Using a smart thermostat is a great way to reduce your energy bills without sacrificing comfort. There is no sense in freezing during the winter or suffering from the summer heat just to save a few dollars.
Z-Wave thermostats help you cut down electricity costs while reinforcing your efforts at automating your home. And while the market currently has several serious contenders as far as Z-Wave thermostats go, there are five thermostats that are considered to be the best.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 But first, what is Z-Wave?
- 2 #1 Honeywell YTH8320ZW1007/U Z-Wave Touchscreen Thermostat
- 3 #2 Go Control GC-TBZ48
- 4 #3 TRANE XR524 Z-Wave Thermostat
- 5 #4 2GIG CT100
- 6 #5 Remotec ZTS-100
- 7 At a Glance: Side by Side Comparison
- 8 Final thoughts on the Top Z-Wave Thermostat
But first, what is Z-Wave?
Z-wave is a communications protocol that is used by home automation devices. It makes use of radio frequencies in the 908.42 MHz band (in Europe, the frequency used is 868.42 MHz) and can handle up to 232 nodes. Z-Wave allows you to connect home entertainment systems, security systems, lighting, home access controls, and other connected devices with ease. A device has to be compatible with Z-Wave in order to work with other connected Z-Wave devices.
Basically, Z-Wave ensures that different devices made by different manufacturers are able to work together. With a Z-Wave hub, you can control lights, fans, locks, and other connected devices, regardless of their brand (as long as they are Z-Wave compatible). Plus, you have the option to remotely control your devices using your smartphone or tablet.
So which Z-Wave compatible thermostat should you buy? Here are our top five picks:
#1 Honeywell YTH8320ZW1007/U Z-Wave Touchscreen Thermostat
The Honeywell Z-Wave thermostat allows you to control the temperature in your house just like a traditional thermostat, but it includes the Z-Wave chip. It helps you save on cooling and heating costs and it features a messaging system that alerts you about the status of your heating and air conditioning units. You can schedule everything so that the temperature inside your home is just right all the time. However, if you feel too hot or cold, you can override the programmed temperature with just one tap of a button. Plus, the comfort control is very precise.
It helps that the YTH8320 has a big touchscreen display that is easy to read and makes controls very easy. You can see the screen even in the dark. However, the interface is not really that attractive and it looks very basic.
Pros and Cons
#2 Go Control GC-TBZ48
The Go Control GC-TBZ48 is a battery powered thermostat that can connect to your Z-Wave hubs and control the heating and cooling systems with ease. The batteries are loaded by removing the front compartment, making it easier for you to change the four AA batteries when they run low. These batteries are expected to last for two years before you need to replace them. You can also use a C wire to power the unit.
You can pair your thermostat with a smartphone app that allows you to adjust the temperature around your house from anywhere.
Even with the small screen, you can access the different menus. First is the main menu, where you can find information on the current temperature. Other menus include the Setup, System, Z-Wave, Clock, and Info menus.
Pros and Cons
#3 TRANE XR524 Z-Wave Thermostat
The TRANE XR524 Z-Wave Thermostat is a full-featured thermostat that gives you everything you expect from a climate- and comfort-control device. It is priced at around $100, and can work with Nexia to give you remote access capabilities. It also sends you alerts and reminders so that you do not forget to change your filters. What’s more, it has a big touchscreen that makes it easier for you to program your thermostat.
Pros and Cons
#4 2GIG CT100
The 2GIG CT100 is affordable, user-friendly and simple. Like the earlier thermostats here, it does not have an awesome or flashy design. But it does have a good set of features.
First, if you have a system that does not have a C wire, it’s not a problem because you can just use AA batteries that can last at least two to three months. Scheduling is highly flexible, too, as you can set a different schedule for each day, or set varied schedules on weekdays and weekends. You can also set limits to the temperature or press the buttons on the unit, or use the app to override the schedule you’ve set.
The 2GIG CT100 is very thin. It does not feature a touchscreen display, but that is okay because you can interact with it using your smartphone.
Pros and Cons
#5 Remotec ZTS-100
Remotec ZTS-100 is compatible with most HVAC systems and can support 2 stage heating and 1 stage cooling systems. You can program it two ways, with different modes for weekdays and weekends. You can also override the schedules. The interface features the temperature display and control, clock, and filter counter.
The Remotec ZTS-100 runs on four AA batteries if your system does not have a C wire. And you can control it remotely using the Z-Wave gateway control.
UPDATE: The Remotec is currently unavailable, likely as they are fixing some core issues reported by customers.
Pros and Cons
At a Glance: Side by Side Comparison
|Honeywell YTH8320||Go Control GC-TBZ48||TRANE XR524||2GIG CT100||Remotec ZTS-100|
|List Price||Check here||Check here||Check here||Check here||N/A|
|Dimensions (inches)||6.54 x 4.92 x 1.42||9.6 x 6.2 x 2.1||5.7 x 3.5 x 1.2||5.9 x 4.5 x 0.7||5.71 x 3.93 x 0.98|
|Weight||3 lbs.||1.3 lbs.||0.65 lbs||1.0 lbs.||—|
Final thoughts on the Top Z-Wave Thermostat
For a type of device that you tend to see often, most Z-Wave compatible thermostats look boring. They might have state-of-the-art features and connectivity, but it does not show on the design. None of the thermostats here will win design awards, and nobody would say that these thermostats are pretty. On top of having a functional, no-nonsense design, it would have made a lot of sense to make these thermostats more sharp-looking.
For instance, Nest Learning Thermostat looks smart, hinting at the features and technology that it has. Meanwhile, VenStar T5900 allows you to use your own images as a background for its display. Both Nest and Venstar are not Z-Wave compatible, though.
Moreover, most connected devices are able to connect via Wi-Fi. If you do not have a Z-Wave hub already, you might want to consider Wi-Fi thermostats that you can remotely control via a smartphone app.
That said, here is a summary of what has been discussed in order to help you come up with your decision:
- The Honeywell Z-Wave Thermostat comes from a company with a solid reputation when it comes to thermostats, so you cannot go wrong. It is, however, more expensive than most of the best Z-Wave smart thermostats that we see here. Be sure to check this listing for the latest pricing on Amazon.
- On the other end of the price spectrum, the Go Control GC-TBZ48 needs a redesign to make it more attractive. But with its very affordable price (see here) and the features it delivers, it is a great buy.
- Meanwhile, the Trane XR524 Z-Wave Thermostat delivers a full range of features and uses a big screen with its small body. It is easy to install and easy to navigate while keeping the price at only around $100 (as of this writing – check here for latest)
- The 2GIG CT100 gives you a good thermostat if you already have a Z-Wave hub. You cannot take full advantage of this if you don’t. You simply cannot set up schedules or use your smartphone to control it without the Z-wave hub.
- Lastly, Remotec ZTS-100 gives you a features -rich thermostat but it comes at a price. Out of all the thermostats recommended here, this is the only that sells for around $200.
Take your pick!