Home automation has grown significantly in recent years as manufacturers introduce new technology that makes it easier than ever to automate their homes. If you live in a Z-Wave connected home and are looking for a great thermostat, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we're going to highlight the best Z Wave thermostats while touching on key areas to ensure you make the right choice for your home.
- Full Reviews of Best Z Wave Thermostats
- How to Find the Best Z Wave Thermostat
- Z-Wave Thermostat Installation
Full Reviews of Best Z Wave Thermostats
The Best Z-Wave Thermostat
#1 Honeywell Home T6 Pro Series Z-Wave Thermostat
As a leader in the HVAC industry, it’s only natural Honeywell finds their way onto our list. They are one of the few companies to have more than one Z-Wave thermostat, but if you want the best, you’ll want to consider the Honeywell Z-Wave T6 Pro for your home network.
The Honeywell TH6320ZW2003 is one of the larger thermostats on our list, although it’s thin, and 90% of the system is taken up by the display. It’s a touchscreen panel that consumers found intuitive to use and can provide total control over your HVAC system. You’ll get 2 heating and 2 cooling stages on conventional units, while systems with heat pumps have an extra heating stage.
Having a large touchscreen to control your heating and air is a bonus, but the real draw of this system is the connectivity. Its Z-Wave enabled, and the Honeywell Home App unlocks features like activity alerts, Geofencing, and more. The scheduling capabilities are among the best in the industry as well, with 7-day scheduling, 5-1-1, and 5-2 day scheduling.
Some connected thermostats can be challenging to install, but that doesn’t seem to the case with the Honeywell Z Wave thermostat. The UWP Mounting System helps in that regard, as does the C-wire connection if you want to go hardwired instead of relying on battery power. To ensure you’re current connections are compatible, you can use this handy tool on their site.
Honeywell improved the T6 Z-Wave thermostat in several key areas over the previous generations, and it’s a no-brainer if you already have Z-Wave security or lighting products on your home network. It has an attractive price point and sports a better warranty than the competition as well with a 5-year guarantee.
The Best Budget Z-Wave Thermostat
#2 GoControl Z-Wave Battery Powered Smart Thermostat
When you’re purchasing a thermostat designed for connected homes, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by thermostats with too many bells & whistles. The minds behind the GoControl Z-Wave Smart Thermostat realized that by choosing a design that’s incredibly simple.
This smart thermostat may seem a little bland if you’re used to bright blue screens and buttons, but it’s an absolute breeze to use. On the front of the unit is a small display that provides you with the temperature and a few other key details. There are only four buttons, with two on the right that make adjustments, while the buttons on the left adjust the mode and fan.
Power for this thermostat comes from 4 AA batteries or through a 24-volt C Wire coming from your HVAC system. It will work with most standard central HVAC systems by providing 2 stages for both heating and cooling. For heat pump HVAC systems, it has 2-stage cooling and 3-stage heating. When it comes to Z-Wave compatibility, things are relatively straightforward, however.
This streamlined smart thermostat definitely won’t break the bank and can be controlled by any Z-Wave hub whether you prefer Samsung’s SmartThings, Nexia’s Bridge, or the Wink. While the display is a little sparse compared to similar models, it will get the job done and allows you to access setpoints and modes.
The Best Z-Wave Thermostat for Nexia Systems
#3 Trane Z-Wave XL624 Thermostat Control
While most of the options on our list are designed to work with a number of Z-Wave controllers, some thermostats are designed for certain systems. The Trane XL624 falls into that category and is the best thermostat if you’re using a Nexia bridge.
This high-tech thermostat has a large 4.3” touchscreen display. The streamlined design means there are no buttons to deal with, as you can tap the screen to adjust the settings. That includes setting the temperature, accessing Energy Savings mode, or setting a schedule. The Trane XL624 has 7-day scheduling capabilities with four periods per day.
