Climate Control

The Best Z Wave Thermostats – Z-Wave Compatible Smart Thermostats

(Last Updated On: September 30, 2016)

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.

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.

This system also comes with check and change reminders that let you know it is time to change the filters or when your HVAC units need service.

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

Pros Cons
  • Comes from Honeywell, which has been manufacturing thermostats for decades now.  This means that you can be sure that the thermostat, having benefitted from the company’s extensive experience, will work as it should and for a very long time.
  • It is fully programmable and has a useful interface.
  • Everything is quite intuitive and easy to figure out.
  • Features a 10-inch screen.
  • Real-time clock adjusts automatically for daylight savings.
  • The Honeywell Z-Wave thermostat works with a Z-Wave system or hub.  Without the hub, it will not operate as efficiently as you want it to.
  • The thermostat uses a C-wire or a separate wiresaver to power on.
  • Does not connect with Wi-Fi networks.
  • The interface is quite boring, with no color screen.

 

 

#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

Pros Cons
  • Installing and programming the thermostat is a breeze.  Mounting hardware and batteries are included in the box.
  • Works with most standard and heat pump HVAC systems.
  • Compatible with Z-Wave, Alarm.com, Uplink and Telguard.
  • Works as a standalone thermostat.
  • It looks like a digital clock.
  • It relies on physical buttons and does not have a touchscreen.  Plus the screen is very small.

 

#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

Pros Cons
  • Easy to install.  The manufacturer claims that most people can install the thermostat in 30 minutes.
  • Sends you maintenance and filter reminders.
  • Allows you to program your comfort control for seven days with up to four schedules every day.
  • You get a big 4.3-inch screen even when the thermostat itself is small.
  • With Nexia Bridge, you can access your thermostat remotely using your smartphone, PC or tablet.
  • Designed to work specifically with Nexia.  You also need to pay around $80 (as of this writing) for the Nexia Z-Wave Bridge for it to work with your smartphone, tablet or PC.

 

#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

Pros Cons
  • Even with a list price of $129.99, it is available at most retailers at less than that (check here for latest)
  • Works with every HVAC system available.
  • Can run on AA batteries if you do not have a C wire.
  • Does not have touchscreen.  You use soft buttons to control the thermostat.
  • Does not work without a Z-Wave hub.

 

#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

Pros Cons
  • Easy to use.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Reliable.
  • More expensive than other Z-Wave thermostats.
  • Small screen.

 

At a Glance: Side by Side Comparison

  Honeywell YTH8320 Go Control GC-TBZ48 TRANE XR524 2GIG CT100 Remotec ZTS-100
Needs C-Wire Optional Optional Yes Yes Optional
Touch Screen Yes No Yes Yes No
Color White White White White White
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!

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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