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Forget About the Nest Thermostat, Check out the ColorTouch from Venstar

on May 18, 2012 2:14 pm

The ColorTouch from Venstar looks like the ultimate gadgeteer’s thermostat. First of all, it is compatible with Apple iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Blackberry, Android, Mac and PC devices, which allows you to easily change settings remotely. Who knew that the ability to customize your home thermostat was important to people. It must be because the ColorTouch has interchangeable faceplates and the ability to change the color background wallpaper with both AM and PM images. It also has screensavers that turn it into a clock or a digital photo frame. Of course it also has a touch screen that you can use to easily schedule up to 4 temp changes per day. It even offers a wireless outdoor sensor so you can see the temp outdoors with a weather display and an energy usage information report that lets you see how much energy has been used to heat and cool for the past seven days. The ColorTouch residential thermostat with Skyport Wi-Fi Key is priced under $300 but the main gotcha is that you can’t just walk into Loews or Home Depot and buy one. It looks like you have to have a Heating and Air Conditioning company buy and install it for you. I still want one. I hate my programmable thermostat. I installed one myself to replace an old mercury switch style unit. It’s a real pain to program and change settings. I’d love one of these. Anyone out there have a ColorTouch?

Comments

  1. 1
    The Gooch says:

    I don’t have a ColorTouch, but I do have a Nest. It was pretty simple to install and it also cost under $300. After about 3 months my HVAC bill went down $29/month. It seems like the Nest works fine without the need for professional installation. However, if you have interface issues with Nest then this is likely the way to go. I am amazed how quickly it will pay for itself and how it “learned” my habits.

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    @The Gooch The Nest does have that advantange – it does its own programming instead of manually entering them.

  3. 3
    Kimmo says:

    I’m seeing dead cursors …! :)

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Julie says:

    @Jeff Good find. It’s missing the WiFi key though. I think that’s a $100 upgrade from Venstar.

  6. 6
    JT says:

    @The Gooch,
    Saving $30 month is impressive. Did you have a programmable thermostat before getting the Nest?

  7. 7
    Thomas says:

    Thanks for the eBay tip Jeff. Smarthome actually has it for $167 and offers all of the color wall plates

    http://www.smarthome.com/30429/Venstar-T5800-ColorTouch-Full-Color-Touch-Screen-Thermostat/p.aspx

  8. 8
    Techy Chic says:

    You can find the thermostat with or without faceplates as well as the Skyport Wifi module on diycontrols.com

    https://www.diycontrols.com/p-7067-venstar-colortouch-high-resolution-color-thermostat-w-touch-screen-t5800.aspx

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    Digital photo frame? What in the…? Nest is an amazing thermostat because it’s incredibly simple and well-designed. This is neither.

  10. 10
    Zen Dawg says:

    Just installed a Nest 2.0 to replace my Honeywell programmable digital. I got tired of standing in front of my old thermostat planning how to keep comfortable and save money. This does it for me.

  11. 11
    Just4Jane says:

    I installed the Nest 2.0 about 5 days ago. It is okay, but the “scheduling” is very difficult on a smart phone. Trying to just adjust up|down 1 degree is very hard. The app wants to jump 3,4,5 degrees. You have to keep playing around to get that 1 temp. Also, on dual mode (Heat|AC) the number are very small and most times you cannot see your current temp. I am currently debating on trying out the Venstar T5800. It looks great; easier to adjust; has a “larger” current temp; many other good features. Has anyone tried both and have some recommendations. I want the remote (via smartphone) feature and ease for scheduling.

  12. 12
    Julie says:

    @Just4Jane I’ve not tried the Nest, but I continue to use the Venstar ColorTouch. I reviewed it if you need more info: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2012/09/16/venstar-colortouch-thermostat-review/
    Just be aware that as of right now you can NOT change / edit schedules on the smartphone app. You can adjust the temp up and down though. I’ve been told that scheduling via app will come soon.

  13. 13
    Nick says:

    I think the Nest is over rated, over priced and over hyped.
    It has far more faults than a product in this price range should have. Particularly one that is marketed as such a cool, state of the art thermostat.
    In my case the Nest just failed even when all installation instructions were followed. It failed to heat except for the few hours before we turned it down for the night. The heat never came back on. The display states we have a heat pump and we have forced air. We really needed this thing to work but Nest has other ideas about what they want this products to do. The other problems people describe, we had those as well but they paled in comparison to the no heat issue.
    Maybe Nest folks need to concentrate on function as much as form. It’s a thermostat for Pete’s sake. How tough can it be to make it work – like any other thermostat and regulate temperature. In the winter, it’s a not a bad idea.

  14. 14
    Raj says:

    I have 3 separate heat pumps in my house. I got 3 Venstar ColorTouch installed, 3 months ago. I got ColorTouch for $139 & the wifi module for $59 each, from Pierce Phelps. (You have to tell them you are a contractor :-) I love it. No real complaint. But there are 2 things/concerns to know.

    #1. This was not a concern for my heat pump. But, you need a ‘C’ wire. If your existing system does not have ‘C’ wire, you will need to wire a new one. Nest does not need a ‘C’ wire, in most cases

    #2. The wireless portal is through Skyport. I used to have a wifi picture frame, where people could email any picture to the portal, and it would show up on my picture frame. Guess what. The company went out of business. If Skyport goes out of business, the wifi module is useless. I hope this is not true.
    (By the way, Skyport is also the portal for another programmable thermostat. Honeywell I think.)

  15. 15
    Nickso says:

    Do not purchase a Nest. Nothing but trouble and the company does not listen to its customers.
    Don’t just listen to me, go read on the web and Nest forums.

  16. 16
    Kris says:

    I installed two Nest thermostats in my home. I found them very easy to install and they are priced cheaper than $300.00. I have an oil fired hot water boiler with radiant basboards and infloor heating. The Nest really works well for radiant heat where other thermostats fall short. This is due to its programming, over time Nest will learn how fast your system can heat the space. It takes into account how long heat still admits form your source (baseboards, floor) after it stops calling for heat. This avoids overshooting the desired temperature and is where you get the true energy savings. Entering in my heating system information was very intuative with Nest. I would recommend Nest to my family and friends.

    From a perfessional engineer who specializes in HVAC.

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