Choosing a smart wireless smart thermostat for home automation might not be that easy. Most of the smart thermostats on the market come with an independent smartphone or web app, Wi-Fi connectivity and other features that are only cool if you only want to automate your internal climate. However, if your automation efforts to cut across the board, you will have to tap into the tested and proven home automation Z-wave technology and invest in a Z-Wave thermostat.
In this roundup, I am going to tell you why you should be interested in Z-Wave smart hubs when doing home automation, why Z-Wave thermostats are a good idea and what are your best options in the market so far.
Best Z-Wave Thermostat Comparison Chart
|Honeywell YTH8320ZW1007/U||2Gig CT100||Trane XR524||Trane XL824||Stelpro KI STZW402WB+||RCS TZ45|
|Best Overall for Starters||Best Value for Money||Best Multi-Zone Z-Wave||Best With Inbuilt Hub||Best Line-Voltage||Best With Remote Sensors|
|Compatible with most AC units on the market||Compatible with most AC units on the market||Compatible with most AC units on the market||Works with Trane & American standard 3-wire systems||Compatible with most AC units on the market||Compatible with most AC units on the market|
|Programmable without Z-Wave hub||not programmable without hub||Programmable without hub||Programmable, has inbuilt Nexia home hub||Not programmable without hub||Programmable without hub|
|Touchscreen enabled||Touchscreen enabled||Touchscreen enabled||Touchscreen enabled||No touchscreen||No touchscreen|
|C-Wire mandatory||Optional C-Wire||Optional C-Wire||C-Wire recommended||Draws power from line voltage||C-Wire recommended|
|View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
Understanding the Z-Wave Protocol and Thermostats
Z-Wave is a communication protocol used on a wide range of home automation devices. A central hub effects the communication between a wide range of sensors and actuators in a system. The increased number of devices in the system will always give you better control over your home.
For instance, your thermostat can work hand in hand with the window controller motor to open up windows to let in the breeze and lower temperatures during those long hot summers.
The most lovable thing about Z-Wave technology is that the standard lets different devices from different manufacturers to be part of a system. Also, since Z-Wave protocol runs on a low frequency, there is less interference hence signal can travel further without consuming much power.
The possibilities with a Z-Wave automation system are limitless
A typical Z-Wave low power thermostat can stay on a single battery for up to 2 years. No need to worry about C-Wires and having to change batteries on your thermostat’s remote sensors every now and then.
Should I Buy a Z-Wave Thermostat?
Choosing the right wireless thermostat technology is a matter of preference and ambitions. If you are keen on home automation, Z-Wave might be better than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth thanks to the wide standardization, reasonable power consumption, and efficiency. Here are some things you must address before deciding to buy Z-Wave smart thermostats.
Do You Have or Plan to Own a Z-Wave Automation Hub?
A Z-Wave home automation hub is the foundation. Your Z-Wave thermostat won’t work perfectly without the hub. If you don’t have a Z-Wave compatible hub, you must be willing to invest in one.
Do You Have or Intend to Buy other Z-Wave Devices?
Once you have the hub and the best Z-Wave thermostat, you can easily expand your devices by purchase other things as you want. You can gradually grow your home automation web to cover smart lights, a smart doorbell, automated Z-Wave blinds, music system and so forth. Z-Wave is perfect if you are keen on an integrated smart home.
How Big is Your House/Building?
Each device in a Z-Wave network acts as a range extender. This makes Z-Wave smart systems more reliable and efficient in bigger establishments. You won’t have to both with Wi-Fi range extenders or additional gadgets whose sole purpose is to keep the network running.
Best Z-Wave Smart Thermostats Reviewed
Here are quick reviews of the top Z-Wave smart thermostats you should have in your system
2Gig CT100 Z-Wave (Best Value for Money)
The 2Gig CT 100 is the complete package and has been a top seller for a while now. You get a slim simple thermostat with a small uncluttered touchscreen that is more than enough to let you control the thermostat without a Z-Wave connection. An additional humidity sensor pushes it capabilities further and gives you one more sensor for a complete Z-Wave automation. If you do not connect it to a hub, however, you won’t enjoy the luxury of programming the thermostat. Its powers come to full realization once it is part of a complete Z-Wave system with a controller hub commanding it.
Honeywell YTH8320ZW1007/U Z-Wave Thermostat
If you find comfort in popular names, then the best Z-Wave smart thermostat might be the Honeywell YTH8329ZW1007/U. a large backlit touchscreen display gives you all the onboard controls you need to manage this 7-day 4 periods programmable thermostat. This will come in handy if you do not want to hook up the Honeywell straight to the Z-Wave. The thermostat will work with the standard 5 wire setups and even with heat pumps. Since you don’t get batteries slot, you will need a c-wire or a power extender kit (add-a-wire adapter) to power up the thermostat.
Radio Thermostat CT32
The Radio Thermostat CT32 is one of the most flexible units to homeowners interested in automating their homes. Apart from being a stand alone thermostat, it is a highly flexible unit that will work with different radio technologies as long as you have the right wireless module installed.
You can choose between Z-Wave, ZigBee and WiFi hence meaning that you can use it with whatever automation hub you please.
Trane XR524 (Best Multizone Z-Wave Thermostat)
The Trane XR524 is your all round Z-Wave thermostat with all the features you would expect in a mainstream Sensi Comfort or Honeywell thermostat.
It will control your multi-zone systems, work with a huge variety of HVAC equipment and still provide a decent way to hook up your air conditioning to your automated Z-Wave system. Also, you can use the thermostat on its own before you purchase the Z-Wave control hub.
Trane XL824 (Best With Inbuilt Hub)
If you love big touch screens, you will find the Trane XL824 more than sufficient. The full color touchscreen looks appealing and the 6 periods for each of the 7 days of the week. On top of that, the thermostat doubles up as a Nexia controller making it a great place to start if you are interested in building a Nexia home automation system. A subscription to Nexia is needed to unlock all the powers of this hub/thermostat. The only problem is that the thermostat is only compatible with the Trane & American standard 3-wire communicating AC systems.
Stelpro KI STZW402WB+ (Best Line-Voltage)
The Stelpro KI STZW402WB+ is the only thermostat on this list that will work with your high voltage (line voltage) applications. This is the best Z-Wave thermostat for electric baseboard heat or your wall convection heaters.
A decent and minimalistic design means that you will have to handle all your automation over at the Z-Wave hub. This is no problem at all since it comes packed with the latest Z-Wave tech. You also don’t need to install batteries as it draws power from the line-voltage connection.
RCS TZ45 (With Remote Sensors)
The RCS TZ45 is a simple but beautiful programmable thermostat that gives you 4 separate 7-day schedules. This is good enough if you want to use the thermostat without a Z-Wave hub. Your controls will be six buttons and on-screen labels that make in person controls painless. You can hook up to two wireless indoor sensors to get readings from far flung rooms hence helping you achieve homogeneous temperature control even though it isn’t a multi-zone thermostat. Control and automation become better once you connect it to a Z-Wave hub.
A good Z-Wave thermostat will form a solid connection point between your HVAC and home automation system. The flexibility of the Radio Thermostat CT32 cuts you some slack if you don’t yet know the automation system to choose. The other Z-wave thermostats in the list are each carefully chosen to ensure that we accommodate all possible AC needs from a wide reader base.
If you still have a question, you can post them in the comments section below. I’ll be more than happy to answer your questions.