Skip to main content

No C wire? These smart thermostats bypass the usual power requirement

Many of the best smart thermostats require a C wire ("common" wire) for power due to their LED displays and Wi-Fi-powered advanced functions, leading homeowners with older heating systems to look for smart thermostats without a C wire requirement. If you don't already have a C wire in your system, these smart thermostats use separate power sources or adapters that let you monitor your home climate without having to hire a professional to rewire your home.

Simple and straightforward

Nest Thermostat E smart thermostat

Staff Pick

Our top pick for the best smart thermostat without a C wire goes to the Nest Thermostat E. Its display simply shows the temperature setting, while the app lets you prioritize certain rooms' cooling, change settings when you're away, and lets you know if it senses a problem. Most importantly, the Thermostat E features a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that bypasses the C Wire requirement. So if you can still find it in stock, this minimalist thermostat remains a reliable, affordable option.

$169 at Walmart $119 at Verizon $169 at Home Depot

Some rewiring required

ecobee SmartThermostat (5th Gen)

ecobee's 5th-gen smart thermostat builds upon everything that made its predecessors great — it supports up to 32 room sensors, with a great display and compatibility with most smart assistants. What's new? It adds built-in Alexa voice controls with impressive built-in mics and a speaker, so you can easily change the temperature with a few words. The fifth-generation model doesn't need a C wire, but it does come with a power extension kit that you'll need to wire to your furnace control board.

$249 at Amazon $250 at Best Buy

For high/line voltage systems

Mysa Smart Thermostat

The rare smart thermostat that's compatible with 120V–240V, electric baseboard, and fan-forced heaters, the Mysa Smart Thermostat can mostly be installed yourself in a few minutes, is compatible with Alexa, Google, and HomeKit, and has all the smart tools you need to cut down on your energy usage: App scheduling, geofencing to track when you're away from home, pre-heating or pre-cooling based on your schedule, and in-depth energy reports for possible improvements.

$139 at Amazon $140 at Best Buy

Proceed with caution ...

Google Nest Learning Thermostat - 3rd Generation

The Nest Learning Thermostat remains one of the smartest and useful thermostats today, supporting multiple zones, learned schedules, Alexa/Google Assistant integration, and HVAC monitoring. However, you may encounter power cycling issues if you install this without a C Wire. Google has released a new Nest Power Connector as a C Wire substitute for consistent power, but it won't work for every home. All Nest Thermostats are good enough to risk testing without a C wire, but keep the receipt just in case.

$215 at Amazon $250 at Best Buy

Check your voltage

Google Nest Thermostat

The newest Nest is another thermostat that can work without a C wire, but in our Nest Thermostat review, we ended up having to wire one in. It's entirely dependent upon whether your R and Y wires reach the voltage necessary to power everything; otherwise, your Nest Thermostat will shut down certain features to ensure the core temperature control still works. If your HVAC is fully compatible, it's a versatile and affordable machine that uses geofencing and motion tracking to detect when you're not home, saving you plenty of money. Otherwise, try installing the new Nest Power Connector and see if that solves your issues.

$130 at Amazon $130 at Best Buy $130 at B&H

Best brand, lowest cost

ecobee Lite SmartThermostat

The ecobee 3 lite misses a few convenience features that the 5th-gen has, like a built-in occupancy sensor and built-in voice control. However, it's an excellent budget option, and you can still fully control your home's heating and cooling from anywhere in the world through the app or in your home with smart assistant devices. The ecobee3 lite also comes with the power extension kit to circumvent the need for a C wire.

$169 at Amazon $170 at Best Buy $170 at Ecobee

Middle of the road

ecobee4 SmartThermostat

If you want to save a little money compared to the newest ecobee thermostat, the fourth-generation model is an excellent mid-tier option — if you can still find it in stock. Like its 5th-gen successor, it has built-in Alexa and works with Google Assistant and HomeKit, is compatible with remote room sensors, and has identical energy savings. However, you'll just miss out on Alexa calling, Spotify connect, Bluetooth streaming, the 5.0 Wi-Fi band, and the newer model's nice glass display. If those seem excessive for a thermostat, this is a slightly cheaper alternative.

$219 at Overstock $219 at Sears

Budget pick

Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat for Smart Home (ST55)

If you don't mind a bit of a dated look and lack of a 24/7 light-up display, then Emerson's Sensi smart thermostat is your best budget pick. It only requires a C wire for heat- and cool-only systems (or heat pumps), and it still has full Wi-Fi connectivity, a straightforward app, easy program controls, and minimal setup required.

$105 at Amazon $129 at Home Depot $129 at Lowe's

For standalone AC units

Sensibo Sky - Smart Home Air Conditioner System

C wire aside, some of you may not even have central air but will still want to manage the climate throughout your home. For that, the Sensibo Sky controls your window or mobile AC appliances, letting you set up conditioning or heating schedules or pick specific temperatures through wifi monitoring. Plus, it makes your AC units controllable through Echo or Google Home commands.

$109 at Amazon $120 at Lowe's

No C wire? No problem (mostly)!

