Being able to control your HVAC system during the summer and winter becomes a necessity. In the peak summer, you want the AC to be very cool while you’re home but also to be able to adjust the temperature when no one is home, so your electricity cost is minimal.
This is where smart thermostats come in. They are energy-efficient, cost-saving thermostats that are installed with your HVAC system.
All you need is wifi connectivity and you can control the thermostat with your smartphone, whether you are home or not. Now that there’s so much variety in smart thermostats, some also have automatic features that know when you’re home or not.
Choosing a smart thermostat is not easy because each one is different and may or may not be compatible with your HVAC system and smart home assistant. I have made the mistake of buying a thermostat that did not support my smart home assistant, on the recommendation of a friend.
Thus, I was not satisfied with mine and I came across the Radio Thermostat CT50 when I was looking for one. It is one of the most long-lasting thermostats that is programmable and is compatible with most HVAC systems.
While it is not as famous as other top brands in the category such as Nest or Ecobee, it is still a reliable thermostat. This review will tell you all that you need to know about the Radio Thermostat CT50, along with some alternatives if you don’t think it is a good fit for you.
Who should buy smart thermostats?
Smart thermostats track the energy consumption that allows you to know what affects your HVAC system has on your energy costs. They are also good for reducing energy costs. Considering they come with technology that automatically turns the temperature up or down.
Thus, if you are someone who feels like their current electricity bill is too much, investing in a smart thermostat is a good idea as it will optimize the use HVAC system on its own.
If you are someone who goes on vacations a lot, then having a smart thermostat can allow you to control the thermostat of your home from your smartphone, no matter where you are. It will also send alerts to you if the temperature inside gets too extreme and helps you to know if your HVAC system is working fine.
Moreover, scheduling becomes a breeze on a smart thermostat. Instead of setting the temperature every day, you can set up a weekly or customized schedule in advance. Some thermostats also have advanced learning capabilities, that learn your pattern and then automatically adjust the temperature based on that.
However, you must have high-speed consistent wifi and an HVAC system before you invest in a smart thermostat. Before you buy one though you should consider a few factors to know which one will be ideal for your home.
Factors to consider before buying Smart Thermostats:
Smart thermostats often require a common wire (C-wire). This means you need to install a c-wire connection before your thermostat can work with the HVAC system.
Getting your rewiring done can be bothersome, so if you are someone who wants a smart thermostat but does not want to get the rewiring done, then you should consider a smart thermostat that does not need a c-wire. Some smart thermostats also come with c-wire adapters. So you can also opt for those if you do not want to get the rewiring done.
Type of HVAC system
There are different kinds of HVAC systems such as the gas furnace, air handler, air conditioner, heat pump, etc. But not all of them support smart thermostats. Therefore, you should make sure that your thermostat supports the voltage of your HVAC system. Many top brands now offer online compatibility checks, instead of hiring a technician to figure it out.
Generally, multi-stage and variable-speed HVAC systems require professional installation. You can’t do it by just following the installation guide or watching youtube videos.However, most smart thermostats are easy to install. Especially if you are replacing an old smart thermostat with a new one.
Compatibility with a smart home assistant
What sets smart thermostats apart from the regular wifi-enabled ones is their ability to be controlled by other smart home devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. Each smart thermostat will be compatible with different assistants. So if you have one already then you should make sure that the thermostat supports it.
The Radio Thermostat CT50 is a touch-screen, 7-day programmable, wifi-enabled thermostat, that also offers geofencing to help save energy costs. It allows you to control the temperature of your house without having to go up to the thermostat.
You can simply control it by downloading the smartphone app. It does not connect to the HVAC system if you do not have a c-wire connection. So you will need to get the c-wire connectivity installed if you do not already have it. It comes with many modes that help you save energy by simply choosing from the drop-down menu.
This thermostat’s 24V power requires a c-wire, but if you are someone who does not want a new connection then you can check out the Emerson Sensi thermostat, which does not require a c-wire and is also integrated with Amazon Alexa.
It’s only about $10 more expensive than the Radio thermostat and it also comes with a touch screen display. Alternatively, the Ecobee3 2nd Generation Thermostat also does not require a c-wire connection, is compatible with Amazon Alexa, and it features smart sensors. While it certainly does offer more than the Radio and Emerson Sensei thermostat, it is also about $200 more expensive.
The My product name is usually recommended to people who are looking for not just smart features but also advanced learning capabilities from their thermostat. It is a high-end thermostat as opposed to the budget-friendly Radio thermostat CT50.
If you are looking for something along with the same price range as the Radio CT50 then the Lux/Geo thermostat is a good option too. Unlike the Radio thermostat, it does not require a c-wire. However, it too does not support smart home integration for any smart assistant much like the Radio CT50.
- Compatible with most HVAC systems
- Very budget-friendly
- 7-day programming
- Supports geolocation
- Supports 2-stage heating and cooling systems
- Includes a DIY installation guide
- C-wire is a must
- No automatic capabilities
- Not compatible with smart home ecosystems or Windows
The CT50 has wifi capabilities that allow you to control the temperature from your mobile phone app (both Android and iOS). The wifi-connectivity, however, does require a c-wire to function. Despite being wifi-enabled, this thermostat does not support smart home ecosystems like Amazon Echo.
2. 7-Day Programming
The Radio Thermostat CT50 is a programmable thermostat that can program for four different periods in a day. You can also, however, use the “Away” mode before leaving the house and it operates on more energy-efficient temperatures.
This feature helps the thermostat detect your phone’s GPS. If it does not detect within its specified radius then it assumes you are not home. And then it automatically adjusts to more optimal temperature settings.
Your guests or other family memberscan also use this radius feature. All they have to do is simply connect their smartphones to the thermostat via the wifi.
The smartphone app comes with a lot of information about the runtime of the thermostat. You get minute-by-minute statistics about the functioning of your HVAC system. It also sends alerts for when the temperature is too high or too low. And also when the filter needs a replacement.
What users think of the Radio Thermostat CT50
When I was looking for customer reviews for the Radio Thermostat CT50, I came across many reviews that said that the thermostat’s remote access on iPhone, Android, iPad, and PC was a very useful tool for them.
The one thing that sets it apart from other thermostats in its range is its geolocation feature. Many consider it to be very accurate.
Also, the thermostat does not stop functioning if your wifi stops working, only the smartphone app access stops functioning. Moreover, users rave about its easy installation and easy-to-mount model. It is great for anyone who is a DIY enthusiast.
Final thoughts on the Radio Thermostat CT50
The Radio Thermostat CT50 is a pretty basic programmable thermostat, that only has geofencing as a “smart feature”. Its only wifi-capability is that it connects to your smartphone app.
Besides that, it is not a very fancy or advanced thermostat especially since it does not support smart home assistants. However, it is quite a budget-friendly thermostat and is simple to install and use. While it does not work without a c-wire, it is still easy to program and energy-efficient.
Thus, if you are someone looking for these features only then we highly recommend it. However, if you have a voice assistant and want to be able to give voice commands to your thermostat.
Then you should consider the other alternatives. Geofencing does help save energy costs but still is not as efficient as having smart sensors and other learning capabilities. The capabilities that you can find in other smart thermostats. We hope you find this review helpful.
Click here to shop for the Radio Thermostat CT50.