Z Wave Thermostat 2017: Reviews Of The Top Brands
Whether you are looking for one of the most popular Z Wave thermostats or the one with the greatest range of features or perhaps the Z Wave thermostat at the most affordable price, then you have come to the right place.
In this guide I have reviewed the 10 Z Wave thermostats and identified some of the best ones on the market today.
These thermostats will help you to save energy, spend less on your bills and give you remote control of your thermostat via your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
But this page does not only contain reviews about Z Wave thermostats, it provides lots of other important information that you will need in order to get the best out of your new Z Wave device.
Not only does my comparison chart contain 9 different thermostats, it also allows you to compare over 15 key features of these devices. I am not sure that you will find this level of detail anywhere else. I also look at what the benefits using Z Wave are.
And so, needless to say, I am delighted to provide you with all this advice and if you have any comments please leave at the end of the article.
Comparison of The Best Z Wave Thermostats Reviewed
Table of Contents
(1) What is Z Wave?
(2) The Benefits of Z Wave
(3) Can a Smart Thermostat
(4) A Z Wave Smart Home
(5) Thermostat Features Explained
(6) How To Install a Z Wave Thermostat
Z Wave Thermostat 2017- The Top 9 Reviews
Z Wave Thermostat- A Simple Definition
A Z Wave thermostat is a device that controls your HVAC (Heating Venting Air Conditioning) via an app on a smartphone or tablet or from an online account. It is a type of smart thermostat.
The previous generation of thermostats (programmable thermostats) took us away from analogue displays and dials and provided us with basic digital displays and buttons to press in order to set up a schedule or a program.
But we still needed to physically touch the thermostat
Smart thermostats allow us to control the thermostat without physically touching it or being anywhere near it.
Z Wave Thermostat- The Smartest Thermostats?
Z Wave refers to the protocol or language that the thermostats in the table above use.
Smart devices communicate with each using a wireless language or protocol. There are a growing number of these protocols that smart devices use.
Z Wave is one of the most commonly used languages and Zigbee is another.
Currently Z Wave boasts 450 companies, 1700 products and 50 million products sold.
Devices tend to only use one protocol and so if a device is Z Wave compatible it will not work with Zigbee.
Two very big brands have also developed their own protocols.
Apple have developed their “HomeKit” and Amazon have created “Echo”.
Can’t I just use Wi-Fi?!
And of course, most of us have Wi-Fi for our home broadband and so why do we need another wireless language to connect devices?
And the simple answer is that traditional Wi-Fi uses too much power.
In a time where we are all looking to use less energy this makes Wi-Fi a poor choice for wireless communication between smart devices.
It is also a poor choice because if a device uses lots of power, it cannot be battery powered which the ideal smart device needs to be.
Devices that connect to each other using Z Wave use a lot less power than if they were connecting using Wi-Fi.
A strength of Wi-Fi is that it has a good “range”. Your phone will connect to your Wi-Fi even if you are in a different part of the house to your router.
Z Wave has a very similar range to Wi-Fi.
Many of the biggest smart home systems use Z Wave to connect different smart devices together.
These include Samsung’s “Smart Things”, Wink, Nexia, HomeSeer and Vera systems
Although this can help because there is lots of choice, I think that it can also be very confusing for someone who is just starting to find out about Z Wave thermostats.
The Benefits of a Z Wave Thermostat
There are several advantages to having a Z- Wave thermostat.
Saving Energy & Money
One of the biggest attractions to buying a smart thermostat is that it could help you to use less energy and spend less money.
Many of the other benefits that I list in this section help with this cost saving exercise.
As has already been noted, Z Wave is a very popular protocol and so the choice of thermostats is huge. A search for “Z Wave thermostats” on Amazon. com shows up 233 different choices.
Remote Access Now
By using your smartphone app you can make adjustment to your thermostat, whenever and wherever and the changes will take effect immediately
Forget Me Not
The number of us who leave the house with their heating and cooling system still on is astounding. As our lives get busier, our ability to remember simple tasks gets worse.
Smart thermostats provide a solution to this in two ways.
Many of them have a function (called geofencing) that can track your location via your smartphone and as you walk away from your home, your HVAC system will stop.
But as described above, even if you don’t have geofencing, and you have left your heating or cooling on, you can turn it off via your app.
