Good thermostat for a baseboard heater

I’m trying to figure out what thermostat I could/should use for a typical 2 wires thermostat that would work with Hassio. Any recomendation? I saw that Sinopé had some but not sure which one I should get. Also I have no hub of any sort (smarthings or else) right now. does that mean I need to get one? thanks!

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I had the same search as you. I came to the conclusion that not much are working when you want a sort of budget version.

Take a look below. I’m using a manual thermostat with no intelligence and i’m also using a ESP (2 wires) on my boiler central heater unit.

If you really need a thermostat then this is no option.
If you don’t mind having the thermostat eliminated, than this could work.

These are the four brands of ‘smart’ line-voltage thermostats that I’m aware of:
Mysa (Wi-Fi)
Sinope (Mi-Wi?, Zigbee)
Stelpro (Zigbee)
Caleo (Wi-Fi)

  • All cost more than a comparable non-smart, programmable line-voltage thermostat (easily double or triple the price).

  • MySa and Caleo require no hub because they communicate via Wi-Fi and use your existing Wireless Access Point (WAP; namely your existing Wi-Fi router/modem/whatever).

  • Sinope and Stelpro use Zigbee so they require a Zigbee coordinator (hub). Theoretically, it should work with any Zigbee coordinator (theoretically). Stelpro also offers their own hub which looks like a thermostat.

  • I’m not very familiar with the details of Sinope’s “Mi-Wi”. Because it uses its own hub that they refer to as “NeviWeb” I assume it uses Wi-FI but creates its own, private WAP for communications with their Mi-Wi line of thermostats. FWIW, I believe there is a custom component available to support NeviWeb.

I prefer “true” programmable thermostats. In other words, after you set their schedule, it is stored within the thermostat so it can function independently of any ‘central controller’. For example, if Home Assistant become unavailable for any reason, the thermostat continues to execute its locally-stored schedule. This is more fault-tolerant than a thermostat that is ‘remotely-controlled’ by a schedule residing elsewhere (in a ‘central controller’).

I know Mysa stores its schedule within the device and I believe so does Caleo (confirmed; they use a cloud-service to create a schedule for the thermostat and store it in the thermostat). In contrast, the Zigbee version of Sinope’s thermostats does not. Effectively, it is a non-programmable thermostat that receives its orders (when to turn on/off) from a controller (Home Assistant, SmartThings, etc). In Stelpro’s case, they offer a central controller that retains the schedules of all connected (via Zigbee) thermostats.

Given my preference, namely maintaining a local schedule, I lean towards MySa. However, I also prefer traditional-looking thermostats so that means Caleo. However, MySa supports HomeKit so that would be the way to integrate it with Home Assistant. As for Caleo, it doesn’t support HomeKit and I don’t believe anyone has created a custom component for it.

The significant premium demanded for a ‘smart’ line-voltage thermostat may be hard to justify for anything more than convenience. For the average residential application, a garden-variety programmable thermostat (< CDN$40) provides the best bang-for-the-buck, minus the convenience of remote-control.

For example, MySa currently sells for CDN$140 and it will take a long time for it to save you $100 in heating costs (compared to using a properly programmed, non-smart thermostat). Much longer if you live in Quebec or Manitoba. From page 11 of Hydro-Quebec’s Comparison of Electricity Rates (PDF):


Adding to your list
NuHeat Signature(Wifi)

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The NuHeat Signature thermostat is designed for controlling a different heating source, radiant floor heating, not baseboard heaters.

Yes but it works perfectly fine with baseboard heaters and I’ve confirmed it with NuHeat as well. I also run one currently in my own home. It has two modes for temperature detection. 1 with the floor probe and 2 with ambient temperature reading. The ambient temperature is what is used when using the thermostat with baseboard heaters.

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ok great! I’ll have a look. I saw the Mysa but like you said, pretty pricey and afaik there is no integration possible with hassio, I guess I need to go through smarthings for that option.

MySa integration with HASS.IO would be via HomeKit.

I’m not doubting you but they don’t mention this ability in their own marketing information. That’s strange considering I’ve set foot in far more homes with baseboard heating than radiant floor heating. Seems like they are missing out on a sizeable market for their product. Perhaps they refrain from doing so because it is optimized for floor heating not baseboard heaters.

