Jun 012011
 

Lux Products' Model TX900TS Touch Screen Therm...

[This post was updated on 4/10/12. It now includes revised and expanded information. Please let me know if anything is missing!]

I’ve been looking into IP-based thermostats, that is, thermostats which can be managed remotely via the web. I’ve collected a number of vendors below. The idea is coming into its own and a number of companies have picked up on it and it is a great idea – as it could significantly lower electrical costs for homes and businesses. Before I move on to the actual reviews here are a few questions I have I’d love to hear your thoughts on:

  • Do you know of any other companies that manufacture and/or sell IP enabled thermostats?
  • Do you know of any companies that offer discounts to non-profits?
  • Do you know of any companies which support LAN-based thermostat management but not internet-based? I’d like to add them to the list…as they can be managed remotely via programs such as LogMeIn.

ecobee:

  • Are sold through a local contractor, not directly from the manufacturer.
  • On eBay the units appear to be selling for $300-$500.
  • The website is very nice and the device appears very nice, but you are going to pay a premium.
  • They have a new device with an apparently lower price this month (April 2012).

Radio Thermostat:

  • Sold directly from the manufacturer.
  • Price ranges from $140 to $250.
  • Also rebranded by Filtrete and sold through Home Depot at a cheaper price ($100).
  • Requires either a “C” or “common” wire or an external transformer for power.
  • Site and thermostat both look aesthetically pleasing.
  • Sometimes distributed as Homewerks (e.g. on Amazon).

Proliphix:

  • On eBay the units appear to be selling for $100-$200.
  • One of the oldest IP thermostat manufacturers.
  • Has residential and commercial solutions.
  • Includes web-based remote control if desired, but not necessary.

Bay Controls:

  • Claims typical energy savings will pay for thermostat in around a year.[1]
  • Claims can be installed in thirty minutes or less by an end user.
  • Does not charge any ongoing monthly fees for the web-based service.
  • Includes reporting, analysis, and monitoring functions.
  • Has mobile websites created to support major mobile phone providers.
  • Does not operate wirelessly, but does sell powerline ethernet adapters to use powerlines to communicate with router. Cost is less than $60/ea.
  • Pricing is around $220/ea. for thermostats.

Net/X:

  • Requires Net/X thermostats and then a central network controller which relays traffic out for remote management.
  • Cost for thermostats themselves is $300+.

Intwine Energy:

  • Cost is $200 per unit for the basic level.
  • Includes wireless built in.
  • Initial programming occurs via USB to computer, only initial configuration must be done in this manner.
  • Annual fee for advanced management and reporting functionality of $15.

Schlage Nexia Home (formerly Schlage LiNK):

  • $150 for thermostat.
  • Must have a Nexia Bridge to utilize ($99).
  • Ongoing cost is $8.99/mo.
  • Utilizes Z-Wave (similar to ZigBee).
  • Also sells appliance modules, cameras, lighting controls, and door locks.

Nest Thermostat:

Enphase Energy:

  • Utilizes the ZigBee protocol to wirelessly communicate with a gateway device which allows for communication with Enphase’s website.
  • Also integrates with solar panels.
  • No easily found pricing.

Venstar:

  • Wireless access seems to be in-home only.
  • They have a Surveyor product meant for businesses which manages HVAC as well as lighting, etc.

Energate:

  • Impressive product line but appears to work through utilities.

Ecofactor:

  • Appears to be available only in limited geographic areas.
  • Site failed to load as of 4/9/12.

Trane:

  • Offers two internet enabled options – the original ComfortLink and now the ComfortLink II.
  • These are full color thermostats.

LockState:

  • Offers a Connect line of products which operate with WiFi.
  • Thermostat is $200.

Honeywell:

  • Has the Prestige 2.0 thermostat which includes internet capabilities.
  • Unsure of pricing.

Fidure Corp.:

Site hasn’t been updated since 2007 according to copyright, appears to be vaporware.

 

 

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  1. [1] No notes on what type of facility is required to save this much, e.g. will one save more with a larger building?

  13 Responses to “The State of IP (Web-Based) Enabled Thermostats.”

  1. Do you have a preference for any of the mentioned t-stats? Where are the reviews?

    • I actually wrote this article mainly as part of my own research into ip enabled thermostats. I haven’t purchased any yet, so I can’t make any real recommendations. Everything I’ve seen about the Radio Thermostat Home Depot version seems pretty good…I was thinking about trying one out at my house.

  2. Been doing my own searching into available products and came across your article. There is one more to add to your list: x300 by ControlByWeb found here: http://www.controlbyweb.com/x300/

    A couple of features I like about it are:
    1. Does not force you to use the manufacturer’s web portal to access the device (e.g. BayControls, ecobee, proliphix, schlage)
    2. Can be wired in parallel with existing thermostats, so you can have both local and remote control

    • Thanks for sharing freezer! These are pretty impressive units and the pricing is mid-range – not too bad! Features are fairly robust. So does each X-300 include a small web server within it? I’m guessing that is how one is able to host the web portal rather than using a manufacturer portal? I agree this is a nice feature, though I wonder about aggregating multiple units into one interface…Thanks!

  3. I cannot believe that none of these have a simple home LAN interface. Am I just missing something?

    I really don’t believe in 3rd party websites, nor their monitoring and intrusion into my private home network.

    If anyone knows of a LAN based solution, please post! I’ve now returned 2 because they said you could control them with your “home network” which is very misleading.

    • It is kind of surprising and I expect we will eventually see more with simple LAN interfaces – but if manufacturers can get customers to buy ones that use an “out-sourced” web interface, this provides ongoing revenue streams. Additionally, it probably isn’t the best to have a “web server” device sitting on one’s home network, and this may also be part of the reasoning. Still, some OSS software that could be hosted on a shared host (e.g. bluehost) could solve this dilemma.
      If memory serves me right, I think Bayweb devices may allow for home lan interfaces.

      • I respectfully disagree. I think it probably *is* best for the thermostat itself to offer a web interface similar to a wireless router, print server, NAS, managed switch, etc. This gives it a stand-alone capability, and that’s where I’d prefer to start.

        The external website method of controlling the thermostat as the *only* web interface seems utterly backwards to me. I won’t have it! :-p

  4. Dave,

    You may be interested in knowing that Home Depot is now carrying a line of network enabled (wireless) thermostats. I saw them last week when walking through the store. Home Depot’s website has them listed as well. Depending on the features needed (in relations to the HVAC unit itself)ranges in price from $100 to $200 or so. It is not clear if the wireless module is included or required option (addl $80). The brand is called Lockstate.

  5. The slickest thermostat seems to now be the NEST.

    http://www.nest.com/

  6. Very helpful. I did this research about 2 years ago and there weren’t nearly as many choices. Out of all these, I like the Nest the best, although I don’t know yet if I can make it work with my system. When I designed the wiring I *assumed* IP thermostats would be easy, and just ran CAT6 cable to each thermostat location. But they are all designed for standard HVAC wiring, even the most modern ones like the Nest. I think their market is retrofitting. Also, if you have multi-zones HVAC like I do, you need to spend some time looking at the zone controllers which are even more archaic than the thermostats. Still, thanks — I’m ready to do something now and you saved me a ton of time.

  7. Great list. I didn’t like the idea of the Nest or other “connected” thermostats, but I’m warming up to them. One of the better selling points was the ability to control the unit from an app. I could see that coming in handy, if I wanted to have the house cool or hot when I arrived.

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