Best Z-Wave Thermostats

6 Best Z-Wave Thermostats

Do you have a number of Z-Wave compatible smart devices in your home? If so, the best way to have them interact with your smart thermostat is to get a Z-Wave thermostat.

Z-Wave is a wireless protocol that allows devices to communicate with each other across a network. It consists of a central hub (such as Samsung SmartThings or Wink) that can control all Z-Wave compatible smart devices, including Z-Wave thermostats.

As such, Z-Wave Thermostats are basically smart thermostats that are compatible with the Z-Wave wireless protocol. They can appear as a new node in your existing Z-Wave smart home network. However, to control Z-Wave thermostats, you need to have a Z-Wave hub.

A Z-Wave thermostat is a must have addition to any smart home because it can control and maintain the ideal climate in your home. It can keep your temperature at the ideal level and also save energy by automatically turning off when people aren’t present in its vicinity.

Z-Wave is one of the most popular wireless protocols for smart homes. It uses mesh networking that allows signals to bounce off of each smart device in the network, thus extending its reach and getting rid of dead spots.

The following are the prime benefits of Z-Wave:

  • Mesh network accessibility.
  • Intuitive user control.
  • It’s compatible with most popular smart home devices and platforms like SmartThings, Wink, HomeKit, etc.
  • Two-way wireless communication is possible with Z-Wave.

In recent years, Z-Wave Plus has established itself as an updated version of Z-Wave that offers even more benefits:

  • Z-Wave Plus has almost 300% more bandwidth than its predecessor.
  • Z-Wave increases battery life by 50%.
  • It offers over-the-air (OTA) upgrades and more RF channels.

There are a lot of Z-Wave thermostats out there and the choices can be overwhelming. In this article, I’ll give you an overview of the best Z-Wave Thermostats on the market.

Best Z-Wave Thermostats

1. Stelpro KI STZW402WB+

Stelpro KI STZW402WB+ is one of the first Z-Wave thermostats compatible with high voltage heating systems. As such, whereas most people need multiple thermostats for their high voltage systems, you only need one Stelpro KI STZW402WB+. It’s compatible with electric baseboards and convectors and provides up to 2000W of power with 120V and 4000W with 240V.

As a Z-Wave Thermostat, it works in conjunction with a hub such as SmartThings. The device comes with a wall mounting plate and all the tools you need to manually install the thermostat. Stelpro KI STZW402WB+ is hardwired into the power source and doesn’t run on batteries. As such, the installation process necessitates that you shut off power and handle the house’s wiring. So if you’re not comfortable with that, get a professional to do it.

Stelpro KI STZW402WB+ is equipped with a wide range of energy-saving features that can cut down on your energy consumption costs. If you’re strategic enough, this thermostat can pretty much pay for itself in time.

This Z-Wave thermostat uses four different heating levels to save money. Most thermostats turn the heat up completely until the overall temperature reaches the desired level and then turns off until the room cools down and the heating needs to be turned up again. This consumes a lot of energy, leads to uneven heating, and your room won’t be adequately heated in parts distant from the heater. Stelpro KI STZW402WB+ heats in pulses to ensure that the heat is evenly spread out.

Generally, when people use thermostats, they set the temperature to the desired level and forget about it. As such, the thermostat regulates the heating or cooling and keeps the temperature even at all times. This is a comfortable option, but it consumes a lot of energy. The alternative is manually turning the thermostat up and down whenever you enter a room, which can be inconvenient since you have to go through uncomfortable moments when there’s no heating or cooling.

With Stelpro KI STZW402WB+, you have several better alternatives. You can set a schedule for when the thermostat should be triggered or when you want to set different temperatures. And you can also create automation by making the thermostat interact with other Z-Wave devices in your home. For example, if you have motion sensors around your home, you can set it up so that the thermostat is engaged every time the motion sensor detects your presence.

Stelpro KI STZW402WB+ also comes with two predefined modes called Comfort and Eco modes. Their purpose is pretty self-explanatory. Comfort mode maintains the perfect temperature and ensures that you have the perfect climate throughout. It also runs up your electricity bill. Eco mode uses motion sensors to moderate the temperature. If you don’t want to concern yourself with specific schedules and automation, you can simply use these modes as a shortcut.