The majority of older homes and heating/cooling systems won't have a C wire. Since you may not be comfortable installing the wire yourself or paying for an electrician, these smart thermostats without a C wire will still reduce your energy bills. Some use batteries that you'll have to keep replacing, while others require a power extension kit that will still necessitate some simple wiring on your part. Many of these are among the best smart thermostats, so you can rest assured that a C-wire requirement doesn't equate to better quality.

If you prefer a painless, battery-powered unit, the Nest Thermostat E is your best option — especially since it's so affordable compared to other thermostats. It has many smart features like motion and multi-room sensing, Google Assistant and Alexa commands, and an auto-away model. By this point, it's a relatively old thermostat, and Google has mostly moved on to the new Nest Thermostat. Still, as we broke down in our Nest Thermostat E vs. Nest Thermostat article, the old dog has a few tricks that make it a better choice.

Whether your Nest or Nest Learning Thermostat will work with a Power Connector varies from home to home. For more consistency, consider ecobee instead.

Plus, a Nest Thermostat — or an older Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen) — demands slightly more power than the Nest E and may be compromised without a C wire as a result. Google has released the new Google Nest Power Connector to bypass the C Wire requirement, and it solved those issues for some people, but other reviewers report that their low power issues didn't go away even with the new Power Connector. So whether a Nest works without a C Wire may vary from one house to the next.

If you have a little electrical know-how (and a little extra cash), the ecobee SmartThermostat will require you to wire in a power extension kit to replace the missing C wire. Thankfully, ecobee designed them with DIY installation in mind, so the process shouldn't be too complicated. Once installed, it's the best smart thermostat for multiple zones, meaning it's great for people with large homes where rooms are unevenly heated. From its multiroom sensor integration to its built-in Alexa to control your entire home, ecobee's offering is truly the king of smart thermostats — and its price reflects it.

Or, if you're feeling bold, you can take the plunge, use a simple Venstar kit to install a new set of HVAC-compatible wires. With this tool installed, virtually any smart thermostat should be compatible with your home's heating and cooling.



Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

Review: The Teracube 2e is a more sustainable phone that you can afford

It just got easier to be green. If you know me or read my work here at AC, you know that I feel strongly about a few things when it comes to smartphones and consumer tech, and those things are not necessarily what some of my colleagues or others in the tech-sphere care about. You can have your 10x optical zoom cameras, folding phones, and 50W wireless charging devices all day, but I'm more interested in affordable to mid-range devices that last longer than you'd expect and which are at least trying to do environmental and social good. Sounds great, but it seems that it's harder to find this combination of features in a phone than the ultra-premium specced-out devices we typically talk about here on this website. That's why I was excited when I had the chance to write this Teracube 2e review. Teracube is a relatively new smartphone OEM based out of Redmond, WA, and founder Sharad Mittal's stated goal is to change the "disposable nature of the consumer ele

Google's new Guest Mode is like incognito mode for Google Assistant

Your interactions with Google Assistant will not be saved when Guest Mode is turned on. What you need to know Google Assistant is getting a new Guest Mode for privacy-conscious users. When it's turned on, the virtual assistant will not save any of its interactions with you. Turning it on and off is as simple as a single voice command. Google this week announced a new Guest Mode for its virtual assistant that's designed with privacy-conscious folks in mind. A simple "Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode" will ensure that none of your interactions with Google Assistant are collected by the company and nor will they be used to 'personalize your experience' — often an indirect way of referring to targeted ads. When it's on, the Assistant will play a special chime to let you know. Smart displays with Assistant will also show a guest icon on the screen. And you can always check for yourself by saying, "Hey Google, is Guest Mode on?" Even with G

Spotify Q1 beats on sales of $2B with monthly active users up 31% to 286M

The coronavirus may be decimating some corners of the economy, but the impact on the digital music, as evidenced by the world’s biggest music streaming company, appears to be minimal. Today Spotify reported its earnings for Q1 with revenues of €1.848 billion ($2 billion at today’s rates) and an inching into a positive net income of $1 million. Monthly active users (not total subscribers) now stand at 286 million, with paid (premium) users at 130 million and ad-supported monthly active users at 163 million. Ad-supported users are growing at a slightly higher rate at the moment, at 32% versus 31%, Spotify said. Spotify beat  analysts’ forecasts on both sales — they had on average been expecting revenues of $1.86 billion — and EPS, which had been forecast to be -$0.49 but came in at -$0.20 on a diluted basis and $0.00 undiluted. The numbers underscore the positive signals we’ve had from the wider industry. More generally, we have seen a huge boost in streaming media services — includ

Adobe is giving students and teachers free access to Creative Cloud

Your university's IT admin will need to make an application for access. What you need to know Adobe is temporarily making Creative Cloud free for teachers and students. The offer is aimed at enabling them to continue being productive as they work and study from home. Students cannot individually avail the promo, however, as the application for access needs to be made by a university's IT admin. As universities around the world shut their campuses and organizations ask their employees to work from home, many tech companies are making their products available to educational institutes free for use. Google and Microsoft have both made their large-scale communication and videoconferencing tools free for everyone, and now Adobe is temporarily giving free Creative Cloud access to students and teachers. The subscription, which usually costs $79.49 per month, will give affected students and teachers access to the entire range of Adobe's applications, such as Photoshop