Your system does not need a “c” wire in order to have a z- wave thermostat fitted. Three of the thermostats in my chart can be powered by batteries.
Personally, I don’t think that powering a thermostat with batteries is as good as using a “c” wire, but it does offer potential buyers an alternative which can be no bad thing.
The makers of one of the thermostats believe that the device will only need a new set of batteries every two years.
My chart contains three thermostats that can be powered by batteries and so go and take a look.
More and more smart thermostats are being made not just to function well but to look great as well.
No one was worried about how an old programmable thermostat looked- it was on your wall to do a job and so what if it looks bad?
Customers want modern devices to work perfectly and to look terrific- to make a statement.
Personally I blame Apple for raising everyone’s expectations on how a gadget will look, but I think that it is definitely the case that if you buy the right smart thermostat it will enhance the way that your home looks.
All the research shows that we are spending incredible amounts of time using our smartphones and gadgets.
There are many disadvantages as we do this but I think that an advantage of this is how confident we are in using these devices.
For this reason, when we are using a well designed app to control our z wave products, we are more likely to use it effectively which leads to less energy being used and less of our money being spent.
This user friendliness also extends to how simple many Z Wave thermostats are to install.
I think that there are many more smart thermostats that are being installed by DIY than was ever the case with older programmable thermostats where most of us would have called in a Pro.
Written instructions or video guides have become more detailed and simplified because the manufacturers know that the easier a device is to install, the more people will buy it.
Z- Wave thermostats can be set up to send you lots of different types of notifications. One of the most important, is the energy report that they send you.
This will show you in tremendous detail how much energy you use and how you have used it.
The report will enable you, if you want, to analyze how you use energy and how you can change it.
You can also set up the thermostat to notify you when filters need to be changed.
Part of the messaging facility that we talked about above includes the ability of the thermostat to notify you if the temperature in your house gets too cold or too hot.
These notifications could make the difference if you get a message that your house has suddenly got very hot and you have a pet at home.
You can take control and turn your cooling on bring the temperature back down.
Spying on Your Home
All the best smart devices allow you to keep an eye on your home whenever you like- it gives you minute by minute peace of mind.
Installing a smart thermostat enables you to monitor the temperature in your home via the app.
The app will show you what the temperature is “now” and whether your heating and cooling is running.
This “live” view is different to the email notifications that you can setup and which were discussed above.
Saving Money? A Word of Caution
One of the main attractions of a smart thermostat is that they claim to save you money, but will they?
Smart thermostats (unfortunately) don’t just save you money by being installed in your home.
“Which” describe the types of people that will probably benefit from buying a smart thermostat and a description of the types of people that won’t.
You are more likely to save money with your smart thermostat if you;
- Like looking at lots of data and can use it to change your behavior. Your thermostat will provide you with a ton of data…those that have created a list of those people that.
- Love your smartphone and enjoy finding out about new apps and pushing them to their limits and
- Have a regular routine throughout the week and can avoid making too many changes to your settings.
A smart thermostat could be a complete waste of money if you
- Hate technology and do your best to ignore it.
- Are generally quite forgetful and dislike looking at reports and data and most importantly
- Live in a poorly insulated house because getting your house insulated properly will save you much more money than installing a smart thermostat.
What sort of savings could I make?
The average home in the US spends $1800 per year on their energy bill. $900 of that is spent heating or cooling a house.
It is estimated by one Government agency that a smart thermostat could save you $180 per year, if you use the presets that come with most smart thermostats.
As part of a Smarter Home
A Z Wave thermostat is an attractive gadget to buy because heating and cooling account for about half of the average home’s energy bill and so, if it can help reduce the amount you spend on energy, that is a sizeable chunk of money that you could be saving.
Another reason to buy a smart thermostat is because you have several other smart devices and you want a thermostat to add to your collection to make your home even “smarter”.
According to Statista;
- In 2013, twenty million smart devices were bought (not including smartphones or tablets.)
- In 2016, sixty million were bought.
- In 2020 it is estimated that one hundred and thirty million will be bought.
Sales of smart thermostats between the summer of 2014 and the end of 2015 alone, more than doubled.