The biggest drawback here — and it’s quite a big oversight — is that Stelpro KI STZW402WB+ doesn’t work with heating systems with a fan. As such, if your heater has a fan, this thermostat won’t be compatible with it. This thermostat also doesn’t have the ability to turn the heat off completely and can only go down to 41F. However, Stelpro is currently working on an update that would enable users to turn the heat off completely.

Pros

  • Compatible with high voltage heating systems.
  • Comfort and Eco modes.
  • Smart schedules.
  • Motion sensors.
  • Can save energy costs.
  • Can set multiple zones.

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with heaters with fans.
  • Can’t turn off heating completely.

2. Alarm.com Smart Thermostat

Alarm.com Smart Thermostat is one of the most intelligent Z-Wave thermostats on the market. The best aspect of this thermostat is that it uses multiple sensors to gain an accurate picture of your activities and thus modulate the temperature accordingly.

With most smart thermostats, you have to use motion sensors or smart schedules to handle the cooling and heating schedules. The most advanced smart thermostats have the ability to learn your routines based on the motion sensors that can detect your presence or absence. If you’re gone from your home for a specific amount of time, the sensor realizes you’re away and acts accordingly. However, there’s a considerable gap between you being away and the thermostat realizing it, which can lead to considerable energy wastage.

Alarm.com Smart Thermostat uses multiple sensors that are spread out across your house and it uses all those different points to determine your exact location. As such, it realizes when you’re away from home (as opposed to being in just another room) and it can immediately adjust the temperature accordingly. As such, even if you have an unpredictable schedule, Alarm.com Smart Thermostat can keep up and save money.

Even the sensors used by this thermostat are a lot better than most sensors. It uses a wireless temperature sensor. These can be spread out to various different parts of your house so you can monitor the ambient temperature in all those locations. You can then use the smartphone app to set up when you want the HVAC system to get triggered. You can essentially establish the temperature based on any room around your house and not just the room with the thermostat. If you use multiple temperature sensors, you can set the overall temperature at an average of all their readings. If you live in a house with multiple floors, this is the best choice for you.

This thermostat has also designed to automatically get configured with your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Whenever there’s a critical level of carbon monoxide or smoke in your house, the thermostat automatically turns the HVAC system off so that the harmful gas doesn’t spread further. In addition to this automation, you can use the app to make it interact with any of your other Z-Wave devices as well. As such, you can combine it with room/door sensors, for example, so that the HVAC system turns off if someone has left the window or door open. This can prevent energy from being wasted.

In addition to regulating temperature based on readings from sensors, it can also regulate temperature based on the external environmental temperature. It can study the weather conditions outside and respond appropriately.

If you don’t like motion sensors to detect your presence/absence, you can also use the device’s geofencing feature. As such, it will get turned off the moment your cell phone leaves the premises and it will get turned back on when you’re close to home. This ensures that the temperature reaches the desired limit by the time you are back. This is even better than motion sensors because you don’t have to be back in your home for the thermostat to get triggered, which means you don’t have to suffer through uncomfortable conditions for even a little while. This also helps save energy because geofencing sends your thermostat into eco-mode much quicker than motion sensors.

As advanced as its features may be, Alarm.com Smart Thermostat isn’t perfect. I am particularly disappointed that the app is extremely slow and suffers from latency issues. In addition to executing the commands with a slight delay, it sometimes completely fails to take commands. However, since this is a Z-Wave thermostat, you can also use the central Z-Wave app you use to control all your devices so that’s not a big issue.

Another slight frustration is in regards to the fan settings. First, you can only control the fan from the app and not the thermostat itself. And even when you use the app, your options are limited. You can set it on Auto On/Off so it comes on and goes off with the HVAC unit. Or you can time it for 1, 3, or 24 hours. There’s no way to manually set a specific time or keep the fan turned on indefinitely.

All things considered, Alarm.com Smart Thermostat is one of the most advanced Z-Wave thermostats in terms of features and customizations. It also has a wide range of energy saving features in place.