FWIW, (only loosely related to the current discussion) I’ve seen posts explaining how to use an Ecobee thermostat to control a line-voltage baseboard heater (even on Ecobee’s own site). It can be done but the Ecobee is optimized for centralized HVAC systems that cannot handle short duty cycles. In contrast, electric baseboards have no such constraint and provide more even heating if operated with short cycles (~15 seconds). So an Ecobee can control a baseboard heater just not as well as one designed for baseboard heaters.

You are correct that they don’t mention it. It’s not actually strange because they market and sell floor heating systems not just the thermostat to control them. I was skeptical about this as well but in my own searching for a thermostat that would work with baseboards and had an API to integrate with I reached out to them and they confirmed the thermostat is compatible with baseboard heating and would work without issues. The design principles between floor heating mats and baseboards work on the same short cycle principles.

I also have the StelPro Z-Wave thermostats and they work well too.

So what does a NuHeat thermostat cost? When I see a product that sells through distributors, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘premium pricing’.

When you mentioned “API” I thought it might be a local API but discovered I was wrong; it’s a cloud-based API (like Ecobee, Google Nest, etc).

The NuHeat Signature on Amazon is $215

It’s an expensive unit especially considering most home need multiple for baseboards or even floor heating.

It is cloud based which I don’t really like, but the options currently available for true local are only Z-Wave and ZigBee. Most of the Wifi devices are locked ecosystems. I like the NuHeat because they provide an open API unlike the others.

Amazon? OK, found in on for CDN$222. That is rather expensive for controlling a baseboard heater (far more than the cost of most baseboard heaters).

I couldn’t even begin to estimate how many years it would take for that one thermostat to save me 222-40=182 dollars in heating costs. All that’s left is the convenience of remote-control and if that alone is worth $182 per room. For my purposes, the answer is no; it exceeds MySa’s $100 premium (minus all the other features like HomeKit integration, Alexa, Google Assistant, etc).

Others being MySa and Caleo. MySa’s support of HomeKit provides it with a non cloud-based means of control. HomeKit is well-documented and backed by Apple. So if MySa were to close its doors, its product remains usable. As for Caleo, I know they have an IFTTT channel but I don’t know if it would survive in the event Caleo exited the market (probably not).

If NuHeat closed shop, its cloud-based API (like other vendors of smart devices) would be shuttered as well. Unless there’s another means to control the thermostat remotely, it gets demoted to ‘non-smart’ programmable thermostat (and I’m making an assumption that it remains programmable without access to its cloud service).

All valid points. I included NuHeat into the list as an available option. I have 1 unit which I work with. The rest of my thermostats are all StelPro Z-Wave. Baseboard heating is expensive when trying to make it smart because the thermostat’s are expensive.

I had a closer look at Stelpro’s thermostats and noticed they have Maestro and KI models. I assume you have the KI because it comes in two flavors, Zigbee and Z-Wave. Does the KI Z-Wave store its schedule locally (i.e. within the thermostat)? Or is the thermostat’s scheduling handled by the Z-Wave compliant controller and the thermostat simply receives commands to turn on/off?

If it does retain its schedule, would you happen to know if the KI Zigbee version operates the same way?

Yes I have the Ki model in Z-Wave. The thermostat itself is “dumb” and does not store any schedule information at all. The same is true for the Zigbee model as well AFAIK. The controller you attach is responsible for any scheduling you may configure. The primary difference between the Z-Wave and Zigbee model is that the Zigbee supports fan forced heaters where the Z-Wave does not.

The Maestro line is more sophisticated and looks interesting and integrates with some of their wall heaters and has “slave” units that work with the master unit. I believe the Maestro line are all Zigbee as well but I would have to check again. Those thermostat’s are also much more expensive than than Ki line-up.

Thanks for the clarification.

I’m disappointed to learn that, like Sinope’s Zigbee thermostats, Stelpro’s thermostats lose all scheduling functionality when disconnected from their controller.

What I find galling about this unfortunate design decision is that one pays a hefty premium for a so-called ‘smart’ thermostat that, in the event of disconnection from its ‘mothership’, behaves like a $20 non-programmable thermostat. That’s a helluva loss of core functionality due a single point of failure.

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That’s one area where the NuHeat Signature is better. The programming is local to the thermostat. You can program the thermostat without using the app or web interface if desired. Again a very premium cost for common functionality of cheaper programmable thermostat’s.

yes it’s just unfortunate that I own absolutely nothing from apple that would work. so I guess only solution is SmartThings for me

You don’t need anything from Apple to use HomeKit. Home Assistant’s HomeKit integration works with HomeKit-based devices.

oooh that’s interesting! thanks I thought I needed an hub of some sort to make homekit work