Buyers love the idea of a smart home that is full of devices that connect to and complement each other. A smart thermostat works perfectly with a smart lighting system so that when you are returning from work on a cold winter’s evening, your house is a comfortable temperature and some of your lights are on making you feel more cosy.
And if by using the same app you can close your blinds and unlock your front door, so much the better.
The most important features of your Z Wave thermostat?
How old is the device? When could it first be bought. I think that this is a very important consideration for any kind of smart device.
If the device is too new there might be some “bugs” that stop it working properly. If the thermostat is too “old” it might be about to be replaced!
“Works With Alexa”
Having a Z Wave thermostat that is Alexa compatible will give you the power to control your device in simple ways by using your voice.
It is important to remember that in order for this system to work you do need to have an Amazon Echo or be willing to buy one.
Six out of nine of the thermostats are “Alexa ready”.
Voice control is a technology of the future as the need to press buttons to make machines work is replaced by the ability to just talk to devices.
You want to have as long a warranty as possible because it will make it easier and cheaper for you to replace your product if anything goes wrong with it.
Although a standard warranty is 1 year, the Honeywell thermostats offer a massive 5 year warranty.
None of these devices need to be installed by a professional, they can all be installed quickly, using simple tools that most of us will already have, by the owner in less than half an hour.
If you simply haven’t got the time or the confidence to do it yourself, just arrange for an HVAC pro to install it for you.
Most of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in US homes are run on 24V systems. All of these 9 thermostats in the comparison table work with most 24V systems.
However each HVAC system has its own set of
All of these smart thermostats work with heat pump systems
Multi Stage Heat
All of these z-wave devices work with multiple stage heating systems.
Multi Stage Cool
and multiple stage cooling systems
None of the thermostats work with baseboard heating systems
Only 2 of the devices that I have compared, work with millivolt systems- Honeywell’s Ademco thermostast and Radio Thermostat’s model CT80.
Five of these thermostats can be programmed using the thermostats themselves or by using an app on your smartphone or tablet.
Four of the thermostats can only be programmed using an app.
Smartphone (Remote Access)
All of these devices can be controlled remotely using one of the many Z- Wave apps on your Apple or Android device.
Your choice of app will most likely depend on which smart home controller or smart hub that you use.
Some of the biggest smart home systems are;
- Samsung’s Smart Things
- HomeSeer and
- Vera systems
and all of these systems provide free apps for you to use to control your devices such as thermostats.
Remote Sensors are one of the next big innovations for smart thermostats because they fix one very big problem.
Any thermostat, smart or dumb, controls the temperature for the whole house or in a particular “zone” in the house.
Yet they can only accurately measure the temperature in room that they are placed in and use that temperature as a guide for the rest of the house.
We know that different rooms in the same house are not the same temperature.
The 2009 Census found out that up to 4 rooms in each house are either too hot or too cold.
Remote sensors are small plastic gadgets that are placed in rooms around a house.
They measure temperature and detect motion in the room- information that they send back to a smart thermostat via a wireless connection.
There is only one thermostat in my table that uses remote sensors- Alarm.com and the sensors need to be bought separately.
As far as I know, there is only one other smart thermostat that uses remote sensors and that is the Ecobee3.
Controlling a thermostat by touch is a “nicer” experience than using buttons, I think.
Perhaps it is less important now that we can control our Z Wave thermostats by using an app.
Of the 9 thermostats in this table, 6 of them have touch screens.
The larger a screen is on a gadget, the easier the display is to read from the other side of a room.
There are quite a few of these thermostats with screens that are 4″ long or longer. The two thermostats with the largest screens are the Honeywell ones.
The thermostat in this chart that has the smallest screen is the Evolve 100R, although the Alarm.com thermostat has no screen at all.
All of the thermostats in this list can be powered by a “c” or common wire.
Unfortunately, particularly in older systems, a “c” wire is not all that common. One estimate is that up to 40% of US homes do not have a “c” wire in their system
If you haven’t got one, you might want to get a c wire installed by a professional.
Or you can take a look at some workarounds, such as the five alternatives mentioned in this guide.
One of the alternatives is to get a Z Wave thermostat that is powered by batteries and my chart contains three of these- Go Control, 2Gig and Alarm.com.
Having a smart thermostat powered by batteries makes the installation process a lot faster and easier but the disadvantage is that when you replace the batteries, your system will stop working.