Pros

  • Sleek design and user-interface.
  • Easy installation.
  • Can set up multiple zones.
  • Temperature sensors can be used to determine the temperature of any room/s other than the one in which the thermostat is installed.
  • Can respond to external environmental temperature.
  • Immediately responds to high carbon monoxide or smoke levels.
  • Energy-efficient.

Cons

  • App suffers from latency issues.
  • Limited fan controls.
  • Fan controls aren’t present in the thermostat.

3. Radio Thermostat CT-80

Radio Thermostat CT-80 is a user-friendly Z-Wave thermostat meant for those who prefer simplicity. It has seven programming settings per day so you can set up specific schedules and it has a drag-and-drop interface in the smartphone app that makes customization easy.

You can also use the Auto-Schedule feature to save your preferences and then revert to them as the default setting. The best part of the schedule here is that you can choose to override an entire week or a particular day. As such, you don’t have to reprogram the schedule and your default schedule resumes after the manual override period.

Radio Thermostat CT-80 is also equipped with an inbuilt humidity sensor that can alert you whenever there are some issues with your equipment. The thermostat can also monitor the local weather and you can choose to make the thermostat set the temperature in response to the environmental temperature. This can increase your efficiency.

This Z-Wave thermostat’s best feature is geofencing via the smartphone app. It uses your phone’s location data to activate or deactivate the HVAC system depending on your presence or absence. It can turn the HVAC off as soon as you leave, saving energy. And it can turn it back on when you’re close to home (but haven’t reached yet), so you can get back home to a perfectly climate-controlled setting. When you’re away, the thermostat quickly goes into Save Energy mode to help you save cost.

Installing and setting up this Z-Wave thermostat is easy. The manual installation is similar to most thermostats. When you’re setting it up, you simply have to follow the onscreen prompts in your phone that ask you to input your preferred temperature at day, your preferred temperature at night, etc. As such, configuring this Z-Wave thermostat is pretty simple.

Radio Thermostat CT-80 is easy to use and it is meant for people who prefer simplicity. Despite being slightly more expensive than some of the aforementioned thermostats, it doesn’t have the same range of features. You can’t use it to set up different temperature zones or collect temperature readings from different rooms. You also don’t have access to inbuilt motion sensors or smart scheduling. As such, you have some pretty basic features. You can, of course, choose to configure it with other Z-Wave devices and make it smarter. For example, you can configure it with an external motion sensor. But it doesn’t have those features built in.

Another issue with this Z-Wave thermostat is that there are connectivity issues with WiFi. However, since you are likely going to use it with the Z-Wave network via a smart hub, that isn’t really a major issue.

Pros

  • User-friendly.
  • Easy to set and customize schedules.
  • Auto Schedule.
  • An inbuilt humidity sensor is available.
  • Can be configured in response to local weather.
  • Can send alerts for maintenance issues.
  • Easy to set up.

Cons

  • Connectivity issues with WiFi.
  • No motion sensors.
  • Can’t establish multiple zones.
  • No additional temperature sensors.

4. 2GIG CT100

2GIG CT100 is an extremely simple and reasonable Z-Wave thermostat. It might not look like much, but it has all the essential features you need in a Z-Wave thermostat. There are a few settings on the thermostat itself, but most of the features are handled through the smartphone app.

This thermostat is only compatible with Z-Wave so you have to use a smart hub such as SmatThings or Wink. There’s no WiFi compatibility here. Since it only runs on Z-Wave, there’s no need to have it hardwired and you can run it on batteries as well. As such, you can even use it in older homes without C-wires. The length of time that the battery lasts differs based on how you use it. For some people, the battery might only last 2 to 3 months. For others, it can also last for a year or more.

2GIG CT100 can only be programmed via the Z-Wave hub and smartphone app. You can’t program it from the unit. The customizations and schedules are fairly basic. You can set a different schedule for every day of the week. You can also set two schedules — one for the weekdays and one for the weekend. And you also have the ability to override the schedule from the app. But, in that case, you’ll have to reschedule the device later. This is one of the biggest drawbacks here because it doesn’t remember your schedules if you override them, making it inconvenient. Furthermore, 2GIG CT100 also doesn’t have the ability to learn your schedule so you have to input it yourself every time.