Other features of note on this thermostat include screen Lockout mode, Guest mode, a built-in humidity sensor, and an adjustable backlight. Reminders for the air filter and general maintenance are available if you have a Nexia Home Bridge installed. Remote Climate Access and other select features are also only accessible through Nexia’s hub.
Trane designed this thermostat for central systems with a range between 55°F to 99°F. It has 4 heating stages with 2 cooling stages, and you’ll need a minimum of 5 wires for most installations of this 24-volt system. We’re not sure of the software version out of the box, but the firmware is upgradable through a Nexia Home Intelligence account.
The Trane XL624 would have ranked higher as it’s a solid unit with no real drawback besides compatibility. Many homeowners have reported success using this smart thermostat with Z-Wave enabled hubs like Wink, but you will only get full functionality if you are using the Nexia Z-Wave bridge in your home.
The Best Z-Wave Thermostat for Baseboard Heaters
#4 Stelpro Z-Wave Plus KI Thermostat
Most Z-Wave thermostats are designed for use with central HVAC systems and come with multistage cooling and heating. If you own a baseboard or convection heater, the selection is sparse if you’re interested in Z-Wave connectivity aside from the popular Stelpro Plus KI thermostat.
If you’ve ever wanted to control your baseboard heater remotely, there are a handful of suitable options that make use of Wi-Fi. This Z Wave compatible thermostat stands out as the first Z-Wave line volt thermostat to be produced for consumers in North America, and it isn’t locked into a specific hub. From the Fibaro Home Center to OpenHAB, this versatile thermostat is compatible with close to a dozen controllers.
This thermostat has a temperature range of 41°F to 86°F. There are two easy to access presets with Custom and Economy modes, both of which are customizable. There are only two buttons on the panel, along with a small dimmable display. It’s minimalistic but easy to install with a 2 or 4-wire connection, and we like the fact it has a Lock mode to ensure your settings stay put.
A solid connected line voltage thermostat is hard to find, but this thermostat from Stelpro is the top option if you want to connect a baseboard heater to your Z-Wave network. The minimal design will look good in any home, and it’s compatible with Wink, Vera, HomeSeer, Nexia, and SmartThings. This smart thermostat is backed by a 3-year warranty from Stelpro.
How to Find the Best Z Wave Thermostat
If you’ve found your way to our site, it’s safe to say you have an interest in Z-Wave thermostats. In this guide, we’re going to tell you what kind of features you can expect from systems in this class and explain a little more about the wireless protocol as well.
What is a Z-Wave Thermostat?
Z-Wave is a wireless technology that allows devices in your home to sync and form a mesh network similar to what you see from Wi-Fi networks in most homes today. A Z-Wave controller acts as the hub for your network and allows you to automate various things in your home, including thermostats.
While Z-Wave may seem like a Wi-Fi competitor, they serve two completely different purposes. Wi-Fi operates on 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies, and when you have a lot of wireless devices in your home, you can experience congestion across those frequencies. That’s where Z-Wave comes into play as the protocol operates at a lower frequency of 908 MHz in the United States or 866 MHz in Europe.
That makes it ideal for home automation and devices door locks, lighting, blinds, and even thermostats. With the right hub and a little know-how, you can set your heater to come on when the blinds close and can control all your Z-Wave devices remotely.
Smart Hub Compatibility
If you’re purchasing a Z-Wave thermostat, you will have to have a compatible controller or hub as they won’t work with your Wi-Fi network in your home. You will still get a measure of control out of your thermostat without one, but none of the smart features as there is no Z-Wave network for it to connect to in your home.
Most Z-Wave devices will work with popular controllers like Samsung SmartThings, the Wink 2, or Hubitat’s Elevation hub. That isn’t always the case, however, as we found several thermostats, door locks, and lights that won’t work with certain Z Wave hubs. Unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t provide compatibility details in their listings, so you may have to dig deep or contact some companies directly.
Heating and Cooling Stages
The first technical area you need to key in on with Z-Wave thermostats outside of connectivity are heating and cooling stages. Many homeowners are unaware of this feature, but it’s important when it comes to choosing the right type of thermostat for your central system or heater.
