecobee4 which has the equivalent of an Echo or a Dot built in.
The Ecobee 4 is the only thermostat on this list that you can buy and that will work with the Amazon system, without the need to already own an Echo or a Dot or be willing to buy one.
Apple HomeKit is Apple’s answer to the Smart home Market.
Only three of these thermostats work with the HomeKit system and they are all made by Ecobee!
Five of these thermostats work in a Z Wave system: once again these include all the Ecobee thermostats and the TBZ48 and the CT101.
Nest as well as creating one of the leading smart thermostats it has also created a whole smart home system. It is the only thermostat on the list that works with it.
Six of these thermostats work on the Wink smart home system. I know that the T2000 does not work with Wink but I could not find any clear information regarding the TBZ48.
The last home automation system in my list is SmartThings, which is owned and operated by Samsung.
Only the Ecobee thermostats and the CT101 are compatible with this system.
Section 10 | Ratings & Reviews
In this section, I look at the ratings and reviews that these thermostats have been given.
My final section is all about the ratings and reviews that these thermostats have received on Amazon.
What I have tried to do is to show some of the most helpful statistics to help us work out which are the most popular and the most reliable thermostats.
To state the obvious, these numbers will change on an almost daily basis but I think that the overall trends that these numbers reveal will not change that much.
all but one of these thermostats have a rating of greater than four out of five. The CT101 has a rating of 3.9 out of 5. The Nest 3 has a rating of 4.6 out of 5.
The Nest is way out in front of all the other thermostats in this comparison in terms of how many written reviews it has received.
It has over 13, 000 reviews and its next nearest rival is the Ecobee3 which has nearly four thousand.
To try and get a better comparison, the numbers in pink show the average number of written review that a thermostat receives every month.
But even using this metric, the Nest 3rd generation is the clear winner with nearly 600 reviews being written per month.
A nice change is that the device with the highest number of answered questions is the UP500W, which is also the thermostat which has been on sale for the longest.
It has over 1000 answered questions. The Ecobee3 comes a distant 2nd with nearly 700 answered questions.
The CT101 is in last place with only 5 answered questions.
The Nest 3 once again has the highest percentage of 5 star ratings- with a very healthy 87% of all reviews rating it as 5 stars. The Ecobee3 and three lite have a 79% 5 star metric.
The CT101 has a very worrying 14%.
The thermostat with the healthiest percentage of 1 Star reviews is the Nest 3, with an impressive 3%. The Ecobee3 and three lite trail slightly behind with 5% of all reviews rating them as 1 star.
The ADC T2000 has a disturbing 13% metric.
Our final comparison involves a grading from Fakespot.
Finally in the last column is a Fakespot grade.
Fakespot analyses a product’s reviews on sites like Amazon and then gives them a reliability grading- the higher the grade, the more trustworthy that the reviews are.
It is the same grade system used on old school reports.
The best grade was given to the CT101 and the T2000 which were graded “A”. I think that is an impressive performance from the T2000 particularly.
The Ecobee3, the UP500W and the TBZ48 all received “B” grades.
The Nest 3 has a very disappointing “F” grade which demonstrates that Fakespot is suspicious about the reliability of its Amazon reviews!