How To Install a Z Wave Thermostat
All of the Z Wave Thermostats have their own installation guides, there are some steps that each thermostat has in common.
Importantly, these thermostats can all be installed by DIYers and can be done in 30 minutes or less.
- Switch off the power to your heating and cooling system at your circuit breaker box.
- Remove the front of your old thermostat.
- Take a photo of your wires and complete an online compatibility check if your Z Wave thermostat has one.
- Attach the wire labels that should come in your box to the wires on your system.
- Disconnect the wires with a screwdriver.
- Remove the back plate of your old thermostat making sure that wires do not fall back into the wall.
- Place your new wall plate on the wall, making sure that it is level and that you have marked where the holes need to be.
- Drill the pilot holes and “install” the wall anchors.
- Attach the wall plate to the wall.
- Connect the wires to the terminals.
- Attach the face plate of your new thermostat.
- Turn your system back on at the circuit breaker.
Z Wave Thermostat Reviews
This thermostat looks like an elegant old school programmable thermostat with a white plastic body and a large touch screen featuring a black and white display.
- Anytime, Anywhere Access Control remotely by using a free Android or iOS app on your smartphone or tablet. Or you can log in using your PC helping you to save energy and money.
- Amazon Alexa Compatible Connect this thermostat to your Echo and control it using your voice.
- Easy Installation Most people can install this thermostat in less than half an hour, saving you money and the worry of having to find a professional.
- Easy & Flexible Programming Set up a personal schedule on the thermostat with a 7 day, 4 daily time period options. Or just use the app.
- Just What You Need The Trane XR524 is compatible with most 24V heating and cooling systems.
- Easy Maintenance This thermostat will notify you when your system needs a service or your filters need changing
- Popular With Buyers At the time of writing (March 2017) the Trane XR524 has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Go Control TBZ48
The Go Control TBZ48 is all about function and simplicity. It features a white plastic case with a silver bezel around the front. The small digital display features a black font against a plain background with no back lighting.
Either side of the display are two white buttons.
This thermostat can be powered via a “c” wire or by 4 “AA” batteries, which will last about 2 years.
Works on Standard HVACs with 2 stage heat and 2 stage cool OR
Works with Heat Pump HVACs with 3 stage heat and 2 stage cool
Connect it to your Echo or Dot and make temperature changes with your voice.
The Go Control TBZ48 is very easy to install and to program.
Upgrade with Ease
Upgrade the firmware by connecting a USB to the thermostat.
Popular with Buyers
At the time of writing, this device has a rating of 4.3 out of 5. Buyers particularly like its reasonable price and the fact that the thermostat still works if the Z Wave connection fails.
The 2Gig CT100 offers two color choices- white or off white. It has a plastic body with a fairly large touch screen display which is is back lit. At the bottom right hand side of the display are two small buttons.
This thermostat can be powered via a “c” wire or by 4 “AA” batteries, which will last about 2 years.
This is a smaller overall than the Go Control thermostat described above but an astounding physical feature is that it is only 1″ thick.
The 2Gig CT100 works with heating systems that have up to 4 stages.
This thermostat has a very responsive touch screen which helps you to make quick and simple changes to your heating and cooling schedule.
It comes with a bright display with large and clear digits and icons.
As a replacement to the CT80, the CT32 has a more modern, sleeker look in its curved and thinner body.
Program With Ease
You can set up a personal schedule using the 7 day program, with up to 7 time periods per day. This schedule can either be created directly into the thermostat or via an app.
The CT32 can be remotely controlled using a free app for your Apple or Android powered smartphone or tablet.
Or just jump onto the Internet on your laptop and create a free account and remotely control your thermostat from there.
Guaranteed To Work
This Radio Thermostat is almost guaranteed to work with your 24V HVAC system whether it is a traditional furnace or a heat pump.
Has your system got multiple stages of heat and cool? Don’t worry as the CT32 can cope with 2 stages of heat and 2 stages of cooling.
Choice of Power
This thermostat can be powered via a “c” wire if your system has one or by batteries, which will last up to 2 years. This gives your the flexibility that you need.
Easy To Read Touchscreen Display
The 3″ x 2″ backlit display has large and easy to read characters. The touchscreen is robust and responsive.