In terms of design, 2GIG CT100 looks like an ordinary thermostat and it lies flat on the wall, measuring only an inch in depth. The display is made of LCD and it reads the following information — Time, Current Room Temperature, Fan Status, Thermostat Mode, Radio Indicator, and Target Temperature. You can also use the temperature controls to increase or decrease the temperature. There’s not much else you can do with the thermostat. However, most of the device is controlled from the hub so the limited functionality isn’t an issue.

All things considered, 2GIG CT100 is a minimalist Z-Wave thermostat. It runs on batteries so you can install it yourself without professional help. You can use it to set basic schedules or control the temperature remotely from anywhere in the world. But that’s about it, you don’t get any more features. But that’s perfectly understandable considering it’s also one of the cheapest Z-Wave thermostats on the market, so you get what you pay for.

Pros

  • Extremely cheap.
  • Battery-powered so no need for C-Wires.
  • Easy to install without professional help.
  • Compatible with all HVAC systems.
  • Extremely easy to use and can also be used as a traditional thermostat.
  • Accurate to 1°.
  • Easy to set schedules.

Cons

  • The on-screen display is crowded and dated.
  • Minimal controls via the display.
  • Extremely bare-bones functionality and completely lacking in advanced smart thermostat features.

5. Trane XL824

Trane XL824 is a fairly expensive Z-Wave thermostat with some effective scheduling and automation features. However, the additional cost is justified because it comes with an inbuilt Z-Wave Nexia Home Intelligence Bridge. As such, you can use this thermostat and connect it to other Z-Wave devices even if you don’t have another smart hub. In fact, this can serve as a smart hub in its own right. If you don’t already have a smart hub, this is a really good and cost-efficient purchase. But if you already have a smart hub, the cost of this device isn’t justified.

This Z-Wave thermostat comes with a detachable wall plate that holds 19 wiring terminals that can connect to fans, HVAC units, remote sensors, and additional devices like humidifiers and dehumidifiers. As such, this thermostat can be used to control and respond to various other devices. Furthermore, since this is a Z-Wave thermostat, you can also set automation with all your other Z-Wave devices like motion sensors or window/door sensors.

You can set three schedules in this thermostat — Home, Away, and Sleep. You can create schedules either from the smartphone app or from the thermostat itself. Options for scheduling are pretty extensive. You can set schedules for each day of the week, and you can set six different periods for each day with their own temperature targets.

If you have trouble setting the temperature, you can use the Guided Schedule Tool. This feature will ask you a series of specific questions and you just have to input your answers. Based on your answers, the device will curate your schedule. This is particularly useful for those who aren’t very tech-savvy and need some assistance with schedule creation.

Trane XL824 is an extremely efficient and user-friendly Z-Wave thermostat. It doesn’t have the kind of advanced features available in high-end smart thermostats like motion sensors, geofencing, learning schedules, etc. However, if you want a Z-Wave thermostat that can also act as its own smart hub, then Trane XL824 is the one for you.

Pros

  • Has an inbuilt Nexia Home Intelligence Bridge so you don’t need a separate smart hub.
  • Cheap if you consider the cost of both the thermostat and the hub.
  • 19 wiring terminals available to connect it to various devices.
  • User-friendly app and interface.
  • The thermostat can be controlled from the smartphone and the device itself.
  • Guided Schedule Tool helps with schedule creation.

Cons

  • Not suitable for those who already have a separate smart hub.
  • Doesn’t have advanced features like inbuilt motion sensors or geofencing.
  • Doesn’t provide usage reports.

6. RCS 001-01773

RCS 001-01773 is a Z-Wave thermostat that offers a wide range of features and functionality. The thermostat itself is fairly minimal and well-designed. It has six clear buttons that you can use to control the thermostat along with an LCD screen that displays necessary information like the current temperature, fan status, time, etc.

In terms of installation, this thermostat requires a fairly standard C-wire setup. If your home has c-wires, you won’t find the installation difficult. But if you don’t, you’ll have to get your home’s wiring modified by a professional before you can use it.

