When you have to replace your home’s thermostat, you have to decide on a brand and the type of thermostat. This is not so easy. The problem is that when you’ve decided on a brand, there are still choices to be made between the different types and models.

Emerson, for instance, offers two types of thermostats, namely the Sensi Smart Thermostat and the Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat. What are the differences between the two?

The main differences between the two are that the Sensi Touch comes with a touchscreen and needs a C-wire (also known as a “Common wire”) to power on and communicate with your HVAC system and other smart appliances, while the Sensi Smart doesn’t offer a touchscreen and doesn’t need a C-wire.

Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat for Smart Home, DIY, Works With Alexa, Energy Star Certified, ST55

Emerson Sensi thermostat

Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Touchscreen Color Display, Works with Alexa, Energy Star Certified, C-wire Required, ST75 Black 5.625" x 3.4" x 1.17"

Emerson Sensi Touch thermostat

As both models offer many similar and even sometimes identical functions and features, we’ll firstly look at all the unique features and functions and then at the similarities between the two. This discussion will make it easier for you to choose the right thermostat for your needs and circumstances.

Differences between Emerson Sensi and Sensi Touch thermostats

Some features are unique to either the Sensi Touch or the Sensi Smart thermostat. These differences might influence your choice of the model. You will for instance most probably not purchase the model that needs a C-wire to power on if your HVAC and other smart appliances in your home don’t use a C-wire. 

Or certain “comfort” features/functions like a continuous back glow, might be the one thing convincing you to purchase a specific model. 

Let’s look at some of the most important unique features of each model. 

Sensi Touch

  • The Sensi Touch is a touchscreen thermostat with a customizable home screen display.
  • It requires a C-wire to power on and communicate with the HVAC and other smart appliances.
  • It offers an option of a continuous back glow. This is very handy for soft lighting in dark rooms and hallways. 
  • Another lighting option that many users regard as very handy is the sleep screen option.  
  • Its illuminated terminals are providing good visibility while wiring the thermostat. 
  • With its easy-click terminals, you don’t need a screwdriver when wiring or repairing wiring.
  • You can choose between a black and white thermostat. Recently a silver option is also available in some countries.
  • There is a Sensi Touch DIY model if you don’t want to use a professional installer. This DIY model even carries a 3-year warranty. 

Sensi Smart 

  • The Sensi Smart thermostat doesn’t use a C-wire to operate. This makes it ideal for older HVAC systems where C-wires have not been used originally.
  • The Sensi Smart has a sleek minimalist design and looks very good on your wall. 
  • It also takes up the same space as a traditional thermostat. You don’t have to patch your wall or paint it when you’ve installed the Sensi Smart as your new thermostat.

Similar features and functions

Wi-Fi enabled

Both models are Wi-Fi enabled. This feature makes it possible to remotely control and schedule your home comfort. You can control it remotely using an app on your smartphone, computer, tablet, or another smart device. 

And you can do it anytime from anywhere. 

Both thermostats will still control your heating and cooling even if you lose your Wi-Fi connection. It will continue to run the current schedule when the internet connection is lost.

Easy installing process with an app

You use the easy-to-use app to take you through the installation steps, whether it is the Sensi Smart or the Sensi Touch you are installing. The app removes all the guesswork regarding the installation of both models. You don’t need any previous experience to install any of the two models. 

Energy and money-saving

With both models, you can save money without compromising the comfort provided by your HVAC and other smart devices. They give you a saving of about 23% on your HVAC energy usage.  

Can integrate with automation platforms

Both models integrate directly with home automation platforms such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings. If you connect to Amazon Alexa you can vocally control your home temperature, and with AppleHomeKit you can ask Siri to set your home temperature.

Keypad lockout

Both models include a keypad lockout feature for security reasons.


You get a 5-year warranty on both models if installed by an HVAC professional.


If you’ve decided to purchase an Emerson Sensi thermostat, this article should make it easier for you to decide which model you want to purchase – the Sensi Smart or the Sensi Touch. From the discussion in the article, it is clear that one model is not necessarily better than the other. It is more a matter of specific unique features that will make you choose a specific model. 

The only choice that might have financial and practical implications is if you choose the Sensi Touch thermostat. If your home is equipped with older HVAC appliances that don’t use a C-wire to function you might have to make changes in your HVAC system.


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