For decades, a single-stage thermostat was the only option for consumers and can still be found in older homes today. A single-stage system only has one heating or cooling level. When these units are “on,” they are all the way on as there are no steps or speed settings on a single-stage HVAC system. By comparison, a multistage system is far more efficient as they multiple stages for heating and cooling.
Multistage HVAC systems may have lower stages that require less energy by increasing or decreasing temperatures gradually, but it’s all for naught if you choose the wrong thermostat to control it. If you see a thermometer listed as 2H/2C, it means it has two heating and two cooling stages. This is how most manufacturers list their products. If you’re unsure of what type of system you have in your home, follow these tips.
If you can find the model number or manual to your current system, a quick Google search will solve your problem. Finding that model can be tricky on some units, but it’s usually clearly written on a panel or metal plate. When all else fails, you’ll need to take a look at your wiring, which we’ll cover in our installation section.
Z Wave Thermostat Features
Most “features” on Z-Wave thermostats come into play when you’re connected to your Z Wave controller. All thermostats come with a basic set of features, however, and these are the ones you’ll want to be aware of.
Even if you control your thermostat from a smartphone or laptop, you’ll want to make sure it has a great display. The temperature and any other information should be clearly visible day or night and large enough to read. While you won’t find any full-color displays in this class, the panel colors are typically blue or green.
If you intend to control your system from the thermostat frequently, you may want to consider a touchscreen Z-Wave thermostat. Those are available on a handful of models; otherwise, you’ll need to make do with a few physical buttons. Unless you like being blinded at night, look for thermostats with adjustable backlighting.
Modes are another feature commonly found on thermostats of all types, including Z-Wave systems. Economy mode is the most common and a great feature to have on hand if energy savings are important to you. Lockout mode is also helpful, along with reminders and alerts to let you know when your filter needs to be changed.
Scheduling is arguably the top feature on modern thermostats, but something that can be challenging to wrap your head around. That’s because some companies simply use a number like 5-1-1 to tell you how their scheduling works, which isn’t helpful without a bit more information.
Premium thermostats will have 7-day scheduling, which lets you set a separate temperature for each day of the week. A thermostat listed as 5-1-1 will have one schedule throughout the week and a separate one for both Saturday and Sunday. A 5-2 thermostat, on the other hand, combines Saturday and Sunday’s schedule.
There are also 7-day models with different temperatures throughout the day and weekly models that keep the same set temperature each day. Unlike non-connected thermostats, most scheduling on a Z-Wave thermostat is handled through an app or controller, so you don’t have to set a schedule from the unit itself.
Z-Wave Thermostat Installation
Modern thermostats come in two styles from an installation standpoint – ones that are DIY-friendly and others that require a professional installation. Because of the number of variables you can experience with wiring in older homes, this guide assumes you are installing a thermostat for a modern 24-volt system, which is the most common setup across the United States.
The first step is to switch the thermostat off and cut the power to your HVAC system, which is usually located at a breaker box. When you are sure the power is off, you need to remove your existing thermostat from the wall. If you’re forgetful or don’t have your old manual on hand, it’s a good idea to take a photo of the wiring configuration before disconnecting them.
In most cases, you simply need to follow the directions provided with your new thermostat to rewire it. If you’re lucky, the process will be incredibly simple, as you can see from the video below.
If you have an older home or feel uncomfortable dealing with electricity, paying a professional to install your thermostat is well worth the cost. They can have your new system up and running in a matter of minutes, and you won’t have to worry about electrical issues down the line. If you want to learn more about wiring a thermostat and the color-coded wires, our wiring guide has you covered.
While the selection of suitable Z Wave thermostats is relatively small compared to Wi-Fi enabled systems or traditional models, the models we chose are currently the best of the bunch. The best Z wave thermostat doesn’t have to break the bank either, it just has to fit your needs and be compatible with your HVAC and Z-Wave controller.