In terms of scheduling, you can set up to four different seven-day schedules. As such, you can set a schedule for each day of the week under four different modes. Most thermostats only allow three modes — Home, Away, Sleep. So this is a step up in terms of its breadth of scheduling. However, there’s no smart learning feature for the schedules. And there’s no easy guided setup for the schedules either. As such, you have to go through all the schedules yourself, which can be difficult and time-consuming. Furthermore, when you override a schedule, you lose its settings and you have to reset the schedule, which is really annoying.

This Z-Wave thermostat can also be connected to two indoor wireless sensors. These sensors allow the thermostat to monitor the temperature in various rooms around your home. As such, you can set the thermostat to respond to temperature in one of your other rooms or an average of all the rooms.

When you connect this Z-Wave thermostat to a smart hub, you also gain access to a wide range of automation features. As such, if you have devices like motion sensors, entry sensors, or carbon monoxide sensors, you can make the thermostat respond to them.

Pros

  • A clean and efficient LCD display and interface.
  • Can set four different seven-day schedules.
  • Can be connected to two indoor wireless sensors to create different zones.
  • Easily interacts with other Z-Wave devices.

Cons

  • C-Wire installation is mandatory.
  • No touchscreen.
  • Doesn’t have smart schedules.
  • If you override a schedule, you have to reprogram it again later.
  • No inbuilt motion sensors.
  • No geofencing.

Why Do I need Z-Wave Thermostats?

Z-Wave Thermostats have the following benefits.

WiFi Independence

Z-Wave thermostats don’t communicate over WiFi. Instead, they use radio frequency over the Z-Wave network.

This is far better than WiFi because Z-Wave operates at lower frequencies and consumes much less power. Furthermore, since Z-Wave is a mesh network, it allows you to seamlessly connect the thermostat to other smart devices without interruptions and without slowing down the speed.

This is a far better alternative to WiFI which consumes more energy, can drop unexpectedly, has a lower reach, and slows down every time you add new devices.

Wide Support Base

When you get a smart thermostat — or any smart device — you need to consider how compatible it is with other smart devices. The best part of smart devices is that they can interact with each other.

Z-Wave has been around for over a decade, and, as such, supports most smart home devices out there. The Z-Wave Alliance comprises 450 members and 1700 smart home devices, all of which can interact with each other. As such, your Z-Wave thermostat can interact with a wide range of other devices.

Even the cost of Z-Wave thermostats is lower than that of WiFi smart thermostats with similar automation features.

Centralized Control

Once you add the thermostat to the Z-Wave network, you can control the thermostat, and all other Z-Wave smart home devices, from a single point.

Regardless of the product or the product’s manager, they can all be controlled from a single smartphone app. This can drastically simplify your smart home’s functionality. Instead of going through a dozen different apps for different devices, you can control all of them (and make them interact) from a single location.

However, in order to achieve this level of centralized control, you need to have a Z-Wave hub in your home. All Z-Wave devices need a central hub to communicate with each other. Some popular smart home hubs are Samsung SmartThings, Wink, and Nexia.

Once you have a smart hub, you can also control your Z-Wave thermostat and other devices remotely from anywhere in the world.

Cost-Efficiency

Z-Wave Thermostats are equipped with a wide range of features that can help you conserve energy and save money. Some features that can help with cost-efficiency include the following:

  • Motion Detection, which can automatically turn the thermostat off when it detects that no one is in the room or house.
  • Ability to adjust the climate remotely when you’re away from home so you can conserve energy.
  • Some Z-Wave thermostats also send alerts when there’s some maintenance issue that’s affecting the cooling or heating system’s efficiency.
  • Some Z-Wave thermostats provide you with a thorough and details energy consumption report so you can take steps to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.

If you are strategic, Z-Wave Thermostats can reduce your energy consumption by 10 to 15%.

Which Factors to Consider when Buying Z-Wave Thermostats?

The following are some important factors to consider when buying Z-Wave Thermostats.

Compatibility

The most important factor to consider when getting a Z-Wave thermostat is whether it’s compatible with your other devices. You should do some research to make sure your smart hub and all your smart devices are Z-Wave compatible. If they’re Z-Wave compatible, that means they’ll be compatible with the Z-Wave thermostat as well.

Current Heating and Cooling Systems

Not all thermostats are compatible with all HVAC systems. Check the Z-Wave thermostat’s compatibility to make sure it will work with your current HVAC system. You can generally check this from the thermostat’s manufacturer’s website.

Wiring

Most Z-Wave thermostats are powered by low-voltage wires called C-Wire or they are battery-powered and don’t need wires at all. Older homes or older HVAC systems generally don’t have C-wires. As such, if you’re getting a Z-Wave that needs C-wires, make sure your home has them. If not, you’ll need to hire some professionals to adjust your home’s wiring.

Alerts

Advanced Z-Wave thermostats generally alert you through push notifications when the temperature hits critical levels, so much that it can burst or freeze your pipes. When you’re away at vacations, it’s good to have a Z-Wave thermostat that can warn you if your home’s temperature is reaching critical levels so you can resolve the issue before something happens.

Algorithms

Check your Z-Wave thermostat’s schedule setting algorithms. The most advanced thermostats use algorithmic-learning schedules. As such, over time, they can learn your patterns and curate automatic schedules so you don’t have to manually enter them.

Auto-Away

Auto-Away is a feature that uses motion sensors to detect when you’re at home or when you’re away. If it detects that you’re away from home and have been away for a while, it automatically goes into energy saving mode to increase efficiency and reduce cost.

Geofencing

In addition to motion sensors, some Z-Wave thermostats also come with geofencing features. This is particularly useful when you travel around with your phone all the time. When you go away, it automatically goes into energy saver. And it can automatically turn the thermostat back up when you’re about to reach home. As such, by the time you get back home, the temperature is back where you want it to be.

Remote Sensors

Some Z-Wave thermostats come with remote sensors that you can use to set up several different zones around your house. As such, the thermostat can control the temperature in all those different zones or rooms independently. This is useful if there are various people in the house, all of them with different temperature requirements.

App

All Z-Wave Thermostats can be operated from a single central Z-Wave app that can control all Z-Wave devices. However, you should also check the thermostat’s native app in case you decide to use that. Go through the app, check for latency issues, and gauge how user-friendly it is.

Design

Finally, this isn’t very important, but it can make a difference. There are a number of thermostats out there that provide excessive functionality by sacrificing aesthetic appeal. If design matters to you, make sure your Z-Wave thermostat isn’t too clunky and that it doesn’t ruin your home’s aesthetics.

Frequently Asked Questions about Z-Wave Thermostats

The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Z-Wave Thermostats.

How do I find out if my current automation hub is compatible with Z-Wave?

You can go to your smart hub’s manufacturer’s website to check if it’s compatible with Z-Wave. If so, you can go ahead and get a Z-Wave thermostat.

How do I find out if I have other Z-Wave devices?

You’ll have to manually check each of your smart device’s compatibility. Make a note of all your smart devices and their manufacturers. Go to all of their websites and see if they’re associated with Z-Wave. If so, you can rest assured that your Z-Wave thermostat will be able to communicate with them.

How many devices is a Z-Wave network suitable for?

You can connect hundreds of devices to a Z-Wave network. However, the specific number of devices varies between different smart hubs. For example, you can connect up to 232 devices to SmartThings Hub. Furthermore, all of the individual devices in a Z-Wave network act as signal extenders so you don’t need to worry about how far they are from the hub.

Can Z-Wave thermostats also monitor the weather?

Some Z-Wave thermostats also have the ability to note and display the weather or temperature outside your home as well. Some of them can even be programmed so as to respond to external environmental temperatures.

Is professional help necessary for installing Z-Wave thermostats?

The specific steps involved in installing Z-Wave thermostats vary for different brands and manufacturers. However, most Z-Wave thermostats can be installed DIY-style without professional help. All thermostats come with installation instructions, so you just have to follow them to set up your Z-Wave thermostat.

You will only require professional help if the Z-Wave thermostat requires C-Wires for installation and your home doesn’t have C-Wires. In that case, you’ll have to get professional help to modify your home’s wiring system so you can use the Z-Wave thermostat.

Some Z-Wave thermostat manufacturers also provide a professional installation service. If you’re not comfortable handling the installation on your own, you can go for that service.